The best laptop to buy in 2018
We’ve reviewed all the recent models from the best brands to help you discover which is the best laptop for your own personal needs
If you’re looking for one of the best laptops you can buy in 2018, then you’ve come to the right place – we here on the TechRadar editorial team have compiled a list of the best laptops on the market right now. Whether you’re looking for one of the best gaming laptops, or one of the best 2-in-1 laptops that are virtually everywhere in 2018, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for right here on this list.
Of course, every single laptop in this guide has been used and reviewed by the TechRadar editorial team, so you can be confident that we’re fit to give only the best expert advice on the best laptops. You can take it from us, too, that today is a great time to go out shopping for a laptop, especially as Intel Core i9 H series CPUs have been released and therefore deals should be abound.
Even though we’re just in April, 2018 already looks like a brilliant year for laptops, so now is the best time to buy a new machine. Our very own price comparison tool will also make sure you get the very best deals for these top-rated laptops.
The best laptops of 2018:
1. Dell XPS 13
The best laptop is now even better
CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 4k (3840 x 2160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Centered IR webcamGorgeous new designBeautiful optional 4K displaySteeper starting priceWhite option is pricier
Riding the top of our best laptops list for three years running, the 2018 revision of Dell’s flagship continues the trend of excellence. 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. Packing an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU and a bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display, this Dell XPS 13 is more expensive, but its still worth every penny. It’s no wonder the Dell XPS 13 continues to be the most popular Windows laptop in the world. Better yet, there’s a wide range of customization options, so you can make the Dell XPS 13 the best laptop for you.
DELL Laptop XPS 13 TK2GY Intel Core i5 8th Gen 8250U (1.60 GHz) 8 GB Memory 256 GB SSD Intel UHD Graphics 620 13.3" Touchscreen Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
2. Asus Zenbook UX310UA
The best all-rounder laptop that punches above its weight
CPU: Intel Core i3 – i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch up to QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 256GB SSD
Wonderful aluminium bodyFast wake-up and useFantastic value for moneyAverage battery life
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.
3. Lenovo Yoga Book
A wonderfully versatile and cheap 2-in-1 laptop
CPU: Intel Atom x5-Z8550 | Graphics: Intel Atom | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 10.1-inch full
Extremely thin + lightExcellent displayIt’s cheap!Intel Atom is underpowered
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.
4. Apple Macbook Pro with Touch Bar
The best Macbook Pro ever, now with Touch Bar
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 – 650 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, (2,560 x 1,600) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD
The best Macbook Pro everSuper fast performanceExpensiveDisappointing battery life
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!
5. Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501
The best gaming laptop out there right now
CPU: Intel Core i7-7700HQ (quad core 3.8GHz) | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 + Intel HD Graphics 630 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, Full HD (120Hz with Nvidia G-Sync) | Storage: 512GB SSD
Incredibly powerfulInnovative, quiet coolingLaughable battery lifeNo SD slot
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.
6. Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming
The best gaming laptop for those on a budget
CPU: Intel Core i5-7300HQ (quad core 3.5GHz) | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti + Intel HD Graphics 630 | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch, Full HD | Storage: 256GB SSD
Fantastic valueGreat battery lifeTouchy track padScreen isn’t the best
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.
7. Asus Chromebook Flip
Premium Chromebook specs, economic Chromebook pricing
CPU: Intel Pentium 4405Y – Intel Core m3-6Y30 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED backlit anti-glare | Storage: 32GB – 64GB eMMC
Elegant tablet modeTactile keyboardNo out-of-box Android app supportMiddling speakers
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.
8. Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch)
The most powerful 2-in-1 laptop in the world
CPU: Intel Core i5-7300U - Intel Core i7-8650U 1.9GHz | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620; Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (2GB GDDR5 VRAM) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 3,000 x 2,000 (267 ppi) PixelSense display, 3:2 aspect ratio | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Very good battery lifePowerfulPriceyNo Surface Pen included
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.
9. Acer Switch 3
A great Surface Book 2 competitor at half the price
CPU: 1.10GHz Intel Pentium Quad Core N4200 - Intel Core i3 7100U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.2-inch, 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD touchscreen | Storage: 64GB - 128GB eMMC
Excellent build qualitySuperb valueTricky hinged standNo good for games
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.
10. Apple MacBook 12-inch (2017)
This year’s MacBook is another winner
CPU: Intel Core M3 1.2GHz - Intel Core i7 1.4GHz | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12-inch, (2,304 x 1,440) IPS 16:10 | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
Updated processorLong battery lifeStill only one USB-C portExpensive
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.
11. Google Pixelbook
A premium Chromebook well worth its lofty price
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch QHD (2,400 x 1,600) LCD touchscreen | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD
Sublime designFull Android app supportPen sold separatelyNo biometric login
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.
12. Lenovo Yoga 920
Another remarkable 2-in-1 laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7-855OU | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.9-inch 1920 x 1080 - 13.9-inch 3840 x 2160 | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 720p front-facing
Lovely designThinDecent powerLacks graphical powerKeyboard still annoys in tablet formFans can be loud when they kick in
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.
13. Acer Swift 3
A budget Ultrabook that performs better than it looks
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB DDR4 | Screen: 14-inch full HD (1920 x 1080) ComfyView IPS | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD
Powerful for the priceStellar battery lifeBoring looksDown-firing speakers
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.
14. Asus Transformer Mini T102HA
A tiny, flexible touchscreen laptop with an attractive price
CPU: Intel Atom x5-Z8350 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics - Intel HD Graphics 400 | RAM: 2GB - 4GB | Screen: 11.6-inch 1,366 x 768 HD IPS touchscreen | Storage: 32GB
Small and lightGood battery lifeKeyboard includedSlow performance
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.
15. Dell XPS 15
The best 15-inch laptop available this year
CPU: Intel Core i5-7300HQ - i7-7700HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5 | RAM: 8GB - 16GB DDR4 | Screen: Up to 15.6-inch Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge touchscreen | Storage: 1TB HDD - 512GB SSD
Amazing powerSublime screenSlim designPoor webcam position
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.