July 24, 2024


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Best laptops of 2020 – CNET

This list is your first stop to discovering the best of our top-rated laptops. Some of our top picks are here for battery life and performance, others for style and features, and a couple because they’re just all-around good deals. Whether you’re looking for something for work or entertainment, for home or travel, or a two-in-one or traditional clamshell, this list has them all. We’ve considered all of the details — not just battery life. This means we’ve taken into account everything from the number of gigabytes of RAM and the refresh rate to the quality of the screen and keyboard.

If, however, you’re looking for a specific style of laptop, here are our best gaming laptops, 15-inch laptopstwo-in-ones and Chromebooks, as well as the best choices for college studentscreatives and MacBook Pro alternatives for the Windows set. Plus, if you just want pure power or battery life, our rankings of battery life and performance are for you. Need to stay as low as possible on price? Check out our picks for budget laptops and budget gaming laptops. See all of CNET’s laptop reviews. 

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We already had the XPS 13 as a top pick for anyone looking for great performance and battery life in the smallest chassis possible for a 13.3-inch screen size display. But for 2019 Dell also fixed our one complaint by moving the webcam back above the display. This device has 16 GB of RAM, a backlit chiclet keyboard, several USB ports and even a fingerprint reader. Not too shabby.

Read our Dell XPS 13 (2019) review.

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HP outdid itself on its latest ultraportable premium two-in-one. At first glance it might seem like little more than a processor update — it’s running on a great 10th-gen Intel CPU — the latest x360 is significantly smaller than its predecessor without sacrificing usability. New features like an instant mic mute button join other privacy and security features like an IR camera and fingerprint reader and switch to disable its webcam. Plus, it’s available with 4G LTE wireless so you can get your work done wherever and whenever you want. 

Read our HP Spectre x360 13 (late 2019) review.

Read more: Best laptops, desktops and tablets for designers and creatives in 2020

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The Surface Pro continues to hit all the right notes if you’re looking for a do-it-all Windows tablet that doubles as a Windows laptop. These powerful laptops feature the 8th Generation Intel Core processor and long-lasting battery life. Microsoft recently announced the updated Pro 7, but expect the Surface Pro 6 to hang around at potentially lower prices, especially bundled with its excellent keyboard and pen. 

Read our Microsoft Surface Pro 6 review.

Read more: Best 2-in-1 PCs in 2020 for when you need a laptop and tablet in one

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The combination of the MacBook Pro’s hardware and MacOS extracts the maximum performance from the components while delivering class-leading battery life in a way Windows systems never seem to do, and the high resolution display screen remains terrific. You pay for it, though — base price for the 15-inch model of this device is $2,399 and that’s with a meager 256GB SSD hard drive. And you’ll have to overlook the keyboard’s potential shortcomings. 

Read more.

Read more: Best tablets in 2020

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Razer’s featureless-slab aesthetic slips seamlessly fits into almost any environment, and if you opt for one of the higher-end configurations it’s (unsurprisingly) a great laptop for both creative work and gaming.  If you’re willing to go with black and an emptied wallet, you can get an Adobe RGB calibrated 4K OLED display and a GeForce RTX 2070 for $3,300.

Read our Razer Blade 15 Advanced review.

Read more: Best MacBook Pro alternatives for 2020

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This is our go-to recommendation for those in search of a MacOS laptop for everyday basic use. The MacBook Air was updated earlier in the year with Apple’s True Tone display, new processors and a $100 price drop. As Apple’s most affordable laptop starting at $1,099, it’s not exactly a bargain and you can get a lot more computer for your money if you go with Windows. Regardless, the Air remains one of the best laptops available for battery life, performance and design. 

Read more.

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A gaming powerhouse with a Core i Processor in a thin and light package. The keyboard isn’t terrific and it can run hot and loud, and like any gaming laptop the battery life is pretty short. But if you need maximum graphics, a quick refresh rate and CPU performance in a reasonably portable laptop, this is a good option.

Read our Acer Predator Triton 500 review.

Read more: The best gaming laptop performers of 2020 | Best gaming PCs for 2020

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Starting around $500, the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 has a brushed-aluminum design, 14-inch full HD display and twice as much RAM and storage space as its predecessor, in addition to more powerful Intel processor options. This Asus laptop also a two-in-one convertible laptop in case you’re also interested in something that doubles as a tablet. 

Read more: Best Chromebooks for 2020

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Acer knows how to put together a solid budget-friendly laptop and the Aspire 5 is a fine example. A remarkable deal for simple tasks like email, word processing and the like, it’s also thin and relatively light for a 15.6-inch laptop. This device has a backlit keyboard, Intel Core i5-8265U processor, a fingerprint reader and a USB type-C port. It’s available in a variety of configurations starting as low as $400, but can go up to $650 if you want entry-level discrete graphics for basic gaming and content creation.  Our $530 version ably balances performance and affordability. 

Read our Acer Aspire 5 (2019) review.

Read more: What to look for in a cheap gaming laptop

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The midrange G5 15 hits the mark with an excellent price-to-performance ratio, build quality and design. Dell’s G-series gaming laptops are cheaper than those from its Alienware division, but still capable of playing the latest AAA titles. 

Read our Dell G5 15 5590 review.

Originally published last year and updated periodically.

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