The 10 Best Laptops of 2019

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Apple 13" MacBook Pro (2018)

Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (2018)

 Courtesy of Best Buy

The 13-inch MacBook Pro from Apple has been a solid laptop for the last few years already, but with the most recent upgrades to its processing power, the 2018 model has become an obvious choice for our top pick. Whether you're a creative professional or just in the market for a reliable and powerful laptop, the latest version of the MacBook Pro corrects users' complaints about the older versions while enhancing the display and adding a few cool pieces of new technology.

This laptop is outfitted with an 8th-generation, quad-core Intel i5 processor that gives you sustained speeds up to 2.3 GHz and turbo-charged speeds up to 3.8 GHz, plus 8Gb of RAM and a choice of solid state hard drives in 256GB or 512GB. It has four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, a solid aluminum construction, and the dazzling Retina Display that is now the gold standard for Apple machines. As part of the latest upgrade, Apple has also included True Tone technology, which reads the color of the ambient light in the room and optimizes the screen colors accordingly. (It’s a great extra feature for visual artists, but those just looking to consume media will appreciate it, too.)

The 2018 MacBook Pro also includes Apple's new Touch Bar feature, which replaces the top row of function keys with a touch-sensitive panel that integrates app controls into your keyboard and allows you to unlock your laptop with Touch ID. All in all, it’s an amazing machine that gives you a good amount of screen real estate, especially for a device that weighs just over three pounds. 

Best Budget: Acer Chromebook R 13

Often overlooked in favor of its Windows and Mac counterparts, the Acer Chrome R 13 is an extremely underrated machine and an incredible value at under $400. Powered by Google’s Chromebook OS, the entire system is based on the Google Chrome browser and features built-in virus protection, lightning-fast boot speeds, and regular auto-updates from Google that continually enhance its performance. With thousands of downloadable apps available in the Google Play Store, the Chromebook environment can easily mimic a Windows or Mac laptop with downloadable versions of ubiquitously used apps like Microsoft Office, along with popular photo and video editing apps. It's also a lot more versatile than a typical laptop — with 360 degrees of flexibility, the R 13 can switch between tablet mode, laptop mode or presentation mode for screen sharing.

Internally, the Chromebook R 13 runs a MediaTek quad-core CPU and has 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (that's not including the 100GB of Google Drive space that’s provided with every Chromebook purchase). The 12-hour battery life far outpaces competitive models in this price range. Additionally, Acer keeps things moving quickly with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and 2x2 MIMO for catching the best signal.

Best for Gamers: ASUS ROG Strix Hero II

If you’re on the hunt for a gaming laptop that checks off all the most important boxes, the ASUS ROG Strix Hero II is an excellent choice. This premium laptop includes just about everything a dedicated PC gamer could want, including a powerful processor, lots of storage and a super-fast display refresh. The customizable AURA RBG gaming keyboard adds some extra flare as well as a lighting bar for a unique ambient lighting effect.

Inside the laptop, an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, GeForce GTX 1060 6GB graphics card, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD and 1TB of HDD storage keep things moving at a lightning-fast pace. The 15.6-inch Full HD IPS screen has a super slim 5mm bezel for minimal distraction and a 144Hz refresh rate which is best in class. With all that power, you’ll need to keep the laptop cooler during intense gameplay — luckily ASUS has thought of everything, and added a HyperCool Pro thermal system with 12V fans to eliminate the risk of overheating.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best gaming laptops and best gaming laptops under $1,000 articles.

Best for Work: Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon

If you need a business-friendly laptop with the processing power to handle your constant multitasking, then check out the Lenovo ThinkPad X1. Offering a premium build that looks good in and out of the boardroom, the X1 is light enough at 2.5 pounds to comfortably bring along in your work bag. The 14-inch IPS anti-glare display is a pretty typical size, large enough for working in multiple windows but not so big it's a burden to transport, and with 2560 x 1440 resolution, it looks great, too. Lenovo’s keyboards are also well-loved for their blend of comfort and performance, which makes the X1 great for typing and toggling with the keyboard-centered mouse.

Inside the laptop, an Intel Core i7 processor pairs with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD space. That’s plenty of room for storage and enough RAM to tackle spreadsheets, word documents and PowerPoint all at once. Intel’s dedicated UHD Graphics 620 card won’t do much for gamers, but it’s good enough for streaming movies in 4K when the workday is finished.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best business laptops article.

Runner-Up, Best for Work: Lenovo ThinkPad T480

If you frequently travel for work — or like to get a head start on the day during your morning train ride — your laptop's battery life becomes very important. The Lenovo ThinkPad T480 is a highly capable business laptop that prioritizes battery life so you can make all your meetings without running out of juice. It has two three-cell internal batteries, one of which is removable. Paired together, these batteries can deliver anywhere between 15-20 hours of continuous use. That far outpaces the life of nearly every ultrabook on the market. In the event of a low battery, Power Bridge technology allows users to swap in a fully charged battery without turning off the computer.

The ThinkPad also has one of the industry’s best keyboard and trackpad combinations and a range of external ports that make it easy to connect ethernet, USB-C devices and a media reader for SD cards. Powering the computer is a combination Intel Core i5 processor along with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.

Best Portability: Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Labeled as a 2-in-1 computer, Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 is actually capable of three different modes of use: tablet mode, laptop mode (when the Type Cover keyboard is attached), and studio mode (where the screen is propped up slightly for writing and drawing). Although it's basically a large tablet, the Surface Pro 6 has the power of a laptop and can function as one once you attach the keyboard.

If you want a laptop that's hyper-versatile and extremely portable, the Surface Pro 6 truly is two devices in one. It's especially good for people who are comfortable transitioning between touchscreen functionality and typing. Students, in particular, will gravitate toward the Pro’s ability to work in nearly every type of environment. Weighing only 1.7 pounds without the keyboard, it’s the perfect size for a backpack or book bag. But the slim size doesn’t mean Microsoft skipped out on power — inside the Surface Pro 6 is an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. Paired with a battery that can last up to 13.5 hours on average, it has more than enough power to get you through the day. That you have a choice of keyboard and hardware colors makes it fun to personalize.

Want to take a look at some other options? Read through our best 2-in-1 laptops​ article.

Runner-Up, Best Portability: Acer Swift 7

Acer Swift 7

Acer.com

Don’t let the Acer Swift 7’s thinness fool you: its slim, 0.35-inch frame is packed with power. The 14-inch CineCrystal IPS touchscreen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 for vivid, clear images. The battery can last up to 10 hours to keep up with your busy day, whether or not you’re in the office. The 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-7Y75 is not the most powerful on the market, but it can meet your work and entertainment needs and is bolstered by the addition of built-in LTE compatibility and a fingerprint sensor to use while logging in.

The Acer Swift 7 is available in all black or a black-on-gold option, and everything from the screen bezels to the trackpad to the fingerprint reader is wrapped in chrome bands. The device is designed to feel as luxurious as it looks: the backlit keyboard is pleasant to type on and at only 2.6 pounds, it's a very portable device.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best Acer laptops

Best Design: Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13

 Dell.com

The Dell XPS 13 is a premium ultraportable laptop designed not only for looks but also for functionality and performance. One noticeable and welcome design change in the 9380 model is the placement of an improved webcam above the 13.3-inch screen, instead of previous versions that awkwardly aimed it up your nose from below the screen. But going beyond that, the XPS 13 maintains or improves on the features and build that make it a top-of-the-line machine.

Whether you opt for a classic platinum silver exterior or a more fashionable frost or rose gold, the XPS 13 embodies style and elegance. Thanks to its “InfinityEdge” design, you’ll get almost impossibly thin bezels surrounding an attractive IPS display. It weighs a very portable 2.7 pounds, but its slimness—0.46 inches down to 0.3 inches at its thinnest—is even more impressive. This doesn’t leave room for HDMI or full-size USB-A ports, but Dell does include three USB-C ports, two of which have Thunderbolt 3 capability.

You have several customizable hardware configurations to choose from, with high-end versions packing a 1.8 GHz Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM. The top models also offer SSD hard drives with up to 2TB of storage and a 4K Ultra HD touchscreen option that adds striking visuals to its already great-looking, hard-working design. 

Best 2-in-1: LG gram 2-in-1

The LG gram 2-in-1 embodies the flexibility and performance needed to excel both as a laptop and as a tablet. At 2.5 pounds, the 14-inch machine has a very noticeable lightness to it. It sports a 1920 x 1080-pixel touchscreen that benefits from the crisp display and wide viewing angles offered by in-plane switching (IPS) technology, and it comes with a responsive and accurate Wacom AES 2.0 active stylus pen. Switching over to laptop mode gives you a keyboard with decent travel to the keys and a traditional buttonless touchpad below it. A USB-C port is among the ultraportable’s inputs, though there’s no support for the faster Thunderbolt 3 connection.

This model is available in only one configuration: a 1.8 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and 512GB solid-state drive (SSD) storage space. The quad-core “Whiskey Lake” processor is one of Intel’s most powerful CPUs for ultraportables, so there’s more than enough oomph for most productivity work and some media editing. Still, even with its power and size, it gets longer battery life (listed at 21 hours depending on usage) than a lot of other ultraportables in its class. 

Best with Stylus: Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

 Best Buy

You can put the 2.9-pound 0.6-inch-thick Samsung Notebook 9 Pro to work in a number of ways. Type on the backlit keyboard in laptop mode, then swivel it around on its sturdy 360-degree hinge to use it as a tablet with a full HD touchscreen. It’s available in 13- or 15-inch varieties and the base model’s 2.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor with 8GB RAM is enough to provide solid on-the-go performance and battery life.

But don’t be surprised to find yourself using it most often with the included S Pen stylus, a lightweight and impressive accessory that will be very familiar to users of Samsung’s Galaxy Note line. The S Pen is an inductive stylus that doesn’t need battery power and is always paired. A built-in storage slot at the front of the Notebook 9 Pro ensures it’s always on-hand and accessible. Writing or drawing on the screen with the S Pen feels as precise and fluid as writing on paper, thanks to tilt controls and over 4,000 levels of pressure sensitivity. Combined with Windows Ink and Samsung’s Air Command menu of options, the S Pen offers a smart, seamless experience for doodling, note-taking, highlighting, and more.