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The Best Laptop

Last updated on March 15, 2019

We looked at the top 18 Laptops and dug through the reviews from 86 of the most popular review sites including Laptop Magazine, Digital Trends, Consumer Reports, PC World, CNET, Trusted Reviews and more. The result is a ranking of the best Laptops.

Best Laptop

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our experts reviewed the top 18 Laptops and also dug through the reviews from 86 of the most popular review sites including Laptop Magazine, Digital Trends, Consumer Reports, PC World, CNET, Trusted Reviews and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Laptops.

Our Picks For The Top Laptops

Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Acer

Chromebook 14

Overall Take

The Acer Chromebook 14 has a reliable keyboard, a dependable battery and a sleek design. The 14-inch screen is perfect for watching shows on Netflix.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Digital Trends, Trusted Reviews, Laptop Magazine, PC World, CNET, The Verge and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Walmart and Target.
Pros
" We quite enjoyed typing on the Acer Chromebook 14’s keyboard, which is generously spaced and offers large keys."
Cons
"Connectivity is also surprisingly limited, considering how much space is available along the sides."

Apple

13" MacBook Air

Overall Take

The MacBook Air has narrowed the gap between itself and the MacBook Pro in recent years. It features impressive power and portability, as well as a long battery life.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus CNET, Tech Radar, Digital Trends, Consumer Reports, New York Times Wirecutter, PC Magazine and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Best Buy.
Pros
" Now that it uses current-gen Intel CPUs, the MacBook is definitely a viable everyday laptop, rather than a specialty product--its performance was very close to the 2011 13-inch MacBook Pro in most of our benchmark tests, and its battery life..."
Cons
"For the most part, the MacBook Air pretty much looks the same as it has since 2010, and there don’t appear to be any changes in tow, either. That’s a shame, especially because we’re starting to see a ton of..."

Google

Pixelbook

Overall Take

The Google Pixelbook has a useful backlit keyboard and a convertible design. Plus, it comes with Google Assistant installed, so all you have to do is say, "OK Google" to find what you're looking for.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Tech Radar, CNET, The Verge. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Best Buy.
Pros
" The backlit keyboard’s keys are well-spaced, and the 0.8mm travel is a delight with forceful feedback."
Cons
"The Pixelbook ups the ante for all Chromebooks, and it does so at a high cost -- literally."
  The Best Value

Samsung

Chromebook 3

Overall Take

Fast wake-up times and a lightweight form make the Samsung Chromebook 3 a popular choice. For the price, the features that come with this model are hard to find elsewhere.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Consumer Reports, CNET, Trusted Reviews, Laptop Magazine, PCVerge, PC World. Along with user reviews from Walmart and Amazon.
Pros
" Has a very long battery life. Has USB 3.0 to support faster peripherals"
Cons
"My biggest area of complaint about the Samsung Chromebook is performance. In short, it struggles under a load, especially when there are many browser tabs open."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
22

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the laptops available to purchase.
18

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products to review and score.

View All Product Rankings

86

Expert Reviews Included

Reviews from our DWYM category experts and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Laptop Magazine, Digital Trends, Consumer Reports, PC World, CNET.

38,572

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target and 3 others.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Acer Chromebook 14

Expert Summarized Score
8.9
8 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.1
1,318 user reviews
The DWYM Expert Take

The Acer Chromebook 14 has a reliable keyboard, a dependable battery and a sleek design. The 14-inch screen is perfect for watching shows on Netflix.

What other experts liked
We quite enjoyed typing on the Acer Chromebook 14’s keyboard, which is generously spaced and offers large keys.
- Digital Trends
June 15, 2016 | Full review
One of the main benefits of Chromebooks is the generally dependable battery life.
- Trusted Reviews
October 19, 2018 | Full review
The Acer Chromebook 14 has none of these problems, as its brushed metal lid and aluminum chassis give it a sleek design and great build quality.
- Laptop Magazine
May 13, 2016 | Full review
Acer touts the all-aluminum chassis on the Chromebook 14, and for good reason. Amid a pile of plastic competitors, the brushed-metal shell looks refined and feels great.
- PC World
November 17, 2017 | Full review
And really, this Chromebook is perfect for all types of uses thanks to the larger-than-usual screen and its portability. The 14-inch size is enough to comfortably work with two windows side-by-side, but it's not so big that you can't use...
- CNET
June 23, 2016 | Full review
It’s made of aluminum, has a fantastic keyboard / trackpad combo, and a crisp 1080p display.
- The Verge
June 24, 2016 | Full review
This affordable 12-piece set has the largest pots and pans of all the sets we tested, giving you the most bang for your buck. Every pan distributes heat evenly and is durable enough to take some abuse in a busy...
- New York Times Wirecutter
Distributed heat evenly on gas and electric ranges. Browned steak evenly. Comes with detailed owner's manual. Pans/lids are oven safe up to 500°F
- Good Housekeeping
What other experts didn't like
The Celeron line is much less powerful than the Intel Core line most users are familiar with, and is optimized more for battery usage than performance.
- Digital Trends
June 15, 2016 | Full review
Connectivity is also surprisingly limited, considering how much space is available along the sides.
- Trusted Reviews
October 19, 2018 | Full review
Acer gave the notebook keys with only 1.14 millimeters of travel, which is too shallow and leads to bottoming out (the act of slamming one's digits against the deck).
- Laptop Magazine
May 13, 2016 | Full review
I was particularly unhappy with the keyboard, which has the hard-plastic keys and harsh, abrupt travel typical of entry-level Chromebooks—not what the Chromebook 14 is supposed to be.
- PC World
November 17, 2017 | Full review
Perhaps because it is so thin, though, the keyboard's keys don't have much travel. If you tend to hammer on your keyboard when typing, it might be an issue. The keyboard also isn't backlit, which is more of an issue...
- CNET
June 23, 2016 | Full review
But on the other end, the Chromebook 14 is hindered by its lack of a touchscreen — just as Google prepares to usher Android apps into Chrome OS.
- The Verge
June 24, 2016 | Full review

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Samsung Chromebook 3

Expert Summarized Score
6.8
6 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.1
697 user reviews
The DWYM Expert Take

Fast wake-up times and a lightweight form make the Samsung Chromebook 3 a popular choice. For the price, the features that come with this model are hard to find elsewhere.

What other experts liked
Has a very long battery life. Has USB 3.0 to support faster peripherals
- Consumer Reports
Frankly, I'm more concerned about light weight and fast wake-up times, and the Samsung Chromebook does well in those areas.
- CNET
January 16, 2013 | Full review
Keeping in mind how slim and affordable the XE303C12 is, connectivity can safely be called ‘superb’.
- Trusted Reviews
February 6, 2013 | Full review
This 11.6-inch notebook not only boasts a fantastic screen and nearly 10 hours of battery life but also comes with 4GB of RAM, so you can expect solid performance.
- Laptop Magazine
November 21, 2018 | Full review
It boots up in a record 5 seconds, and is perfectly able to run a couple of Web applications and stream videos, simultaneously.
- PCVerge
January 4, 2018 | Full review
Better performance than many tablets. Sturdy construction.
- PC World
March 19, 2013 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
One of the worst screens for color reproduction and viewing angle. • Battery is not easily removable.
- Consumer Reports
My biggest area of complaint about the Samsung Chromebook is performance. In short, it struggles under a load, especially when there are many browser tabs open.
- CNET
January 16, 2013 | Full review
Build quality isn’t quite as impressive, but it’s good enough – and, when you’re talking about a sub-£300 laptop, that’s realistically about all you can expect.
- Trusted Reviews
February 6, 2013 | Full review
There is no flexing around its keyboard, which is a problem that plagues most other laptops in this price range.
- Laptop Magazine
November 21, 2018 | Full review
It does cut corners, however, like shoddy key placement and feeble speakers, and the usual limitations of Chrome OS.
- PCVerge
January 4, 2018 | Full review
Takes time to adapt to the keyboard. No physical right-click option.
- PC World
March 19, 2013 | Full review

Overall Product Rankings

1. Acer Chromebook 14
Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 11

2. Apple 13″ MacBook Air
Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 11

3. Google Pixelbook
Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 6

4. Samsung Chromebook 3
Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 6

5. HP Spectre x360
Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 10

6. ASUS C302CA-DHM4
Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 6

7. Google Pixelbook
Overall Score: 8.0
Reviews Included: 9

8. Acer Flagship CB3-532
Overall Score: 8.0
Reviews Included: 6

9. Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
Overall Score: 8.0
Reviews Included: 10

10. Acer Chromebook 11
Overall Score: 7.9
Reviews Included: 5

11. ASUS Flip Touchscreen
Overall Score: 7.8
Reviews Included: 6

12. Samsung Chromebook Pro
Overall Score: 7.8
Reviews Included: 6

13. Samsung Chromebook 3
Overall Score: 7.7
Reviews Included: 10

14. Acer Aspire
Overall Score: 7.6
Reviews Included: 5

15. Acer Flagship 15″
Overall Score: 7.3
Reviews Included: 8

16. Dell Chromebook 11
Overall Score: 7.2
Reviews Included: 4

17. HP Chromebook N2840
Overall Score: 6.7
Reviews Included: 7

18. Dell Inspiron 13 7000
Overall Score: 6.4
Reviews Included: 6

An Overview On Laptops

The days of being stuck at a desk all day are history. Today, you can work from your home, an office or a beachfront vacation home. But to do that, you need a powerful, yet portable laptop. A laptop with a battery that can go for hours on a charge, while also letting you stream the latest season of “Stranger Things” while you scroll through your social media feed.

The good news is, laptops are becoming more lightweight and powerful each year. You no longer have to pay a fortune for a laptop that will handle everything you need to do, whether you’re a college student or a high-powered executive. Newer laptops are both affordable and robust, giving you a wide range of options for your budget.

But with the latest round of laptop models, peripheral support is a huge factor. As consumers have embraced streaming, manufacturers have done away with DVD-ROM drives. But now that streamlining also applies to USB ports, with many newer models coming only with two or three. As the market moves toward USB-C charging, you may also find you need connectors for each of the ports you don’t plan to use for your power cord.

Storage is another consideration when you’re choosing a computer. Yes, the cloud has made this less important, but you’ll still want plenty of space for all the applications and documents you’ll need to store. If you decide to download a few Netflix movies to watch on long flights, you’ll need at least 280 megabytes per hour of standard-definition video. Over time, you’ll also find operating system upgrades and software updates take up an increasing amount of hard drive space. All of that combined simply means that the more storage you invest in up front, the less likely you are to need a new computer in a few years.

Thanks to the app ecosystem, consumers have a wider range of options in the devices they use for work and play. This means you can buy an affordable laptop and rely on the power of the cloud for everything you need. This has also made it easier for manufacturers to create laptops that are inexpensive, making them accessible to a wider consumer market. But there are so many affordable laptops now on the market, it can be difficult to choose one. Fortunately, by looking at your own budget and listing the features you feel are most important, you can narrow down the options.

DWYM Fun Fact

Laptops date back much further than you probably realize. The first-known laptop was the Grid Compass, designed in 1979. It was later used as part of the space program. But the first fully functional laptop computer is often credited as being the Gavilan Computer, which was introduced in May 1983 as the smallest and lightest MS-DOS computer at the time. However, in 1982, Grid introduced the Compass 1101, which came up with the innovation of folding a screen over the keyboard. Even earlier than that, though, Osborne Computer Corporation released the Osborne 1, which was billed as a portable computer. Following these innovations, both IBM and Microsoft came out with their own laptops and the rest is history.

The Laptop Buying Guide

  • Before you shop for a laptop, take some time to outline the items that are most important to you. Look at your current devices and consider the things you like most and least about them. If you’re a gamer and your device overheats and locks up after a few minutes of play, CPU strength will be at the top of your list. If you still rely heavily on external hard drives and card readers, port count will be important.
  • Operating system preferences will narrow the field considerably. If you’re a Mac person, you probably won’t look any further than the latest MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, such as the 13” MacBook Air. If you prefer Google’s operating system, though, you have a wide range of choices. The Samsung Chromebook 3, for example, is both affordable and lightweight.
  • Performance is all in the processors, and many top-rated laptops pack plenty of power. The Google Pixelbook includes a 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, while the MacBook Air includes a dual-core 5th-generation Intel Core i5. Chromebooks use an Intel Celeron processor and in this area, the Samsung Chromebook’s N3060 slightly outperforms the Acer Chromebook’s Celeron N3160. Still, any variations you see in performance among newer processors will likely be minimal.
  • If you need more than one USB port, pay close attention to the options. You’ll get only two USB ports with most of the laptops you consider, but splitters are available if you need to hook up multiple devices.
  • As important as CPU power is while your laptop is running, wake-up times are also important. If you walk away or close your device lid, how long will you have to wait to use it again once you return? The Samsung Chromebook 3 wakes up quickly and can also boot up from shutdown in only five seconds.
  • If you own a laptop, chances are you’ll at least occasionally be carrying it around. In the race to provide the lightest laptop, the Google Pixelbook ranks toward the top, weighing in at only 2.45 pounds. Samsung’s Chromebook 3 is close, though, with a weight of only 2.54 pounds. Compare this to the MacBook Pro’s 3 to 4 pounds and you’ll see how much of a difference these Chromebooks make. Even the MacBook Air is on the heavier side, at 2.96 pounds.
  • Few things can be as annoying as getting away from home, only to have your battery die. The MacBook Air and Acer Chromebook boast up to 12 hours of battery life, while the Samsung Chromebook promises up to 11. Although the Google Pixelbook only offers up to 10 hours of battery life, you can get two hours of use on a 15-minute charge, thanks to its fast-charging technology.
  • We’ve all gotten used to touchscreen displays on our phones and tablets. If you want that same functionality in your laptop, check out the Google Pixelbook, which has a 360-degree touchscreen display.
  • If you’re tech-challenged, you may want to consider an extended warranty. Each laptop comes with a limited warranty, but you can upgrade to an extended warranty for a fee. AppleCare, for example, provides not only extended care for your devices, but technical support help as well.
  • When you’re in the office or at home, you may prefer to connect your laptop to a monitor. You can do this with the help of cables, but if it’s going to be a regular occurrence, a docking station will offer you easy access to a keyboard, mouse and monitor while you’re at your desk.
  • Another important consideration is whether you can use your laptop’s trackpad or an external mouse. A wireless mouse may be the best option, since you’ll be using it on the go.
  • Despite the name, your lap isn’t the best place to rest your laptop while you’re working. Laptops need good air circulation, so invest in a good laptop desk or make sure you always sit at a table while you’re working on it.
  • At one time, laptops used nickel-metal hydride batteries, which could eventually forget their charge capabilities if you only allowed them to drain halfway before recharging. Today’s lithium-ion batteries don’t have that issue. Still, some experts believe you can extend a battery’s life by avoiding letting it drain to less than 20 percent.
  • A laptop’s portability also makes it vulnerable to theft. A cable lock can help, but make sure you also equip your computer with a difficult-to-guess password. If your laptop is stolen, at least your personal information won’t be at risk.
  • For those times when you’re using your keyboard in a dimly-lit room, having light behind your keys can be a big help. The Google Pixelbook has a backlit keyboard, while many others don’t.
  • Traditionally, you’d purchase a laptop, then worry about loading it with software that you had to buy separately. But with today’s laptops, it’s all about the apps. If you opt for a MacBook, Apple’s basic office software is included. With Chromebook, you’ll be steered toward the Google Play store, where you can access Google Docs, as well as numerous other apps. You’ll still be able to purchase your favorite apps for your laptop, as well.
  • When it comes to price, it’s hard to ignore the affordability of Chromebooks. Sure, the MacBook Air has a long list of benefits, but so do both the Acer and Samsung Chromebooks. The Acer Chromebook retails for less than $300, while Samsung’s version drops down to less than $200. Compared to Apple’s almost-$1,000 price point, these two laptops are well worth considering.
  • Before you finalize your purchase, make sure you have a way to carry your new laptop around. Whether you choose a backpack or a laptop bag, make sure it’s padded enough to protect your laptop wherever you take it.
  • Once you have your laptop, make sure you protect it from viruses using the top software on the market. Both the Google Pixelbook and Samsung Chromebook have security features built in. Chromebooks are virus-resistant by nature, but it can’t hurt to look into antivirus apps for your chosen operating system.