The Best Laptop For A Productive Year 2022

Can’t see the forest for the trees anymore? Don’t worry: you can find the 5 best laptops of today here.

Did you know that the first commercially available laptop was produced in 1981? Since then, thousands of laptops have been created by all kinds of brands for all kinds of different purposes. Because there is so much variation within the laptop market, we help you on your way with the top 5 best laptops, including the MacBook Pro, and a buying guide.

This way you can be sure that you are making the best choice. What are you waiting for? Read on to find out what the best laptop is for you! 👇

#1 MacBook Pro 13″ (M1)
The best laptop of 2021

Our score: 9.6

MacBook Pro 13

With Apple’s latest proprietary chip, thin and ever-reliable operating system, you can’t go wrong with this productivity champion. Do you work a lot on your laptop – and with heavy programs? Then this model is your soul mate!

Screen diagonal: 13″
Screen resolution: 2560 x 1600
Operating system: macOS

RAM:  16 GB
CPU: Octa-core M1
Storage: 512 GB

Check price on Coolblue →Check price Bol.com →

#2 HP Pavilion 15
Best Buy Laptop of 2021

Our score: 8.9

 

For a much more accessible price, you get access to one of the most comfortable keyboards on the market. So if you type a lot and your budget is more modest, don’t hesitate to take a look at the Vivobook S15.

Screen diagonal: 15″,
Screen resolution:  1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
Operating system: Windows

RAM:  16 GB
CPU: Quadcore AMD Ryzen 5, max. 3.7 GHz
Storage: 512 GBCheck price on Coolblue →

The 5 Best Laptops at a Glance

  1. Apple MacBook Pro 13″ (M1) – This is the best all-rounder laptop. It is primarily a productivity beast, but even those who like to play light games during their breaks will not be disappointed by this MacBook Pro.
  2. HP Pavilion 15 – If you are looking for a good price-quality ratio, then you will quickly find this model.
  3. HP Specter x360 – More and more laptops today have a touchscreen, but few perform it as well as HP with their Specter x360.
  4. Lenovo Legion 7 – Do you like to game on the go ? Then this beast is for you.
  5. Acer Swift 3 – This accessible laptop has an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, which makes multitasking a breeze for a friendly price.

Flavors Differ: SKUs

Fortunately, that’s why most laptops today offer different  SKUs , or  Stock Keeping Units . These are the series of numbers that you often see behind the model names of the laptops. These are the names for the different configurations of the same laptop model.

As tempting as it was to take a closer look at all the different configurations and compare them with each other, this would make this top 5 unbridgeable. That is why I have chosen one specific SKU for each item. In general, these are the resource options between the different SKUs.

Some of the most important specifications of the relevant SKUs can be found in the mini-tables with the products.

The Best Laptops of 2021


#1 MacBook Pro 13″ (M1)
The best laptop of 2021

Screen diagonal:  13″
Screen resolution:  2560 x 1600
Operating system:  MacOS
RAM:  16 GB
CPU:  Octacore M1
Storage:  512 GB

MacBook Pro 13

Finally, the time has come: Apple’s M1 chip is finally in the first product! At the time of writing, it is not yet in all products, but that will soon change. For now, I will discuss the 13-inch model with the octa-core M1 chip, 512 GB SSD storage and 16 GB RAM.

Make sure you buy exactly what you want with your purchase because changing the RAM or SSD memory afterwards is even more difficult than before. The processor, working memory (RAM) and graphics memory (video card or GPU) are built into the chip.

Chassis and Inputs

Speaking of housing: it hasn’t really changed since 2016. You get two sub-c inputs (each of which can also be used to charge the laptop) and an aux input. I would have preferred four, as with the 16″ models.

For those who appreciate this minimalism, this is absolutely no problem; perhaps for people who are ready for innovation. Regardless, the fact remains that MacBook Pro’s chassis has always been incredibly sturdy.

The keyboard and trackpad

The large trackpad is also still a dream to work with. It is large, precise and accurate, just like the previous models.

MacBook Pro 13

 Since 2020, the keyboard has been just as comfortable as before. The old scissor switches have made a comeback, but have been given a new look. The keyboard, therefore, feels more like the ones used in pre-2016 models. What also helps is that you now get a separate escape key and a separate Touch ID button!

The keys are slightly concave and have a rubber membrane under the switches again as before. The end result? A nice keyboard that is more stable and comfortable and does not make as much noise as the heavily criticized butterfly switches.

The screen

The  Retina display remains astonishingly beautiful, this time with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels, surrounded by a nice, thin bezel. There’s also support for the DCI-P3 colour space – which is critical for video editors – and the True Tone feature, which makes on-screen colours appear more vibrant and realistic.

Unfortunately, the webcam still hasn’t been upgraded. We still have to make do with the pixelated 720p images. Or rather, the one on the other end of your video call has to kill it with these images!

The sound

In short: great ! These small speakers manage to transfer enough bass tones while preserving the mids and highs at the same time. However , if you are looking for a real punch , then you are better off with good wireless headphones .

The performance

The real highlights of the MacBook Pro 13″ can be found inside the chassis. Given the raw power this hardware possesses, this machine is for more than just emailing and watching YouTube videos!

It’s  intended for real productivity tasks such as photo and/or video editing, HD video transcoding or rendering… and it definitely excels at that! That’s not only because of the powerhouse of an ARM SoC, but also because of the screen.https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/xNNTXd85VXo

ARM SoC?

‘ARM’ stands for advanced RISC machines , where ‘ RISC ‘ again stands for  reduced instruction set computing . This is a chip architecture and has a very favorable price-quality ratio , uses little energy and does not heat up as much . We also see these advantages with this MacBook Pro.

‘SoC’ stands for  system on a chip , which means that all or almost all computer components are incorporated into a single chip , rather than spread across the entire motherboard.

While previous models with Intel chips – especially the Core i9 line – could get very hot, this does not happen quickly with this model. The laptop’s heat management is already strong, but the M1 chip itself does n’t naturally get super hot quickly , which is even more important. This way, the entire laptop will last longer!

Furthermore, the  battery life was  also very  impressive ! This lasts more than 13 hours of internet use without having to recharge in between.

Finally, a nice bonus: in addition to MacOS apps, this M1 chip is also compatible with apps for iOS and iPadOS ! This brings the Apple ecosystem one step closer to one large, integrated system.

Check on Bol.com →Check on Coolblue →

What we like:

  • An absolute powerhouse in terms of performance​
  • The screen is top quality​
  • Beautiful design
  • Internal hardware can be easily adjusted upon purchase
  • Trackpad is huge and accurate

What we don’t like:

  • Far from  budget friendly
  • Can still get quite warm during intensive tasks​
  • Replacing hardware yourself after purchase is almost impossible​

#2 HP Pavilion 15
Best Buy Laptop of 2021

Screen diagonal: 15.6″
Screen resolution: 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
Operating system : Windows
RAM : 16 GB
CPU : Quadcore AMD Ryzen 5, max. 3.7 GHz
Storage : 512 GB

HP Pavilion 15

The Pavilion line comes in various configurations. Here I discuss the 15-inch model with a 2.1 GHz (up to 3.7 GHz) AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD storage and the AMD Radeon Vega 8.

Inputs and Classis

The left side of the laptop has an HDMI port, a Gigabit Ethernet port with corresponding LED lighting for displaying the internet status, a USB-C port, the LED for the solid-state drive and a headphone-mic jack. The right side has the memory card reader, a Kensington security lock, two USB-a ports and the charging port with its LED light.

The build quality of the laptop is decent. It looks quite high-quality, but the casing feels a bit flimsy. The keyboard edge and palm rest feel quite firm, but do creak a bit when you lean on them. The top feels a bit thinner, while the base of the laptop is stiffer with a ventilation grille and four rubber feet.

The laptop is 20 mm thick, taking into account the feet. It is slightly chamfered on the sides and chiselled forward, giving it a thinner appearance. It is lighter than spec with an actual weight of 1.7 pounds.

The keyboard and trackpad

There is a little bit of slack in the keyboard towards the centre and it sounds a bit clunky, but it has a decent 1.5mm of travel, and I found typing on the keyboard really comfortable.

The multi-touch trackpad is nice and wide but feels cramped vertically. The surface is also a bit rough compared to some of the high-end trackpads I’ve used. I, therefore, prefer to use this laptop with a mouse, but it is more than sufficient for on the go.

Hp Pavilion 15 And Keyboard Front

The screen

The 1920 x 1080 full HD display has an IPS panel which is one of the highlights of the laptop. The hinge tilts back to 130 degrees and the base of the screen becomes large support for the laptop, causing the keyboard to tilt a bit.

The IPS panel looks sharp and has good viewing angles, but the glossy screen is very reflective, so you may still need to adjust the tilt of the screen to reduce any distracting reflections. Personally, I prefer a matte, anti-glare screen.

This screen only covers 59% of the sRGB colour space. This is a low score, but here too the display is more than adequate for general use. The variation in brightness across the screen was also minimal, allowing it to pass a final uniformity test.

Performance

All in all, the HP Pavilion 15 manages to perform everyday tasks well. Text editing, browsing and media streaming went smoothly. However, switching between the programs was sometimes a bit difficult when Word, PowerPoint and multiple Chrome tabs were open.

Gaming and heavy photo editing are not for this laptop. For that, you need a stronger processor and a more powerful video card.

Finally, the battery can be charged with a fast charger. A 90-minute charging session brought the empty battery to 96%. Battery life is about 9 hours 30 minutes for mixed-use and 8 hours 45 minutes for video playback. HP does not specify exactly how they arrived at these figures. So those numbers seem a bit optimistic to me…Check on Coolblue →

What we like:

  • Good balance between price and quality
  • The keyboard types comfortably
  • Everyday tasks run smoothly 

What we don’t like:

  • The chassis feels a bit fragile
  • The colour reproduction of the screen is a bit disappointing

#3 HP Specter x360
Top laptop with touchscreen

Screen diagonal: 13″
Screen resolution: 4K (UHD)
Operating system: Windows
RAM: 16 GB
CPU: Quadcore Intel Core i7, max. 3.9 GHz
Storage : 1 TB

Hp Specter x360 folded back

In the past, the HP Specter x360 has always been ranked as one of the best 2-in-1 laptops, with powerful hardware behind a sleek, pleasing design. The ‘360’ in the name refers to the hinges with which you can rotate the screen so that this device also serves as a tablet. Very handy, that multifunctionality!

This concerns the configuration with a 4K 13″ screen, an Intel Core i7 chip with a clock speed of 1.3 GHz (can be increased to 3.9 GHz), an Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB RAM and 1 TB SSD. storage.

Inputs and chassis

All that hardware is packed into a very luxurious looking gold-accented chassis. This chassis feels very solid: you won’t see or feel the screen or keyboard bend quickly.

On the sides you will also find a fairly extensive selection of inputs: one full-size USB-a port (3.1); two USB-C ports; one aux connection; one MicroSD port; and a physical switch so you can turn off the webcam. 

The Keyboard

For starters: the touchpad! This one could have been a little more sensitive for me. I am very pleased with the keyboard. The keys offer plenty of freedom of movement for a responsive and satisfying feeling when you press them.

There’s no Numpad, but that allows HP to spread the remaining keys across the entire width of the Specter x360. These are therefore of a good size, which is useful during touch typing.

The Screen and the Sound

As a media player, the laptop offers impressive performance above all thanks to its bright screen and powerful Bang & Olufsen speakers. The HP Specter x360 is therefore also an attractive choice for students and business people. It’s powerful enough to be a productivity beast while also being ideal for entertainment.

It is now also clear that you can fold the screen back completely. You can also use this laptop as a tablet. It may be a bit on the thick side (and also huge in size), but it is very handy.

Hp Specter X360 from behind

The Performance

While all of this doesn’t make the x360 powerful enough for decent gaming, it’s capable of some degree of video and photo editingTo some extent, it’s about shared video memory. This means that part of the available RAM is used instead of using its own memory.

In everyday use, the HP Specter x360 performed well anyway, especially for a 2-in-1. It’s not the most powerful laptop in the world, but you can surf the web, create documents and do light photo editing with ease. However, if you try to achieve more than this, the fans will become audible.

Finally, HP is only too happy to brag about the battery life of this year’s Specter x360. That’s not for nothing, because it lasts for an impressively long time between charges. With the x360, HP has managed to produce a powerful, full-featured Windows 10 laptop with a  battery that lasts a full working day. That’s very impressive!

Check on Bol.com →Check on Coolblue →

What we like:

  • Build quality is excellent, from the chassis to the keyboard
  • Can be used as a tablet with ease
  • Excellent battery life

What we don’t like:

  • It remains a 2-in-1, leading to power compromises​
  • The trackpad could have been a bit more responsive​

#4 Lenovo Legion 7
Best Gaming Laptop

Screen diagonal: 15.6″
Screen resolution : 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
Operating system: Windows
RAM: 32 GB
CPU: Octa-core Intel Core i7, max. 5.1 GHz
Storage : 2 TB

Lenovo Legion 7 Angled Front

It may cost a bit, but you do get a Beast of a gaming laptop for your investment. This SKU has a 15.6″ full HD display, 32 GB RAM, a 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7 (up to 5.1 GHz) and 2 TB of storage. That leaves the video card of course: this model comes with an  Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max Q.

The Keyboard

The keyboard backlight is customizable. You can choose from different RGB settings – or just turn this off if you don’t like having a rainbow under your fingers. The rest of the lighting can also be switched on or off. This way you go from an ultra-visible gaming laptop to a slightly less flashy look.

The keys themselves are comfortable anyway: you have enough travel to create a tactile movement while gaming.

The trackpad is large and responsive enough to be a suitable replacement for a good mouse, although it’s left of centre. This puts you in a rather awkward position if you’re using the WASD keys at the same time, making the purchase of a gaming mouse likely desirable.

Lenovo Legion 7 Keyboard

The screen

A 720P HD camera sits on the top edge of the screen, with a physical slider that blocks the view of the sensor. Malicious people can hack what they want, but they can’t get a slide like that!

The 144 Hz display is also beautiful! Horizon Zero Dawn and Borderlands 3 looked excellent. In fact, I’d say this is one of the best Full HD gaming laptop displays I’ve seen, with bright and punchy colours. It should have had a higher resolution in my opinion.

The Lenovo Legion 7 is of course the best gaming laptop in the first place, but it can also serve as a laptop for professional creatives, with the colour gamut for sRGB and Adobe RGB being 99.8% and 97% respectively. This means that the colours in digital designs and photography are accurately reproduced, while most gaming laptops often see some distortion.

Inputs and Chassis

It’s a fairly sturdy laptop, measuring 20mm thick and weighing 2.1kg, but these numbers are normal for a laptop of this size. It’s easy to pop into your bag and carry with you, although I’d recommend a lighter device for frequent commutes.

Either way, you’ll find a huge range of ports here, all scattered around the right and left edges, as well as the back of the laptop. The ports include USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), USB-A (3.1), HDMI, Ethernet and a headphone jack. A gamer doesn’t need much more, right?

The performance

The cooling system is fine, to begin with. This is very important with gaming laptops because they have to work hard and therefore get hot quickly. Although the fins of the fans are a lot thinner than before, the overall cooling performance is actually better.

There is a special anti-dust tunnel in the system to keep the fans clean. In addition, you can choose from three presets if the automatic settings are not adequate – from “silent” to “turbo”.

At the battery benchmark, the Legion 7 lasted almost exactly 2 hours before needing a recharge, and that was only for everyday use such as office applications and video chats. If you want to game, the battery will last even less long. This laptop is therefore especially suitable as a replacement for a desktop PC that leaves its permanent place at the same time.

Check on Coolable →

What We like:

  • You won’t easily find a video game or program that this laptop can’t handle​
  • Comfortable keyboard with number pad feels very nice
  • The screen quality is top-notch
  • Beautiful design is as striking as you want it to be​

What we don’t like:

  • The price tag of this laptop is significant
  • A better screen resolution would not have been out of place for a gaming laptop like this​
  • The battery life is far from suitable for mobile use

#5 Acer Swift 3
Best laptop for students

Screen diagonal: 14″
Screen resolution:  1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
Operating system: Windows
RAM: 8 GB
CPU: Quadcore AMD Ryzen 5, max. 3.7 GHz
Storage: 256 GB

Acer Swift 3 Rear View

See the ultimate budget beast here. No, it is not the cheapest in the budget class and inflation certainly plays a role in this, but for just under $900 you will not find better.

This particular model has a 13-inch display with a 1920 x 1080p resolution, 8 GB of RAM, an AMD Ryzen 5 CPU clocked at 2.1 GHz – upgradeable to 3.7 GHz – and 256 GB of storage. All in all, this is a very solid basic laptop that you can use in the coming time.

Inputs and Chassis

Let’s start at the beginning: when you open the laptop, you can use both  Windows Hello  (facial recognition) and the fingerprint scanner. So you’ll be on your way to those 10 in no time for your last assignment!

As for ports, Acer has outfitted the Swift 3 with a USB 2.0, a USB 3.0, and a USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) port, along with an HDMI port and a headphone/mic plug. There’s no SD card reader or optical drive, but that’s pretty common for an Ultrabook these days.

The keyboard

It is nice if the keyboard also functions well and works pleasantly. Fortunately, this one does. It may be a little on the tight side, but for a laptop of this size and around this price point, I think this is an adequate keyboard.

In addition, the trackpad is also…okay. This one is also a bit on the small side, but that could also be because I myself was spoiled by the glass trackpad of the MacBook Pro 16″. It falls in a completely different price category. 💸

Acer Swift 3 Keyboard From Above

The Screen

The Swift 3 features a 14-inch  Full HD  (1920 x 1080p) display that isn’t the sharpest on the market but is more than enough for most purposes. Several hours of streaming HD movies looked excellent and clear enough except in the most direct sunlight.

The colour profile of the screen isn’t particularly noticeable, but it feels like it at least meets the standard of a modern 1080p display. The bezels along the sides and top aren’t the thinnest available right now, but they aren’t the thickest either.

The Performance

When it comes to video playback and general usage, there’s little to complain about with the Acer Swift 3. Running the infamous, resource-guzzling Google Chrome with two dozen tabs open was handled smoothly by the Swift 3, even when one of those tabs was playing Udemy’s course and another was keeping an active Slack channel up to date. 

The system only seemed to struggle a bit when running multiple tabs with lots of ads, but the same can be said of most laptops – and that’s more of a societal problem than a single Acer laptop.

More related to this particular model is the improved battery life. We managed to play the aforementioned videos for over 7 hours before the battery finally died. There is nothing to complain about!

Check on Bol.com →Check on Coolable →

What We Like:

  • It performs extremely well in all basic areas – and sometimes even in the more advanced areas​
  • You get great battery life with this model​
  • The keyboard feels great to type on​

What we don’t like:

  • The screen is not of the best quality​
  • The trackpad is a bit small​

Buying guide

As usual at Wifi, we now give you some tips for your purchase! This way you can be sure that you have thought of the most important things when making your decision.

Macbook Pro from the front

To start, a quick rundown of key elements to keep in mind:

  • 12.5 to 14-inch displays offer the best balance of usability and portability
  • If you’re spending over $600, aim for these minimum specs: Core i5 processor; 1920 x 1080 screen; 8GB RAM; SSD storage instead of a hard drive
  • Battery life of more than 8 hours is ideal if you plan to take your laptop on the road
  • Consider a 2-in-1 laptop (either a bend-back or removable screen) if you want to use your laptop as a tablet

What operating systems are there?

You currently have a choice of  Windows, macOS, Linux, and ChromeOS. Which one you ultimately choose depends on personal preference. Below is a small list of what you can achieve with which operating system.

Windows

  • Extremely flexible and widely deployable operating system
  • Most used on laptops
  • You will find a few programs not made available for Windows
  • More vulnerable to viruses

macOS

  • Only available for Apple laptops (Hackintosh not counted here)
  • Elegant yet powerful operating system
  • Most programs are now also available for macOS

Linux

  • Linux is available for free
  • Very flexible and adaptable. You can choose the overlying OS yourself (Ubuntu, Debian, etc.) and use it as a kind of skin or launcher, each with its own properties
  • Few programs available compared to Windows and macOS

ChromeOS

  • Simple and safe, but also more limited
  • Appearance is somewhat like Windows
  • Unfortunately, many web apps don’t work as well (yet) without an internet connection
  • More and more Chromebooks can download and use apps from the Play store
A Laptop From The Side

Which Laptop Size Should I have?

Most sizes fall between 11 and 17 inches, with the occasional spike to even smaller or larger sizes. If you plan to take your laptop with you on a lot of trips, we recommend a maximum of 15 inches. Ideally, however, you stay below that.

Models above that size are generally better suited for home use or at a fixed workplace. These larger laptops often also have more powerful hardware. So are you looking for a real powerhouse for gaming, for example? Then you may have to go for a larger size.

Which specifications should I pay attention to?

The main specifications include,  among others, the CPU, or the brain of your computer; working memory, or short term memory; storage, or long-term memory; and the video card, in other words, the glasses of your laptop; the battery; and the entrances.

Below is a list with a more detailed explanation of these parts.

Processor (CPU)

There is a wealth of choice, especially in this area. In any case, below is a list of processor types that you are likely to encounter. 

For starters,  Intel has introduced two types of 10th gen processors that will power the next generation of laptops:  Ice Lake and  Comet Lake. To summarize, Ice Lake offers enhanced integrated Iris Plus graphics, while Comet Lake is all about raw performance.

Processors that have a 10 in the model number (such as Core i7-1060G7 for Ice Lake or Core i7-10710U for Comet Lake) fall into this category! Furthermore, Intel processors can be divided into the following types:

  • The  Core i9 processors overtake the Core i7 as  Intel’s new top-of-the-line processor. They offer faster performance than any other mobile chip. The Core i9 processors, which are only available on high-end laptops, workstations and high-end gaming systems, are only worth the high price if you are a power user who uses the most demanding programs.
  • Core i7 processors are a step above the Core i5, with HQ and K chips using a higher wattage. These models have four cores, making gaming and productivity even faster. There are also Core i7 Y series chips that have lower power and lower performance.
  • If you’re looking for a mainstream laptop with the best value for money, get one with a  Core i5 processor. Models ending in U (such as Core i5-7200U) are the most common. Those with a Y in the model name have less power and lower performance, while models with an HQ use more wattage and appear in heavier gaming and workstation systems.
  • Intel  Core i3 processors in turn perform less well than Core i5 processors. That is why they are priced accordingly. If you can possibly afford a Core i5, then I suggest you buy it.
  • Intel  Xeon processors are extremely powerful and expensive processors for large mobile workstations. If you do professional engineering, 3D modelling, or video editing, you may want a Xeon. Your battery life and the weight of your laptop will probably decrease as a result.
  • Intel  Pentium and Celeron processors are common in fewer laptops under $400. These chips are generally the slowest, but will definitely do the trick if your main tasks are web browsing and light document editing. If you can afford to pay more to get a Core i3 or i5, I’d recommend that.
Man Types On A Macbook Pro

And then some  AMD processors :

  • AMD  Ryzen Mobile processors are a new set of chips designed to compete with Intel Core i5 and Core i7.
  • AMD  A, FX or E series can be found in cheaper laptops. These AMD processors offer good performance for the money good enough for web browsing, media viewing and productivity.

Working Memory (RAM)

Some laptops under $250 come with just 4GB of RAM, but ideally, buy a laptop with at least 8GB and 16GB if you have a little more to spend. For most people, 32 GB or more is more than enough, while 64 GB and more is reserved for power users.

There is also a difference between the different types of RAM. You have different speeds at which they work, expressed in Megahertz (MHz). The higher this number, the better. Clock cycles are expressed in double data rate (DDR), with DDR5 being the last and best iteration of it.

Storage (SSD and/or HDD)

Even more important than the speed of your CPU is the performance of your storage drive. If you can afford it and don’t need a huge amount of internal storage, choose a laptop with a solid-state drive ( SSD ) instead of a hard drive ( HDD ). An SSD is at least three times as fast as an HDD, so your laptop will also be faster.

The newer PCIe x4 (also called NVME) units also offer three times the speed of traditional SATA drives. Laptops under $250 typically use eMMC memory, which is technically solid-state, but not much faster than a mechanical hard drive.

A Table Full of Laptops

Video Card (GPU)

If you’re not gaming, creating 3D objects, or doing high-resolution video editing, an integrated graphics chip — one that takes advantage of system memory — is fine. However, if you have any of the above needs, a discrete graphics processor from AMD or Nvidia is essential. 

As with CPUs, there are both high and low-end graphics chips. Low-end gaming or workstation systems today usually have Nvidia MX250 or GTX 1650 GPUs, while mid-range models have RTX 2050 or RTX 2060 and high-end models have RTX 2070 or 2080 GPUs. 

Screen/Image

The more pixels you have, the more content you can put on the screen and the sharper it looks. Unfortunately, some budget laptops and a few business laptops still have 1366 x 768 displays. However, if you can afford it, I recommend paying extra for a panel running at 1920×1080, also known as Full HD or 1080p.

The higher-end laptops have 2560×1600, 3200×1800 or even 3840×2160 (4K) screens that all look sharp but consume more power, reducing your battery life.

Battery/Battery

If you buy a large laptop or gaming rig that you only use on a desk near a power outlet, you don’t have to worry about battery life. But if you plan on using the laptop on your lap, even if it’s at home and/or work, you’ll want at least 7 hours of endurance, with 8+ hours being ideal.

To determine the expected battery life of a laptop, you have to retract the manufacturer’s promises a bit. Instead, read third-party results from objective sources, such as independent reviews.

White Acer Chromebook Next To Pot With Plant In It 1024x542

Inputs and Connectivity

While the lack of connections isn’t usually a deal-breaker when choosing a laptop, it’s helpful to have the connections you need built right in rather than carrying around a bunch of dongles. 

Most mainstream laptops have USB 3.0 ports and HDMI outputs for video. However, an increasing number of laptops are using USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports that are USB-C compatible. 

USB-C presence is a definite plus as you can use it to connect to universal chargers and docks. USB 4.0 is now also a topic with faster transfer speeds and the possibility to link 4K monitors with one cable.

Other useful connections include SD card slots, headphone jacks, CD or Bluray readers, and Ethernet ports (especially if you’re a gamer).

If you need to use your laptop on the go, also consider purchasing a model with 4G LTE support. You will also have to pay for a data plan, but this allows you to connect to the internet without being dependent on a router.

If you want a laptop with the latest and greatest connectivity options, look for one with 802.11ax or Wi-Fi 6 support. WIFI 6 offers higher theoretical throughput and a more stable connection than 802.11ac (WIFI 5). It is important that you also have the best WIFI router that also offers WIFI 6 support!

I also recommend that you look for a laptop with Bluetooth 5, the latest standard that offers enhanced connectivity to Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as mice and headphones.

What are 2-in-1 laptops?

Many Chromebooks – and nowadays Windows laptops too – have not only a touchscreen but also a tablet mode. In general, you will find such 2-in-1 models in two forms: a model where you can fold the screen back and a model where you can detach the screen (the tablet) from the keyboard.

If you don’t feel the need for such a tablet mode, I recommend going for the conventional clamshell model, with or without a touchscreen. That usually gives you more bang for your buck!

Samsung Chromebook In Tablet Mode

How important is your budget?

Of course, you know what you can and cannot afford. To help you on your way with filtering laptops in different price categories, we have put together a shortlist for you:

  • $170 – $240.  The cheapest laptops are either Chromebooks or low-end Windows systems with minimal storage and somewhat slower processors. I recommend using such a laptop only as a secondary machine (or giving it to children).
  • $240 – $480.  For this price, you can buy a laptop with an Intel Core i5 or AMD A8 processor, 4 to 8 GB RAM and get a 500 GB hard drive. These are all respectable specs. However, at this price point, most laptops don’t have an SSD, a full-HD display, or long battery life (with the occasional exception).
  • $480 – $1100. If you go over $600, you’ll see more premium designs such as metallic finishes. Manufacturers are also starting to add other features as you climb the price ladder, including HD displays and SSDs.
  • $1100+.  At this price point, expect laptops that are more portable and/or more powerful. You’ll see higher-resolution screens, faster processors, and possibly separate video cards. The lightest, longest-lasting ultraportable often cost more than $1,500. High-end gaming systems and mobile workstations usually cost more than $2,000 or even $2,500 or $3,000.
Samsung Chromebook On Google Page

The Best Laptops

smart watch best for Rating  
MacBook Pro 13″ (M1) All-round use 9.6  
HP Pavilion 15 Price quality 8.7  
HP Specter x360 Touchscreen users 8.6  
Lenovo Legion 7 gamers 8.5  
Acer Swift 3 students 7.9  

 

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