The Best Laptop 2017: Our pick of the 15 best laptops you can buy this year
Approaching Black Friday, it’s only a matter of time before you have to start thinking about the season of giving gifts, either to yourself or to loved ones. And, frankly, there’s no gift more versatile than a laptop, mostly because you practically need to own one for school and most office jobs. The question is: what is the best laptop to buy and where do you buy it from?
It’s easy to take a Macbook Pro off the shelf of your local big box electronics store, check out and call it a day, if you have the means. What’s harder is determining the best laptop for the price and configuring it to meet your needs. That’s what we’re here for. Here at TechRadar, we’ve put our best foot forward, reviewing all of the latest laptops from trending brands.
Thereafter, we’ve compiled only the best laptops into a categorically arranged list accounting for everyone from gamers to creators. Whether you spend your nights clicking away at the first-person shooters or making vector drawings in Adobe Illustrator, there’s a laptop here on our list for you – even if you use your computer exclusively for homework and studying.
Introductions out of the way, here’s a series of rundowns on the top 15 laptops you can purchase this holiday season. Each entry comes with pricing information and specs in addition to a brief synopsis that brings it all together. They’re not all running Windows 10 either, as some of our picks brandish macOS High Sierra as well as the most recent builds of Chrome OS.
The best laptops of 2017:
1. Dell XPS 13 (2017)
For almost everyone this is the best laptop money can buy in 2017
CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Iris Plus Graphics 640 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD
Slim, light, powerful and majestic, Dell’s 2017 flagship XPS 13 is the best laptop in the world at the time of this writing. Perhaps stifled by the fact that a more aesthetically pleasing Alpine White model is on its way, the version we’ve reviewed ought to satisfy your craving for a top-notch Windows Ultrabook in the meantime. Whether for its powerful Intel Kaby Lake processors ranging from i3 to i7 or for its nigh-bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display, which shoves a 13.3-inch screen into an 11-inch frame, the Dell XPS 13 makes a significant splash on the competition. Not only that, but the port selection is equally on point. Compared to Apple’s exclusive USB-C approach, Dell’s flagship notebook impresses with – in addition to USB-C – USB 3.0 along with the elusive SD card slot. Bearing in mind those facets alone, it’s no wonder the Dell XPS 13 is the most popular WIndows laptop in the world. Yet it gets even better. You also get the choice of a super high-res or multi-touch screen as well as a breadth of options for storage and memory. Or you can save on cash and opt for more conservative specs.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
2. Asus Zenbook UX310UA
A brilliant all-rounder laptop that punches above its weight
CPU: Intel Core i3 – i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch up to QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 256GB SSD
Behold the Asus ZenBook UX310UA, a laptop that sidesteps the lofty price of the Dell XPS 13 without compromising on performance. It doesn’t quite look or feel as nice as the Dell above, and the battery life isn’t as good, but you can still expect an all-aluminum frame and fantastic performance from a 7th-generation Kaby Lake processor – whether that’s of the i3 or i5 variety is entirely up to you. Additionally, you can choose between a full HD, 1080p display or a brilliant 3,200 x 1,800-pixel, QHD+ screen with 30% more pixels compared with Apple’s 13-inch Retina screens. No matter what model you go for, the Asus ZenBook UX310UA is one of the best laptops you can buy.
3. Lenovo Yoga Book
A wonderfully versatile and cheap 2-in-1 laptop
CPU: Intel Atom x5-Z8550 | Graphics: Intel Atom | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 10.1-inch full HD IPS touchscreen | Storage: 64GB SSD, up to 128GB microSD
If you’re after a cheap laptop that offers something a bit special, look no further than the Lenovo Yoga Book 2017. As with all Yoga devices, the screen folds flat so you can use it either as a tablet or a laptop. To add more versatility, Lenovo has now added the option to buy it with either Windows 10 or Android 6.0 onboard – which one you choose will depend how you’re more likely to use the device. The screen on this thing defies the cheap asking price and the keyboard and capacitive touch-keyboard are both fantastic too. This is a great option if you want something cheap for basic computing tasks, for creating art using the built-in Wacom digitizer or a train device for watching movies. But for more heavy lifting you’d be better off choosing one of the options above as the Intel Atom CPU in this thing is great at saving power and making the battery last for ages but not so good at super speedy processing.
4. Apple Macbook Pro with Touch Bar
The best Macbook Pro ever, now with Touch Bar
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
If you’re after the latest and greatest laptop from Apple, we suggest you welcome the 13-inch Macbook Pro with Touch Bar. Despite Microsoft’s claims that its Surface Book 2 is twice as powerful as Apple’s flagship MacBook Pro, it’s also more expensive at the starting level. Of course, the headline feature is the Touch Bar – it’s a thin OLED display at the top of the keyboard which can be used for any number of things, whether that be auto-suggesting words as you type or offering Touch ID so you can log in with just your fingerprint. If you’re a massive fan of the Macbook Pro 2017, you’ll be happy with this model but there are some serious reasons why you should consider one of the Windows alternatives. As we said before, it’s not as powerful, the screen is lower-res versus the competition and isn’t touchscreen friendly, plus the battery is a bit disappointing, too. So, if you’re open to switching to a PC, definitely consider the XPS 13 as a more modern, cheaper alternative. But, if you’re a steadfast Apple diehard, this is definitely the best laptop for you!
5. Apple MacBook 12-inch (2016)
The coolest ever Macbook is super slim
CPU: Intel Core M3 1.2GHz – Intel Core i7 1.4GHz | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12-inch, (2,304 x 1440) IPS 16:10 | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
The Macbook Air is dead, but it’s only the beginning for the new Apple MacBook. Not only is it the slimmest, sleekest and best-looking Macbook Apple has ever built, it’s one of the most popular and best-selling laptops on the planet. It will not serve as a main productivity machine – it’s a lot less powerful than the Macbook Pro and has only one IO port in the form of USB Type-C. But, in terms of being a super slim and light Macbook that you can take anywhere without even noticing the weight, and giving you the same slick OS X performance, the Macbook is a beautiful machine.
6. Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501
The best gaming laptop out there right now
CPU: Intel Core i7-7700HQ (quad core 3.8GHz) | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 + Intel HD Graphics 630 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, Full HD (120Hz with Nvidia G-Sync) | Storage: 512GB SSD
Part of a new generation of Max-Q gaming laptops in 2017, the Asus ROG Zephyrus is both ridiculously powerful and astonishingly thin and light. Make no mistake, this thing is large compared to a Macbook Pro or Dell XPS 13, but compared to gaming laptops of the past this effort from Asus is something of a holy grail achievement. Your expectations of a 15-inch gaming laptop will never be the same after seeing the Zephyrus in action. It’s expensive of course, but with powerful Core i7 CPU and GTX 1080 graphics it’ll be easily powerful enough to play the best games for many years to come on the built-in 1080p screen. It’s an ideal top-end desktop replacement that is, possibly for the first time ever, also extremely portable.
Read the full review:
See more like this: The best gaming laptops 2017
7. Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming
The best gaming laptop for those on a budget
CPU: Intel Core i5-7300HQ (quad core 3.5GHz) | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti + Intel HD Graphics 630 | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, Full HD | Storage: 256GB SSD
If you’re after a new gaming laptop and you don’t have the kind of money that you need for the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 above, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming laptop is your best option. It comes in at well under half the price and offers absolutely fantastic value for money. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti graphics chip is easily powerful enough to lubricate the best games on the built-in 1080p display while general performance in Windows is super slick thanks to the Core i5 CPU. If you’re going to be moving around a bit, you’ll be pleased to know that the battery life on this laptop is also superb – we got nearly 8 hours out of it while watching HD video. A gaming session with Tom Clancy’s The Division on medium settings for two hours only dropped the battery to 66%. This is far better than similarly priced rivals. So in the reasonably-priced category, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is definitely the best laptop around at the moment.
Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming
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8. Google Pixelbook
A premium Chromebook well worth its lofty price
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch QHD (2,400 x 1,600) LCD touchscreen | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD
Designed for users hoping to avert the complicated nature of a Windows PC or Mac, Chromebooks have been a raging success in recent years as a result of their accessibility. The Google Pixelbook is no exception. Although it’s double the price of the average Chrome OS device and doesn’t come with a stylus as you might expect, the Pixelbook is built to withstand the future. It has a pair of Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports for accessories and super fast file transfers, a hinge that flips inside out for watching movies on planes and – perhaps best of all – Android app support. Now, there are still some kinks to work out, but you can access the entire Google Play store on the Pixelbook, from playing Sonic the Hedgehog to watching videos in VLC. And, with a battery life of 7 hours and 40 minutes in our own testing, you can do so for a while without recharging.
9. Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Microsoft’s Windows tablet is a brilliant 2-in-1 option
CPU: Intel Core m3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 – Iris Plus Graphics 640 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 8MP rear-facing, 5MP front-facing
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is 2017’s best laptop for you if you’re looking for the perfect cross between a nimble Windows tablet and a fully functional laptop. The base version of the Surface Pro 4 is just a tablet – you get the main unit itself with kickstand but if you want the Surface Pen or the fantastic Type Cover keyboard you’ll need to pay extra for a bundle or buy it separately. Often the best value option is a bundle but even the tablet on its own represents pretty good value. The Surface Pro, alongside the also-excellent Surface Book laptop, is to Windows what the Pixel is to Google’s Android. It’s the benchmark Windows device, with software and hardware working together in perfect harmony. So if you need a new laptop and a tablet, the Surface Pro is the best does-it-all 2-in-1 option. If you want this but need something a little cheaper, check out the Acer Switch 3 below!
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 4
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10. Acer Switch 3
A great Surface Pro competitor at half the price
CPU: 1.10GHz Intel Pentium Quad Core N4200 – Intel Core i3 7100U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.2-inch, 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD touchscreen | Storage: 64GB – 128GB eMMC
If you want the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 but you want to spend a lot less, the Acer Switch 3 2017 is definitely the your best option. It’s designed around essentially the same concept as the Surface Pro and it’s a less capable thanks to slightly lower power innards, but for most tasks it’s a brilliant little machine. What’s more, to add further value this 2-in-1 laptop/tablet comes with the keyboard upgrade which means no little extras to pay for. As usual it comes in several different versions, with USB Type-C, 8GB RAM, an IPS display and Intel Core i3 7100U CPU coming with the more expensive option.
Read the full review: Acer Switch 3
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11. Acer Swift 3
A budget Ultrabook that performs better than it looks
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB DDR4 | Screen: 14-inch full HD (1920 x 1080) ComfyView IPS | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD
While you may have been convinced that ‘budget Ultrabook’ was an oxymoron up until this point, the Acer has turned this common misconception on its head with the Swift 3. That’s because the company has taken the all-aluminum chassis of the and stuffed some more affordable components inside for everyone to enjoy. It doesn’t run , but the Acer Swift 3 does put the age-old to shame in about every other regard, including the nigh-unbeatable price tag. Of course, in the process of demolishing the competition, Acer did have to cut a few corners in order to keep the price so impressively low. So although you can’t expect much in the way of an Ultra HD display or quality onboard sound, the performance benchmarks alone give even the a run for its money.
12. Asus Transformer Mini T102HA
A tiny, flexible touchscreen laptop with an attractive price
CPU: Intel Atom x5-Z8350 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics – Intel HD Graphics 400 | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 11.6-inch 1,366 x 768 HD IPS touchscreen | Storage: 32GB
If you’re after a low cost Windows laptop that you can slip into a bag and carry around all day without noticing the weight, the Asus Transformer Mini T102HA is a fantastic device. Honestly it’s not the fastest laptop in the world, so don’t expect to do any video editing. But for simple every-day tasks it’s more than adequate. What’s more, it’s similar to the other 2-in-1 laptops in this list in that it can become a tablet – you can choose whether or not to take the keyboard with you. And it comes as standard so you don’t need to pay extra for it.
Read the full review: Asus Transformer Mini T102HA
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13. Dell XPS 15
The best 15-inch laptop available this year
CPU: Intel Core i5-7300HQ – i7-7700HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB DDR4 | Screen: Up to 15.6-inch Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge touchscreen | Storage: 1TB HDD – 512GB SSD
If you love the look of the XPS 13 at the top of this list but need something a little bigger with more graphics power, the Dell XPS 15 2017 could be the best laptop for you. Packing the same InfinityEdge technology, the screen extends right to the edge of the machine which means it’s as small as it’s possible to make a 15-inch laptop in 2017. It’s quite pricey though, depending on which version you get. The very top end version has a 4K colour-accurate display which makes it perfect for graphic design, and gaming performance is decent as long as you play at either a lower resolution or on medium settings.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 15
14. Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
The best value 15-inch laptop in 2017
CPU: Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 940MX (2GB DDR3L) + Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) LED touchscreen | Storage: 1TB HDD (SATA3); 128GB SSD (operating system; M.2)
If you’re after a workhorse 15-inch laptop that’ll give you loads of grunt for your money with top features and excellent design, the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin is the best laptop for you – despite the silly name. You won’t want to be carrying it around too often as it’s a bit heavy for that, but otherwise it’s a superb laptop. The keyboard is lovely to type on and the HD screen is HDR capable which makes it ideal for watching video and editing images. It’s a cracking alternative to the Dell XPS 15 but for a lot less money.
Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
15. HP Spectre x360
HP’s flagship 2-in-1 laptop goes ultra-thin with style
CPU: Intel Core i7-7500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS UWVA WLED-backlit multi-touch – Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) | Storage: 512GB SSD
And finally – HP’s best 2-in-1 laptop is a really stunner. It’s super thin and light while packing in fantastic performance and a fast charging battery. It’s expensive, but for the money what you’re getting is the best ultra portable laptop available in 2017. As with many laptops on the list, this laptop comes in a number of different builds – with the bottom end one starting with a full HD screen while the top end model packs in a 4K one. Whichever one you go for though, you’re getting a fabulous laptop that you’ll love carrying around with you.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360
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Which type of laptop is best for you?
General laptops: Where the are found, devices that focus more on practicality than style, portability or power. That’s not to say they can’t be fast, but you’ll typically find a non-Ultrabook clamshell laptop with an HD screen and spinning drive-based storage for less than $600 or £400.
Ultrabooks: Where you’ll find thin-and-light notebooks sporting SSD storage and display resolutions that exceed 1080p. Paired with powerful, albeit mobile-centric components and especially long battery life, the will cost a pretty penny – $700 or £500 to $2,000 or £1,800.
2-in-1 laptops: Where notebooks that double as tablets are located. The , but many of the are available right now. Outfitted with both detachable and 360-degree rotating hinges, these hybrids are the most versatile way to experience Windows 10 (or Chrome OS) on a touchscreen.
Chromebooks: Where you’ll find the running Chrome OS. These do much of what Windows and macOS can in the browser, focused on cloud storage over local, while recently getting Android app support for touchscreen models. They generally cost less than $300 or £200 and a slight tussle.
Gaming laptops: Need a laptop to play games (almost) just like a shiny desktop PC can? Then you’ll want one of the . These machines generally cost from $800 or £600 to upwards of $3,000 or £2,800 and they’ll likely be the ones to take advantage of first.
Laptop-tablet hybrids: Designed from the tablet-first approach to laptop-tablet hybrids, the pack beyond-HD touchscreens, sometimes with kickstands in their frames or provided via keyboard covers. These generally shine with a stylus, and range from the budget to the premium price ranges.
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