The 8 Best Gaming Laptops for Battery Life in 2020

For long-lasting gameplay

The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
Introduction

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The Rundown
"If you're looking for an excellent balance between design, power, and performance, the MSI GS 66 Stealth is a great option."
Best Memory Storage:
Acer Predator Helios 300 at Amazon
"You can choose configurations with solid-state and traditional hard-disk drives up to 1TB each"
"The entire unit weighs around three pounds, making it easy to carry around in a laptop bag, backpack, or tote bag."
Runner-Up Best Lightweight:
ASUS ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 at Amazon
"G14. The laptop weighs around 3.6 pounds, making it easy to take with you to work, or move around the house when you want to game on your couch instead of at your desk."
"It's built on the Intel Core i9-9900K CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU for all the power you need to game and stream."
"Its 15.6-inch screen has a refresh rate of 144Hz for ultra-smooth motion, and it produces stunning 4K resolution to make triple-A and indie games alike look amazing."
"One of the longest-lasting laptops on our list, as well as one of the most affordable."
Runner-Up, Best Budget:
Acer Nitro 5 at Amazon
"The Acer Nitro 5 is from the best performer in our lineup but is definitely the most sensible option."

Up until very recently, desktops have had a stranglehold on the PC gaming market; but the best gaming laptops available feature configurations that give you the power of a desktop with the portability of a laptop. Many modern gaming laptops like the MSI GS66 Stealth feature dedicated GPUs for more powerful graphics processing so you can play the latest triple-A and most graphically demanding games on-the-go. You can also customize your memory and storage configurations to give you all the bandwidth you need not only for gaming but also for 3D rendering and video production among other creative applications. If you choose a solid-state drive for your laptop, like with the Acer Predator Helios 300, you'll experience ultra-fast boot times and much faster access to your most-used programs and files. Gaming laptop displays have become larger and feature narrow bezels to give you an edge-to-edge picture; you can choose a 1080p or 4K resolution screen to give you incredible detailing and color as well as future-proof your gaming setup. 

The biggest advantage that desktops have over laptops is that they have almost unlimited power, but modern gaming laptops feature longer-lasting batteries and apps that let you customize your power consumption for even more battery life; you can enjoy 6, 8, or more hours of play before needing to plug in with some models. If you're an on-the-go gamer who needs a laptop that travels easy, there are several models available that feature ultra-lightweight and exceptionally thin bodies that easily fit into backpacks or carry-on luggage so you can take them to conventions, tech expos, or tournaments. No matter if you're a professional Twitch streamer or enjoy weekend Fortnite matches with friends, one of the best gaming laptops for battery life can fit the bill.

Best Overall: MSI GS66 Stealth 10SE 15.6" Laptop

What We Like
  • VR ready

  • 144Hz refresh rate

  • 6 hour battery

What We Don't Like
  • Only 2 RAM slots

  • Not 4K

If you're looking for an excellent balance between design, power, and performance, the MSI GS 66 Stealth is a great option. It features a 15.6-inch FHD screen with an impressive 144Hz refresh rate to give you great 1080p resolution and color volume so all your games, from triple-A blockbusters to indie gems, look their best. With a Dynaudio sound system, you get premium stereo speakers and a subwoofer for a more immersive audio experience; it also includes gold-coated audio jacks for reliable, true-to-life sound. The GS 66 Stealth has both an HDMI port and Thunderbolt jack to connect an external display or peripherals for when you need a multi-monitor setup or fast, reliable connections to mobile devices. Wi-Fi 6 connectivity gives you blazing fast internet speeds without a wired network, and Bluetooth 5 lets you wirelessly connect all of the latest peripherals and mobile devices. 

It's powered by a 10th generation Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD to give you all the speed and storage you need to play your favorite games. The Nividia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card makes the laptop VR-ready, letting you step into the future of gaming. The laptop weighs just over 4.5 pounds, making it lightweight enough to slip into a backpack or tote bag to take with you on vacation or to a friend's house for tournaments parties. The battery gives you up to six hours of use on a single charge, letting you play almost all day before needing to find an outlet. 

Best Memory Storage: Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop

What We Like
  • VR ready

  • SSD/HDD configurations available

  • Gigabit Ethernet support

What We Don't Like
  • Not 4K

  • Only 2 RAM slots

A good gaming laptop that also offers a great sound system is hard to find. After all, there's only so much you can fit into the small shell of a laptop, especially when you bear in mind the need for portability. The Acer Predator Helios 300 uses its limited space well by providing optimized Dolby Audio Premium sound enhancements alongside its built-in stereo speakers. It's a great feature that co-exists with consistently high-quality specifications, such as its beefy 256GB SSD and 16GB of DDR4. As for battery life, it's rated at a lengthy six hours of general use or about four when gaming in a long session.

It sports a 9th gen Intel i7-9750H processor and Geforce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card (with a capacious 6GB of VRAM) to power your games. It's a veritable powerhouse contained in a reasonably thin metal chassis that looks quite special with some diagonal lines to it to make it look a little more eye-catching. And if you don't, the 1920 x 1080 pixel screen (with a very welcome 144hz refresh rate for silky smooth gaming) will definitely do it for you instead.

Best Lightweight: Razer Blade Stealth 13

What We Like
  • 4K touch display

  • Windows Hello compatible

  • Durable body

What We Don't Like
  • 16 GB max RAM

  • No 4K external display support

The Razer Blade Stealth has ushered in a new era of super lightweight, ultra-portable gaming laptops. The entire unit weighs around three pounds, making it easy to carry around in a laptop bag, backpack, or tote bag while you commute to work, travel to cons, or take it with you on vacation. The 13-inch touchscreen has an incredibly thin bezel to give you a larger viewing area; it also produces excellent 4K resolution with sRGB color accuracy. The body is made of a single piece of CNC-machined aluminum for a sleek, modern look as well as long-lasting durability. It also features a scratch-resistant, matte black color to keep your laptop looking great through the years. The built-in camera uses infrared technology for facial recognition that works with Windows Hello for password-free log-ins to your laptop and important programs or websites to keep your information safe from unauthorized access. 

It's powered by a 6-core Intel i7-1065G7 CPU and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics card for all the power and speed you'll need to play the latest triple-A games. The Blade Stealth is compatible with Razer's Core X external GPU for even more graphic processing power when you need it. Music lovers and anyone who works with audio will like the four-speaker array that uses Dolby Atmos audio for more immersive sound; a dual-mic array is not only great for virtual meetings, but it works well for video chat with friends. The keyboard works with Razer's Synapse 3 and Chroma apps to let you remap macro keys and customize the RGB backlighting with over 16 million colors and several lighting effects. The battery gives you a truly impressive 11 hours of use on a single charge, so you can work all day and still squeeze in a few Apex Legends or Overwatch matches after dinner. 

Runner-Up Best Lightweight: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

What We Like
  • USB-C charging

  • AMD Ryzen 9

  • VR Ready

What We Don't Like
  • No DisplayPort inputs

  • Not 4K

  • White shell option may get dirty quickly

A solid runner-up for the best lightweight laptop available is the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14. The laptop weighs around 3.6 pounds, making it easy to take with you to work or move around the house when you want to game on your couch instead of at your desk. It runs on the Windows 10 operating system, giving you access to Cortana for voice controls and voice-activated search as well as apps like Dropbox and Microsoft Office 365 preloaded so you can start work right away. The 14-inch screen gives you a great 1080p full HD resolution so games, movies, and digital art look great at almost any viewing angle. The Zephyrus G14 is powered by an AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS CPU and Nvidia GeForce 2060 Max-Q graphics card, so you'll have plenty of power to tackle even the most graphically challenging triple-A games and even VR titles. For storage, you'll get a 1TB solid-state drive for fast boot times and quicker, more reliable access to all your files and programs; it comes with 16GB of RAM, but you can expand that to a maximum of 24GB if you need more memory later. 

It supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 connectivity for fast internet speeds and the ability to use wireless peripherals. With the HDMI port, you can connect a second monitor for when you want to multitask more efficiently or prefer multi-display setups. It uses a USB-C power cable for fast charging times, giving you 60 percent battery in about an hour; perfect for topping up your laptop battery before work or League of Legends tournament. You can also use the USB-C port or the USB 3.0 inputs for transferring files to flash drives or external hard drives. The battery gives you up to 10 hours of use on a single charge, letting you work and play all day.

Best Performance: Alienware Area-51m R1

What We Like
  • Customizable memory and storage

  • Eye tracking software

  • External display support

What We Don't Like
  • Very expensive

  • Requires two power adapters

  • Not 4K

Whether you're a veteran streamer looking to upgrade your setup or wanting to get started with one of the best gaming laptops available, the Alienware Area-51m R1 is the perfect option. It's built on the Intel Core i9-9900K CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU for all the power you need to game and stream without worrying about dropping frames or using up too much CPU space. It uses Tobii eye-tracking software that allows you to highlight UI elements like rank, killstreaks, or item load-outs for your audience with just a glance. With Alienware Mobile Connect, you can integrate your iOS or Android mobile devices with your laptop for easier screen mirroring and faster access to your messages, notifications, and contacts; this is great for streaming mobile games without a complicated capture card setup. The Area-51m R1 features almost unparalleled customization when it comes to memory and storage. It supports up to 64GB of RAM as well as SSD, HDD, and hybrid drives up to 4TB to give you complete control over your laptop's configuration when you need more memory bandwidth or storage for games and raw video files. 

The 17.3-inch display is compatible with Nvidia G-Sync technology and has a refresh rate of 144Hz for ultra-smooth motion even during the most intense action scenes to prevent screen tearing and motion blur to give you the extra edge you need in online matches. The chassis is built out of a magnesium alloy for long-lasting style and durability and features a honeycomb vent structure for better heat dissipation to keep your components running at optimal temperatures. With a Thunderbolt 3 input, mini DisplayPort, and HDMI input, you can connect external displays for monitoring chat or stream overlays without needing to tab out of your game. The battery gives you up to 6 hours of life on a single charge, so you can play or work almost all day without being tethered to a wall outlet. 

Best Display: GIGABYTE Aero 15X

What We Like
  • Pantone calibrated 4K display

  • Great battery

  • Supports up to 3 external 4K displays

What We Don't Like
  • Older CPU

  • ONly 2 RAM Slots

When it comes to a great looking display on a gaming laptop, the Gigabyte Aero 15X is the only choice. Its 15.6-inch screen has a refresh rate of 144Hz for ultra-smooth motion, and it produces stunning 4K resolution to make triple-A and indie games alike look amazing. It's also Pantone calibrated for true-to-life color accuracy. With an HDMI port, mini DisplayPort input, and Thunderbolt 3 port, the Aero 15X supports 4K output on up to three external displays. This is great for anyone who works in graphic design or video production, as well as Twitch or YouTube Gaming streamers who need multiple monitors to keep tabs on chat, stream, settings, and video effects while they game. The body of the laptop is made of CNC-machined aluminum for a shell that's as durable as it is stylish. 

With an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 video card, the Aero 15X is capable of VR gaming, allowing you to connect headsets like the Oculus Rift of HTC Vive for the most immersive gaming experience possible. The laptop supports up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and has two M.2 PCIe slots for the latest SSDs, allowing you to customize memory and storage when your needs change. The built-in speakers use Dolby Atmos audio technology for clear, cinematic sound and virtual surround sound capabilities with or without headphones. The battery gives you an impressive 10 hours of use on a single charge.

Best Budget: ASUS TUF A15

What We Like
  • Excellent 1080p performance

  • Great value

  • Superb battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Form factor won't appeal to everyone

  • Fans get loud under load

If you're in the market for solid gaming performance on a budget, the ASUS TUF A15 includes a number of features that wouldn't be out of place on a laptop twice the price. Packing a powerful Ryzen 5 processor with a 4.0 GHz boost clock speed, this laptop has some impressive chops when paired with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD. All of these pieces combined with a GTX 1650 powers gaming on a 15-inch FHD 144Hz display.

Besides your usual combination of USB-A ports, the A15 also includes a USB-C port for quick charging and data transfer as well as an HDMI port for connecting to an external display. Other fun features include a fully backlit RGB keyboard making this laptop an excellent value for any budget-conscious gamer.

The A15 can last for up to 12 hours on a single charge, making it both one of the longest-lasting laptops on our list, as well as one of the most affordable.

Runner-Up, Best Budget: Acer Nitro 5

What We Like
  • Solid value

  • 8.5 Hour battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Lower end performance

  • Large and a bit heavy

This gaming laptop from Acer has configurations available for as low as $879. The Acer Nitro 5 will have some difficulty outpacing many of the other picks on our list, but is budget-friendly, holds its own in 1080p gaming, and can last over 8 hours on a single charge.

The basic model of the Nitro 5 includes a core i5-9300H CPU paired with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The Nitro 5 also includes a 1TB HDD for supplementary storage and a GTX 1650 GPU. This build provides more than enough power for the 15-inch 1080p display on the Nitro 5. While its primary focus is gaming, the laptop also features a solid amount of connectivity options, with 3 USB-A, HDMI out, and a single USB-C port.

The Acer Nitro 5 is from the best performer in our lineup but is definitely the most sensible option if you're in the market for a long-lasting gaming laptop that won't break the bank.

The MSI GS 66 Stealth is one of the best gaming laptops available. Its FHD display has a refresh rate of 144Hz to prevent screen tearing and give you buttery-smooth action. The 6-hour battery life lets you play almost all day before needing to plug in. For gamers who need a laptop that travels as well as it plays, the Razer Blade Stealth is the only option. It's incredibly thin and lightweight body is easy to slip into a backpack, laptop bag, or tote to take with you on the subway or plane. The 4K touchscreen is sRGB calibrated for better color accuracy, and the IR camera works with Windows Hello for facial recognition sign-ins and better security. 

About Our Trusted Experts:

Taylor Clemons has over three years of experience writing about games and consumer technology. She has written for Lifewire, Digital Trends, TechRadar, and her own publication, Steam Shovelers.

Laptop Vs. Hybrid

Hybrid laptops, or 2-in-1 laptops, are designed to serve as both a laptop and a tablet. These are devices like the Surface Pro, Asus Chromebook Flip, and the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. Hybrids typically have a touchscreen, and they have either a removable keyboard or a hinged keyboard you can flip around and out of the way when you want to use the device as a tablet.

Although 2-in-1 devices offer additional flexibility, you have to be even more careful when selecting a hybrid. Some have undersized keyboards, some perform well as a tablet but poor as a laptop, and others lack processing power. You may end up with an expensive device that serves as a mediocre laptop and bulky tablet when you could spend the same money and get a stellar laptop. This is not to say there aren’t good 2-in-1 options out there. It just means you have to consider the device’s merits in both categories and decide whether that flexibility is worth the extra cost.

Screen size

Screen size is one of the first things people look at when buying a laptop. Like TV and smartphone screens, laptop screens are typically measured corner-to-corner (diagonally), and not from side-to-side. Most people want a screen that’s large enough so they won’t be squinting when trying to read an email or research a topic, but people have different preferences when it comes to portability. Some people want a laptop that’s as lightweight and portable as possible, while others are going to keep the unit stationary for the most part, and only move it around the house occasionally.

Compact: 11- to 14-inch display

If you’re looking for something ultra-lightweight you can take with you on-the-go, a compact laptop may be a good solution. You can easily find a compact laptop that’s extremely lightweight (under four pounds), and many have slim profiles.

Some people think that compact laptops come with bottom-end specifications, but going with a compact size doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice performance. You can absolutely find compact laptops that are powerful enough for work, like the MacBook Pro 13-inch and the Dell XPS 13. If you don’t want to spend a lot of cash, and you just want a more basic unit, you can also find budget compact laptops for under $300, like the Lenovo IdeaPad S310.

Average: 15- to 16-inch display

Although there’s not exactly a standard when it comes to laptop screen sizes, the 15- to 16-inch range is pretty common—you’ll often see laptops sized at 15.6 inches. This size is ideal for those who keep their laptop at a desk for the most part, but still like to have the option to take it along with them on-the-go.

The price you’ll pay for a laptop this size depends largely on the specifications and the brand. The MacBook Pro 16-inch will cost you upwards of two grand, while you can buy the Acer Aspire 5 for under $500. You can find a Chromebook this size for around $300 to $400.

Large: 17-inch display or larger

Large laptop displays often come with the advantage of better viewing angles. The 17.3-inch size is common in gaming laptops, as a larger screen can make for a better gaming experience. Gamers may find the compromise in portability is well worth it for a bigger, better screen, especially if this new laptop is acting as a desktop replacement. Typically, you’re going to pay upwards of a grand for a good laptop this size. Budget options in this size are rarer, but you can occasionally find options this size for around $500, like the Lenovo IdeaPad 340.

Screen Resolution And Graphics

If you’re buying a laptop for gaming or graphic design, factors like refresh rate and graphics processing are much more significant. Gamers will want a higher refresh rate and a discrete graphics processor from a brand like NVIDIA. But, if you’re buying a laptop for any other purpose, an integrated graphics card is sufficient.

When you look under specifications, each laptop will indicate its screen resolution. Most laptops, even dirt cheap models, will offer at least 1366 x 768 HD resolution. But, if you’re spending any significant amount of cash, it’s best to look for a laptop with at least 1920 x 1080 (FHD). A 4K laptop might be worth it if you’re opting for a large screen size, but not if you’re going with anything smaller than 14 inches.

Keyboard And Controls

Although it sometimes gets neglected during the shopping process, the keyboard is an essential part of a laptop’s quality, functionality, longevity, and comfort. You want your hands to be able to comfortably and naturally sit while you’re typing, so you don’t have to scrunch up or stretch out your fingers to reach all of the keys. Therefore, most people will want to aim for a laptop with a full-size keyboard, which is common in most laptops larger than 11.6 inches. Chiclet-style keyboards are also common in laptops. These keyboards have only slightly elevated keys, and space between the keys, so the keyboard stylishly blends into the laptop’s housing.

What features do you want on your keyboard? Many keyboards have additional features like backlighting to help you see the keys in the dark. Security features like fingerprint readers are becoming more common as well, and you can also find different keyboard layouts. Depending on how you’re going to use the laptop, you may prefer a numeric keypad, as opposed to having top-row numbers. Chromebook keyboards are unique from traditional keyboards in that they don’t have function keys, and they have a search key.

CPU

A laptop's CPU, or central processing unit, is a chip that acts as its brain. Several factors affect a CPU’s performance, from heat to other components in the system, but these are some of the main factors to look at in a CPU that can quickly help determine its quality: The manufacturer, the number of cores, and the clock speed.

For years, Intel has been known for creating powerful and reliable CPUs. You’ll also see brands like AMD. Both Intel and AMD are a pretty safe bet when it comes to processor brands, and it’s a good idea to opt for a more recent generation, rather than choosing a laptop with a processor that’s three generations old.

Most modern processors will have at least two cores. What are CPU cores? Well, they’re basically separate CPUs. And, since a computer isn’t like a human—its brain isn’t as good at multitasking as ours—a computer can benefit from having more than one “brain.” The more cores a computer has, the better it can multitask, and the faster it can compute (generally speaking).

If you have a dual-core processor, does that mean your computer can only perform two tasks at a time? Not really. Processor cores have threads as well, which also help the computer multitask. So, even if your laptop is only a dual-core, modern hyper-threading makes it possible for laptops to efficiently perform multiple tasks simultaneously. You should opt for a higher-core processor if you’re going to be working extensively on your laptop, performing a lot of videos or photo editing, or conducting time-consuming research.

Even more important than the number of cores, your processor’s speed is essential for day-to-day operations. You want a laptop that can keep up with your demands. Speed is measured in GHz, and it’s important for tasks like gaming and watching videos.

RAM

RAM, or random access memory, is important in a laptop because it helps the machine access information it needs quickly. Imagine RAM like your bedroom closet. When you need something from your closet, you can just go in and grab it, as opposed to driving all the way to the storage unit or going into the attic and searching through a bunch of boxes. You can randomly access the items in your closet, without having to go through too much effort or take too much time.

RAM is similar for a computer. That’s why more RAM is better. The more it can randomly access (without having to go through too much effort), the better and faster it can perform. You want a laptop with at least 8GB of RAM if you’re doing any sort of demanding tasks like working. But, if you’re only using your laptop for basic tasks, the bare minimum amount of RAM you can get away with is 4GB.

You may also see laptops with DDR4 RAM and DDR3 RAM. DDR stands for Double Data Rate, and the number represents the version. DDR4 RAM is more efficient, and therefore, it’s preferable over DDR3.

SSD Vs. HDD Storage

Some laptops will have an SSD (solid-state drive), some will have an HDD (hard disk drive), and some will even have both an SSD and an HDD. Because they don’t have any moving parts, SSDs are generally faster and more reliable than HDDs. However, SSDs are significantly more expensive, so for the same cost, you won’t get nearly as much SSD storage space as you’d get with an HDD. But, with cloud storage becoming cheaper and more readily available, storage capacity isn’t as important as it once was either.

If you’re using your laptop for basic functions, 256 GB of SSD storage should be more than sufficient. You may even be able to get away with 128 GB, and you can always add an external hard drive if needed. However, if you’re planning on using your laptop for gaming, video editing, or media, you’ll want a laptop with more storage.

Ports

Does the laptop have enough USB ports? Does it have an HDMI port? What about a card reader? How about a headphone jack? Examine all of the devices you plan on connecting to your laptop—mice, headphones, speakers, monitors—and make sure the laptop has compatible ports for each of your devices.

Battery Capacity

Battery capacity is especially important for those who plan on taking their laptop on the go. If you’re keeping your laptop at a desk most of the time, battery capacity isn’t as important.

A laptop with stellar battery life, like the LG Gram 15, will last around 12 to 13 hours on a single charge. Some laptops will have a much shorter capacity of around five or six hours. Chromebooks tend to have long battery lives because the operating system doesn’t require as much power to operate.

Other Features

If you’re planning on watching a lot of content or listening to music on your laptop, check out the speakers. Most laptops have stereo speakers, but some speakers have special tuning that leads to better sound.

Do a lot of video chatting and social networking? You may want a laptop with a good-quality webcam, and you can also find webcams that support features like face tracking or facial recognition.

Do you use a voice assistant? Check and see if your laptop includes Siri, Cortana, or Google Assistant.

Lastly, if you want a touchscreen, you don’t necessarily have to go with a 2-in-1. If you’re not the typing type, a lot of laptops offer touchscreen technology as well. But, keep in mind these features use a lot of battery power, so you may not want to opt for a touchscreen laptop if you’re seldom going to take advantage of the feature.

Operating Systems, Brands, And Manufacturers

Which is better: Windows or Mac? This has been a great debate for quite some time, and now Chrome has entered into the operating system war. So, should you go with Windows, Mac, or ChromeOS? It depends.

macOS

MacOS laptops are pricey, but the OS is generally considered reliable, secure, and user-friendly. Mac is ideal for work and general use, but it’s not as good for gaming. If you want a MacOS laptop, you don’t have as many product options as you would if you were to go with Windows 10 or ChromeOS. The most affordable MacBook, the MacBook Air, starts at $999 retail, while the most expensive MacBook, the MacBook Pro 16-inch, starts at $2399.

ChromeOS

ChromeOS is a more minimalistic OS, and it’s designed for basic computing, social networking, and web-based activities. Chromebooks run fast, and they typically have good battery capacity. You can also find Chromebooks at very low price points, but they’re much more limited in terms of their features. If you’re doing most of your work online and in collaboration programs like Slack, you could probably even use a Chromebook for work. You can find Chromebooks from a variety of different manufacturers, including Google, HP, Samsung, Lenovo, and Acer.

Windows 10

A Windows 10 laptop will serve well for just about anyone from gamers to professionals to basic users. Windows offers a great deal of flexibility, a variety of programs and features, and you can find Windows laptops at virtually every price range. Windows 10 laptops come in brands like Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus, and more.

Conclusion

When buying a laptop, focus your attention on how you’re going to be using the device, and seek out features and specifications that meet your needs. What makes a model the best laptop in 2020? There’s not exactly a set of blanket specifications that make a good laptop because each person has different preferences. Some people simply want the most laptop they can get for a specific price point, while others want the most powerful laptop (regardless of the price).

As a general rule, try to go for at least 8 GB of RAM, seek out a recent generation processor (Intel is on its 10th generation), and look for SSD storage. You may also want to look for additional features like a full-size keyboard, at least two USB 3.0 ports (which are faster than USB 2.0), at least one HDMI port, audio ports for headphones and speakers, and lengthy battery life.