Monday, September 25, 2023
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10 Laptops We Tested and Loved

Buying any laptop is a big decision. You might end up using it for a few years before getting another, and there are many makes, models, and chip configurations to choose from. Fortunately, we’ve tested many new versions over the past year. These are our top picks for the best laptops you can buy right now.

If you don’t know exactly what you need, or what all the various hardware terms mean, be sure to read our guide on how to buy a laptop. And check out our many other computing guides, including the best MacBooks, best gaming laptops, best budget laptops, and best laptop backpacks.

Updated August 2022: We added Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2, Dell XPS 13 Plus, Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022 ), Lenovo IdeaPad Flex, and LG Gram 16.


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Scott Gilbertson, Brenda Stolyar and Andrew Williams contributed to this guide.

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  • photo: Apple

    Best MacBook

    Apple MacBook Air(13-inch, 2022) )

    Apple’s latest MacBook Air(7/10, WIRED recommended ) using the company’s second-generation M2 processor. It won’t blow your mind like the 2020 model with the M1 chip, but the new upgrade is very welcome. There’s a bigger and brighter display, a 1080p webcam, a flatter, more modern design, and the return of the MagSafe connector — handy if you’re constantly tripping over the charging cable.

    Battery life is ahead of the competition, and performance is excellent for most common tasks. (If you tend to shove your device hard with demanding apps, you’ll notice some stuttering here and there.) It’s a fanless design, so it doesn’t sound like you’re sitting on a jet, but it’s Macs

    do get hot. A big disadvantage? The Air can only connect to one external monitor, which means you don’t need to set up dual monitors.

    Specs to look for: Apple M2, 8-core GPU, 8 or 16 GB unified memory, 256 GB SSD

    • MacBook Air with M2 with lid open on blue geometric backdrop

      Picture: Lenovo

      Best Windows Laptops

      Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

      Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5 series has been a great value proposition for years, and this 2-in-1 model is no different. In addition to the 360-degree hinge, tent mode for better movie viewing angles, and tablet mode, there’s a snappy AMD Ryzen 5 chip, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. This combination is good enough for prose writers and heavy-duty web browsers. If you want an extra boost in performance, the Ryzen 7 model is also available, although it costs a bit more.

      Whatever you get, you’ll be happy with the connectivity options: there are two USB-A ports, an HDMI, an SD card reader, a USB-C, a headphone jack and charging port (though you can also use USB-C to charge your laptop).

      Specs to look for: AMD Ryzen 5, 16-GB RAM, 256-GB SSD

    • Image: Dell

      Best Windows Upgrade

      Dell XPS 13 Plus (2022)

      Dell’s XPS 13 series has long been some of our favorite Windows laptops. Its design language started to feel dated, but then came the XPS 13 Plus (7/10, WIRED Recommends). The visual changes initially seem like fodder for a concept design, but the “invisible” trackpad works like a dream, greatly adding to the minimalist look. The same goes for the direct touch bar above the keyboard. The seamless keyboard takes some getting used to, but it’s undeniably elegant.

      Performance-wise, you can hand it off for most productivity tasks and it won’t whimper. Under more vigorous activity, this XPS gets warmer and throttled, which means you’ll see some stuttering here and there. It’s got a really nice screen (you can upgrade to 4K OLED), but the port selection is lackluster — there’s no headphone jack — and the battery life will get you through a workday, but that’s about it.

      Specs to look for: Intel Core i5, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD

      ★ Safe bet: Standard Dell XPS 13 (2021)

    • (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is a good choice, and there are 15 inch version. You might have a hard time finding it, though, especially with our recommended configuration and reasonable price. It’s still a safe bet and a great laptop that will last a long time, but we’ll be testing the new 2022 model soon, so we recommend waiting.



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