Our best laptop for 2020 buying guide has been designed to direct you to the right product for you – it's filled with quality systems that are proven to deliver great computing experiences, both at home and on the road.
As different people have different intended usage scenarios and budgets for a new system, we've made sure that our best laptops guide has top choices from budget to premium price points, as well as fill it with both all-rounders and specialists.
The result is that no matter if you're looking for a superb do-everything machine, a flexible 2-in-1 hybrid, a high-performance gaming laptop, a great business laptop or the best sub-£1,000 laptop, our best laptop buying guide has a smart pick.
As we take recommending laptops very seriously here at T3 (they are crucial tools in the modern world for both work and play), we've also produced dedicated guides to some more specialist laptops, such as those that are great for gamers and students — you can see the full list of buying guides below.
- Best lightweight laptops
- Best student laptops
- Best gaming laptops
- Best 2-in-1 laptops
- Best ultraportable laptops
- Best laptops under £500
- Best graphics cards
- Laptop news
The best laptops you can buy today
1. ASUS VivoBook S15
The best laptop for most people
Reasons to buy
What a pleasant surprise the ASUS VivoBook S15 was when it emerged at its recent launch, with the slim and super light weight laptop hitting a wonderful sweet spot in terms of tech delivered to money spent.
Retailing right now for under 450 notes, the VivoBook S15 offers truly excellent mid-range value, with an Intel Core i5 processor packed into its sleek chassis along with 4GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a touchscreen ScreenPad.
The fact that the VivoBook S15 weighs only 1.8kg makes it super portable, too, so it is ideal for slipping in bag and working on the go. It's 1,920 x 1,080 resolution screen is also bright and punchy and at 15.6 inches you've got plenty of real estate for multiple window browsing, work or entertainment.
In terms of connectivity the laptop delivers a HDMI port, four USB ports (2 x USB 2.0 and 2 x USB 3.0) and a mic-in port, while the system comes running a full copy of Windows 10 Home.
Simply put, the Asus VivoBook S15 will be the perfect laptop for many users, combining a quality tech spec and everyday-versatile design at a very firmly mid-range price point.
2. Dell XPS 13 (2019)
The best premium laptop
Reasons to buy
The mighty Dell XPS 13 is a frequent member of our best laptop buying guides and here it's business as usual. The machine is thinner and more powerful than ever before, and – screen aficionados rejoice – comes rocking a luxe 4K screen too. The almost bezel-less new design is also absolutely lovely, which squeezes a 13.3-inch screen into an 11-inch frame, and the wide selection of ports is right on the money too.
Regarding hardware spec, the Dell XPS 13 delivers premium across the board. You get a 8th gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, Intel UHD Graphics 620, up to a 1TB SSD and a battery that runs for longer than ever before. And, as for that, admittedly optional 4K screen, what a joy the UltraSharp InfinityEdge touch display is to use and view content.
In terms of ports and features, the Dell XPS 13 comes equipped with two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, one USB-C 3.1 port, a headphone jack and a microSD card reader. The laptops camera is a quality widescreen HD webcam, which comes partnered with an array of four digital microphones.
A copy of Windows 10 Home comes pre-installed on the Dell XPS 13.
In conclusion, the Dell XPS 13 is expensive, and the stunning Alpine White model is even more so, but it is simply one of the best laptops in the world (regardless of how you spec it) and an easy recommend as the system that anyone shopping at the high-end of the laptop market should check out.
3. HP Stream 14
The best budget laptop
Reasons to buy
The HP Stream 14 is not the most powerful laptop money can buy in 2020, but what it does deliver is truly astonishing value. Ringing in at such a low price, the HP Stream 14 really does show that you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a strong computing experience.
The Stream's 14-inch screen is perfectly large enough to have multiple windows open and enjoy content from your streaming service of choice, while the internal hardware, which includes a AMD A4 9125 dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM and a 32GB eMMC storage drive means that any light computing task is handled with ease.
We also like that despite the Stream 14 costing so little, it also comes installed with a full copy of Microsoft Windows 10, as well as a wide-variety of ports that include a HDMI port, Ethernet port, three USB ports (2 x USB 3.1 and 1 x USB 2.0) and a multi-card media card reader.
The Stream 14 even includes a basic but functional HD webcam, built-in microphone and comes with one year of Microsoft Office use, too.
We think the HP Stream 14 is perfect for users who need a reliable and highly portable laptop for light computing tasks and have a couple hundred notes to spend.
The best laptop for most Apple fans
Reasons to buy
Newly updated for 2020, the latest incarnation of the MacBook Air shows that Apple is more certain than ever in terms of what it wants to do with this laptop: it's the Apple laptop for those of you who need something as lightweight and as inexpensive as possible.
It's no slouch in terms of power, but it can't keep up with the specs offered by the MacBook Pro line, which might be a better bet if you do a lot of image and video editing. This is a laptop built for everyday tasks, but it'll look gorgeous on your desk or your lap while you're doing them.
Like the 16-inch MacBook Pro before it, the 2020 MacBook Air comes with a redesigned scissor switch mechanism for the keyboard, which means those keyboard problems that some users had reported over the past few years are a thing of the past.
macOS continues to grow in terms of features and functionality too – with a ton of software included for free now. This being Apple, you've got plenty of configuration options to pick from, so you can tailor the exact spec to meet your specific needs and budget.
All said, the Apple MacBook Air 2020 is the first laptop anyone used to using the American maker's laptops should consider when shopping for an upgrade, delivering strong and versatile performance at a competitive price point.
The best laptop for users on the go
Reasons to buy
The Galaxy Book S from Samsung is a fantastic laptop for a number of reasons: it's really lightweight and stylish, the battery goes on and on between charges, and it offers cellular connectivity which means you can always be online (data plans and signal coverage permitting).
It's running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, which means it can wake up and get online very quickly – but it also means performance isn't quite on a par with similarly priced Windows laptops. It all depends on what you want most from a laptop, and we think the Galaxy Book S is going to appeal to a lot of people.
As more and more Windows applications are optimised to run on ARM chips, the usefulness of the Galaxy Book S should increase. In our eyes, it's a case of the positives far outweigh the negatives on this laptop – just don't try to do any 4K video editing with it.
The best laptop hybrid on the market for power users
Reasons to buy
Microsoft's Surface Book 2 is a 2-in-1 laptop, with a screen that can be detached and used as a tablet, but don't let that fool you – this is a beast of a laptop full stop and a worthy top entry in our best laptop buying guide.
Not only is its power unmatched in the 2-in-1 sector, but with a powerful Intel Core i7-8650U processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, and stunning 15-inch 3,240 x 2,160 pixel display, it is more than a match for any laptop in this buying guide.
It's expensive though – very expensive – and you can get a similar spec for less elsewhere if you sacrifice the ability to detach the screen. However, if you have the budget then this laptop delivers a fantastically powerful and versatile computing experience.
The best laptop for Apple MacBook users
Reasons to buy
This is the best Apple MacBook on the market today and, for those looking to upgrade to a premium macOS device, the best laptop on the market today.
As you would expect from a high-end Apple laptop, the MacBook Pro 16-inch is supremely slick and powerful, built with a best-in-class fit and finish, and loaded with a brand new keyboard, which is leaps and bounds better than previous incarnations.
The fact the system runs the very latest version of macOS, Catalina, which delivers a plethora of of exclusive, quality apps, and that it is supported by Apple's first-rate support network for if anything goes wrong, really does add a layer of sheen that many competing Windows 10 machines do not.
On raw specs alone the MacBook Pro 16-inch is pipped to the post slightly by the Dell XPS 15, which can be outfitted with a 4K OLED screen, 32GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, and a more powerful Nvidia GPU, but it is the overall package and usage experience where the MacBook Pro shines.
A no-brainer upgrade for anyone looking for a new, high-end laptop from Apple.
8. Huawei MateBook 13
The best laptop for MacBook styling running Windows 10
Reasons to buy
Huawei has been on a roll as of late with its MateBook line and, here, in the MateBook 13, the Chinese maker has managed to deliver Apple MacBook styling and fit-and-finish, but in a system that runs Windows 10 and costs a fraction of the price considering its specs.
You get an 8th-gen Intel Core CPU, Nvidia GeForce graphics, 8GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage space, and a crisp and bright 13-inch (2,160 x 1,440) screen. It truly is a very well-rounded ultrabook in terms of hardware.
The fact the Huawei MateBook 13 also looks stunning and weighs very little (just 2.87 pounds / 1.3kg) just makes it even more attractive as a do-all work and leisure machine, as too its strong battery life, which instills confidence that you won't have to stop being productive when travelling.
For the price, there isn't much else on the market that comes close.
The money no object ultimate gaming laptop
Reasons to buy
As we noted in our Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 review, and then restated in our guide to the best gaming laptops on the market today, this gaming laptop is the absolute best laptop for playing games on the market today in 2020.
Building on last year's competition slaying GX501, the new Zephrus ensures it stays on the gaming laptop throne by dialling things up to 11. That means that the system comes rocking an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card (Ray Tracing bliss!), a juiced up Intel Core i7-8750H CPU capable of running up to 4.1GHz and a 24GB stack of DDR4 RAM.
The result of all this top-end gaming hardware is, for a portable machine, ludicrous levels of AAA gaming performance. Metro Exodus, with all graphics settings turned up to maximum, and with the gorgeous Ray Tracing lighting tech enabled, looked absolutely stunning and ran like a dream. Equally, the GX701 crushed our 3DMark benchmark tests, too.
A gorgeous and thin magnesium chassis, fantastically engineered vent cooling system, and a 17.3-inch, Full HD (1,920x1,080) IPS, Pantone Validated, 144Hz refresh rate with Nvidia G-Sync panel complete the package.
10. HP Envy 13
A fantastic all-round laptop that delivers premium features at a competitive price
Reasons to buy
The HP Envy 13 contains the same 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor seen in many other systems in this guide, but doubles down with 16GB of RAM and graphics handled by the Nvidia GeForce MX250, utilising an extra 2GB of dedicated video memory. It doesn’t lose out in the pricing stakes, either, costing only a little over a thousand pounds for excellent performance.
With some decent security features such as a fingerprint scanner and a physical webcam kill switch on the side of the machine, it’s a great laptop for general work, whether that’s spreadsheets or image manipulation. It’s also equipped with audio tech from Bang and Olufsen, along with HP’s own Audio Boost technology, meaning that the sound is as clear as a bell.
The trackpad feels a little flimsy but the backlit keyboard is solid and feels nice to use. The integrated USB Type-A ports are a bit tricky to use due to their snap-open design, but it’s a welcome sight to see regular USB compatibility on an ultralight laptop. The 1080p screen is clear and high-quality, with a little ridge at the base that pushes the lower half of the laptop up at a slight angle when opened on a flat surface, to make typing that little bit easier.
11. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch
A fantastic MacBook Pro, and the best laptop choice for many macOS users
Reasons to buy
If your budget can't stretch to the MacBook Pro 16-inch, or you simply don't need that much screen real estate and power, then the 13-inch MacBook Pro is another great choice from the Apple range.
The 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro packs in some excellent internals, with a quad-core i5 running all four configuration options available on the Apple site. These configurations can be tweaked further, if needed – i7 chipsets can be had if you're willing to spend the money.
You can add to those specs the gorgeous 13.3-inch 2,560 x 1,600 resolution Retina LED IPS display, and the Touch Bar: after a slow start it's now a genuinely useful part of the MacBook keyboard.
Simply put, if you're a fan of the MacBook design and software, and don't have to watch your budget too much, then this is undoubtedly one of the best laptops available in 2020.
Good specs and a tasteful design make this strong all-round laptop
Reasons to buy
As we note in our official Asus ZenBook Pro 14 review, this "is a laptop that scores highly in a lot of departments. It looks really nice, it has plenty of power under the hood, and the price you're going to pay represents decent value for what you get in return."
And, really, that sums it up. Well, that is apart from this system's unique feature - it's ScreenPad. The SceenPad is a large touchpad that can also operate as a second screen, with Windows extendable and certain apps like Microsoft Office and Spotify granting you extra information or controls. It feels indebted to Apple's TouchBar.
Specs-wise the Pro 14 really is a rock-solid all-rounder, coming with an 8th-gen quad-core Intel Core i7-8565U processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage, as well as an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q chipset with 2GB of video RAM. In short, it is a powerful machine that will handle most computing tasks with ease.
13. Alienware Area-51m
A great all-round gaming system, and the best laptop for mid-tier gaming power
Reasons to buy
There's so much to like about the latest Alienware Area-51m: this is a gaming laptop that's absolutely packed with power, from the 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processors, to the newest Nvidia laptop GPUs. It's fair to say you're going to have to stump up a substantial amount of cash for this laptop, but the performance you get back is worth it.
What also makes this one of the best gaming laptops of 2020 is the design. The laptop is sleek and understated, but still comes with some really nice touches of style, including discreet colour accents and the slim bezels around the display, which is more than 17 inches in size.
A thin and powerful hybrid laptop with genuine gaming credentials
Reasons to buy
As we note in our full Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 review, "the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is one of the most complete hybrids ever made, scoring big across the board and leaving no obvious weak point for rivals - and critics - to launch a major counter attack. A premium all-rounder 2-in-1 that should appeal to creative tech enthusiasts looking to both work and play hard."
A shoo-in on our best laptops 2020 list if ever we saw one, then, and a machine that should be at least considered by anyone who is looking for premium upgrade right now. Yes, the Surface Book 2 does have a little bit more power-wise, and obviously has the ability to eject its screen, too, but the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is almost half the price.
15. Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming
The best laptop for gaming on a budget
Reasons to buy
The last few years have seen some of the components that would normally be locked to the very top echelon of laptops slowly trickle down into models that don’t have bank balance-destroying price tags.
The Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming from Dell is one such model, managing to pack in a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU in a machine that'll cost you less than £1,000.
It's backed up by a robust, quad-core Intel Core i5-7300HQ processor and 256GB SSD of memory, too. Combined together, you're getting a laptop that can run even the most demanding of games on high settings, and still have processing grunt to spare.
One of the best laptops around for Chrome OS fans
Reasons to buy
When it comes to Chromebooks and Chrome OS, you've got a huge number of models to choose from – and the Pixelbook Go from Google is one of the best. It's stylish, it's lightweight, and you can customise the specs of the device to meet your exact requirements as well.
Every Pixelbook Go comes with a 13.3-inch screen: it runs at a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution on the cheaper models but does go up to 4K if you're willing to pay for it. The other internal components can be specced out as required, so it's really up to you how much you spend.
We like the black and pink colour options, we like the grippy rubber on the bottom to keep the laptop in place, and we like the smooth and subtle lines of the design as well. You're not going to be embarrassed to pull this Chromebook out at a coffee shop or your next meeting at work.
As for Chrome OS, it continues to get better and better. It doesn't slow down, it's easy to use, and the addition of Android apps means that it's now more versatile than ever before.
17. Acer Predator Helios 300
Impressive performance and specs at an affordable price point
Reasons to buy
Finding the middle ground between affordability and knockout performance is perhaps the biggest challenge facing a new laptop buyer. It's a sweetspot most manufacturers miss, but with the Predator Helios 300, Acer has certainly found it with a Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and a meaty Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU pairing.
This powerful laptop sports a Full HD 17.6-inch display (perfect for giving your favourite Steam games a good showing when on the move) complete with a 144Hz refresh rate and 16GB of in-built RAM to keep you fully stocked with content. As a sub-£1,000 machine, it's got some serious chops.
18. Razer Blade 15 Advanced
A hyper-premium, do-anything laptop that should appeal to the enthusiast
Reasons to buy
Laptops are usually labelled as gaming laptops when they come packed with high-end components and some nice visual flair – but of course you don't have to be a gamer to appreciate those attributes in a laptop. The Razer Blade 15 Advanced is a case in point, and shows Razer is getting better and better at building incredibly premium laptops.
The chassis holding the 15.6-inch display is simply beautifully put together, the internal components are hyper premium, and the lighting system around the keys is really well done too. Whether you're gaming or working on some spreadsheets, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced really impresses.
19. Lenovo ThinkPad T490
The best laptop for business-focused users
Reasons to buy
While it has become the norm that companies issue employees with laptops, there are some cases where this isn't true and Lenovo, having adopted the iconic ThinkPad brand, is here for those exact customers. The design is nothing too fancy, but don't let that fool you: beneath the surface is a capable laptop at an excellent price point.
The base model, which retails for around £1,069, comes stocked with an Intel i5 CPU at 1.60GHz and beyond, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, double what many manufacturers offer as standard. For those willing to splash out, Lenovo offers an i7 alongside double the RAM and storage for as little as £1,429.99.
How to choose the best laptop for you
In the dim and distant past you could probably get a laptop for a minimum of £500 and spend up to £2,000 or even more on a top-end one. Some can certainly come in on the high end of that range, even now.
But we've recently seen Chromebooks appear, offering dirt-cheap portable computing with features that are enough for a lot of users – like students and people who just need to type while out and about. And, not only that, but what you can do with a £500 laptop has now changed drastically.
The appearance of £200 – and sometimes lower – Chromebooks has forced other laptops down in price too. You can now get laptops for some absurd prices, especially if you pick up a sale bargain, and as a result the best laptops list is constantly shifting – which is why we update this page on a regular basis.
At the other end of the scale are new thin and light laptops that aren't so interested in offering value. But they often sport all-metal construction, wafer-thin designs and internal guts that can chew through demanding tasks. So what's best?
You need to weigh up both what you're going to use your new laptop for – so how powerful it needs to be – and how much weight you're prepared to carry around with you, which will determine screen size. With a little preparation and forethought done in advance, you're ready to pick out the best laptop on the market for you.
4 June, 2020 - Great news here for fans of HP's lightweight gaming laptops, as the American maker has just released the newest version of its Omen 15 portable.
The new HP Omen 15 laptop is available now, and users can select between a AMD or Intel core; the price starts at $999.
While the new Omen has got internal upgrades, with the system configurable with up to a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q, Intel Core i7 H-series/AMD Ryzen 7 H-series, and 32GB of RAM, it is very much the exterior that has shifted up most.
A new 15.6-inch screen (which can be outfitted with up to a FHD 300 Hz panel) supported by a new 180-degree hinge is partnered with a far more mature, sophisticated overall aesthetic, which HP itself has said is to help position it more of a multi-functional laptop with gaming chops, rather than a gaming laptop that you can use a bit for normal office / creative work.
Looking at the press images that have released, we can totally see this system in office and home environments, and the understated look would blend in seamlessly to a public setting like a coffee shop, too. There's no typically gamer extreme design notes, with the Intel systems coming in a cool black finish, and the AMD variant in a matt silver.
And, while obviously that price of $999 isn't going to get you the highest spec, we think that it is very well priced for the tech and, with a few choice upgrades, could easily be the backbone of gamer's portable computing world for years.
keep your eyes glues to T3.com for our full review.
19 May, 2020 - AMD Ryzen 4000 Renoir laptops are cleaning up the CPU benchmark scene right now, with PassMark's CPU Mark performance charts showing seven of the top 10 places occupied by APUs from the Ryzen family.
As first spotted by Notebookcheck the top of the chart is now ruled by the AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS, only to be then followed by Ryzen 7 4800H, Ryzen 8 4800HS, and the Ryzen 7 4800U. The non-stop AMD beatdown is then temporarily halted by three Intel chipsets only to be then followed up by the Ryzen 5 4600H, Ryzen 5 4600U and Ryzen 7 4700U.
That, no matter how you spin it, is a BIG win for AMD and shows just what a cracking job the maker has done with its Zen 2 APUs. For laptops users around the world, considering that AMD APUs tend to come with a cheaper price tag attached when compared to an Intel equivalent, they also offer great value for money.
T3's advice is if you see a new laptop with one of these Ryzen processors in it for a good price then snap it up, as they clearly don't disappoint both in terms of power or efficiency.
3 April, 2020 — Exciting news for fans of Razer's sleek and light Blade series sees 2020's 15-inch notebook get a tidy refresh in the form of not just one new variant but two. The design has been tweaked on both variants, and each system comes with a redesigned keyboard, too, which is smaller and more optimum arrow key placement.
Of course, it wouldn't be a new Razer Blade unless the hardware was shifted up a gear or two and, thankfully, the new Blade 15s don't disappoint. The base variant comes with a Intel Core i7-10750H (10th Gen) CPU, an Nvidia GTX1660 Ti, and a matte 144Hz FHD LCD screen. On this base version, the GPU, RAM, storage and screen can be upgraded as desired.
Moving up to the more powerful Razer Blade 15 Advanced model and you get the jaw-droppingly powerful 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super and a mind-blowing 300Hz LCD screen. This screen can be upgraded to an OLED variety if desired for extra spend, and the system can take up to a RTX 2080 in terms of graphics cards upgrades.
We're super excited to see the new Blade 15 on review here at T3, as it delivers what we consider the pinnacle of a professional, premium notebook — a machine that looks like it could be used by a CEO in Blue Chip Company boardroom, but then under the hood has incredible gaming power. Shut up and take our money!
31 March, 2020 — AMD's Ryzen 4800H equipped laptops are hitting the market right now and, according to reports, the benchmark scores they are setting are beating the top-end Intel i9-9980HK. In Cinebench, Blender and Passmark the 4800H is coming out on top, and with a reported 40 per cent lower power draw.
In Passmark the Ryzen 7 4800H racked up a chart-topping score of 18,193, which is going on double that of the i7-9750H, which only managed 11,600 in the same test. Meanwhile in Blender the AMD CPU came in faster than the Intel CPU by 13 seconds, and in Cinebench the former chipset outscore the latter by 2019 to 1758.
T3's takeaway? If you're going to be shopping for laptop in the next few months and see a system equipped with a Ryzen 4800H CPU then you can feel confident that you're getting one of the absolute fastest mobile processors on the market today. And, with AMD chips ringing in for less than Intel chips, chances are there will be some rapid bargains to be snapped up.