With 2018 is drawing to a close, and the post Christmas and New Year sales going strong, now is an ideal time to think about getting a new laptop, and our list of the best laptops money can buy is here to help.
No matter what kind of laptop you’re looking for, our best laptop guide lists a wide range of excellent laptops, from super-slim and all-powerful Ultrabooks, to high-end laptops, Apple MacBooks, gaming laptops and budget laptops as well.
To make choosing the best laptop for your needs even easier, our very own price comparison tool looks at retailers across the internet and highlights top deals, so you can buy in confidence knowing you’re getting the best laptop for the best price.
Every entry in this best laptops buying guide has been thoroughly tested by us, and we only include laptops that have seriously impressed us and convinced us they are worthy of a place in this list.
This guide is also constantly updated to include the best new laptops as they are released, so as soon as a new device comes out that we think is worthy of a place in this article, we’ll put it in.
The best laptops of 2018:
The Huawei MateBook X Pro is our pick for the best laptop money can buy in 2018. After years of this list being dominated by the (still excellent) Dell XPS 13, the MateBook X Pro has proved to be a truly brilliant challenger. This is a gorgeously-designed laptop with a stunning screen (albeit with a rather odd aspect ratio), and it comes packed with cutting edge components that allows it to perform brilliantly, and a battery life that runs rings around many of its rivals. It also has a very competitive price, giving you features, design and performance for quite a bit less money. Sadly, it’s not available in many countries, so if you struggle to grab hold of it, look into getting the Dell XPS 13 (below).
Read the full review: Huawei MateBook X Pro
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Dell XPS 13
Even though the Dell XPS 13 has been knocked into second place by the sublime MateBook Pro X, it’s still an absolutely brilliant laptop. There’s a good reason why it was at the top of our best laptops list for three years running. The 2018 Dell XPS 13 is a slimmer, more powerful version of the award-winning laptop with a stunning 4K display and a gorgeous Rose Gold on Alpine White color option. The Dell XPS 13 rocks an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and a bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display, this Dell XPS 13 continues to be the most popular Windows laptop in the world. What’s more, there’s a wide range of customization options, so you can really make the Dell XPS 13 the best laptop for your needs.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
Asus has struck gold with its new refresh of its ZenBook Flip S 2-in-1 laptop, with the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 impressing us so much it’s landed straight at number 3 in our best laptops list. With a new Kaby Lake R 8th-generation processor powering the device, plenty of RAM and a super-fast PCIe SSD in certain models, this is an absolutely stunning laptop. Its 2-in-1 design means you can use it as both a laptop and a tablet, and while it’s not as affordable as some machines on this list, if you have the budget you’ll be really happy with this fantastic device.
Read the full review: Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370
If you’re after the latest and greatest laptop from Apple, we suggest you look into the 2018 model of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. While Microsoft had the performance edge over last year’s MacBook Pro, with the Surface Book 2, Apple has come out swinging with some seriously beefed up specs for the 13-inch MacBook Pro 2018, and even more so if you go for the larger 15-inch model. The headline Touch Bar – a thin OLED display at the top of the keyboard which can be used for any number of things, whether that be auto-suggesting words as you type or offering Touch ID so you can log in with just your fingerprint – is again included. It’s certainly retained Apple’s sense of style, but it comes at a cost. This is a pricey machine, so you may want to consider one of the Windows alternatives. If you’re open to switching to a PC, definitely consider the XPS 13 or the excellent MateBook X Pro. But, if you’re a steadfast Apple diehard, this is definitely the best laptop for you!
Read the full review: Apple Macbook with Touch Bar 13-inch (2018)
The new MSI GS65 Stealth has knocked our previous choice of the best gaming laptop, Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501, off this list, thanks to its excellent array of cutting edge components, which includes an 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU. It’s also more reasonably priced than the Zephyrus GX501, and its subtle design means that it can double as a work or study laptop without raising any eyebrows. If you’re looking for a more affordable gaming laptop, however, check out the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming below.
Read the full review: MSI GS65 Stealth
Microsoft’s second attempt at a pure laptop device is an absolute winner in our view, and while it doesn’t represent a huge overhaul of the original Surface Laptop, it offers improvements in all the areas we were hoping for, including updated hardware that brings serious performance benefits. This is a laptop that finally delivers on what Microsoft set out to do with the original: a pure, powerful Windows 10 laptop experience. If you’re not sold on the 2-in-1 nature of the Surface Book 2 (which is also on this best laptops list), but love Microsoft’s premium build quality and design, then the Surface Laptop 2 is the laptop for you. A very worth addition to this list.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Laptop 2
Last year’s Dell XPS 15 was already one of the best laptops you could buy, but now that Dell has taken the beautiful redesign of the Dell XPS 13 and applied it here – while also making it a convertible. Well, it’s amazing. Not only do you get one of the most aesthetically pleasing 15-inch laptops on the market, but it also packs one of those new Intel Kaby Lake G-series CPUs featuring ‘discrete-class’ Radeon graphics. This means that this laptop packs serious power – even if it can get a little loud.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a fantastic affordable gaming laptop that proves that even if you don’t have the kind of money to buy the MSI GS65 Stealth that also features on this best laptops list, you don’t have to sacrifice too much when it comes to power. The Acer Predator Helios 300 packs some excellent components, such as a new 8th generation 6-core Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card and 16GB of RAM. While it’s still an expensive proposition compared to regular laptops, for a gaming notebook you are getting a heck of a lot of power for the price.
Read the full review: Acer Predator Helios 300
When it comes to the best Chromebook laptop, you have a choice between two stark alternatives. There’s the premium Chromebook Pixel, which we list further down this page, and then there’s the excellent Asus Chromebook Flip C302, which combines premium features in a much more affordable package. For many people, Chromebooks are excellent and affordable laptops that are perfect for students, and the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 is easily one of the best Chromebooks, and one of the best laptops, money can buy. It comes with an Intel Core processor, full 1080p display, touchscreen, backlit keyboard and USB-C port.
Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip
With the Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch), Microsoft has crafted one of the most powerful 2-in-1 laptops in the world. The Surface Book 2 has some powerful enough components to handle most day-to-day tasks, and even some light gaming and video editing if you go for a model with a dedicated graphics card. Brilliant build quality and excellent battery life makes this a wonderful device for using as either a laptop, or as a powerful Windows 10 tablet. It also comes in a 15-inch version, which is more powerful and with a larger screen. If you’re after a more affordable 2-in-1 device, then the Acer Switch 3, below, is well worth checking out.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch)
If you want the Microsoft Surface Book 2 but you want to spend a lot less, the Acer Switch 3 2017 is definitely the your best option. It’s designed around essentially the same concept as the Surface Book 2 and it’s a less capable thanks to slightly lower power innards, but for most tasks it’s a brilliant little machine. What’s more, to add further value this 2-in-1 laptop/tablet comes with the keyboard upgrade which means no little extras to pay for. As usual it comes in several different versions, with USB Type-C, 8GB RAM, an IPS display and Intel Core i3 7100U CPU coming with the more expensive option.
Read the full review: Acer Switch 3
Last year’s iteration of the MacBook is another win for Apple, and it’s once again won us over with a gorgeous design, excellent performance and best-in-class battery life. Apple has updated the processors with Intel’s 7th-generation Kaby Lake range, which means you get improved performance and longer battery life without sacrificing the thin and light design that the MacBook is famous for. While the MacBook 2017 is not designed as a pure productivity machine, like the more powerful and versatile MacBook Pro above, or as a gaming machine like the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501, it’s still one of the best laptops in the world right now thanks to being a super slim and light MacBook that you can take anywhere without even noticing the weight, and being a powerful showcase for macOS High Sierra. If you’re after a MacBook, this year’s model is easily one of the best.
Read the full review: Apple MacBook
The best Chromebooks have experienced huge success in recent years as a result of their accessibility, and the Google Pixelbook is no exception. Even though it costs twice as much as the average Chrome OS device and doesn’t come with a stylus as you may expect, the Pixelbook is built to withstand the future. It features a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports for accessories and super fast file transfers, a hinge that flips inside out for watching movies on planes and a taste of Android. You get full access to the Google Play store on the Pixelbook, from playing Sonic the Hedgehog to watching videos in VLC. The icing on this pixelated cake is its long battery life – it lasted nearly 8 hours in our own testing, so you shouldn’t need to worry about the Pixelbook dying on you.
Read the full review: Google Pixelbook
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Asus Chromebook Flip C302
While you may have been convinced that ‘budget Ultrabook’ was an oxymoron up until this point, the Acer has turned this common misconception on its head with the Swift 3. That’s because the company has taken the all-aluminum chassis of the Acer Swift 7 and stuffed some more affordable components inside for everyone to enjoy. It doesn’t run macOS, but the Acer Swift 3 does put the age-old MacBook Air to shame in about every other regard, including the nigh-unbeatable price tag. Of course, in the process of demolishing the competition, Acer did have to cut a few corners in order to keep the price so impressively low. So although you can’t expect much in the way of an Ultra HD display or quality onboard sound, the performance benchmarks alone give even the Surface Laptop a run for its money.
We’ve also had a glance of the upcoming 2018 edition of the Swift 7 at CES 2018, which comes with boosted graphics and processing specs. It could be a shoe-in for a place on this list when it launches later this year.
Read the full review: Acer Swift 3
While it may not have the best keyboard in the world, the Samsung Notebook 9 is still one of the best laptops you can buy in 2018. Packed with more horsepower than the MacBook Pro, but at a much lower price, Samsung has crafted a laptop that has just as much substance as it does style. Plus, on top of its killer specs, it’s lightweight and thin, making this one of the most portable 15-inch laptops you can buy today.
Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the MacBook Pro
Which type of laptop is best for you?
General laptops: Where the best cheap laptops are found, devices that focus more on practicality than style, portability or power. That’s not to say they can’t be fast, but you’ll typically find a non-Ultrabook clamshell laptop with an HD screen and spinning drive-based storage for less than $600 or £400.
Ultrabooks: Where you’ll find thin-and-light notebooks sporting SSD storage and display resolutions that exceed 1080p. Paired with powerful, albeit mobile-centric components and especially long battery life, the best Ultrabooks will cost a pretty penny – $700 or £500 to $2,000 or £1,800.
2-in-1 laptops: Where notebooks that double as tablets are located. The Surface Book 2 might be a ways off, but many of the best 2-in-1 laptops are available right now. Outfitted with both detachable and 360-degree rotating hinges, these hybrids are the most versatile way to experience Windows 10 (or Chrome OS) on a touchscreen.
Chromebooks: Where you’ll find the best Chromebooks running Chrome OS. These do much of what Windows and macOS can in the browser, focused on cloud storage over local, while recently getting Android app support for touchscreen models. They generally cost less than $300 or £200 and some can even withstand a slight tussle.
Gaming laptops: Need a laptop to play games (almost) just like a shiny desktop PC can? Then you’ll want one of the best gaming laptops. These machines generally cost from $800 or £600 to upwards of $3,000 or £2,800 and they’ll likely be the ones to take advantage of AMD’s laptop-grade Ryzen processors first.
Laptop-tablet hybrids: Designed from the tablet-first approach to laptop-tablet hybrids, the best Windows tablets pack beyond-HD touchscreens, sometimes with kickstands in their frames or provided via keyboard covers. These generally shine with a stylus, and range from the budget to the premium price ranges.
Linux, Windows or Mac – which one is best for you? Watch our guide video below:
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