The best Windows laptops for 2024

The best Windows laptops for 2024

Choosing the best Windows laptop can be overwhelming with the wealth of options available. And with Microsoft’s recent announcements at Microsoft Build, we can expect lots of exciting things coming out in the next few months. At the event, the company unveiled the latest Microsoft Surface devices and introduced Copilot PCs, which promise to push the boundaries of what Windows 11 laptops can do.

We’ll be testing the latest Copilot PCs as they become available and updating our recommendations accordingly. For now, whether you need a premium ultraportable, a powerful gaming rig, or a versatile mobile workstation, our current list of the best Windows laptops highlights our favorites that have been rigorously tested by our team. For those on a budget, check out our list of the best cheap Windows laptops to find great options that won’t break the bank.

Editor’s Note (June 2024): We’re eager to test out the new Microsoft Surface Pro 10 2-in-1 laptop when it becomes available soon. We’ll update our top picks after we’ve had the chance to spend some time with the latest Surface device; until then, our top picks remain the same.

The challenge when thinking about performance is figuring out your sweet spot. That’s because while a Microsoft Windows laptop with blazing speed is nice, you may be paying for more oomph than you need. But if you skimp and get a weak processor, even simple tasks can become a chore and you might end up in a situation where you need to upgrade again sooner than you’d like. Thankfully, many laptops come in multiple configurations at the point of purchase. You can opt for a model with more processing power, for example, if you want to do more than just web browsing. Good performance is more than just clockspeeds too, so we also consider things like fast wake times, storage speeds, multitasking and more advanced features like support for ray tracing.

Regardless of whether a notebook has a touchscreen or a more traditional panel, we look for bright displays (300+ nits or more) that are easy use outdoors or in sunny rooms, accurate colors and wide viewing angles. Screens with high refresh rates are great for competitive gamers, while those with wider color gamuts are important for content creation and video editing. And even if you don’t plan on spending a ton of time on video calls, every laptop needs a decent webcam (1080p or higher).

Even with advancements in cellular modems and WiFi, dedicated ports for transferring data or connecting peripherals can make or break a laptop. Ideally, all but the thinnest and lightest systems come with three USB ports, while things like built-in SD card readers can be extremely handy when trying to import media from a camera. And if a notebook is saddled with a slow or outdated WiFi modem (we’re looking for Wi-Fi 6 or later), that’s basically an immediate disqualification.

It doesn’t matter how powerful a laptop is if it conks out when you need it the most. Typically we look for runtimes of at least eight hours on a charge, but when it comes to good battery life, longer is always better. That said, on gaming machines with thirsty GPUs, you may have to settle for a bit less. And on bigger machines, it’s also important to consider if the system can charge via USB-C or if it needs a larger, proprietary power brick.

Photo by Devindra Hardawar / Engadget

Screen size: 13-inch | Touchscreen: Can be configured | Processor: Intel Ultra 7 Processor 155H or Snapgradon X Elite | Installed memory: Up to 64GB | Storage: Up to 2TB | Weight: 2.6 pounds | Battery life: Up to 18 hours

Read our full Dell XPS 13 review

It’s no surprise that we love the Dell XPS 13. It’s thin, lightweight and it has one of the best screens you can find on a 13-inch ultraportable. The latest XPS 13 model is the slimmest yet, though it loses the headphone jack in the process. But it also includes either Intel’s Ultra 7 Processor 155H or the new Snapgradon X Elite CPU, so you’re getting the most up-to-date processor options available. Aside from a somewhat tricky to use “invisible” trackpad, we have few gripes with the lates XPS 13. It has a stellar, svelte design, a gorgeous display, a fantastic keyboard and solid performance to match. Just be prepared to pay a premium for all of the new features and upgraded specs.

Pros

  • Attractive and modern design
  • Solid performance for an ultraportable
  • Excellent keyboard
  • Gorgeous display
Cons

  • Invisible trackpad leads to usability issues
  • Function keys disappear in sunlight
  • Trackpad feels sluggish at 60Hz
  • Could use more ports
  • Expensive

$1,249 at Dell

acer

Screen size: 15-inch | Touchscreen: No | Processor: 11th-gen Intel Core i3 | Installed memory: 8GB | Storage: 128GB | Weight: 3.64 pounds | Battery life: Up to 10 hours

There’s a reason we selected the Acer Aspire 5 as our top choice in our best budget Windows laptop guide: It’s sturdy, fast enough and offers good battery life. It also comes with a Windows 11 Home (S Mode) operating system with advanced security features. We typically don’t expect much with laptops under $500, but the Aspire 5 has consistently been a solid performer. It’s an ideal laptop for students or kids, or for anyone who isn’t particularly demanding. We’re also surprised by the port selection it offers, including HDMI and Ethernet. While we normally don’t recommend laptops with just 8GB of RAM and tiny 128GB SSDs, those specs are more excusable in the Aspire 5 since it’s so darn cheap. Just think of it as a slightly more capable Chromebook, but one that can launch multiple apps and do a bit more than just web browsing.

Pros

  • Includes HDMI and Ethernet ports
  • Sturdy design
  • Decent performance for the price

$368 at Amazon

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Screen size: 14-inch | Touchscreen: No | Processor: AMD Ryzen 7/9 | Installed memory: Up to 16GB | Storage: Up to 1TB | Weight: 3.53 pounds | Battery life: Up to 10 hours

Read our full ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 review

One of our favorite gaming PCs for years, the ROG Zephyrus G14 remains our choice as the best gaming laptop for most users. It weighs just 3.5 pounds, it sports AMD’s powerful new Ryzen chips and it also has the company’s fastest Radeon RX 6000-series mobile graphics. The ROG Zephyrus G14 has a sleek retro-future aesthetic, a comfortable keyboard and a smooth 144Hz, 14-inch screen. While you’d be more immersed in a 15-inch notebook, those typically cost more and are far heavier than the Zephyrus G14. If you’re looking for a balance between good performance, style and value, the G14 is an excellent option.

Pros

  • Powerful performance
  • Sleek design
  • Great 14-inch, 144Hz screen
Cons

  • A little on the heavy side

$1,299 at ASUS

Photo by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Screen size: 14-inch | Touchscreen: Yes | Processor: 13th-gen Intel Core i7 | Installed memory: 16GB | Storage: Up to 1TB | Weight: 3.09 pounds | Battery life: Up to 14 hours

Read our full Lenovo Yoga 9i review

Adaptability is the biggest strength of a 2-in-1, with devices like the Yoga 9i capable of transforming into a number of different modes at a moment’s notice. And even though it’s got a relatively portable 14-inch OLED display, Lenovo still found room on the Yoga 9i for three USB-C ports, a fingerprint scanner and a clever rotating soundbar to ensure audio sounds good in any position. Lenovo also includes a free stylus in the box though, sadly, unlike previous models there isn’t a dedicated storage slot for it on the machine anymore. And while its general design hasn’t changed much, Lenovo has improved the Yoga 9i’s performance with updated 13th-gen Intel processors. There are also various configurations to choose from, including the choice between a Windows 11 Home or Pro operating system.

Pros

  • Gorgeous OLED display
  • Powerful speakers
  • Strong battery life
  • Four USB-C ports
  • Physical webcam shutter
  • Included stylus and travel sleeve
Cons

  • Whiny fans
  • Shallow keyboard
  • No built-in stylus storage

$1,400 at Lenovo

Microsoft

Screen size: 13-inch | Touchscreen: Yes | Processor: 12th-gen Intel Core i5/i7 | Installed memory: Up to 32GB | Storage: Up to 1TB | Weight: 1.09 pounds | Battery life: Up to 10 hours

Read our full Microsoft Surface Pro 9 review

For people who want to travel super light but don’t want to invest in an Apple MacBook, it’s hard to do better than a tablet-style 2-in-1. And, having basically invented the category, Microsoft’s Surface laptops and tablets are hard to beat. With the Surface Pro 9, you get a bright touchscreen with a 120Hz refresh rate, along with a stylus support. Though, you’ll need to remember to buy one of Microsoft’s folding keyboards (which includes the pen) separately. You also get long battery life and surprisingly powerful speakers. That said unless you’re deeply familiar with using Windows on ARM-based systems, we’d recommend sticking with the Intel-powered version instead of the model based on Microsoft’s SQ3 chip.

Pros

  • Great AI webcam features
  • Excellent hardware design
  • Gorgeous 13-inch screen
  • Convenient removable SSD
  • Built-in 5G
Cons

  • ARM chip leads to generally slow performance (Intel model is better)
  • Still suffers from Surface ergonomic issues

$830 at Amazon

Photo by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Screen size: 14-inch | Touchscreen: No | Processor: 12th-gen Intel Core i5/i7 | Installed memory: Up to 16GB | Storage: Up to 1TB | Weight: 3.75 pounds | Battery life: Up to 5.5 hours

Read our full MSI Stealth 14 Studio review

Regardless of if you’re editing videos or playing games, MSI’s Stealth 14 Studio packs a lot of processing power in a very portable package. The base model comes with a 1080p screen, but if you have the money, you’ll want to consider the optional 2,560 x 1,600 display, which boasts a faster 240Hz refresh rate and wider color gamut (100% of DCI-P3). At just 3.75 pounds, the Stealth 14 Studio weighs half a pound less than similarly sized rivals while still supporting up to an NVIDIA RTX 4070 GPU. And the redesigned model has a stunning magnesium and aluminum chassis that’s also available in a larger 16-inch model.

Pros

  • Striking design
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Solid performance
  • Bright 240Hz display
  • Up-firing stereo speakers
Cons

  • Runs hot
  • No SD card slot
  • Lower-res 720p webcam

$1,900 at Microcenter

Photo by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Screen size: 18-inch | Touchscreen: No | Processor: 13th-gen Intel Core i9 | Installed memory: Up to 64GB | Storage: Up to 1TB | Weight: 6.75 pounds | Battery life: Up to 3 hours

Read our full Razer Blade 18 review

Razer’s revamped Blade 18 is a monster. It packs full-fat versions of the most powerful components you can put in a laptop including up to an Intel Core i9 13-980HX CPU and an NVIDIA RTX 4090 GPU that runs at up to 175 watts. You also get a massive 18-inch QHD+ display with a 240Hz refresh, tons of ports (including an SD card reader) and gorgeous per key RGB lighting. Holding everything together is Razer’s unibody aluminum chassis, which offers some of the best build quality on any Windows laptop. The one big downside is price: Starting at $2,900 (or closer to $5,000 for a fully loaded model), the Blade 18 is not for people with limited budgets.

Pros

  • 240Hz display
  • Premium aluminum chassis
  • Supports top-notch components
  • Great port selection
Cons

  • Extremely expensive
  • Very short battery life
  • Big
  • No additional display options

$4,499 at Amazon


Source link

Tags: No tags

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *