Buying a laptop is an investment — at the very least, you’re going to spend a few hundred bucks, so you’ll want to make the right choice.
The problem is that it’s tough to know whether a laptop is really right for you until you’ve used it for a while.
We’ve researched some of the best laptops on the market and combed through reviews to at least give you some of the best options to choose from. Here are some of the top picks from experts around the web.
If you want a Mac laptop with a better screen, check out the MacBook Pro with Retina display. There's a $US300 difference between the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro of the same size, and the extra cash gets you a faster processor, a sharper screen, and more ports such as an extra Thunderbolt port and a spot to plug in an HDMI cord.
The new MacBook Pro also comes with Apple's new Force Touch trackpad, which can sense how hard you're pressing down to click in addition to only detecting where you're touching the trackpad. You can use Force Touch to access some shortcuts in Apple's Mac operating system.
Price: Starts at $US1,299
Dell's 13-inch Windows laptop comes with an impressive 3,200 x 1,800 touchscreen with an 'infinity display,' which basically means it has really thin side bezels. It's a great option if you want to stick with Windows but want something that's as thin and light as a MacBook Air. It's $US100 cheaper than the 11-inch MacBook Air and $US200 cheaper than the 13-inch version.
Price: Starts at $US799
The Lenovo T450s is sturdy, fast, reliable, and comes with tons of ports that those using their laptop for business-oriented tasks will appreciate, according to reviews from PCMag and The Wirecutter. It also comes with a swappable battery, which makes it easily serviceable, and a touchscreen that tilts. Lenovo describes the T450s as an ultrabook, which means it should be slim and light so that it's easy to carry around.
Price: Starts at $US953.10
Toshiba's Chromebook 2 is among the best out there. It has a beautiful screen, great battery life, and it feels comfortable in your lap. The design is sturdy enough to withstand being tossed in your bag during commutes without getting scraped up.
The Wirecutter agrees and has named it the best Chromebook you can currently buy. 'Its brilliant, 13.3-inch screen is better than the competition, it's not too bulky, and, though it slows down under heavy loads, it is fast enough for most,' The Wirecutter writes. If you mostly use your laptop for doing light work and browsing the web, this is a great choice.
Price: Starts at $US250
Dell's Inspiron 17 5000 Series is an affordable general-purpose Windows laptop with a sharp screen, solid performance, and long battery life, according to PCMag's review. Although it's relatively cheap at $US449, its aluminium design makes it look more attractive than your typical sub-$US500 notebook. Try this one if you need a Windows laptop that offers better performance than the HP Stream but don't want to spend too much money. There's also a touchscreen model if you want to spend an extra $US200.
Price: Starts at $US449
You don't have to spend a ton of money for a new Windows laptop. The HP Stream comes as cheap as $US179 and includes a free one-year subscription to Microsoft Office Personal. For a such a cheap laptop, the HP Stream is pretty good: The keyboard is decent, the battery life will get you through a day or two with mixed usage, and it's so light I nearly forgot I had it in my bag. If you really don't want to invest much in a laptop, opt for the Stream or a Chromebook. But if you choose the Stream, you'll have to sacrifice high-quality audio and a sharp display.
Price: Starts at $US179
Asus' Chromebook Flip is a cheap laptop that doesn't feel like it -- and it offers long battery life.
If you're looking for another reasonably-priced Chromebook, you should check out the Asus Chromebook Flip. It's not the most powerful laptop, but Chromebooks aren't really meant to be. For its price it seems like a great value. A few reviews, including those from Engadget, PCMag, and CNET, praised the Flip for its long battery life, lightweight and attractive design, and aggressive price. Plus -- with its 10-inch screen, its a bit smaller than most Chromebooks. The design is flexible too, so you can fold the screen back to use it as a tablet.
Price: Starts at $US240
Asus' ROG G751JT is a beast. The Wirecutter crowned it as the best gaming laptop since it combines powerful hardware, premium build quality, and the ability to play most graphics-intensive games on high settings. It's also got a gorgeous screen and a deep, comfortable keyboard.
Price: Starts at $US1,500
Asus' Zenbook UX305 is thinner, lighter, and has a better screen than the MacBook Air, according to Gizmodo's review. It's cheaper than the MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13 at just $US700, while its aforementioned competitors start at $US900 and $US800 respectively.
There are a few areas where the UX305's more expensive rivals outshine it, but Asus has made sure all of the important features are spot on: storage, screen quality, and battery life. The UX305's screen is sharper than that of the MacBook Air and it still boasts long 9-10 hour battery life according to Wired. It doesn't have a backlit keyboard and isn't quite as polished as the MacBook Air or Dell XPS 13 in terms of design, but it's a tough value to beat.
Price: Starts at $US700
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.