Laptops aren’t going anywhere. They’ve morphed, they’ve evolved and they’ve adapted—but they’re still around, perhaps as strong as ever. With three significant platforms in macOS, Windows 10 and ChromeOS, the laptop scene really does reach a wide swath of consumers with a variety of different needs in their computer.
Ranging from affordable laptops made for first time buyers and college students to professional-grade Ultrabooks with some serious power, here are the 10 best laptops we’ve seen in 2017 so far:
10. Samsung Chromebook Pro
Designed to be the laptop that replaces your Android tablet, Samsung’s Chromebook Pro will even give more expensive Windows-powered convertibles a run for their money. With support for Android apps on top of Google’s Chrome OS, the Chromebook Pro comes packed with a swiveling 360-degree hinge, allowing the Chromebook to convert to tablet mode. Pen support is also included, which is a perfect complement to Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps for Chromebook.
The Chromebook Pro sports a high resolution QHD screen with the same 3:2 aspect ratio that Microsoft uses on its Surface line. USB-C ports, Intel Core m3 processor and 4K streaming help ensure that your investment in the Chromebook Pro stays future-proof.—Chuong Nguyen
9. Dell XPS 15 Touch
Photo by Craig Barritt / Stringer / Getty Images.
Dell’s XPS line has been among our favorite laptops for years now. This year, Dell launched its 2-in-1 version of the XPS 13, but it lagged behind the XPS 15 Touch in just about every way. This premium Ultrabook has a beautiful touchscreen 4K display, an integrated Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics card and performs excellently with its Core i7 processor.
On the battery side of things, it doesn’t perform as well as the HP ultrabooks below. Aside from that, the XPS 15 Touch is a fantastic laptop that’ll make a great desktop replacement.—Luke Larsen
8. Surface Laptop
In many ways, the Surface Laptop is Microsoft’s version of the MacBook Pro. It’s built from the ground-up by Microsoft and therefore feels like a product that fulfills a unique vision. The Surface Laptop looks very similar to the excellent Surface Pro and is one of the most beautiful laptops out there. It doesn’t quite have the performance punch that a fully-loaded MacBook Pro has, but it comes comes at a comparably discounted price at just $999.
It should be noted that the Surface Laptop comes loaded up with something called Windows 10 S, which has limited functionality in terms of what software you can use on it. However, you can easily upgrade to the full version of Windows 10.—LL
7. Huawei MateBook X
The MateBook X makes for an easy comparison up against the MacBook Pro, most notably for its very similar design. There’s no doubting that the MateBook X takes some generous influence from the MacBook with its unibody aluminum chassis, super-thin and light design, limited port availability (just two USB-C ports and a headphone jack), and fanless cooling system.
It might be a better comparison to the MacBook than the MacBook Pro, but if you’re looking for something that actually looks and feels like a MacBook, look no further.—LL
6. Razer Blade Stealth 4K
While Razer has enjoyed a storied reputation as a manufacturer of some of the most coveted gaming laptops, the Razer Blade Stealth is not entirely a gaming notebook. Part Ultrabook, part modular gaming rig and completely portable, the Razer Blade Stealth is a sleek laptop with high-end internals that closely match other thin-and-light notebooks on the market.
But when it needs to, with the right accessories, it can still go toe-to-toe with gaming laptops from rivals like Dell’s Alienware and MSI.—CN
5. MacBook (2017)
Unlike the old favorite that shared the same name, the 2017 MacBook is not a laptop for everyone. It’s a beautiful design for a laptop—in fact, it just might be one of my favorites of all time. The design is simple, economical, and modern—and from a purely aesthetic perspective, it’s great. From a very practical stance, it again is not for everyone.
The single USB-C port is fine in 90 percent of scenarios, but you’ll undoubtedly get yourself in a situation when you’ll want to charge your laptop and plug in your external hard drive at the same time. Depending on who you are and what your computer usage is like, this could really be a deal breaker. In addition, the amount of performance and raw power you’ll get from the updated Kaby Lake Core m3 processor still won’t be enough for those who want to do things like edit video or run games. In addition, this year’s iteration also get an update to RAM and significantly increased SSD speed. But the primary concern here is still the $1299 pricetag, which puts the limited usage of this laptop in question. Despite the limited audience, it’s hard not to love the singular vision of the MacBook, which Apple continued to improve in 2017.—LL
4. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga
Lenovo maintains its heritage in delighting business users with its ThinkPad brand, and this year’s ThinkPad X1 Yoga doesn’t disappoint. Whether you plan on adopting this convertible for primary use as a laptop or as a tablet, the X1 Yoga comes closest to a no-compromise convertible, offering the best tactile experience for keyboard, stylus or touch input.
A thoughtful design means that stylus input isn’t an afterthought, unlike on competing machines like Microsoft’s Surface Pro, HP’s Spectre x360 and the Surface Book. The built-in recharging pen silo makes it easy to grab the active stylus for note-taking and drawing. For tablet users who prefer working with the touchscreen, Lenovo’s exclusive Wave keyboard adds stability to the keyboard design, making the X1 Yoga equally as comfortable for use as a tablet or as a laptop. As a laptop, the X1 Yoga’s keyboard is unmatched on any convertible and can even induce keyboard envy on even some of the best laptops, Ultrabooks or mobile workstations out there.—CN
3. HP Elitebook x360 G2
If there is a thing such as laptop envy, you’ll definitely know it when you see your office issue your colleagues one of these new beauties. Given the cost of our review configuration, prosumers likely won’t rush out to buy the EliteBook, and that, HP admits, is okay—there’s a Spectre with features that are just as compelling.
If you demand a business warranty, all-day battery life, a durable and beautifully crafted system that delivers speed, security and performance—and you can live without discrete graphics—the EliteBook x360 G2 is unrivaled. Whether you use it as a convertible or a laptop, HP’s winning design makes the EliteBook x360 G2 the business laptop to beat this year, and as such, is worthy of an editor’s choice.—CN
2. Dell XPS 13
Long before Samsung and Apple debuted its “bezel-less” smartphones this year, Dell was paving the way with its impressive near-zero “InfinityEdge” displays. Year after year, Dell continues iterate on its XPS laptops. This year it continues to up the ante—and like its predecessors, the display is the focal point here.
This thing has a stunning 13.3-inch QHD display (3,200 × 1,800 pixels) that’s somehow squeezed into the frame of an 11-inch computer. That alone makes the XPS 13 a computer I always wanting to be using. Throw in a Kaby Lake processor from Intel and a beautifully-thin design and you’ve got one heck of an Ultrabook.—LL
1. HP Spectre x360
While the 13-inch Spectre x360 isn’t without peers in both the Ultrabook and convertible computing categories, it’s HP’s convertible that is unrivaled when it comes to value. Apple’s similarly configured MacBook Pro 13-inch with Touch Bar, for example, retails for $1,999 but only comes with half the RAM and no touchscreen, while Dell’s touch-enabled XPS 13 notebook only comes with a QHD+ resolution display and retails for $1,949 when configured with similar options to our Spectre review unit. Neither notebooks come with a 360-degree hinge, so you won’t be able to convert the MacBook or XPS into a tablet on the go.
And if you want a form factor that’s similar to the Spectre x360, going with the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 means you’ll compromise on performance. While the Spectre ships with an Intel 7th Generation Core i7 processor, the XPS 2-in-1 is only available with a more conservative Core M CPU. Lenovo’s Yoga 910 with a 4K panel, 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM comes in cheaper at $1,349, but you’ll sacrifice some of the Spectre’s versatility given that the Yoga 910 comes with a larger 14-inch screen and lacks Thunderbolt 3 support. And when it comes to ports and expandability, the Spectre x360 wins against Microsoft’s flagship Surface Laptop by a long mile.
Aside from some compromises in battery life that comes with a high resolution 4K display, the 2017 Spectre x360 13-inch is the closest thing we have to laptop nirvana right now. HP’s Midas touch gives us a sturdy unibody metal body with an elegant copper design, robust performance with the latest Intel processor and a keyboard that’s a dream to type on. Add to that the versatility of a convertible hinge, pen support for inking and creative work and future-proof potential with Thunderbolt 3 ports and you have a laptop that you’ll be happy with for years to come.—CN