Last updated date: January 4, 2019
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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.
We looked at the top 1 Laptops and dug through the reviews from 3 of the most popular review sites including Tech Radar, CNET, The Verge and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Laptop you should buy.
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. In our analysis of 89 expert reviews, the Google Google Pixelbook placed 3rd when we looked at the top 18 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
Editor's Note March 15, 2019:
Checkout The Best Laptop for a detailed review of all the top laptops.
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From The Manufacturer
Meet Google Pixelbook, the high performance Chromebook. It’s the first laptop with the Google Assistant built in. The long lasting battery delivers up to 10 hours of use and it’s fast charging so can get 2 hours of use in 15 minutes. 4-in-1 design adapts to whatever you’re doing with laptop, tablet, tent and entertainment modes. Access to favorite apps including Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Gmail, YouTube and more. Pixelbook's super thin and lightweight design measures 10.3 mm and weighs 2.45lbs. Features a 12.3” 360° touchscreen display, a sleek aluminum body, Corning Gorilla Glass and a backlit keyboard. Powered by Chrome OS with automatic software updates so you’ll always have the latest virus protection. It starts up in less than 10 secs, stays fast throughout the day, and won’t slow down over time.
Overall Product Rankings
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.
DYWM 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.