Welcome to our list of the best laptops of 2018, our constantly-updated guide to the top notebooks and laptops on sale today.
Buying the best laptop for your needs is vitally important, but it doesn’t need to be difficult, and with our list of the best laptops of 2018 with give you expert advice about the latest and greatest laptops. We’ve tested and reviewed every laptop in this best laptops list, so you can buy in confidence.
Even this early in the year, it looks like 2018 will be a great year for brilliant laptops, so without further ado, here’s our list of the best laptops money can buy.
The best laptops of 2018:
Slim, light, powerful and majestic, Dell’s 2017 flagship XPS 13 is the best laptop in the world. Perhaps stifled by the fact that a more aesthetically-pleasing Alpine White model is on its way, the version we’ve reviewed ought to satisfy your craving for a top-notch Windows Ultrabook in the meantime. Thanks to its powerful Intel Kaby Lake processors ranging from i3 to i7, and its nigh-bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display, which shoves a 13.3-inch screen into an 11-inch frame, the Dell XPS 13 really stands out from its competition. Not only that, but the port selection is equally on point. Compared to Apple’s exclusive USB-C approach, Dell’s flagship notebook impresses with – in addition to USB-C – USB 3.0 along with the elusive SD card slot. Bearing in mind those facets alone, it’s no wonder the Dell XPS 13 is the most popular WIndows laptop in the world. Yet it gets even better. You also get the choice of a super high-res or multi-touch screen as well as a breadth of options for storage and memory. Or you can save on cash and opt for more conservative specs.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
Behold the Asus ZenBook UX310UA, a laptop that sidesteps the lofty price of the Dell XPS 13 without compromising on performance. It doesn’t quite look or feel as nice as the Dell above, and the battery life isn’t as good, but you can still expect an all-aluminum frame and fantastic performance from a 7th-generation Kaby Lake processor – whether that’s of the i3 or i5 variety is entirely up to you. Additionally, you can choose between a full HD, 1080p display or a brilliant 3,200 x 1,800-pixel, QHD+ screen with 30% more pixels compared with Apple’s 13-inch Retina screens. No matter what model you go for, the Asus ZenBook UX310UA is one of the best laptops you can buy.
Read the full review: Asus Zenbook UX310UA
If you’re after a cheap laptop that offers something a bit special, look no further than the Lenovo Yoga Book 2017. As with all Yoga devices, the screen folds flat so you can use it either as a tablet or a laptop. To add more versatility, Lenovo has now added the option to buy it with either Windows 10 or Android 6.0 onboard – which one you choose will depend how you’re more likely to use the device. The screen on this thing defies the cheap asking price and the keyboard and capacitive touch-keyboard are both fantastic too. This is a great option if you want something cheap for basic computing tasks, for creating art using the built-in Wacom digitizer or a train device for watching movies. But for more heavy lifting you’d be better off choosing one of the options above as the Intel Atom CPU in this thing is great at saving power and making the battery last for ages but not so good at super speedy processing.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga Book
If you’re after the latest and greatest laptop from Apple, we suggest you welcome the 13-inch Macbook Pro with Touch Bar. Despite Microsoft’s claims that its Surface Book 2 is twice as powerful as Apple’s flagship MacBook Pro, it’s also more expensive at the starting level. Of course, the headline feature is the Touch Bar – it’s 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. If you’re a massive fan of the Macbook Pro 2017, you’ll be happy with this model but there are some serious reasons why you should consider one of the Windows alternatives. As we said before, it’s not as powerful, the screen is lower-res versus the competition and isn’t touchscreen friendly, plus the battery is a bit disappointing, too. So, if you’re open to switching to a PC, definitely consider the XPS 13 as a more modern, cheaper alternative. 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 (2017)
Part of a new generation of Max-Q gaming laptops in 2017, the Asus ROG Zephyrus is both ridiculously powerful and astonishingly thin and light. Make no mistake, this thing is large compared to a Macbook Pro or Dell XPS 13, but compared to gaming laptops of the past this effort from Asus is something of a holy grail achievement. Your expectations of a 15-inch gaming laptop will never be the same after seeing the Zephyrus in action. It’s expensive of course, but with powerful Core i7 CPU and GTX 1080 graphics it’ll be easily powerful enough to play the best games for many years to come on the built-in 1080p screen. It’s an ideal top-end desktop replacement that is, possibly for the first time ever, also extremely portable.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501
If you’re after a new gaming laptop and you don’t have the kind of money that you need for the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 above, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming laptop is your best option. It comes in at well under half the price and offers absolutely fantastic value for money. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti graphics chip is easily powerful enough to lubricate the best games on the built-in 1080p display while general performance in Windows is super slick thanks to the Core i5 CPU. If you’re going to be moving around a bit, you’ll be pleased to know that the battery life on this laptop is also superb – we got nearly 8 hours out of it while watching HD video. A gaming session with Tom Clancy’s The Division on medium settings for two hours only dropped the battery to 66%. This is far better than similarly priced rivals. So in the reasonably-priced category, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is definitely the best laptop around at the moment.
Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming
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
The Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch) is another new entry to our best laptop list, and it’s worthy of its spot, as 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, but it’s currently not available outside of the US. 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
This 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
Designed for users hoping to avert the complicated nature of a Windows PC or Mac, Chromebooks have been a raging success in recent years as a result of their accessibility. The Google Pixelbook is no exception. Although it’s double the price of the average Chrome OS device and doesn’t come with a stylus as you might expect, the Pixelbook is built to withstand the future. It has a pair of Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports for accessories and super fast file transfers, a hinge that flips inside out for watching movies on planes and – perhaps best of all – Android app support. Now, there are still some kinks to work out, but you can access the entire Google Play store on the Pixelbook, from playing Sonic the Hedgehog to watching videos in VLC. And, with a battery life of 7 hours and 40 minutes in our own testing, you can do so for a while without recharging. If you’re after a cheaper Chromebook, the Asus Chromebook Flip (which is higher up this page) is an excellent choice.
Read the full review: Google Pixelbook
Some of the very best laptops in 2017 have been 2-in-1 devices, and Lenovo has added to that list with the excellent Lenovo Yoga 920. It features a wonderfully slim design, and its build quality is exceptional. The 360 degree hinge allows you to convert the laptop into a tablet-like device, making it flexible in all senses of the word. It’s cheaper than the Surface Book 2, and while it doesn’t offer quite the same quality when in tablet mode, it’s an excellent device with plenty of power and bags of battery life. It’s definitely a worthy alternative, and it’s easily one of the best laptops we’ve seen this year.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 920
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
If you’re after a low cost Windows laptop that you can slip into a bag and carry around all day without noticing the weight, the Asus Transformer Mini T102HA is a fantastic device. Honestly it’s not the fastest laptop in the world, so don’t expect to do any video editing. But for simple every-day tasks it’s more than adequate. What’s more, it’s similar to the other 2-in-1 laptops in this list in that it can become a tablet – you can choose whether or not to take the keyboard with you. And it comes as standard so you don’t need to pay extra for it.
Read the full review: Asus Transformer Mini T102HA
If you love the look of the XPS 13 at the top of this list but need something a little bigger with more graphics power, the Dell XPS 15 2017 could be the best laptop for you. Packing the same InfinityEdge technology, the screen extends right to the edge of the machine which means it’s as small as it’s possible to make a 15-inch laptop in 2017. It’s quite pricey though, depending on which version you get. The very top end version has a 4K colour-accurate display which makes it perfect for graphic design, and gaming performance is decent as long as you play at either a lower resolution or on medium settings.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 15
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.