The best laptops are the ones that help you stay on top of all your different projects and gadgets. Once you’ve equipped yourself with the right one, you’ve acquired the speed to power you through all of your assignments, and the battery life to make it through a day of work without worrying about the nearest power outlet.
Finding the best laptop for you can be tricky because you’ve never had more choices. There are top-rated laptops for basic web surfing, mainstream machines with premium components and attractive designs, and beastly gaming laptops that will let you play the hottest PC games the way they were meant to be played.
What are the best laptops?
The best laptop overall is the Dell XPS 13, which packs speedy performance and a gorgeous bezel-less display into an incredibly slim and lightweight design with long battery life. If you can afford the more expensive model with an OLED touchscreen, it’s well worth the expense.
If you love the idea of an OLED laptop but want something a bit more affordable, Asus has an OLED-equipped Zenbook 13 that packs great power and amazing battery life, and it’s usually a few hundred bucks cheaper than the XPS 13.
Windows 11 is out now, but even eligible Windows 10 machines may not receive an upgrade offer until late 2022. Many of the laptops on this list can now be bought with Windows 11 pre-installed, but not all of them.
If Mac is more your thing, the MacBook Air with M1 is our recommendation for the best MacBook for most people, as it offers fantastic performance and long battery life. That said, if you spend more, you can get a whole lot more, as the M1 Pro and M1 Max push the MacBook Pro 14-inch to new heights of performance, and their 120Hz Liquid Retina displays are gorgeous. These are also the Macs for all the pros out there who want HDMI out and an SD card reader without having to use a USB-C adapter.
The Acer Swift 3 is the best budget laptop for shoppers watching their wallets. If you need more ideas for a high-quality budget laptop.
Later this year we’ll start to see foldable laptops emerge, which could provide the ultimate versatility. For our full recommendations, check out our picks for the best laptops below.
1. Dell XPS 13
The Dell XPS 13 is one of our favourite laptops thanks to its excellent performance, beautiful display, and svelte design. While the battery life isn’t as good as some other laptops of similar price, it’s usually more than enough to get you through a day of work without scrambling for a charger.
Plus, in 2021 Dell began offering the XPS 13 with a 3.5K OLED touchscreen option. If you can afford it (it’s usually a couple of hundred bucks extra, around the same price as the non-OLED 4K screen configuration) it’s well worth the investment, as the OLED’s deep, inky blacks, vibrant colours, and high contrast ratios really shine when mounted in the XPS 13’s thin-bezeled InfinityEdge design.
2. Apple MacBook Air with M1
Apple has revolutionized its laptops, thanks to its own Apple silicon processors, which are replacing the Intel chips it’s previously used. This chip delivers faster speeds than the Air’s ever seen, and the longest battery life in any MacBook either: it lasted 14 hours and 41 minutes. Not since 2015 has a MacBook come close to that. Not only does the M1 chip make the MacBook Air a multi-tasking fiend, but it also enabled me to play Rise of the Tomb Raider smoothly, and that’s even with the Rosetta 2 conversion of that Intel app.
Apple’s move to ARM-based processors look to reap massive benefits, and that includes the ability to run iOS and iPadOS apps on your Mac. Plus, the MacBook Air’s webcam is clearer and more colour-accurate than ever, thanks to signal processing. We’re also still happy to see the Magic Keyboard, a great upgrade from the Butterfly-style keyboard of the previous MacBooks.
3. MacBook Pro 2021 (14-inch)
If you see the Liquid Retina XDR display in the 14-inch MacBook Pro, you may not be able to stop yourself from buying one. This mini-LED panel features improved contrast and strong brightness that will have you reaching for your credit card. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as the new M1 Pro processors are gobsmackingly fast and enable long battery life. But the story of the 2021 MacBook Pro models isn’t just about their speediness and gorgeous display, it’s about all the small things Apple changed along the way.
Apple’s also upgraded its internal webcam to 1080p (from 720p), as we’re all spending far more time on video conferencing calls than ever before. Combined with that fantastic display, improved internal mics and a six-speaker setup that produces stellar sound, the new MacBook Pro will have everything looking and sounding better than before.
4. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Studio is a reimagined Surface Book with a more MacBook Pro-like design and an eye-catching hinged display. This is Microsoft’s flagship device for Windows 11, which promises to make Windows a more inviting place for both work and play. Like Windows 11, the Surface Laptop Studio is advertised as a one-stop-shop for productivity, entertainment and creative work.
And for the most part, it is all that: its 11th Gen Intel CPU and 16+ GB of RAM gives you enough power to tackle most work, and if you splurge for a model with the discrete Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU the Surface Laptop Studio also doubles as a decent machine for gaming or video editing on the go.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is the closest thing the company makes to a flagship Windows laptop. This 2021 addition to the Surface Laptop line packs premium components into a svelte chassis, and it comes with a clean Windows 10 install that’s bloatware-free.
If you’re looking for a premium Windows laptop to work from anywhere, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is the way to go. It has a comfy keyboard with well-sized, satisfying keys and a nice Alcantara deck option that gives your wrists a little more comfort than a typical all-metal laptop. Factor in the respectable 10+ hour battery life and the screen’s tall 3:2 display ratio, which can help you read and edit documents more comfortably, and you have a great notebook for getting things done on the go.
To find the best laptop, we run every machine through a rigorous suite of benchmarks and real-world tests to gauge how it will perform during everyday use. We hope that the list of Top 5 Best Laptops in 2022 you should seriously consider purchasing gave you the idea of accessories that can come in handy for you.