What is the best laptop of 2020?
The laptop market is strong than ever and if you are looking to pick one up, you’ll be wanting to make sure you can the best laptop you can. That’s why we’re here, to bring together the best from Dell, HP, Microsoft, Apple and more. We’ve created a cracking list of the best of the best from the laptops you can pick up in 2020.
While these are the best laptops you can buy right now, we are always updating this list with the latest and greatest. In particular, Dell just launched a bumper refresh to its larger XPS 15 2020 and XPS 17 2020 models, so look out for our reviews on those exciting devices.
Away from Dell’s recent launch, there are even more new laptops that have caught our eye too – from the MacBook Pro 2020, MacBook Air 2020, Surface Book 3 and Surface Go 2 – don’t miss those reviews too and come back here to check in on how they shake up the list.
While the hardware on the outside is having a great year, the tech on the inside isn’t too shabby either. With the recent launch of AMD Ryzen 4000 and the upcoming release Intel Tiger Lake, portable machine performance only looks like it will be on the up. There’s even speculation of ARM processors coming to the MacBook line which, if they see success, could be a massive sea-change for the thin and light laptop form-factor.
Related: Intel vs AMD
That said, if you want to wait for the latest and greatest laptop, you’ll never end up buying one. Fortunately, there are plenty of fantastic picks right now, as you can see in our quick summary below:
- Best overall laptop: Dell XPS 13 2020
- Best budget laptop: Honor MagicBook 14
- Best creative laptop: MacBook Pro 16-inch
- Best stylish laptop: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13
- Best lightweight laptop: Acer Swift 5
- Best 17-inch laptop: LG Gram 17 (2020)
- Best gaming laptop: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
- Best laptop for Netflix: HP Spectre x360 13
- Best laptop/tablet hybrid: Surface Pro 7
- Best Apple ultrabook: MacBook Air 2018
For a more in-depth look at these laptops, keep scrolling down as we list the pros and cons for each device.
Related: Best Laptop Deals
1. Dell XPS 13 2020
The best all-round Windows 10 laptop you can buy
- Ideal 16:10 InfinityEdge display
- Comfortable and clicky keyboard
- Remarkably thin and compact
- Productivity performance perfection
- Short on ports
- Keyboard can get a tad warm
The Dell XPS 13 2020 is the best laptop you can buy right now, delivering a stellar all-round performance with very few flaws. If anyone is looking for a 13-inch ultrabook that can blast through productivity tasks and offer outstanding visuals for Netflix, then this has to be on your shortlist. However, if you fancy a bit more size and graphical horsepower but love Dell’s design and build prowess then you may want to consider the new Dell XPS 15 2020 and Dell XPS 17 2020.
Admittedly, there aren’t a huge number of improvements from the Dell XPS 13 2019 here, but the new InfinityEdge display at least ensures this is one of the most gorgeous laptops available, while also ensuring a 16:10 aspect ratio which is well suited to social media and web browsing. Plus with the Ice Lake chip, you’ll not only be able to multitask efficiently, but also dabble with gaming and creative applications.
Is there any reason why you shouldn’t buy a Dell XPS 13? Well, it is more expensive than its rivals, with the likes of the Surface Laptop 3 available for a few hundred quid cheaper. Plus, the lack of port options mean you’ll have to make do with adapters which could prove frustrating. But if you want the absolute best laptop money can buy, then the Dell XPS 13 is our top recommendation.
- Read our full Dell XPS 13 2020 review
2. Honor MagicBook 14 (2020)
An incredibly affordable budget laptop
- Student-friendly premium style
- Superb value
- Pleasant typing experience
- More than capable productivity performance
- Webcam position on keyboard
- Below average display
Most decent Windows laptops cost upwards of £1000 these days, which is a serious lump of cash if you only want a system for web browsing and streaming video content. The Honor MagicBook 14 is a fantastic exception to the rule. This 14-inch ultrabook may not be the most powerful or stylish, despite its copycat MacBook design, but its all-round performance is astonishingly good considering its £549.99.
Being half the price of some of other laptops inevitably means you have to make compromises, as the MagicBook 14’s matte display is below average. The ultrabook is still very much adept for Netflix and YouTube viewing, but design work must be ruled out. But with a decent productivity performance, ultra-portable design and fantastic battery life, the MagicBook more than makes up for its adequate screen.
If you’re a student or someone on a tight budget, then we reckon the Honor MagicBook 14 is the best laptop for the job. You’ll get better quality by spending more, but no other laptop offers better value.
- Read our full Honor MagicBook 14 review
3. MacBook Pro 16-inch
Best laptop for creative tasks
- Incredibly powerful
- Bigger display still looks stunning
- Scissor keyboard a huge improvement
- More stylish with smaller bezel
- Very expensive
- Stingy port offering
- Lack of Wi-Fi 6
You could make a very good case that the MacBook Pro 16-inch is Apple’s best laptop in ages. Many flaws of previous Apple laptops have been addressed, including a much-improved keyboard and a new wafer-thin bezel that finally makes MacBooks look modern compared to the competition.
The performance of this MacBook Pro is just as excellent as you’d expect, with the processing speeds and GPU grunt that far exceeds the other laptops on this list. To be fair, Apple’s laptop is also a lot more expensive than the other portable PCs here, but that’s the price you have to pay to be able to blast through media tasks. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is now available too, but since that lacks a dedicated GPU, the smaller Pro can’t realistically be seen as a genuine alternative to this powerhouse portable.
Whether you’re a creative professional or student, or just fancy the most powerful Apple laptop possible, the MacBook Pro 16-inch is a superb laptop easily worth the high price.
- Read our full MacBook Pro 16-inch review
4. Surface Laptop 3 13-inch
One of the most stylish, top-performing laptops you can buy
- Classy, ultra-portable design
- Excellent performance
- Stunning 3:2 display
- Available in four colours
- Average battery life
- Lack of Thunderbolt 3
The Surface Laptop 3 13-inch comes the closest to challenging the Dell XPS 13 2020 as the best quality productivity laptop. It packs the latest and greatest components including Intel’s 10th-generation Ice Lake processor, which also features integrated graphics for casual gaming and Photoshop work.
One area where Microsoft is arguably better than Dell is in the looks department, as the Surface Laptop 3 is available in four different colours and looks drop-dead gorgeous, while the iconic Alcantara design is optional this time round.
Why isn’t the Surface Laptop 3 at the top of rankings? Underwhelming battery life and the frankly absurd exclusion of a Thunderbolt 3 port are big enough flaws to make this ultrabook miss out on the top spot, but these are arguably minor problems for an otherwise superb laptop. If you love the Surface brand but want a more powerful laptop, then check out the Surface Book 3. We’ll be posting a review in the coming weeks.
- Read our full Surface Laptop 3 13-inch review
5. Acer Swift 5
A great value ultra-portable laptop
- Solid performance, quiet running
- Pleasingly slim and light
- Incredibly good value
- Great port offering
- Couple of keyboard issues
The Acer Swift 5 has no right to challenge the Dell XPS 13 2020 considering its price, yet it offers similar high-end specs including Intel’s 10th Generation processor, up to 16GB RAM and SSD storage maxing out at 1TB.
Acer’s ultrabook even offers some added benefits too, such as a lighter frame (just 990g) and the option of an Nvidia MX250 GPU. So why does the Swift 5 miss out? Its keyboard isn’t quite good enough to challenge the very best, and its design isn’t as jaw-dropping.
These are small margins though, as the Swift 5 is more than good enough to serve as a cheaper alternative. Unfortunately, the laptop’s so popular that the £799 models appears to be sold out everywhere, but the more pricey configurations still represent fantastic value.
- Read our full Acer Swift 5 review
6. LG Gram 17 (2020)
An incredibly lightweight 17-inch laptop
- Unbelievably lightweight
- Superb 17-inch display
- Great battery life
- Improved processor performance
- Gaming performance with Ice Lake is disappointing
- Bland design compared to rivals
- Annoyingly reflective screen
The 17-inch form factor for laptops seemed to be as dead as the dodo a couple years back, especially for productivity focused machines. That was no major surprise though, since such laptops were so large and heavy that they proved difficult to stow in a bag, but the LG Gram 17 (2020) looks to change that.
This is a 17-inch laptop that weighs just 1350g, which isn’t too far off the smaller Dell XPS 13. This allows users to watch the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus on a massive screen without suffering back cramps on the work commute as a consequence. For the 2020 iteration, LG has also fitted in Intel’s 10th Gen Ice Lake processor. This ensures a nippy multi-tasking performance, although the gaming and creative talents are still lacking here, despite the integrated graphics.
The LG Gram 17 (2020) is our favourite 17-inch laptop you can buy, although you’ll have to wait until 18th May for it to become available in UK stores.
- Read our full LG Gram 17 (2020) review
7. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
A fantastic gaming laptop adept at day-to-say tasks
- Incredible CPU performance
- Great for Full HD gaming
- Ultra-portable design
- Impressive battery life
- Lack of RGB lighting
- No integrated webcam
- Underwhelming SSD speeds
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 feels like the odd one out in this list of laptops, since it prioritises gaming performance above all else. But unlike previous gaming laptops, the Zephyrus G14 is an ultra-portable machine that can double up as a productivity powerhouse thanks to its insane CPU speeds, comparatively dinky 1.69kg weight and superb battery life.
The Zephyrus G14 is currently our top recommended gaming laptop, and with a reasonable £1100 starting price it’s a genuinely worthwhile alternative to the likes of a Dell XPS and Surface Laptop.
You’ll need to be into your gaming to make the most of the Zephyrus G14, but if you fancy playing a bit of Fortnite, Civilization or Sims on your lunch break, then there is no better choice.
- Read our full Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review
8. HP Spectre x360 13
Brilliant ultrabook with a beautiful 4K screen
- Gorgeous 4K display
- Perfect mix of productivity and portability
- Improved keyboard and trackpad
- Premium build quality
- Below average battery life
- Slightly dated design
The HP Spectre x360 13 has one major selling point: its 4K display. Netflix content looks absolutely gorgeous on this screen, and if you use your laptop primarily for video streaming, then this portable should be right at the top of your shortlist.
This is no one trick pony either, featuring Intel’s 10th Generation processor, up to 16GB RAM and up to 1TB SSD storage. Plus it has a 2-in-1 form factor, and so can fulfil tablet duties. That 4K panel does limit battery life though, and the design looks a bit dated compared to other laptops on this list. But both of those flaws are easy to forgive when 4K movies look so fantastic.
The HP Elite Dragonfly is a great alternative to this for the privacy conscious, with a vPro Intel chip and pre-loaded security software helping to prevent hacking or malware giving you a migraine. However, the added security features do see this laptop’s price increase substantially.
- Read our full HP Spectre x360 13 review
9. Surface Pro 7
The best Windows laptop/tablet hybrid
- Full-fat Windows 10 application library
- Excellent connectivity
- Solid build quality
- Type Cover costs extra
- Not a big step up on the Surface Pro 6
The Surface Pro 7 isn’t strictly a laptop, especially if you don’t bother to buy the Type Cover, which is sold separately. If you do splash out on this Microsoft accessory, though, you’ll have one of the most versatile devices available. This is the best device on this list for tablet duty, while the Type Cover offers such a great typing experience it can easily compete with laptop competitors.
The latest model sees Intel’s 10th-gen Intel Core processor, while also sporting the new USB-C port for speedy data transfers. If you’re after a lower-priced alternative, the Surface Pro 6 is a great option and is available for £100 less.
Still, if you’re after a high-performance, future-proofed Windows convertible, then the Surface Pro 7 is our top recommended device.
- Read our full Surface Pro 7 review
10. Apple MacBook Air (2018)
The best MacBook for day-to-day use
- A classic design, refreshed for 2018
- Lightweight, premium-feel body
- Retina Display screen
- Two USB-C ports
- Outdated processor
The MacBook Air 2018 has slid down our rankings in recent months, falling behind competitors due to its outdated processor and design.
Despite its shortcomings this is still a solid laptop. The 2018 line-up brings a 2560 x 1600 Retina Display screen, Touch ID and the T2 security chip, which encrypts your files on the go. The stereo speakers also offer sound quality that’s among the best of any laptop we’ve seen recently. For everyday use, the battery gave us 9-10hrs of power.
Pricing for the range starts at £1199, which means you can get similarly priced Windows machines that boast a far better performance. But if you’re invested in the Apple ecosystem, the Apple MacBook Air (2018) is still a brilliant ultrabook.
That said, the new MacBook Air 2020 is a great alternative that addresses many of the issues found with the predecessor, but due to the current Covid-19 disruptions, we’re yet to review this laptop. Keep an eye on Trusted Reviews in the coming weeks or our final review.
- Read our full MacBook Air 2018 review