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The Best Mid-Range Laptops?

By that, I mean the laptops that offer the best features according to their category, at multiple price points ranging from $999 to $1999.

Looking for all our articles on laptops?

Visit the Best Laptops For Your Money category page, for all our articles on laptops.

Why write this article?

How much time do you have to research the best computer?

Many of us don’t have much time to read, or the knowledge to understand, detailed laptop specifications nor reviews and just want to know:
What’s the best laptop for my needs and budget?

My goal is to help you easily choose the best laptop for your needs and budget.

Put all of this together and you get this article. Because if you’re about to buy a laptop, might as well get the one that offers the best features possible for your budget, right?

I’m here to help you with this article. I believe that you deserve the computer that is the best match for your needs. That way, your computer is working for you and not the other way around. This allows you to focus your full potential on realizing what you want, without being limited by your computer.

With 19 years of experience with computer hardware, researching, always up-to-date research with the newest parts, performance and prices, I know what matters in a computer.
See my About page for more information on me, Mathieu Bourgie, and this website, Hardware Revolution

Here are the features that I evaluate in order to make my recommendations:

1. Price
2. Performance: CPU, RAM, Storage, Graphic Card and Wireless Adapter
3. Screen: Size, Resolution, Matte or Glossy, Brightness, Contrast, Viewing Angles and Color Accuracy
4. Portability: Dimensions, Weight, Real-life battery life during average web browsing
5. Usability: Keyboard: Layout, Key size, Travel/Pressure, Key Shape and any additional Function keys. Touch pad quality, trackpoint, backlit keyboard, numpad, Operating System, which ports are offered, Webcam resolution, sound quality, optical Drive, noise levels.
6. Reliability: How solid is the chassis? Are the temperatures under load reasonable? How solid are the screen hinges? Is the keyboard spill-resistant? Overall manufacturer long-term reliability? How easy is it to service the laptop?
7. Warranty: Warranty length? What does the warranty cover?

I then recommend laptops that I think are the best at a given price, according to those features that I evaluated on the hundreds of laptops that I’ve considered during the research that I do to write this article.

I offer to you the result of that research, by making recommendations for the best mid-range laptops at multiple price points ranging from $999 to $1999.

Summary: The Best Mid-Range laptops

Click on any of these links to jump to the section that interests you.

  1. Ultrabooks: Lightweight, small, thin, great battery life. Ideal for traveling.
    13.3″ screen ultrabook: Lightweight laptops with a 13.3″ regular screen. 
    14-15.6″ screen ultrabook:
    Lightweight laptops with a 14-15.6″ regular screen. 
    – 2-in-1 convertible flip screen: 360 degree hinge touchscreen, use it as a tablet, etc.
    – Detachable screen: Detach the screen from the base, use it as a tablet.
  2. Apple Macbook: The iconic Apple laptops, available in multiple models.
  3. Gaming laptops: The best gaming performance at a given price.
  4. 17.3″ entertainment: Laptops with an even larger 17.3″ screen
  5. Business/Enterprise: Solid, fairly powerful, lightweight and long battery life
  6. Power Users: Ideal for photo/video/3D editing: High performance CPU, RAM and storage
  7. Workstations: Powerful, reliable and with workstation-class video cards

Prices for B&H as of May 1st 2020. Click on Amazon links to see prices. Note that I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Prices and availability are subject to change.

While I can’t keep up with ever changing prices, I do suggest to you outstanding laptops that you won’t regret buying.

Ultrabooks: Thin, lightweight, great battery life, ideal for traveling

13.3″ screen ultrabook

ASUS Zenbook UX333FAC-XS77:

– $999.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the ASUS Zenbook UX333FAC-XS77:

The ASUS Zenbook has been a popular ultrabook for years now. It’s easy to see why: You get great specifications, it has a gorgeous design (in my opinion) that’s solid, a good display, small screen bezels and a good battery life while being highly portable with a 13.3″ screen, a weight of 2.6lbs and it is only 0.7″ thick. It is the smallest ultrabook that I recommend.

While being thin and lightweight, it is also quite powerful with its latest generation Intel Core i7-10510U CPU, 16GB of RAM and it is super responsive with a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD that greatly improves the laptop’s booting speed.

New with this year’s design, the ZenBook 13 features a touchpad incorporating a NumberPad — an LED-illuminated numeric keypad, a great idea to try to solve the problem of a lack of numpad on smaller laptops.

There’s also a Built-in IR camera for facial recognition sign in with Windows Hello.

All things considered, its power, size, weight and battery life make it an excellent travel laptop.

The best part is that it offers all of that at a significantly better price than the competition!

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-10510U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.8-4.9GHz CPU.
  2. 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD storage drive: Greatly improves responsiveness, reduces boot time, more reliable and more shock resistant than an hard drive.
  3. Windows 10 Pro
  4. 16GB of RAM allows you to run multiple programs at once.
  5. Full HD 1920 x 1080 1080p resolution.
  6. Tiny screen bezels
  7. IPS panel: Great contrast, accurate color reproduction and large viewing angles. 100% sRGB color coverage
  8. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight.
  9. Excellent battery life of up to 13 hours for video streaming with WiFi.
  10. Pretty decent speakers for a laptop this size
  11. Backlit keyboard: it’s easier to see your keys when typing where there is less light.
  12. MicroSD card reader: Useful to expand the storage capacity.
  13. NumberPad — an LED-illuminated numeric keypad activated by a touch on the trackpad
  14. 1 x USB 3.1 (Gen2) Type-A, 1x USB 2.0 Type-A and 1x Type-C USB 3.1 (Gen 2) with Displayport
  15. Full size HDMI port
  16. Solid all-metal build quality.
  17. 720p HD Webcam
  18. Bluetooth 5.0
  19. 802.11ax WiFi 6 2×2
  20. Built-in IR camera for facial recognition sign in with Windows Hello
  21. Highly portable: 302.96 x 189.3 x 17.9 mm (WxDxH) and 2.6lbs
  22. ErgoLift hinge designed for an improved typing position, optimized cooling system and enhanced audio performance
  23. Runs cool
  24. Full-size arrow keys
  25. Quiet fan, even under heavy loads
  26. Carry sleeve and USB 3.0 to RJ45 cable are included

Cons:

  1. RAM is soldered and cannot be upgraded
  2. Not a touchscreen
  3. Nitpicking, but still annoying to me: the power button on the top right corner part of the keyboard, this can be bothersome.
  4. Small “shift” key on the right hand side
  5. Maximum screen brightness (250nits) isn’t as high as the competition

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3:

– i5-1035G7/ 8GB RAM/128GB SSD: – Click here to see the price on Amazon, $999.00 on B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
– i5-1035G7/ 8GB RAM/256GB SSD: – Click here to see the price on Amazon, $1178.00 on B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
– i7-1065G7/ 16GB RAM/256GB SSD: – Click here to see the price on Amazon, $1599.00 on B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
– i7-1065G7/ 16GB RAM/512GB SSD: – Click here to see the price on Amazon, $1999.00 on B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3:

Compared to the ASUS Zenbook recommended above, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 offers quite a few interesting features:
– Higher graphics performance, thanks to a new GPU architecture on Ice Lake CPUs
– An higher resolution display, with a 3:2 ratio, meaning that you get more vertical space. 2256 x 1504 compared to 1920 x 1080 on the Zenbook.
– Available in four colors, with either a fabric-covered palm rest (Blue or Platinum) or a more traditional metal palm rest (Black or Gold).
– A larger trackpad

Higher Graphics performance?
I can hear you say: “Wait a second, aren’t both the ASUS Zenbook and the Microsoft Surface Laptop equipped with 10th generation Intel Core CPUs?”
You’d be right. Intel did this confusing move of launching two different mobile CPU architectures under the 10th generation name. Yeah, what a brilliant move, I know…

1- The Comet Lake CPUs, such as the Core i7-10510U found in the Zenbook, are based on the same CPU/GPU architecture as previous 8th generation CPUs, with higher frequencies.
2- The Ice Lake CPUs, such as the Core i7-1065G7 are based on a new CPU and GPU architecture, with significant higher GPU performance. The G3, G5 and G7 at the end of the model refers to the graphics performance, with G7 being the high-end graphics performance. The downside is that the CPU performance is a bit lower on the Ice Lake CPUs, with the new CPU architecture not enough to make up for their significantly lower frequencies.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading Core i5-1035G7 1.1-3.7GHz or i7-1065G7 1.3-3.9 GHz CPU.
  2. Newest Intel integrated graphics with higher performance: Core i5: 48 Execution Units, Core i7: 64 Excution Units
  3. 128, 256 or 512GB SSD storage drive: Greatly improves responsiveness, reduces boot time, more reliable and more shock resistant than an hard drive.
  4. Windows 10.
  5. 8 or 16GB of DDR4 RAM allows you to run multiple programs at once.
  6. 2256 x 1504 display resolution.
  7. Touchscreen
  8. 3:2 display aspect ratio, resulting in more vertical pixels
  9. Good battery life: Up to 11.5 hours
  10. Backlit keyboard: it’s easier to see your keys when typing where there is less light.
  11. microSD card reader: Useful to expand the storage capacity.
  12. 1x USB Type-A and 1x USB Type-C
  13. USB Type-C supports Displayport and charging
  14. 720p HD Webcam
  15. Bluetooth 5.0
  16. 802.11ax WiFi 6
  17. Highly portable: 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.57″ / 30.73 x 22.35 x 1.45 cm and 2.84lbs

Cons:

  1. Keyboard layout could be better : Half-size down and up arrow keys and the power button on the top right corner is part of the layout
  2. No RJ45 Ethernet port
  3. No numpad
  4. Limited amount of USB ports, considering a dock/USB hub, especially considering that the USB Type-C port is used for charging

Dell XPS 13:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1899.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the Dell XPS 13:

Another highly-rated classic ultrabook, the latest model of the Dell XPS 13 is a force to be reckoned with.

Featuring an Intel six-core CPU, a display with a 4K resolution, high brightness and 100% sRGB color coverage and a 11.5 hours battery life, all in .46″ thick body weighting only 2.7lbs, the new XPS 13 is an amazing lightweight computer.

With 16GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD and three USB Type-C ports, two of them supporting Thunderbolt 3, supports Displayport output and power delivery through USB Type-C, this Dell XPS 13 is pretty much all that you could ask from a lightweight laptop.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-10710U 6 Cores + Hyper-Threading 1.1.-4.7GHz
  2. 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  3. Windows 10 Pro
  4. 16GB of RAM allows you to run multiple programs at once.
  5. Touchscreen
  6. Very small bezels screen.
  7. Backlit keyboard.
  8. 4K 3840 x 2160 resolution
  9. 100% sRGB color space coverage
  10. High maximum brightness of 400 cd/m2
  11. IPS panel: Great contrast, vibrant color reproduction and large viewing angles.
  12. Display is with Corning Gorilla Glass 4. Dell says it should hold up against drops.
  13. Great battery life that lasts up to 11.4 hours.
  14. 3x USB Type-C ports that support Thunderbolt 3, Displayport video output and power delivery
  15. Laptop is charged through USB Type-C
  16. Supports up to two 4K external displays
  17. microSD card reader.
  18. Good speakers
  19. Great build quality: Rugged aluminum top and bottom shell, with a black hybrid carbon fiber body sandwiched in between
  20. 720p HD Webcam
  21. 802.11ax WiFi 6
  22. Bluetooth 5.0
  23. Glass touchpad
  24. Thin and light: 11.98 x 7.88 x 0.6″ and 2.84 lbs.
  25. Good clean simple design, fits in any environment

Cons:

  1. RAM is soldered and cannot be upgraded
  2. Fans can get a little loud under a heavy sustained load
  3. No RJ45 Ethernet port.
  4. No numpad as it is usually the case with 13″ laptops.
  5. No HDMI output: Displayport through USB Type-C

14-15.6″ Ultrabook:

Acer Swift 5 14″:

– $999.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the Acer Swift 5:

The Acer Swift 5 is a great laptop all around, considering its price.

It features a 10th generation Intel Core i7-1065G7, a quad-core + Hyper-Threading CPU capable of handling everyday tasks with ease, with improved integrated graphics.

This laptop offers up to 11 hours of battery life.

It measures 12.5 x 8.3 x 0.59″ and weighs only 2.18lbs, which is amazing for a laptop equipped with a 14″ display.

Its touchscreen display offers a 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution, an IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles and a good 300 cd/m2 maximum brightness.

Its build quality is very good, being all made of metal, magnesium-lithium and magnesium-aluminum alloys to be specific.

You get a fairly large capacity 512GB SSD, USB Type-A and Type-C, with Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort and 45 W Power Delivery.

Its biggest con is that the 8GB of RAM is soldered, so you cannot add RAM. So make sure that 8GB of RAM is enough for your needs. For web browsing, watching videos, listening to music, editing documents and other lightweight workloads, 8GB ought to be enough for many years. But if you run heavier applications, such as photo editing, opt for a laptop with 16GB of RAM.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-1065G7 Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.3-3.9GHz CPU.
  2. 512GB SSD that is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  3. Very small bezels
  4. Windows 10
  5. 8GB of RAM.
  6. Fingerprint reader to login without a password
  7. Great Battery: up to 11 hours
  8. Solid build made of metal, magnesium-lithium and magnesium-aluminum alloys
  9. Incredibly light for a 14″ laptop: Only 2.18lbs
  10. IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  11. Webcam.
  12. Backlit keyboard
  13. 1 x USB Type-A (USB 2.0), 1 x USB Type-A (USB 3.1 / USB 3.2 Gen 1)
  14. 1x USB Type-C, with Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort and 45 W Power Delivery.
  15. HDMI output
  16. 802.11ax WiFi6 MU-MIMO 2×2
  17. Bluetooth 5.0
  18. Nice, subtle design, Blue with Gold accents

Cons:

  1. RAM is soldered and cannot be upgraded.
  2. No numpad
  3. No microSD or SD card reader
  4. No RJ-45 port

ASUS Zenbook, 14″ and 15.6″:

14″: – Click here to see the price on Amazon, – $1199.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
15.6″: – $1399.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the ASUS Zenbook 14″ and 15.6″:

These are larger variants of the 13.3″ ASUS Zenbook recommended above, with a few interesting additions.

Namely, you get dedicated graphic cards:
– A GeForce MX 250 2GB in the 14″ model
– A GeForce GTX 1650 4GB in the 15.6″ model

Of course, you probably noticed in the picture:
The “ScreenPad 2.0”: From ASUS: “The ASUS ScreenPad 2.0 is essentially a touchscreen like that on a smartphone. It has a variety of functions including housing shortcuts, offering additional application options, and even supporting handwriting so you can digitize your notes and drawings. When not needed, it can revert back to standard touchpad duties using the Mode Switch button.”

The ASUS Zenbook has been a popular ultrabook for years now. It’s easy to see why: You get great specifications, it has a gorgeous design (in my opinion) that’s solid, a good display, small screen bezels and a good battery life while being highly portable with a 14″ or 15.6″ screen, respective weights of 2.78lbs and 3.64lbs.

While being thin and lightweight, they are both quite powerful with its latest generation Intel Core i7-10510U CPU, a dedicated graphic card, 16GB of RAM and it is super responsive with a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD that greatly improves the laptop booting speed.

The screen is good too, offering a 1920 x 1080 resolution, with 100% sRGB color coverage.

There’s also a Built-in IR camera for facial recognition sign in with Windows Hello.

Is it for you?
That said, if you don’t care for the ScreenPad and don’t need a dedicated graphic, there are alternatives that are lighter and offer longer battery life. See the other recommendations below.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-10510U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.8-4.9GHz CPU.
  2. 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD storage drive: Greatly improves responsiveness, reduces boot time, more reliable and more shock resistant than an hard drive.
  3. Windows 10 Pro
  4. 14″ model: Nvidia GeForce MX 250 2GB dedicated graphic card
  5. 15.6″ model: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 4GB dedicated graphic card
  6. 16GB of RAM allows you to run multiple programs at once.
  7. Full HD 1920 x 1080 1080p resolution.
  8. Tiny screen bezels
  9. IPS panel: Great contrast, accurate color reproduction and large viewing angles. 100% sRGB color coverage
  10. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight.
  11. Great battery life of up to 15 hours on the 15.6″ model
  12. Pretty decent speakers
  13. Backlit keyboard: it’s easier to see your keys when typing where there is less light.
  14. ScreenPad 2.0 — The touchpad is a touchscreen that can for shortcuts, etc.
  15. 14″ model: 1 x USB 3.1 (Gen2) Type-A, 1x USB 2.0 Type-A and 1x Type-C USB 3.1 (Gen 2), 1x MicroSD card reader
  16. 15.6″ model: 1 x USB 3.1 (Gen2) Type-A, 1x USB 2.0 Type-A and 1x Type-C USB 3.1 (Gen 2), 1x SD card reader
  17. Full size HDMI port
  18. Solid all-metal build quality.
  19. 720p HD Webcam
  20. Bluetooth 5.0
  21. 802.11ax WiFi 6 2×2
  22. Built-in IR camera for facial recognition sign in with Windows Hello
  23. Highly portable
  24. ErgoLift hinge designed for an improved typing position, optimized cooling system and enhanced audio performanc

Cons:

  1. RAM is soldered and cannot be upgraded
  2. Main screen is not a touchscreen
  3. Nitpicking, but still annoying to me: the power button on the top right corner part of the keyboard, this can be bothersome.
  4. Half-size arrow keys
  5. 15.6″ model: Numpad keys are smaller than letter keys

LG gram 15.6″:

Core i5-1035G7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
– Click here to see the price on Amazon, – $1296.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Core i7-1065G7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
– Click here to see the price on Amazon, – $1596.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Core i7-1065G7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
– Click here to see the price on Amazon, – $1996.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the LG gram 15:

When it comes to mid-range traditional 14-15.6″ laptops, this is one of my favorite models.

Why? Because of its combination of a large 15.6″ screen with an incredible low weight of 2.5lbs! If you want the lightest 15.6″ laptop, this it!

This is in the same weight class as smaller 13.3″ ultrabook laptops.

Not only that, but this model also has a great battery life at up to 17 hrs!

You get a quite powerful Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs and depending on your configuration, either 8GB or 16GB of RAM, along with 256GB or 1TB of SSD storage.

RAM and SSD can be upgraded!
Another thing that I like about this laptop is the fact that you can upgrade both the SSD and the RAM, unlike many laptops who only have soldered RAM.

RAM: It has 8GB on RAM soldered onboard, but also a RAM slot (occupied by a 8GB stick on the 16GB RAM model).

SSD: There are two M.2 slots. On the 256GB models, only one slot is occupied, while on the 1TB model, both slots are occupied with 512GB SSDs.

So if you don’t care for the not that faster Core i7 CPU, but want more RAM and or storage, get the least expensive option and upgrade the RAM and or add a SSD yourself!

What about the LG gram 14″?
Note that I don’t recommend the 14″ variant, because I don’t see a good reason to recommend it. There’s the Acer Swift 5, at a much lower price, that offers more storage or the Acer ExpertBook (further down), that’s lighter, has a numpad and features a 24 hours battery life.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading Core i5-1035G7 1.1-3.7GHz or i7-1065G7 1.3-3.9 GHz CPU.
  2. Newest Intel integrated graphics with higher performance: Core i5: 48 Execution Units, Core i7: 64 Excution Units
  3. 256GB or 1TB SSD that is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  4. Two M.2 slots, one that’s empty on the 256GB models.
  5. Great 17 hours battery life.
  6. Full metal case, magnesium alloy
  7. Windows 10
  8. Fast and secure login with the fingerprint reader, through Windows Hello
  9. Great keyboard layout
  10. 8GB or 16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM, depending on your configuration.
  11. 8GB onboard RAM, but there’s a RAM slot, either empty (8GB models) or filled with a 8GB stick (16GB RAM model)
  12. Full HD 1920 x 1080 display resolution.
  13. Touchscreen display
  14. IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  15. Thin bezels
  16. MicroSD card reader to add an extra MicroSD card to add more storage for your music, videos and images.
  17. HD 720p Webcam.
  18. Backlit keyboard
  19. Numpad
  20. 4 USB ports in total: 3 x USB 3 Type-A,  1 x USB 3.1 (Type-C) ports.
  21. USB Type-C port supports Thunderbolt 3
  22. Fingerprint reader
  23. HDMI output to connect your display on external screens.
  24. 802.11ax WiFi 6 MU-MIMO 2×2
  25. Bluetooth 5.0
  26. Lightest 15.6″ laptop: Only 2.5lbs!
  27. Nitpicking, but still annoying to me: the power button on the top right corner part of the keyboard, this can be bothersome.

Cons:

  1. Magnesium casing isn’t the most rigid, but it won’t flex under normal usage.
  2. Half-size arrow keys

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15″:

– R5 3580U/Vega 9/8GB RAM/256GB SSD:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon, $1295.00 on B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
– R5 3580U/Vega 9/16GB RAM/256GB SSD:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon, $1499.00 on B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
– R7 3780U/Vega 11/16GB RAM/512GB SSD:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon, $1899.00 on B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15″:

Also recommended above as a 13.5″ model, here as a 15″ model. It brings back similar interesting features compared to other laptops:
– Higher integrated graphics performance, thanks to AMD integrated Vega graphics
– An higher resolution display, with a 3:2 ratio, meaning that you get more vertical space. 2496 x 1664 compared to 1920 x 1080 on other 14-15.6″ laptops
– Available in two colors, Black or Platinum

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an AMD Quad-Core 8 threads Ryzen 5 3580U 2.1-3.7GHz or Ryzen 7 3780U 2.3-4.0 GHz CPU.
  2. AMD integrated graphics: Vega 9 GPU Cores in the Ryzen 5 3580U or Vega RX 11 GPU Cores in the Ryzen 7 3780U
  3. 128, 256 or 512GB SSD storage drive: Greatly improves responsiveness, reduces boot time, more reliable and more shock resistant than an hard drive.
  4. Windows 10.
  5. 8 or 16GB of DDR4 RAM allows you to run multiple programs at once.
  6. 2496 x 1664 display resolution.
  7. Touchscreen
  8. 3:2 display aspect ratio, resulting in more vertical pixels
  9. Good battery life: Up to 11.5 hours
  10. Backlit keyboard: it’s easier to see your keys when typing where there is less light.
  11. microSD card reader: Useful to expand the storage capacity.
  12. 1x USB Type-A and 1x USB Type-C
  13. USB Type-C supports Displayport and charging
  14. 720p HD Webcam
  15. Bluetooth 5.0
  16. 802.11ax WiFi 6
  17. Highly portable: 13.4 x 9.6 x 0.57″ / 34.04 x 24.38 x 1.45 cm and 3.4 lb / 1.54 kg

Cons:

  1. Keyboard layout could be better : Half-size down and up arrow keys and the power button on the top right corner is part of the layout
  2. No RJ45 Ethernet port
  3. No numpad
  4. Limited amount of USB ports, considering a dock/USB hub, especially considering that the USB Type-C port is used for charging

ASUS ExpertBook 14″:

– $1699.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the ASUS ExpertBook 14″:

Another one of my favorite models.

Why? Because of its combination of a 14″ screen with an low weight of 2.19lbs, while having an incredible up to 24 hours of battery life!

The ExpertBook also features a touchpad incorporating a NumberPad — an LED-illuminated numeric keypad, a great idea to try to solve the problem of a lack of numpad on smaller laptops.

There’s also an empty M.2 slot, should you desire to add more SSD storage.

A 3 years warranty is certainly a big pro.

Finally, a nice touch is the inclusion of a LAN port, although it requires the use of a dongle.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-10510U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.8-4.9GHz CPU.
  2. 512GB SSD that is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  3. 2nd, empty, M.2 slot allows you to add more SSD storage
  4. Amazing 24 hours battery life.
  5. Full metal case: magnesium-lithium alloy
  6. Spill-resistant backlit keyboard
  7. NumberPad — an LED-illuminated numeric keypad activated by a touch on the trackpad
  8. Windows 10 Pro
  9. Fast and secure login with the fingerprint reader, through Windows Hello
  10. 16GB of RAM
  11. Full HD 1920 x 1080 display resolution.
  12. Matte display that doesn’t reflect light.
  13. IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  14. Screen has a 100% sRGB color space coverage
  15. Screen goes up to 300 nits
  16. Screen opens all the way back, 180 degrees
  17. Thin bezels
  18. HD 720p Webcam, with privacy shutter
  19. 1x USB Type-A and 2x USB Type-C
  20. USB Type-C ports support Thunderbolt 3 and Power Delivery
  21. Laptop is charged via USB Type-C
  22. HDMI output to connect your display on external screens.
  23. 802.11ax WiFi 6 2×2 MU-MIMO
  24. Bluetooth 5.0
  25. Thin and light build : 0.59″ thick and 2.19lbs!
  26. Highly portable for a 15″ laptop: 12.6 x 7.99 x 0.59″ / 32 x 20.3 x 1.49 cm
  27. 3 years warranty

Cons:

  1. RAM is soldered and cannot be upgraded
  2. No microSD or SD card reader
  3. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  4. Keyboard layout could be better : Half-size down and up arrow keys and the power button on the top right corner is part of the layout

Powerful 14-15.6″ laptops six or eight core CPUs:
If you are looking for a more powerful laptop, see our recommendations for Creative Pros in the Best Mid-range Laptops for Gaming and Creative Pros article.

2-in-1 convertible flip screen ultrabook

Samsung Notebook 9 Pen:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1353.43 at B&H

About my selection:

There are other, slightly less expensive options, but I don’t recommend them because they are too heavy to be comfortably used as a tablet for an extended period of time, which defeats the point of having a 2-in-1 convertible flip laptop. My two recommendations respectively weight 2.47lbs and 2.2lbs

About the Samsung Notebook 9 Pen:

This laptop is a great deal if you are looking for a touchscreen ultrabook that can be flipped all the way back, to be used as a tablet, is great for web browsing, emails and watching videos, offers plenty of storage space and a beautiful display.

Another big pro is the included S-pen. The S-Pen, is a passive pen, combined with the touchscreen, with no lag, many pressure sensitivity points, additional functions but it never needs to be charged. There’s also a space to store it. With three interchangeable tips, you can replicate the feeling of writing, sketching, or painting with different textures. You can also use the handwriting recognition function to convert notes to text, transform sketches into diagrams, and even take screen clips.

Sound is handled by a pair of 5W speakers, much more powerful than the 1.5-2W speakers usually found in 13.3″ laptops.

The Intel Core i7 quad-core CPU offers a good performance for everyday tasks, combined with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD that offers a good amount of storage and also improves the laptops responsiveness and booting speed.

The Samsung Notebook 9 Pen is also pretty light and highly portable : 12.12 x 0.63 x 8.12″ and 2.47lbs.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-7Y54 Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.2-3.2GHz CPU which sips power.
  2. 512GB SSD which is fairly high capacity for a SSD. There’s also a 1TB model available, see below.
  3. SSD is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  4. 8GB of RAM
  5. Windows 10
  6. 2-in-1 convertible screen to switch to tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  7. Great Battery: up to 15hrs.
  8. Full HD 1920 x 1080 1080p sceeen, anti-glare so it doesn’t reflect light.
  9. IPS display panel for better contrasts, vibrant colors and wider view angles.
  10. Samsung S-Pen
  11. Fingerprint reader
  12. Micro SD card reader.
  13. Good speakers for a laptop this size
  14. 720p HD Webcam.
  15. Backlit keyboard
  16. 3 x USB 3.1 (Type C) ports, two support Thunderbolt 3, Displayport output and Power Delivery
  17. Charging through USB Type-C
  18. Thin and light: 12.12 x 0.63 x 8.12″inches and 2.47lbs
  19. 802.11ac Wireless 2×2 MU-MIMO
  20. Bluetooth 5.0

Cons:

  1. RAM is soldered and cannot be upgraded
  2. No HDMI port means you’ll like have to get a dongle
  3. No numpad

HP Elite Dragonfly:

– $1799.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the HP Elite Dragonfly:

You are looking at one of the thinnest and lightest convertible laptops on the market. The HP Elite DragonFly is only 0.63″ thick and weights 2.2lbs. This is an outstanding laptop to carry around.

It is available in quite a few configurations, but I went with one specific model, which comes with a display that can reach up to 1000nits, in other words, very bright, enough to use your laptop outdoors.

One big pro is the 4 speakers setup, resulting in a nicer, fuller and relatively louder sound for such a small laptop.

You also get an Intel quad-core CPU and 16GB of RAM, to be able to handle most workloads.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with either an Intel Core i5-8365U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.6-4.1GHz
  2. 256GB PCIe SSD which is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly improves responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  3. 2-in-1 convertible screen to switch to tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  4. Windows 10 Pro
  5. Screen brightness can go up to 1000 nits to reduce glare and offer a better visibility outdoors
  6. 16GB of RAM.
  7. Thin and lightweight: 0.63″ thin and 2.2lbs
  8. Full HD 1920 x 1080 display resolution
  9. IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  10. Very high maximum display brightness of up to 1000 nits
  11. 720p HD Webcam
  12. Physical privacy shutter for webcam
  13. Backlit keyboard
  14. 4 speakers setup, resulting in a nicer, fuller and relatively louder sound for such a small laptop.
  15. Fingerprint reader and facial recognition with IR camera for easy login via Windows Hello
  16. 1x USB Type-A and 2x USB Type-C with Thunderbolt 3 and Power Delivery
  17. Laptop is charged through USB Type-C
  18. Fast charge: 4-50% in 37 minutes
  19. HDMI 1.4 video output
  20. 802.11ax WiFi 6 2×2 MU-MIMO
  21. Bluetooth 5.0
  22. Solid build: Magnesium alloy, practically no flex, solid hinges

Cons:

  1. RAM is soldered and cannot be upgraded
  2. No numpad

Detachable screen ultrabook

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a full-fledged Windows computer in a tablet.

Core i5-1035G4, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon, $1199.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Core i5-1035G4, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon, $1399.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Core i7-1065G7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon, $1499.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Core i7-1065G7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon, $1899.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

The advantage of the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is that it’s a design that has been refined over 7 generations. Its display is gorgeous, bright and accurate, the kickstand is highly adjustable, the Surface Pro Type Cover (sold separately) turns the Surface Pro into a laptop. The Surface Pen (sold separately) provides up to 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity while the Surface Dial (also sold separately) allows for on-screen interactions.

Note that the RAM and SSD are soldered and cannot be upgraded. If you plan on keeping your PC for many years, opting for 16GB of RAM is a wise choice. You can always add a microSD card as an easy way to boost storage, but keep in mind that performance on a MicroSD card is way lower than the performance a SSD offers.

Choose a CPU:
Also note that there are two CPUs that are recommended, here are the differences to help you pick one.
Both CPUs are quad-core CPUs with Hyper-Threading.
The three differences are in the frequencies, graphics performance and cooling or lack of (fanless).

– Core i5-1035G4: 1.1-3.7GHz, 48 Graphics Execution Units, Fanless
– Core i7-1065G7: 1.3-3.9GHz, 64 Graphics Execution Units, Quiet fan

So basically the Core i5 is fine for the average user, for browsing the web, watching videos, editing documents, etc.
The Core i7 shines in two spots:
1- In its ability to sustain higher performance, thanks to its cooling fan, where as the Core i5 will have to lower its frequency faster to stay at a safe temperature.
2- Its higher graphics performance, if you plan on editing photos or any type of graphically intense workload.

Stay away from Surface Pro X, its Microsoft SQ1 CPU and ARM Windows
Avoid the Surface Pro X. It’s equipped with Microsoft SQ1 CPU, an ARM processor, which runs on a special version of Windows designed to run ARM apps and be sort of compatible with x86 programs. I say sort of because there a LOT of issues, with programs being either incompatible, not running properly, poor performance, etc. Battery life is also not that great. Basically, if you’re using Windows because you want all your Windows programs to work as intended, well stay away from the Surface Pro X.

Pros:

  1. Quad-core CPUs: Core i5-1035G4 1.1-3.7GHz, 48 Graphics EU or Core i7-1065G7 1.3-3.9GHz, 64 Graphics EU
  2. 2736 x 1824 high resolution 10 point touchscreen
  3. Excellent display: 95% coverage of SRGB color space, high maximum brightness
  4. Windows 10
  5. MicroSD card reader to add an extra MicroSD card to add more storage for your music, videos and images.
  6. 1x USB Type-C port, with Displayport support
  7. 1x USB Type-A port
  8. Great kickstand
  9. Accelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor and Gyroscope sensors
  10. Thin and light : 0.33″ and 1.7lbs
  11. Keyboard trackpad made of glass
  12. 802.11ax WiFi 6
  13. Bluetooth 5.0
  14. Great battery life, about 10 hours of web browsing
  15. Great build quality
  16. Excellent cameras: 5MP front camera, with 1080p video. 8MP back camera, with flash and 1080p video
  17. Core i5 models are fanless, Core i7 models have a fan, which is quiet and increases performance

Cons:

  1. RAM is soldered, you cannot add RAM
  2. SSD is soldered, you cannot add any SSD storage capacity
  3. No Thunderbolt 3 support
  4. The Microsoft type cover (keyboard/trackpad) is sold separately: Available in multiple colors, starting at $129.99 on B&H
  5. The Microsoft Surface Pen is sold separately: Blue or Red: B&H ($73.53), Black or Platinum: B&H ($99.99)
  6. The Microsoft Surface Dial is sold separately: B&H – $77.57

Apple Macbook

If you are looking for an Apple Macbook, we have articles dedicated to them:

1. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Air
2. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Pro 13
3. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Pro 16

Gaming laptops

If you are looking for a mid-range gaming laptop, we have a whole article on the subject, click here to see the Best Mid-Range Gaming Laptops article.

17.3″ entertainment:

HP ProBook 470 G7:

– $1059.95 at B&H

About the HP ProBook 470 G7:

One of the rare laptops with still a DVD drive, for those of you who want to keep watching their DVD collections, or listen to audio CDs, without needing an external USB optical drive.

Whether it’s watching movies, audio, video or photo content, this laptop should have no problem handling it all.

Equipped with the new Core i7-10510U CPU and 8GB of RAM, along with a 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, you get a snappy laptop.

Graphic wise, you get the 2GB AMD Radeon 530, which is no powerhouse, but plenty enough to accelerate video content.

It is also equipped with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution 17.3″ display, along with an IPS panel, meaning that you get large viewing angles, better color reproduction and better contrast. All of which are ideal if you want to watch movies, photo or any visual content really. It has an anti-glare finish.

Pros:

  1. Intel Core i7-10510U Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.8-4.9GHz CPU.
  2. 2GB AMD Radeon 530 dedicated graphic card
  3. 256GB SSD storage drive which reduce loading and booting time, as well as improve overall computer responsiveness
  4. Empty 2.5″ bay allows you to add a 7mm 2.5″ hard drive or SSD for more storage
  5. 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution.
  6. Anti-glare screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight.
  7. IPS panel: Good contrast, great color reproduction and wide viewing angles.
  8. Windows 10
  9. 2x x USB 3.0 and 1 x USB 2.0 ports.
  10. HDMI video output
  11. Ethernet RJ45 port for a direct internet connection.
  12. SD card reader.
  13. 8GB of DDR4 RAM which is plenty to watch videos, photos, play music, browse the Web, etc.
  14. 802.11ac WiFi 5 2×2 Dual-Band
  15. Bluetooth 5.0
  16. Optical drive
  17. Numpad
  18. Battery life up to 11.5 hours!
  19. Decent 720p webcam
  20. Backlit keyboard
  21. Dedicated left and right click mouse buttons.
  22. Top firing speakers, located above keyboard

Cons:

  1. Being such a large laptop (16.33 x 10.7 x 0.96″) with a DVD drive, it’s less portable and much heavier than smaller laptops, at 5.2lbs
  2. Build quality is okay, not great. Mix of metal and plastic.
  3. No fingerprint reader

Gigabyte AERO 17:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1799.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the Gigabyte Aero 17:

While it doesn’t feature a DVD drive (you can always get an external USB optical drive), the Gigabyte Aero 17 brings a top-notch build quality, a gorgeous very high resolution 4K 3840 x 2160 display, with 100% Adobe RGB color coverage, that is factory calibrated, to the table, as well as many other features, such as:

– A more powerful Intel 6 core CPU
– A more powerful dedicated graphic card, allowing you to play games
– A fingerprint reader
And much more!

Pros:

  1. Intel Core i7-9750H Six-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.6-4.5GHz CPU.
  2. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (6GB GDDR6) dedicated graphic card
  3. 256GB SSD storage drive which reduce loading and booting time, as well as improve overall computer responsiveness
  4. Empty M.2 slot allows you to add another SSD for more storage
  5. 3840 x 2160 4K 17.3″ display
  6. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight.
  7. IPS panel: Good contrast, great color reproduction and wide viewing angles.
  8. Display covers 100% of the Adobe RGB color space
  9. Display is factory calibrated for color accuracy
  10. Fingerprint reader
  11. Windows 10
  12. 3x x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB Type-C with Display port support
  13. 1x Thunderbolt 3
  14. HDMI and Displayport (via USB Type-C) video outputs
  15. Ethernet RJ45 port for a direct internet connection.
  16. SD card reader.
  17. 8GB of DDR4 RAM which is plenty to watch videos, photos, play music, browse the Web, etc.
  18. 802.11ax WiFi 6 2×2 Dual-Band
  19. Bluetooth 5.0
  20. Numpad
  21. Battery life up to 8.5 hours
  22. Decent 720p webcam
  23. Manual slider allows you to block webcam if desired.
  24. Backlit keyboard
  25. Excellent build quality: Solid aluminum chassis, solid hinges, minimum flex

Cons:

  1. No DVD drive

Business laptops

Are you looking for a solid, lightweight laptop with a long battery life and security features such as a fingerprint reader or facial recognition? Take a look at the Ultrabooks section above for my recommendations.

Need a smart card reader? Use an USB smart card, such as this one from B&H, which can be used with practically any laptop.
IOGEAR USBSmart Card Reader: – $19.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Power Users

If you are looking for a powerful laptop, see our recommendations for Creative Pros in the Best Mid-range Laptops for Gaming and Creative Pros article.

Workstations

ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro W700G3T:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1999.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro W700G3T:

Equipped with a powerful Intel Core i7-9750H Six Core CPU with 16GB of ECC RAM to multi-task and run several programs at the same time with ease.

Graphic card wise, the modern Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000 with 6GB of graphic memory can handle most projects.

Storage wise, you get 1TB of high-performance PCIe NVMe SSD storage. There’s an ampty M.2 slot, allowing you to add another SSD should you need more storage.

The RAM is a 16GB stick and there’s another slot, so you can easily add another 16GB stick to get 32GB. You may also decide to put 64GB of RAM, with 2x32GB.

The 17″ display has a 16:10 ratio, with a 1920 x 1200 resolution, an IPS panel and a matte finish. It has a 97% DCI-P color gamut coverage and has Pantone validated color accuracy, with Delta E under 2.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-9750H Six Core + Hyper-Threading 2.6-4.5GHz CPU
  2. Dedicated workstation class NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 6GB graphic card.
  3. Windows 10 Pro
  4. 1TB PCIe NVMe high-performance SSD
  5. 16GB of DDR4 ECC RAM (1x16GB)
  6. Empty RAM slot, add another 16GB stick to get 32GB
  7. You can also get 64GB of RAM, with 2x32GB.
  8. 16:10 display ratio
  9. Full HD 1920 x 1200 resolution, matte finish, IPS panel
  10. Display has a 97% DCI-P color gamut coverage and has Pantone validated color accuracy, with Delta E under 2.
  11. Screen hinge opens up to 180 degrees
  12. Dedicated left and right trackpad buttons
  13. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight
  14. All metal build
  15. Keyboard backlight with 3 levels of brightness
  16. HDMI 2.0 and Displayport (through USB Type-C)
  17. 3 x USB Type-A (USB 3.1 / USB 3.2 Gen 2)
  18. 1x USB Type-C, with Thunderbolt 3 and Displayport support
  19. Stays relatively quiet even load
  20. Gigabit LAN through USB 3.0 to RJ45 Cable
  21. ISV Certified: An Independent Software Vendor (ISV) certification ensures that this system can be used with a variety of content-creation software from leading software companies such as AutoDesk and Adobe.
  22. 720p Webcam
  23. Fingerprint reader
  24. Dual-band 802.11 ax WiFi 6 2×2 MU-MIMO
  25. Bluetooth 5.0
  26. SD card reader
  27. Fairly thin and light for a 17″ laptop with such powerful hardware: .72″ and 5.27lbs

Cons:

  1. Keyboard layout could be better : Half size arrow keys
  2. No physical keys numpad, but there’s the NumberPad — an LED-illuminated numeric keypad activated by a touch on the trackpad
  3. Battery life is decent, but not great, as expected on a powerful workstation: Expect 3.5-5 hours of web browsing
  4. No dedicated left and right mouse buttons

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article.

With this being such a long article with many recommendations and alternatives, you may find some typos.

Alternatively, you may believe that there’s a better option than my recommendation.

Or you may have some questions.

In any case, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you, to help find the best laptop for your needs and to answer your questions.