Best Laptop 2022: 10 Best Laptops Available Now
In 1981, the very first portable computer — or laptop — was released to the public.
What was once only accessible to business people and exclusive companies has become an integrated part of our everyday lives. (Imagine hauling around a laptop that weighs a hefty 25 pounds and costs almost $3,000 at a base price!)
Luckily for this day and age, school, work, downtime, and social lives have all been upgraded through a wonderfully portable device we know as a laptop or notebook computer. And if you’re still kicking it old school, don’t worry: we found the best notebooks for you, too.
Which brand of laptop is best?
As of 2021, you’ll find laptops for anything and anyone. With the pandemic’s impact on our daily lives, the high demand for jack-of-all-trades-type laptops has increased competition across the board.
Still, some manufacturers have stayed true to their niche and fanbase by outperforming previous models.
The latest laptops are now made with you (and convenience) in mind — the lightest on the market is a mere 2 pounds, while the thinnest is just over a half-inch thick. With so many options in the market, it’s crucial to find which kind of laptop works best for you. Keep reading to find out just how serious 2021’s laptop game gets.
The best overall laptop of 2021: Microsoft Surface 4
Don’t come for us, Apple users! While we’ve saved room for the all-mighty “Mac” daddy on this list, our pick for the best laptop of 2021 is a Microsoft laptop — Microsoft’s Surface 4 model, to be exact.
This model is a serious powerhouse of all general user wants and needs packed into a sleek design with enhanced mobility, including interchangeable keyboards and tablet-transforming capabilities. And it starts at just $1,099.
It’s no surprise that the Surface 4 was released at a time of mass demand for remote work and learning. This base model gets you an Intel Core i5 processor, 128 GB of storage, and 4 GB of memory. (Users can upgrade all three for an additional price.) Most laptops’ base models with these minimum specs already start far above the $1,000 mark, so the Surface is already a step ahead.
The 13.5″ display gives users just the right amount of screen size to dominate work tasks or enjoy pure entertainment. The modern, clean design gives new meaning to the word “portable” — as in it takes up minimal space in your bag and weighs only 2.76 pounds. Its operating system, Windows 10 S, was initially designed for school computers. It screens all downloaded apps automatically, which gives it an antivirus advantage other laptops lack at the base level.
Sadly, the type cover keyboard is sold separately. Still, it has unique features of its own that make it worthy of adding to your purchase: it can detach from the Surface to run on its power source and lessen the drain on the already impressive 13 hours of battery life. That’s pretty good for a Bluetooth-enabled keyboard.
If you’re indecisive on which laptop to buy, rest assured the Surface 4 has a little bit for everyone — that’s why we like it. You can play games, watch movies, use creative software, or use it for work and school assignments. Microsoft hit on all the points of what coins the term “portable computer” — the lightweight portability, enhanced PixelSense touchscreen, right at the $1000 price point, and powerful processing speeds.
Best Apple laptop: Macbook Air with the New M1 Chip
See, we told you Apple would make the list. MacBooks are truly in a class of their own — in terms of style and user experience, they bring a flair that other competitors haven’t imitated.
Weighing less than three pounds, the Macbook Air is the lightest model Apple has released. Don’t be fooled by the size, though — this is hands-down one of the most efficient Macbooks ever released. It’s also relatively inexpensive for a new MacBook at an average of $950 for the 256 GB version.
The Dolby Atmos-powered sound is remarkably powerful for a model of its stature. Even though it makes a lot of good noise, like with its excellent speaker quality, it’s entirely quiet for pretty much everything else. You won’t find a noisy fan in this Macbook Air; in fact, you won’t find one at all!
The 13″ screen gives a high-density pixel count for an incredible and rich display of colors. The built-in HD FaceTime camera uses a True Tone display to ease your eyes by making automatic adjustments based on the environment you’re using it in. The camera will even automatically tweak the white balance and exposure during video calls based on your clothing and skin tone. In other words, this Macbook Air will make you look good — literally!
Then, there’s the chip.
The latest Macbook Air model features the new “M1” chip. This chip is the first Apple chip of its kind and packs the world’s fastest CPU core. This means you can enjoy the smoothest streaming, gaming, and more at 3.5x the average speed. The M1 also holds the 7 and 8 core GPU, with improved graphics at 5x normal speeds and memory. The Solid-state drive, or SSD, can go up to 512GB with this particular model and hold 8GB of unified memory. Reaching that level of memory storage, however, requires an upgrade. The M1 chip holds the whole computer in a condensed block.
The macOS Big Sur operating system is running its most advanced hardware yet. What’s more, with this macOS, iPhone, and iPad, users can run their apps thanks to the most extensive library of apps than ever before — this time on your Mac!
The downside? It definitely could use more ports. Then again, that’s hardly a deal-breaker for one of the best laptops of 2021.
Best Windows laptop: Dell XPS 15
The Microsoft Surface 4 took the top spot on this best laptop 2021 edition, but there’s another contender in the game. Our verdict? You (might) be getting a dell!
The Dell XPS 15 is going for $1,400 at a base model price with a 256 GB hard drive. The XPS 17 version was released later, but we’re choosing the 15 as a better “bang for your buck.” When it comes to the $500 upgrade to the 17, it’s not adding much besides two more inches of display size — we’ll stick with the lower-priced yet equally powerful $1,400 XPS 15.
This Dell model is also one of the most style laptops on the market. Its sleek, aluminum chassis design, stain-resistant body, and thin 0.58-inch height give this laptop a futuristic and sophisticated look. It also keeps its cool with its spaced dual-fan placement and thermal regulating insulation. You can even upgrade to the more expensive “arctic white” color that gives it a frosty aesthetic that’s rarely seen in laptops. Dell has thought about the details down to the palm rest, made from woven glass fiber for luxe comfort on busy days. The 16:10 display features an edgeless view that adds to even more of its modern appearance, and, like the Airbook, it also has advanced screen adjustments.
Durability surely wasn’t an after-thought when making the XPS 15. If you’re prone to dropping things, this laptop might be for you. The Gorilla Glass 6 has outperformed in impact and scratch tests.
In terms of tech, it hosts a decent 64GB of memory and an Intel 11th Gen i9 processor — an excellent choice for web browsing, video streaming, multiple basic software running, and yes, *gasp*, gaming.
The downside? The battery life isn’t that great. It can average about 8-9 hours at full performance, which is lackluster compared to its sweet design. And no, its webcam is not HD; instead, it’s a basic 720p resolution. It doesn’t make sense when compared to its beautiful display features.
Overall, the minor details on this Windows laptop are really what make the craftsmanship on this laptop stand out — so hey, this is a computer you’ll be proud to show off in the coffee shop.
Best Chromebook: Acer Chromebook 514
There are tons of great Chromebooks in the current market. After all, Chromebook has come a long way from its basic word processing and web-browsing capabilities. As of 2021, you can find detachable designs, touch screens, and more featured apps than ever before. While there are so many models we’d like to list, we found solace in the solid salt-of-the-earth Acer Chromebook 514.
First and foremost, the average $375 price tag on this 4GB memory Chromebook is remarkable.
The updated Chromebook 514 is one of the four that Asus released earlier this year. The IPS touch screen lets you enjoy internet surfing and movies at full HD quality. Staying true to a Chromebook’s efficient style, it flips open quickly to a beautiful 14″ display screen. It doesn’t stop there: it also can flip into a tent mode or back for tablet-style usage.
Its processing speeds are brought to you by the AMD Ryzen 3 3000 Series, which offers excellent multitasking performance. The 4GB of memory is plenty for basic work and play compared to the average Chromebook’s 2GB. If you need additional storage, the MicroSD card slot allows for an extra storage extension. It also has four impressive USB ports and *drum- roll*… an average of 12 hours of battery life.
The roomy backlit keyboard is also equipped to help you work in low-light environments with ease. There is a downside, though — the keyboard isn’t that big. If your hands want a little more moving room, it might be a little cramped. Annoying? Yes. Still one of the best laptops of 2021? Most definitely!
Best 2-in-1 laptop: Samsung Galaxy Pro 360
The Samsung Galaxy line has become best friends to those looking for a do-it-all laptop.
If you’re looking for the best PC experience but on a small laptop, this computer is for you. The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 brings the power of a regular computer but with the flexibility of a cell phone. The average price starts at a well-deserved $2,000.
With this laptop, it’s all about (good) contradictions: It closes up to a sleek, 2.64″ thickness yet has a 15.6″ screen. It holds an Intel Evo 11th Gen Core processor but boasts up to 20 hours of battery life. It isn’t a Chromebook, but it allows for 360-degree rotation.
The base Samsung Galaxy Pro 360 runs on Windows 11 OS and gives you 1 TB of storage. (Yup, you read that right — a full terabyte!) The resolution doesn’t skimp on quality, either. The Samsung Galaxy Pro 360 hosts an outstanding HD touchscreen worthy of a cinema-like experience. If you’re into creative software and the Adobe graphic design suite, the S Pen creates stunning, smooth strokes.
It also makes it easy to takedown Samsung Notes and sync with your Samsung Galaxy phone for more on-the-go productivity. It is magnetized to stick to the chassis and comes with a storage case. You can also easily connect games on your phone and switch back-and-forth between the two with the Samsung SmartThings control option.
If you hate dead zones — who doesn’t? — you’ll be impressed by 3x the average speeds this laptop gets with its 6E Wi-fi connectivity.
The downside is the screen’s durability. Although the advanced AMOLED screen has impressive aspects like blue light adjustment and 120% color volume display, it’s prone to cracking.
The Best laptop for creators: ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo
At first glance, this laptop looks like something out of The Matrix. And for $2,000, you can feel futuristic and get one of the most original-looking laptops on the market right now.
The Asus Zenbook Pro Duo goes a step beyond with infinite graphics and avant-garde design. With its 14″ 4K matte touchscreen and 4K UHD NanoEdge 15.6″ main display, you can enjoy a split-screen appearance that feels even cooler than it looks. The second touchscreen, or ScreenPad Plus, even tilts up at 9.5° for an enhanced view.
The stylus-ready screens work simultaneously to bring you a built-in dual-screen experience without having to go out and buy another monitor. Trust us, the thin bezel and vivid NanoEdge display are a treat to work behind. The Zenbook Pro Duo graphics card is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, worthy of even a serious gamer’s recommendation. Photo and video editing has 3D graphics rendering and allows for a lag-free live-streaming experience, perfect for every type of gaming.
As if the tech couldn’t get better, this laptop also has an infrared camera. You have the best, hands-free security with this feature. In seconds, this laptop logs you in by using face-recognition software. If you’re worried about privacy settings, a small button on the Zenbook immediately shuts off the webcam.
When purchased new, there also might be a possibility to get three months of Adobe Creative Cloud for free through the GeForce RTX Studio Systems promotion. Whether you’re a content creator, vlogger, graphic designer, or architect, this is one of the most innovative laptops available in terms of outward appearance and creative specs.
Unfortunately, as “cool” as it looks, it may not stay that way. One complaint is that the fans aren’t doing enough to cool the powerhouse capability of its i9 processor and graphics card.
Best laptop on a budget: HP 14t-dq-200
Sometimes it comes down to affordability (we see you post-college grads). Earlier this year, this laptop was going for $500. It now averages at about $400, or less if purchased refurbished on Amazon. Simply put, the HP 14t-DQ-200 is inexpensive and does the job.
HP is ole-reliable for two reasons: it’s lightweight and can run various apps or browser tabs at a decent speed. Plus, its battery charges at a rate of 50% in only 45 minutes. It’s perfect for moments when you need a little juice before taking your computer on the go. The spacious keyboard is pretty comfortable, too.
The 14-t-DQ-200 comes in a variety of colors — black, indigo blue, or silver — and is up-to-date with Windows 11 Home and Pro if upgraded when you purchase it.
Luckily, the most basic HP 14t-dq-200 has an SSD with a 256 GB capacity and 8GB of memory. Upgrades are available to 1T of storage and 16 GB of memory, but that adds on an average of $200 more. If you’re looking to upgrade, it’s better to spend an extra hundred bucks and go with the HP Pavilion 360.
The Intel UHD graphics card on the 14-t-DQ-200 is sub-par, but it can run a few lower-quality stream games just fine. Just don’t expect to play Assassin’s Creed on this laptop.
Overall, this laptop gives you a slightly better feeling than “you get what you pay for.” This especially holds with the recent markdown.
Best gaming laptop: Razer Blade 15 2021
While most gamers still use a PC for their gaming, some gaming laptops are making their way to popularity. Since the downfall of Alienware in the PC gaming industry, Ryzer has risen to one of the top spots.
Starting at $1,600 for a 1TB SSD version, the latest Razer Blade 15 can go up to $3,000 based on storage upgrades. With the Thunderbolt 3 or 4 upgrades, you get a gaming laptop with stunning NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics and hefty Intel 11th Gen 8-Core CPU. The large, 15.6″ display goes a step further than just standard HD: to be specific, 4K UHD.
This gaming laptop continues to awe with its appearance considering its potential — the 0.6″ CNC aluminum houses precision and a thin, compact body within its frame.
With this much power comes much responsibility — or cooling capabilities. The sophisticated “Vapor Chamber Cooling” system works around the clock to eradicate heat by constantly evaporating a built-in condensation system. So you don’t have to worry about overheating in the middle of a gaming session.
Its expandable memory is equipped with a 1TB SSD plus 32GB of RAM. The good thing is that they can also be upgraded, depending on the size you need. This is pretty cool for a laptop, which is usually why gamers stick to these custom options of a pc-build.
Unfortunately, the Razer Blade 15 is a laptop that will have to stay plugged in just like a PC. The battery life only allows for 45 minutes to 2 hours at high processing speeds when not. Also, sticking to your headset might be a good idea considering the built-in spatial surround sound doesn’t eliminate the need for them.
Best laptop for business: Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 9
The new Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is an office-friendly computer with all the right perks.
One of the best things about this computer is its privacy features. For around $1,500- 2,000 — depending on the storage and memory capacity you choose — you have one of the best laptops 2021 has to offer in terms of built-in security for your business. This includes biometric-enabled fingerprint sensors, a platform module chip that automatically encrypts data, presence detectors, and a camera cover.
Lenovo even installed a PrivacyGuard feature that blacks out the screen to anyone viewing it from any angle other than straight on. No more peeping Tom’s taking a look at your screen when out in public.
This laptop has also harnessed the power of an 11th Generation Intel®Core™ i7 processor with four cores and eight threads, plus 38 GB of RAM. But what really shines about this best laptop for business is the keyboard. Writing on the smooth build of the keys turns typing long emails or documents into a comfortable experience. The well-drawn-out backlit keys mimic the mechanics of a higher-end keyboard in terms of sensitivity and clicks.
If you’re a freelancer working on the go, this is the best laptop to take with you anywhere, thanks to its 19.5-hour battery life.
One of the drawbacks, however, is the 720HD webcam. But for around $60, you can get a Logitech 1080HD external add-on — problem solved!
Best laptop for a student: MacBook Pro 14
Here’s another top pick from Apple, this time for the students. The MacBook Pro 14 is stylish, fast, and affordable despite being a newly released Apple model. This combination creates a laptop a student can feel safe to invest in, plus gives bragging rights only a MacBook can get you. The base price starts at $2,000 and offers flexibility for a student budget. If you purchase through Apple, you have an option to qualify for payments of ~$165 per month on its Apple Card plan.
MacBooks can last forever. Forget about the lag of other laptops when writing a paper. Like all the MacBook lines released in 2021, the durability of the MacBook Pro 14 is further backed by the new M1 Chip 8-core CPU. This thing knows no exhaustion. The storage ranges anywhere from a base of 512GB to 8TB if you choose to upgrade. The memory is also spaced out in a range of 16-64 GB options. The base price mentioned starts at the lower end of both.
Then, the camera. Like the MacBook Air, 1080p HD works excellent for remote learning and video calls. That’s because there is 2x the resolution and a wider lens that allows for a brighter capture. The sound also is supported by a 6-speaker spatial audio system powered by Dolby Atmos.
Additionally, it takes in just as much sound as it puts out. The advanced 3-microphones are built to cancel out white noise and any other fuzz that other webcams lack. The camera and microphone systems in the MacBook Pro 14 work seamlessly for video making and streaming. Did we mention the display is also liquid retina XDR with the option to cast to 4K devices?
There are a couple of things to consider. To date, Apple still has not released a touchscreen version of its MacBook. This might not be a huge con, but for the modernity of a laptop, it’s something that could’ve been added. Then again, Apple tends to stick with its aesthetic in the most fierce of ways. Overall, the 17 hours of battery life, touch ID security options, iPhone sync, and AppleCare+ allow students to rest easy if any problem arises.
Which laptop is best for you?
We hope our list has helped you on your journey to achieving laptop-finding bliss. Whether you’re a freelancer, work-conscious employee, gamer, or creator, there’s a laptop for you out there. It all comes down to how much performance your computer needs to keep your daily tasks powered.
For peace of mind across the board, it’s probably the best idea to stick to a laptop above the $500 range. Remember, apps and games running at higher graphic rates will always need faster processing speeds to avoid lagging and a low-quality output.
We may have played a little game of Goldilocks and the Three Bears but, rest assured: our top picks do not stand alone. Millions of users are satisfied with these laptops — and it shows!
Most models nowadays come with customizable storage, memory, display, graphics cards, and processors. There has never been a better time for finding and buying a laptop computer that is truly made with you in mind.