The best Windows laptop in 2024: our picks for every budget (2024)

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  • Best desktop replacement
  • Best battery life
  • How to choose
  • How we test

Best Windows laptop: Quick Menu

The best Windows laptop in 2024: our picks for every budget (1)

1. The list in brief
2. Best overall
3. Best budget
4. Best 2-in-1
5. Best premium
6. Best thin and light
7. Best for gaming
8. Best budget gaming
9. Best AMOLED display
10. Best desktop replacement
11. Best battery life
12. How to choose
13. How we test

The best Windows laptop is a sound investment for across-the-board versatility, no matter what type of workload you’re wrestling with. Boasting some of the best software support available, they offer endless versatility for productivity, creativity, and even gaming. And for the unbridled flexibility they provide, they represent some of the best laptops money can buy.

For a premium Windows laptop that excels in every respect, look no further than the Dell XPS 15 (2022). This sleek and stylish productivity laptop is one slick customer. Equipped with an Intel Alder Lake processor and faster RAM, it can make mincemeat of your daily workload. It’s lightweight and portable with a reliable battery life that can easily handle a full working day.

If you’re looking to spend a little less without compromising too much on features, the Acer Aspire 5 (2022) is a very credible budget alternative. Its entry-level models provide excellent value for money, and are plenty durable, too. Featuring a full HD 1080p screen and a responsive keyboard and trackpad, it can coast through your everyday workload with ease.

We’ve carefully selected our top picks of the best Windows laptops for your perusal. Our selections cover every possible use, style, and budget, so you won’t have any trouble finding the right model for you.

The quick list

Want to cut to the chase and find out what the best Windows laptops are? Below, you’ll find a roundup of our choices, and you can jump to a more detailed review of every pick, along with our price comparison tool to help you find the best deals.

Best of the best

1. Dell XPS 15 (2022)

The best overall

This combines a gorgeous design with a roomy 15-inch screen and plenty of power for almost any task you want, making it the best Windows laptop.

Read more below

Best budget

2. Acer Aspire 5 (2022)

The best budget

An affordable entry-level laptop with great performance, features, and battery life for the price, this is the best budget Windows laptop right now.

Read more below

Best 2-in-1

3. Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8

The best 2-in-1

Stunning, powerful, and versatile, this is the best 2-in-1 laptop we've tested this year. It also boasts a vivid OLED display and an elegant chassis.

Read more below

Best thin and light

4. Acer Swift 3 OLED (2022)

The best thin and light

The Acer Swift 3 OLED is the total package, solid, powerful, stunning. But it's also thin and lightweight at only three pounds, ideal for portability.

Read more below

Best for gaming

5. Alienware m17 R5 AMD Advantage

The best for gaming

Absolutely mighty, this AMD-powered Windows gaming laptop delivers top-notch performance both in games and in creative workloads.

Read more below

Best budget gaming

6. HP Victus 15

The best cheap gaming

Created solely for the budget gamer, even the lowest priced version of this Windows laptop can play high-end titles well while still balancing every day needs.

Read more below

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Best display

7. Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra

The best display

The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra is capable tackling demanding tasks, but the highlight here is its 3K AMOLED screen that delivers crisp, clear visuals.

Read more below

Best desktop replacement

8. Lenovo Legion Pro 7i

The best desktop replacement

One of the first Nvidia RTX 4000 gaming laptops we've tested, the Pro 7i pairs incredible performance with a stunning and fast display.

Read more below

Best battery life

9. Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2022)

The best battery life

While its touchscreen, overall performance, webcam, and audio are fantastic, but its 13-hour battery life is easily one of its best features.

Read more below

The best Windows laptops in 2023

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Below you'll find full write-ups for each of the best Windows laptop in our list. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best Windows laptop overall

The best Windows laptop in 2024: our picks for every budget (11)

1. Dell XPS 15 (2022)

The best Windows laptop overall

Specifications

CPU: 12th Gen Intel Core i5 – i7

Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti

RAM: 8GB – 64GB DDR5

Screen: 15.6-inch 3.5K (3,456 x 2,160p), 60Hz, OLED, 400 nits, non-touch

Storage: 256GB – 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe

Reasons to buy

+

Gorgeous design

+

Powerful performance across the board

Buy it if:

✅ You want the best-looking Windows laptop around: The Dell XPS 15 sets the standard for stylish Windows laptops.

✅ You want all-day battery life: We didn't think it was possible anymore, but the XPS 15 can get you all-day battery life on an Intel Alder Lake chip.

Don't buy it if:

You're on a budget: The XPS 15 starts pretty pricey and only gets more expensive from there.

❌ You don't want to carry around a USB hub: With three USB Type-C ports, there isn't much room for a whole lot else, namely USB Type-A peripherals.

Updated with new hardware and that classic XPS style, the Dell XPS 15 remains to be the best Windows laptop around. Dell has upgraded the internals to include new Intel Alder Lake processors and faster RAM so that it's more capable than ever.

While it's no gaming laptop, it still turned in respectable gaming results in our testing and blasted through everyday tasks with ease. That's while delivering a full workday on a charge, averaging at 12:01 in our PCMark 10 test.

The chassis remains unchanged, but that classic XPS look and brushed aluminum finish remain as stunning as ever. It's incredibly thin and lightweight, making it extremely portable, especially for a 15-inch laptop. And, its keyboard and trackpad are just as responsive and as comfortable as ever.

It's not a cheap purchase, to be sure, but it's reasonably priced for a laptop in its class. And, you're definitely getting what you're paying for.

Read our full Dell XPS 15 (2022) review

The best budget Windows laptop

The best Windows laptop in 2024: our picks for every budget (12)

2. Acer Aspire 5 (2022)

The best budget Windows laptop

Specifications

CPU: Up to 12th Gen Intel Core i7

Graphics: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050

RAM: Up to 16GB DDR4 SDRAM

Screen: 17.3" Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9

Storage: Up to 1TB SSD + 1TB HDD

Reasons to buy

+

Competitive price

+

Solid build, with a 1.7kg weight

+

Decent battery life for the price

Reasons to avoid

-

720p webcam

-

Limited port selection

Buy it if:

✅ You’re on a budget: The Aspire 5 is a high-end laptop for video-editing work, but its entry-level model only costs around $600/£450.

✅ You travel a lot: It's sturdy design and weight of just 1.7kg mean that it'll will happily live in your backpack all day long.

Don't buy it if:

You’re a gamer: Most Aspire 5 models rely on more basic integrated graphics.

❌ You need all-day battery life: 6.5 hours of battery life isn’t bad for a laptop in this price range, but it is if you need a long-lasting laptop for work.

No budget Windows laptop is as good as the Acer Aspire 5, which offers so many configurations covering different display sizes and your choice of integrated and discrete graphics that the line has something for pretty much every user. What's more impressive is that this entry-level model provides respectable performance for a laptop in this price range.

You’re not going to get a cutting-edge design, but it gets the basics right, from its sturdy chassis to its comfortable keyboard and fingerprint sensor on the trackpad. And the 1080p14-inch screen is bright, clear, and comes with good viewing angles.

Being a budget option, there are compromises here: the 720p webcam is a bit basic, the built-in speakers are somewhat feeble, and connectivity is a bit of a mixed bag. However, they aren't deal-breakers either. You're definitely getting great value for your money here.

Read our full Acer Aspire 5 (2022) review

The best 2-in-1 Windows laptop

The best Windows laptop in 2024: our picks for every budget (13)

3. Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8

The best 2-in-1 laptop overall

Specifications

CPU: 13th Gen Intel Core i7-1360P

Graphics: Intel Iris Xe

RAM: 16GB LPDDR5

Screen: Up to 14-inch 3840 x 2400 400-nit OLED touchscreen with 100% DCI-P3, VESA Certified DisplayHDR True Black 500, Dolby Vision

Storage: Up to 1TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+

Absolutely stunning design

+

Gorgeous display

+

Great battery life and performance

Reasons to avoid

-

Too expensive for most people

-

Display averages at 350 nits

Buy it if:

✅ You need one for work and casual photo editing: This is an incredibly capable laptop that handles productivity and every day tasks like a pro and holds its own with creative workloads.

✅ You want a great-featured laptop: There's a lot of great features here, including a rotating soundbar, an OLED display, a fingerprint reader, many keyboard shortcuts, and a 1080p webcam.

Don't buy it if:

Money is tight: It's not exactly a budget option. Look elsewhere if you need something under $1,000/£1,000.

❌ You do more creative workloads: It held its own with photo editing high-res images, but it got pretty loud and warm, and it also wasn't the fastest.

The Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 (2023) is an absolute stunner with its elevated design featuring an OLED display with amazing picture quality and a 360-degree-rotating soundbar that delivers a more immersive streaming experience. And, it's a testament to Lenovo’s brilliance.

But, it's powerful as well, crushing other touchscreen laptops such as the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 in our benchmarks and holding its own tackling creative workloads such as exporting 50 edited high-res 7952 x 4472 images from RAW to JPEG in Lightroom. And while it may not have the longest battery life, it lasted a little over 10 hours on a full charge in our web surfing battery test, which means you can leave the charger at home and still have a full workday.

The OLED display is not as bright as we'd hoped, averaging around 350 nits, but it’s vibrant nonetheless thanks to those deep, rich colors. And, if you want to go on tablet mode, you'll find it responsive and intuitive to your touch commands as well.

Read our full Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 review

The best premium 2-in-1 laptop

The best Windows laptop in 2024: our picks for every budget (14)

4. HP Spectre x360 (2022)

The best premium 2-in-1 laptop

Specifications

CPU: 12th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7

Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics

RAM: 8GB – 16GB LPDDR4X

Screen: 13.5" 3K2K (3000 x 2000) UWVA OLED

Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+

Gorgeous design

+

Excellent battery life

+

Vibrant OLED screen

Reasons to avoid

-

OLED display drives up the price

-

Touchpad sensitivity is a bit iffy

Buy it if:

✅ You want a lightweight 2-in-1 machine: At 13-inches and 3lbs, the HP Spectre x360 is extremely portable and can fit into nearly any medium-sized bag with ease.

✅ You want to upgrade to an OLED screen: The OLED screen version of this laptop is easily the best one, as it makes this 2-in-1 stand out way more than other laptops in the same market.

Don't buy it if:

You need a functional touchpad: This touchpad has easily the worst sensitivity we’ve seen in a laptop in quite some time.

❌ You need a budget machine: While the starting pricing isn’t too bad, the OLED and general spec upgrades can jack up the costs.

The HP Spectre x360 has been one of our favorite laptops for years now, and the 2022 model is no different. It's more powerful than ever, however, with 12th-generation Intel Alder Lake processors and better-integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, both of which offer a serious performance boost.

It ran work programs, handle multiple browser tabs, and even play plenty of low and mid-range video games during testing with no issues. And its performance was incredibly consistent throughout. We just wish that the battery life lasts longer than eight hours, but at least, it charges fast, reaching at least 80% capacity in about an hour.

Really, this is the single best 2-in-1 laptop on the market right now, especially with that impeccable design, pristine gem-cut chassis, and solid build. If you care about aesthetics as much as you do performance and overall quality, this is the best Windows laptop for you. While it's certainly pricey, you're getting some excellent extras, such as formidable security features and surprisingly decent Bang & Olufsen speakers.

Read our full HP Spectre x360 (2022) review

The best thin and light Windows laptop

The best Windows laptop in 2024: our picks for every budget (15)

5. Acer Swift 3 OLED (2022)

The best thin and light Windows laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-12700H

Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics

RAM: 16GB LPDDR5

Screen: 14-inch 2.8K OLED SlimBezel Adobe 100%

Storage: 1TB

Reasons to buy

+

Well-priced

+

Gorgeous OLED screen and HDR

+

Excellent keyboard and touchpad

+

Incredibly powerful CPU

Reasons to avoid

-

Lackluster battery life

-

Average webcam

-

Terrible availability

Buy it if:

✅ You want a low-cost Ultrabook: This is easily one of the most affordable Ultrabooks on the market and it comes with plenty of features that make it a great buy.

✅ You want a sleek and practical design: It's lightweight and thin with a lovely well-built chassis, a great screen, and a high-quality keyboard and touchpad.

Don't buy it if:

You want a good GPU: The GPU, despite being the same kind as most other laptops, has been throttled to death.

❌ You want a long-lasting battery: Six hours isn’t enough to get through a whole day. If you prize a long battery, look elsewhere.

The Acer 3 Swift OLED is the follow-up to one of the best laptops ever made, and this refresh doesn't disappoint in the slightest. This lightweight and thin notebook in a lovely well-built chassis belies an incredible CPU performance, which has some of the best we've seen from an Ultrabook.

In fact, it’s one of the highest-scoring laptops we’ve ever tested - almost every result is at least the highest number in its category. Of course, the GPU performance is no slouch either, ensuring that you can work and play with ease. And while the battery life may not be the longest, it's actually pretty decent.

Though it's not a touchscreen, its main draw is its gorgeous OLED display that also supports HDR. This screen is one of the most beautiful we’ve seen on a laptop. Meanwhile, the keyboard balances a smooth and sleek design with a satisfying feel. Rounding it all out is the incredibly affordable pricing that makes it an absolute steal.

Read our full Acer Swift 3 OLED (2022) review

The best gaming laptop

The best Windows laptop in 2024: our picks for every budget (16)

6. Alienware m17 R5 AMD Advantage

The best Windows-powered gaming laptop

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX

Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 6850M XT

RAM: 32GB DDR5-4800

Screen: 17.3” 4K (3840 x 2160), 120Hz, 3ms

Storage: 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD

OS: Windows 11 Home

Reasons to buy

+

Pin-sharp design with clever cooling

+

Fantastic performance

+

Excellent, generous screen

Reasons to avoid

-

AMD Advantage spec is quite pricey

-

Slightly limited battery when gaming

-

Heavy, bulky chassis

Buy it if:

✅ You’re a hardcore gamer: This has both the looks and the performance to suit those who need the full experience on the move.

✅ You’ll appreciate a big, high-res screen: The higher-spec tiers of the Alienware m17 probably offer more pixels than your games truly need, but this is a bold, beautiful panel that refreshes fast.

Don't buy it if:

You value portability: Although the m17 isn’t over-heavy it’s most at home in the home.

❌ You’re concerned about your budget: This is no-compromises gaming, with a price tag to match.

It might be fairly expensive at $2,350 (around £1,950 / AU$3,410) for the model we reviewed, so this will be one to skip if you're on a tight budget, but the Alienware m17 R5 'AMD Advantage' edition is an absolutely mighty Windows gaming laptop, delivering top-notch performance both in games and in creative workloads.

As we noted in our review, it's really unclear whether credit should lie with Dell or AMD for producing such an excellent laptop, but we're happy either way. The internal components pull their weight in practically every area, and the sleek Alienware chassis packs a nifty cooling solution that keeps your system running smoothly.

Still not sold on it? Well, the 4K 120Hz display is absolutely magnificent, giving more expensive gaming laptops a serious run for their money. The keyboard has full RGB lighting, which is aesthetically appealing but not over-the-top, and while the battery life isn't spectacular, it outstrips the majority of gaming laptops in its weight class. The Alienware m17 R5 AMD Advantage is one of the best Windows gaming laptops you can buy right now - end of story.

Read our full Alienware m17 R5 AMD Advantage review

The best budget gaming laptop

The best Windows laptop in 2024: our picks for every budget (17)

7. HP Victus 15

The best budget Windows laptops for gaming

Specifications

CPU: 12th-gen Intel Core i5 – i7; AMD Ryzen 5 5600H

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 – Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti; AMD Radeon RX 6500M

RAM: 8GB – 16GB

Screen: 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) display – 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) 144Hz display

Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD – 1TB NVMe SSD

OS: Windows 11 Home – Windows 11 Pro

Reasons to buy

+

Excellent price

+

Good gaming performance

+

Can double as a work laptop

Reasons to avoid

-

Bad battery life

-

Rather plain design

Buy it if:

✅ You want a very affordable gaming laptop: At a starting price of $600 and one that won’t exceed $1,200 with all the upgraded specs, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a cheaper gaming laptop around.

✅ You want a well-rounded laptop: Not only can this laptop run most games pretty well, it has features and ports that make it well-suited for other tasks.

Don't buy it if:

You want a long-lasting battery: If you need a battery that can hold its own off the charging cord, this is not the one for you.

❌ You’re looking for a stylish laptop: While the design is simple and sustainable, it is rather boring

The HP Victus 15 is proof that you don’t need to splurge on an expensive Windows laptop for gaming to enjoy great performance. Much like with many budget offerings, there are a few concessions here. The laptop, while sturdy, is a bit chunky, which means it isn’t the most travel-friendly gaming machine. Its design is also basic, but the fact that it’s partially made of post-consumer recycled and ocean-bound plastic makes up for it, especially if you’re big on sustainability and having a lower carbon footprint.

In terms of performance, we found the battery life disappointing as well, as it gave us a little over four hours during our battery tests. The good news is that this is made for the desk, rather than for travel anyway so you can keep it plugged.

Even better news, its performance and heat management are hard to beat. At lower settings, you should be able to enjoy the most demanding games without frustration. It’s also a monster at multitasking, which makes it ideal for work, school, and entertainment.

Read our full HP Victus 15 review

The best Windows laptop with AMOLED display

The best Windows laptop in 2024: our picks for every budget (18)

8. Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra

The best Windows laptop with AMOLED display

Specifications

CPU: 13th Gen Intel Core i7 - i9

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050, 4070

RAM: 16GB - 32GB

Screen: 13.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) AMOLED touch display – 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) AMOLED touch display

Storage: 1TB SSD

OS: Windows 11 Home

Reasons to buy

+

Excellent performance

+

Beautiful 3K AMOLED with HDR

+

Keyboard feels great

Reasons to avoid

-

Terrible battery life

-

Extremely expensive

Buy it if:

✅ You want a terrific display: The display is a full 3K AMOLED screen that supports HDR and offers crisp, clear visuals.

✅ You want excellent productivity and gaming: This laptop can balance both, plus any editing or creative projects that you need to be done. It's the ultimate workhorse in a gorgeous chassis.

Don't buy it if:

You’re on a budget: Though this is a high-quality laptop that can truly do it all, it also comes at a steep price.

❌ You need a better battery: This battery is pretty bad, especially if you're gaming or streaming movies.

It's rare that we come across a consumer laptop that does it all, so this Ultrabook from Samsung is special in that way. The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra is capable of nearly any task you put it to, which means it's the laptop you want if you need that one portable machine that can tackle productivity tasks, creative work, and even gaming - even though you do have to pay quite a bit to get it.

Inside its absolutely gorgeous and sleek chassis is a workhorse that comfortably tackled most creative and editing tasks we put to it, alongside productivity and even higher-end gaming. And we found that it can keep up with the likes of the M2 Max chip-outfitted Apple MacBook Pro 16. And while it obviously cannot beat a dedicatedgaming laptop, it absolutely swept its last-gen rivals in benchmark test scores with its RTX 4000 GPU.

What's more, the Samsung ecosystem inside is a feature that rivals Apple's as well while its keyboard is not only comfortable to use, but has well-sized keys and a num lock pad as well. Just be mindful and take that charger with you as it'll only last around six hours at most at full charge.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra review

The best desktop replacement

The best Windows laptop in 2024: our picks for every budget (19)

9. Lenovo Legion Pro 7i

The best RTX 4000 gaming laptop

Specifications

CPU: 13ᵗʰ Gen Intel Core i9-13900HX

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 - 4090

RAM: Up to 32 GB DDR5 5600MHz

Screen: 16-inch WQXGA (2560x1600) IPS 500nits, 100% sRGB, 240Hz

Storage: Up to 2 TB PCIe SSD

Reasons to buy

+

Incredible gaming performance

+

A wide keyboard with RGB lighting

+

Excellent port selection

+

Display has a ridiculous 240Hz refresh rate

Reasons to avoid

-

Expensive

-

Horrible battery life

-

Slight overheating issues

-

Very heavy

Buy it if:

✅ You want a desktop replacement: This is the ultimate in desktop replacement, a gaming laptop that has one of the most powerful GPUs on the market and delivers in performance.

✅ You want an excellent port selection: It has one of the best port selections around, with four USB Type-A ports, two Type-C ports, and nearly anything else you could want.

Don't buy it if:

You're on a budget: Even the lowest configurations here are expensive, and the highest configurations approach the very premium mark.

❌ You need a portable laptop: This laptop is over six pounds, an extremely hefty machine to lug around.

The Lenovo Legion Pro 7i stands out as one of the most powerful gaming laptops we've tested, offering exceptional gaming prowess. It effortlessly surpasses all graphics-intensive benchmark tests, translating this raw power into a seamless gaming experience. Even demanding titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered run flawlessly with maximum graphics settings and ray tracing enabled, free from any stutter or lag.

Its display is a remarkable 16-inch WQXGA 240Hz panel, offering exceptional brightness and ultra-smooth refresh rates, ideal for both high-speed gaming and professional gamers. Additionally, it boasts an RGB-lit keyboard and a comprehensive selection of ports.

As a desktop replacement, it does come with some trade-offs: the laptop is notably bulky and heavy, and its battery life is limited to just two and a half hours. While it is on the pricier side, the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i is undeniably a powerhouse in the gaming laptop arena.

Read our full Lenovo Legion Pro 7i review

The best laptop with long battery life

The best Windows laptop in 2024: our picks for every budget (20)

10. Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2022)

The best laptop with long battery life

Specifications

CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-1260P

Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics / Nvidia MX550

RAM: Up to 16GB DDR4

Screen: Up to 16-inch UHD+ (3840 x 2400) OLED, 60Hz

Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD

Reasons to buy

+

Good performance across all areas

+

Excellent battery life

+

Good webcam

Reasons to avoid

-

Heavy for a 2-in-1

-

No included stylus

-

Still using DDR4 memory

Buy it if:

✅ You need a long-lasting battery life: The battery life is exceptional and will last far longer than you’ll ever need it to. It also charges quickly.

✅ You want a well-balanced 2-in-1: It can handle most of what you throw at it, including streaming moves, work-related tasks, voice/video calls, and even some gaming.

Don't buy it if:

You want something cheaper: While the price won’t bankrupt you, even the starting amount of $1,000 is a bit steep for a 2-in-1.

❌ You need a 2-in-1 with a tablet pen: Having a tablet pen include would have made it a complete package.

It's not the most exciting laptop Dell has ever put out, but if you're looking for a versatile 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop for everyday work that won't cost the world, the Inspiron 16 is a great choice.

We say 'won't cost the world' - this device does still start at $1,000 (£780 / AU$1,600), which is a bit steep for the average 2-in-1 laptop, but this isn't the average 2-in-1: most hybrid laptops pack a 13- or 14-inch display, but this Inspiron's beefy UHD+ display is a whopping 16 inches, bigger than the majority of 2-in-1s around right now.

That means the Inspiron 16 fills a rather unique niche, but is arguably the very best at what it does. The only significant downside is the resultant increase in weight - and the lack of a garaged stylus, which would've been nice to see. If you want a powerful 2-in-1 but don't want to downsize, snap this up.

Read our full Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 review

How to choose the best Windows laptop for you

When it comes to choosing the right Windows laptop, you have to take into account what you want out of it. Maybe you’re looking for a powerhouse for gaming or other intensive tasks like video editing. Or, maybe you prefer something that’s portable and ideal for checking emails and basic productivity work.

If performance is a priority, you’ll want something that comes with higher-end components such as a fast processor, a decent amount of RAM – 16 GB is a good target to shoot for – and discrete graphics such as one of Nvidia’s 3000 series GPUs. If you just need to do basic day-to-day computing, you won’t need anything that robust. You still will want internals that can keep up in a few years' time, however, so make sure to get a portable with a current generation processor, and at least 8 GB of RAM. And, while storage space can be expanded through any of the best portable SSDs, you should make sure that whatever you choose has enough for your needs.

When it comes to portability, take into account not only the size and weight of the notebook you’re considering but also its battery life. After all, it needs to have enough juice to last a workday without needing a charge. Keep in mind that more powerful laptops with discrete graphics, ones meant for gaming in particular, tend to come with shorter battery lives.

And, of course, make sure you’re getting the proper size for your needs. Laptops typically come in 13, 15, and 17-inch models. If portability is your top priority, a smaller 13-inch model is probably going to be your best bet. However, if you need to balance portability with performance, 15-inch models tend to hit that sweet spot. While 17-inch models are ideal for someone who wants a portable with a lot of power and a lot of screen space for easier multitasking.

Beyond that, you should consider the kinds of ports and features you need out of your portable. Some come with just a few USB-C ports while others include SD card readers and HDMI ports for easy use with external monitors. And, some come with security features that you won’t find with every portable, such as a fingerprint reader, webcam cover, or Kensington lock.

If you can narrow down what kind of performance, portability, battery life, size, and features you expect out of that next Windows laptop, you’ll be able to find the right one in no time.

How we tested these Windows laptops

We know how big an investment getting a new computer is, so when we test a Windows laptop, or any other laptop for that matter, we make sure to try out every aspect of it. To start with, we take a look at its design and how well thought its layout is. Its size, portability, and even aesthetics are taken into account as well. After all, if you’re going to drop a decent amount of money on something, you want it to look like it’s worth the price tag. The keyboard and trackpad get plenty of attention so that we know how comfortable a notebook is to work on.

We spend quite a bit of time testing performance. And, we start by getting a sense of what a portable can do in the wild. Whether that means editing, playing games, or opening a bunch of tabs in Google Chrome depends on the type of laptop. But, we make sure that it does what it claims it’s supposed to do as well as compare that real-world use to its competitors. There’s also some standardized testing to make the comparisons easier. We run the same benchmark tests on all the laptops we review for concrete comparisons.

Included in that testing is battery life. Considering how much users expect out of a laptop, this is a vital step in our process. On top of a synthetic benchmark test, we also run a 1080p movie on a loop to simulate more organic battery usage and record the results.

Of course, we test all the individual features of a portable as well, including its webcam, mic, ports, and other features. Once we’ve gathered all our notes and have seen where a laptop has exceeded or missed expectations, we look at the price to see if it’s worth the price for its intended audience.

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The best Windows laptop in 2024: our picks for every budget (21)

Christian Guyton

Editor, Computing

Christian is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing Editor. He came to us from Maximum PC magazine, where he fell in love with computer hardware and building PCs. He was a regular fixture amongst our freelance review team before making the jump to TechRadar, and can usually be found drooling over the latest high-end graphics card or gaming laptop before looking at his bank account balance and crying.

Christian is a keen campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights and the owner of a charming rescue dog named Lucy, having adopted her after he beat cancer in 2021. She keeps him fit and healthy through a combination of face-licking and long walks, and only occasionally barks at him to demand treats when he’s trying to work from home.

With contributions from

  • Rob WebbContributing Writer

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