The laptop industry can be a minefield of technical jargon which often seems like mumbo jumbo, but we’ve created a handy buyer’s guide that sheds some light on the situation. Read on for our roundup of the best laptops on the market!
Best laptop buying guide
Laptops range in size between around 11 and 17 inches. It’s pretty simple: if you want a bigger screen, go for larger size, if you’re not bothered about screen size but want a more portable machine, go for a smaller size. The most popular laptop size is 15 inches, and they usually weigh around 1.5kg-2.5kg.
The size of the laptop also affects its processing power, battery life, and memory, and the most powerful machines will always be bigger.
The speed of any given laptop is dictated by its CPU.
Ideally, you want over 8GB of RAM for an enjoyable laptop experience. For the majority of users, 32GB is more than enough, but if you’re an avid gamer or professional power user you should aim for 64GB.
You should also aim to find a laptop with Solid State Drive (SSD) rather than Hard Disk Drive (HDD), as it will make your laptop notably faster. Although it will impact the price of the laptop, and the internal storage capacity, it’s definitely worthy of consideration.
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There are many aspects that make up the quality of any laptop display.
The number of pixels it has will affect the resolution and the battery life. Lower-end laptops have 1,366 x 768 displays, but these will display low-res graphics, which is important to consider if you often stream using your laptop.
We recommend 1,920 x 1,080, also known as 1080p, although laptops range in quality up to 3,840 x 2,160 (4K). But it’s worth noting that this can negatively impact battery life.
Ports, ports, ports. It may not be the be-all and end-all of laptop dealbreakers, but it can certainly be frustrating to have your heart set on a model with a decidedly insufficient number of ports. Historically, laptops have offered USB and HDMI ports, an Audio Jack, and SD card readers, but increasingly new laptops are reducing this to only USB Type-C or Thunderbolt 4.
What is a CPU?
CPU stands for central processing unit, and every computer has one. Inside the CPU there are tiny transistors that control the flow of electricity according to computer programs, which allow you to do everything from open a web browser, type on the keyboard, or click the mouse.
What is GPU?
GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit and is a computer chip that focuses specifically on rendering graphics and images. It’s similar in many ways to the CPU, but rather than reading instructions to do with the functionality of the computer, it is specifically designed for graphics. They are specifically crucial in gaming and video editing processes, which require high-quality images at high speeds.
Best laptops to buy in 2023
Apple 2022 MacBook Air M2
The Apple Macbook Air M2 absolutely crushes the competition and is easily the best laptop in our list. The M2 chip commences the newest generation of Apple Silicon, with 1.4x the speed of M1. The chip is so efficient, the laptop doesn’t even require a fan, so you can enjoy luxuriously silent working.
The Liquid Retina display offers 2,560 x 1,664 pixel resolution, 4K and 8K ProRes definition, 500 nits of brightness, P3 wide colour, and True Tone technology. The 1080p camera and three-mic array allow for high-quality video calls, and the four-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio provides a streaming experience like no other.
The Magic keyboard has a full-height function row for quick and ergonomic access to controls and shortcuts, and with the larger Force Touch touchpad, you have more freedom for precise exploration. And one of the most preferable features, Touch ID allows you to unlock your Mac, use Apple Pay for payments, open password-protected documents, and make purchases on the Apple TV app, all at the touch of a finger.
In terms of ports, the quick-release MagSafe charging cable easily attaches and detaches using magnets, and there are two Thunderbolt ports, for high-speed connectivity, and an audio jack. It weighs in at just 1.24kg and is only 1.13cm thin, perfect for slipping into your bag and using on the go.
- CPU: Apple M2
- Graphics: Integrated 8-core /10-core GPU
- RAM: 8GB – 24GB
- Screen: 13.6-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,664 LED-backlit display with IPS technology, P3 wide Colour
- Storage: 512GB SSD
- Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches (30.41 x 21.5 x 1.13cm; W x D x H)
ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo
This is an incredibly powerful piece of kit with the added benefit of two monitors. The ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED offers the highest quality image, with a 4K OLED HDR NanoEdge display. Its cinema-grade 100 per cent DCI-P3 colour makes it the best choice for professional video editing, gaming, and cinema-quality streaming.
The device also features Control Panel, a special tool to give you better in-app control, allowing you to change brush size, saturation, layer opacity, and other editing features all in a streamlined format on ScreenPad Plus. Using a stylus, you’re able to use ScreenPad Pro as a drawing pad and take notes, sketch out ideas, or do precise graphical editing.
Not only does it include the standard two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, but it also offers a USB 3.2 Gen 2, DC-in, HDMI 2.1, and an Audio Jack. It one-ups the MacBook Air with hands-free login face unlock, and also boats Dolby Atmos 4-mic array stereo sound.
- CPU: 12th gen Intel Core i9 14-core processor
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070Ti GPU
- RAM: 32GB
- Screen: 15.6-inch, 3,840 x 2,160 4K OLED HDR touchscreen, tilting ASUS ScreenPad Plus secondary 4K display, 100 per cent DCI-P3 colour gamut
- Storage: Up to 1 TB PCIe Gen 4.0 x4 SSD
- Dimensions: 14.17 x 9.81 x 0.85 inches (35.98 x 24.92 x 2.15cm; W x D x H)
- Lenovo IdeaPad Duet
Lenovo IdeaPad Duet
If budget is your top priority, this Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook could be for you. With its innovative tablet-to-laptop design, you can easily switch between work and play, and do it all very comfortably on the go. With 22 hours of battery life, you’re sure to run out of juice before it does, and with just a 10.1-inch screen, it’ll easily slot into your bag.
In terms of display, it has a 75.74 per cent DCI-P3 rating, 400 nit of brightness, and 1,920 x 1,200 resolution, which is pretty good for such a small laptop. However, the tracking quality of the touchpad could be better, and the keyboard isn’t backlit. And with a single USB-C port, you won’t be able to charge and listen via wired headphones at the same time.
- CPU: MediaTek Helio P60T Processor
- Graphics: ARM G72 MP3 800GHz
- RAM: 4 GB LPDDR4X
- Screen: 10.1-iches FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS, glossy, touchscreen, 400 nits, a 75.74 per cent DCI-P3 rating
- Storage: 64 GB eMMC
- Dimensions: Tablet Only – 9.44 x 6.29 x 0.29 inches (239.8 x 159.8 x 7.35mm; W x D x H) Tablet + Full Keyboard Pack – 9.64 x 6.66 x 0.71 inches (244.87 x 169.31 x 18.2mm; W x D x H)
- HP Spectre x360 13.5″ 2-in-1 Laptop
HP Spectre x360 13.5″ 2-in-1 Laptop
The HP Spectre x360 13.5 is a powerful, portable option, outfitted with Windows 11. It’s snappy and sharp, with a fair amount of power (giving you around 15 hours of battery life) and a bright picture.
The OLED screen offers rich colours and sharp contrast, and with HP Display Control software, you’re able to switch between sRGB, DCI-P3, Adobe RGB, or default settings. In the box, you get HP’s ‘Tilt Pen’, which is perfect for using this laptop as a drawing pad in tablet mode.
It features a face-recognition webcam and fingerprint reader. The 5-megapixel webcam shoots in 1080p at 30fps, and is perfect for video meetings, offering a choice of three high-res aspect ratios; 16:9, 4:3, or 3:2.
Some typical Spectre features include brass accents, as well as the diagonally cut rear corners that hold an audio jack port on the left, and a USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 port on the right. Extra ports include a USB 3.2 Type-A port, a second Thunderbolt 4 port and microSD card slot.
- CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7 Processor
- Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- RAM: 16GB
- Screen: 13.5-inches, 3:2 aspect ratio, (3000×2000) IPS, OLED, DCI-P3
- Storage: 512GB SSD
- Dimensions: 11.7 x 8.7 x 0.67 inches (29.71 x 22.1 x 1.7cm; W x D x H)
- Dell XPS 15 9520 15.6″ OLED 3.5K Laptop
Dell XPS 15 9520 15.6″ OLED 3.5K Laptop
A real powerhouse, the Dell XPS 15 9520 OLED 3.5K laptop is a monster machine packed into a portable laptop size.
Supported by 32GB of RAM, the 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900HK boasts 14 cores and 20 threads, with a Turbo speed of 5GHz.
The 15-inch display offers 3.5K 3456 x 2160 resolution OLED touch screen with 400 nits of brightness. Optional 4K offers pinpoint accuracy and sharp detail, and optional 100 per cent Adobe RGB colour presents saturated, true-to-life colour for creators. The NVIDIA GPU is built in partnership with app developers like Adobe and Autodesk, so you can rest assured your laptop is designed with creativity in mind. It even features a full SD card slot for speedy import of RAW images.
The quad speaker design and Waves Nx 3D Audio for Speakers creates impeccable sound quality, perfect for streaming, or even mixing music. Face-recognition technology allows for fast and secure log-on, and the backlit keyboard and huge touchpad – not to mention the massive 15-inch display – make for easy use.
Port-wise, it offers two Thunderbolt 4/USB Type-C ports, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, a full-size SD card reader v6.0, an audio jack, and a wedge-shaped lock slot.
If you’re a professional film-maker, photographer, musician, or gamer, this is a great choice of laptop that will deliver quality results and be immense fun to use.
- CPU: 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900HK
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
- RAM: 32GB DDR5
- Screen: 15.6-inch 3.5K (3,456 x 2,160p), 60Hz, OLED, 400 nits, touchscreen
- Storage: 1TB SSD M.2 PCIe NVMe
- Dimensions: 13.57 x 9.06 x 0.71 inches (344.72 x 230.14 x 18.00 mm; W x D x H)
Apple 2021 MacBook Pro 14 inch M1
Although powered by the M1 Pro silicone, rather than the latest M2 chip, we had to feature this MacBook pro in our roundup of the best laptops.
With 16GB of RAM and integrated 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU, this is a powerful beast of a machine, and at 14 inches, it’s a sizable one too.
The Liquid Retina XDR display offers a whopping 1,000 nits of brightness with P3 Wide colour, True Tone technology, and 3024×1964 pixels. The 1080p FaceTime camera offers HD video calls, and the studio-quality three-mic array allows for quality audio transmission. The high-fidelity six-speaker sound system with force-cancelling woofers, wide stereo sound, and support for Spatial Audio when playing music or video with Dolby Atmos on built-in speakers produces professional-quality sound.
The laptop is opened via Touch ID, and you can use Apple Pay for payments, to open password-protected documents, and make purchases on the Apple TV app, all at the touch of a finger. The backlit keyboard and Force Touch trackpad are effortless to control. There are three Thunderbolt 4 (USB C) ports, an HDMI port, and an SDXC card slot, making this a great choice for photographers and videographers.
- CPU: Apple M1 Pro
- Graphics: Integrated 10-core CPU /16-core GPU
- RAM: 16GB
- Screen: 14-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology, 1,000 nits wP3 Wide colour
- Storage: 1TB SSD
- Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.61cm; W x D x H)
ASUS ROG Strix G15 G513RW 15.6″ Gaming Laptop
The only laptop featuring an AMD Ryzen 7 6800H Processor CPU in our roundup, the ASUS ROG Strix G15 G513RW is another immensely powerful interface. Paired with a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU and cutting-edge DDR5 memory, this laptop should be able to handle the most demanding 3D-rendered games.
The Strix G utilizes ROG Intelligent Cooling to control temperature levels, which involves Liquid Metal on the CPU rather than thermal pastes, which increases cooling efficiency by 16 degrees Celsius. There are four fan outlets, to further keep temperatures low, and you can opt for different modes depending on the task.
With QHD 165Hz and FHD 300Hz panel options, Dolby Atmos spatial immersion speakers, and AI Noise Cancelation, enjoy flawless gaming experience with perfect vision and sound. The addition of a lightbar, per-key RGB customizable lighting, and spaced function keys create a sleek and ergonomic gaming experience.
It boasts a variety of ports, including a USB 3.2 Type-C port, two Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, a 2.5G LAN port a HDMI port, and an audio jack. It offers 12 hours of battery life while streaming video, so you’re even able to take this laptop on the go with you.
- CPU: AMD Ryzen™ 7 6800H Mobile Processor (8-core/16-thread, 20MB cache, up to 4.7 GHz max boost)
- Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3070 Ti GPU ROG Boost 1460MHz* at 150W 8GB GDDR6
- RAM: 32GB
- Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 IPS-level, Anti-glare display, sRGB 100 per cent, Adobe 75.35 per cent
- Storage: 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD
- Dimensions: 13.94 x 10.20 x 0.89 inches (35.4 x 25.9 x 2.26cm; W x D x H)