The 11 Best Windows Laptops to Buy in 2018

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Looking for a new laptop, but refuse to give in to purchasing Apple's Macbook? Then a Windows laptop should be on your radar. But there are many different ones to choose from and you'll have to take into consideration important factors such as memory, battery life, size and budget, to name a few. To help, we're combed through the best Windows laptops from top computer powerhouses such as Microsoft, Dell, HP, Asus and Lenovo, so you're sure to find one that's perfect for you.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Dell XPS9360-5000SLV-PUS

Dell XPS9360-5000SLV-PUS
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Widely regarded as the best Windows laptop available today, Dell’s XPS9360-5000SLV-PUS has new improvements in performance and battery life (14 hours). It’s hard not to be impressed with its design, which has a 13.3-inch (3200 x 1800) QHD+ display in a package that’s closer to the 11-inch MacBook Air. Under the hood, there's a 7th generation Intel Core i5 3.5GHz processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Not only is it powered by Windows 10, but its the poster child for gorgeous displays with its near borderless InfinityEdge screen.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best Dell laptops

Best Value: Asus ZenBook UX330UA

Asus ZenBook UX330UA
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Identifying the best value Windows laptop is a challenge given the level of competition, but the Asus ZenBook UX330UA is well worth the category win. With a 13.3-inch wide-view Full HD display, 7th generation Core i5 2.5GHz processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD, there’s plenty of performance without the wallet shock. Weighing just around 2.68 pounds, it lacks the sleek look and feel of a true Ultrabook, but, with more than 10 hours of battery life, you’ll quickly learn to love it.

Add in its excellent SonicMaster sound control with preset profiles to help maximize audio quality and you’ll never question how you spent hours watching Netflix marathons on your laptop. Additionally, Asus included a fingerprint reader for quick and secure login that goes beyond the usual password for more peace of mind.

Check out our guide to the best Asus laptops​ you can buy today. 

Most Versatile: Microsoft Surface Pro

The Surface Pro, Microsoft’s newest addition to the Surface lineup, makes for a highly portable computer that is ideal for both work and play. It's compatible with the full suite of Surface hardware, and you'll most likely want to purchase the separate Microsoft Type Cover (also offered in a bundle) and the Surface Pen to really maximize this device's functionality. The additional hardware transforms the Surface Pro tablet into a full laptop and drawing pad. To type (and otherwise use it as a laptop) simply open the built-in kickstand and attached the Type Cover. Lower the kickstand into "Studio Mode" for comfortable writing or drawing with the Surface Pen, or for typing directly onto the screen. Simply remove the keyboard and fold in the kickstand to use the Pro as a tablet. This device is ultra-portable, ultra-versatile, and instantly convertible for your needs.

A laptop this portable begs for plenty of power, and the Surface Pro delivers with an Intel Core i5 processor, 256GB of internal storage and 8GB of RAM. (It may look like a tablet, but it certainly packs the power of a full laptop). It also has a whopping 13.5 hours of battery life, which is 50 percent more than its predecessor, the Surface 4. Starting at 1.66 pounds (without the Type Cover), the Surface Pro is an incredibly smart choice for a laptop that can go anywhere and do anything. 

Most Portable: HP Stream 11

HP Stream 11
Courtesy of Amazon.com

With an eye-catching blue design, the Stream 11 won’t be confused for a powerhouse computer, but its price point makes it hard to ignore. Ideally, the recommendation for the Stream 11 would be for a secondary computer in the house, a kid’s first computer or something inexpensive for road warriors who don’t want to lug their main machine. It's powered by an Intel Celeron N3060 1.6GHz dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB eMMC drive and has an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 display (but there’s no reason to purchase the Stream 11 if Photoshop is your primary use case).

Battery life lasts 10 plus hours and the whole unit weighs just 2.57 pounds. It runs the full Windows 10 suite and buyers will get a one-year subscription to Office 365 including Word, PowerPoint and Excel, making it even more ideal for business users.

See more reviews of our favorite laptops under $500 available for purchase.

Runner-Up, Most Portable: Asus ZenBook S

Asus has welcomed a newcomer into the Windows laptop domain, and this one prioritizes transportability and comfort. Ultraportable at 2.3 pounds and 0.5-inches thick, the laptop stimulates the experience of writing at a desk thanks to its ErgoLift Hinge, which allows the screen to tilt upward by an inch and the keyboard to tilt at 5.5-degrees. This is meant to ensure easier typing, enhance speaker quality, and create more airflow beneath the chassis.

Asus has still managed to pack some of today’s top specs within the barely-there metal frame: the highest-end option includes an Intel Core i7-855OU processor, Intel HD Graphics 620, 16GB of memory, and 1TB SSD. Built both for every day and for days on the go, the 50Wh lithium-polymer battery can last 13.5 hours from a single charge and the Tru2Life video technology enhances image contrast and sharpness for great-looking media streaming. While the ZenBook S isn’t the cheapest, or even thinnest, Windows laptop, its sophisticated design and vibrant color options make it a strong contender. 

Best for Business: Lenovo Ideapad 700

With its professional and useful laptops, Lenovo has always been a great brand for businesspeople. The Windows 10 Lenovo Ideapad 700 laptop continues in this tradition with a sleek design and powerful specs.

The Ideapad 700 has a 15.6-inch screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution and has a 256GB SSD hard drive for storage. This thing speeds along with 12GB of RAM, a 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 graphics card. It’s a little heavy at five pounds, but at least it is just .89 inches thin, so it still looks nice. The battery is a little ho-hum at four hours, but this is in line with many other business laptops.

Final note: The Amazon description of this item calls it a gaming laptop for some reason, but it doesn’t have the wild looks of many gaming laptops. Ignore that and buy the Ideapad 700 with full confidence that it will serve you well for your business needs.

See more reviews of our favorite business laptops available for purchase.

Best Battery: Surface Book

Surface Book
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Microsoft’s recently revamped Surface Book solidifies the company's place as a top-notch homegrown manufacturer with a price tag that matches. Fortunately, that price tag means big performance. The unit comes packed with an Intel Core i7 processor, 512GB SSD, 16GB of RAM and up to 16-hours of battery life. The 13.5-inch PixelSense display offers Microsoft’s outstanding set of touch-sensitive functionality, including the use of the Surface Pen (separately purchased), which works with Windows Ink for naturally capturing notes on the display. Beyond writing on the screen, the overall performance in this 2-in-1 is boosted by the inclusion of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M dedicated graphics card that is ideal for gaming or even running apps such as Photoshop.

Best 2-in-1: Surface Pro 4

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 features outstanding design and performance courtesy of its 12.3-inch PixelSense display, Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD. There’s so much to enjoy about this tablet/laptop combination that it’s hard to know where to start. Designed to serve as the anti-iPad offering the same level of computing as a standard laptop in an iPad-like design, Microsoft offers a slew of upgrades, including faster processors, RAM and storage. The newly redesigned type cover offers a familiar typing and mousepad experience as a laptop without the weight. As a 2-in-1 machine, you can quickly switch from computing to tablet mode with a quick separation of the magnets and attaching the type cover to the display and back again, all within seconds.

See more reviews of our favorite 2-in-1 laptops​ available for purchase.

Best Gaming: Alienware 17-inch R4

Alienware 17-inch R4
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Alienware’s 17-inch R4 dedicated gaming laptop is a large computer (9.7 pounds), but the hefty weight allows for internal components that gamers will rave about. Powered by a 7th generation Intel Core 3.8GHz processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD (booting), plus a 1TB 7200RPM hard drive and a GTX 1060 with Tobii gaming card, the R4 is ready to take on the newest game releases with ease. The 17.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) isn’t the most upgraded display in town, but it still looks great.

Thanks to a build that can handle higher total wattage and an upgraded ventilating system, the R4 won't overheat even if you're gaming into the wee hours. Additionally, Alienware included an upgraded speaker box for a clearer and more realistic audio experience. On top of the audio, the TactX keyboard enables over 108 keyboard commands with a 2.2mm of key travel maximizing rapid response time.

See more reviews of our favorite gaming laptops available for purchase.

Best for Video Editing: Dell XPS 15

Video editors looking to use Windows should begin the search for their next PC with the Dell XPS 15 — this model sets the bar for what a video editing powerhouse can be. This laptop instantly distinguishes itself with a brilliant 15.6-inch 4K Ultra HD InfinityEdge touchscreen display, which looks almost bezel-less. This provides a large, super-sharp screen for viewing your project. It's powered by a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 Quad Core processor (up to 3.8GHz) for handling complex programs, plus it has a whopping 1.0TB of SSD storage to accommodate large files and 32GB of RAM to smoothly handle even the most demanding video editing tools. The XPS 15 runs Windows 10.

Packed with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card and 4GB of dedicated VRAM, the Dell XPS 15 was built with video editing in mind. Plugging in external accessories is no issue either with the included Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, and dual USB 3.0 ports, which make it easy to hook the Dell up to a monitor. There's also an SD card slot so you can upload external video clips. 

The whole thing measures 21 x 12 x 2 inches and weighs about six pounds. When all is said and done, the Dell XPS 15 is a true powerhouse of a laptop with the hardware to tackle even your most complex video projects. 

Best for Music Production: HP Spectre x360-15

A combination of excellent features and powerful performance, the HP Spectre x360-15 is the best choice for music production. Right away the x360 differentiates itself with incredible audio quality, thanks to built-in dual Bang & Olufsen speakers that come in handy when sampling music. This laptop is also filled to the brim with top-notch hardware including an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage and an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card with 2GB of dedicated RAM, which is great for music production.

The 15.6-inch 4K IPS display delivers sharp visual detail on music production software while the 2-in-1 form factor makes it painless to convert between laptop and tablet mode for greater portability. Weighing 4.4 pounds, the x360 won't qualify as an Ultrabook, but at 0.7-inches thin it adds significantly more power than comparably-sized laptops. Throw in HDMI output connectivity as well as USB Type C and USB 3.1 inputs and there are enough added connectivity ports options to hook up to external speakers and a monitor for additional workspace.