Best laptop 2023 — our top picks based on expert testing

After over a decade of testing and reviewing laptops I still never tire of them. It’s a passion that makes me the ideal guide for your quest to find the best laptop for you. Whether that's a sleek ultraportable for work, a Chromebook for school, a 2-in-1 that doubles as a tablet, or a gaming laptop to lay low your foes, this is the place to find it. This page is constantly updated to reflect the Laptop Mag staff’s current top laptop choices based on our latest reviews. 

My best laptop recommendations are determined by rating, pricing and use case. We put every laptop through rigorous synthetic tests and put them to use in real-world situations, evaluating overall performance, display brightness, keyboard comfort, and much more. We also run our own in-house battery test to let you know how long these laptops last on a charge.

Any laptop that earns a spot on this page is the best of the best and well worth hard-earned dollars. Read on to learn more about our top-rated laptops and we'll find one that is perfect for your needs.

The Quick List

Chomping at the bit to find your perfect laptop? Not to worry, here's a quick look at all the laptops on the list complete with links to our full review of whichever laptop you're interested in.

Best Laptop Overall

MacBook Air M2 review

(Image credit: Future)
The best laptop for most people

Specifications

CPU: Apple M2
GPU: Apple M2 GPU
RAM: 8 GB
Storage: 1TB SSD
Display: 13-inch, 1664p
Size: 12 x 8.5 x 0.4 inches
Weight: 2.7 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Elegant redesign
+
Good performance
+
Excellent battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Only two ports
-
SSD somewhat slower than M1 Air

Weighing a mere 2.7 pounds, Apple’s smallest laptop is also the best laptop for most people. There’s a lot to love about the MacBook Air M2, starting with its new look. This is one of the thinnest laptops around at only 0.4 inches thick, and yet it packs a big punch thanks to Apple’s M2 chip. This system handled most of our benchmarks with a breezy aplomb, outperforming most Windows laptops.

Other reasons to buy the MacBook Air M2 include a bright and colorful 13.6-inch display, a comfortable keyboard and over 14 hours of battery life based on our testing. Although the M2 chip won’t pull the numbers that its more powerful brethren (M2 Pro and M2 Max), the silicon is still more powerful than its predecessor. 

Even better, it’s more powerful than the competition. For instance, the Air M2 crushed the Geekbench 5.4 test as well as the Handbrake video transcoding and BlackMagic Read/Write tests. That’s a lot of power for a relatively affordable price –– at least for a MacBook. 

If that’s not enough, you also get a 1080p webcam. So what’s not to like? There’s only two Thunderbolt / USB-C ports, and the SSD is slower than we’d like. Overall, if you’re looking for an ultra lightweight laptop with power, the MacBook Air M2 deserves to sit at the top of your list. 

See our full MacBook Air M2 review.

Best Windows Laptop

Best Laptops 2023: Acer Swift 14

(Image credit: Future)
The best Windows 11 laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-13700H
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 1TB SSD
Display: 14-inch, 2560 x 1600
Size: 12.2 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 2.9 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek design
+
Strong performance
+
Long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Iffy touchpad
-
Weak audio

Acer consistently delivers laptops that deliver a great combination of performance and value. Case in point, the Acer Swift 14. It’s easy on the eyes with our reviewer calling out its alluring Mist Green aerospace-grade aluminum with the fashionable bronze accents. At 2.9 pounds and 12.2 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches, it's not the slimmest or lightest laptop out there, but the system is still plenty portable. But the Swift 5 is about more than good looks.

Powered by a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with integrated Intel graphics, the Swift 14 held its own against its competitors during our overall performance and file transfer tests. And it easily sailed past our category average. The Swift 14 had its best showing on the Geekbench 5.5 test where it scored an impressive 11,375. The  notebook also reigned supreme during the Handbrake test, completing the video transcoding testing 5 minutes and 41 seconds. 

We were also surprised at how well the notebook’s integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics performed, notching 28 frames per second on the Sid Meier's Civilization VI benchmark. While it didn’t make our longest lasting laptop page, the Swift 5 still offers nearly 12 hours of battery life. Other reasons to buy include a healthy smattering of ports and a bright, vivid 14-inch display that our reviewer declared "gorgeous." 

But it’s not a perfect system, however, as the laptop has an inordinate amount of bloatware. The speakers also could have been better and the touchpad was finicky at times. However, these are minor issues for an otherwise outstanding Windows 11 laptop. 

See our full Acer Swift 14 review.

 

Best Value

Best Laptops 2023: Acer Chromebook Plus 515

(Image credit: Future)
The best value

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i3-1215U
GPU: Intel UHD Graphics
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB SSD
Display: 15.6-inch, 1080p
Size: 14.2 x 9.4 x 0.8 inches
Weight: 3.7 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Potent AI-infused performance
+
Sturdy, attractive design
+
Incredibly affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Subpar battery life
-
Dull, dim display

Typically when we review a Chromebook, we expect underpowered performance, solid battery life and limited functionality. This is far from the case with the Acer Chromebook Plus 515. In fact, the Acer Chromebook Plus 515’s 12th Gen Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, with Intel UHD graphics, seriously impressed our reviewer. He stated that the system "powered me through all the tasks I set before it and then some." If that wasn't enough, he actually edited photos and video, a feat that he's never had the ability to do smoothly on a Chromebook until now, despite its seemingly underwhelming specs.

However, combined with Google's impressive A.I., apps like Adobe Creative Suite and Photoshop opened quickly and seamlessly edited stills and video. And the laptop had no problem juggling 30 open Google Chrome tabs. It also excelled on the Jetstream web browsing test. 

However, we were disappointed in the 8:21 battery life as it was significantly short of our Chromebook battery life average. And while the display seemed bright and vivid, lab testing proved that the Acer Chromebook Plus 515 fell short of the mark. Still, for a such an inexpensive system, the Plus 515 has a lot to offer.

See our full Acer Chromebook Plus 515 review

 

Best Laptop under $1,000

Asus Zenbook 14 OLED (Q409EA)

(Image credit: Future)
The best laptop under $1,000

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i5-1240P
GPU: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 256GB
Display: 14-inch, 1800p
Size: 12.4 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 3.1 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Great battery life
+
Striking 90Hz display for price
+
Beautifully vibrant display with crisp detail

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Off-putting notch
-
Still no Face ID

This laptop almost makes me feel like I'm stealing from Asus. The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED (Q409ZA) comes in under $800, but doesn't skimp out on the feature. For instance, the laptop has Asus' proprietary Number Pad 2.0 which transforms the touchpad into a num pad at the touch of a button. Then you have the stunning 2.8K resolution display with a 90Hz refresh rate that's great for watching movies or videos. Plus, it comes with plenty of ports. 

With its Intel Core i5-1240P CPU, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 8GB of DDR5 RAM, a 256GB SSD, you can expect middling performance. It isn't bad, it's just not up to a par with a Core i7 CPU. And while the laptop didn't stand out on our benchmark tests, it had no problem tackling real world multitasking as our reviewer had a hard time slowing it down. And the Zenbook 14 has solid power efficiency, lasting 10 hours and 52 minutes on our battery test. 

Outside of the middling performance, the only other gripe we had with the Asus Zenbook 14 (Q409ZA) is the mushy keyboard.

See our full Asus Zenbook 14 OLED (Q409ZA) review

Best 2-in-1 Laptop

Best Laptops 2023: Lenovo Yoga 9i

(Image credit: Future)

5. Lenovo Yoga 9i (Gen 8)

The best 2-in-1 laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-1360P
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 14-inch, 2880 x 1880, OLED
Size : 12.5 x 9.1 x .6 inches
Weight: 3.1 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Breathtaking 2.8K OLED display
+
Great productivity performance
+
Blisteringly fast SSD

Reasons to avoid

-
Display could be brighter

Call this the most improved player on the list. When we reviewed the Lenovo Yoga 9i’s predecessor, we dinged it for its middling performance and substandard battery life. The 8th Gen Yoga 9i improves upon both weaknesses starting with a 13th Gen Intel Core i7-1360P CPU that met the previous best 2-in-1 laptop, the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360, stroke for stroke –– many times coming out on top. For instance, the Yoga 9i scored 9,954 compared to the Galaxy Book 3 Pro’s 8,250. And the Lenovo SSD proved it was the speedier of the two with a file transfer rate of 1,669 megabytes per second compared to the Samsung’s 1,173.4MBps.

When we ran the Laptop Mag battery test, the Yoga 9i lasted 10 hours and 10 minutes. Is it the longest battery life we’ve seen? No, but that time is nearly three years longer than the Samsung’s 7:46. But those aren’t the only places, the Yoga 9i excels. Our reviewer was captivated by the 2-in-1’s beautiful 14-inch, 2880 x 1880 OLED display that possess a wider color gamut than the Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 (142.1% to 85.2%) on the DCI-P3 scale. 

But while the Yoga 9i has definitely improved, it does have a fault. While the OLED display is incredibly vivid, the brightness comes up a bit short with  the Galaxy Book 3 was brighter at 381 nits compared to the Yoga 9i’s 353 nits. Which is why the notebook earned 4.5 stars with our coveted Editor’s Choice award. 

See our full Lenovo Yoga 9i review.

Best Chromebook

Best Laptops 2023: HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook

(Image credit: Future)

6. HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook

The best Chromebook

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i5-1235U
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 256GB SSD
Display: 14-inch, 2560 x 1600
Size : 12.4 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 3.3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Crisp and colorful display
+
Sturdy, sleek metal design
+
Good performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Less than 10 hours of battery life
-
Steep price for a Chromebook

I recently wrote an op-ed on how $1,000 Chromebooks shouldn’t be a thing. But it’s hard for me not to include the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook on our list as it does some great things that you normally wouldn’t find on a Chromebook. HP worked closely with Google to bring the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook to the masses and is the latter’s successor to the Pixelbook –– the first premium Chromebook. 

So what makes the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook so special? Let’s start with the performance, which, powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook created a wide berth between itself and the competition, scoring 5,246. When we ran the Jetstream 2.0 benchmark, the laptop reached 252.68 smoking competing notebooks. But that not the only place the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook excels. At 1,276 nits, it’s the brightest display we’ve seen on a notebook. Our reviewer was also shocked by the system’s excellent audio and the webcam. He noted that during a Google Meet call “my meeting partners stated that my video feed was sharp and that colors popped, indicating quality.”

But there are a few flies in the ointment. For one, the battery life could definitely be better. At 9:49, it’s 30 minutes short of the Chromebook average. And while the 14-inch, 2560 x 1600 is seriously bright, it’s not as vivid as we would like as its 77.8% is below the category average. And then there’s the price as $999 is a lot to ask for a Chromebook. But HP is betting that with the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook’s premium looks and features will win over consumers. 

See our full HP Dragonfly Chromebook review

Best Gaming Laptop

Asus ROG Strix G18

(Image credit: Future)
The best gaming laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i9-13900HX
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090
RAM: 32GB
Storage: dual 1TB SSD in RAID 0
Display: 18-inch, 2560 x 1600
Size: 15.7 x 11.6 x 0.9~1.2 inches
Weight: 6.8 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive overall and gaming performance
+
Flashy, futuristic design
+
Captivating display

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricy
-
Webcam could be better
-
Below-average battery life

When it’s time to game, and I mean really game — like obliterate everything in the level with wild abandon — look no further than the Asus ROG Strix Scar 18. This behemoth with a 18-inch, 2560 x 1600 display with 240Hz refresh rate is the way to go for buttery smooth rendering, which in those crucial moments can mean the difference between getting the kill shot or receiving it.

But the destruction you’re going to unleash comes by way of the 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900HX and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 GPU with 16GB of VRAM. Both chips are the latest and greatest and very overclockable so you can squeeze every inch of power out of them. And while we’re here, I can’t overlook the pair of 1TB SSDs in RAID 0 configuration. This treacherous triad destroyed just about every benchmark we threw at it on both the overall and gaming performance. 

Where the Strix Scar 18 hit a bit of a hiccup is the File transfer test and battery life. But about 4.5 hours is still pretty good for a laptop packing this much power. Outside of this, my only complaint about this system is the 720p webcam, which if I’m paying nearly $4,000, I expect 1080p –– hell 4K. But overall this is the gaming laptop to beat.

Read our full Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 review.

Best Business Laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon gen 9

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)
The best business laptop

Specifications

CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i5/Core i7
GPU: Iris Xe
RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD
Display: 14-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel 16:10
Size: 12.4 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 2.5 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Slim, lightweight design
+
Good 14-inch, 16:10 FHD+ display
+
Class-leading keyboard
+
Great quad speakers
+
Epic battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor 720p webcam
-
No card slot

Lenovo’s X1 Carbon series is a perennial mainstay on our best laptop page with good reason. They’re lightweight, powerful and serve up plenty of endurance. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (9th Gen) follows in this vaunted heritage, starting with its looks. Our best business laptop is indeed office ready with its handsome matte black soft-touch surfaces. Weighing a scant 2.6 pounds with a thickness of only 0.6 inches, the X1 Carbon is commute ready. Plus, it’s MIL-SPEC tested so it can take a drop or two or some spillage. 

Realizing that mobile professionals need an added measure of security, the laptop has a fingerprint reader and a TPM 2.0 chip to encrypt sensitive data. The Windows Hello-compatible IR camera isn’t standard, unfortunately, but can be added for an added cost. And when it’s time to get to work, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has plenty of ports to create a full workstation. The 14-inch display isn’t as vivid as we would like, but it’s plenty bright. Meanwhile, the audio is loud and crisp and the world-renowned keyboard is just as comfortable as we’ve come to expect. However, the touchpad is smaller than we would like. 

The X1 Carbon lasted a whopping 15.5 hours on our battery test and when it came to our benchmarks, there was no stopping this system. As a business laptop, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (9th Gen) is an undeniable powerhouse with a few minor cons such as the 720p webcam, which in a world of remote work falls short of the mark. But the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (9th Gen) is a force to be reckoned with. 

See our full Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 (Gen 9) review.

Best Business 2-in-1 Laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 6)

(Image credit: Future)
The best business 2-in-1 laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7
GPU: Intel Iris Xe graphics
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 14-inches, 1200p
Size: 12.3 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Speedy performance
+
Long battery life
+
Built-in stylus slot

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavier than some competitors
-
No SD card slot
-
Expensive

Lenovo is synonymous with business. Which is why the versatile Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 6) graces this list. You’re essentially getting all the bells and whistles of the X1 Carbon with the added cherry of seamlessly transitioning from a clamshell, to tent, presentation and tablet modes. You still get the understated good looks of a ThinkPad with the durability of MIL-SPEC certification and the security of a fingerprint reader, TPM 2.0 and a physical camera slider. Plus, our review unit came with an IR camera for Windows Hello facial recognition logins.

The X1 Yoga is packed with ports, including USB-A ports and there’s that super comfortable keyboard with the red trackpoint in the center. And you get an embedded stylus. In terms of performance, the X1 Yoga packs a potent punch, at times even beating its cousin, the X1 Carbon on our video transcoding and file transfer tests. 

This is a business laptop, so while you can’t play more demanding games, the laptop did serve up 34 fps on the Sid Meier Civilization VI benchmark. During the Laptop Mag Battery test, the X1 Yoga lasted nearly 15 hours, which is very impressive.. There are a few drawbacks such as the lack of a SD card slot but overall the X1 Yoga is a winner.

See our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 6) review.

Best MacBook for Creative Pros

Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch)

(Image credit: Future)
The best MacBook for creative pros

Specifications

CPU: Apple M2
GPU: Apple M2 GPU
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 1TB
Display: 14.2-inches, 1964
Size: 12.3 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 3.5 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive performance
+
Over 14 hours of battery life
+
Beautifully vibrant display with crisp detail

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Off-putting notch
-
Still no Face ID

The next entrants in Apple’s M2 series silicon are here and those who poo pooed the initial M2 chip are eating crow. The MacBook Pro 14 I reviewed was outfitted with Apple’s M2 Pro processor with 32GB of unified memory, a 2TB SSD and an Apple M2 GPU and it did not disappoint. The laptop consistently outperformed its challengers in overall performance. On the Geekbench 5.4, the laptop reached 14,965, scorching the premium laptop average. 

On the BlackMagic Read/Write test, the speedy SSD produced 5,293.3/6,168.4MBps, smoking the category average and the challenging notebooks. It was a toss up during our gaming test, but good news everyone, you can actually game on this bad boy as I discovered on optimized versions of Resident Evil Village and No Man’s Sky. 

And as cool as the M2 Pro chip is, I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout out the gorgeous 14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with its plethora of vivid colors and crisp details. Then you have the excellent six speaker setup with its spatial audio capabilities. Plus, there’s the super comfortable Magic keyboard nestled into that iconic silver aluminum chassis that graces many a coffee shop and office space. And whether you’re working, watching video or playing games, the MacBook Pro 14 can go the distance serving up an impressive 14 hours, making it one of the best laptops for Mac users. 

See our full Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (M2 Pro, 2023) review.

Best Windows laptop for Creative Pros

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

(Image credit: Future)
The best Windows laptop for creative pros

Specifications

CPU:: Intel Core i7-11370H
GPU:: Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti
RAM:: 32GB
Storage:: 1TB SSD
Display:: 14.4-inch, 1600p
Size:: 12.7 x 9 x 0.8 inches
Weight:: 4 pounds