The best Windows laptop on the market is currently the Dell XPS 13. It sports an impressively thin chassis strengthened by an aluminum slick aluminum design, weighing in at less than 3-pounds. Backed by up to an Intel 10th-generation Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, this Dell can power through some of your most challenging workloads. Our favorite aspect of the XPS 13 is its gorgeous Infinity-edge display that fits a 13-inch screen into an 11-inch laptop body.
To find the best Windows laptop on the market, we began by digging into the features that help to establish a great machine, including each laptops’ processing power, battery life, display, and size & weight. Different people will require laptops of varying skill sets for their everyday lives — perhaps a strong processor and graphics card for gaming, or merely a lightweight and portable option. We’ve taken a look at all the possibilities to present you with the absolute best. No matter if you’re a business road warrior or a digital artist, we’ve got an option to help power your digital life. To learn more about the Dell XPS 13, and our other best Windows 10 laptop picks, continue reading.
Top 7 Best Windows Laptops
#1 Dell XPS 13 Windows Laptop
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: Dell delivers top-level quality with this ultra-thin and light-weight machine, but it’s no slouch either, with up to an Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM. It’s also difficult to resist the machine’s jaw-droppingly beautiful Infinity-edge display.
- Powerful 10th gen Intel Core i7 CPU
- Up to 16GB of RAM (Memory)
- Includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Not designed for gamers
The Dell XPS 13 2020 feels as close as possible to the perfect Windows laptop; this excellent option from Dell offers both power and beauty in an exceptionally well-crafted, and sturdy, aluminum package. Coming in at less than 3-pounds, this ultra-lightweight laptop makes a perfect companion in the backpacks of students and travelers. The intense processing also allows you to tackle difficult tasks from multimedia video editing to computer science — the power of an Intel Core i7 CPU and up to 16GB of RAM make this feat possible. Dell also includes two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports for super-fast external transfers.
The beautiful 13” Infinity-edge display is the crowning piece of the XPS 13; a stunning 400-nit display with vibrant colors, making anything you do, including binge-watching movies, look better than ever before. The XPS 13 even sports up to 12-hours of battery life. We just wish it had a more powerful graphics card for playing intense video games but we’ll take the long battery life over that. However, it is, by far, the best 13-inch laptop — maybe even the best laptop in the world for Windows users at this moment thanks to its great performance. And for better desktop computer performance, be sure to check out our list of the best CPU fans.
#2 Microsoft Surface Windows Laptop
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This laptop from Microsoft showcases some of the best the Windows manufacturer can put out — and that’s a good thing; it’s one of the best crafted machines we’ve seen with an elegant design, aluminum casing, and soft fabric palm rest.
- Excellent high-resolution display
- Extra-large trackpad
- Premium metal & fabric build
- Lacking external port options
Microsoft is the manufacturer of the Windows operating system, so it is always fascinating to see what they can offer when it comes to hardware. Luckily, the company has shown that its hardware options can stand above the rest, and the Surface Laptop is no exception. Featuring a high-resolution display in the 3:2 ratio, it is not only beautiful but can also allow you to see a bit more of longer documents. Storage options for the Surface Laptop include 128GB, 456GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD.
Fast Quad-Core (AMD Rayzen) 10th-generation processors power the machine, backed by up to 16GB of RAM. What truly stands out though, is the Surface Laptop’s build-quality with an aluminum exterior, and either aluminum or Alcantara fabric palm rests. If you want a laptop that works hard, but also screen luxury, this is it. The only bit to note is that this machine only has two USB ports (one USB-C & one USB-A) — no HDMI ports, SD card slots, or ethernet ports here. Which on some machines this shortcoming could be alleviated by getting the best motherboard for your computer.
#3 Acer Aspire 5 Slim Windows Laptop
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: Acer shows that purchasing an affordable 15-inch laptop doesn’t mean you have to make every sacrifice. This affordable windows laptop, despite its base model nature, is loaded with the latest Intel 10-generation CPU, high-speed 802.11ax Wi-Fi, a fingerprint reader, and an internal SSD.
Read Full Review: Acer Aspire 5 Slim Review
- Great for college students
- Extra-large trackpad
- Includes high-speed Wi-Fi 6
- Build-quality could be improved
Affordable Windows laptops have always seemed to bring a bottom of the barrel experience, where you could tell that every inch of quality was sacrificed. Acer redefines that expectation with the fantastic Aspire 5 Slim laptop that most shoppers can afford. It even continues to include the latest Intel 10-generation Core i5 CPU and 8GB of RAM on the more affordable models. This Acer is one of our favorite best laptops for college students thanks to its price.
To round out the experience, Acer also includes the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard, 802.11ax, which ensures your machine will be accessing the network at lightning speeds, as well as a built-in fingerprint reader and internal SSD. If you’re looking for a budget laptop, this is the answer. Just know that the build quality isn’t the best, lots of plastic here, but it still feels like a steal for the price. And needless to say, this won’t be the best computer for VR.
#4 ASUS ROG Strix G15 Windows Gaming Laptop
Award: BEST FOR GAMERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: ASUS brings a first-class gaming experience under its Republic of Gamers lineup; this unit features a high-speed Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GPU making it the best gaming laptop for playing games. There’s also tons of storage thanks to the 1TB SSD.
Read Full Review: ASUS ROG Strix G15 Review
- Powerful NVIDIA RTX graphics
- Large 1TB high-speed SSD
- Stylish RGB Integration
- Touchpad isn’t the best
The other options on our list might sport some excellent processors and ample amounts of memory, but you won’t get anywhere in the gaming world without a solid graphics card. This is why we also suggest checking out the best gaming laptop video card. That’s where the ASUS ROG Strix G15 steps in with the NVIDIA RTX 2070 GPU. One of the most powerful mobile graphics cards available, the Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX will power you through the latest games on the market, such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.
The ASUS ROG Strix even features a large 1TB SSD that can hold you a large collection of games. Of course, the Strix G15 is a gamers laptop, so we find the expected RGB lighting integrated into the unit for some great ambient effects. The only downside is that the touchpad could be better, but we also know that most gamers will opt to use an external mouse.
#5 HP Spectre x360 Windows Laptop
Award: BEST ULTRAPORTABLE
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for the ultimate ultraportable, look no further than HP. This well-engineered machine weighs in at 2.7-pounds and comes in at 0.7-inches thin, but also saves you from needing a tablet, thanks to its 2-in-1 folding hinge design.
- Weighs only 2.7-pounds
- Features B&O speakers
- Includes touchscreen stylus
- Limited processing power
The HP Spectre shows that technology can be beautiful, with its distinctive black and gold styling that features hard cut angles. The perfect option for the stylish mobile warrior, the Spectre x360, weighs only 2.7-pounds and comes in at 0.7-inches thin. The display itself is gorgeous and also compatible with HP’s included stylus for drawing or jotting down notes on the go.
The included Bang & Olufsen speakers are also a nice touch and add to the machine’s premium feel. Add on the best gaming computer processor, and you’ll have a sleek and powerful computer. The x360 consists of an Intel Core i7 1.7GHz processor and 16GB of RAM; however, it should be noted that the body design will limit more intense heat-critical applications such as CAD design and working with Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
#6 Lenovo Flex 14 Windows Laptop
Award: Best 2-in-1 Convertible BEST 2-IN-1 CONVERTIBLE
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re seeking a windows laptop that can transform into a tablet when desired, then Lenovo has the option for you. This great laptop offers a 14-inch display that easily flips backwards into a tablet, while an included pen allows you to sketch and take notes.
Read Full Review: Lenovo Flex 14 Review
- Doubles as a tablet; 2-in-1design
- Charge to 80% in one-hour
- Built-in webcam privacy shutter
- Battery life could be improved
Lenovo is a company that helped to kickstart the hybrid Windows laptop space, showing that you can transform a laptop into a tablet with a simple flip. The Flex 14 continues the company’s tradition with an affordable laptop that acts as a stellar laptop, and an on the go tablet option. Best of all, it retains some of the company’s best characteristics, including the ability to charge the machine up to 80% in only an hour.
For the privacy concerned, Lenovo includes a mechanical webcam privacy shutter, so you can cover the webcam when it’s not in use. As most would expect from the manufacturer of ThinkPad, the Flex 14 also has a great keyboard that’s comfortable to type on. We do wish the battery life was improved, however, as it’s only rated at 8-hours. Unfortunately, the Lenovo Flex isn’t a great gaming laptop so if you’re more of a gamer, take a look at the best gaming laptops under $1000.
#7 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Windows Laptop
Award: BEST FOR BUSINESS
WHY WE LIKE IT: Lenovo continues to make some of the best business laptops, thanks to the ThinkPad lineup. This business ultrabook features powerful internal specs, a 14-inch anti-glare screen, a best-in-class backlit keyboard, and a mil-spec rating.
Read Full Review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Review
- Most comfortable keyboard
- Anti-glare LED backlit display
- Durable military-spec rating
- Speakers aren’t impressive
For almost thirty years, business users have looked to the ThinkPad brand name to help them be productive. The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon is the pinnacle of ThinkPad, showcasing the best the company has to offer, and it does indeed impress. The X1 Carbon sports the company’s comfortable, backlit keyboard — you’ll have trouble feeling at home to any other keyboard once you try a ThinkPad for the first time.
The built-in anti-glare display with LED backlighting helps to keep the sun, office lights, and other bright sources from creating unmanageable glare. Additionally, the unit passed 12 military-grade requirements and over 200 quality checks, thanks to its durable carbon-fiber exterior and integrated magnesium alloy roll-cage. Sure, the speakers leave a bit to be desired, but otherwise, ThinkPad continues to stand strong. If you’re looking for another option, try checking out the best 2-1 ultrabook.
Other laptops worth noting that we haven’t fully reviewed yet and may end up on our Best Laptop list include the Lenovo Yoga C940, HP Elite Dragonfly, and the thin and light Macbook Pro.
The Lenovo Yoga C940 is also a thin and light 2-in-1 laptop with CPU Intel Core i7, upgraded from the Flex’s Intel core i5. The Hp Elite Dragonfly Core i5 uses Intel UHD Graphics, boasts a long battery life, but its performance doesn’t quite match our top listed HP Spectre x360 that uses Intel Iris Plus graphics.
How We Decided
When we set out on a search for the best windows laptop, we began with extensive research and hands-on time with our potential candidates. Next, we established essential factors to consider when purchasing a windows laptop, including each machine’s processing power, battery life, display, and size & weight. These factors lead to an establishment of minimum criteria so that we could deliver only the best laptop options.
Starting with processing power, we ensured that every laptop in our list offers an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor. We eliminated any low-power Intel Pentium, or even Core i3 processors that we didn’t think would get the job done. We also selected laptops that offered at least 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage — we don’t want you waiting for files to load or running out of space at the most inopportune times.
For each machine’s battery life, we made sure that it was possible to get around 8-hours of use; of course, as is with battery life, the mileage may vary based on your workload. The displays we selected were all at least Full HD (aka full 1080p HD), with many stretching significantly beyond that — even with touch screen options. Lastly, we gave preference to laptops with lightweight designs, coming in at less than 3-pounds; although, some gaming options were a bit heavier, all under 5-pounds.
Best Windows Laptop Buyer’s Guide
- Processing Power: When selecting a windows laptop, the safe selection for a processor is an Intel Core i5, which delivers optimal power for most individuals — Core i7 is great for gamers and those with heavier workloads. For memory, select a minimum of 8GB of RAM to keep your PC running smooth — 16 GB is recommended for better future-proofing.
- Battery Life: How long do you need to stay unplugged? Check reviews to see how long a laptop’s battery will actually last versus what the manufacturer recommends. Generally, we are finding that laptops with 5-8 hour battery life ranges are most common, and thus an acceptable choice.
- Display: Full 1080p HD should be the lowest resolution you pick for a display, with many manufacturers offering higher resolution options, perfect for those who love binge-watching movies. If you want to interact with the screen directly, ensure that the manufacturer provides a touch-screen variation — all 2-in-1 laptops that you can buy will include a touch screen by default.
- Size & Weight: When it comes to portability, besides battery life, you should keep an eye on the overall weight. We see most ultraportable laptops at under 3-pounds, and we believe that’s a great range to aim for during purchase. For gaming laptops, we recommend sticking under 5-pounds if portability is a desire.
Windows Laptop FAQs
What is the best Windows laptop 2020?
The best Windows laptop is the Dell XPS 13; Dell delivers top-level quality with this ultra-thin and light-weight machine, but it’s no slouch either, with up to an Intel Core I& processor and 16GB of RAM. It’s also difficult to resist the machine’s jaw-droppingly beautiful Infinity-edge display.
What is the most reliable laptop?
The most reliable laptop on our list is the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon; it passed 12 military-grade requirements and over 200 quality checks, thanks to its durable carbon-fiber exterior and integrated magnesium alloy roll-cage. If you need reliability, ThinkPad is a great option.
What are the best laptop brands?
Our selections for the best Windows laptops include products from Dell, Microsoft, Acer, ASUS, HP, and Lenovo. Dell and Microsoft topped our guide as the best options, but Lenovo made two separate appearances.
ChromeOS vs. Windows?
ChromeOS is an operating system designed by Google; it is an alternative to running Microsoft Windows. When starting a ChromeOS machine, you are presented with a desktop that allows you to run the Chrome web browser and Android apps. ChromeOS does not allow you to run traditional Windows applications.