In this guide to the best laptops 2019 has to offer, we here at TechRadar have gathered up a smorgasbord of fantastic laptops that will appeal to a broad range of people, no matter what sort of laptop you’re looking for.
So, we found the best Ultrabooks and premium laptops, alongside the best Macs, Chromebooks, and budget Windows tablets. On this page, you’ll also find the best gaming laptops and 2-in-1 laptops.
We made sure to fill this list of the best laptops with amazing pieces of kit at every price point, so you can find the perfect laptop, no matter your budget. Remember: you don’t need to spend a fortune to get one of the best laptops on the market.
Top 12 Laptops
- AMD A9-9425 Dual Core accelerated processor 3.1 GHz (up to 3.7 GHz) ; AMD Radeon R5
- 4GB DDR4 RAM; 128GB SSD; DVD-RW
- Windows 10 OS; provide a familiar and productive experience, while delivering enterprise-grade...
- 11.6" display Typical 1366 x 768 HD resolution. Energy-efficient LED backlight.
- Intel Celeron processor N4000 Entry-level dual-core processor for general e-mail, Internet and...
- Full-size island-style backlit keyboard with numeric keypad, HP Digital Pen in natural silver included.
- 15.6-inch diagonal FHD IPS Bright View micro-edge WLED-backlit touchscreen (1920 x 1080)
- 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U Processor (Up to 3.4GHz)
- 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-lit IPS Display
- 15.6" HD SVA WLED Back-lit Touch-screen 1366 x 768, Intel UHD Graphics 605
- Quad Core Intel Pentium Silver N5000 (upto 2.7GHz), 4GB DDR4 SDRAM
- 8th Generation Intel Core i3-8130U Processor (Up to 3.4GHz)
- 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-lit Display
- Chrome OS, Samsung Exynos 5250 Dual Core Processor
- Display: 11.6" LED HD 1366 x 768 16:9, Ports: HDMI, Headphone/MIC combo, 1 x USB 3.0 + 1 x USB 2.0, 3-...
- Intel Dual Core AMD A6-9225 2.6Ghz Base Frequency Burst Frequency up to 3.0Ghz (With DVD Drive, No...
- 1TB HDD Hard Drive provides massive storage space for huge files, so that you can store important digital...
- 15.6-Inch IPS Touchscreen FHD (1920x1080)
- 8th Generation Intel Quad Core i5-8250U
- 15.6" LED-backlit display, 1366 x 768 HD resolution, 802.11b/g/n (1x1) Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 combo,...
- 1TB HDD provides massive storage space for huge files, so that you can store important digital data and...
- 15.6-Inch WLED-backlit Touchscreen HD (1366x768), 10-finger multi-touch support | TrueVision HD Webcam
- Intel Core i5-7200U 2.5 GHz (Turbo Boost up to 3.10 GHz, 3 MB Smartcache, 2 Cores 4 Threads)
Which type of laptop is best for you?
General laptops: Where the best cheap laptops 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 best Ultrabooks 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 Surface Book 2 might be a ways off, but many of the best 2-in-1 laptops 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 best Chromebooks 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 some can even withstand 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 best gaming laptops. 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 AMD’s laptop-grade Ryzen processors first.
Laptop-tablet hybrids: Designed from the tablet-first approach to laptop-tablet hybrids, the best Windows tablets 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.
Laptop Shopping by Spec
Understanding Laptop Connections: Ports and Slots
Connectivity is key for a modern laptop. Almost every model on the market today offers Bluetooth for connecting wireless peripherals, and Internet connectivity via 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Mobile broadband options, for when there’s no Wi-Fi hotspot handy, include 3G, 4G HSPA+, and 4G LTE, but these are increasingly rare, as users opt for personal mobile hotspots that work with several devices or tether their smartphone to use its broadband connection.
The venerable VGA interface is rapidly disappearing as well, due in part to space constraints in ultraportables that preclude the bulky connector, and newer monitors and projectors that work better with DisplayPort, HDMI, USB-C or Thunderbolt 3. HDMI is especially popular lately, thanks to the demand for connecting laptops to TVs. Alternately, you can use an Apple TV or Google Chromecast device to beam video and audio to your TV wirelessly.
What’s Under the Hood?
The most dominant processor chips come from Intel. Made with ultraportables and hybrid designs in mind, Intel’s Core mobile CPUs are now in their eighth generation, identifiable by model numbers in the 8000s (such as Core i7-8550U) or by their codenames: Whiskey Lake, Coffee Lake, or Kaby Lake R. These chips not only stretch battery life, they also boast improved graphics processing. (See our picks for the longest-running laptops in terms of battery life.) These eighth-generation processors also feature more cores than predecessors, so you will find a true quad-core CPU in your Core i5 laptop, with more power than an older dual-core.
As designs get sleeker and slimmer, manufacturers are using an array of materials in their construction. Plastic (or polycarbonate) is the least expensive and most commonly used material in laptop frames, but manufacturers have shown great ingenuity in making plastic not look cheap. The most common technique is an in-mold decoration or in-mold rolling, a process made popular by Acer, HP, and Toshiba, in which decorative patterns are infused between plastic layers. This process has evolved into etched imprints and textures, commonly seen on laptop lids.
Should You Buy an Extended Warranty?
Most laptops are backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor. The standard warranty is limited, so it won’t cover accidents that stem from, say, spilling a drink on the keyboard or dropping the system to a hard surface.
Most laptop manufacturers also sell accidental coverage as a separate plan on top of optional extended warranties, so you might end up spending close to $300 for three years of comprehensive coverage. Apple offers a maximum three-year extended warranty ($249 to $379), while most Windows-based laptop manufacturers offer up to four years.