The world of notebooks is constantly changing. New CPUs and GPUs have created slimmer, lighter, faster devices than ever, focusing on a variety of audiences – from casual to even those who prefer to play. And the breakthroughs keep coming: during Computex 2019 in Taipei, we first glimpsed a 10nm CPU and 10th generation of Intel processors, and just got our first 10th generation benchmarks when they are officially released to the masses. It coexists with the 9th generation of Core chipsets and GeForce GTX 1650 and 1660 Ti graphics.
With Black Friday almost there, nothing better than searching for the best notebooks – and maybe you can change your machine if it's outdated. Below are the models that our readers rate best so you can decide which one best fits your needs. For convenience, we have separated the models into some categories.
But first, these are our quick recommendations:
Best light and thin notebook
Official: You can have performance and lightness on the same laptop, and the new Dell XPS 13 7390 is here to prove it. With its six-core Intel Core i7-10710U CPU, the machine outperformed the larger models in its class. And before you worry too much: the XPS 13 7390 and its Comet Lake-U CPU are not superior to a current workstation with, for example, a Core i7- 9750H. But it is the first ultra-portable laptop that outperforms 7th generation “H” class CPUs on heavier laptops, including its cousins XPS 15 CPUs.
In the US, the device costs $ 1,620. Read our full review.
Best notebook for under $ 500
If you are looking for a cheap quad-core notebook less than a quarter inch thick, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ may be the ideal model. This slim laptop has more than enough power for everyday computing tasks, and its respectable quad-core performance, if not inspiring. An almost all-day fingerprint reader and battery are attractive features for those concerned about productivity.
In the US, the device costs $ 529.99. Read our full review.
Best 14/15 inch notebook
Work-focused laptops need to have sufficient CPU performance and display properties to keep you productive, along with good battery life and portability for long days on the road. The Dell XPS 15 9570 defines this concept: Thin but feature-packed, lightweight, and its 6-core Core i7 keep up with you all day. Same with the 97 Wh battery, which lasted 14 hours in our tests. The much-lauded XPS design hasn't really changed much from previous generations – why mess with near perfection? – but a highlight the fingerprint reader.
In the US, the device costs $ 1,666.69. Read our full review.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme comes in second place compared to the XPS 15 9570. It includes a six-core Core i7-8850H GPU, a six-core GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q GPU and a 15.6-inch 4K display with – all weighing just over a pound, lighter than a similarly configured XPS 15 9570. This is amazing. Unfortunately, because a little slower than Dell's XPS 9570 is more expensive than comparable laptops, it loses first place.
In the US, the device costs between $ 1,395 and $ 3,727, depending on the configuration. Read our full review.
Best convertible notebook
Call the Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 a triple threat. It offers incredible performance in an extremely small (and also convertible) package. It is also one of the first notebooks equipped with Intel's new 10th generation Ice Lake Core i7-1065G7, based on new 10 nm process technology. The XPS 13 2-in-1 also has some features that will probably draw users' attention.
In the US, the device costs $ 1,650. Read our full review.
Best low cost convertible notebook
For years, Asus has offered great value in its notebooks, and the ZenBook Flip is a strong example of its affordable, high performance offerings. For $ 700, you get a fully convertible notebook that can handle daily tasks with ease. In fact, its prices and specifications are pretty much identical to our favorite budget ultrabook, the Asus UX305 (now discontinued). Inside you have a Core m3-6Y30, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD, and outside there is a 1,920 x 1,080 IPS screen with anti-glare finish.
However, despite the modest CPU, the Asus ZenBook Flip is quite powerful. In our benchmarks, it really outperformed the faster (and newer) Core m5 and m7 processors on rival machines during short, CPU-intensive tasks. Your storage unit is also not negligent. This laptop is also thin and light. It measures 0.54 inches thick, which keeps it in line with the most expensive ultraportables. You are not burdened with heavier dimensions or extra weight in exchange for a lower price.
However, there are some controversial points: there is no backlight on the keyboard and the trackpad is a bit elastic. Still, a good deal in a price range that is usually dominated by thicker, ugly and plastic handsets.
Best 2 in 1 notebook / tablet / hybrid
This category originally started as the best “Surface” category because, for a while, there was nothing like Microsoft's 2 in 1 / tablet / hybrid device. The device that comes closest to Surface in the most manufactured by Microsoft. Instead, our choice for our top 2 in 1 / tablet / hybrid is the Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 520 (which currently about $ 876 on Amazon). Almost affordable, the Miix 520 impressed us because of its 8th generation Core i5 CPU. Yes: This is a real quad-core CPU on a Surface-like device. Take this, iPad Pro.
If you're nose-wringing on the Miix 520 because it's “Core” only, be aware that in multithreaded CPU-linked testing, you're looking at a 36% performance increase over a high-end Core i7 Surface Pro. Yes, if you thought there was no way to perform heavy CPU tasks on a Surface clone, you can.
In the US, the device costs $ 999. Read our full review.
Best gamer notebook
The MSI GS75 Stealth defies the old adage that a gamer notebook can have high performance, a 17 inch screen and light weight – but you can choose just two of these three features. Of course the GS75 is hardly 'light'. But along with the 17.3-inch display, it includes a 6-generation, 8-core CPU and NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics.
The MSI GS75 is one of the first laptops to debut with NVIDIA RTX graphics, announced in January this year at CES. As you will see from our benchmarks, the MSI GS75 is a relatively lightweight device with a heavy weight. Early signs seem to point to a lighter and faster future for mobile PC gaming.
In the US, the device costs $ 2,999. Read our full review.
Best low cost gamer notebook
Yes, you can buy a gaming notebook for under $ 1,000, but we think the Acer Predator Helios is worth stretching to a cool value. We actually tested several iterations of this laptop, including our latest review of the bestselling Predator Helios 300. Our main reason for convincing you from an extra $ 150? Faster graphics. Currently, in most PC games, the number one priority is still the video card. The Predator Helios 300 GeForce GTX 1060 is a big improvement over notebooks with GeForce GTX 1050 GPUs. Add faster updates and a 144Hz panel for smoother gaming and you'll have an economical gaming laptop that balances power and accessibility surprisingly well. .
In the US, the device costs $ 940.98. Read our full review.
The Dell G3 15 delivers solid performance in a package less than an inch thick. The 3579 model we tested is also very affordable.
The G3 15 has its drawbacks, including a Full HD screen that's not as bright as we'd like, frame rates that struggle to reach 60 fps in first-rate games and a weight of over five pounds (though it's not as soft as some notebooks for games). But when we compare it to the Acer Nitro 5, another budget laptop we like, with an even lower price tag, there was no dispute. The G3 15 recorded stronger benchmarks and battery life. In particular, its GTX 1050 Ti graphics showed the limitations of the Nitro 5 GTX 1050. Nothing wrong with Nitro 5, but if you can afford the G3 15 we reviewed, it's the best choice.
In the US, the device costs $ 1,599.99. Read our full review.
Best portable gamer notebook
Just a few years ago, a gaming notebook was synonymous with a device as large as a home and heavier than an engine block. Gaming laptops these days are truly powerful but at the same time portable machines. Take, for example, our best option in this category: the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin.
It has an 8-generation six-core Core i7-8750H and a full power GeForce GTX 1060. The MSI also increases battery capacity to 85 watts / hour for a decent effect. What surprising the weight: 1.8 kg. For a decent battery life six-core GTX 1060 notebook, that's impressive. When you compare it with the 2.04 kg HP Specter x360 15 convertible, we will say it is a real dilemma.
If we needed a touch screen and pen holder, we would go with HP. But if our mission requires CPU and GPU power, or games, we will definitely go with the GS65.
In the US, the device costs $ 1,799. Read our full review.
Razer isn't exaggerating when it calls its Blade 15 "the smallest 15-inch gaming notebook in the world." It's almost as small as the popular Dell XPS 15 workhorse, but it offers exciting gaming performance. The Razer Blade 15 we reviewed features a calibrated 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS 144 Hz display, an 8-core, 6-core 8-generation Intel Core i7-8750H, and 16GB DDR4 / 2677 dual-channel mode NVIDIA-Q GeForce GTX 1070 Max (optional GTX 1060 Max-Q) and a 512 GB Samsung M.2 PCIe SSD
While it is impressive to get the eight generation Core i7-8750H and GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q eight-core performance in a compact chassis, note that it is densely compact and feels heavy for its size. If you can handle the additional weight, the return may be worth it.
In the US, the device costs $ 2.6 thousand. Read our full review.
Best high cost notebook
Even after years of release, it is still very difficult to find a category to fit Microsoft's Surface Book series. I can not classify as laptop, hybrid, tablet, convertible, anyway. If there is a place we can put it, it would be in the "stupidly quick" category.
With Surface Book 2, our best choice for luxury notebook (our test unit costs $ 3,299), Microsoft basically took the original Surface Book, put it in the copier and pressed Enlarge. What you get is a new Surface Book with a 3: 2 aspect ratio 15-inch screen, a four-generation 8-core CPU and a GeForce GTX 1060 GPU.
This is basically enough firepower to run modern games at 1080p + in Very High to Ultra settings. You get it all with the expected futuristic design of Surface Book 2 and what is arguably the most powerful convertible tablet we still don't know what to call.
Is there a catch? Yes, and something you should know: Surface Book 2 has a slight problem with its power. Microsoft packaged a slightly undersized power block for the amount of hardware it compresses. As a result, under heavy GPU and CPU loads, the battery begins to discharge slowly – by up to 15% in our tests. At this point (when set to maximum performance), it holds the line because the GPU has warmed up enough to start accelerating power consumption, basically reaching a balance.
Should Microsoft have included a slightly larger power pack to compensate for it or maybe used a piece of NVIDIA Max-Q? Probably. Is that a breaker? No. An incredible amount of graphic performance on an incredibly portable machine. In fact, there is a good chance that the GTX 1060 here, even with a slightly slower clock speed, will be untouched by the upcoming crop of Kaby Lake G notebooks in graphics performance.
All we know is that if you're looking for a lot of energy in a portable package with some style and class, Surface Book 2 will be hard to beat these days.
In the US, the device costs between $ 1,499 and $ 3,299. Read our full review.
Google's Pixelbook Go is a good Chromebook and that's exactly what the company set out to create. It offers a careful balance of quality features and economic commitments for a reasonable starting price of $ 649. It's much better than the typical skeleton model. If you are committed to the Chromebook universe, it is a laptop worth buying.
Read our full review.
Best Cheap Chromebook
Most Chromebooks are budget models, but the Asus Chromebook Flip (C101PA-DB2) has an extra flair: it can rotate back and take the shape of a 10.1-inch tablet. Now that Chromebooks can also run Android apps, Flip is a versatile and affordable machine.
The Chromebook Flip equipped with the new OP1, an unnamed processor, manufactured by Rockhip, with the help of Google, that solve everything you need. Note that the Flip is a bit small for daytime productivity with adult-sized fingers, although it is good for children's hands.
In the US, the device costs $ 300. Read our full review.
Apple laptops may not change the game or be cheap, but they don't have to. Paying more for the same kind of hardware found on a Dell, HP, or Asus laptop is the subscription fee for accessing macOS and integrating it with iOS devices.
Of the options available, we believe the $ 1,499 13-inch MacBook Pro (available from Apple) offers the best balance of value and performance. Although the MacBook Air (model 2018) is more affordable, this MacBook Pro features faster hardware and a higher resolution screen. It also has a much better keyboard than the smaller, lighter 12-inch MacBook.
This particular model offers an Intel Core i5 7G processor, 2.3GHz, 8 GB memory, 256 GB flash storage, Iris 540 integrated graphics, a 2,560 x 1,600 screen and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. If you want the new Touch Apple Bar as a feature, will need to upgrade to the $ 1,799 model, which also offers a faster 8-generation 2.3 GHz quad-core Core i5 processor, a Touch ID biometric sensor and two additional Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Note: The $ 1,799 version replaces one dual-core model with another with a four-core CPU. The new handset probably offers a performance boost with multi-core applications, but we couldn't get one to test. That said, there is probably still a good exchange value with the $ 1,499 notebook.
The main disadvantage of MacBook Pro is that its ports are all USB Type-C connections. Although they all support the Thunderbolt 3 specifications and can therefore be used for DisplayPort output, charging and data transfer, this means that you will need to purchase adapters or a dock to use USB-A devices and wired LAN connections.
Read our full review.