The 10 Best Windows Laptops

Updated February 01, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Microsoft's famous Windows operating system is ubiquitous among home and business PCs. For the added convenience of portable computing power, today's latest laptops offer incredible speed thanks to their cutting-edge technology. We've included the most powerful as well as the most affordable all-around models, along with some specifically well-suited to gaming, multitasking, and 4K video playback. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best windows laptop on Amazon.

10. Lenovo Yoga 920

The Lenovo Yoga 920 is an attractive 2-in-1 with massive SSD options of up to 2 terabytes. In addition to super-fast storage, it supports a highly effective active pen system for drawing or taking notes by hand. It runs smoothly thanks in part to 16GB of DDR4 RAM.
  • ten-point multi-touch screen
  • more costly than similar models
  • intel hd 620 gpu isn't for gaming
Brand Lenovo 920
Model pending
Weight 7.1 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Acer Swift 1

If you're on a tight budget but still need portability and good performance, the Acer Swift 1 is the choice for you. Though it's not as durably constructed as some of its peers, it's packed with some of the same powerful chipsets that will accomplish almost any task.
  • 14nm apollo lake pentium cpu
  • only 64 gigabytes of storage
  • feels somewhat cheap
Brand Acer
Model NX.GPNAA.002
Weight pending
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Microsoft Surface Book 2

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is the latest evolution of a pioneer of software & components. A superior finish and surprisingly powerful internals will push your computing experience to the next level. Its dedicated GeForce GTX 1060 allows for rich, high-frame-rate gaming.
  • vibrant and responsive 15-in screen
  • works with ms-branded accessories
  • among the most expensive options
Brand Microsoft
Model FVH-00001
Weight 8.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Acer Aspire E 15

The Acer Aspire E 15 lets you save money while still taking home a powerful piece of equipment. Its innovative 8th-generation CPU is one of Intel's newest, and with a boosted clock speed of up to 4.0 GHz it's also one of the fastest mobile chips ever.
  • wireless-ac ready with mu-mimo
  • 8x dvd-rw drive
  • relatively poor quality control
Brand Acer
Model E5-576G-5762
Weight 7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Alienware AW17-R4

The Alienware AW17-R4 is a true powerhouse of metal and silicon. While most high-end laptops offer smaller form-factors and slightly lower performance than bulky gaming rigs, this one is designed as a desktop replacement, with a full-fledged GTX 1080 powering the display.
  • runs modern titles at high settings
  • line of matching cases available
  • the heaviest and biggest option
Brand Alienware
Model AW17R4-7352SLV-PUS
Weight 17 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Microsoft Surface

The iconic Microsoft Surface is one of the thinnest and lightest models around. Its sleek design is matched only by its usefulness to graphic designers on the go, thanks to an ultra-responsive IPS touchscreen designed for precision use with the Surface pen.
  • microfiber-covered keyboard
  • pristine fit and finish
  • slim bezel maximizes screen space
Brand Microsoft
Model DAL-00001
Weight 5.1 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Lenovo Miix

The Lenovo Miix is a 12-inch option that offers something for everyone. It features an M.2 solid-state drive that's roughly four times faster than standard SATA flash storage. Its integrated camera is accompanied by a dual microphone array with noise canceling.
  • available in 4 power levels
  • fully detachable display
  • doesn't use the very latest cpus
Brand Lenovo
Model 80XE00H3US
Weight 4.2 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Acer Predator Helios 300

The Acer Predator Helios 300 offers the extra graphics boost that modern games require at the highest settings. Its GTX 1060 GPU rivals the power of some desktops, while the unit's cost will let anyone dive into immersive, three-dimensional, 60 FPS worlds.
  • 6 gigabytes of video ram
  • fully vr-capable
  • keyboard has a subtle red backlight
Brand Acer
Model NH.Q28AA.001
Weight 9.9 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. HP Spectre x360

The HP Spectre x360 is a collection of top-of-the-line chipsets that delivers the best all-around performance on the market. Its Bang & Olufsen speakers provide some of the best audio found on any laptop, and its IR camera makes facial-recognition login a breeze.
  • 1tb m-2 solid state drive
  • displays 4k 60khz video seamlessly
  • usb-c and thunderbolt 3 ports
Brand HP
Model Spectre x360 15 Quad 8t
Weight 9 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Dell Inspiron 13

The Dell Inspiron 13 is the latest version of one of the most popular models ever. It sports cutting-edge technology, like a 14nm, quad-core mobile processor and a 256GB PCI-e solid-state drive. All this quality hardware is packed into a sleek, 2-in-1 design.
  • completes any task at blazing speed
  • starts up in just a few seconds
  • memory can be upgraded
Brand Dell
Model Dell Inspiron
Weight 5.5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

A Brief History Of The Windows Operating System

Windows 1 was released in November of 1985. Unlike the Windows versions of today, it wasn't a full operating system, but rather a graphical user interface for MS-DOS. When initiated, it took over the screen and launched an application called Program Manager. One of the most revolutionary features of Windows 1 was its heavy reliance on a mouse, when most applications were still using a keyboard as the main input method.

Windows 95 was the first version to be a true operating system, and introduced many staples that are still used in current Windows OS, like the Start menu, taskbar, and Windows Explorer. In 1997, Microsoft underwent a period of extreme controversy when they tried to integrate Internet Explorer 4 into Windows 95 systems via an update. By default, Windows 98 already featured the Internet Explorer 4 integration into the user interface, which led to an infamous anti-trust lawsuit.

Windows XP was Microsoft's longest running OS. It was given three major updates between its release date in 2001 and 2014, when Microsoft finally stopped offering support for it. As a testament to its popularity, Windows XP was still being used on an estimated 430 million PCs when it was discontinued.

Windows 7, released in 2009, was well-received by consumers. It was quicker, more stable, and easier to use than Vista, a much-maligned Windows OS released earlier in 2009. In 2012, Microsoft released the touch-friendly Windows 8. It was even faster than Windows 7 and included support for USB 3.0 technology, but despite this, many users found the touch-centric interface to be problematic and hard to navigate. It was quickly followed up with Windows 8.1, a free update that re-introduced the Start button, which was noticeably missing from Windows 8. It also allowed users to load directly to the desktop interface.

Windows 10 was released in 2015 and further brought back the balance between a touch interface and traditional desktop use. It allows users to switch between keyboard and tablet modes as needed and features universal apps that can run seamlessly on both Windows mobile and desktop devices.

Do I Need An SSD Or An HDD?

The technologies behind how SSDs and HDDs work vary greatly. SSD stands for Solid State Drive. It is called this because it has no moving parts. Information is stored on microchips that make use of non-volatile NAND flash memory. Non-volatile memory can store information whether a device is powered on or not. It always retains its charged state.

HDDs store their data on spinning magnetic discs. When accessing information, the disk must first come to the proper rotation speed, at which point a mechanical actuator arm moves into the correct position on the disc to retrieve the data being requested.

Inherently, the always-charged state and non-moving aspects of SSDs make them considerably faster than HDDs. When accessing data on an SSD, there is no lag-time while the computer waits for the disk to begin spinning and the mechanical arm to find the correct spot. Instead, you can almost instantaneously access this information.

When deciding on a computer with an HDD or an SSD, ask yourself the following question. What is more important to me, speed or storage size? A laptop with an SSD will be considerably faster when booting up or reading and writing data. The trade-off is that most SSD models will have less storage space. The average consumer-level laptop with an SSD will have somewhere between 128 and 512GB of storage space. On the other hand, it is not uncommon to find consumer-level HDD laptops with 1TB of storage space or more. If having a lot of storage space is most important to you, consider buying a laptop with an HDD. If speed is your top priority, look at models that feature an SSD. Another option is to buy an external hard drive to compensate for the smaller storage space of an SSD laptop. These come in HDD and SSD models.

What Else To Consider When Choosing A Windows Laptop

After you have decided on what memory type you need in your next laptop, there are a few other features that you should consider. Size is often a determining factor for many users. Will you regularly transport your laptop to and from school or the office? If so, a smaller model, usually with about a 13-inch screen, is a good bet. Anything smaller will hinder productivity, while anything larger can become a hassle to carry around.

While touchscreen is all the rage these days, if you don't make use of apps and games that require it, you might do well to choose a model that doesn't have touchscreen capabilities. These will often get better battery life, and can cost $100 less than comparable models with touchscreens. The same can be said of models that feature a 4k or UHD screen. For most users, a standard HD screen will suffice, and once again, the battery life and cost benefits can be significant.

Battery life should be a serious consideration. If you often work in public places where access to power can be limited, it is important to choose a laptop model that can accommodate this. Some may get as few as four hours of use on battery power, while some of the newer ultrabooks can get eight or more.

When it comes to future-proofing your device, two aspects take center stage: connectivity and RAM. Unless you are severely hampered by budgetary constraints, You shouldn't even consider looking at models with less than 4GB of RAM. This ensures that it will be able to handle not only today's resource-heavy applications, but also those that will be released in the years to come. Any device you consider should also include at least one USB 3.0 port, and ideally a USB Type-C port, as well. USB Type-C is poised to become the de-facto standard in the next few years. It is small enough for smartphones, powerful enough for laptops, and fast enough to support 4K video transfer.

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Last updated on February 01, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

A traveling chef, musician, and student of the English language, Chris can be found promoting facts and perfect copy around the globe, from dense urban centers to remote mountaintops. In his free time he revels in dispelling pseudoscience, while at night he dreams of modern technology, world peace, and the Oxford comma.

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