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Best Laptop 2017: 10 of the best laptops right now

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Your complete guide to the best laptops you can buy right now, from budget netbooks under £200 up to Ultrabooks and gaming laptops at over £1,000. We have our top picks for each category, as well as alternative options for you to choose from.

How much should I spend on a laptop?

This age-old question must be answered by another question: how are you going to use it? You can buy a cheap 11-inch netbook or Chromebook for under £200 if you just browse the web and do a few emails.

Want something a little bigger? You can pay between £300 and £400 for a 15.6-inch laptop powered by an Intel Core i3 processor that’s powerful enough to do the basics without slowing to a crawl, and will even handle a little Minecraft and photo editing.

Video: How to choose a laptop

If you want something thin and light, expect to spend upwards of £500 for a sub-1.5kg laptop. Powered by efficient dual-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, these machines are suitable for light photo and video work and should last all day on a single charge if you don’t push them too hard. If you want premium build and a great screen, don't expect to pay less than £1,000.

Related: Top 10 things to look for when buying a laptop

You’ll need to spend at least £700 on a gaming laptop, and considerably more if you want to future-proof it. Look for “discrete” or “dedicated” graphics from AMD or Nvidia, and check online benchmarking figures to see how well your favourite games will play.

There are alternative form factors, too. 2-in-1s have reversible screens that can be versatile in small spaces, while tablet hybrids are great for drawing and taking notes and often come with attachable keyboards for when you want to get typing work done.

What’s the best operating system?

Windows 10 remains the most versatile operating system around, and you’ll find it on the vast majority of laptop sold in the UK. However, if you’re buying a cheap laptop, Google’s ChromeOS is probably a better bet. It’s more lightweight – it’s essentially a glorified web browser – but with so many excellent web-based applications now available, most people on a budget can get by with just that.

MacOS is tied into MacBook laptops, so you’ll always pay a premium to get Apple’s operating system. It’s undeniably slick, smooth and reliable, so if you have the money, it offers a better experience than Windows for many people.

Video: The laptops to look out for in 2017

Don’t want to pay the Windows tax? Some laptops now sell with Ubuntu Linux installed. This free OS is powerful if you know what you’re doing, and it has the advantage of costing next to nothing.

Our experts

Michael Passingham

As TrustedReviews’ Computing Editor, there’s not a laptop that passes through the office that doesn’t end up in Michael’s hands. He’s seen almost every Ultrabook that’s launched in the last three years and is a harsh master when it comes to handing out TrustedReviews’ coveted Recommended awards.

Edward Chester

A 10-year veteran of tech journalism, Ed has reviewed just about every type of technology you care to mention, and even had a stint as TrustedReviews’ Mobile Phones Editor. Edward’s seen dozens of budget and mid-range laptops and has acquired a keen sense of what makes a cheap laptop excel. He’s also your man to solve Wi-Fi woes: surely nobody in the UK has seen more wireless extenders than Edward.

Alastair Stevenson

Alastair is TrustedReviews’ Reviews Editor and has been reviewing laptops for more than five years. An avid gamer and artist, he has a particular interest in touchscreen hybrids and beefy gaming laptops.

Lenovo Ideapad 710S 13ISK
Key features:
  • 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080-pixel IPS display
  • Intel Core i7-6560U (i5 available)
  • 8GB RAM, 256GB PCIe SSD
  • Intel Iris Graphics 540
  • Weight: 1.1kg
  • Windows 10
  • Tested Battery Life: Around 8 hours
  • Review price: £899

The best laptop for most people


Why buy? The Lenovo Ideapad 710S is the best laptop for most people because it’s thin, light and powerful enough to do most things. The version we tested cost £900, but it’s available for as little as £700 with a Core i5 processor.

This is a quick laptop for photo- and video-editing tasks, and while it won’t match the performance of a quad-core machine such as the Dell XPS 15 for out-and-out power, it’s still fast enough for almost everything you’ll want to do on it.

It’s really light, too, at 1.1kg, so it’ll go into any bag without much fuss. The Full HD screen is brilliant for the price as well.

And why not? Battery life doesn’t match the likes of the Dell XPS 13 or MacBook Air, and the touchpad could be better.

Edward says: “This was arguably the best-value laptop we reviewed in 2016. Lenovo has hit a great sweet spot with the 710S. It’s also worth considering the Asus ZenBook UX303UA, which is a fabulously light laptop with equally good performance for £700, although it lacks the build quality of the IdeaPad.”

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Acer Swift 5
Key features:
  • 14-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel IPS display
  • Intel Core i5-7200U
  • 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
  • Intel HD Graphics 620
  • Weight: 1.36kg
  • Windows 10
  • Tested Battery Life: Around 9 hours
  • Review price: £699

Also Consider: A larger Lenovo alternative


Why buy? The 14-inch Acer Swift 5 is a great option if you want a larger screen without adding too much weight. It weighs 1.36kg, which is light for the size.

There’s also a fingerprint scanner, which is great for logging into Windows 10 with just the touch of your finger. The screen is bright and colourful, and battery life is excellent and will happily go all day if you don’t push it too hard.

It has a similar spec to the Lenovo, so will perform just as well in day-to-day tasks.

And why not? It's not as well built as some rivals, so might not survive too many bumps and scrapes.

Edward Says: “The Swift 5 is a really nice mix of low price and attractive build, and performance is more than good enough for most people. It’s hard to find anywhere aside from Acer’s online store, and it deserves to be seen by more people.”

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Key features
  • 13.3-inch 3200 x 1800-pixel touch IPS display
  • Intel Core i7-7500U
  • 8GB RAM, 256GB PCIe SSD
  • Intel HD Graphics 620
  • Weight: 1.29kg
  • Tested Battery Life: Around 9 hours
  • Windows 10 (also available with Ubuntu)
  • Review price: £1,299


The best 13-inch laptop


Why buy?
The Dell XPS 13 is the no-compromise option. We think it’s the best thin-and-light laptop you can buy right now. A great design, stunning screen and fantastic performance make this the ideal alternative to a MacBook Pro.

There are loads of different storage and processor options – our review model was perhaps the best value, but you can spend quite a lot less if you don’t need raw power or loads of storage.

Most importantly, it’s more powerful yet cheaper than the rival MacBook Pro, which is a great combination. If you’re a Windows fan, or wavering Apple one, this is the laptop for you.

And why not? It lacks the wow factor and 100% faultless build quality of the latest MacBook Pros. Oh, and the webcam looks up your nose.

Michael says: “Year after year, the XPS 13 sets the benchmark for high-end Windows Ultrabooks, and it did so again in 2016. I think this is the last year Dell will get away with this design, though – in 2018 the company will need to refresh it a little. A fantastic thin-and-light alternative is the Asus ZenBook 3, which is well worth a look.”

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Key features
  • 13.3-inch 2560 x 1440-pixel “Retina” display
  • Intel Core i5-6267U
  • 8GB RAM, 256GB PCIe SSD
  • Intel Iris Graphics 550
  • 4x USB-C 3.1/ThunderBolt 3 ports
  • Weight: 1.37kg
  • MacOS
  • Tested Battery Life: Around 8 hours
  • Review price: £1,749

Also Consider: The money-no-object option

Why buy? In terms of hardware, Apple is verging on perfection with the latest MacBook Pro. The aluminium unibody, incredible speakers, ultra-fast SSD, pro-quality screen and silky-smooth software make for an unrivalled experience.

It’s powerful enough to edit photos and videos with ease, and it’s light enough to pop it into your bag without thinking too much about it. There’s even the innovative Touch Bar, although we haven't yet seen its full potential for making tasks quicker.

And why not? It’s very expensive, lacks certain things like an SD card slot, and there have been question marks raised over the consistency of its battery life.

Michael says: “Apple attracts a lot of well-directed criticism for how much it charges for its laptops, but it’s very hard to argue with the high price of the top-end 13-inch MacBook Pro. I will never own one, but I’d really, really like to. It’s also worth considering the base-model 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar. It’s slightly slower, but this is still a great laptop with the same stunning screen and build quality.”

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Key features
  • 11.6-inch, 1,366x768-pixel display
  • Intel Celeron N3060
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB SSD
  • Weight: 1.28kg
  • Tested Battery Life: Around 9 hours
  • Review price: £200

Best budget Windows 10 laptop


Why buy? Consistently found for under £180, the Stream 11 might look like a “My first laptop” plastic shell, but it does offer good value for money. It’s light, thin and cheap enough that you won’t have to fret with worry every time you put your bag under your chair at the pub.

Battery life is great, too – you’ll have no problem getting through a full day of work with the Stream 11.

And why not? It’s not powerful, so you’ll need to limit yourself to one or two programs and browser tabs at a time.

Alastair says: “The Stream 11 isn’t exactly sexy, but it’s one of the cheapest ways to get into the Windows 10 ecosystem. You might also want to consider the Acer Chromebook 14. It runs ChromeOS, so is limited to web apps, but if all you do is browse and use web apps, it’s all you need.”

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HP Pavilion 15-au072sa

Key features


  • Intel Core i3-6100U processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 1TB hard disk
  • 15.6-inch 1,366x768-pixel display
  • DVD/RW drive
  • Weight: 2.04kg
  • Tested Battery Life: Around 5 hours
  • Review price: £399

A decent general purpose laptop for families


Why buy? HP Pavilion 15 laptops never find themselves currying much favour with reviewers, but they’re the machines you find most frequently in the likes of Currys and PC World. And, for many people, they’re absolutely fine.

The au072sa we looked at typifies the range: a cheap dual-core processor in a chunky chassis and an HD screen. It’s the ideal spec for a sub-£400 family laptop that stays at home.

And why not? We found the screen on this particular model to be slightly sub-par and the hard disk was a little slow.

Edward says: “The Pavilion 15 range is a stalwart of UK retailers, and it’s hard to find a lemon. Still, they’re never going to set the world alight.”

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Asus ZenBook UX310UA
Key features
  • Intel Core i7-6500U
  • 8GB RAM
  • Intel HD Graphics 520
  • SSD + hard disk
  • Weight: 1.45kg
  • Windows 10
  • Tested Battery Life: Around 4 hours
  • Review price: £800


Best for Students

Why buy? The ZenBook UX310UA represents a whole range of laptops that start at £580. Our review model cost £800, but you can mix and match your spec down to a Core i3 model, which will still offer reasonably decent performance thanks to the sprightly SSD. Some models also come with a high-capacity secondary hard disk.

With a quality Full HD screen and a relatively light weight of 1.45kg, the UX310UA represents a decent middle ground of performance and build quality, which students who want a light but powerful-enough laptop to lug to and from campus will appreciate.

And why not?
Battery life isn’t brilliant, you only get 4GB of RAM and some of Asus’ other ZenBooks are decent value.

Michael says: “The UX310UA is a bit of an odd duck, priced at nearly £600 for a Core i3 processor model. There’s not a huge difference between Core i3s and i5s at that price point, however, so the performance gulf isn’t as big as you might think. Alternatively, the Asus ZenBook UX305 is unbelievably thin and light for just £650, although it is less powerful.”

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Surface Pro 4
Key features
  • 2736 x 1824-pixel display
  • Intel Core i5-6300U
  • 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD
  • Weight: 770g
  • Optional keyboard
  • Stylus included
  • Tested Battery Life: Around 6 hours
  • Review price: £749

Best Windows 10 tablet

Why buy? Despite being nearly 18 months old, the Surface Pro 4 remains our favourite tablet/laptop hybrid. Its age can be used to your advantage – it’s often put on offer at various retailers and the Microsoft Store, meaning it’s hard to buy one at full price any more.

The Surface Pen is among the best styluses you can buy, and the screen is fantastic. If you practice digital painting as a hobby or professionally, it’s the best choice out there right now. The optional Type Cover keyboard is also very good, and turns this tablet into a proper laptop.

There are lots of specifications available, but we’d recommend the Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD model for a good blend of price and performance.

And why not? It is getting old, and we’re expecting a replacement to arrive some time in 2017.

Alastair says: “This remains my favourite sub-£1,000 tablet for drawing on, and as a digital comic artist I don’t say that lightly. The only cheap alternative I could recommend is the Samsung Galaxy TabProS, and we’re expecting that to be replaced this year as well – so you could grab yourself a bargain. The Wacom MobileStudio Pro is a big step up, but if you’re serious about your work it’s well worth a look.”

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Dell XPS 15
Key features
  • 15.6-inch 1,920x1,080-pixel display
  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ
  • 16GB RAM, 256GB PCIe SSD
  • 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050
  • Weight: 2kg
  • Tested Battery Life: Around 9 hours
  • Review price: £1,499

The best laptop for video editing

Why buy? As the 15-inch MacBook Pro gets even more expensive, the Dell XPS 15 looks more and more attractive. It has a powerful quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (i5s also available) and a great graphics card in the form of the GTX 1050, which gets 4GB of video memory.

This means that not only is this a highly capable laptop for video editing, it’s also a brilliant Full HD gaming machine. The fast SSD, great screen, superb build quality and good battery life seal the deal for us.

And why not? It gets loud when gaming, and it’s pretty heavy at 2kg.

Michael says: “If you don’t need MacOS, there really is no better option than the Dell XPS 15 for video editing and a bit of light gaming. Upgrade to the 4K screen option if you want a display as good as the one on the 15-inch MacBook Pro.”

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Gigabyte Aero 14 2
Key features
  • 14-inch, 2560 x 1440-pixel display
  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ
  • 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
  • 16GB DDR4 memory, 512GB PCIe SSD
  • Weight: 1.89kg
  • Tested Battery Life: Around 7 hours
  • Review price: £1,699


The best gaming laptop

Why buy? If you don’t want your gaming laptop to be a huge, ugly brick, your options are limited. The Gigabyte Aero 14 crams amazing specifications into a thin-and-light chassis and costs just £1,700.

The GTX 1060 graphics card is capable of great Full HD and 1440p gaming performance, while the high-end quad-core processor will make light work of games and video editing. You get a super-fast, high-capacity SSD as well, and the screen is excellent. We also loved the huge battery; it lasts far longer than any other gaming laptop we've ever seen.

And why not? You pay a premium for that thin-and-light design, so some cheaper alternatives will offer similar performance.

Alastair says: “The Aero 14 offers great value and, for the money, is the best option. If you want to spend less on a similar specification, the £1,200 Asus ROG Strix GL702VM is a brilliant, albeit large, alternative. If you want something that’s better built, the Razer Blade is also worth a look.”

Read our Best Gaming Laptops article for more options

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Summary

There are some laptops that we’ve reviewed very positively but haven’t included here. The 12-inch MacBook is certainly an honorable mention, but it doesn’t represent amazing value when you consider how strong the Asus ZenBook 3 is for similar money.

We also didn’t include the Microsoft Surface Book. This expensive device is incredibly innovative but undeniably niche where a Surface Pro 4 or Dell XPS would be a better bet.

The MacBook Air is also absent. This product has been effectively abandoned by Apple, no longer receiving hardware updates each year. This means it’s looking very dated, with a poor screen and old processors – it’s no longer a good deal.

Further reading:

There’s loads more to learn about the world of computing, so take a look at our other guides

danielfrisbee

January 27, 2015, 12:33 am

what is the model in the image on the first page of this article?

sonisoe

January 27, 2015, 1:49 pm

what about samsung ativ (pro?) 12-inch ? a killer ultrabook am waiting for...

Javed

January 27, 2015, 11:22 pm

I think it's the LG Tab-Book Z160

Paul

February 9, 2015, 5:07 pm

no macbook air lol

Falcomomo

February 9, 2015, 5:19 pm

"Best Laptop for Video Editing" -- was this category just an excuse to get an Apple laptop in the winners?

fast_call

February 10, 2015, 9:58 am

They did say they did not recommend the Macbook Air because it's due to be replaced soon. And I agree it's probably worth waiting for the new one.

fast_call

February 10, 2015, 10:07 am

I think the newly updated Dell Precision M3800 is also worth a spot here, either in the best 15-inch laptop or the best laptop for video editing category (or both). It can be configured with a 4K screen, an mSATA SSD + 2.5" magnetic drive (so you have a fast ssd + lots of space), comes with Nvidia Quadro graphics and some benchmarks show it to be even faster than the Macbook Pro in video editing tasks. The downside of course is that it's quite expensive. Still well worth a look if you're in the market for such a machine.

fast_call

February 10, 2015, 10:09 am

The retina Macbook Pro is widely used by video editing professionals (perhaps more than any other laptop). And video editing is a clear laptop category (though maybe a bit niche, not mainstream). So no, I don't think it's "just an excuse"

andyvan

February 10, 2015, 2:26 pm

Fair point as we liked the previous version. Will make a note to add it on the next update. :)

Our current review for reference: http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

scyllabub

February 13, 2015, 9:32 am

Thank you, fast_call, I shall investigate the Precision (but I bet it's a far from ideal LAP-top, it's probably a tank ;-) ). The omission of "Best Windows Laptop" from the Video Editing category makes me distrust TR - unless they can show me how to integrate a Mac into a Windows network so's to edit recordings made on Windows hard drives?

fast_call

February 13, 2015, 10:01 am

You're welcome :)

It's not the tank you might think it to be. Here's a recent overview:

http://www.pcworld.com/article...

and here's the official dell announcement:

http://www.dell.com/learn/us/e...

from the press release: "the world’s thinnest and lightest true 15-inch mobile workstation"... not sure about thinnest and lightest, but it's definitely not a tank. :)

Personally, I'm waiting for one with the yet-unreleased quad-core Intel Broadwell 5th gen Core i7, and I'll buy one

Joakim Larsen

March 13, 2015, 8:57 pm

I loved my MBP 15" 2013 Retina laptop for 10 months. I loved the performance, the software, the looks.

THEN... to my horror the screen started loosing its anti glare coating. And it continued. Today it has a big blank patch, around 20% of the screen size without coating right in the middle of the screen. It looks terrible and it is not covered by Apples one year warranty.

Many other users are having the same problem. Apple refuses to acknowledge the problem and calls it "cosmetic", explains that it is caused by finger grease and oils being transferred from the keyboard to the screen due to wrong handling and caused by wrong cleaning (even for people using Apples own microfiber cloth) and finally caused by carrying it in a bag - Apples top notch portable $3000 laptop.

Today members of the Apple Support Forums discussion thread and the Facebook group are gathering to prepare a lawsuit against Apple. Should you have the same problem, do not hesitate to join the discussions. You can contribute to the discussion thread on: https://discussions.apple.com/... and join the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/group...

Kullman_

April 1, 2015, 5:46 pm

You are wrong, the M3800 is 2 Kg.

Kullman_

April 1, 2015, 5:47 pm

There are a lot of better options for video editing than the MBP...

sonisoe

May 12, 2015, 11:52 am

any thought of the new hp spectra x360...is that out already ? stunning design, prime quality build, 360-degree foldable and touch screen, and great battery life too...forget apple laptops be it pro, macbook or air... this year is a battle between dell xps13 and spectra x360

AMCD

September 22, 2015, 10:25 pm

I would stay away from hp. Bought an expensive top of the range hp laptop some years back. The screen kept going black in middle of using it. Spoke with customer service re this during the warranty period and, unlike my experience with previous computer company Dell, hp did not help me with the issue. I was just told to try this and that. When I contacted them with same and unresolved problem after the warranty period, I was told they would no longer help me unless I paid for service. I subsequently found out that hp were having issues with graphics chip - hp never once mentioned possible issue. I will never buy hp again!

TCS

September 25, 2015, 9:07 pm

I'd stay away from any of the Dell XPS's - way overpriced, and lack polish. I purchased the 2014 version. Camera is the worst - high def, but too bright and very washed out. Not way to fix it other to run special software in background. A real pain. Also disk drive is really slow, and though it has a 32GB SSD cache, it's only configured to use 16GB. The hardrive and SSD combination is super slow, seriously slow. (do a search to the issues surrounding this)

And Dell support - IS THE WORST!. I was on the phone for 45 minutes - just to get a windows disk (that, for this price, should be included). Another time, I was one over 45 minutes - and then simply hung up. Both times, the support rep. said "they were dealing with issues with their system". (and when I say 45 minutes, I'm talking a true - and timed - 45+ minutes)

Dom Reidman

October 12, 2015, 7:11 am

If I am reading the comments correctly...stay away from Apple, stay away from Dell and stay away from HP. Basically give up on using computers.

Dom Reidman

October 12, 2015, 7:15 am

that is a frightening story although it appears Apple is now replacing some of these screens under warranty. I was just starting to do my research on buying new MBP '15" but this is definitely giving me pause.

Update: Joakim it appears you need to email tcook@apple.com and send pictures of your screen. Most are getting their screens replaced now.

Kseniak

December 28, 2015, 12:37 pm

I love my thin and lightweight ultrabook Dell xps 13. It has a great classical design that will love every person, good battery (15 hours of autonomous operation) and 13.3-inch WLED-backlit display. Now my sister wants to buy it. Recently, I saw also good reviews about this model at the amazon and http://www.topreviews.best/mai... I agree with their opinion that it's one of the best.

Dead Words

January 14, 2016, 12:44 pm

There's a mistake on page 6. The Surface Pro 4 runs a Core M3 not a Core i3.

WHO AM I

February 5, 2016, 6:17 pm

Why did you say for the MacBook Pro with Retina display 15-inch:

"Powerful 15-inch laptop that's great for video editing".
It only has a R9 M370X, which is similar to 950m. 950m is not video editing.
950m is just for mainstream and basic gaming on low resolutions.

Pradip J. Patil

February 17, 2016, 3:56 am

I found the laptop with the latest specification here, thank you

Pradip J. Patil

February 17, 2016, 3:57 am

I agree with you, I found the laptop with the latest specification here, thank you

Travis Matthews

February 28, 2016, 9:23 pm

Now grab an amazing discount on laptops only on BestTopRatedLaptops .com

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