For everyone except PC gamers, the words “computer” and “laptop” have become synonymous today. Laptops are the essential computing device for everyone and every household, and there are different types that are best for specific use cases.
With collective decades worth of experience reviewing and testing laptops, we’ve gathered the absolute best laptops, from versatile 2-in-1 models to gaming-ready powerhouses. Regardless of what you’re looking for, we’ve found a top laptop pick for you.
TL;DR – These are the Best Laptops:
- Apple MacBook Air 2022
- Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
- Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360
- Microsoft Surface Pro 8
- Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook
- Apple MacBook Air 2020
- HP Pavilion Aero 13
- Gigabyte Aero 16
1. Apple MacBook Air 2022
Best Laptop Overall
The latest leading laptop from Apple is fresh for 2022, complete with a new (but familiar) design and the company’s latest M2 processor. Anyone that follows Apple closely will notice that the new MacBook Air design is an adaptation of the latest MacBook Pro models.
This means not only the return of MagSafe charging, but a larger, brighter, and sharper screen. The series of improvements includes a massive 18-hour battery life, maintaining the $1,200 MacBook Air’s status as the top laptop everyone is trying to beat.
2. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
Best Gaming Laptop
Already sitting atop our list of the best gaming laptops, the $2,249 Asus Zephyrus G14 can play the latest games at high quality settings and resolutions with steady frame rates. The 120Hz display also makes this laptop ideal for high-speed gaming, like FPS and racing titles.
What’s especially lovely is the laptop’s compact size and light weight relative to its beefy performance. This combination of high power and high portability makes the Zephyrus G14 the best gaming laptop for most people.
3. Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360
Best 2-in-1 Laptop
When it comes to convertible laptops, Samsung has found a niche to shine in with its latest Galaxy Book device, which tops our best 2-in-1 laptops guide. Known for its display quality, Samsung’s touchscreen will not disappoint as you can use it at any angle.
Lighter than even the 2022 MacBook Air, the $1,333 Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 packs plenty of power for everyday tasks as well as entertainment. Plus, the day-long battery life and helpful apps for syncing with other Samsung devices sweeten the deal.
4. Microsoft Surface Pro 8
Best Detachable Laptop
Microsoft continues to set the standard for 2-in-1 laptops with a tablet-first design, also known as detachable laptops. The company’s ultra-crisp touchscreens rival those of Apple in terms of color-quality and touch accuracy. The Surface Pro 8 even comes close to Apple on battery life at 16 hours.
The latest $1,099 Surface Pro 8 also improves connectivity in massive ways, both with Wi-Fi 6 support and two Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports. While the keyboard still costs extra, it’s super high-quality and now includes charging for the Surface Slim Pen 2 accessory.
5. Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook
Topping our list of the best Chromebooks, this $549 2-in-1 device from Lenovo brings power, portability, and flexibility to the Chrome laptop category at a fantastic price. The IPS display is also a joy to look at thanks to its Full HD resolution and wide viewing angles.
This makes the Flex 5i ideal for both work and leisure, which is where Chromebooks shine the most: inexpensive laptops for basic work tasks and streaming video. Lenovo’s latest laptop does that, with relatively lots of power behind it, for about a work day before you’ll need to charge it again – not bad at all.
6. Apple MacBook Air 2020
Best MacBook for College
While Apple’s laptops are arguably prohibitively expensive, they’re also the highest-quality in the industry and can last for more than five years if cared for well. That’s why we find it safe to recommend the previous-generation $999 MacBook Air for most college students.
This 2020 model brings with it several major benefits of Apple’s first M1 processor, like longer battery life and stronger graphics power than most similarly-priced Intel laptops. With the student discount, this MacBook Air becomes hard to resist to pick up at the start of a college career, and it’s built to last throughout even after you graduate.
7. HP Pavilion Aero 13
Best Laptop for College
Available for less than most premium Windows laptops, like the Dell XPS 13, the $770 Pavilion Aero 13 from HP offers similar power and features for a lot less – topping our best college laptops list. That should be music to students’ ears looking to save as much as possible without compromising on their essential equipment.
With enough power to handle most basic student workloads, the Pavilion Aero 13 also has enough storage for lots of projects and other files, which is rare at its price point. Throw in up to 10 hours of battery life, and you have an affordable, powerful college laptop that can last through each day of classes and then some.
8. Gigabyte Aero 16
Best Laptop for Video Editing
Looking for the best laptop for video editing? You'll need two things primarily: a super-sharp screen and a graphics processor to back it up. The $1,999 Gigabyte Aero 16 delivers both as well as plenty of memory, lots of storage, and a fast processor.
Of course, the Aero 16 is heftier than most laptops on this list, but it’s also the most powerful. This laptop would be just as ideal for gaming sessions between video edits with this spec sheet. Just don’t expect stellar battery life, which isn’t our primary concern here.
What to look for in a laptop
Before beginning to search for a laptop to buy, the most important thing to remember is that what you get is likely what you will be stuck with for several years. Laptops are not nearly as upgradeable as desktops, and generally are replaced rather than updated with new parts.
This includes all of the usual hardware specs, like display resolution, processor, memory, and graphics. However, it also includes the webcam, the keyboard, and the trackpad. These can be improved by accessories, but why spend extra money you don’t have to?
When it comes to more predictable hardware specs, we recommend at least 256GB of storage and 8GB of memory, or RAM. As for the processor and graphics, that depends on your specific needs. Gamers and multimedia editors are going to need the topmost, discrete hardware from Intel and Nvidia (or more rarely, AMD) combined, while most people could get away with a single processor running everything, as with MacBooks and most mainstream Windows laptops.
Joe Osborne is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience in games and tech media. You can find his work elsewhere at Insider, TechRadar, Laptop Magazine, Tom’s Guide, and more.