The Best Laptops

Smartphones and tablets may have taken over much of people’s screen time, but there’s still a need for a real computer sometimes—and for most people, that means a laptop. For school and office work and tasks like creating spreadsheets and editing video, there’s no good substitute for a decent keyboard and a big screen. But exactly which laptop you should get depends on how often you’ll use it, what you’ll use it for, and (of course) how much money you can afford to spend on it.

We regularly test the most promising laptops, from sleek ultrabooks to cheap Chromebooks to massive gaming laptops and beyond. Here are the best models you can buy in every category, along with advice on how to choose which type of laptop is right for you.


The Research

Mac or Windows (or something else)?

For most people: The best ultrabook

The best Mac laptop

The best cheap ultrabook

The best Chromebook

The best budget Windows laptop

The best Windows laptop for photo and video editing

The best budget gaming laptop

The best business laptop

The best 2-in-1 laptop

Footnotes

Frequently asked questions

Mac or Windows (or something else)?

Many people already know whether they want a MacBook or a Windows laptop: If you’re already familiar with macOS or Windows, the easiest choice is to buy a computer that runs that operating system. That said, macOS and Windows have never been more similar, and most popular apps work just as well on either platform (or at least have alternatives that work similarly). If you’re interested in switching, it isn’t as big a deal as it used to be.1

If you’re not tied to a platform, the biggest factor is how easy it is to get support. Do most of your family and friends use Macs? Do you have an Apple Store nearby? Do your most tech-savvy friends use Windows? If you’re a student, does your school have a help desk? Will your company’s IT department provide support for your home computer? If you’re not a self-sufficient techie and want the best service for your computer, buy a Mac, because you can take it to any Apple Store to get it fixed. No other computer maker provides that level of support. (If you are self-sufficient, go with what you like.)

Alternatively, since more tasks can be accomplished in a browser, without your downloading and installing any apps, you might not even need a traditional operating system—a Chromebook may be all you need.


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HP EliteBook 840 G7

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