Published in Windows Central - News, Forums, Reviews, Help for Windows 10 and all things Microsoft.
1 month ago by Cale Hunt
It's a great time to be a fan of Windows, and if you're in the market for a new device, these are the very best Windows laptops available. HP's Spectre x360 13 is no doubt the best bet for most people who are looking for a modern Windows laptop for everyday use, thanks to gorgeous gem-cut design, touch display with slim bezel, and powerful performance from 10th Gen Intel Core processors (CPU). It's also priced very competitively, pushing it above a lot of other close seconds that might take the top spot. Not quite what you need? There are a bunch of other great laptops, which we've rounded up here.
HP's 13-inch Spectre x360 has for the last few years, been close to perfection, though it did have a few major flaws. With the refreshed late-2019 mode, however, HP has done some great things. It's hands-down the best HP laptop. It now has a Precision touchpad for better pointing experience, and the relatively thick bezel has been slimmed by 66%.
The webcam still sits above the display despite the new bezel, and HP has even managed to cram in IR hardware for facial recognition through Windows Hello. Overall, the laptop's chassis has shrunk, and the once top-firing speakers now live on the bottom. Still, there's a 60Wh battery that delivers excellent battery life.
Grab the 13.3-inch touch display in either FHD or 4K AMOLED. The latter has anti-reflective glass to cut glare, and sRGB, AdobeRGB, and DCI-P3 presets that offer excellent color straight from the factory. Just keep in mind the aspect ratio hasn't changed from 16:9, which is beginning to look a bit antiquated in modern devices. For better performance, the Spectre x360 has been upgraded to 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs, as well as up to 16GB of RAM and a 2TB M.2 PCIe solid-state drive (SSD). Wi-Fi 6 connectivity is a nice final touch.
While the XPS 13 9300 is undoubtedly the top pick if you don't want a convertible laptop, the Spectre x360 13 offers untouchable value making it sit at the pinnacle of our list of the best Windows laptops. It also happens to be at the very top of our ranking of the best Windows 10 LTE laptops.
They fixed almost everything
The HP Spectre x360 only had a few things keeping it from greatness, and now those things are here.
The latest refresh of the Dell XPS 13, bringing the 9300 designation, is truly as close to perfection as we've seen. It's easily the best Dell laptop available today, and our pick for the best laptop for high school students. We also think it's the single best laptop between $1,000 and $1,500. Its display now has a 16:10 aspect ratio, which removes the chin that most laptops have below the screen. There is display everywhere you look, thanks to a 91.5% screen-to-body ratio.
A non-touch 1920x1200 (FHD+) screen is the cheapest way to go, bringing an anti-glare finish and up to 500 nits brightness. A middle FHD+ option adds touch, edge-to-edge glass, and an anti-reflective layer to help reduce glare. It also manages 500 nits of brightness. Finally, the most expensive option is a 3840x2400 (UHD+) touch option with edge-to-edge glass, 500 nits brightness, and an anti-reflective layer.
Intel's 10th Gen "Ice Lake" CPUs are employed here for strong performance, accompanied by up to 32GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 2TB of M.2 PCIe SSD storage. RAM is soldered, but the SSD can be upgraded after purchase if you'd like to save some money at checkout. The XPS 13 offers the performance to easily cut through a standard day's work — word processing, heavy web browsing, photo editing — yet it keeps its cool and weighs just 2.65 pounds (1.2kg). It's also unbelievably thin and feels very sturdy thanks to the aluminum chassis.
Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack, and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity is included. As for productivity, the backlit keyboard and Precision touchpad should not stand in your way at all. Both are comfortable and easy to use.
The XPS 13 9300 has everything we love about an Ultrabook. It looks great, it performs well, and it's a joy to use.
The Surface Laptop 2 was a fine Ultrabook, and Microsoft has made numerous small changes to the 13.5-inch Laptop 3 to make it even better. It's now available with 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs and up to 16GB DDR4x RAM, as well as Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and a faster solid-state drive (SSD) up to 1TB that can be replaced. It's also now rocking a USB-C port, as well as USB-A, Surface Connect, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The keyboard and touchpad are both quieter than the Laptop 2, and typing is about as good as it gets. The touchpad is about 20% larger, and it's using Precision drivers for the best experience possible.
The overall design is as good as ever, with hidden antenna lines for a more streamlined look. If Alcantara — the fabric finish that we saw on the palm rest of the Laptop 2 — isn't your thing, the Laptop 3 can be had with a standard aluminum finish throughout. An IR camera sits above the display for extra security through Windows Hello. It's also our number one pick among best USB-C laptops.
The 13.5-inch touch display is a knockout. It has a boxy 3:2 aspect ratio with 2256x1504 resolution, and it's compatible with the Surface Pen for a stellar inking experience. It would be nice to see Dolby Vision or some anti-glare properties, but at least it hits nearly 400 nits brightness to help combat bright lights. Expect battery life to run somewhere between seven and eight hours on a charge. All of this more than earns the Surface Laptop 3 13.5 a place in our best Windows laptops roundup.
Small changes add up fast
With the addition of USB-C, Wi-Fi 6, and Intel 10th Gen CPUs, the Surface Laptop 3 13.5 delivers a solid follow up to the Laptop 2.
The original Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 was a bit of a letdown due to underpowered Intel Y-series CPUs and disappointing battery life, but the refreshed 7390 model has cleaned things up. You're now able to get 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs and a full workday of battery life, which is impressive from a convertible with this grade of touch display. It's sized at 13.4 inches with a 16:10 aspect ratio, available in either 1920x1200 or 3840x2400. With Dolby Vision HDR400 certification and excellent color, you're going to love this laptop every time you open the lid.
The slim chassis is understated and gorgeous, with a dual-hinge setup that lets you rotate the display around for tent, stand, and tablet modes. Combined with an active pen, this laptop is quite versatile. Platinum, silver finish is available for the outer shell, while you have black carbon fiber or artic white woven fiber interior options. Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The design means you can't get inside to upgrade hardware yourself, but there are plenty of configuration options available from Dell.
The second-gen maglev keyboard included here for a responsive feel, and there's a large Precision touchpad to promote productivity. If you're interested in consuming media, know that the down-firing speakers on the XPS 13 2-in-1 are quite loud and full. For some extra security, a fingerprint reader is built into the power button. If it's a convertible PC you seek, and you want one of the best Windows laptops on the market, look no further.
Stunning display and looks that packs a punch
The new XPS 13 2-in-1 is a spectacular and fun convertible Ultrabook that brings the best of today's technology into one device.
Lenovo's Yoga C lineup has been overhauled with both 14- and 15-inch sizes for the C940. Both still feature a soundbar hinge with impressive audio, though it's now a single piece rather than split into two. This delivers a more seamless look, and sound is just as good as before, if not better. The display comes in either FHD or 4K touch options, and the bezel is slim for a premium look. A pen, built into the chassis, offers a quality inking experience. This is our pick for the very best Lenovo laptop.
If you opt for the larger 15-inch version, you'll have access to a 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9880H vPro processor (CPU), 16GB of DDR4 RAM, 2TB M.2 PCIe NCMe solid-state drive (SSD), and dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 graphics card (GPU) with 4GB of VRAM. The 14-inch model isn't far behind, with a 10th Gen Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD. Note it lacks a dedicated GPU.
Both models include two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a single USB-A 3.1, and a 3.5mm audio jack, and both come with a fingerprint reader and webcam shutter for better security. Keyboards are comfy no matter the size, but only the large C940 comes with a number pad.
Impressive display and audio
The combination of convertible design, 4K display, and soundbar convertible hinge make the Yoga C940 a winner.
The latest refresh to the HP ENVY x360 13 has turned it into the hands-down best budget convertible on the market today, as well as our top pick of the best AMD Ryzen laptops. That's partly thanks to AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile CPUs, which deliver strong performance at a great price. Choose from Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, or Ryzen 7 CPUs, add up to 1TB of M.2 PCIe SSD storage, and go with up to 16GB of RAM with the Ryzen 7 model. This is an excellent PC if you're looking for something to handle everyday office, school, or homework. Battery life should last upwards of eight hours from a charge.
The display, which is still using a 16:9 aspect ratio, comes in three different flavors depending on your budget and taste. The most affordable is a standard touch FHD screen with 300 nits brightness. For a few dollars more, you can upgrade to 400 nits brightness, and for quite a bit more, you can add an FHD version with an integrated privacy screen and up to 1,000 nits brightness.
The metal chassis is built well and houses a comfortable keyboard and touchpad. Ports include USB-C, two USB-A, 3.5mm audio, and a microSD card reader. The laptop is stuck on Wi-Fi 5 and doesn't include Thunderbolt 3, which are arguments for the pricier Spectre x360. Otherwise, this is a beautiful laptop that's available at a great price.
HP's 2020 Envy x360 13 combines with AMD's latest Ryzen 4000 series processors to make a pretty compelling and affordable little laptop.
The fifth-gen ThinkPad X1 Yoga is here, bringing a slight refresh over the fourth-gen models. You're still getting the same slim design that's durable enough to stand up to daily use and abuse, plus it's a convertible so you can use it in a tent, stand, or tablet modes. Touch display options include FHD low power or privacy filter, QHD, or UHD with Dolby Vision HDR400 and up to 500 nits brightness.
The X1 Yoga is packed with security features, including optional Privacy Guard display, FIDO authentication, dTPM 2.0 chip, fingerprint reader, an IR camera for Windows Hello, webcam shutter, Kensington lock slot, and more. Wi-Fi 6 connectivity is now included, and you can still add LTE connectivity if you need to keep connected everywhere.
Performance hardware is based around 10th Gen Intel Core "Comet Lake" CPUs, accompanied by up to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB PCIe SSD. Lenovo claims up to 19 hours of battery life from the 51Wh battery, no doubt when using the low-watt display and lower-end CPU.
Durable business laptop that turns into a tablet
Lenovo's fifth-gen ThinkPad X1 Yoga is an excellent pick if you need extra security and durability from your convertible.
The refreshed eighth-gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon still brings a black carbon finish for the durable chassis that's been put through a bunch of durability tests. It's an ideal laptop if you're working in the field, mainly thanks to LTE connectivity. It now also has Wi-Fi 6 for speedy wireless connections.
A 14-inch display is available in a few different versions, from efficient low-power FHD to stunning 4K with Dolby Vision HDR400. For something in between, there's a QHD option. All displays have precise color, and the bezel is slim for a premium look. A PrivacyGuard feature can be added to the FHD display, which helps keep your display private when working in public. Other notable security features include a fingerprint reader, Kensington lock slot, FIDO authentication, camera shutter, and IR camera for facial recognition.
10th Gen Intel Core "Comet Lake" CPU options offer lots of power and can be combined with up to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD. Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, two USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1), HDMI 1.4, Ethernet extension, and 3.5mm audio. If 14 inches is your sweet spot, this PC is among the best Windows laptops for you.
Keep up with work wherever you are
With 4G LTE modem, powerful performance, and a brilliant display, get a premium business laptop ideal for staying connected.
Along with the XPS 13 9300, the XPS 15 9500 received a fairly serious overhaul. It has a larger 16:10 aspect ratio for the display which eliminates the chin, the Precision touchpad is way more prominent, and the keycaps are also larger for a better typing experience. Speakers on either side of the keyboard, as well as speakers on the underside of the laptop, make for quality audio.
You can get the display in either FHD+ or UHD+ resolutions, with the latter being touch and the former being non-touch. These Sharp IGZO panels deliver unreal color and contrast, and you should be satisfied with either option. There's hardly any bezel, yet there's still an IR camera above the display for Windows Hello.
Get up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875H CPU, 64GB of RAM, and a 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD. The real cherry on top is the dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti GPU with 4GB of VRAM. It's all powered by a beefy 86Wh battery that can deliver a full day of battery life. Wi-Fi 6 is also included for fast wireless connectivity. This PC also sits atop our list of the very best 15-inch laptops.
Beautiful display options, stellar performance
Larger display, touchpad, and keycaps, as well as beefier internal hardware, make the XPS 15 the 15-inch Ultrabook to beat.
A 17-inch laptop is excellent for multitasking thanks to the enormous display, but you often trade portability. However, the LG gram 17 weighs in at just 2.98 pounds (1.35kg), making it as light as a lot of 13-inch Ultrabooks. The vast display has a 2560x1600 resolution with 16:10 aspect ratio, and it has a battery that will last for a full day before needing a charge. This is easily one of the best LG laptops.
Performance hardware includes up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and two 512GB PCIe SSDs. There's no dedicated GPU, but you can take advantage of Intel Iris Plus Graphics from 10th Gen hardware. Ports include Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, three USB-A 3.1, a microSD card reader, and 3.5mm audio for generous connectivity.
The Precision touchpad seems small compared to all the available space, but it tracks well. Typing for extended periods shouldn't be an issue on the keyboard, and a fingerprint reader built into the power button adds security through Windows Hello. Included is Wi-Fi 6 for speedy connectivity. This worthy PC also made our lists of best rugged laptops for students and best Windows laptops with full number pads, and it's our pick for the very best 17-inch laptop.
A huge laptop that remains light
The LG gram 17 is an extraordinarily light and capable 17-inch Ultrabook that's perfect for students, photographers, and other pros.
Microsoft's Surface Pro 7 is back and better than ever. Instead of a Mini DisplayPort, it now has a USB-C 3.1 port that's capable of handling dual 4K displays, rounded out by USB-A, a microSD card reader, Surface Connect, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Wi-Fi 6 connectivity is available for blazing wireless speeds, and Bluetooth 5.0 is also included. The Pro 7 now has Instant On, meaning it's ready to go as soon as you need it.
10th Gen Intel Core CPU options boost performance and add Intel Iris Plus integrated graphics, and models can be configured with up to 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM and a 1TB SSD. The display hasn't changed, but that doesn't mean it's not gorgeous. The 12.3-inch touch screen still has a 3:2 aspect ratio and 2736x1824 resolution, complete with Surface Pen compatibility for a quality inking experience.
The Pro 7 keeps cool under load, and you can expect about eight hours of battery life from a model with Core i5 CPU. For some extra security, an IR camera is included for Windows Hello.
Type-C and 10th Gen Intel are game-changers
Microsoft has finally added a loaded-out USB Type-C port to the Surface Pro 7, as well as 10th Gen Intel hardware.
If you need a powerful gaming laptop, the Razer Blade 15 should be your first choice should you have the budget. It's also our top pick in a roundup of the overall best gaming laptops available today.
Based on the hardware you want — up to an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU, 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875 eight-core CPU, and 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM — you'll get access to different display options, including up to 4K OLED with 100% DCI-P3 color reproduction, 60Hz refresh rate, and HDR400 certification. If you want to stick with FHD, you go with up to a 300Hz refresh rate of 100% sRGB color reproduction.
This is all wrapped up in a squared, symmetrical metal chassis that measures just 0.70 inches (17.78mm) thin. Keyboard travel is a bit short, but it has customizable RGB, and the Precision touchpad is huge for times when you're not using an external gaming mouse plugged into one of three USB-A 3.2 ports. Other connectivity includes Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, and Ethernet, depending on whether or not you get the Base or Advanced model.
A gaming laptop that is almost picture-perfect
The Blade 15 offers stellar performance hardware and up to 4K OLED HDR touch display with a 60Hz refresh rate.
Not only is the Zephyrus G14 a unique-looking gaming laptop, the inclusion of an AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS CPU is a total game changer. Along with an NVIDIA RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD, this is a stellar gaming laptop that is available at a very attractive price.
The 14-inch display has an FHD resolution with a 120Hz refresh rate, making it easy for the internal hardware to push high frame rates. No Ethernet port is included, though it does offer Wi-Fi 6 for fast, reliable wireless connectivity. Other ports include HDMI, two USB-C 3.2, two USB-A 3.2, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
This laptop weighs in at just 3.52 pounds (1.6kg) and has a unique style. Some might find the aesthetic to be a bit too aggressive, but it certainly flies in the face of the modern minimalist trend we've been seeing. Once you start gaming, the look is hardly going to matter anyway. This is easily one of the best Windows laptops for gamers on a budget.
AMD Ryzen 9 is a game-changer
If you're on a budget and want a new gaming laptop, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 should be at the top of your list.
Sometimes all you need is a Windows device without extremely powerful hardware that can travel with you everywhere. That's where the Surface Go 2 fits into this collection. Compared to the first Surface Go, the refreshed model has a larger display (thinner bezels offer more space without making the size of the device any larger), a more powerful Intel Core m3 CPU option, and Wi-Fi 6. Optional LTE is also available if you need to stay connected everywhere.
The premium design remains mostly unchanged, and you're still getting a high-quality aluminum build but kickstand on the back and optional attachable Type Cover and Surface Pen for inking. The 10.5-inch touch display has a 3:2 aspect ratio and 1920x1280 resolution for a great look.
While the Intel Core m3 CPU option does add a much-needed boost to performance over the first generation, it's still not going to handle intensive work. This is a 2-in-1 that's best reserved for light work on the move. Keep it there, and it will truly shine.
Nothing else like it
Surface Go 2 gets a much-improved processor that finally delivers on speed, but without making battery life worse.
The refreshed Surface Book 3 hasn't changed physically since the Surface Book 2. Instead, the primary focus was on internal hardware. The 15-inch Book 3 still has a touch display with 3240x2160 resolution and a 3:2 aspect ratio, and it's still modular. That means you can remove the display portion to be used as a tablet, albeit without the dedicated GPU and lesser battery life. When connected to the base, you get a comfortable keyboard, Precision touchpad, and the full gamut of performance hardware.
The Book 3 now features 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs, Wi-Fi 6 wireless connectivity, and 16GB of RAM as the base option, with up to 32GB total. The dedicated GPU has also been upgraded to an NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, with the opportunity for NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 graphics for those working with specialized software. If you need a unique laptop that can do everything, this should make for a great choice.
Power on the move
The refreshed Surface Book 3 for 2020 gets new Intel 10th Gen processors, more powerful GTX graphics, and much better Wi-Fi, SSD, and RAM options.
Lenovo has refreshed the ThinkPad X1 Extreme for a second-generation model, now equipped with 9th Gen Intel Core CPU options up to an i9-9880H vPro, solidifying its spot on the list of best Windows laptops. It offers some serious power, made better by an NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU with 4GB of VRAM. Rounding out specs is up to 64GB of RAM and a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD. This is a laptop for power users, and it has been put through durability testing to ensure it can withstand a harsh life.
It's available with a 15.6-inch in standard FHD, FHD with Dolby Vision HDR400, 4K LCD with Dolby Vision HDR400, or stunning 4K OLED with HDR500. You'll pay dearly for the OLED version, but it does look the best. A webcam above the display features a privacy shutter, and you can add an IR camera for Windows Hello. A Kensington lock slot, fingerprint reader, and FIDO authentication round out notable security features.
The durable chassis is just 0.7 inches (18.4mm) thin and weighs about 3.76 pounds (1.7kg), keeping it portable. Ports include two USB-A 3.1, two Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, an SD card reader, Ethernet expansion port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. An 80Wh battery offers lengthy life between charges, and a Wi-Fi 6 adapter is included for fast wireless speeds.
Note that third-gen models should be coming soon from Lenovo so you might want to wait for the latest hardware.
Business laptop with dedicated GPU
The ThinkPad X1 Extreme is an ideal choice for anyone who wants the extra security of a business laptop and above-average performance.
Microsoft's Surface Pro X has branched out from the standard Pro lineup we've become accustomed to seeing over the last few generations. Instead of using Intel hardware, it has inside a custom Microsoft SQ1 CPU that's essentially a beefed-up Snapdragon 8cx. Add in an Adreno 685 GPU, up to 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD, and you have a 2-in-1 ideal for creative people on the move. A Snapdragon X24 modem offers LTE connectivity in all models.
Moving itself away from the Pro 7, the Pro X has a chassis with thinner bezel to accomodate a larger 13-inch display with 2880x1920 resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio. Combined with the new Surface Slim Pen, you're getting an extremely versatile setup.
An IR camera for facial recognition adds to security, and two USB-C, Nano-SIM, and Surface Connect are available for connecting accessories. Like the Pro 7 and Laptop 3, the Pro X can power dual 4K displays at a 60Hz refresh rate using one USB-C port.
The lightest and thinnest Pro available
This ARM-powered Pro brings LTE connectivity, beautiful display, and excellent battery life, all in a thin and light chassis.
ARM-powered PCs have been coming into their own over the last few years, and Lenovo has gone a step further with the Flex 5G offering — you guessed it — built-in 5G connectivity. While coverage is still in its infancy, those living near a 5G area will be able to reap the benefits of fast wireless internet. A SIM slot and eSIM capabilities are included.
It's powered by a Snapdragon 8cx CPU, it has 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM, and it has 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage for fast read and middling write speeds. ARM does indeed have some limitations, but the laptop will handle most common apps, whether emulated or not. You should see around 12 hours of battery life even when using the laptop all day connected to 4G LTE, and with screen brightness cranked up.
The display is a beauty, with precise color and around 400 nits brightness. The display is quite glossy, but unless you're working outdoors, it shouldn't be too much of an issue. The display can rotate around thanks to the convertible design, and it supports an active pen for Windows Ink. If you need to stay connected everywhere and want to experience 5G in a laptop, this should be an attractive choice.
5G on your PC
This convertible laptop includes built-in 5G connectivity, allowing you to stay connected with incredibly fast internet speeds.
There's basically a Windows laptop for every kind of user, including the one that wants to save money, spend a lot, or look forward to experimental form factors. Want to have a laptop to use just for work? There's a model for you. Does your work involve intensive tasks like photo or video editing? There's one for you, too. With all this in mind, the HP Spectre x360 13 edges out the XPS 13 9300 and Surface Laptop 3 13.5 due to insane value and an overall high-class build that should appeal to most people.
You get strong performance from 10th Gen Intel hardware, and the 60Wh battery easily lasts through a full workday, so you don't have to worry about plugging in. It now has a Precision touch, fixing one of the main problems, and the overall footprint is smaller due to the display bezel being shrunk down by 66%. Choose from FHD touch for best battery life, or go with 4K AMOLED for a gorgeous picture.
Considering it starts at about $1,050, you're getting a whole lot of laptop for a price that most other manufacturers can't touch. But if it's not quite right for you, there are plenty of other options available in this roundup of the very best Windows laptops.
Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, and accessory coverage, as well as the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
Daniel Rubino is the executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.