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Product Review

The best laptops for 2022

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We’ve tested and reviewed well over 500 laptops over the years, searching for the best of the best. But to earn the crown as best laptop in 2022, it needs to have it all: gorgeous design, killer performance, a productive keyboard, long-lasting battery life, and much more.

Each of the laptops below has been vetted thoroughly, whether it’s an affordable Chromebook or a decked-out gaming laptop. Our pick for the best overall laptop, the Dell XPS 13, is the option we recommend to most people, but something from the list below should suit your needs.

XPS 13 9315

Dell XPS 13 (9315)

The best laptop

The Dell XPS 13 is a gorgeous little laptop priced like no other. The base configuration tends to fluctuate in price, ranging between $749 and $999 so it works out as one of the cheapest ever XPS laptops. It has all the premium features like a comfortable keyboard, great touchpad, killer IPS screen and 512GB of storage. It’s compact too with remarkably thin bezels although that does mean no more headphone jack. Its performance may be a little lackluster compared to other 12th-generation Intel-powered laptops but it’s worth it given its price, great battery life, and great style.

Read our Dell XPXS 13 (9315) review.

Dell XPS 13 9315

Dell XPS 13 (9315)

The best laptop

Apple MacBook Air M1 open, we have a table.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Apple MacBookAir M1

The best MacBook

The M1 MacBook Air might be two years old and since overtaken by the M2 MacBook Air, but it’s fantastic value, especially for anyone seeking out the best MacBook. The game-changing M1 chip continues to transform the landscape, making this impressively powerful, yet offering insane amounts of battery life, all while being completely fanless. Two years on, there’s still no Windows laptop that can compete. The only downside is that you can only connect to a single external monitor, but you do at least get two USB-C ports and a MagSafe 3 charging port. Simply put, there’s a lot here for the price, and it’s hands-down one of the best laptops for college students and anyone who does a lot of work on the move. It’s also frequently on sale.

Read our Apple MacBook Air M1 review.

Apple MacBookAir M1

Apple MacBookAir M1

The best MacBook

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 front view showing display and keyboard.

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3

The best Chromebook

Packing a lot in for an impressively low price, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 easily wins over all the best Chromebooks. Its 10.9-inch screen is even better than 1080p thanks to a 2000 x 1200 resolution. Super sharp, it’s excellent for writing and reading text. It even achieves up to 400 nits of brightness so working near windows isn’t an issue. There’s also a 5-megapixel camera for reliable videoconferencing so this is ideal for working on the move. Excelling as a work or school device, you can delve into the best Android apps for ChromeOS without a hitch. Even better, at this price it rivals something like an iPad and beats it thanks to being a better system to work from.

Read our Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 review.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3

The best Chromebook

The 2021 MacBook Pro with the lid open on a white table.

MacBook Pro 16-inch

The best laptop for photo and video editing

The latest MacBook Pro 16-inch makes up for its failings in the past such as by offering better cooling, a more extensive port selection, and no more Touch Bar. It goes further though thanks to its 120Hz mini-LED screen which is the best laptop screen we’ve ever seen, especially when viewing HDR content. There’s also the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips adding discrete-level graphics to the already exceptional professor. Even HDR gaming on this screen in Resident Evil Village looks great — an impressive feat for a Mac. Battery life is unrivaled thanks to lasting over 18 hours and easily beating competitors like the Dell XPS 15 or the Razer Blade 15. It’s expensive but you get a powerful laptop for content creation, right down to its improved 1080p webcam and bassier speakers.

Read our MacBook Pro 16-inch review.

MacBook Pro 16 (2021)

MacBook Pro 16-inch

The best laptop for photo and video editing

Razer Blade 14 angled view showing display and keyboard deck.

Razer Blade 14

The best gaming laptop

Somehow, Razer has squeezed a lot into a very thin 14-inch laptop. Capable of packing a RTX 3080 GPU, Ryzen 9 5900HX and 1440p screen with a 165Hz refresh rate, this is a stylish yet powerful gaming laptop. Even the 1080p model comes with an RTX 3060 GPU. This is also the only AMD Ryzen-powered Razer Blade 14 so you get the best battery life of any gaming laptop we’ve tested. It’s expensive but eye-catching right down to its Razer logo and per-key RGB backlighting. You may prefer a larger gaming laptop like the Razer Blade 15 or Lenovo Legion 5 Pro but for something sleek yet powerful, the Razer Blade 14 feels like a miracle of design. Not the cheapest or the most powerful, it’s a well-rounded system worthy of being the best overall gaming laptop.

Read our Razer Blade 14 review.

Razer Blade 14

Razer Blade 14

The best gaming laptop

Dell XPS 15 9520 front view showing display and keyboard deck.
Dell XPS 15

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Dell XPS 15 (9520)

The best Windows alternative to the MacBook Pro

While it’s hard for the Dell XPS 15 to compete with the MacBook Pro 16-inch, this is the best Windows alternative. Its battery life may not be better but this is a gorgeous looking laptop. It uses a carbon-fiber weave texture across the keyboard deck and palm rests, creating a truly iconic look. Despite having a 15-inch screen, the overall size of the XPS 15 is far smaller than bulkier 15-inch laptops of the past. Four Thunderbolts and a full-sized SD card slot means you won’t miss out here either. The standout feature is the choice of going up to a 12th-generation Intel Core i9 processor making this one of the best laptops for video-editing.

Read our Dell XPS 15 (9520) review.

Dell XPS 15 (9520)

Dell XPS 15 (9520)

The best Windows alternative to the MacBook Pro

The Surface Pro 9 with the Type Cover keyboard lifted up.
Microsoft Surface Pro 9

Microsoft Surface Pro 9

The best 2-in-1 laptop

The Surface Pro 9 is the latest model in Microsoft’s 2-in-1 line. Even with the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 trying its best, it can’t beat the might of Microsoft. There’s the buttery smooth 120Hz display with the thin bezels we first saw in the previous model, ensuring a more polished product than before. It’s also the first to offer both an Intel model and ARM configuration with the latter using the Microsoft SQ3 for better battery life and 5G connectivity. The latest 12th generation Intel model is there for those who want the best performance, so you’ve got plenty of options here depending on your needs.

Read our Microsoft Surface Pro 9 review.

Surface Pro 9

Microsoft Surface Pro 9

The best 2-in-1 laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 front view.
Lenovo ThinkPad Z13

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13

The best business laptop

Business laptops don’t need to look boring as demonstrated by the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 demonstrates. Its faux-leather lid looks classy and distinctive with just enough touches across the chassis to feel modern. it’s also one of the best laptops to run on the new AMD Ryzen 6000 chips which means excellent performance and long-lasting battery life. Security features come baked-in but it’s the battery life that really sells this for business needs. It lasts almost as long as anything Apple flavored at the moment. There’s also a 1080p webcam for all your video call needs while you can even upgrade to an OLED model for an extra clear screen while you work. Excellent performance and great battery life with some neat features ensure the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 is a reliable option for all your business needs.

Read our Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 review.

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 (AMD)

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13

The best business laptop

HP Specter x360 13.5 front angled view showing display and keyboard deck.
HP Specter x360 13.5

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

HP Specter x360 13.5

The best HP laptop

The thin and light laptop world is a competitive market but the HP Specter x360 13.5 shines through. It offers a unique yet elegant sense of style in conjunction with high-end components like a stunning OLED display, great battery life, and plenty of ports (including a headphone jack). Plenty fast and with support for multiple external monitors, it’s a bit more expensive than other options but worth it. There’s always the HP Envy x360 13 line if you want cheaper but with the same form factor, but it’s worth investing in the premium nature of the Specter x360. It has the looks of a M1 MacBook Air with the benefits of Windows.

Read our HP Specter x365 13.5 review.

HP Specter x360 13.5

HP Specter x360 13.5

The best HP laptop

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best laptop brand?

Picking just one laptop brand as the best is a bit of a challenge lately. There are so many great laptops available today, and they come from several manufacturers. Hold our feet to the fire, though, and it’s hard not to look at what Apple is doing with its MacBooks these past couple of years and stand in awe. The transition to Apple Silicon has been pretty effortless, and the flagship resulting laptops have been game-changers.

But apart from Apple, we’ll look at Dell, HP, and Lenovo leading the game in premium designs, refreshing new technology, and a wide-ranging span of laptops to choose from. Lenovo’s ThinkPads are a powerhouse in the business world, while Dell’s XPS brand has become iconic for its innovative approach to design.

Asus isn’t far behind with its Zenbook and ROG Zephyrus lines, though, often producing some of the most cutting-edge and inventive laptops on the market.

What’s a 2-in-1 laptop?

A 2-in-1 laptop is one that isn’t limited to the traditional clamshell configuration. Instead, a 2-in-1 can convert from a clamshell into some form of tablet PC that allows for natural inking and media consumption.

The concept isn’t brand-new — Microsoft sold a “Tablet PC” version of Windows as far back as 2001 that supported pen input, but it never caught on. As electronics have gotten more powerful and fit into smaller chassis, and capacitive touch and active pen technology have improved, the modern 2-in-1 has emerged. Microsoft kicked off the form factor with its Surface line in 2012, and most manufacturers followed with their versions.

Today, you can pick from among a variety of different kinds of 2-in-1s. The most popular types are the tablet with a detachable keyboard, epitomized by the Microsoft Surface Pro 9, and the 360-degree convertible where the display flips around to turn into a (usually larger) slate, such as the HP Specter x360 13.5.

The main advantage of the tablet 2-in-1 is portability — tablets are extremely thin, light, and easy to carry around — while they also work best for drawing and taking notes on the pen-enabled display. The 360-degree convertible 2-in-1, on the other hand, isn’t quite as handy as a tablet, but it tends to work better in clamshell laptop mode — especially when using it on the lap, where it’s more stable than detachable tablets.

Should I buy a laptop or a tablet?

As we mentioned above, you can get a tablet that can morph into a laptop just by attaching a keyboard. And so, if you really want the power of Windows in a form factor that’s easier to carry around, then you can select a tablet 2-in-1. With the advent of Windows 11, it’s finally starting to become a better software platform for tablets. If you want the utmost in simplicity and an even smaller device, then a pure tablet like the iPad can be great for web browsing, triaging email, consuming media, and other tasks that don’t require the full power of a “real” PC .

So, where doesn’t a tablet work? If you’re a hardcore gamer, need a laptop that can churn through video and huge photos, or do a lot of multitasking. Tablets are very thin and tend to use slower CPUs and integrated graphics that won’t accelerate creative applications or power modern games. Meanwhile, the software on these devices isn’t as full-featured as a desktop operating system like Windows 10 or macOS.

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