The best laptops are those devices that give you a balance between portability, performance and computing power. Regardless of the brand or the activity you carry out online, the best laptops have in their composition a powerful processor, minimum Intel Core i3, a RAM memory of at least 4GB, but also a high-performance internal cooler, able to maintain the temperature in the parameters optimal operation.
If you are looking for the best laptop in 2021, you have come to the right place. In this article you will find the best laptops you can buy in 2021 for a variety of budgets and use cases.
We are constantly updating and reviewing this list to ensure that you receive the latest recommendations for a good laptop. We not only list the most expensive laptops on this page. We include the best laptops and Chromebooks for a small budget, as well as a mix of affordable and high-end laptops for gaming. Basically, if you are looking for a certain type of laptop, then this guide to the best laptops of 2021 is all you need to make the right choice.
The Best Laptops in 2021
MSI GS65 Stealth 17 – Gaming
MacBook Pro 15 – Video Editing
HP Specter x360 – Touchscreen
MacBook Air 13 – Apple
Dell XPS 13 – Ultraportable
Dell Inspiron 3567 – Cheap / Low Budget
Lenovo IdeaPad 330S – Business
What gamer doesn't want a bigger screen? The answer is like none, unless the display would be a disappointment. The MSI GS75 Stealth avoids this problem by offering a 17-inch Full HD screen, which is great for gaming thanks to a 144 Hz panel that can deliver up to 144 frames per second (FPS) without artifacts or tearing.
Moreover, the screen has an excellent display for occasional productive work, with excellent brightness, contrast and colors – which is not always the case with displays designed for gaming. The GS75 Stealth is heavily equipped with eighth-generation Intel processors with six cores and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q video card that can run any modern title at 1080p or 1440p with high detail settings. When you play on the internal screen, you will definitely appreciate the fast panel that can keep up with the frame rates per second that have reached 100 FPS in almost every game I have tried.
Bonus, the GS75 Stealth is a really stylish laptop with a thin edge around the screen. It's a great choice for anyone looking for high performance in every way, but it still makes gamers feel like it was designed just for them.
Macs are still the go-to devices for advertising designers, graphic artists and all other creative individuals. The love affair between Apple and Adobe is still burning after 30 years. Sure, Windows-based devices work just as well, but Apple and Adobe have worked hard to make sure the MacBook remains the number one choice for photographers.
However, our publishers were not very impressed with the options presented by Apple in the latest update of the range. In particular, they were not too pleased with the Touch Bar functionality, which was supposed to be the basic feature of the new laptops. Similarly, Apple's choice to switch completely to Thunderbolt 3 ports has been controversial and will certainly bother photos that are still based on external USB hard drives and SD cards. You can manage to work as long as you are willing to use a lot of extra cables and adapters.
That being said, I chose the MacBook Pro 15 for photo editing because of its fantastic display that blends beautifully with a crazy 500 nits brightness, with extended support for DCI-P3, sRGB and AdobeRGB color spaces. It is one of the best displays you can buy on a laptop, which is essential for photographers. The icing on the cake is that the 15-inch version comes with a discreet AMD Radeon Pro graphics card, without being over-priced like the 13-inch version.
It is not uncommon for us to give a perfect score to a laptop, but finding a laptop like the HP Specter x360 13 is a rare occurrence. This amazing laptop has a wonderful design, as if cut with a diamond, an amazing battery life, a keyboard that feels great and 2 in 1 functionality if you want to convert it into a tablet to sketch, take notes, etc. He has a little bit of everything and he manages to do everything well.
The touch screen itself is a bright HD display that comes with a very useful power saving mode, which can adjust the screen so that the battery does not lose too much power with it. As expected from HP laptops, there are plenty of security features on board, including a facial recognition camera and a fingerprint scanner. Connectivity includes two USB-C ports with support for Thunderbolt 3, USB-A 3.1 and microSD.
The model we tested came with an 8th generation IntelCore i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, but these specifications may vary depending on your options and you can make your laptop significantly more powerful if you want .
The new MacBook Air is not Apple's most powerful laptop – it would be a 15-inch MacBook Pro with a dedicated graphics card. It's neither the thinnest nor the lightest – that would be the 12-inch MacBook. Even its screen, although technically "Retina", is not as bright and colorful as the other options. However, what the latest MacBook Air version offers is the most complete Mac experience.
The laptop is relatively thin and light, has a very useful Touch ID sensor and the best maximum lifespan of all Mac options. It also has the same keyboard and the same excellent trackpad on the MacBook Pro.
Apple finally has an entry-level laptop that surprisingly represents a decent balance between price and capabilities. We are not saying that 6000 lei is a low price for a laptop. Is not. You can find better performance on many Windows 10 premium laptops at this price. However, if you are specifically looking for a MacBook (as many people are), you will be happy to have chosen a MacBook Air.
Dell XPS 13 is often found in the top of the best laptops, but it has always had a small problem. Webcam position. I always thought it was worth the sacrifice for most people, but for those who depend on a webcam for video conferencing, it was a problem.
In the 2019 version, Dell fixed this. By creating a smaller webcam, the company managed to insert it (at the limit) in the upper bezel, without thickening the edges too much. That means the XPS 13 retains its fantastic, slim design that I've always loved – but now without compromise. The slim design of the frame is as functional as it is beautiful, making the overall footprint of the system smaller and lighter.
Is the XPS 13 too small? Not. The touchpad is still as big as the competition and the keyboard is very easy to use. The system is energy efficient, with a respectable battery size, so it can stay charged all day with a single charge in most situations and can solve almost anything you ask for it (except of course high-performance video games) . The same goes for temperature control, where very good cooling of Dell fans continues to take Intel Core Whiskey Lake processors to new heights.
The Dell Inspiron 3567 is a 15.6-inch laptop with average performance. It has a basic display with optional touch-screen support. Both the 15.6 ″ non-touch and touch panel LCD options provide the usual 1366 x 768 resolution. The screen is supported by TN technology, which means narrower viewing angles than on IPS-supported panels, but overall better color and contrast.
Inside a 0.9-inch thick plastic chassis, the Dell Inspiron 3567 carries the Intel Core i3-6006U processor. They provide excellent performance for the daily computer tasks of average home and office users. The processor can be combined with up to 16 GB of RAM in two slots and a 500 GB or 1 Terabyte (HDD) hard drive. The Inspiron 3567 comes with a built-in DVD optical drive. We tested the model with 4GB of RAM and we were very satisfied with the performance.
Unfortunately, unlike some previous versions, the 3567 does not have a removable back cover dedicated to easy upgrades to RAM and hard drive. You will need to remove the keyboard and the entire bottom cover to access these components.
The battery has a capacity of 40 WHr. There is no official information on battery life, but during our tests it ran for 3.5 hours, with easy use and low screen brightness. It is important to note that the version we recommend comes with Ubuntu (an alternative to Windows that does not require a license – ideal for those who are looking for a low budget laptop)
Lenovo IdeaPad 330S is equipped with an 8th generation Intel Core 8 i5-8250U processor, offering four cores for powerful multitasking capabilities. The 4GB video card is enough for most tasks outside of high-end games (although we would have liked 8GB more). The 16GB Intel Optane memory along with the 1TB hard drive should be enough to make the system feel light and smooth.
The display is not the most detailed, at a resolution of 1366 x 768, especially when stretched to 15.6 inches, but it is enough to watch movies at a reasonable clarity and offers plenty of screen space for work and web browsing.
With an average battery life of seven hours, the IdeaPad 330S offers enough battery life for a day's work. The full-size keyboard is a real boon for typists and those who use it for work. The finish is also attractive, with a special color, welcome in a price class where black and gray dominate.
Questions and answers
A fast laptop is determined by several key components: RAM, processor, hard disk. Of course, this is only on the hardware side. For optimal performance, you need to make sure that you are using a strong antivirus and firewall and that you do not have insecure or unnecessary software installed.
RAM, or random access memory, is measured by the time required for the memory module to provide the data requested by the laptop user. The lower the speed in nanoseconds, the faster the RAM or memory, the faster the laptop. A fast laptop should have about 3-4 GB of newer generation RAM. In 2020, most high-quality laptops will come with at least DDR4, although more and more models have started to switch to DDR 5.
The speed of the laptop is also affected by the processor, also known as the CPU. The laptop processor will change its speed and power consumption depending on the number of open applications. The processor speed will change if the laptop is idle or when the user is running an application that does not require much power. For a fast laptop, a multi-core processor (dual core / quad core / octa core) can improve the parallel running speed of applications, but will affect the laptop's battery life.
A fast laptop is also determined by the speed of the hard drive, as it affects how fast programs will load. There are four categories for hard drives: 4300 rpm, 5400 rpm, 7200 rpm and SSD – or solid state drive. When the hard disk speed is fast, the programs will load and run faster. SSDs are three to four times more expensive, but they are also three to four times faster than other hard drives.
There is a wide variety of sizes, functions and prices, which makes choosing the best laptop a challenge. That's why you need to figure out what your needs are. Below are a few steps to make sure you choose the best laptop for your needs!
Choose a platform: Mac, Windows or Chrome OS?
Most laptops come with one of three operating systems: Windows, Chrome OS or MacOS (MacBooks only). Choosing the right one is a personal preference, but here is a quick summary of what each one offers.
- The most flexible operating system, Windows, runs on more laptop models than Chrome OS or Mac OS X. Windows notebooks range in price from under RON 600 to tens of thousands of lei and offer a wide range of functions. , from touch screens to fingerprint readers to dual graphics chips. Windows 10, the latest version of Microsoft's flagship operating system, offers a number of enhancements to Windows 7 and 8, including the ability to switch between tablet and desktop modes, a renewed Start menu with live cards, and the powerful digital assistant Cortana.
- All MacBooks come with the latest desktop operating system, MacOS Catalina. In general, the operating system offers functionality similar to Windows 10, but with a different interface assumption that replaces an application dock at the bottom of the screen for the Start menu and the Microsoft taskbar. Instead of the Cortana digital assistant, Mac users receive Siri. They can also make transactions with Apple Pay, receive calls or texts from their phones, and unlock laptops with an Apple Watch.
- Found on cheap Chromebooks, such as the Samsung Chromebook 3. Google's operating system is simple and secure, but more limited than Windows or macOS. The user interface is very similar to Windows with an application menu, a desktop and the ability to move windows on the screen, but the main application you use is the Chrome browser. The downside is that many of the "web applications" you use don't work particularly well offline. However, this is changing, as almost all Chromebooks, including the latest Google PixelBook, can now run Android apps.
Decide if you want a 2-in-1 laptop
Many PC laptops fall into the category of 2-in-1 laptops, hybrid devices that can switch between traditional shell mode, tablet mode and other intermediate positions. 2-in-1 laptops generally have two different styles: removable with screens that detach from the entire keyboard and flexible laptops with hinges that bend 360 degrees to change usage.
Most of these systems are much better at accomplishing one purpose than the other. The hinged ones are primarily laptops, and the detachable ones offering an experience closer to that of tablets. However, if you don't see the need to use your notebook as a tablet, you will usually get more performance for your money with a traditional clamshel laptop.
Choose the right size
Before comparing specifications or prices, you need to figure out how portable you need your laptop to be. Laptops are usually classified by display size:
- 11 – 12 inches: The thinnest and lightest systems have 11 to 12 inch screens and usually weigh between 1 and 2 kilograms.
- 13-14 inches: offers the best balance of portability and usability, especially if you buy a laptop that weighs less than 4 kilograms.
- 15 to 16 inches: The most popular 15-inch laptops usually weigh between 2 and 2.5 KG. Consider this size if you want a larger screen and don't plan on carrying your notebook often. Laptops with 16-inch displays are rare, but Apple could start the trend with the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
- 17 to 18 inches: If your laptop stays on your desk all day every day, a 17 or 18 inch system could give you the kind of processing power you need to play high quality games or similar productivity. with a desktop.
Check the Keyboard and Touchpad
The most impressive specifications in the world mean nothing if the laptop you buy does not have good ergonomics. If you plan to do a lot of work on your computer, make sure that the keyboard provides solid tactile feedback, plenty of key movements (the distance the key decreases when pressed, usually 1 to 2 mm), and enough space between taste. If you are buying a Windows laptop and intend to use the laptop mouse pad (and not an external mouse) make sure it has Precision touchpad drivers.
Choose your specifications
Notebook components such as the processor, hard drive, RAM and video card can confuse even laptop specialists, so don't feel embarrassed or discouraged if the technical details are unclear. Give yourself enough time to delve into and document yourself to make sure you know what you're looking for.
Do not ignore battery life
If you buy a large, bulky notebook or gaming laptop that you will only use on a desk near an outlet, you don't have to worry about battery life. However, if you intend to use your laptop in various positions and circumstances, even if it is at home and or at work, you will want at least 7 hours of endurance, 8+ hours being ideal. To determine the expected battery life of a notebook, do not take the word of the manufacturer for this. Instead, read the results of third parties from objective sources, such as our reviews.
HP stands out as the most reliable laptop brand, followed by Asus and Dell, according to Laptop Mag . Samsung, on the other hand, is less reliable than most other brands.
The list also includes secondary or smaller brands, such as Razer, Alienware. These brands tend to have a higher reliability than the product of their parent companies. Thus, gaming laptops are worth the price for reliability, but in terms of performance, they are exaggerated for everyday tasks, such as web browsing, word processing and photo-video editing.
You should expect to replace a laptop every four years. This estimate is based on a cost analysis, plus the average time required to wear the inside of the laptop. Five years for desktops and three or four for laptops. If you think they are short-lived, they really are – but unfortunately they are real. Computers simply aren't built to last long, and even if they were, software updates are very common and aggressive, and older laptops often can't keep up for more than four or five years.
Sales figures for the past five years consistently show laptop buyers spending about $ 2,400 on a new laptop. This means that some spend more, but it means that a considerable number spend less. The amount is not a ton of money for a laptop, although it may seem so when you are at the store.
For that money, you're limited to Chromebooks, multimedia laptops, and a handful of low-end ultrabooks. Many of the laptops available at this price are adequate, but that's all. They are computers and they will do ordinary things for a computer. But saving forces you to give up many advantages, which means that cheap laptops often have a low value for money. You cannot benefit from what you do not pay.
We (both at home and at the office) have always tried to pay between 3,000 and 4,000 RON for a new laptop. Something we've been doing for years. This is a sweet spot from our point of view for a few simple reasons.
First of all, two similar laptops from the same manufacturer, one of 2,000 RON and one of 3,000 benefit from the same case, chassis, motherboard, connectors, charger, keyboard, mouse pad and so on. The differences are in the processor, RAM, video card, SSD vs. HDD, etc. Basically for another 50% of the cost you get a laptop several times better that could last you 5 years instead of 2. In the long run this not only gives you a better laptop, but also helps you save money.
Secondly, from our point of view, it is not worth spending more than 4,000 RON on a laptop. The obvious exception are cases where you are a professional gamer, have a job that requires a high-performance laptop or simply want the best possible setup. In the amount of 4,000 RON you will always find a laptop that can handle the latest games. It is important to remember that technology is advancing faster and faster from year to year, which leads to a dizzying reduction in the various components.