- Best laptop 2020: the 14 best laptops you can buy this year
Our selection of top brands to help you find the best laptop for your needs.
you’re after the best laptops of 2020, then you’ve come to the right place, as in this guide we’ve ranked the very best laptops you can buy right now.
With 2019 almost over, and the holidays beginning, retailers are cutting the prices of many of the best laptops you’ll find in this list. If you’re after a new laptop to treat a loved one to at Christmas (or you want to treat yourself), then this guide will help you pick the best laptop to suit your needs and budget.
In this list we have the best premium laptops, budget laptops, gaming laptops and Chromebooks as well. Basically, if you’re after a brilliant laptop, we have you covered.
At the moment, our pick for the best laptop in the world is the Dell XPS 13. The Dell XPS 13 has been at the top (or very close) of our best laptops list for years now, with each new model improving on the last.
This year’s version is no different, bringing improvements to the design and performance to the 13-inch Ultrabook, and that’s why it’s once again our pick for the best laptop in 2020. But whatever you need, read on – as we have the best laptop for you.
Best laptops 2020 at a glance:
- Best laptop for pure value: Huawei MateBook 13
- Best 2-in-1 laptop: HP Spectre x360 (2020)
- Best Apple laptop: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2020)
- Best gaming laptop: Alienware Area-51m
- Best Chromebook: Google Pixelbook Go
- Best laptop by Microsoft: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
- Best laptop for productivity: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
- Best budget gaming laptop: Dell G5 15 5590
- Best affordable Chromebook: Asus Chromebook Flip
- Best mid-range laptop: Asus VivoBook S15
- Best affordable laptop: Acer Switch 3
- Best cheap MacBook: Apple MacBook 12-inch (2017)
- Best looking laptop: HP Spectre Folio
- Best premium 2-in-1 laptop: Lenovo Yoga C930
The best laptops 2020:
1. Dell XPS 13
The best laptop overall
CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 4k (3840 x 2160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
The Dell XPS 13 has been a regular of our best laptops list for years, and the 2019 model is no exception. It retains everything we’ve come to love from Dell’s flagship 13-incher, from the gorgeous and light design, to the powerful modern components that power it. The Dell XPS 13 rocks an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and a bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display, this Dell XPS 13 continues to be the most popular Windows laptop in the world.
What’s more, there’s a wide range of customization options, so you can really make the Dell XPS 13 the best laptop for your needs. The 2019 model doesn’t bring a huge amount of improvements, but then not that much about the Dell XPS 13 needs improving. Its webcam has been placed at the top center of the screen, rather than at the bottom, which a lot of customers have been asking for. You also get a longer battery life in this year’s model.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
2. Huawei MateBook 13
The best value laptop
CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 , Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13-inch 1440p (2,160 x 1,440) | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
Huawei has done it again, and its latest laptop is one of our picks for the best laptop of 2019. As with last year’s Huawei MateBook X Pro, the MateBook 13 comes with some of the latest components, including a discrete Nvidia MX150 graphics card, and a gorgeous lightweight design, that you’d expect to find on a much more expensive laptop.
The fact that the MateBook 13 offer so much, yet comes with an impressively low price – compared to its Ultrabook competitors, makes it our choice for the best value laptop. Sure, you may be missing a few minor niceties here and there to achieve such a competitive price, but on the whole, this is the most value-packed flagship laptop that we’ve ever tested.
If you’re after a few more bells and whistles, like super-fast Thunderbolt 3 ports and a 4K display, then the Dell XPS 13 or MacBook Pro (also on this list of best laptops) may be better choices. Recently, the US government blacklisted Huawei, which many feared would have implications on whether the Chinese company’s laptops would still get support from the like of Microsoft and Intel.
The good news is that both Microsoft and Intel have confirmed that they will continue to support Huawei laptops, which means the MateBook 13 and other models will still get important Windows 10 updates.
Read the full review: Huawei MateBook 13
3. HP Spectre x360 (2020)
The best 2-in-1 laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch full HD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) touchscreen | Storage: 256GB – 2TB PCIe SSD
The HP Spectre line of Ultrabooks and 2-in-1 laptops has always consisted of extraordinarily attractive devices. So, when we say that the 2019 Spectre x360 takes things to another level, that should mean something.
This is one of the most beautiful laptops on the market right now, with its gem-cut design and sleek profile. Couple that with the powerful Intel Whiskey Lake processors and long battery life, and you get one of the best laptops on the market right now. Its ability to flip into a Windows tablet is just icing on the cake.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 (2020)
4. MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
The best Apple laptop
CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M – Radeon Pro 5500M | RAM: 16GB – 64GB | Screen: 16-inch Retina display with True Tone | Storage: 512GB – 8TB SSD
While we are sad that the 15-inch MacBook Pro is no more, we’ve welcomed the MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2020) with open arms. As thin, light and sleek as ever, you wouldn’t think this was a 16-inch behemoth. Yet, you’re getting that extra real estate on that stunning display, as well as the latest and greatest components behind it. This is, without a doubt, the best MacBook for content creators, designers and other creative professionals. With amazing (and loud) speakers and a much, much better keyboard to boot.
Read the full review: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2020)
5. Alienware Area-51m
The best gaming laptop of 2019
CPU: Intel Core i7-9700 – i9-9900K | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 – 2080 | RAM: 16GB – 64GB | Screen: 17.3″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 60Hz Anti-Glare IPS – 144Hz IPS NVIDIA G-SYNC | Storage: 1TB SSHD – 2TB RAID0 SSDs + 1TB SSHD
The Alienware Area-51m is our pick for the best gaming laptop of 2020, so naturally, it also deserves a place in our list of the best laptops money can buy. With an eye catching design and brilliant build quality, which we’ve come to expect from Dell’s Alienware brand, this is an incredible performer, offering a choice of some of the very best gaming components on the market right now, including a choice of 9th generation Intel Core processors, and Nvidia’s latest RTX range of GPUs.
Sure, it’s pretty expensive, but if you’re serious about getting the best gaming laptop money can buy in 2020, then you’ll need to expect to splash out a little bit, and the Alienware Area-51m really is worth every penny. However, if this is out of your budget, check out the much more affordable Dell G5 15 5590 later on in this list.
Read the full review: Alienware Area-51m
6. Google Pixelbook Go
The best Chromebook ever made
CPU: Intel Core m3 – Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) or 4K LCD touchscreen | Storage: 128GB – 256GB eMMC
Google’s new Pixelbook Go is the best Chromebook money can buy right now, with the company showing everyone else how it’s done. Its previous Chromebook, the Pixelbook, was a brilliant Chromebook in its own way, but it cost a small fortune.
The Pixelbook Go, on the other hand, is a more affordable Chromebook that retains a lot of its predecessor’s premium features, while bringing some brilliant upgrades as well, including an astounding battery life and fantastic keyboard.
It features some impressive specs for a Chromebook, which ensures that Chrome OS positively flies on this device, and puts its performance on par with many of the more expensive Windows laptops and MacBooks that grace the rest of this best laptops list. If you’re looking for the ultimate Chromebook, or just one of the best laptops released in 2020, then the Pixelbook Go is the one to get.
Read the full review: Google Pixelbook Go
7. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
The best laptop by Microsoft
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 / AMD Ryzen 5 / AMD Ryzen 7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics / AMD Radeon Vega 9 / AMD Radeon RX Vega 11 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch PixelSense (2,256 x 1,504) / 15-inch PixelSense (2,496 x 1,664) | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD
With the third version of the Surface Laptop 3, Microsoft has made its best laptop yet. While it’s not a huge leap over its predecessor, the Surface Laptop 3 does improve on almost every aspect.
Best of all, with the 15-inch version you now get a choice of either Intel or AMD hardware. Previously, only Intel tech was included. Elsewhere, the Surface Laptop 3 continues the Surface Laptop’s reputation for being a stunningly designed laptop.
These are some of the most desirable laptops in the world that don’t have a logo of an apple on them, with a new aluminum body that gives it a premium feel, while protecting it from knocks and drops. There are still a few niggles, like the continued lack of ports, but in general this is one of the best laptops in the world right now.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface
The best laptop for productivity
CPU: Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics with 4GB HMB2 Graphics Memory | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB PCIe
Last year’s Dell XPS 15 was already one of the best laptops you could buy, but now Dell has taken the beautiful redesign of the Dell XPS 13 and applied it here – while also making it a convertible.
Well, it’s amazing. Not only do you get one of the most aesthetically pleasing 15-inch laptops on the market, but it also packs one of those new Intel Kaby Lake G-series CPUs featuring ‘discrete-class’ Radeon graphics. This means that this laptop packs serious power – even if it can get a little loud.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
9. Dell G5 15 5590
The best budget gaming laptop
CPU: up to 9th generation Intel Core i7-9750H | Graphics: up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 with Max-Q | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS 300-nits – 15.6 inch FHD(1920 x 1080) 300nits IPS Anti-Glare LED with 144Hz refresh rate | Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD – 1TB SSD
While the Alienware Area-51m (featured earlier in this best laptops list) is the best gaming laptop for people with a lot of money to spare, if you’re on a tighter budget, then the Dell G5 15 5590 gaming laptop is a fantastic choice.
Dell’s 15-inch G5 doesn’t have the highest specs, but it will see you through 1080p gaming and last you up to 10 hours of battery life as well – which is pretty remarkable for a gaming laptop.
It also features a stylish design and great build quality, and Dell also allows you to configure the Dell G5 15 5590 to better suit your budget and needs.
Read the full review: Dell 5 15 5590
10. Asus Chromebook Flip
The best affordable Chromebook
CPU: Intel Pentium 4405Y – Intel Core m3-6Y30 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED backlit anti-glare | Storage: 32GB – 64GB eMMC
When it comes to the best Chromebook laptop, you have a choice between two stark alternatives. There’s the more expensive Chromebook Pixel Go (featured earlier in this list), and then there’s the excellent Asus Chromebook Flip C302, which combines premium features in a much more affordable package.
For many people, Chromebooks are affordable laptops that are perfect for students, and the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 is easily one of the best Chromebooks, and one of the best laptops, money can buy.
It comes with an Intel Core processor, full 1080p display, touchscreen, backlit keyboard and USB-C port.
Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip
The Asus VivoBook S15 is the best mid-range laptop
11. Asus VivoBook S15
The best mid-range laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch full HD (1920 x 1080) | Storage: 512GB SSD
The new Asus VivoBook S15 hasn’t been out for long, and it’s made its way straight into our best laptops list. This is because it combines a thin and light design with great performance and an excellent price.
If you’re looking for a mid-range laptop that doesn’t cost too much, but still performs brilliantly, then this is the best laptop for you.
Thanks to its powerful Intel processor, 8GB of RAM and fast SSD storage, this is a laptop that can handle almost any task with ease – though gaming is out of the question. Its 15.6-inch screen is bright and vibrant, and it has loads of ports that makes it easy to hook up your favorite peripherals.
However, it doesn’t have the longest battery life for a laptop, and the ScreenPad, which replaces the traditional touchpad below the keyboard with a touchscreen, takes a bit of getting used to.
Read the full review: Asus VivoBook S15
12. Acer Switch 3
The best affordable laptop
CPU: 1.10GHz Intel Pentium Quad Core N4200 – Intel Core i3 7100U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.2-inch, 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD touchscreen | Storage: 64GB – 128GB eMMC
If you want the Microsoft Surface Book 2 but you want to spend a lot less, the Acer Switch 3 2017 is definitely the your best option.
If you’re looking for one of the best Acer laptops, this one’s designed around essentially the same concept as the Surface Book 2 and it’s a less capable thanks to slightly lower power innards, but for most tasks it’s a brilliant little machine.
What’s more, to add further value this 2-in-1 laptop/tablet comes with the keyboard upgrade which means no little extras to pay for. As usual it comes in several different versions, with USB Type-C, 8GB RAM, an IPS display and Intel Core i3 7100U CPU coming with the more expensive option.
Read the full review: Acer Switch 3
13. Apple MacBook 12-inch (2020)
The best cheap MacBook
CPU: Intel Core M3 1.2GHz – Intel Core i7 1.4GHz | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12-inch, (2,304 x 1,440) IPS 16:10 | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
The MacBook is another win for Apple, and it’s once again won us over with a gorgeous design, excellent performance and best-in-class battery life.
Apple has updated the processors with Intel’s 7th-generation Kaby Lake range, which means you get improved performance and longer battery life without sacrificing the thin and light design that the MacBook is famous for.
While the MacBook 2017 is not designed as a pure productivity machine, like the more powerful and versatile MacBook Pro above, or as a gaming machine, it’s still one of the best laptops in the world right now thanks to being a super slim and light MacBook that you can take anywhere without even noticing the weight.
Read the full review: Apple MacBook
14. HP Spectre Folio
The best looking laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5-8200Y – Intel Core i7-8500Y | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 256GB SSD
- Stunning design
When HP unveiled the HP Spectre Folio, it made some big claims about how the 2-in-1 laptop would reinvent the PC. While it doesn’t quite match the hype, what we do have is one of the most beautifully-designed laptops we’ve ever tried.
Billed as “modern vintage meets technology”, the HP Spectre Folio is built directly into a piece of genuine leather. That’s not a fancy cover, it’s a part of the laptop. It’s not just looks that has put it on this list of the best laptops of 2019, the HP Spectre Folio is also a brilliant performer as well, with modern components powering the device.
It is very expensive, though, so if you’re on a budget, check out the more affordable 2-in-1 Acer Switch 3. But, if you want the best laptop for making a statement as soon as you pull it out of the bag, then the HP Spectre Folio is the one to get.
Read the full review: HP Spectre Folio
What should you look for when buying a new laptop?
There are certain things you can look out for when buying a new laptop that can ensure you get the best laptop for your money.
Make sure you take a look at the specifications of a laptop before buying. This is a good way of quickly seeing how powerful a laptop is, and what it is capable of – as long as you know what you’re looking for.
First of all is the processor. This is essentially the brain of the laptop, and a laptop will usually have a processor (also known as a CPU) made by either Intel or AMD. Intel is by far the most popular CPU maker for laptops, though we’re seeing an increasing number of AMD-powered laptops as well.
As a general rule of thumb, Intel processors offer better performance, but AMD processors are better value.
To make things more simple, both Intel and AMD have numbered their processors to give you a rough idea of what sort of tasks a laptop with that processor can perform.
If you’re after a budget laptop for simple tasks like browsing the web or watching Netflix, then a laptop with an Intel Pentium, Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3, processor will do that job without making the laptop too expensive.
If you’re after something with a bit more oomph – perhaps to do more complex task like editing your home videos or playing games – then go for a laptop with an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor as a minimum.
The best laptops for media creation, and more complex tasks, come with an Intel Core i7 or Core i9 processor, or an AMD Ryzen 7 processor. Laptops with these processors in them are top-of-the-range laptops that will provide brilliant performance no matter what you want to do – but be warned that they are often found in the most expensive laptops.
Finally, keep an eye on how new the processor is. Intel handily gives its processors generations, so the higher the generation, the newer it is. The latest generation is the 10th generation, though 9th generation Intel Core processors are also pretty recent.
A newer processor performs better and is more power efficient – so battery life will last longer. They are more expensive, though.
RAM (Random Access Memory) is another important specification to look for in a laptop. You’ll want 4GB at the very least for a Windows laptop – though we’d actually recommend for many people to go for 8GB. That will ensure that the laptop runs well for years to come.
When it comes to graphics, you don’t need to worry too much, as laptop processors come with built-in (integrated) graphics. However, if you want to play PC games on your laptop, then you’ll want a gaming laptop with a discrete GPU – either from Nvidia or AMD.
Battery life considerations
Finally there’s battery life. This is likely to be one of the most important considerations you have when choosing what laptop to buy. The best laptops need to be able to let you work – and play – for hours on end without you having to scramble for a power adapter. Modern laptops are getting ever more power-efficient, which has led to longer battery lives. For a laptop to be included in our best laptops list, it needs to offer a battery life of five hours or more.
Bear in mind that the battery life that the laptop makers claim their device has could be quite different to what you actually experience. This is because many laptop makers test their batteries in very controlled environments, with the laptop used in ways that you might not necessarily use. So, while a laptop might have a claimed battery life of 10 hours, you may find that when using it for certain tasks – like streaming high definition content – your battery life could run out faster.
That’s where our in-depth reviews come in, as we run a series of tests on each laptop in this best laptops guide to see how long the battery life lasts under certain conditions. If a laptop’s battery is ridiculously short (or impressively long) we’ll tell you.
Which type of laptop is best for you?
General laptops: Where the best cheap laptops are found, devices that focus more on practicality than style, portability or power. That’s not to say they can’t be fast, but you’ll typically find a non-Ultrabook clamshell laptop with an HD screen and spinning drive-based storage for less than $600 or £400.
Ultrabooks: Where you’ll find thin-and-light notebooks sporting SSD storage and display resolutions that exceed 1080p. Paired with powerful, albeit mobile-centric components and especially long battery life, the best Ultrabooks will cost a pretty penny – $700 or £500 to $2,000 or £1,800.
2-in-1 laptops: Where notebooks that double as tablets are located. The Surface Book 2 might be a ways off, but many of the best 2-in-1 laptops are available right now. Outfitted with both detachable and 360-degree rotating hinges, these hybrids are the most versatile way to experience Windows 10 (or Chrome OS) on a touchscreen.
Chromebooks: Where you’ll find the best Chromebooks running Chrome OS. These do much of what Windows and macOS can in the browser, focused on cloud storage over local, while recently getting Android app support for touchscreen models. They generally cost less than $300 or £200 and some can even withstand a slight tussle.
Gaming laptops: Need a laptop to play games (almost) just like a shiny desktop PC can? Then you’ll want one of the best gaming laptops. These machines generally cost from $800 or £600 to upwards of $3,000 or £2,800 and they’ll likely be the ones to take advantage of AMD’s laptop-grade Ryzen processors first.
Laptop-tablet hybrids: Designed from the tablet-first approach to laptop-tablet hybrids, the best Windows tablets pack beyond-HD touchscreens, sometimes with kickstands in their frames or provided via keyboard covers. These generally shine with a stylus, and range from the budget to the premium price ranges.