Product Reviews

Our 10 Favorite Laptops, From MacBooks to Chromebooks

If you’re looking to buy a laptop, we’re here to make your decision easier. Below are some of our favorite machines we’ve reviewed over the past several months. As new models make their way across our desks, we’ll update the selection.

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Apple MacBook Pro With Touch Bar

The lastest MacBook Pro comes in three flavors: two 13-inch models and a 15-incher. They all have thinner bodies, better screens, and trackpads so big they blot out the sun. But the important addition is the Touch Bar, a capacitive strip of OLED glass above the keyboard that’s supposed to change everything, again, about how you use your laptop. Of course, Apple expects you to pay up: the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar starts at $1,800. But it’s thinner, lighter, and prettier, and the Touch Bar is remarkably well-executed.
Read our full review. | Buy on Amazon.

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The lastest MacBook Pro comes in three flavors: two 13-inch models and a 15-incher. They all have thinner bodies, better screens, and trackpads so big they blot out the sun. But the important addition is the Touch Bar, a capacitive strip of OLED glass above the keyboard that’s supposed to change everything, again, about how you use your laptop. Of course, Apple expects you to pay up: the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar starts at $1,800. But it’s thinner, lighter, and prettier, and the Touch Bar is remarkably well-executed.
Read our full review. | Buy on Amazon.

Microsoft Surface Book

Like other machines in the hybrid PC market, the Surface Book’s 13.5-inch touchscreen detaches from its mechanical-and-magnetic grip to become a take-anywhere Windows 10 tablet. Unlike the competition, this 2-in-1 laptop is made by Microsoft, so the same company owns the whole stack. In the current Surface Book iteration, you get premium materials, sleek looks, and a lighter and thinner body than the older model. Pricing starts at $1,500 for a Core i5 but goes up to $2,520 for the “Performance Base” with a Core i7. Read our full review. | Buy on Amazon.

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Like other machines in the hybrid PC market, the Surface Book’s 13.5-inch touchscreen detaches from its mechanical-and-magnetic grip to become a take-anywhere Windows 10 tablet. Unlike the competition, this 2-in-1 laptop is made by Microsoft, so the same company owns the whole stack. In the current Surface Book iteration, you get premium materials, sleek looks, and a lighter and thinner body than the older model. Pricing starts at $1,500 for a Core i5 but goes up to $2,520 for the “Performance Base” with a Core i7. Read our full review. | Buy on Amazon.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Lenovo introduced the X1 Carbon five years ago, and the business-centric laptop returns once again, now in its fifth generation. Lenovo nailed the formula awhile ago and the Carbon remains highly regarded by business users, so the company isn’t going to screw with a winning design. It’s still a 14-inch notebook, clad in carbon fiber to keep it tough but light, and packed with ports. Battery life, long a sore spot with the Carbon line, improves dramatically for 2017, surpassing eight hours in our tests. Pricing starts at $1,329. A Core i5 with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD will run you about $1,610. Read our full review. | Buy Now.

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Lenovo introduced the X1 Carbon five years ago, and the business-centric laptop returns once again, now in its fifth generation. Lenovo nailed the formula awhile ago and the Carbon remains highly regarded by business users, so the company isn’t going to screw with a winning design. It’s still a 14-inch notebook, clad in carbon fiber to keep it tough but light, and packed with ports. Battery life, long a sore spot with the Carbon line, improves dramatically for 2017, surpassing eight hours in our tests. Pricing starts at $1,329. A Core i5 with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD will run you about $1,610. Read our full review. | Buy Now.

Dell XPS 13

The winner of numerous “Best of Year” laptop awards (including ours) the Dell XPS 13 remains a favorite. No matter if you grab the 6th-gen or more current 7th-gen Intel version ($1,259), the XPS 13 is awesome. While we can point to any one of its unique features—and we’d be remiss in not mentioning its practically bezel-free edge-to-edge display—its design and array of options make this Dell stellar. Read More. | Buy on Amazon.

XPS 13 9360 Touch Notebook

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The winner of numerous “Best of Year” laptop awards (including ours) the Dell XPS 13 remains a favorite. No matter if you grab the 6th-gen or more current 7th-gen Intel version ($1,259), the XPS 13 is awesome. While we can point to any one of its unique features—and we’d be remiss in not mentioning its practically bezel-free edge-to-edge display—its design and array of options make this Dell stellar. Read More. | Buy on Amazon.

Razer Blade Pro

The new Razer Blade Pro does not seem like a real laptop. It seems like an April Fools’ gag from Power Computing Magazine circa 2003. While Razer has been making high-performance gaming laptops with shockingly slim frames since 2011, none of them have been as over-the-top loaded as the latest Blade Pro. It all starts with a 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU that overclocks to 3.9GHz, which is easily the most modest thing about this laptop. It has a 99-watt-hour battery, the largest power cell legally allowed on an airplane. The 4K display is a massive 17.3 inches. It costs $4,000. We could go on! The newest version bumps the processor and comes certified by THX. Read More. | Buy on Amazon.

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The new Razer Blade Pro does not seem like a real laptop. It seems like an April Fools’ gag from Power Computing Magazine circa 2003. While Razer has been making high-performance gaming laptops with shockingly slim frames since 2011, none of them have been as over-the-top loaded as the latest Blade Pro. It all starts with a 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU that overclocks to 3.9GHz, which is easily the most modest thing about this laptop. It has a 99-watt-hour battery, the largest power cell legally allowed on an airplane. The 4K display is a massive 17.3 inches. It costs $4,000. We could go on! The newest version bumps the processor and comes certified by THX. Read More. | Buy on Amazon.

AVADirect Avant P750DM2-G

With a starting price of $1,559, AVADirect has put high-performance gaming rigs within reach of the mass market. Weighing over 7 pounds, this 15.6-inch laptop (1080p resolution, no touchscreen) strains the limits of portability but sports the latest PC hardware. You get the latest-gen CPUs, 16 gigs of RAM, and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 for the graphics. (Yep, it’s VR-ready too.) As impressive as those specs are, this Avant machine can support up to 64GB of RAM and a full hard drives of any type. Nicely done. Read More. | Buy Now.

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With a starting price of $1,559, AVADirect has put high-performance gaming rigs within reach of the mass market. Weighing over 7 pounds, this 15.6-inch laptop (1080p resolution, no touchscreen) strains the limits of portability but sports the latest PC hardware. You get the latest-gen CPUs, 16 gigs of RAM, and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 for the graphics. (Yep, it’s VR-ready too.) As impressive as those specs are, this Avant machine can support up to 64GB of RAM and a full hard drives of any type. Nicely done. Read More. | Buy Now.

Apple MacBook

If you have a 5-year-old PC, the iPad Pro is a huge departure that requires completely overhauling how you work. If you want to make the transition, go ahead. There are many upsides. But if you want to upgrade your laptop, not completely blow up your computing life, this is the upgrade you want. It’s faster than whatever you’re using now, guaranteed. It has a fantastic screen. It’s light enough to finally get you out of the chiropractor’s office. Best of all, you already know how to use it. It’s a laptop.
Read our full review. | Buy on Amazon.

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If you have a 5-year-old PC, the iPad Pro is a huge departure that requires completely overhauling how you work. If you want to make the transition, go ahead. There are many upsides. But if you want to upgrade your laptop, not completely blow up your computing life, this is the upgrade you want. It’s faster than whatever you’re using now, guaranteed. It has a fantastic screen. It’s light enough to finally get you out of the chiropractor’s office. Best of all, you already know how to use it. It’s a laptop.
Read our full review. | Buy on Amazon.

Acer Swift 7

If portability’s your bag, it really is hard to beat the Swift 7. This is easily the thinnest and lightest laptop in the 13.3-inch category we’ve seen to date, and there doesn’t seem to be much fat left to trim. Considering the fairly low-end specs on the machine, it manages to turn in better than expected performance. If there’s a glaring hole in the Swift 7’s design, it’s in the realm of connectivity. You get two USB-C ports, side by side on the right edge of the laptop. And that’s it. But for under $1,000, you get something that’s crazy thin, crazy light, and maybe all you need. Read our full review. | Buy on Amazon.

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If portability’s your bag, it really is hard to beat the Swift 7. This is easily the thinnest and lightest laptop in the 13.3-inch category we’ve seen to date, and there doesn’t seem to be much fat left to trim. Considering the fairly low-end specs on the machine, it manages to turn in better than expected performance. If there’s a glaring hole in the Swift 7’s design, it’s in the realm of connectivity. You get two USB-C ports, side by side on the right edge of the laptop. And that’s it. But for under $1,000, you get something that’s crazy thin, crazy light, and maybe all you need. Read our full review. | Buy on Amazon.

Lenovo Yoga Book

It’s hard to describe what the Yoga Book exactly is, because it wants to be many things. It’s a tablet, surely, with a crisp 10-inch display. But then! Fold it open, and on the half of the device where the keyboard usually resides is a digitizer, complete with a stylus. And then! That same half of the Yoga Book doubles as a “Halo keyboard,” with flat, capacitive touch keys. It’s like typing on buzzing glass. Did I mention it comes in both Android and Windows varieties? It does. Forget a 2-in-1; we’re looking at four or more uses in a single package. All at the completely sane prices of $500 for the Android version, or $550 for Windows 10. It’s innovative, it’s gorgeous, and it’s incredibly adaptable. But it’s not for everyone. Read our full review. | Buy Now.

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It’s hard to describe what the Yoga Book exactly is, because it wants to be many things. It’s a tablet, surely, with a crisp 10-inch display. But then! Fold it open, and on the half of the device where the keyboard usually resides is a digitizer, complete with a stylus. And then! That same half of the Yoga Book doubles as a “Halo keyboard,” with flat, capacitive touch keys. It’s like typing on buzzing glass. Did I mention it comes in both Android and Windows varieties? It does. Forget a 2-in-1; we’re looking at four or more uses in a single package. All at the completely sane prices of $500 for the Android version, or $550 for Windows 10. It’s innovative, it’s gorgeous, and it’s incredibly adaptable. But it’s not for everyone. Read our full review. | Buy Now.

HP Chromebook 13

Most people who need a new computer really only need a Chromebook. So how about a Chromebook? HP’s $499 Chromebook 13 is, in many ways, the Chromebook you’ve been waiting for. It falls between those glorious, preposterously expensive Chromebooks and everyone else’s craptastic Chromebooks. Google and HP desperately want to prove Chromebooks can be more than cheap, student-friendly laptops. This is a Business Laptop, a Primary Device, a laptop to use as your only machine. Read our full review. | Buy on Amazon.

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Most people who need a new computer really only need a Chromebook. So how about a Chromebook? HP’s $499 Chromebook 13 is, in many ways, the Chromebook you’ve been waiting for. It falls between those glorious, preposterously expensive Chromebooks and everyone else’s craptastic Chromebooks. Google and HP desperately want to prove Chromebooks can be more than cheap, student-friendly laptops. This is a Business Laptop, a Primary Device, a laptop to use as your only machine. Read our full review. | Buy on Amazon.

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