The 8 Best Laptops of 2023

These are the best laptops for work, gaming, graphic design, and more

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Many people have replaced desktop PCs with laptops, but there are numerous choices and specs to consider. For most users, the choice is whether they want a machine running Windows or Apple's macOS. Many find Apple machines easier to use, but Windows laptops offer more flexibility.

Your needs will largely determine what you need out of a laptop. If you want to replace your desktop computer, you'll want more power in your device. If you travel often, you might prefer something lightweight and easy to carry. However, you can always enhance your laptop with accessories such as secondary monitors, keyboards, and external hard drives.

Our experts have looked at dozens of laptops, and we've rounded up our favorites for productivity, gaming, and other essential tasks.

Best Windows

Dell XPS 13 9310

Dell XPS 13 9310


What We Like
  • Extremely portable

  • Amazing 4K display

  • Keyboard and trackpad are both awesome

  • Battery life is great

What We Don't Like
  • Fingerprint sensor is touchy

  • Not a lot of ports

Dell's XPS laptops consistently beat the competition with slim, impeccable designs and components. The Dell XPS 9310 is no exception. It's available with up to 32GB of RAM (memory), 2TB of solid-state storage, and has a 4K display that's color accurate enough for photography. It's also made from aluminum and carbon fiber like its predecessor, the Dell XPS 7390, and features the latest Intel processors. 

Like other models in the XPS lineup, the 9310's minimal design means there aren't many ports, but it's still enough for most users. The only minor downside is that the fingerprint sensor can be somewhat unreliable. Also, remember that this laptop doesn't include a dedicated graphics card, so it's not ideal for gaming or graphics-intensive tasks. However, it is fast and powerful enough for most day-to-day use and is a well-rounded laptop.

Screen Size: 13.4 inches | Resolution: 1900x1200 | CPU: Intel Core i7-1185G7 | GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Touchscreen: Yes

Best Ultraportable, Apple

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (M1, 2020)

Apple MacBook Air M1


What We Like
  • Super fast

  • Keyboard is awesome

  • Gorgeous display

  • Great battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Limited ports

  • Bad webcam

If you prefer Mac to PC, Apple's Macbook Air from 2020 is still compelling. Beyond its snappy performance, you'll find a remarkably great keyboard for a thin and light laptop. Our reviewer saw up to 12 hours of performance before needing a charge and says, "Apple made bold claims about an all-day battery in the run-up to the release of the M1 MacBook Air, and they delivered."

On the downside, its limited port selection and sub-par webcam bring it down slightly. While it could have used some upgrades beyond the Apple M1 chip that debuted with this Macbook Air, it's still a fantastic option for fans of Apple products.

Screen Size: 13.3 inches | Resolution: 2560x1600 | CPU: Apple M1 | GPU: Apple 8-core GPU | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Touchscreen: No

Best for College Students

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

Lifewire / Matthew S. Smith

What We Like
  • 3:2 aspect ratio is useful

  • Fast performance

  • Great trackpad

What We Don't Like
  • No LTE support

  • Lackluster display

Microsoft's Surface laptops are as innovative as they are powerful, and the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is a particularly excellent choice for college students. It's versatile and productivity-focused with its 3:2 aspect ratio. This taller screen gives you more space to read and write than the more common widescreen 16:9 displays.

The Surface Laptop 4 features a responsive keyboard and trackpad but lacks 4G LTE cellular data. The display is unexceptional but makes up for that with the excellent battery life that should get you through an entire day in class. Our reviewer saw up to nine hours of battery life while completing tasks, including web browsing and photo editing.

The Surface Laptop 4 also has a powerful processor and plenty of RAM (computer memory) but no dedicated graphics processing unit (GPU), which is fine for a laptop intended for school and business work.

Screen Size: 13.5 inches | Resolution: 2256x1504 | CPU: AMD Ryzen 4680U or Intel Core i5/i7 | GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics or Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB RAM | Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD | Touchscreen: Yes

Best for Power

Acer Predator Triton 300 SE

Acer Predator Triton 300 SE

Courtesy of Gaming Lyfe

What We Like
  • Very portable for such a powerful laptop

  • Display is gorgeous

  • Monster performance

  • Solid wireless connectivity

What We Don't Like
  • Unimpressive battery life

  • Excessive bloatware

The Acer Predator Triton 300 SE has an understated but powerful look. While it looks more like a business laptop, it's made for gaming—powered by an eleventh-generation Core-i7 processor, 32GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 dedicated graphics card (or video card). The tradeoff is that the Triton 300 SE suffers from reasonably poor battery life compared to less powerful devices.

Our reviewer points out a few other minor issues, including poorly located ports that complicate cable management and more than the average amount of pre-installed applications (bloatware). However, the 14-inch display and built-in speakers are both top-notch. Overall you couldn't ask for more power inside such a portable laptop. It's perfect for gaming, video editing, and other graphics-intensive tasks.

Screen Size: 14 inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 | CPU: Intel Core i7-11375H | GPU: Nvidia RTX 3060 | RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB RAM | Storage: 512GB SSD | Touchscreen: No

Best Ultraportable, Windows

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go


What we Like
  • Very portable

  • 3:2 aspect ratio is useful

  • Full touch screen

  • Keyboard and trackpad are outstanding

What We Don't Like
  • Not much power

  • Limited ports

  • Poor camera

Microsoft's Surface Go laptop offers snappy performance for essential productivity tasks in an ultra-portable package. It features a 3:2 aspect ratio screen, which is ideal for writing. In our testing, we found the keyboard and trackpad to be excellent, and the trackpad is almost unrivaled in devices this size.

The downside is that this isn't a powerful laptop and tends to get hot if you push its capabilities. Also, the camera isn't great, and your selection of ports is relatively limited. With that said, you're getting a super thin and light machine with a whopping 13 hours of battery life.

Screen Size: 12.4 inches | Resolution: 1536x1024 | CPU: Intel Core i5-1035G1 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB SSD | Touchscreen: Yes

Best Design

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021 model)

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021 model)


What We Like
  • Slick trackpad and keyboard

  • Great design

  • Fast refresh rate

  • Great price

What We Don't Like
  • Missing a webcam

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 is a marvel in appearance and performance. It looks impressive and has the hardware inside it to back up those looks with the power you need for high-end gaming or graphically intense productivity.

Its 2560x1440 screen has a high 120Hz refresh rate, so it can take full advantage of its Nvidia graphics card and powerful AMD Ryzen processor. Additionally, you get a full terabyte of solid-state storage, with plenty of room for games and other software.

Unlike many other gaming-capable laptops, the G14 has decent battery life and is small, lightweight, and thus more portable than you might expect. The only major downside we found while testing the G14 is that it doesn't have a built-in webcam, which is a disadvantage in a world where nearly everyone communicates via Zoom.

Screen Size: 14 inches | Resolution: 2560x1440 | CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB SSD | Touchscreen: No

Best Budget

Lenovo IdeaPad 1

IdeaPad 1 (11”, Intel) laptop
What we like
  • Extremely cheap

  • 14-inch display is a portable yet functional form factor

  • Thin and light

What we don't like
  • Display resolution is only 1366x768

  • Low power

The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 is one of the cheapest fully functional laptops you can buy, and though you've got to make more than a few sacrifices due to that low price, that hasn't held it back from being one of the top laptops.

The IdeaPad 1 has only 4GB of RAM, 64GB of solid-state drive storage, and an Intel Celeron N4020 processor. However, if you need a laptop to get work done and don't need it to do much other than word processing and web-based tasks, then it's perfectly adequate.

It does come with Windows 11 in S mode, which limits the device's capabilities. However, considering the low power of the IdeaPad 1's hardware, that may be desirable, and you can always turn off S mode if it bothers you.

Screen Size: 14 inches | Resolution: 1366x768 | CPU: Intel Celeron N4020 | GPU: Integrated | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB SSD | Touchscreen: No

Best for Professionals

HP Zbook Firefly 15 G8

HP Zbook Firefly 15 G8

Courtesy of B&H

What we like
  • Thin and light design

  • 5G connectivity

  • Superb speakers

  • Professional features

What we don't like
  • No SD card reader

  • Pricey

Professionals require tools they can rely on to get the job done, and the HP Zbook Firefly 15 G8 is one of the most reliable laptops you can buy. It's also loaded with powerful components to handle everything but the most graphically intensive tasks. These features include 32GB of RAM, an eleventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor, and an Nvidia T500 graphics card.

The laptop has a bright, color-accurate 4K monitor and the latest and greatest connectivity capabilities. Highlights include a SIM card slot to hook the Firefly to a 5G cellular network instead of relying on Wi-Fi networks. It's pricey, and an SD card reader would have been a welcome addition, but overall the Zbook Firefly 15 G8 is a pro-grade laptop.

Screen Size: 15.6 inches | Resolution: 1920x1080 | CPU: Intel Core i7 | GPU: Nvidia T500 or Integrated | RAM: 16GB or 32GB | Storage: 512GB or 1TB SSD | Touchscreen: Available with some configurations

What to Look for in a Laptop


Which size of display you choose will largely determine the size of the computer. At the small end, an 11-inch screen means a super portable computer, but not a lot of space on which to work, while a 17-inch screen gives you desktop PC screen real estate, but at the cost of portability.

Most people can go with something in the middle (14 or 15 inches offer an excellent compromise) and don't need to worry too much about resolution in a laptop, so long as the screen is at least 1080p. 4K is nice but really only noticeable in larger 15- or 17-inch laptop displays. If you're a gamer, look for a display with at least a 144hz refresh rate.


Look for at least a 514GB SSD, unless you're going for a really cheap device and don't need much onboard storage. Also, traditional hard disk drives (HDD) are pretty much extinct in modern laptops, so avoid them if possible.

Find 8GB of RAM at a minimum, though 16GB is preferable, and 32GB is almost a necessity for high-end gaming and graphically intensive productivity (such as photo editing or graphic design). You'll also want the latest generation of processors from AMD, Intel, or Apple, and if you're doing any gaming, you'll want a dedicated graphics card.

Operating System

Most laptops run Windows 10 or 11. Windows 11 may be the latest, but it isn't fundamentally much different from its predecessor Windows 10, so don't hesitate to buy a laptop with this older operating system that still receives updates and support from the manufacturer. If you buy an Apple device, you'll be using macOS, and Chromebooks run ChromeOS, which is very similar to a web browser.

  • What size laptop should I buy?

    For frequent travel, it's a good idea to go for a laptop with a screen 14-inches or smaller. However, this often means sacrificing processing and graphics power, though if you can afford to pay more, you can find highly compact and very powerful computers. For productivity, a larger screen is nice, and the larger the laptop, the better the price to power ratio.

  • Should I buy a 2-in-1 laptop?

    Most 2-in-1 laptops are highly flexible machines that work either as laptops or tablets. If you need both tablet and laptop functionality, this is a great way to reduce the number of devices you own.

    However, you tend to pay more for a 2-in-1 laptop than a traditional laptop, with traditional laptops tending to give you more bang for your buck in terms of computing power. Also, traditional laptops are usually more robust.

  • Do I need a graphics card?

    If you're planning to use your laptop for school or business, doing light productivity tasks, then you can save a lot of money by not buying a laptop with a graphics card. However, if you plan to do gaming, photo editing, or any other graphically intensive task, then you want to buy a laptop with a reasonably powerful graphics card.

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