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Best laptop 2022: The top 7 laptops we’ve tested

We rank all your best laptop and notebook options, with Apple, Microsoft, Dell and Samsung models all included

Introduction

Looking for a new laptop can be a daunting process, with so many specs to consider that it becomes difficult to determine which is the best laptop choice for your specific use case. 

And that’s where our best laptop list comes in. Our team of experts thoroughly tests countless laptops each year, including Chromebooks, MacBooks and Windows laptops, and so we’ve decided to assemble a list of our most highly rated devices.

We know that one laptop won’t meet everyone’s needs, so we’ve also made sure to include a wide variety of options. This includes budget-friendly Chromebooks, ultra-portable Windows machines and high-performance MacBooks. 

We’ve also made sure to focus on laptop features that buyers really care about. Is the battery good enough to survive the work day? Is it portable enough to chuck in a bag? Is it powerful enough to have multiple browser tabs open with no slowdown? Is the screen good enough for a Disney Plus or Netflix marathon? All of those questions have been answered during our testing process. 

In order to conduct these tests, our team of reviewers have used each laptop extensively, while also using equipment such as colorimeters and benchmark software so we can see how each option compares to the next. Of course, you don’t need to split hairs over small number margins, but it’s still useful to see which CPUs and GPUs perform best from the likes of AMD, Apple, Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm. 

And if you can’t see a laptop you like right now, it may be worth bookmarking this page and coming back later, as we’ll be updating this list frequently as we test more and more laptops throughout 2022 and beyond. 

Or if you have more specific needs than a general all-rounder laptop, then check out our other best laptop guides. We have a best budget laptop round-up with the most affordable options, a best student laptop list for the ideal picks for blasting out essays and best gaming laptop if you want to play the likes of Fortnite and Elden Ring on a portable machine.

How we test

Learn more about how we test laptops

Every laptop we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality, performance, screen quality and battery life. 

These include formal synthetic benchmarks and scripted tests, plus a series of real world checks, such as how well it runs the most frequently used apps. 

We also make sure to use every laptop we review as our primary device for at least a week to ensure our review is as accurate as possible.

Dell XPS 13 OLED

The best laptop
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Pros

  • The absolute best laptop screen for the price
  • Speedy productivity performance
  • Class-leading laptop design
  • Lots of configuration options

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Stingy port offering

The Dell XPS 13 OLED is the best all-round laptop we have reviewed. Its design is one of the best we’ve seen, its Intel chip excelled during our tests and the titular OLED screen achieved incredible colour accuracy results in our colorimeter tests, proving to be ideal for entry-level creators. 

It also weighs just 1.2kg, which is so light that we often forgot it was inside our bag when lugging it to and from the office every day. You can find even lighter laptops, such as the Acer Swift 5, but you will see a trade-off to the build quality by opting for such portables. 

With superb specs across the board, the Dell XPS 13 OLED is a great choice for a wide range of people, whether you’re a student, office worker or simply want to watch Netflix and the like on the go. The only people that this laptop may not be ideal for are gamers and content creators, with its integrated GPU posting underwhelming scores in our benchmark tests. As a result, you’re best off checking out the Razer Blade 14 and MacBook Pro for such use cases instead. 

The Dell XPS 13 OLED comes with Windows 11 preinstalled, offering greater flexibility than both ChromeOS and MacOS. That said, you can find cheaper laptops by opting for a Chromebook instead, while the MacBook Air 2021 is a great alternative if you’re not willing to leave the Apple ecosystem.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full review: Dell XPS 13 OLED review

MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021)

The best MacBook
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Pros

  • Stunning display
  • Amazing performance
  • The ports and MagSafe are back

Cons

  • RAM upgrades are expensive

In our experience, there are plenty of reasons why you should opt for macOS over Windows. It works well with other Apple gadgets such as iPhones and iPads, and it’s arguably a more streamlined and easy-to-use operating system if you’re not fussed about the greater versatility of Windows. 

The MacBook Pro is not only our favourite Apple PC right now, but it’s also our number one recommended portable for content creators, topping the charts in the performance benchmark tests that we run on every laptop. When we tested it, we found it could speed through heavy duty tasks such as video editing and 3D animation, and our battery tests prove it can keep on working throughout the day. 

If you don’t need to edit video or engage with any other professional-grade workloads, then in our opinion, a MacBook Air or 13-inch MacBook Pro are better options. They use the same macOS operating system and similar classy design, but are even more portable thanks to the less powerful Apple Silicon processors. Those laptops are certainly no slouches though, with the M1 chip flaunting faster productivity speeds than their Windows rivals in our benchmark tests. 

Apple also offers the desktop-bound Mac Studio if you’re craving the most powerful performance available, but for us, the MacBook Pro remains the best option if you need to edit the likes of photos and videos on the go.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full review: MacBook Pro 16-inch review

Acer Chromebook Spin 513

Best Chromebook
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Pros

  • Super-light and portable design
  • Sharp display with decent colours
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Whisper-quiet performance

Cons

  • Flat speakers
  • Mediocre performance
  • No keyboard backlight

Chromebooks are a great option for those who want a cheap laptop with a simple operating system. We’d recommend a Chromebook to anyone who wants a cheap laptop and is happy to stick to popular apps such as Google Docs, Spotify and Netflix. But if you may need to download more obscure software, then it’s safer to opt for a Window laptop instead.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 is our current favourite Chromebook. We found the Snapdragon chip didn’t see benchmark results as impressive as processors made by AMD or Intel, but we still found it to be capable of dealing with basic tasks such as web browsing, video streaming and essay write-ups without noticeable slowdown. 

Unlike many other Chromebooks we’ve tested, this laptop is also very light at just 1.2kg, making it the same ultra-portable weight as the Dell XPS 13 OLED which tops our best laptop ranking, so you can use it for on-the-go work. 

There are plenty of other Chromebooks worth considering too, such as the Lenovo Chromebook Duet that can double up as a tablet, and the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 which packs an Intel Core chip for an even faster performance. But we still think the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 represents the best all-round value.

Reviewer: Reece Bithrey
Full review: Acer Chromebook Spin 513 review

Surface Laptop Go

Best budget Windows laptop
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Pros

  • Incredible value
  • Small and classy design
  • Excellent performance
  • Comfortable keyboard

Cons

  • Low-resolution display
  • No keyboard backlight
  • No fingerprint scanner on base configuration

If you want a cheap laptop, but also want to benefit from the freedom that Windows provides, then the Surface Laptop Go is our top recommendation. It’s available for under £450, despite boasting an excellent build quality and featuring Intel Core processor options that impressed during our benchmark tests. 

There is one noticeable downside to the Surface Laptop Go though, as it has a small 12.4-inch screen and a low pixel count, which we found to be less than ideal for watching video or having multiple apps and browser windows open simultaneously. 

If that’s a problem, we believe that there are plenty of alternative budget laptop options, including the Acer Swift 3 – it’s a little bit more expensive, but is well worth the price hike if you care about a laptop’s screen quality. We found it also saw better results in our performance benchmark tests thanks to its AMD Ryzen CPU options, and so will be less likely to encounter slowdown with multiple browser tabs open. 

Nevertheless, the Surface Laptop Go remains the best budget laptop that we’ve tested, especially since its dinky dimensions make it very easy to carry around or balance on the arm rest of your chair.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full review: Surface Laptop Go review

LG Gram 16 (2021)

The best big-screen laptop
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Pros

  • Incredibly light design
  • Big and detailed display
  • Speedy productivity performance
  • Generous port selection

Cons

  • Questionable build quality
  • Glossy screen
  • Not as powerful as rivals

In our opinion, laptops with large screens can be incredibly useful for having multiple web browser windows simultaneously – that way you can watch YouTube while filling spreadsheets at work. The 16-inch LG Gram is our top-rated laptop with a large screen, especially since it’s just as light as the 13-inch Dell XPS 13 OLED.

We found it difficult to see where LG has made compromises too, with the Intel Core processor still providing a fast productivity performance according to our benchmark tests, and the keyboard feeling sturdy enough to hammer out multiple essays. 

But there are other large-screen laptops that offer faster speeds, as long as you’re happy to opt for heavier machines. We’re a big fan of the Dell XPS 15, especially since our tests showed it to have a superior GPU performance for gaming and video editing. 

It’s worth bearing in mind that our testing showed larger screens will drain the battery at a faster pace, and also obviously makes it more difficult to fit the laptop inside a bag. But that’s a small price to pay for being able to multitask with your screen turning into a cluttered mess.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full review: LG Gram 16 (2021) review

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

Best 2-in-1 laptop
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Pros

  • Versatile hinge is great for digital artists
  • Sharp and vibrant display
  • Top-class design and keyboard
  • Surprisingly good battery life

Cons

  • Weak graphics power compared to rivals
  • Screen lacks pro-grade colour accuracy
  • Stylus isn’t bundled in

If you want a laptop that can double up as a makeshift tablet, then you’ll want to look at 2-in-1 devices. We think the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is one of the best options with such a form factor, although it has a very specific use case given its hefty weight. 

The Surface Laptop Studio’s screen can be folded flat on top of the keyboard, allowing you to use the device as some sort of graphics tablet if you buy the Surface Pen stylus. During testing, we were really impressed by the seamless ability to sketch and doodle directly onto the screen, making it a great option for digital artists. 

But if you want to use your 2-in-1 laptop just like an iPad, so you can carry it around and hold it in one hand, then you’ll need something else. We really like the Surface Pro 8, although you’ll need to buy the magnetic clip-on keyboard separately in order to use it like a laptop. The HP Spectre x360 13 (2021) offers a great middle-ground, with the hinge allowing the keyboard to be flipped so it’s resting on the screen’s rear. 

Which 2-in-1 design you should go for depends largely on what you need the device for. In our opinion, the Surface Laptop Studio is superb for content creation, while the Surface Pro 8 and HP Spectre x360 are optimised for productivity workloads.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full review: Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio review

Razer Blade 14 (2021)

The best gaming laptop
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Pros

  • Slim, smart and robust 14in design
  • Powerful RTX 3070 graphics core
  • Superb AMD processor
  • High-quality 1440p display

Cons

  • Exterior sometimes gets hot
  • Expensive considering the components
  • No numberpad

Gaming laptops differ greatly to the other categories on this list, as they need discrete GPUs in order to play demanding games at a stable performance. There are a lot of different options here, so it’s worth checking out our best gaming laptop list, but our current favourite is the Razer Blade 14 since it excelled in all of our tests.

Our benchmark tests showed it to be incredibly powerful, while also featuring a 1440p screen resolution so games look sharp and vibrant. And like with most gaming laptops we’ve tested, it features an RGB keyboard backlight, which we were able to personalise with a range of colourful lighting in just a couple of clicks. 

There are plenty of alternative gaming laptops to choose from, including the Gigabyte Aorus 17G with its huge 17-inch display and the more portable Asus ROG Flow X13 that can be bundled with an external GPU. 

But you’ll need to be sure you really want a gaming laptop before hitting checkout, as our years of testing has shown that they’re often heavier and more expensive than your standard portable. They also struggle in our battery benchmark tests, rarely surpassing the 5-hour mark for basic productivity workloads. If you plan on only playing Fortnite and Minecraft, stick to a more conventional laptop – a gaming laptop is only really worthwhile for more demanding titles.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full review: Razer Blade 14 review

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FAQs

What is an SSD?

The SSD (solid state drive) is essentially the component that determines how much storage your laptop has. A 512GB SSD is the norm these days, with anything less making storage space feel cramped if you download a lot of music, photos and videos.

What is a 2-in-1 laptop?

A 2-in-1 laptop is a device that has a flexible hinge, allowing it to be folded up into a tablet form. These laptops often have stylus support too, making them good options for doodlers and creatives.

What is RAM?

RAM (Random Access Memory) is computer memory that helps the processor offer a smooth performance. 8GB seems to be the default for laptops these days, with anything less potentially seeing noticeable slowdowns for your computer.

What is Thunderbolt?

Thunderbolt is a port technology that is typically found through USB-C connections. Thunderbolt is signalled with a small lightning bolt icon, and can allow for multi-purpose functions such as power delivery, display output and data transfer for an all-in-one solution.

Specs compared

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
CA RRP
AUD RRP
CPU
Manufacturer
Screen Size
Storage Capacity
Front Camera
Battery
Battery Hours
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
ASIN
Operating System
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Model Number
Model Variants
Resolution
HDR
Refresh Rate
Ports
Audio (Power output)
GPU
RAM
Connectivity
Colours
Display Technology
Screen Technology
Touch Screen
Convertible?

Trusted Reviews test data

PCMark 10
Geekbench 5 single core
Geekbench 5 multi core
3DMark Time Spy
CrystalDiskMark Read speed
CrystalMarkDisk Write Speed
Brightness
Black level
Contrast
White Visual Colour Temperature
sRGB
Adobe RGB
DCI-P3
PCMark Battery (office)
PCMark Battery (gaming)
Battery Life
Borderlands 3 frame rate (Quad HD)
Borderlands 3 frame rate (Full HD)
Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (Quad HD)
Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (Full HD)
Dirt Rally (Quad HD)
Dirt Rally (Full HD)

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