What are good laptops: Best laptop 2023: 15 best laptops to buy in 2023

The 5 Best Laptops for College in 2023

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  • Asus Zenbook 14: $600
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  • MSI Prestige 14: $800
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  • HP Spectre x360 14: $900
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It’s nearly impossible to get through college without a laptop, and that’s why you want the best one possible for the job. Taking notes the old-fashioned way just isn’t feasible anymore, but with so many laptop options on the market, it can be difficult picking the right one for you. We’ve done research and testing to find the best laptop for college in 2023. 

With the supply chain issues and chip shortages we’ve seen over the last few years, you might think it’s hard to get your hands on a decent budget-friendly laptop for school. However, it’s still possible to find laptops and two-in-ones with the latest processors from AMD and Intel, which help performance and battery life over previous generations.

What’s the best laptop for college?

Right now, Apple’s MacBook Air M1 is the best laptop for most college students. But if that doesn’t meet your needs, we’ve rounded up several college laptop picks that will serve most students well in school and beyond. The majority of our picks for the best college laptops run between $500 and $1,000. If you’re looking for a more affordable laptop — or if you’re open to an alternative to Apple’s MacOS and Microsoft Windows — we recommend checking out the best Chromebooks for students (just make sure any software you need for classes is supported). On the flip side, if you’re searching for a more powerful laptop, or a gaming laptop that doubles as one for college, we have some suggestions for those, too. So if you’re ready to upgrade your tech, keep reading our list of the best laptops for college.

Best laptops for college

How we test computers  

The review process for laptops, desktops, tablets and other computer-like devices consists of two parts: performance testing under controlled conditions in the CNET Labs and extensive hands-on use by our expert reviewers. This includes evaluating a device’s aesthetics, ergonomics and features. A final review verdict is a combination of both objective and subjective judgments. 

The list of benchmarking software we use changes over time as the devices we test evolve. The most important core tests we’re currently running on every compatible computer include: Primate Labs Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23, PCMark 10 and 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra. 

A more detailed description of each benchmark and how we use it can be found in our How We Test Computers page.

Primate Labs Geekbench 5 test
We run both single-core and multicore CPU tests, and either the Vulcan (Windows) or Metal (MacOS) Compute test. On Android, Apple devices and Chromebooks, we run the CPU tests and the Compute test. Geekbench’s CPU tests measure the performance of a mixed workload. 

Most college students use one laptop for everything from schoolwork in and out of class to music and video streaming to plain ol’ web browsing. Unless there are specialized applications you need to be able to run for your major, a reliable laptop for mixed-use is important. Our best college laptops list has models at a range of prices maxing out at around $1,000. 

Screenshot by Josh Goldman/CNET

Battery life test
When you depend on having a charged laptop to get schoolwork done in classes, long battery life becomes very important. For all computers with a battery, we change the settings to keep the system from going to sleep or hibernating, disable pop-ups and notifications that may interfere with the test, and set screen brightness and volume (output to earbuds) to 50%. We then stream a looped, custom YouTube video over Wi-Fi in Chrome and use a timer app to track how long the system remains active. 

Screenshot by Josh Goldman/CNET

More back-to-school recommendations

  • 8 Back-to-School College Essentials to Keep in Your Backpack
  • Our Favorite Back-to-School Picks for 2023
  • Great Back-to-School Gifts for Your Teacher
  • Great Lunch Boxes and Backpacks to Take Back to School
  • Free Apps You Need to Download Before Starting College
  • Best Back-to-School Gear for $100 or Less

Asus Zenbook 14 (Q409ZA) OLED review — killer battery life for less than $800
| Laptop Mag

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The Zenbook 14 is budget-friendly and power efficient

(Image: © Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

The Asus Zenbook 14 (Q409ZA) OLED sports a sophisticated, sturdy chassis inspired by Japanese art. Plus, it has a colorful 90Hz display, impressive battery life, and a massive touchpad, but its performance is middling compared to a stiff competitor.


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Asus Zenbook 14 (Q409ZA) OLED

Price: $749
CPU: Intel Core i5-1240P CPU
GPU: Intel Iris Xe  
Storage: 256GB SSD
Display: 14-inch, 2880 x 1800 pixels, 16:10, 90Hz
Battery: 10:52
Size: 12.35 x 8.69 x 0.67 inches
Weight: 3. 06 pounds  

The Asus Zenbook 14 Q409ZA OLED is equipped with Asus’ beloved NumberPad 2.0, a touchpad that doubles as a numeric keypad. It can also quick launch the Calculator app, allowing you to use the touchpad for input, making it an ideal feature for one-the-go number crunchers. You may be thinking, “Oh, so you’re talking about accountants and financial analysts, right?”


Hell, even if you hate math, the NumberPad 2.0 will be extremely useful to you — it’s like the geeky sidekick you never knew you needed. From determining how much you can spend on a Valentine’s Day gift for your significant other to figuring out whether you can afford that luxury trip to the Maldives.

Weighing just 2.9 pounds and sporting a thickness of only 0.67 inches, this sub-$800 notebook is an ideal travel companion that won’t break the bank — or your back. As a cherry on top, the battery life on this bad boy is impressive. After all, what good is a travel buddy that keeps you shackled to an outlet?

And let’s not forget about that stunning OLED 90Hz display. The 16:10, 14-inch, 2.8K panel on this Zenbook 14 is a visual treat. Unfortunately, however, my excitement begins to wane when I discuss the performance numbers. Don’t get me wrong — they’re not bad by any means. However, the Zenbook 14 is up against some stiff competition. Stick around to find out if the Zenbook 14 earned a spot in our Best 14-inch laptops list.

Asus Zenbook 14 Q409A OLED price and configurations 

Our review unit comes with a 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1240P CPU, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 8GB of DDR5 RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 14-inch, 2880 x 1800-pixel, OLED display with a 16:10 aspect ratio. It typically costs $749 at Best Buy.

The only color option for the ZenBook 14 Q409A is Ponder Blue.

I can’t stop caressing the ZenBook 14’s lid — it just feels. so. smooth! The lid, and the chassis in its entirety, consists of aluminum and a rich dark hue Asus calls “Ponder Blue.” Even though I have a sub-$800 in my hands, it looks and feels premium AF.

Inspired by Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics with a lacquer mixed with silver or gold, the lid features subtle lines that mimic that mended-after-being-shattered look. I wish the lines were more conspicuous, perhaps emanating striking golden hues against the dark-blue chassis, but ya know, you can’t always get what you want. C’est la vie!

Asus Zenbook 14 (Q409ZA) OLED (Image credit: Future)

Open the lid and you’ll find an island-style keyboard with large white letters and symbols superimposed on dark-blue keys. What caught my eye is the power button — it’s enveloped inside a silver frame so you don’t mistake it for the nearby Delete key. The touchpad is another feature that grabbed my attention; it’s pretty spacious (we’ll dive more into its performance later). 

Flipping to the laptop’s underside, you’ll find three rubberized feet, giving the notebook breathing room between the surface and the underside. You’ll also discover two bottom-firing speakers and a small vent.

It’s worth noting that the ZenBook 14 passed several demanding MIL-STD-810H tests, which means it meets the U.S. military standard for durability and reliability. In other words, this notebook can endure extreme temperatures, shocks, drops and vibrations — within reason of course.

Weighing 2.9 pounds and being only 0.67 inches thick, the Asus Zenbook 14 is a slim, featherweight laptop. However, it is heavier than its stiffest competitor, the MSI Prestige 14 Evo A12 (2.7 pounds, 0.6 inches). 

Asus Zenbook 14 Q409A OLED ports  

The Asus Zenbook 14 Q409A has a decent selection of legacy and modern ports that should satisfy your needs.

Asus Zenbook 14 (Q409ZA) OLED (Image credit: Future)

On the left side, you’ll find a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port. The right side offers an HDMI 2.1 port, two Thunderbolt 4 ports for speedy charging, fast transfer speeds and connecting to 4K monitors, a 3.5mm audio jack and a microSD card reader.

Need more ports? Check out our best USB-C hubs and best laptop docking station pages.  

Asus Zenbook 14 Q409A OLED display 

As you can tell by its name, the Zenbook 14 obviously has a 14-inch panel and an OLED display. Delving deeper into the screen’s specs, it has a 2880 x 1800-pixel display with a 90Hz refresh rate, a 16:10 aspect ratio and a 0.2ms response time.

Asus Zenbook 14 (Q409ZA) OLED (Image credit: Future)

Asus also boasts that this Pantone-validated display has a 90% screen-to-body ratio, thanks to the slim bezels that surround the panel. If you spend hours upon hours working on a laptop, you’ll be relieved to know that this display emits 70% less harmful blue light. 

The ZenBook 14 isn’t a convertible with a 360-degree hinge, so it can’t transform into tablet nor tent mode, but it does have a 180-degree hinge that facilitates a lay-flat posture. One use case for this is easy sharing for someone sitting opposite from you (simply flip the screen), but truth be told, I don’t find lay-flat hinges to be all that advantageous in everyday life.

I watched the John Wick: Chapter 4 trailer on YouTube, and damn, Keanu Reeves has never looked so good. As Reeves’ back faced the camera, he looked to the right, allowing the light to hit the side of his face. I could see all the tiny lines and pockmarks that decorate the seasoned actor’s skin. Behind Reeves is a circular building decorated with red LED lights — and wow — the bright ruby hues pop!

Textures are striking on this OLED display, too. Bill Skarsgård looks urbane in his suit, and the screen is so sharp, I can tell that his sophisticated waistcoat is made of twill. As Reeves fought enemies on a stone staircase, the wet cobblestone structure that flanks it shined under the street lights, telling the viewer that it recently drizzled. Colors, details, textures — you name it — look crisp on this display.

Now, let’s see if our testing matches my anecdotal experience. According to our colorimeter, the Asus Zenbook 14’s panel covers a whopping 96% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. Keep in mind, however, that the average mainstream laptop covers 104% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, so the Zenbook 14 doesn’t quite meet that threshold. However, it did manage to beat its competitor, the MSI Prestige 14 Evo A12M, which only covers 81% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which is expected because it doesn’t have an OLED panel — it sports a regular ol’ full HD display.

Asus Zenbook 14 (Q409ZA) OLED (Image credit: Future)

Asus claims that the Zenbook 14 delivers 600 nits of peak brightness, but according to our testing, the brightest part of the display only reached 377 nits. The average brightness of the display is 375 nits. On the plus side, this beats the brightness average of a typical mainstream laptop (360 nits) and the MSI Prestige 14 Evo A12M (295 nits).

We also looked into the Zenbook 14’s color accuracy with the Delta-E test. It has a score of 0.23 (closer to 0 is better), which beats the Prestige 14 Evo A12M (0.31).

Asus Zenbook 14 Q409A OLED audio 

I tested the Asus Zenbook 14’s Harman/Kardon-certified Dolby Atmos stereo sound system by firing up The Weeknd’s “Save Your Tears (Remix). ” No, the song didn’t sound like heavenly angels or anything, but the sound quality was crisp and sharp — and I’d be mental to expect more from a sub-$800 laptop.

Asus Zenbook 14 (Q409ZA) OLED (Image credit: Future)

At max volume, it sounded too tinny. On the plus side, the audio that emanated from the bottom-firing speakers is loud enough to take over my large testing room. As it turns out, Asus outfitted the speakers with a “volume enhancing” dual-channel smart amplifier that can drive the twin speakers to maximum volume while preventing long-term damage to its sensitive coils.

As such, compared to the average amplifier, the smart amplifier system delivers 350% more volume to the speakers, according to Asus. And from an anecdotal point of view, I believe it.

You can tune the sound via the MyAsus app. There are five presets: Dynamic, Game, Movie, Music and Voice. After testing all of them, I preferred the Dynamic profile as it performs automatic adjustments to deliver the best sound.

Asus Zenbook 14 Q409A OLED keyboard and touchpad 

As mentioned, the Zenbook 14 sports an island-style, numpad-less keyboard, but when I tested it, I was disappointed by its tactile performance. The keys aren’t bouncy and springy enough for my taste.

I use the HP Envy 14 as my daily driver, and with it, I scored 95 WPM on the 10FastFingers.com typing test. However, on the Zenbook 14, my score dropped to 88 WPM. I felt that it took a little longer to transition from key to key because there isn’t sufficient “launch power” —  the keys are too mushy.

Asus Zenbook 14 (Q409ZA) OLED (Image credit: Future)

On the plus side, the 5.5 x 2.5-inch  touchpad on the Zenbook 14 Q409A is massive. Like I said at the outset, the touchpad doubles as a calculator. Say hello to NumberPad 2.0! To activate it, simply long press the calculator icon on the top-right corner of the touchpad. You can use NumberPad 2.0 as a more convenient way of working with numbers (instead of reaching out for the numbers stretched across the keyboard). You can also launch the Calculator app by long pressing the atom icon on the top-left corner.

You can turn off NumberPad 2.0 by long pressing the calculator icon. The touchpad responded accurately and swiftly to Windows 11 gestures, including two-finger scrolling and pinch-to-zoom.

Asus Zenbook 14 (Q409ZA) OLED (Image credit: Future)

Now, let’s talk about the power button that also serves as a fingerprint scanner. I’m not a fan of this button-as-a-reader feature because it’s easy to stumble upon the “Your device is having trouble recognizing you. Please try again” error. This isn’t an issue specific to this laptop — I simply wasn’t employing the right technique. A PR rep from another OEM told me the trick is that you’re not supposed to roll your finger on the fingerprint reader per se. Instead, think of your finger as the minute hand on a clock and place it in different positions and angles — from 3pm to 9pm.

Employing the trick, I was able to successfully set up the reader; logging in with my fingerprint was a breeze.

Asus Zenbook 14 Q409A OLED performance 

The Zenbook 14 is packed with an Intel Core i5-1240P processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD.

I swarmed the Asus notebook with 30 Google Chrome tabs from resource-hungry DailyMail.com; two were playing 1080p YouTube videos simultaneously. (It’s worth noting that around the sixth tab, you can hear the fans kick in, but they’re library quiet and far from disruptive.) Switching from one tab to another, I experienced some lag, but it didn’t last more than a second or two. I launched a new Google Doc and started typing away; there were no noticeable slowdowns.

Asus Zenbook 14 (Q409ZA) OLED (Image credit: Future)

The Asus Zenbook has the same CPU as its rival, the Prestige 14 Evo A12M, and delivered a multi-core score of 8,590 on the Geekbench 5.4 overall performance test. Unfortunately for the Asus laptop, this doesn’t beat the MSI laptop’s butt-whooping score of 9,549. On the plus side, both beat the score of the average mainstream laptop (6,611).

On the Handbrake video transcoding test, the Zenbook 14 stumbled. Converting a 4K video to 1080p resolution, the Asus laptop took 8 minutes and 40 seconds to complete the task. The Prestige 14 Evo A12M took only 8 minutes and 31 seconds to transcode the video. The average mainstream laptop takes 11 minutes and 19 seconds to convert 4K video to 1080p.

The Zenbook 14’s 256GB SSD was a total slow poke on our file-transfer test. It duplicated a 25GB multimedia file in one minute and 49 seconds at a rate of 245.57 MBps. This trudges behind the Prestige 14 Evo A12M 512GB SSD’s breakneck, ultra-zippy time of 28 seconds, which translates to a file-transfer rate of 954.2 MBps. Sadly, the Asus notebook couldn’t beat the file-transfer rate of the average mainstream laptop either (481.85 MBps).

Asus Zenbook 14 Q409A OLED graphics

No, the Zenbook 14’s Intel Iris Xe integrated GPU (also outfitted inside the Prestige 14 Evo A12M)  is not ideal for gaming (check out our best cheap gaming laptops page), but we decided to put it to the test anyway with our Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm benchmark.  

Asus Zenbook 14 (Q409ZA) OLED (Image credit: Future)

The MSI laptop, with a score of 23 frames per second, beat the Asus notebook (21 fps) by a hair. Both scores aren’t anything to write home about, however, considering that the average mainstream laptop typically delivers 32 fps on the Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm benchmark.

Scoring a 14,618 on the 3DMark Night Raid benchmark, a test that determines how well a GPU handles dynamic reflections, post-processing effects, and more, the Zenbook 14, failed to outperform the Prestige 14 Evo A12M (15,181) and the average mainstream laptop (14,967).

Asus Zenbook 14 Q409A OLED battery life 

OK, so the Zenbook 14 has been struggling to beat the Prestige 14 Evo A12M thus far. But guess what? The Zenbook has one more trick up its sleeve: power efficiency.

Asus Zenbook 14 (Q409ZA) OLED (Image credit: Future)


On the Laptop Mag battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the Zenbook 14 lasted 10 hours and 52 minutes. The Prestige 14 Evo A12M, on the other hand, only lasted a tragic 8 hours and 45 minutes. Yikes! However, both runtimes beat the average mainstream laptop (8 hours and 33 minutes). 

Asus Zenbook 14 Q409A OLED heat 

The Zenbook 14 is slim and compact, so naturally, dissipating heat is a challenge. After playing a 15-minute, 1080p video, its hottest temperature — 104 degrees Fahrenheit — was found radiating on the center of its underside. As such, you may want to keep the Zenbook 14 off your bare lap.

Other regions, like the touchpad (78 degrees), keyboard center (84 degrees) and overall bottom (94 degrees) remained cool under pressure, falling below our 95-degree comfort threshold.

Asus Zenbook 14 Q409A OLED webcam  

Packed with a 720p webcam, no, the camera isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but what I love about it is its color reproduction. Wearing a hot pink bathrobe, the picture on the webcam recreated the striking color perfectly. It could even pick up on the glittery tint featured on my silver curtains.

I also spotted a motion-tracking feature, ensuring that I’m always in the center of the frame. In the MyAsus app, you can turn on features such as Lighting Optimization (detects the lighting conditions and dynamically adjusts the webcam’s settings for most optimal results) and Background Blurring (blurs the background for privacy). With the former, in dimly lit environments, I observed that the camera would sharpen the picture to compensate for the poor lighting. 

Privacy-concerned users will love that Asus added a webcam shield that can be activated via the F10 key.

Asus Zenbook 14 Q409A OLED software and warranty 

To my surprise, the Zenbook 14, which runs on Windows 11, is light on bloatware. I love that all of the games, including FreeCell and Minesweeper, are consolidated into a single app called Solitaire and Casual Games. Other than that, you’ll find your standard fare of Microsoft apps, including Phone Link, Paint, News, Edge, and Xbox.

Asus Zenbook 14 (Q409ZA) OLED (Image credit: Future)

MyAsus is the most significant app on the Zenbook 14. Here, you can manage your notebook’s battery health, fan profiles, OLED display, and much more. You can also run system diagnostics and access customer support. 

The Zenbook 14 ships with a one-year limited warranty. See how Asus fared during Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands, our annual special reports.  

The Asus Zenbook 14 excels in the one domain that matters the most to laptop shoppers: power efficiency. While the average laptop in its price range only delivers about 8 hours of battery life, the Zenbook 14 can last for nearly 11 hours.

Plus, I dig its ultra-wide touchpad, sophisticated Japanese art-inspired design, military-certified build quality, a colorful display, and a feature-filled webcam. Unfortunately for the Zenbook 14, however, it is up against some stiff competition with the MSI Prestige 14 Evo A12 on the market.

The Prestige 14 Evo A12, with a price tag of $899 at Newegg, is slimmer and lighter, delivers better performance on graphics and performance, and has better airflow, but keep in mind that its 8-hour runtime and regular-degular 1080p display isn’t as impressive 

Personally, I’d opt for the Zenbook 14 because I’m a stickler for battery life, but if you want a laptop that squeezes out more performance at a budget-friendly price, the Prestige 14 Evo A12 may be the best option for you.

Asus ZenBook 14 Q409ZA: Price Comparison

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Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master’s degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire’s business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she’s finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!

TOP 10 best laptops: 2022 rating We’ve gone to great lengths to provide a list of the best laptops of 2021. We hope he doesn’t disappoint you.

APPLE MacBook Air M1 2020

Great start! This is the first laptop with an authentic Apple “M” chipset. By 2025, all Apple laptops will be exclusively on the M-process. If you take a laptop for 5-7 years, pay attention to this model.

The chip of the MacBook Air 13″ M1 lies in the hardware – you don’t have to adapt to the universal Intel. The Macbook Air M1 has several configurations that differ in terms of RAM and ROM.

For web surfing and work in office programs, the base model with 8 GB of RAM and 256 storage is suitable. Fans of creating music are better off looking at MacBooks with 512 GB of storage and 16 GB of RAM. But it is advisable for videographers to take laptops with a 1-2 TB (terabyte) hard drive – this will be enough for the most daring ideas.

The display is good – IPS-matrix with pixel densification (Retina technology). It is characterized by deep colors and high contrast ratio (902:1). There is an anti-reflective coating. This suggests that the laptop transmits colors without distortion, it is comfortable to work with it even under the sun.

Many applications for iPhone and iPad can be installed on this laptop – compatibility allows. At maximum loads, the device warms up to 45 ° C in the upper part of the case. From the bottom of the case, even at peak loads, the “climate” does not rise above 30-35 ° C. The laptop will not make noise – there is no active cooling system and fans.

When working with 3D, lasts 2 hours 55 minutes without recharging. If you watch videos and work with office programs, 15-20 hours of uninterrupted work are provided.

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Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

Designed for graphics, runs average games, can compete with a MacBook on an M-chip.

Surface 4 is available in 5 versions: with different amounts of RAM and 11th generation Intel chipsets or more gaming ones from AMD. There is a touch screen and an SSD-drive with the possibility of self-replacement for a more capacious one.

Minimalistic appearance, fastening of parts is strong. In addition to choosing a color (there are four of them), the user can take a laptop with an interior finish that is convenient for him – laconic metal or cozy Alcantara (artificial suede).

The aspect ratio is 3:2, which is an excellent choice for those who use the laptop as a working tool. With such proportions, more useful information is placed in the working area.

Despite the assurances of Windows, the set of ports has remained “basic”: in this the company repeats its competitors. In the 4th “surf” you can find a charging port, USB 3.2, USB-C (3.2, alas, not Thunderbolt) and a combined audio jack.

Large keyboard with soft white backlight. The touchpad is comfortable with good response and quiet operation. You can also optionally use a stylus – Microsoft sells it separately for $110.

Display – IPS touch panel. Color reproduction is realistic, blacks are deep, and the brightness reaches 380-400 nits. PWM (flicker at low brightness) is present, but since the ripple frequency is less than 20 kHz, even the most sensitive will not feel discomfort. So the laptop is perfect for working with graphics and video.

If we consider hardware, the modification with the 11th generation Intel Core i5-1145G7 chip is the most popular. As of fall 2021, this is the latest generation of the processor, so this purchase is a great investment for the future. Surface 4 RAM with 8 gigs and 16 GB is enough for any task, including editing 3D effects in After Effects and skating rinks in Overwatch.

The Surface Laptop 4 has an integrated video card – this decision is dictated by the ultra-thin case, where it was not possible to put a discrete video card. The amount of permanent memory varies: there are models for 256 and 512 GB. The solid state drive can be replaced with a suitable size model up to 2 TB.

The cooling system operates silently in the usual operating scenarios, and at maximum load the volume does not exceed 42 dB. At the same time, the temperature of the device under heavy loads is 45-47 ° C, which is a good indicator.

The battery capacity, although larger than the Surface Laptop 3, is still modest at 47 Wh. When working with text, the working day will last, with watching a video this figure will be reduced to 5-7 hours, and in games it will drop to 4-6 hours of freedom from wires.

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HP Specter x360

The transforming laptop conquers with elegance. The first thing that catches your eye is that the HP Specter x360 has a matte cover with a gold logo.

Power button located on the side. Thanks to this, the laptop is easy to turn on in whatever position it is. On the other side is the Thunderbolt 3 connector, through which you can do a number of manipulations:

  • transfer information to other devices,
  • connect an external monitor,
  • charge the laptop.

At the same time, it is impossible to say that the laptop is deprived of ports. It has a spare USB-C, USB, HDMI and even a card reader. The next feature of the Specter x360 is a huge screen, like for transformers. And although in classic laptops 15 inches have long become the norm, but in touch-screen mode it transforms into a mega-tablet.

Monitor – Full HD IPS Touch (Same as Specter x360 13-aw2009ur (2S7H7EA)) or 4K (Specter x360 version 13-aw2004ua (423T5EA)). It reproduces colors realistically, shows pure blacks and supports HDR.

The laptop keyboard will appeal to everyone whose activities are related to text. The keys are large with good travel and feel almost like a mechanical keyboard. Backlighting with different intensities will allow you to quickly adjust the optimal brightness – at dusk you can see every letter, and in the dead of night the light from the keys “does not hit your eyes.”

Also included is a stylus. It is suitable for working with documents and for drawing in Photoshop or Illustrator. The laptop runs on an advanced 10th generation Intel i7, the power of which is enough for several years with a margin. Such a chipset is usually put in gaming laptops, but here the developers were able to place it in a thin and light ultrabook.

Due to the fact that it is physically impossible to place advanced cooling here, the processor can heat up to 90-100°C. Consequently, the laptop itself warms up to 50-60 °, which will be noticeable if you keep it on your knees.

The amount of RAM is 8 GB. It will not be possible to increase it, since it is soldered on the board. But the permanent memory can be replaced up to a 2 TB SSD: initially there is a 256 GB SSD.

Battery capacity – 61.6 Wh, which is enough for 17-21 hours in the “typewriter” mode, 10-14 hours for a home cinema and 5-7 hours with solid loads. Enough for a working day even for photographers and video editors. And representatives of more “mundane” professions will still have a charge for an evening rest under a movie.

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The premium laptop lives up to its name (eXtreme Performance System) with top notch performance. At the same time XPS is so compact that it can fit in a lady’s handbag. Outwardly, it, like most ultrabooks, resembles a MacBook. Despite its toy size, it can compete with gaming laptops.

The main body of the Dell XPS 13 is made of brushed aluminum that does not pick up fingerprints. The surface next to the keyboard is made of carbon fiber, a durable material that can withstand prolonged heat. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, which responds to the work with the stylus and finger control.

The monitor reproduces colors and fine details with a quality 4K quality IPS touch panel. It is glossy, but coated with anti-glare. It is comfortable to work with him under the sun, and under a bright lamp in the office.

There are no sharp corners in the body that could dig into the hand, and the keys are quite bouncy with a long stroke. All this gives a feeling of working at a typewriter – it is so convenient to work with the XPS 13. The touchpad is easy to read, it has a quiet feedback.

But there are not enough external interfaces here – this is a “fee” for such a compact size with bevelled edges. The XPS13 only has 2 Thunderbolt ports and a microSD card reader. The rest of the peripherals are connected via adapters. The kit already comes with one adapter from USB-C to the usual USB-A.

When choosing a version, you should carefully consider the configuration: everything is so tightly wired on the motherboard that there is no room for improving configurations. The golden mean is the 16 GB RAM and 1 TB ROM option. And although the manufacturer supplies XPS even with modest 4 and 8 GB of RAM, it is better to purchase a 16 GB model. For those who work with 3D graphics and games, you should take a closer look at the version with 32 GB of RAM.

The Dell XPS 13 has a chic processor – the 10th generation Intel i7-1065G7. Such a filling is enough for playing casual Among Us, as well as for “gluttonous” games like RDR-2 or Far Cry 6.

Battery Medium – 50 Wh:

  1. 7-9 hours of typing,
  2. 5-7 hours of Full HD home theater,
  3. 3-5 hours of 3D graphics. Acer Swift 3 With a modest appearance, Swift 3 shows powerful hardware in the form of 8 or 16 GB of RAM and 512 or 1 TB of ROM to choose from.

    The body of the device is made of an alloy of magnesium and aluminum: this makes it one of the most durable laptops. The case is matte and slightly rough, does not collect fingerprints. Beveled edges add grace to an already neat case. Everything is fine with the ports, it has the following connectors:

    • USB 2.0 – 1 pc.
    • USB 3.2 – 2 pcs.
    • USB-C (Thunderbolt) x 1
    • HDMI x 1
    • Kensington Security Lock Port x 1

    The screen is solid – 14″ IPS-matrix with FullHD-resolution. The monitor has a matte finish and ComfyView technology additionally fights glare and reflections, which allows you to work directly under the lamp.

    The keyboard block is slightly sunk into the case, which protects against accidental touching of the keys. There is no separate digital block – this is a kind of “fee” for large buttons, which will be convenient for men with huge palms. The touchpad reads any gestures, which will greatly facilitate the work with Windows.

    Depending on the modification, the percentage also changes: for Acer Swift 3 SF314-41 (NX.HFDEU.044) it is AMD, for ACER Swift 3 SF314-511 (NX.ACSEU.006) it is Intel. The first chipset is better optimized for games, the second one will run media programs faster.

    The size of the RAM also depends on the version of the device. The powerful Acer Swift 3X SF314-510G has 16 GB of RAM and a 4 GB video card. The budget Acer Swift 3 SF314-41 (NX.HEYEU.003) has only 8 GB of RAM.

    The battery capacity of the Swift 3 series ranges from 48Wh to 54Wh. Considering the characteristics of laptops, this is enough for a working day in the “typewriter” mode, for 5-7 hours of filming in FullHD and 2-3 hours of hot gaming battles.

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    APPLE MacBook Pro 16

    One of the top laptops of the twenty-first year, which holds this status despite the fact that it was released in the nineteenth! Externally, the MacBook Pro 16 looks standard – a laconic thin body with an apple in the middle. In terms of ports, Apple sticks to its usual policy: there are 4 Thunderbolt ports and an audio combo jack. To connect equipment with other interfaces, you will have to spend money on adapters.

    Starting with this model, the company returned to the usual “scissor” key mechanism. The Touch Bar strip has received a slight redesign – it has become shorter (due to the presence of a physical Esc key and a power key with a built-in TouchID) and more protruding. The Force Touch touchbar has remained a role model – it works easily, the reaction to gestures is instantaneous.

    The MacBook is equipped with an IPS-matrix, which is made using Retina technology (increased pixel density for a clear picture). Screen resolution – 3072×1920 pixels, which is almost equal to a 4K picture (3840×2160). The maximum brightness reaches 500 nits, but usually it fluctuates between 470-480 nits.

    The performance here is at the highest level, regardless of build. The amount of RAM ranges from a “modest” 16 to an incredible 64 gigs. The video card is available in 2 subspecies – 4 and 8 GB.

    SSD capacity is enough for any projects: even in the minimum configuration, this Macbook Pro with 512 GB. And in the maximum version – 8 TB, which will fit 400 movies in 4K quality or thousands of hours of projects with complex 3D graphics.

    At the same time, all models of this line have a 9th generation Intel chipset – there will be no problems with software compatibility for a long time. Moreover, if someone at work needs to additionally “roll” Windows or Linux, it is still possible here. But new items with an M-chipset are deprived of such freedom of movement between operating systems.

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    ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

    Able to transform every day by customizing the cover with a monochrome AniMe Matrix display with 1215 LEDs. The user can program the appearance of any custom pictures (in b/w format), visualization of music or system notifications.

    The ROG Zephyrus G14’s port selection is pretty solid. On the left you can find a connector for charging, HDMI, USB-C which is combined with mini-DisplayPort. On the right, there are 2 usual (A-type) USB 3.2 ports and a bonus USB-C.

    The keyboard is comfortable and has a stroke of 1.8 mm. The only thing you have to get used to is the Print Screen button at the bottom. There is a soft three-level backlight, there is no gaming RGB glow here.

    Screen – 14″ IPS panel. Adobe RGB color coverage is 84%, so it may not be suitable for people who work professionally with graphics and video. However, for video bloggers and those who like to play, the best device in the afternoon with fire cannot be found!

    Let’s analyze the hardware using the example of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401QE-HZ090T (90NR05R6-M01320) bundle. Here is an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS (Zen 3) chipset, 16 GB of RAM, a 4 GB graphics card and a large 1 TB SSD. The only major drawback to the hardware component is the lack of a built-in webcam. It must be purchased separately.

    The cooling system is of high quality – even at maximum loads, its temperature will not exceed 55 ° C in the place where the hard drive and video card are located. The rest of the surface will remain within a comfortable 25-35 ° C. At such times, the fans will run loud. They can be heard at a distance of 2-3 meters.

    The laptop has a 76 Wh battery, which is the best result of the models presented in this collection. But since the laptop is designed for maximum productivity, you should not expect frantic numbers of autonomy. There will be 12-15 hours in the “typewriter” mode, 10-12 hours when watching FullHD-video online and about 5 hours in games and “gluttonous programs.

    The laptop will be the golden mean for those who want to get a gaming device that can be used for office tasks.

    Full recovery: How to recover deleted files from your computer: 5 programs to help with gaming devices. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon looks modest – a discreet black color and a matte magnesium alloy body.

    The laptop is thin, but you can find the main necessary ports in it – 2 pcs. USB 3.1, 2 pieces of USB-C, an accessory port (through which you can connect the Ethernet adapter from the kit) and HDMI.

    ThinkPad X1 Carbon Monitor – 14″ Full HD IPS panel. Under bright lighting, it produces a brightness of 370 nits, when dimmed, there is no PWM (pulse).

    Color calibrated well, but responsiveness may not be to the liking of gamers who prefer action games. A noticeable trail will stretch behind dynamically moving objects. When watching a movie, this is imperceptible, but in game battles it catches your eye.

    The keyboard is familiar to Lenovo laptops, with soft white backlighting and proprietary rounding of the keys. The webcam can be “covered” with a full-fledged curtain.

    The ThinkPad X1’s hardware is powerful. The Intel Core i5-8365U processor remains relevant even in 2021. 16 GB of RAM is enough for office tasks and for working with graphics and videos.

    The video card is integrated here, so games will have to be set to minimum or medium settings. The permanent memory is a 512 GB SSD. You cannot add a second hard drive – there is no space for this. However, the SSD can be exchanged for a more capacious compatible model.

    Case temperature rarely exceeds 50°C even at maximum load. At the same time, the cooling system works quietly – you can play “tanchiki” at a meeting, and no one will hear it.

    Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon battery “humble” – 51 Wh. But thanks to an optimized system, it can withstand up to 9-10 hours as a “typewriter”, 7-9 hours as a “home theater” for Full HD online and 3-5 hours when playing games. But charging is lightning fast – in an hour the battery will be filled up to 75%.

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    Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

    Laptop chassis with straight lines that round off at the corners. Cover and bottom of the laptop made of dense aluminum. The space at the keys is made of iron or Alcantara.

    Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 has a minimal set of ports – USB-A for charging, USB 3.0 and mini DisplayPort. This utility is justified by the ultra-thin body, which becomes narrow, like a sheet of cardboard, towards the user. The 15-inch version has a USB-C port – but to accommodate it, Microsoft had to sacrifice the DisplayPort.

    Both versions have an IPS monitor with an aspect ratio of 3:2. It is designed for work, it contains more useful information than on a standard display. The color gamut is slightly over 100% sRGB. For some hardworking stylus, this may be essential, but for most basic tasks and for drawing on a touch screen, it works great!

    Surface Laptop 3 has a powerful processor even by 2021 standards: the Intel Core i5-1035G7 will give heat even to programs that will only be released in 2022-2023. 8 GB of RAM is enough for games, graphics and video editing.

    There is no external video – you will have to use the built-in one. But even with this, the laptop can easily withstand the rink in Mafia or GTA V at medium settings.

    Built-in memory varies by device. There are devices on the market with 128 and 256 GB of storage. This will be enough for work and for personal files.

    Battery capacity – 45 Wh. If you use the laptop as a typewriter and a device for web surfing, it will last for 6-8 hours. Fans of sticking in the video will have to charge the laptop after 4-5 hours, gamers – after 3-4 hours.

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    Lenovo Legion 5 15

    The discreet exterior packs the gaming power of Watch Dogs and booklet creation in Illustrator.

    Legion 5 Case 15 – Plastic, black. The gaming interior in it gives out only a huge fan at the bottom of the case and a small engraved Legion inscription on the lid. The hinges are moderately tight, but still allow the laptop to be opened 180°, making it comfortable for couch work sessions. The webcam can be physically turned off using the button on the case.

    Plenty of connectors for convenient operation: 3 pcs. USB 3.2, USB-C (which supports DisplayPort), HDMI, and a charging port. Thunderbolt and SD card reader are missing.

    The keyboard will appeal to anyone who frequently uses the arrow keys. They are away from the main keyboard – so accidental Shift presses are excluded. The backlight is soft white with 2 brightness levels. The touchpad has excellent sensitivity with instant response.

    Screen – 15 inch Full HD IPS screen with 120Hz refresh rate. This means that even in the most dynamic games, the picture will be “live” and without a loop. At maximum brightness, the laptop will light up to 300 nits, and at minimum indicators there is no PWM – everything is visible during the day, and at night the flicker will not “hit” in the eyes.

    Chipset vigorous – Intel Core i7-10750H. Although the 10th generation of Intel came out in 2020, it will obviously not lose its relevance for another 5-6 years. RAM – 16 GB, it is on 2 slots of 8 GB, so in the future you can improve the laptop. There is a discrete (freestanding) 6 GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 video card that can withstand the visualization of top games at medium high and high settings.

    The laptop has a 512 GB SSD (replaceable) and a 1 TB hard drive (HDD). Enough space for everything. You won’t even need to purchase an additional external drive.

    Legion 5 Battery – 60 Wh Beast. The laptop has powerful hardware, so all the “power” goes to fuel the hardware component. So in reality, the laptop will last 2.5-4 hours in games, 5-7 hours of watching FullHD-video online and 7-8 hours in office mode.

    Each laptop on this list is so “pumped” that it should be called the best laptop of 2021. To facilitate the choice, we have collected the key parameters of the gadgets described above in the table:

    9 0271 1.29

    9 0271 Integrated, Intel Iris Xe Graphics

    902 71 Integrated
    Radeon Vega 8 Graphics

    9 0271 8

    Device/Parameter Diagonal, inches Display Touch screen Processor Video card RAM, GB ROM, GB Connectors Battery, Wh Dimensions, mm (w x l x h) Weight kg
    APPLE MacBook Air M1 2020 13 IPS (Retina) No Apple M1 9 0274

    Apple M1 Graphics
    8 256 or 512 2xUSB 3. 1 Type C (Thunderbolt 3) 49.9 304.1 x 212.4 x 16.1
    Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 13.5 IPS Yes Intel Core i5-1145G7 (Tiger Lake) Integrated, Intel Iris Xe Graphics 8 or 16 51 2 USB 3.0, USB C 47 308 x 223 x 14.5 1.25
    HP Specter x360 13.3 IPS Yes AMD Ryzen 5 4500U or
    Intel Core i5-1135G7 (Tiger Lake)
    8 256 or 512 USB 3.0, 2 USB C (Thunderbolt 4) 60 306.7 x 194.5 x 16.9 1.27
    Dell XPS 13 90 274 ​​

    13.4 IPS Yes Intel Core i7-1065G7 (Ice Lake) Integrated, Intel Iris Xe Graphics 16 1 TB 2 pcs USB C (Thunderbolt) 52 296 x 199 x 14. 8 9 0274

    ACER Swift 3 14 IPS N/A AMD Ryzen 5 3500U (Zen+), AMD Ryzen 3 3200U,
    Intel Core i5-1135G7 (Tiger Lake), Intel Core i3-1115G4 (Tiger Lake)
    8 256 or 512 USB 2.0 x 2 USB 3.0, USB C, HDMI 48 323 x 228 x 17.95 1.5
    APPLE MacBook Pro 1 6 16 IPS (Retina) No Intel Core i9-9880H (Coffee Lake) Discrete AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 4GB 16 512 or 1TB 4pcs USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) 100 245 x 357 x 16.2 2
    ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 14 IPS N/A AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS (Zen 3), AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS (Zen 3) Discrete NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050Ti 4 GB, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6 GB 16 512 or 1TB 2x USB 3. 2, 2x USB C, HDMI 76 324 x 220 x 17.9 1.6
    Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 14 IPS No Intel Core i5-8265U (Whiskey Lake) Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 16 512 2x USB A, 2x USB C (THunderbolt), HDMI 51 323.5 x 217.1 x 14.9 1.09
    Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13.5 and 15 IPS Yes Intel Core i5-1035G7 Integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics 256 USB 3.0, USB C Not specified by the manufacturer 308 x 223 x 14.5 1.25
    Lenovo Legion 5 15 15 IPS No 90 274 ​​

    Intel Core i5-10300H (Comet Lake),
    Intel Core i7-10750H ( Comet Lake)
    NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6 GB
    16 HDD 1 TB and SDD 512 GB 4 pcs USB 3. 2, USB C, HDMI 60 363.06 x 259.61 x 26.1 2.46

    Having decided to get the best laptop from this TOP, you will get a devoted iron “friend”. First of all, they study the filling, and then it’s up to the small.

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