Best Laptop 2015 – 10 best laptops right now
Is now the right time to buy a new laptop? It’s often hard to decide, but our best laptop round-up picks out the best laptops and best hybrids right now.
One of the most annoying things about buying a new laptop is finding out a newer, better one is due out weeks after you bought yours. That's why we consider the most impressive upcoming laptops and hybrids too, letting you know when something worth waiting for is lurking just around the corner.
There's also the added complication of Windows 10, which came out recently. Laptops won't start shipping with Windows 10 pre-installed until September, but any laptop you buy right now will qualify for a free upgrade straight away.
Windows 10 – Should you upgrade?
Windows 10 has landed, and comes as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. That means that each and every one of the Microsoft-powered laptops and tablets listed below will be bumped up to the new operating system without you having to part with any extra pounds.
Having spent time with Windows 10, we think it’s a huge improvement over its predecessor, with the revamped Start Menu and the addition of Cortana particularly impressive.
The Start Menu is a pleasant blend of old and new. It’s resizable, easy to use and features both icons and Live Tiles, making it both mouse- and finger-friendly. It might just be the best version of the Start Menu yet.
You can access Cortana either straight from the Taskbar or by saying “Hey Cortana”, and she doesn’t disappoint. The digital assistant is genuinely useful, lending a hand whether you want to track down an elusive document, need calendar reminders, or just want to catch up on the things you’re interested in, such as sports results, news and stock prices. Cortana familiarises itself with your habits too.
However, they’re not the only major new features.
Internet Explorer has (at last) taken a back seat, with Microsoft Edge the native Windows 10 browser. It’s optimised for touchscreens, with a more practical button layout and navigation bar. The in-built tools are great too, enabling you to take screengrabs of web pages and subsequently annotate them, as well as save pages to be read later.
You should be pleased with Windows 10’s assortment of gaming features too, especially if you’re a cross-platform player. The new Xbox app plays a central role. You can now stream Xbox One games to your PC and even record your gaming sessions. DirectX 12, the latest update to Microsoft’s gaming API, should improve performance too.
Browse the list below, or hit the 'Next' arrow to begin our round-up.
TrustedReviews Recommended Laptops
Best Under £200 / $200 – HP Stream 11 – An 11.6-inch Windows 8.1 laptop that costs less than £200 and comes bundled with a free Office 365 Personal subscription
Best Chromebook – Toshiba Chromebook 2 – A sleek, 13-inch Chromebook with an outstanding display that defies its budget price tag
Best Affordable Ultrabook – Asus Zenbook UX305 – An exciting 13-inch laptop with excellent battery life and a generous selection of connections
Best Ultrabook – Dell XPS 13 2015 – A stunning new 13-inch ultrabook that has ultra-slim bezels and terrific battery life
Best 13-inch – 13-inch MacBook Pro (2015) – A 13-inch laptop that's powerful enough for photo editing and comes with Apple's Force Touch trackpad
Best Tablet Hybrid – Microsoft Surface Pro 3 – A 12-inch hybrid with a versatile kickstand and impressive stylus, which is great as a laptop and a tablet
Best Cheap Tablet Hybrid – Surface 3 – A 10.8-inch hybrid that's cheaper and more portable than the Pro 3, coming with a free Office 365 subscription NEW ENTRY
Best for Video Editing – Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch – A 15-inch laptop that’s great for video editing and has class-leading battery life
Best 12-inch – 12-inch MacBook (2015) – A 12-inch MacBook with a dramatically different keyboard and Touch Force trackpad NEW ENTRY
Best for Gaming – Alienware 15 – A 15-inch gaming laptop with an excellent screen, which delivers impressive performance
What kind of laptop should I buy?
A lot will depend on how much you have to spend and how you intend to use your laptop. Consider how often you'll actually take your laptop out of the home, and if you do for how long. These kinds of questions will dictate what size laptop you need, and how important battery life is to you. With that in mind, here's a quick guide to the different types and how much they could cost.
Laptop Tablet Hybrid – (£300 to £1,000 or more)
If you’ve ever been tempted by an iPad, but still need a Windows laptop, then a hybrid is a good choice. There’s a huge amount of choice in both size and price. The main things to consider are how much you want to spend and how you’re going to use it. Need a laptop more than a tablet? Go bigger and more expensive. The opposite is true if you really want a tablet that you can use as a tablet.
Convertible Laptop – (£500 to £1,000 or more)
This is a twist on the hybrid that differs in execution. Pure hybrids have detaching tablet segments that connect to a keyboard, while convertibles are normal laptops with clever hinges that rotate. They’re a good choice if you mainly need a laptop but would like a little flexibility.
Thin & Light Laptop – (£700 to £1,000 or more)
Sometimes referred to as ‘Ultrabooks’, a thin and light laptop will have an 11-inch or 13-inch screen and… well, be thin and light. The MacBook Air is a thin and light laptop, and there are many Windows alternatives.
Desktop Replacement – (£250 to £1,000 or more)
This describes any laptop with a larger 15-inch or 17-inch screen and they vary hugely in price. They’re good workhorses with large, easy-to-use screens. Spend anything over £600 and you gain some advanced features and better-quality screens that are great for films.
Multimedia Laptop – (£1,000 to £2,000 or more)
These are for more serious users who want to regularly edit video and RAW photo files. These laptops are about all-out performance and have high-quality screens. If you’re not sure you need to spend this much, you probably don’t.
Google Chromebook – (£150 to £350)
If you’re a big Google user then its cheap laptops are worth considering. They use its Chrome OS operating system and rely heavily on web apps. They’re simple and cheap and lack the bloatware, such as anti-virus, that often plagues cheap Windows laptops.