Today’s Best Tech Deals
Picked by PCWorld’s Editors
Top Deals On Great Products
Picked by Techconnect’s Editors
The best laptops are getting better. Computex 2021 (virtual) brought a heavy rain of news from AMD, Intel, and Nvidia, everything from new CPUs to technologies that enhance gaming performance. The laptop market is still tight, but if you yearn for the latest and greatest, this is your time. Keep reading for the latest news and reviews.
Our top picks from currently available laptops are below:
Latest laptop news and reviews
Here are the latest stories:
- Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 11 operating system has strict system requirements, which could rule out a lot of laptops from 2018 and earlier. The no-go list even includes some of Microsoft’s own Surface devices.
- We’re seeing more and more laptops with Ryzen 5000. The latest: HP’s Pavilion Aero 13, which weighs a mere 2.2 pounds and offers a roomy 16:10-aspect ratio display, plus fun color options. Then there’s the affordable Lenovo ThinkPad L-series for business.
- Speaking of Ryzen 5000, how does it stack up to its closest rival? We compare Ryzen 5000 to Intel’s Tiger Lake H to help you decide which powerhouse you want in your next laptop.
- If you have $600 to $1,000 to spend on a laptop, you have a lot of great options. Check out the best midrange laptops we’ve found online.
Best thin-and-light laptop
When we think about the best thin-and-light laptop, it’s always been a close contest between the Dell XPS 2-in-1 and the HP Spectre x360. This time around, we’re giving the luxurious HP Spectre x360 14 some time in the sun, with a nod to the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 9310 that preceded it as our top pick. The Spectre x360 14, now sporting the same Intel 11th-gen Tiger Lake CPU available in the Dell XPS line, trades blows with its eternal rival in test after test. It rises to the top because of a few key advantages: It offers longer battery life (thanks to a bigger battery), a far better keyboard, and little things like a USB-A port and a physical webam shutoff switch, all for a lower price. Well played. Read our full review.
[ $1,590 on HP.com ]
Now that Apple’s M1 chip has raised the bar for lightweight laptop performance, there’s a question every ultraportable PC maker must address: Why would someone buy this instead of a MacBook Air?
Well, here’s an answer for the new Acer Swift 5: It’s fast enough to play Fortnite and a bunch of other games that are absent from Apple’s platform, but it weighs only 2.3 pounds and gets stellar battery life for work or web browsing. It also has a touchscreen and a bunch of useful ports, including HDMI out and USB-A, none of which you’ll find on Apple’s thin-and-light (ahem). Read our full review.
[Currently about $1,300 on Amazon.com, but prices fluctuate frequently.]
Best laptop under $500
If this particular model of the Acer Aspire 5 looks familiar, it’s probably because it’s been sitting atop Amazon’s laptop bestseller list for months. It’s easy to understand why. This AMD Ryzen 3-powered Aspire 5 packs some enticing features for the price, including a Full-HD 15.6-inch display, a slim-and-trim chassis, and solid performance on everyday computing tasks.
That said, a Windows 10 laptop this inexpensive has its compromises. In this case, we’re talking a scant 4GB of RAM and a cramped 128GB solid-state drive, while battery life falls significantly short compared to similar Aspire 5 models that don’t cost much more. Read our full review.
[Currently $410 on Amazon, but prices fluctuate frequently.]
Best 14-inch/15-inch workhorse
Laptops like the HP Envy 14 fall into the category of “content creation:” notebook PCs with a modestly powerful discrete GPU that can play some games, edit video, or simply serve as a solid all-around PC. This 14-inch laptop satisfies all three.
In our tests, we found that while some laptops outperformed the Envy 14, many couldn’t do so for the price. Here, the Envy 14 offers top-notch battery life, support for powerful external Thunderbolt hardware, and a pleasing everyday typing experience. Read our full review.
Best convertible laptop
Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 9310 is mostly an evolutionary update to the XPS 13 7390 2-in-1 we reviewed last year, but with one key change. Thanks to Intel’s 11th gen Core i7-1165G7 chip, gaming is actually conceivable on this sub-three-pound laptop.
Most other things didn’t change, and we have our beefs about the design. But that game-ready performance boost alone makes the XPS 13 2-in-1 special. Read our full review.
[$1,714 as tested; available on Dell.com]
Best budget convertible laptop
The Asus ZenBook Flip 13 offers a lot for the money. It’s a beautiful laptop that offers decent battery life, very good graphics, and a lot of pep for most of what you’d do on a small 13-inch convertible laptop. Some might fixate on its lack of a headphone jack, but that would be unfair to its impressive 11th-gen Intel Tiger Lake Core i7-1165G7 chip and its drop-dead-gorgeous OLED screen. Read our full review.
Best 2-in-1 / tablet / hybrid laptop
By naming this Windows tablet the Surface Pro 7+, Microsoft mistakenly implies that it’s some sort of minor upgrade from the Surface Pro 7. Nothing could be further from the truth: We rarely see such massive upgrades in CPU and GPU horsepower, as well as battery life. It also offers an LTE option and an absolutely dead-silent, fanless chassis.
A few decisions made us scratch our heads. Why do we have to choose between an integrated microSD slot or the LTE option? Thunderbolt still isn’t here, either. But even these flaws really can’t mar an exciting leap in performance. This is the best Surface Pro of several generations, and for the moment the best Windows tablet on the market, too.
[$1,650 MRSP as reviewed on Microsoft.com]
Keep reading for our top picks in gaming laptops and more.