When it comes to tech products, finding the best laptop for you can be one of the most difficult things. There are so many different use cases for a laptop, that many of the available options focus on specific features or types of users. But it’s not always clear
But that doesn’t mean that the best laptops don’t share some common features. And in general, you want to try and find a laptop that has these minimum features:
- An Intel Core i5 CPU (or an equivalent like the Ryzen 5 or Apple M1)
- 8GB of RAM
- 1080p display
- All-day battery life
When you balance all of these needs, there’s one product in particular that comes out on top. If you’re looking for the best laptop of 2022, the M2 MacBook Air is the clear winner offering that rich balance between performance, portability, and price.
While we love the lightweight and lightning-fast M2 MacBook Air, everyone’s needs will differ. If you’re a creative, or someone who loves watching movies on their laptop, you’re probably going to want a 15-inch display and a bright display at QHD or 4K resolution. If you’re a professional, you will probably want a laptop that weighs less than three pounds. Gamers, meanwhile are going to want something with a dedicated GPU.
Whatever your needs may be, we’ve put together 11 of the best laptops that span different types of use cases and price points in hopes that you’ll find one that is just right for you. And if you don’t see what you’re looking for here, you can also take a look at our recommendations for the best small laptops, best affordable laptops, best gaming laptops and best laptops for college students.
Why Did We Pick the Apple M2 MacBook Air?
If you’ve read our articles about the best desktop computers, best smartphones or best tablets, you may have noticed a trend — Apple is leading the pack across virtually every category. We promise we’re not die-hard Apple loyalists. In fact, we would love to offer our readers more diversity at the top of our shopping guides. However, you really do gotta hand it to Apple — the company’s new generation of chips are an order of magnitude faster than anything that’s come before.
Until Intel or Ryzen catches up, and that could take some time, especially given the global shortage of semiconductor chip shortage, computer manufacturers like Dell, HP and Microsoft are simply living in Apple’s shadow. Although, Qualcomm has been pretty active at matching Apple’s pace with laptops powered by its Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 Compute Platform.
We named the M2 MacBook Air follows its predecessor in the M1 MacBook Air , which was the top laptop to beat up until the new version was released. Apple’s streak at the top spot goes far back as 2020, and even up until now in 2022, nothing else even comes close to offering the total package.
If you prefer PC to Apple, there are plenty of other laptops with excellent reviews and features, and we’ve included plenty of options below.
1. M2 MacBook Air
BEST LAPTOP OVERALL
Who’s It For: Anyone that needs a laptop for travel that’s light and powerful. Professionals that can handle a lot of productivity tasks. The diehard Apple user that prefers a cohesive experience with their other Apple gadgets.
Why We Chose It: No other laptop can match its battery life, processing performance, and minimalist design. Seriously, it’s the total package.
Read More: The Apple M2 Chip: What Is It and Why Should You Care?
With the introduction of the new M2 Macbook Air, Apple changed the game yet again and created the best laptop around. Featuring Apple’s own M2 CPU, which is faster than almost every laptop CPU, the new MacBook Air keeps its signature slim and sleek profile all while adding a staggering 18 hours of battery life under real-world conditions — all while upgrading to a 13.6-inch 2560 x 1664 Liquid Retina display.
Despite the fact that it lacks a fan for cooling or a dedicated GPU, this laptop is more than capable for gaming and video editing. Paired with a best-in-class keyboard and trackpad, this laptop is also equally adept at handling your Microsoft Office productivity need, as well as your Netflix binge watching marathons.
It’s rare when a single device can address the needs of everyone, but the M2 MacBook Pro comes about as close as you can get … assuming you’re OK with using Mac OS instead of Windows.
2. Dell XPS 13
Who’s It For: Students that need a laptop to help with projects and assignments. Windows users that prefer Microsoft’s operating system. Anyone looking for a top performing, thin and light laptop that can handle a variety of applications.
Why We Chose It: Sporting a cleaner looking design wrapped in a body that’s really lightweight, the Dell XPS 13 sets the standard for what we want in a Windows-based laptops.
Read More: Sorry Apple, the Dell XPS Plus 13 Beats the MacBook in Style and Design
Dell keeps on perfecting its flagship laptop, the XPS 13, and its latest iteration is no exception. The 2022 update to the Dell XPS 13 took a great Windows laptop and made it even better. Not only is this a great small laptop, but it’s simply the best laptop if you’re looking for a Windows machine. Pairing an 12th-generation Intel Core i5 CPU with 8GB of RAM and a FHD+ display, this 13.4-inch laptop can handle just about anything short of gaming while still weighing less than 3 pounds and delivering 12 hours of battery life.
So whether you’re a college student who needs a laptop that’s easy to tote around and can hold up for four years or a road warrior who needs a laptop with a battery that won’t die after two hours, and won’t glitch out on you, the Dell XPS 13 is the best Windows laptop you can buy right now.
3. HP Envy x360 13
Who’s It For: Users that need to go from laptop to tablet mode. Administrative workers constantly moving around from one place to another and need to bring a portable laptop with them.
Why We Chose It: With its versatility, you can stay productive with laptop mode and then use it for leisurely activities like watching movies.
Read More: The 13 Best Laptops for College Students
When it comes to the best laptops around, there’s a lot to like about the HP Envy x360 13 aside from its 11th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, up to 16GB of RAM, and 1080p IPS (or OLED) display. The x360 hinge allows you to effortlessly adjust the screen from laptop mode to tent mode. And if you so desire, you can even fold it all the way back and use it as a tablet.
There’s also a surprisingly decent degree of connectivity, which includes two USB-A ports, a USB-C port and a microSD reader. Those who are conscious about privacy will also appreciate the physical shutter that you can use to cover up the webcam, which will come in handy when you’re trying to sneak a bite to eat during a zoom call.
4. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
BEST FOLDING LAPTOP
Who’s It For: Traveling business people, freelancers or anyone who constantly works on the go.
Why We Chose It: The foldable 16.3-inch OLED display is a stunning design that conveniently shifts into a notebook sized device that makes the laptop great for travel.
When folded out, the display is a rather large 16.3 inches of eye-popping OLED display that can be used horizontally or vertically. It folds down into a 12-inch notebook sized device that becomes ultra portable, especially considering the device weighs less than three pounds. Aside from the foldable design, it can be beefed up with a i7 Intel Core processor along with up to 32GB of memory and 1TB of storage – plenty to complete work-based tasks easily. It also features two thunderbolt 4 inputs, one USB-C and a Nano SIM slot for connectivity.
5. Asus Zenbook Pro Duo 14
BEST DUAL SCREEN LAPTOP
Who’s It For: Workers who can’t live without their second monitor.
Why We Chose It: It’s a dual-screen laptop that actually looks great, functions well and has lots of functionality.
Once you’ve upgraded to a dual screen monitor setup in your home, there’s no going back. But when you’re on the go, then what? Asus Zenbook Pro Duo 14 provides a secondary screen right above the keyboard that has multiple functions. It can serve as a second screen for additional content, or it can be a large touchpad when you are working on a project. This flexibility allows the monitor to best suit your needs. Aside from the nifty display setup, there’s also plenty of horsepower with i7 or i9 Intel processors available, 32GB of memory and up to 1TB of storage.
6. Lenovo ThinkPad X13s
BEST LAPTOP FOR WORK
Who’s It For: Road warriors that frequently travel for work.
Why We Chose It: Being one of the few sporting Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 Compute Platform, it has the battery life and processing punch to leave other Windows laptops in the dust.
Read More: Lenovo ThinkPad X13s the M1 MacBook Air Equivalent We’ve Been Waiting For
Announced not too long ago, the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s is one of the thinnest and lightest 13-inch laptops you’ll come across at 2.35 pounds and 0.53 inches thick. But it still provides the performance, security and overall usability Lenovo is known for. In short, it’s a road warrior’s dream.
Even though consumers may not be aware about it as much as other chips, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 Compute Platform can handle all the heavy lifting, whether that’s putting together a Powerpoint presentation or editing something in Photoshop. But this computer is about more than just raw performance. There are also Dolby Audio speakers, threee mics and an HD camera to make video conferencing less of a struggle.
But what we love most is the 13.3-inch WUXGA (1920 x 1200) IPS display, which comes in a spacious 16:10 aspect ratio, and optional 5G connectivity, which requires no moving parts and allows the ThinkPad X13s to be thinner. If you’re looking for a business-capable device to handle your workload, this is easily the best laptop around.
7. Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
BEST LAPTOP FOR YOUNG LEARNERS
Who’s It For: Elementary and middle school students that need a laptop to help them out with projects, research, and homework.
Why We Chose It: Kids don’t need to be bogged down by a hefty laptop. This Chromebook is light enough to carry around without being much of a burden on their backs.
Read more: The 11 Best Backpacks for Teens Are Stylish, Colorful and Practical
Released in early 2021, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 promises big performance at an extremely affordable price. While its Intel Celeron CPU may not sound impressive, this is actually a lot of power for the Galaxy Chromebook 2 because Chrome OS requires less horsepower to run smoothly. And when you combine that with 4 GB of RAM, a 13-inch 4K display and a thin and light form factor, this is the perfect laptop for casual web browsing in your free time, or for kids who are still remote learning. Best of all, it’s been discounted heavily since its release.
8. Microsoft Surface Pro 9
BEST MICROSOFT SURFACE
Who’s It For: Whether you prefer to work with a tablet or a laptop, the Surface Pro 9 can do both exceptionally well.
Why We Chose It: The Surface Pro 9 is the best of both the tablet and laptop world and can convert back and forth between both modes seamlessly.
The Surface Pro works smarter in just about every way, whether it’s simple conversion from laptop to tablet mode, or easily adjustable viewing angles thanks to a handy kick stand, the laptop wants you to work in the way that is most comfortable to you. For instance, if you are more comfortable with a stylus in hand, there’s one included. Or if you’re on conference calls all day, the smart calls enabled by AI automatically keeps you in the center of the frame (available on 5G edition). And depending on the model you go with, you get either 15.5 or 19 hours of battery life. That’s smart technology that lasts all day too.
9. Asus VivoBook S15
Who’s It For: The average Joe that needs a reliable laptop. Parents with kids that need to share their laptops.
Why We Chose It: it may not be the sleeked or lightest, but it earns points for its well-rounded package for gaming, basic productivity, surfing the web, and more.
Read more: The Best Cheap Laptops Start at Just $389
The Asus VivoBook S15 is an affordable laptop option with plenty of connectivity for all of your additional hard drives, thumb drives and SD cards. You’ll find two USB 2.0 ports, a microSD card reader, one USB 3.0, USB-C and an HDMI connection. It does omit Thunderbolt 3, but there’s still plenty of connectivity on this laptop compared to most new ones.
The laptop tips the scales at four pounds, so you certainty compromise portability for connectivity. And for online learners, the HD Webcam and Harman Kardon audio will ensure that you see and hear everything clear as day.
Alternatively, you can also get it with a fancy OLED display that makes watching video s even more enjoyable.
10. Microsoft Surface Laptop 5
SURFACE PRO ALTERNATIVE
Who’s It For: Those looking for a light and portable touchscreen laptop with the latest generation Intel Core processors.
Why We Chose It: It’s a snappy computer that checks all of the battery life, performance and portability boxes.
The Surface Laptop 5 is equipped with a PixelSense touchscreen that allows you to truly get hands on with your projects and is available in both 13.5 and 15-inch Dolby Vision varieties that look as great as it performs. The i5 and i7 Intel processors combined with 17 hours of battery life make for snappy performance that will literally last you all work day (and if you’re working more than 18 hours, take a break)! There’s also extra security features like a handy Face Authentication Camera that locks and unlocks your laptop much like newer iPhones. There’s a lot to like in the new Surface 5.
11. Razer Blade 15 Advanced
BEST GAMING LAPTOP
Who’s It For: Gamers that need a laptop to smoothly run today’s latest, graphically intensive titles with ease.
Why We Chose It: The Razer Blade 15 Advanced proves that you can still get a gaming laptop without the typical gaming laptop bulk. For what it’s packing, it’s impressively sleek.
Read more: The Best Gaming Laptops You Can Buy
While we can appreciate the power of a gaming laptop, the aesthetic sensibilities of those laptops leaves little to be desired. And this is why we love the Razer Blade 15 Advanced. Despite the fact that its a cutting-edge machine with a robust 11th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU, lust-worthy NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU and 240Hz QHD display, it looks nothing like a gaming laptop at all. Resembling a blacked-out MacBook Pro more than anything else, this design is understated without being boring. And that’s not to say it’s completely without a few gamer flourishes: the RGB LED keyboard offers a hint that this thing is capable of running AAA games with ray tracing turned on.
12. M2 Apple MackBook Pro
BEST FOR PHOTO EDITING
Who’s It For: Mac users that need the power of a desktop computer in a laptop. Anyone that does a lot of video and photo editing.
Why We Chose It: The MacBook Pro with Apple’s M2 chip not only flaunts enough power to flawlessly run processor intensive software while on the go, but its battery can provide that all-day usage.
Read more: Apple’s New M2 MacBooks Are Coming Soon To Put Other Laptops To Shame
Much like its lights sibling, the MacBook Pro with Apple’s M2 chip is a phenomenal laptop if you’re budget has some extra wiggle room. Thanks to its new M2 chip, the new MacBook Pro has the battery to last upwards of 20 hours with a full charge. You’d think processor intensive applications would slow it down, but they don’t because the M2 chip’s impressive efficiency.
Whether you’re editing photos pixel by pixel, or creating a memorable movie using the 4K videos you recorded on vacation, the M2-powered MacBook Pro maintains the same peppy performance it has with other benign operations.
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