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The latest Mac lineup of laptops, powered by Apple silicon, takes performance, power efficiency, battery life, and capabilities to new heights. MacBook Air provides power and portability with its thin and light design, incredible performance, Retina display, and up to 18 hours of battery life. For more demanding workflows, MacBook Pro delivers even more breakthrough performance, graphics and machine learning capabilities, along with a Liquid Retina XDR display, 1080p camera and advanced audio and connectivity.
best buy best laptops
At CNET, our laptop experts have collective decades of experience testing and reviewing laptops, covering everything from performance to price to battery life. This hand-curated list covers the best laptops across various sizes, styles and costs, including laptop computers running on Windows, MacOS and Chrome.
If you want more laptop brands and options for a particular category, we also have specialized lists you can look at, including the best gaming laptops, best 15-inch laptops, best two-in-ones and best Chromebooks, as well as the best laptops for college students, designers and the best MacBook Pro alternatives. If you need to stay as low as possible on the price of a new laptop computer, check out our best budget laptop and best budget gaming laptop picks.
This best laptop list is updated periodically with new models we've tested and reviewed. If you need advice on whether a particular type of laptop or two-in-one is right for you, jump to our laptop FAQ at the bottom of the list, and if you're looking to save some money on your purchase, be sure to check out our best laptop deals page.
Thanks to a new design, a larger display (13.6 inches versus the previous 13.3 inches), a faster M2 chip and a long-awaited upgrade to a higher-res webcam, the 2022 version of the MacBook Air remains our top choice for the most universally useful laptop in Apple's lineup, with one caveat. At $1,199, the $200 increase over the traditional $999 MacBook Air starting price is a disappointment. That's why you'll still find the M1 version of the Air retains a spot on our best laptop list. Still, we like everything else about it and it's our first choice if you're considering an Air and don't mind spending more.
Acer had one of the best Chromebooks available in 2021 with the Spin 713, and now it's repeated that success with the Chromebook Spin 714. The premium two-in-one doesn't stray far from its predecessor in terms of what it offers, but Acer did make some changes to keep it competitive, like including a USI pen that stores and charges in the 714's body. There are less expensive options, but if you want a Chromebook that'll last for years, this is it. Keep an eye out for a sale on this one: Its normal price is $729, but is frequently on sale for less if you shop at the right time.
There's a lot to love with the Razer Blade 14, which incorporates one of the fastest mobile CPUs available (for now, at least), the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX, and top-end mobile graphics with the GeForce RTX 3070 or 3080. Its display can go pixel-to-pixel with the MacBook's. And its high-quality build is up there with the best MacBooks but, like an Apple, it's not necessarily the best laptop deal, even compared to other premium laptops.
Samsung's big-screen two-in-one doesn't look all too different from its predecessor, but inside is a 12th-gen Intel processor that gives it a sizable multicore performance bump. Plus, the other, smaller updates Samsung made to the Pro 360 improve the overall user experience, making it one of the best two-in-ones available. At least until we get a chance to test and review the Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360.
The XPS 17 combines the same slim, premium design of its 13-inch linemate but with increased performance possibilities. It can be configured with up to a 12th-gen Intel Core i9 processor, 64GB of memory and a 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics chip. The best part: Dell trimmed up the chassis so much that you get a 17-inch display in a body that's the size of an older 15-inch laptop. You're getting a lot of power and a big screen in the smallest possible package.
Setting a budget is a good place to start when shopping for the best laptop for yourself. The good news is you can get a nice-looking, lightweight laptop with excellent battery life at prices under $500. If you're shopping for a laptop around $500 or less, check out our top picks here, as well as more specific buying advice for that price range.
Higher-end components like Intel Core i-series and AMD Ryzen processors and premium design touches like thin-display bezels and aluminum or magnesium bodies have made their way to laptops priced between $500 and $1,000. You can also find touchscreens and two-in-one designs that can be used as a tablet or a laptop -- and a couple other positions in between. In this price range, you'll also find faster memory and ssd storage -- and more of it -- to improve performance.
Above $1,000 is where you'll find premium laptops and two-in-ones. If you're looking for the fastest performance, the best battery life, the slimmest, lightest designs and top-notch display quality with an adequate screen size, expect to spend at least $1,000.
But, again, that great hardware comes at a price. Also, you're limited to just Apple laptops. With Windows and Chromebooks (more on these below), you get an amazing variety of devices at a wide range of prices.
MacOS is also considered to be easier and safer to use than Windows, especially for people who want their computers to get out of the way so they can get things done. Over the years, though, Microsoft has done its best to follow suit and, with Windows 11 here, it's trying to remove any barriers. Also, while Macs might have a reputation for being safer, with the popularity of the iPhone and iPad helping to drive Mac sales, they've become bigger targets for malware.
Yes, they are, but they're not for everyone. Google's Chrome OS has come a long way in the past 10 years and Chromebooks -- laptops that run on Chrome OS -- are great for people who do most of their work in a web browser or using mobile apps. They are secure, simple and, more often than not, a bargain. What they can't do is natively run Windows or Mac software.
The pandemic changed how and where a lot of people work. The small, ultraportable laptops valued by people who regularly traveled may have suddenly become woefully inadequate for working from home. Or maybe instead of needing long battery life, you'd rather have a bigger display with more graphics power for gaming.
For travel, stay with 13- or 14-inch laptops or two-in-ones. They'll be the lightest and smallest while still delivering excellent battery life. What's nice is that PC-makers are moving away from 16:9 widescreens toward 16:10- or 3:2-ratio displays, which gives you more vertical screen space for work without significantly increasing the footprint. These models usually don't have discrete graphics or powerful processors, though that's not always the case.
The review process for laptops, desktops, tablets and other computer-like devices consists of two parts: performance testing under controlled conditions in the CNET Labs and extensive hands-on use by our expert reviewers. This includes evaluating a device's aesthetics, ergonomics and features. A final review verdict is a combination of both those objective and subjective judgments.
The best laptop deals right now offer solid discounts on today's best personal computers. Spring clearance sales continue as retailers purge their inventory to make way for the next generation of laptops.
Earlier this year also saw the release of Apple's M2 Pro and M2 Pro Max-powered MacBook Pro notebooks. Meanwhile, AMD Ryzen 9 and 13th Gen Intel-powered RTX 40 Series gaming laptops (opens in new tab) are now available at select retailers. With spring approaching, we anticipate the arrival of more next-gen configurations. As a result, existing MacOS, Windows, and Chrome OS laptops are seeing deep price cuts. We're currently seeing markdowns on our favorite laptops like the Dell XPS 13, HP Envy 13, and MacBook Air just to name a few.
So If you're on a budget, now is a great time to save on a previous-gen PC. The best laptop deals are at major retailers Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart. B&H Photo as well as Newegg also offer excellent laptop deals. You'll also find direct manufacturer laptop deals at Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Microsoft.
So whether you're on the hunt for the best laptop for college, business laptop or versatile 2-in-1, you don't have to spend a fortune. And if you're on a really tight budget, a refurbished laptop is another money-saving option to consider.
HP Laptop 15: $629 $479 @ Best Buy (opens in new tab)Snag the touch-enabled HP Laptop 15-dy2703dx. It features a 15.6-inch (1366 x 768) touch screen, 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 4-core CPU, 8GB of RAM and Intel Iris Xe graphics. Its 512 GB SSD provides fast and ample file transfers and storage. Powered by Windows 11 Home, it's one of the best laptops for students or anyone else looking for a decent budget PC.
Gateway Ultra Slim 14: $299 @ Walmart (opens in new tab)The Gateway Ultra Slim Notebook is one of the best budget laptops for the money. It packs a 14.1-inch (1920 x 1080) display and runs on a 2.4-GHz Intel Core i3-1115G4 dual-core CPU coupled with 4GB of RAM. Rounding out its specs sheet are Iris Xe graphics, 128GB SSD and THX Audio.
Dell XPS 15 RTX 3050 Laptop: $2,149 $1,499 @ Dell (opens in new tab)Save $650 on the Dell XPS 15 9520 via coupon, "100OFFXPS15" at checkout. It's one of the best laptops for gaming, productivity and creating. The laptop in this deal packs a 15.6-inch (1920 x 1200) 60Hz 500 nit anti-glare display, 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H 14-core CPU, 32GB of RAM and 1TB SSD. Powering graphics is an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU with 4GB of dedicated memory. 041b061a72