The greatest laptops are powerful, yet they’re also lightweight. They can do everything a desktop PC can do, but you can throw it in a bag and take it with you. Laptops come equipped with a built-in screen, keyboard, trackpad, storage, and other features. Because of the additional design and cooling issues, they are frequently more expensive than their desktop counterparts. It takes a lot of engineering to figure out how to squeeze everything from a computer tower into a laptop body. Let’s start with some best laptops of 2021.
Naturally, this makes upgrading laptops more difficult. That is why it is critical to purchase a laptop that will grow with you. You’ll want to acquire as many specifics as possible out of your initial buy. External computer monitors, keyboards, and external hard drives can be added to laptops, but this reduces the portability that lured you to a laptop in the first place.
Best Laptops of 2021
If you’re looking for the greatest laptop for the money, our specialists have reviewed dozens of options and selected our favorites. Continue reading to learn about our choices.
1. Best Overall: Dell XPS 13 7390
The Dell XPS laptop series has always been one of the best on the market, and the 7390 2-in-1 model is no exception. This model has a Core-i7 processor from the 10th generation, 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, and 512 GB of internal storage. Despite the lack of a separate GPU, all of this adds up to a sleek and powerful laptop. A strong GPU is actually only required for high-end projects like video editing and some AAA games, but it will do most everyday work.
The 7390’s simple design, comprised of aviation aluminum and carbon fiber, appealed to our reviewer Andy. He also praised the display’s 1920 x 1200 resolution, calling it “crisp and color accurate, with outstanding viewing angles.” In terms of performance tests, the laptop performs admirably in PCMark 10 Work 2.0 (4,139) and GFX Bench (8,878). The battery will last about 10 hours, which is sufficient for a day’s worth of work.
The laptop may be charged via one of two USB-C ports, which, combined with a 3.5mm headphone jack and an SD card reader, make up the device’s whole I/O. We recommend getting a USB Hub to go with it if you want to plug anything else in. In terms of the remainder of the laptop, our reviewer praised the “expansive and responsive” keyboard and trackpad. Andy, on the other hand, had some issues with the fingerprint reader. Overall, the Dell XPS 13 7390 isn’t the newest laptop on the market, but it’s the one that we believe delivers the best balance of power and affordability, earning it our top selection.
- Thin and light
- Great display
- Outstanding keyboard and trackpad
- Awesome battery life
- No discrete GPU
- Bad fingerprint sensor
- Minimal ports
2. Best Ultraportable: Apple MacBook Air 13-inch
With its M1 processor, Apple has gone all-in. Apple has used the M1 chip in desktops, laptops, All-in-One PCs, and the iPad since its debut in the Macbook Air. That demonstrates the M1 chip’s capability. When running native programs or x86 software through its Rosetta 2 compatibility layer, it can compete with any processor on the market. It is one of the best laptops of 2021.
Both the Magic Keyboard and the Trackpad are fantastic. The visuals are bright, vivid, and dense. “A gorgeous 13.3-inch Retina display with a native 2560×1600 resolution, 400 nits of brightness, and Apple’s proprietary True Tone function,” says our reviewer Jeremy Lauuonen. We’d like to see a touchscreen on the Macbook Air, but because no Macbook has ever had one, we can’t be too critical of its absence. Apple boasts that the Air has an all-day battery life, but Jeremey found it to be a modest estimate. According to his own tests, the battery can last up to 12 hours of uninterrupted movie playback.
The lack of growth between the previous generation and current generation of laptops was one area where we were disappointed. The lack of ports, laughably awful webcam, and overall design are all the same as the prior iteration. While the M1 Macbook Air is a step forward, the innovation is entirely on the inside, with the same drab design. In essence, you can buy the Macbook Air M1, but the M1 chip is the sole incentive to do so over the Intel-powered machine that before it. That may be sufficient, but we’d like to see more outside changes to take advantage of the new silicon.
- Great performance
- Rosetta 2
- Excellent keyboard
- Beautiful display
- Very good battery life
- I/O options are limited
- Webcam is bad
- Same design as previous generation
- No touchscreen
3. Best for Students: Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
The Surface range has embodied clean and outstanding design since Microsoft entered the hardware sector. The Surface Laptop 4 isn’t any different. The plush Alcantara coating on both color options offers the keyboard and trackpad a premium look and feel, even though it is difficult to keep clean. The keyboard bent quite a bit, giving it a less expensive feel than the build suggests, although our reviewer Matt found the trackpad to be spacious and snappy.
With this newest generation of computers, you do get very high-quality audio. According to one of our reviewers, “The speakers on the Surface Laptop 4 are loud and punchy. The lows, mids, and highs are well separated, avoiding the muddy sound that many laptops produce when the speaker level approaches maximum. Because there is no subwoofer, the bass can sound flat, but the Laptop 4 adds some depth without overpowering the rest of the tune.” It is also one of the best laptops of 2021.
The design of the Laptop 3 through the Laptop 4 is similar to that of the Macbook Air above. Both laptops have a subpar display that lacks brightness and color saturation, and neither has LTE built-in. You also get excellent battery life, thanks to modern AMD and Intel processors. The base storage is also 256 MB, which is double that of the Laptop 3. Overall, this is an excellent laptop to buy new, but if you already own a Surface Laptop 3, it isn’t enough of an upgrade.
- Beautiful design
- Useful 3:2 aspect ratio
- Good performance
- Responsive trackpad
- Surprisingly good audio
- Same design
- Flex in the keyboard
- No LTE
- Lackluster display
4. Best for Power: Acer Predator Triton 300 SE
The Acer Predator Triton 300 SE is a laptop designed for gamers yet with a professional appearance. While many gaming laptops attempt to look the part with amazing design and RGB all over the place, the Triton appears to be a laptop that might be used in the office. An 11th-generation Core i7 processor, up to 32GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD drive are all included. The laptop also comes with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card, which makes it scream.
The Triton 300 SE is a gaming laptop with a 14-inch FHD display and speakers that “carry a sonic punch,” according to our tester, which isn’t something you frequently hear about laptop speakers. The laptop has amazing Wi-Fi speeds, especially when it’s not connected to the router. From his isolated office, our tester experienced amazing download and streaming speeds. The battery life isn’t great, clocking it at only 3.5 hours. In a laptop with a discrete GPU, we’d want to see a larger battery.
The majority of our gripes regarding the laptop are minor. Because all of the ports are near the front of the machine, cable management becomes a challenge. Our reviewer also noticed a lot of pre-installed software on the system, which is commonly referred to as “bloatware.” But if you can get beyond that, you’ll find a great-looking laptop with incredible power and specs that’s perfect for gaming or video editing.
- Small and light
- Impressive display
- Great performance
- Excellent wireless connectivity
- Port locations are annoying
- Bad battery life
5. Best for Gaming: Razer Blade 15
Razer is a well-known name in the gaming computer hardware industry, and the Razer Blade is the company’s flagship laptop. Our selection has a 10th-generation Core-i processor, 16GB of RAM, a 144Hz display, and a discrete NVidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. That’s a lot of processing power packed into a small gaming computer. It is one of the best laptops of 2021.
The RGB colors that flow through the keyboard’s backlight always give a laptop a stylish appearance. Top-firing speakers are located on either side of the keyboard, according to our reviewer Andrew “Game and media sounds, as well as music, are delivered in a professional manner. They’re clear and, thankfully, maintain that way even at high volume levels, which the Razer Blade can do.”
All of this comes at a cost, since the laptop itself weights over five pounds. The laptop’s design hasn’t changed much over the years, which may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your preferences. The discrete GPU also eats up a lot of battery life, so if you’re on the go, keep close to a power outlet. The saddest missing aspect on this pc is the utter lack of biometric login. There is no fingerprint reader and no webcam that is compatible with Windows Hello.
In general, this is a capable gaming laptop. The processor is the only component that is a generation behind. The RTX 3060 is pushing things along, so there isn’t much of a difference between 10th and 11th generation chips. This is a terrific choice if you’re searching for a strong gaming laptop. It is also one of the best laptops of 2021.
- Discrete GPU
- 144 Hz screen
- Front facing speakers
- Dated design
- Very heavy
- Battery life is bad
- No fingerprint or face login
6. Best Ultraportable: Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
Microsoft’s ultraportable product is the Surface Laptop Go. The Surface Laptop Go follows in the footsteps of the Surface range of computers in terms of design. When compared to 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratios, the 3:2 aspect ratio gives you a lot more screen real estate. Along with the screen, you get a keyboard and trackpad from our tester Andy, which he calls as “silent and tactile with soft, almost luxury keycaps,” and the trackpad is one of the best he’s seen on a laptop this size.
Naturally, a tiny and light laptop comes with trade-offs. There’s also only one USB-A and USB-C port, as well as a headphone jack. Due to a lack of airflow and overall thermal management, the laptop also has a tendency to get hot. In GFXBench, the laptop gets a respectable 5,378 points, which is impressive given the Core-i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. This ultraportable touchscreen is a pleasant surprise. The resolution is “very sharp,” and the colors are “bright and realistic with outstanding contrast,” according to Andy.
In other words, don’t expect this computer to perform any heavy work, and don’t expect to play any AAA games on it. It is, nevertheless, a productivity machine that can easily tackle medium-light jobs. However, portability is where it really excels. It is one of the best laptops of 2021. It’s a good size and weight, which are two important characteristics of a portable laptop. Another consideration is battery life, which is easily 13 hours. This is a wonderful option if you’re a regular traveler or frequently work in coffee shops.
- Thin and light
- Great design
- Useful 3:2 aspect ratio
- Great keyboard and trackpad
- Gets hot
- Not a lot of ports
- Bad camera
7. Best for Professionals: Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch
When Apple unveiled the M1 chip in late 2020, it also unveiled the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro, on the other hand, is designed to push the M1 chip even harder. It features a fan for cooling and an extra core in the CPU, which makes a significant impact. It’s a tad thicker, a tad heavier, and a lot more powerful than its younger sibling. You can count Apple MacBook Pro as one of the powerful and best laptops of 2021.
One of the computer’s best features is the display. One of our reviewers wrote: “Apple’s 13-inch 2560×1600 Retina display continues to wow, but this time with True Tone technology, which debuted on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and has been featured on every subsequent version. This intriguing piece of technology employs four distinct sensors to automatically modify the white balance on your display based on the lighting conditions. This technology isn’t about packing in more pixels per inch or boosting resolution; it’s about honing color clarity and accuracy to a razor’s edge to deliver the most accurate image imaginable.”
In 2019, Apple updated its keyboards, and the MacBook Pro continues to use the same scissor switches, which provide excellent travel and tactility. This Macbook’s battery life is ridiculous. The battery was tested for 18 hours of 4K streaming at maximum brightness. That’s completely insane. Professionals, producers, and gamers will appreciate Apple’s ever-growing portfolio of ARM-compatible software.
The MacBook Pro does not have a touchscreen, and it only has two USB-C connections, exactly as prior generations of MacBooks. Also, the MacBook Pro’s base model only has 256GB of storage, which isn’t bad, but a notebook for creators and professionals should have more.
- Great battery life
- Top notch performance
- Retina display
- Top notch trackpad and keyboard
- No touchscreen
- Not a lot of ports
- Base storage should start higher
8. Best Design: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 offers the trifecta of power, portability, and performance, according to our reviewer. He put the laptop to the test and declared it “an exceptional computer by any description.” Let’s take a closer look at those claims and discover what this laptop has to offer.
The AMD Ryzen 9 processor and GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q graphics card provide the necessary power. Our expert claims that when you combine that with the 16GB of RAM and 1TB M.2 NWMe PCIe SSD, you get lightening response speeds.
This laptop has a 14-inch display, which results in a tiny footprint when it comes to portability. Although 14 inches is a little smaller than we prefer in a gaming computer (which is what the ROG brand is renowned for), it’s a nice compromise. The battery will last you 10 hours even with the discrete GPU, which is excellent for a gaming laptop.
When it comes to value, you get an excellent keyboard and trackpad, as well as a 120Hz display and all of the above power and portability for a reasonable price. This is a fantastic deal; you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal at this price. ASUS ROG is also one of the best laptops of 2021.
- Keyboard and trackpad are awesome
- Very nice design
- 120Hz display
- Good value
- No webcam
9. Best for Photo & Video Editing: HP Spectre x360 15t
Photographers spend a lot of time staring through the lens of their camera, but they spend even more time looking at the computer screen. One of the greatest displays available is on the HP Spectre x360. It’s a full 4K display that our reviewer Jeremy praises for being “remarkably crisp, and the colors to be rich and vibrant,” despite the fact that it doesn’t get as bright as he like.
Aside from that, this is a 2-in-1 computer, meaning the laptop can be converted into a tablet, albeit a heavy one at slightly over four pounds. However, tablet and tent modes might be useful for photo editing. According to our expert, the keyboard is “very comfy for lengthy typing sessions,” and the USB ports on the corners of the laptop are particularly attractive.
This laptop gets hot when performing demanding tasks, and the fans kick up, making it noisy. The laptop’s GPU is also a touch outdated, but 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 10th generation core-i7 processor will keep you going for all of your long photo editing sessions. If you are committed to photo or video editing woks then your best laptops of 2021 must be HP Spectre.
- Striking design
- Convertible to a tablet
- 4k display
- Awesome keyboard
- Noisy and hot
Final Verdict: Best Laptops of 2021
The Dell XPS 13 is the best overall laptop on this list, in our opinion. The perfect blend of power, design, and cost results in a fantastic product with a fantastic keyboard. We’re suckers for a good keyboard around here, but that’s just the icing on the cake. Have you found you best laptops of 2021?
If you want something more portable, the Apple MacBook Air is the way to go. In spite of its ultra-portability, this device packs a surprising amount of power. The MacBook Air is only going to grow better as more developers create native ARM apps for Mac.
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