The Best Laptops of 2019

By Reviewed Staff, April 28, 2016, Updated March 26, 2019

In our increasingly mobile-data oriented world, tablets and smartphones have become the computing devices of choice, for most people, despite the fact that they’re not well-suited to performing every digital deed under the sun. For jobs that call for complex multi-tasking, raw computational power or the ease-of-use that a trackpad and full-sized keyboard afford, a reliable laptop is still the best option. Choosing which laptop to use, however, isn’t easy.

Does the way you work or play demand a high-end model sporting Intel's latest processors, high-resolution display, discrete graphics, and super-speedy SSD storage? If you’re a Mac user, you should definitely check out the 13-inch MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar). Perhaps your pursuits require something like the HP Spectre 13, which is so lightweight that you scarcely remember it’s in your bag or purse as haul it around town. If your computer needs start and end with the opening of email and a little web browsing, an inexpensive Chromebook like the Acer Chromebook 11 might be the computer you’ve been waiting for.

Whatever your needs, Reviewed has your back: our team of computer hardware experts is constantly on the hunt for the latest laptops across a wide spectrum of prices and capability. We test everything from graphics power to battery life.

— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated March 26, 2019

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Dell XPS 15
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The Dell XPS 15 (2018) stands as an experiment gone right. With its 8th Gen Intel processor and Radeon RX Vega graphics, it's one hell of a powerhouse.

The Best Laptop

Dell XPS 15 9575 2-in-1 (i7-8705G, 512GB SSD, 16GB)

Product Image - Dell XPS 15 9575 2-in-1 (i7-8705G, 512GB SSD, 16GB)
  • Editors' Choice

Dell XPS 15 9575 2-in-1 (i7-8705G, 512GB SSD, 16GB)

Between its Intel Core i7-8705G processor and Radeon RX Vega M GL graphics, this Dell packs some serious power. With its unassuming silver shell and gray interior, it may not look like a traditional gaming computer but it sure as hell performs like one. You can play games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on high or ultra settings with stable frame rates. If it's seamless gameplay you're looking for, look no further.

Its 4K touchscreen display is one of the best we've ever experienced. Colors are vibrant and shadows never seem to lose detail. Having access to so much power and such a gorgeous display in a mobile package, however, comes with a few trade-offs.

For starters, its battery life is less-than-stellar. When we put it through our intensive battery test, which cycles through power-hungry tasks on a continuous loop, it died in a little over two hours. So, you'll probably want to keep the power adapter with you when you leave the house. All of the raw computation power that this computer’s hardware produces also produces a lot of heat: the bottom of the laptop gets pretty warm. As its cooling system works to lower the temperature, its fans can get really loud. Plus, while the display can be used with a stylus, you’ll have to pay extra for it. Then there’s the placement of its webcam: it’s underneath of the display instead of over top of it, like you see with most laptops. The angle means that when you video chat, people will be able to see straight up your nose--not a great look.

These drawbacks aside, it's a fabulous laptop. So, whether you're a hardcore gamer or a photo/video editor, this laptop is a great choice.

Razer Blade
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Finally! A laptop powerful enough for gaming that doesn't weigh a ton.

The Best Gaming Laptop

Razer Blade Pro 17

Product Image - Razer Blade Pro 17
  • Best of Year 2014

Razer Blade Pro 17

If you're looking to replace your aging gaming computer with a high-end powerhouse, then maybe it's time to spring for the Razer Blade. This machine, with its high-performing specs and cool Chroma keyboard, ticked off a lot of boxes for us. The Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics chip can handle everything from modern games to virtual reality if that's your thing.

The best thing about this laptop is that it doesn't weigh a ton. Weighing just under five pounds, it's one of the most portable gaming laptops to date. Unlike the Dell Inspiron 15 (7567), which weighs about six pounds, the Blade is a little over four. The slim body is great for portability, especially if you're looking to get a game in between classes. It's not as light as an ultraportable, but it doesn't feel like you're lugging around a massive brick either.

One of the big drawbacks is the underwhelming battery life. However, given that it's a gaming laptop, the disappointing battery life isn't a total shock. The Blade loses its charge just a few hours of moderate use. That's less than a full school day, so you'll have to keep your eyes peeled for an outlet between classes. It's also expensive, but for a true gaming experience you can bring on the go, the Blade is the way to go.

HP Spectre x360
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The HP Spectre x360 (15-inch, late 2017) can really walk the walk. With its 8th Gen Intel CPU and 16GB of RAM, this 2-in-1 packs some serious power.

The Best Laptop for Video Editing

HP Spectre x360 Convertible (15-inch, 2017)

Product Image - HP Spectre x360 Convertible (15-inch, 2017)

HP Spectre x360 Convertible (15-inch, 2017)

When I watched an animated scene from Ni No Kuni, a popular video game, the colors really leaped off the screen on the HP Spectre x360. The yellow lantern on the end of Mr. Drippy's nose was especially vibrant. That’s because it’s outfitted with an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU (NVIDIA GPU’s are powerful and can typically be found inside gaming machines). While it may not be the brightest screen, colors really pop and viewing angles are good. When you’re not using it to work in Adobe After Effects CC or tinkering with an audio file, the laptop’s display makes watching YouTube or Netflix feel like a treat.

Weighing in a just over four pounds, the HP Spectre x360 pretty light for a 15-inch, yet still provides a wide variety of connectivity options. The right side of the laptop features two USB-C ports (one with Thunderbolt support) and one full-sized HDMI. On the left, you'll find a fast-charging USB 3.1 port, an SD card reader, and a headphone jack.

While we like the diverse selection of ports, we had a few nitpicks. First, its steep $1,599.99 price is tough for those on a tight budget. It’s a zippy machine, sure, but you're paying through the nose for the guts and wealth of connectivity options.

If you're looking for a less expensive option than the HP Spectre x360, we'd recommend the Dell XPS 15 (9560), the 15-inch MacBook Pro, or the Dell XPS 15 (2018). The Dell XPS 15 (9560) is more configurable while the 15-inch MacBook Pro has four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Huawei MateBook X Pro
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

If you're looking for a powerful ultraportable that won't break the bank, Huawei's MateBook X Pro is a great choice.

The Best Laptop for Graphic Design

Huawei Matebook X Pro (Intel i7, 16GB RAM)

Product Image - Huawei Matebook X Pro (Intel i7, 16GB RAM)
  • Editors' Choice

Huawei Matebook X Pro (Intel i7, 16GB RAM)

Emitting well over 500 nits (at max brightness), the display on the Huawei MateBook X Pro is one of the brightest and most vibrant we've seen in a Windows laptop, making it an awesome choice for design work.

This thing will also knock your socks off with its snappy performance, and keep them off with its long battery life. With a brilliant display, slim bezels, oversized touchpad, and reasonable starting price, the X Pro has plenty to offer. If aesthetics matter to you and you prefer Windows over macOS, this laptop is a great alternative to the MacBook Pro.

That's not to say it's flawless. Heavy processing tasks heat the MateBook X Pro up in your lap, and the webcam's location in the keyboard (strange, I know) might frustrate some users. And then there’s the laptop’s chassis: it’s a fingerprint magnet. Still, if you're looking for a gorgeous, powerful ultraportable that won't break the bank, the X Pro is an excellent choice.

Google Pixelbook
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

If you've got a taste for the future, the Google Pixelbook is about as futuristic as Chromebooks get.

The Best Chromebook

Google Pixelbook (2017, Intel Core i7)

Product Image - Google Pixelbook (2017, Intel Core i7)
  • Editors' Choice

Google Pixelbook (2017, Intel Core i7)

When most people think ‘Chromebook,’ it’s with inexpensive cloud-based computing in mind. This isn’t that. The Google Pixelbook is about as powerful and expensive as Chromebooks get. With its 7th Gen Intel Core processor, versatile 2-in-1 design, touchscreen support, and long battery life (it lasted a little over nine hours), this high-end Chromebook has a lot to offer.

The keyboard is an absolute dream to type on, too. The keys are well-spaced and typing is bouncy and pleasant. After spending some time with it, I was clicking my way to 85 words-per-minute. But while we love the full Android support (which gives you a wider selection of apps) and glass touchpad, there were still a couple of nitpicks we had to grapple with.

As we alluded to earlier, the Pixelbook’s asking price is very expensive, for a Chromebook. The entry-level model alone will cost you about a grand. That’s almost double the price of the Asus Chromebook Flip. What’s more, the pen to use with the Pixelbook’s touchscreen is sold separately. That stinks, given this laptop’s already high cost.

However, if you've got the funds, this is the best Chromebook we've ever tested.

Dell XPS 13
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Between the attractive color scheme and barely-there bezels, the Dell XPS 13 (2018) is one of the best ultraportables you can buy.

The Best Laptop Under $1000

Dell XPS 13 9360 (Intel Core i5, 128 GB SSD)

Product Image - Dell XPS 13 9360 (Intel Core i5, 128 GB SSD)
  • Best of Year 2016

Dell XPS 13 9360 (Intel Core i5, 128 GB SSD)

Dell's XPS 13 is simply the best all-around Windows laptop you can buy right now. It's got a 13-inch edge-to-edge display (bezels are barely there) that fits into a tighter package than all of its competitors, a premium design that's on par with the best laptops on the market and a wide variety of ports such as two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) and one USB-C 3.1. When the time comes to get down to work, or a bit of play, the Dell XPS 13 has all of the power you could ever need.

Most configurations of the XPS 13 will cost you well over a grand, but if you’re careful when ordering it, you can still find some under a grand. If you need a little more power or want a touchscreen we suggest keeping an eye out for older versions that have 6th-generation Intel Core chips, or the new base model which has a 7th-generation Intel Core i5, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and a non-touch screen for under a grand.

Acer Aspire E
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The Acer Aspire E 15 might not look like much at first glance, but looks can be deceiving. With its strong performance, long battery life, and wide variety of ports, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck.

The Best Laptop Under $500

Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-576g-5762)

Product Image - Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-576g-5762)
  • Editors' Choice

Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-576g-5762)

At just $599, the Aspire definitely won't break the bank. For well under a grand, this laptop provides its owners with a full-HD display, an Intel Core i5-8250U processor, seven hours of battery life, and a robust selection of ports such as USB-C, USB-A, and a full-sized HDMI. If that's not a good value, I don't know what is.

Perhaps best of all, the Aspire is user-upgradeable, meaning you can add RAM or swap out storage. That’s a rarity, these days. Despite how much we like this laptop’s price and the robust build, we still have a few gripes about it.

In order to keep the price of this laptop low, Acer needed to cut a few corners. For example, the Aspire’s display is dimmer than many of the laptops we’ve reviewed. The clarity of its webcam leaves a lot to be desired. And, while it might be sturdy, it comes at the cost of being chunky and, at over five pounds, heavy. For the price, you’ll get a reasonably capable, upgradeable 15-inch laptop. But it lacks the "premium" feel of slimmer, 13-inch models that most people tend to prefer these days. That said, if you're on a tight budget but need something to satisfy your basic computing needs, the Aspire won't let you down.

Acer Chromebook 11
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

With its low price point, eye-catching color scheme, and zippy performance, the Acer Chromebook 11 (2018) is a great choice for the everyday user.

The Best Laptop For The Money

Acer Chromebook 11 CB311-8H-C5DV

Product Image - Acer Chromebook 11 CB311-8H-C5DV
  • Editors' Choice

Acer Chromebook 11 CB311-8H-C5DV

The Acer Chromebook 11 is a great choice for the everyday user. For the price, you're getting zippy performance, a good selection of ports, and a comfortable keyboard all baked into an eye-catching indigo-blue plastic shell that’s surprisingly rugged.

For a $269.99 machine, the Acer is shockingly zippy. Featuring the latest Intel Celeron processor, you can run multiple programs simultaneously and won't have any problems. With fifteen tabs open in Google Chrome, I was still able to watch a live stream of Fortnite, without any issues. While I loved its all-day battery life and how much computer you get for so little money, there were a few things I wasn’t so crazy about.

The display is dimmer than we like: max brightness tops out at 228 nits, which isn't very bright by modern standards. It's an acceptable display, sure, but it won't impress you. Additionally, the display’s low resolution was disappointing, but not surprising, for a laptop of this price and size. The audio was underwhelming too, so you may want to plug into external speakers.

These shortcomings aside, if you're on a tight budget, this is the laptop to get.

How We Tested

The Tester

Hi, I’m Ashley Barry-Biancuzzo, the laptop reviewer here at Reviewed. Though Reviewed has been testing laptops years, I seized control of this beat (cue evil laughter) in 2017. It’s the perfect category for me because I’ve been playing around with laptops since I was a wee babe. While I like playing games and browsing the web as much as the next person, the tinkerer in me loves playing around with the internal components. For me, a good laptop needs to be the perfect balance of design and function. If it doesn’t excite you in some way, then what’s the point? The more innovative it is, the better.

The Tests

The first thing we do is try to push the processor (the brains of the laptop) to its limits. We do this by running a program that simulates everyday workloads. This tells us how well the laptop responds to input commands and so on. The next thing we test is the graphics card (a circuit board that controls what you see on the display). By running cinematic movies and computer games, this tells us how fast the images render.

Most laptop displays do well in a dark room, but what about outdoors? Is a glossy screen better than a matte one? To figure out this information, we test the brightness on the display. We do this with a CS-200: it’s a handheld device that measures luminance. We measure the center of the screen and take down the average. The brighter the screen is, the better.

The last thing we do is run the battery test overnight. First, we unplug the laptop and set it to 200 nits brightness. We then set it up to continuously cycle through popular websites like Amazon and Twitter until the battery dies. What we’re trying to do here is simulate day-to-day tasks. This is how we figure out how much juice you’re getting on a single charge.

We also take into account build quality (does the screen have any flex?), portability (under three pounds is ideal), and design (sometimes an eye-catching color scheme really makes a difference).

Two Laptops
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

From clamshells to convertibles, choosing the right type of laptop is important.

How to buy a laptop

What type of laptop do I need?

From clamshells to convertibles, choosing the right type of laptop is important. Most people tend to go for the traditional clamshell, which open 180-degrees. These laptops have been around for ages and are popular among college students. Then there’s the 2-in-1 convertible, which is versatile and lightweight, and a great option for regular travelers or creative professionals. You can flip the screen around and use it as a tablet or prop it up like a painter’s easel.

If you’re looking for an incredibly thin laptop, we’d recommend opting for an ultrabook. These machines are typically under 1-inch thick and they use less power, which means longer battery life. While ultrabooks are often marketed as premium products, they’re not as expensive as MacBooks. In fact, many of them cost less than a grand. If you’re looking for a Windows-based alternative to the MacBook, then this is it.

Are big displays better?

Display size can make a huge difference. For example, an 11-inch display is going to be much lighter than a 15 or 17-inch. So, if you need something that’s light and portable, a laptop with a larger display just isn’t going to cut it. That said, bigger displays have higher resolutions, which means a sharper picture. If you’re a photo or video editor, you’ll probably want a bigger screen so you can see all those minute details. If you just need a lightweight machine for research or writing papers on, an 11-inch display should do you just fine, especially if you’re taking it from class-to-class.

Which operating system should I go for?

If you work with editing software or play games on Steam or GOG, you’ll want to spring for a Windows-based machine, as you can outfit it with a beastly processor and graphics card. Windows-based machines tend to be more customizable than Macs. If you just want to browse the web and watch Netflix, a Chromebook should do you just fine. These inexpensive machines run ChromeOS (aka Google’s default browser), have low-power processors and are largely virus-free. You also need a stable WiFi connection, as these laptops are web-based, so there’s not much you can do offline.

How powerful should my laptop be?

Let’s talk guts. A video editor or a hardcore gamer is going to have very different needs than the everyday user. Whether you’re working with thousands of images or playing the latest AAA game, you’re going to need a lot of “oomph.” When I say “oomph,” I’m referring to both the processing power (how fast it can run multiple programs at once) and graphics power (how fast it can render the graphics on your screen).

For those of you who need more “oomph” than the regular person, listen up. You’re going to want to shoot for an Intel i7 processor that ends in either HQ or K. These processors use higher wattage and have four cores. If that sounds like gibberish to you, don’t worry, that just means it delivers faster performance.

As for the average user that likes to surf the web and explore the dark corners of YouTube, an Intel i5 processor should suffice. Finally, if you find yourself needing to offload photos or store large files, you should get a laptop that has a microSD card slot (a great convenience to photographers and video editors) and at least 8GB of RAM (the more RAM your machine has, the faster it will run).

Laptop
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

A video editor or a hardcore gamer is going to have very different needs than the everyday user.

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