Best laptop 2018: T3's pick of the best laptops available today

Whether you prefer Windows or Mac, here are the very best laptops on the market

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Welcome to T3's best laptop guide. This guide is specifically curated to help you discover the best laptops currently on the market in 2018, with a wide-selection of system types, price points, and styles delivered.

We've carefully chosen the best laptops to cater to literally every taste and intended usage, so regardless of if you want to pick up a quality traditional laptop, state-of-the-art 2-in-1 hybrid, pixel-pushing gaming portable, or incredibly capable bargain price system, we've got the best laptop for you here.

And that's good, as while buying a laptop isn't anywhere near as expensive as it used to be, if anything it's a lot more confusing today.

There are so many makers churning out huge ranges of systems now, and many with odd numerical names and long lists of tech spec jargon, that selecting a system that is right for you and at a good price point is quite a challenge.

But that is where T3 comes in. We've rounded up the very best laptops on the market today here in a super handy curated guide. So no matter if you are currently looking at the new Dell XPS 13, or looking to splash out on the hyper-luxe Microsoft Surface Book 2, or get a well-priced bargain, we're pretty darn confident you'll find something suitable.

How to choose the best laptop for you

Best laptops 2018

In the dim and distant past you could probably get a laptop for a minimum of £500 and spend up to £2000 or even more on a top-end one. Some can certainly come in on the high end of that range, even now.

But what has happened recently is that Chromebooks have appeared, offering dirt-cheap portable computing with sufficient features 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 though, has forced other laptops down in price too. So now you can get laptops for some absurd prices, especially if you pick up a sale bargain.

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?

Here are the 10 best laptops you can buy today.

The 10 best laptops you can buy today

Microsoft Surface Book 2 best laptop

1. Microsoft Surface Book 2

The ultimate Windows 10 hybrid laptop for power users

Specifications
CPU: 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8650U (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 4.2GHz with Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620; Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5 VRAM)
RAM: 16GB LPDDR3 (1866Mhz)
Screen: 15-inch, 3,240 x 2,160 (260 ppi) PixelSense display (3:2 aspect ratio; 1600:1 contrast ratio)
Storage: 512 GB PCIe 3.0 SSD
Reasons to buy
+Massively powerful for a 2-in-1+Battery life is excellent+Screen is superb
Reasons to avoid
-Surface Pen is not included-Drab grey finish

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 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 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.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 2

Best laptop Huawei MateBook X Pro

2. Huawei MateBook X Pro

The best Windows 10 laptop with MacBook styling

Specifications
CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 , Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.9-inch 3K (3,000 x 2,080)
Storage: 512GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Clean and vibrant display+Impeccable battery performance

The Huawei MateBook X Pro marries form and function with effortless style, delivering an incredibly capable internal hardware suite in a form factor that also matches Apple's MacBook range in terms of dynamite looks and feel.

Its sleek design houses a 13.9-inch 3K display, 8th generation Intel Core CPU, and Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 GPU, as well as delivering rock solid battery life, too. A stunning addition to the best laptop market, the Huawei MateBook X Pro has raised the bar considerably for rival makers.

Best laptop Dell XPS 13

3. Dell XPS 13

The best traditional Windows 10 laptop for portable computing

Specifications
CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 4.0GHz)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
RAM: 16GB DDR3 (2,133MHz)
Screen: 13.3-inch, Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) UltraSharp InfinityEdge touch display
Storage: 1TB PCIe SSD
Reasons to buy
+It's beautiful+It's really quick+It's got a 4K screen
Reasons to avoid
-White version costs more

The mighty Dell XPS 13 is a frequent member of our best laptop buying guides and here, in 2018, it is business as usual.

The machine is simply a thinner and more powerful version of last year's entry 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 on the money.

It's expensive, and the stunning Alpine White model is even more so, but it is simply one of the best laptops in the world and an easy recommend for the vast majority of users.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

best laptop Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370

4. Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370

A quality 2-in-1 system for those who can't stretch to the Surface Book 2

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-8550U
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch full HD touchscreen
Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
Reasons to buy
+Super-thin, with support for a full keyboard+Exceptional performance for a convertible
Reasons to avoid
-Fingerprint magnet

The 2-in-1 market has been around for a while now, and it’s slowing beginning to include components that are putting their performance far closer to that of a traditional laptop.

The latest ZenBook Flip from Asus - the S UX370 - continues this trend with an Intel Core i7-8550U processor, an Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU, and a PCIe SSD (in the more expensive iterations).

It’s a mightily impressive set of components for a convertible in 2018 and, providing you don't need a dedicated gaming-focused GPU like that installed in the much more expensive Microsoft Surface Book 2, delivers very similar, high-end performance.

If you've got just over £1,000 to spend and want a quality 2-in-1 laptop, then the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 is easy to recommend.

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar best laptop

5. Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

It's the best Macbook Pro ever made, and the number one choice for Mac users

Specifications
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 – 650
RAM: 8GB - 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch, (2,560 x 1,600) IPS
Storage: 256GB – 1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD
Reasons to buy
+Super fast+Touch Bar is genuinely useful+Incredibly desirable
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Battery life could be better

Simpy put, if you are looking for the best portable laptop experience from Apple then this is it. 

The Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar packs in some excellent internals, with an Intel Core i5 CPU partnered with 8GB of 2,133MHz RAM, a Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650 GPU, and a 256GB SSD. And the 13.3-inch 2,560 x 1,600 resolution Retina LED IPS display is gorgeous, too. 

The headline feature though, and one that helps this laptop stand out, is the OLED Touch Bar, which replaces the function keys on previous models to great affect.

Simply put, if you like MacBooks and aren't constrained by budget, then this is the best laptop for you.

Best laptop Dell XPS 15

6. Dell XPS 15

The best 15-inch laptop for tech enthusiasts

Specifications
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 6700HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M (with 2GB GDDR5)
RAM: 16GB Dual Channel DDR4 (2,133MHz; 8GB x 2)
Screen: 15.6-inch, 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) InfinityEdge touch
Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
Reasons to buy
+Dazzling 4K display+Portable for a 15-incher
Reasons to avoid
-Average battery life-A bit heavy

Like its smaller sibling, the above XPS 13, Dell's XPS 15 sports an almost bezel-less InfinityEdge display. It brings the dual benefit of making whatever you're doing on its gorgeous 15-inch '4K' screen come to life while also lending it the dimensions of a 14-inch laptop.

It's bag-friendly to boot, too, and comes packing the goods, including an Nvidia GTX 960M mobile graphics card that's beefy enough to handle just about any game so long as you stick to 1080p.

The XPS 15's battery life is its main weakness, so don't expect its run-times to stretch into the double figures without taking a booster pack along for the ride, but asides from that it is a well-priced, well-made laptop that should appeal to tech enthusiasts.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15

Best laptop Asus Rog Zephyrus GX501

7. Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501

The money-no-object best gaming laptop in the world

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-7700HQ
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Screen: 15.6-inch, Full HD IPS (1,920 x 1,080)
Storage: 512GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Massive power+Amazingly thin and cool+Looks stunning
Reasons to avoid
-Keyboard is cramped-Expensive

As we noted in our Asus ROG Zephyrus review, and then reiterated in our guide to the best gaming laptops, this system is simply an amazing piece of engineering.

Despite the fact that the  Zephyrus is amazingly thin and light (just 2.2kg), it crams in to its futurist chassis an insanely powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU, something that is possible thanks to adoption of Nvidia's cutting edge Max-Q design tech.

It's not just a one-trick pony either, with a revolutionary cooling system that sees the base split in two to help vent heat ensuring the Zephyrus remains remarkable cool and quiet in during intensive usage periods.

If you're a gamer with cash to flash, simple buy the Zephyrus now and then thank us later. A brilliant gaming laptop that easily makes it in to our best laptop guide.

Best laptop Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming

8. Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming

The best laptop for high-end portable gaming on a budget

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i5-7300HQ (quad core 3.5GHz)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q + Intel HD Graphics 630
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Screen: 15.6-inch, Full HD
Storage: 256GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+MaxQ GPU as standard+Clean anti-glare display+Attractive price
Reasons to avoid
-Build quality could be a little better

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.

Best laptop Lenovo Yoga 900S

9. Lenovo Yoga 900S

The best laptop for lightweight, highly portable computing

Specifications
CPU: 1.1GHz Intel Core m5-6Y54 (dual core, 4MB cache, up to 2.7GHz with Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515
RAM: 4GB LPDDR3 (1600 MHz)
Screen: 12.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD IPS LED glossy multi-touch display
Storage: 128GB PCIe SSD
Reasons to buy
+Elegant design+Twists and bends+Light and very portable
Reasons to avoid
-Shallow keyboard-Small trackpad

Convertible laptops undoubtedly make better tablets when they're lightweight. The Yoga 900S is one such machine, weighing in at a svelte 2.2 pounds. What you get then, is a 12.5-inch laptop with a bright and colourful screen that can rotate into several different positions, making it easier to interact with touchscreen apps, do a bit of lightweight gaming or even a spot of reading laid back on the couch. 

In terms of design, the Yoga 900S borrows the Yoga 3 Pro's stylish watchband hinge design without charging the jewellery shop price tag. It's thinner too, while bringing the same pixel-packed 2,560 x 1,440 pixel-resolution display along for the ride.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 900S

Best laptop Asus Zenbook UX310UA

10. Asus Zenbook UX310UA

The best laptop at a very affordable price point

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i3-i5
Graphics: Intel HD graphics 620
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 13.3-inch, 3,200 x 1,800
Storage: 256GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Aluminium body is lovely+Top value for money
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life is just so-so

If you like the look of the Dell XPS 13 but don't quite have the budget to stretch to it then the Asus Zenbook UX310UA is definitely worth a look. That's because you get a thin and light system with all-aluminium body, fast Intel CPU and, if you so wish, a stunning 3,200 x 1,800 QHD+ screen. RAM is competitive too at 8GB, as well as storage, with a modest 256GB SSD packed inside. Yes, battery life isn't stunning, but for less than £700 this system is simply fabulous value for money.