Editor choice

The Best Laptops 2021

The best laptops 2021 can come with a wide variety of brands, prices, and features. In this list, we’ve got the rest of the best laptops, Windows 11 business notebooks, thin and powerful gaming rigs, budget Chromebooks, all laptops for school, and the best 2-in-1 convertibles.

We’re lucky to live in an era when smartphones are ubiquitous and cost more than the best laptop around, tablets are commonplace, and even smartphones are becoming a thing of lust that people talk about on the regular. But throughout all of these tech advances, the humble laptop still reigns supreme – and for a good reason.

When it comes to working, whether you just need to edit a few photos, write lots of emails, compose some documents, or stay in touch with colleagues and family, we’re here with the best picks to help you find the best laptop for the job. And, at the right price.

What makes the best laptops 2021?

It’s getting a little harder to buy a bad laptop, but what separates the best laptop of 2021 from good laptops is how well they balance power, efficiency, portability, and comfort. The top laptop should have an excellent keyboard and trackpad and maybe a 1080p webcam for those working remotely– after all, those are perhaps the main reasons you’d opt for a laptop over a smartphone or tablet.

The display should be easy on the eyes, bright, and sharp enough that you’ll not be distracted by jagged edges and washed-out pixels. Laptops are now more powerful than ever, as such, the best laptop should be powerful enough for most tasks, may it be editing short videos or advanced gaming, it should handle all that.

Most importantly, the best laptop should be easy to carry around from place to place, and that means it needs to last all day without needing to be plugged in. Also, port selection should be ideal, and you should maybe look out for a USB-C port going forward.

Many of us are feeling the effects of the cost of living in the aftermath of the pandemic, and with the switch to a more hybrid way of living, you’ll want to invest in a notebook that offers excellent value for money.

That’s why in this guide, we’ve not just filled it with the most powerful (and definitely most expensive) laptops. Instead, our approach is to offer a range of suggestions for all kinds of budgets, we’ve covered everything from the cutting-edge Ultrabooks to the most affordable Chromebooks – and pretty everything in between.

best laptop

How to pick the best laptop for you

Choosing the best laptop for your needs can be hectic, and the number of options available can be intimidating. How about a guide to the best laptops for 2021? Picking the best from the available options is never a simple task. There is the sleek business notebook, a powerful gaming laptop, an affordable college laptop, and the lovable Chromebook. We know the sheer number of available options can be overwhelming, but with this list, we’ll try to narrow it down to the absolute best in every category.

In this Best Laptops 2021 guide, we provide insights into your prospective systems to help you make the decision before you commit those dollars. We provide advice on choosing the best screen size, choosing between SSD and HDD, the latest hardware and components (whether they are worth the price or not), and insider advice on where to score the best prices on laptops. Overall, we provide some essential tips for finding the right system for your needs.

Over the course of the year, we review over 130 laptops covering every niche and price point. Whether you’re in the market for a productivity workhorse, a renegade gaming system, or a reeling multimedia device to sit back and enjoy a movie, in this short list you’ll certainly find a match.

For a machine to make it to our Best Laptop list, the system should have a score of at least 4 out of 5 stars on reviews and offer the features that shoppers care about most. In our selection, we emphasize design, comfort, performance, battery life, keyboard and touchpad, display quality, and overall value.

What are the best laptop brands?

The best laptop brands include Apple, Asus, HP, Lenovo and Dell, and all of these have their core strengths that separates them form each other. For example, Apple has always delivered slim and light machines with cutting-edge designs around, and the same brilliant designs have been improved on every model of the Apple MacBook.

On the other hand, Dell offers a great range of high-end ultrabooks and the Dell XPS is simply a masterpiece in all its glory, as well as affordable Chromebooks. Lenovo is well known for its range of business notebooks and some great 2-in1 laptops as well, and HP makes some fantastic laptops that are some of the best in the world at various price points.

When it comes to gaming, the best laptop brands include Alienware, Asus and Acer.

Which are the Best Laptops 2021?

The Dell XPS 13 is our all-time favorite – for Windows laptops. This new model is powered by an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, making it a perfect choice for work, play, and enthusiast content creation. Plus, it rocks a bright, vivid display that’s great for binge-watching movies. Also, its thin and light profile makes it an ideal laptop for mobile professionals who need something to use on the go.

Apart from the XPS 13, early into 2021, we’ve seen some impressive Windows 10 laptops, so if you Windows 10, or want something affordable like a Chromebook, there are plenty of options to explore.

For Apple fans, 2021 brings new must-haves in the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air M1 laptops. The new ARM-based chips manage to offer best-in-class performance, along with unprecedented slim and light design, and a reasonably affordable price tag as well.

So, let’s get right into it. Our latest and greatest laptops are drawn from the likes of Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, and Lenovo, our best laptops guide will surely have a perfect device for your needs. Here are our top laptop picks.

The best laptops you can buy today


Dell XPS 13

1. Dell XPS 13 (2020)

The best Windows laptop in the market


Specs – CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7 | GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD | Display: 13.4-inch, 1200 | Size: 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds

PROS

  • Fast performance
  • Lovable, premium design
  • Great battery life

CONS

  • Lackluster audio

When you want to see what it truly means to have a great laptop, look no further than the Dell XPS 13 (2020). What you get on Dell’s latest offering is one of Intel’s new Tiger Lake processors, a smaller frame, and exciting InfinityEdge bezels on the bright 13-inch display.

This new refresh brings on board some enticing features, including a more powerful CPU, better graphics performance, and longer battery life. You also get Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6, something we’ve not seen before at this price point.

The new Intel Iris Xe GPU will let you play certain AAA games on an integrated graphics card, albeit on low settings. Performance on about everything else is top-notch, and the XPS 13’s battery life surpasses Intel’s new Evo standards by around two hours.

For anyone looking for a laptop that’s well balanced in beauty, power, and longevity, the Dell XPS 13 (2020) is the best laptop around.

Dell New XPS 13 9300 13.4-inch FHD InfinityEdge Touchscreen Laptop...
Dell New XPS 13 9300 13.4-inch FHD InfinityEdge Touchscreen Laptop...
The power button lets you log on with just a touch; A 2.25mm high quality HD webcam gives you the best camera experience.
$1,899.00

Apple MAcBook Air

2. Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

The best MacBook money can buy


Specs CPU: Apple M1 | GPU: Apple M1 GPU | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB | Display: 13.3-inches, 1600 | Size: 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3 pounds

PROS

  • Stellar overall performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Super-fast SSD

CONS

  • Thick screen bezels
  • Limited ports

Apple’s new MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is the best laptop money can buy right now. It is the first time a MacBook tops our best laptop list, but the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) deserves this award. It features the revolutionary ARM-based Apple M1 chip paired with 16GB of RAM that powers the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro (Apple has ditched Intel chips for all its new laptops), a remarkable achievement going forward.

The result is a thin and light laptop that packs great all-around performance, allowing users to edit even 4K videos, while at the same time offering incredible battery life. The Apple Air doesn’t struggle to clock over 12 hours on a single charge, making it a laptop that you can carry around on a cross-country business flight, a day at work or college.

Its price is very competitive compared to Windows 10 rivals like the Dell XPS 13; and, it can run both new and old Mac apps, as well as iOS apps for iPhones and iPads. Even if you’re coming from a Windows 10 laptop, the Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is well worth getting and making the switch to macOS.

Sale
2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB...
2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB...
All-Day Battery Life – Go longer than ever with up to 18 hours of battery life.
$999.00 −20% $799.99

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

3. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

The best gaming laptop in 2021


SpecsCPU: AMD 4th Generation Ryzen 9 3.0 GHz 8 Core – 16 Thread Processor| Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q w/ 6 GB GDDR6| RAM: 24GB 2666MHz| Screen: 14″ FHD 120Hz IPS-Level Display | Storage: 2 TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD

PROS

  • Solid AMD and Nvidia performance
  • Class-leading battery life
  • Sleek, ultra-thin design

CONS

  • No webcam
  • No Thunderbolt 3

The Asus Zephyrus G14 may not be perfect (lacking a webcam and a Thunderbolt 3 port), but it’s an absolute beast, garnering our coveted five-star rating, something that makes it one of the best laptops in 2021, and our Editors’ Choice gaming laptop overall.

This is a competition killer, delivering incredible performance thanks to its AMD Ryzen 4000 processors and Nvidia’s RTX 2060 graphics card while boasting best-in-class battery life, that can last all day. In addition to these niceties, it adds a display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a premium, ultra-thin design.

The best part is that you’re getting the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 at an affordable price that won’t create a home in your wallet. Don’t get us wrong, it isn’t cheap, but for the components it packs, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 represents killer value.

Read the full Asus Zephyrus G14 review

ASUS 2020 ROG Zephyrus G14 14in VR Ready FHD Gaming Laptop,8 cores AMD...
ASUS 2020 ROG Zephyrus G14 14in VR Ready FHD Gaming Laptop,8 cores AMD...
14" Full HD display, windows 10. 12GB DDR4 RAM; 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD.
$999.99

Acer Swift 3

4. Acer Swift 3 (2020, AMD Ryzen 7-4700U)

The best budget laptop in the market


SpecsCPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U | GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 14-inch, 1080p | Size: 12.7 x. 8.6 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.7 pounds

PROS

  • Excellent keyboard and trackpad
  • Superb performance
  • Reasonable price

CONS

  • Middling exterior design

Beyond the Acer Swift 3’s simple exterior, the internals represents an excellent laptop that delivers unlimited power for work and study. The Acer Swift 3 (AMD model) is an inexpensive laptop, with a plain chassis – though all-aluminum, packs a solid feature set for the money you’re paying.

Performance-wise, this laptop comes really close to far more expensive laptops, including the MacBook Air and the Dell XPS, though its display is a little low-res, it still looks bright and has good color quality.

The Acer Swift 3 is incredible to use, has a bright 1080p display trackpad and the backlit keyboard offers a comfortable typing experience with decent key travel. If you’re going to be writing a lot – whether traveling or at the office. For the solid feature set and tremendous value it offers, this laptop is hands down one of the best laptops available right now.

Read our full Acer Swift 3 (2020) Review

Sale
Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light Laptop, 14' Full HD IPS, AMD Ryzen 7 4700U...
Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light Laptop, 14" Full HD IPS, AMD Ryzen 7 4700U...
Aspect Ratio:16:9; 14" Full HD Widescreen IPS LED-backlit display (1920 x 1080 resolution; 16:9 aspect ratio)
$689.99 −9% $629.00

ASUS ZenBook 13

5. Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA

Still one of the best ultraportables


SpecsCPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7 | GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB M.2 PCI 3.0 SSD | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p | Size: 11.9 x 8 x 0.5 inches | Weight: 2.5 pounds

PROS

  • Sleek, lightweight design
  • Powerful overall and gaming performance
  • Excellent battery life

CONS

  • No headphone jack

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA threads on the thin line between business and premium. It’s a gadget of beauty, rocking the looks of Asus’ top-tier models with all the durability and security features in place, especially those available on the ExpertBook, the company’s new business laptops line.

In addition to the sleek design and looks, you get the added muscle of Intel’s new 11th Gen chips and all the features Intel’s Evo initiative brings, top in the list being over 13 hours of battery life. And you can get away with gameplay at low settings and the comfortable keyboard makes everything worth it, and some models come with an OLED display.

The new Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA easily triumphs over its competitors such as the Lenovo Yoga 9i, some priced almost double, making it a handy machine for work and play. Plus, it’s one of the few laptops to boast a well integrated webcam thanks to a new camera module and Asus’ camera algorithm.

Read our full Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA Review

ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop, 13.3” FHD NanoEdge Bezel Display,...
ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop, 13.3” FHD NanoEdge Bezel Display,...
13.3 inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) Wide View 4-way NanoEdge bezel display; Windows 10 Home; Fast storage and memory featuring 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD with 16GB LPDDR4X RAM
$745.92

HP Envy x360 13 (2020)

6. HP Envy x360 13 (2020)

The best convertible laptop around


SpecsCPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4500U | GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p | Size: 12.1 x 7.7 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 2.9 pounds

PROS

  • Stellar performance
  • Long battery life
  • Slim and sleek for a 2-in-1

CONS

  • Mediocre gaming performance

The new HP Envy x360 is much leaner than even the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, it is a very thin 2-in-1, and that works in your favor when using it in laptop mode, and you can get into tablet mode with ease. Apart from the svelte design, performance is another compelling reason why the Envy x360 is worth considering when looking around for the best laptops, especially in the 2-in-1 form factor.

This time around, HP smartly opted for AMD’s new 4000-series CPU, which delivers real performance muscle for just under one grand. It has a decent selection of ports, a bright, vivid display, and a luxurious aluminum chassis. Whether you’re a student looking for the best college laptop or just looking around in the portable 2-in-1 laptops category, you can’t get a better option than the HP Envy x360 13.

Read the full HP Envy x360 Review


Alienware m15 R4

7. Alienware m17 R4

All the power you need…plus some more


SpecsCPU: Intel Core i9-10980H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 | RAM: 32GB | Storage: dual 1TB PCI m.2 SSDs | Display: 17.3-inch, 1080p | Size: 15.7 x 11.6 x 0.7~0.9 inches | Weight: 6.6 pounds

PROS

  • Excellent gaming and graphics performance
  • Splendid, customizable keyboard
  • Super-bright display, with high refresh rate

CONS

  • Poor battery life
  • Quite expensive

The Alienware m17 R4 delivers more power than you can handle. It rocks Nvidia’s latest RTX 3080 GPU with its ridiculous 16GB VRAM that will tear through any game you throw at it. Ans the 10th generation Intel Core i9 processor makes light of your work and multitasking loads. All these functions are executed on a splendid display with a 360Hz refresh rate and high-quality color reproduction.

Currently, the RTX 3080 is the new king of mobile graphics, and it brings along a host of new improvements, including Ray Tracing 2.0 and Advanced Optimus. To match the RTX 30 series, Alienware improved its Cryo-Tech cooling solution and this is the first laptop to feature a display with a 300Hz refresh rate.

Add some updated ports and an overclockable Intel Core i9 processor to the Alienware m17 R4 and you’ve got a formidable beast cut for pro-gamers and professional creatives.

Read the full Alienware M17 R4 Review

Alienware m15 R4, RTX 3080 15.6 inch Gaming Laptop FHD (Full HD) - Intel...
Alienware m15 R4, RTX 3080 15.6 inch Gaming Laptop FHD (Full HD) - Intel...
15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) 300Hz 3ms 300-nits 100% sRGB color gamut; 32GB 2933MHz DDR4 , 1 TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
$3,780.00

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

8. Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

The best affordable Chromebook


SpecsCPU: MediaTek Helio P60T | GPU: ARM G72 MP3 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB eMMC | Display: 10.1-inch, 1200p | Size: 9.6 x 6.7 x 0.7 | Weight: 2 pounds

PROS

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Long battery life
  • Very affordable

CONS

  • Tiny keyboard and middling trackpad
  • No headphone jack

We’re used to Lenovo’s best business laptops, but the company’s little know Chromebooks are some of the best around as well. The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook just proves how good these Chrome OS-powered laptops really are. You can use it as a laptop or a tablet, and it packs some very impressive specs around.

Is this a Chromebook or a tablet? Well, you may never have t decide with the awesome Lenovo IdeaPad Chromebook. True to its name, it delivers two form factors in one, while making use of the versatility of Chrome OS and setting you back much less than even the most affordable Windows tablets in the market.

Read the full Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Review


How much RAM does a laptop need?

RAM (Random Access Memory) is a very important specification to consider in a laptop. These days, most laptops come with 8GB RAM, but you’ll want at least 4GB for a Windows laptop -but we’d recommend for many people go with 8GB. That will give you enough headroom to run Windows effectively for many years to come. On the other hand, budget Chromebooks can get away with less RAM, maybe 1GB or 2GB.

Which One – Windows, Mac Or A Chromebook?

In our Best Laptops guide, we’ve covered all OS platforms. however, choosing the best laptop depends on what you want to do with that machine and the kind of tasks that are important to you. For that, we advise that you first identify the tasks at hand, and any available programs/apps that you’ll be using on your device, then identify compatibility.

Chances are that if you’re sticking to the sub-$1,000 price range, you won’t get a Mac unless you’re willing to do with an older model. That leaves a choice of Windows and Chrome OS, and in that case, it gets down to the question of what software you need to run.

If you need a wider selection of software across various categories, Windows is your best bet. However, if all you need to do is browse the web, run simple productivity apps, and leverage Android equivalents, the Chrome OS is a safe buy.

Last update on 2022-12-06 at 11:41 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Digital Weekly
Logo