The Best Laptops of 2020

Browse the best laptops of 2020 to suit your needs and your budget based on expert research, reviews and pro advice from our senior laptop editors.

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Welcome to our current guide to the finest deals on laptops of 2020 based on critic reviews, consumer feedback and hardware power.

Here at LaptopNinja we have conveniently rounded up all the best laptop deals into one place just for you. Here we will be breaking it down into categories to suite every budget and even the most demanding of users based on price, performance, reviews, specs and aesthetics. If you are looking for a great deal this spring or just in the market for an upgrade, we’re sure you will find what you are looking for right here with best laptop deals on the market. These top rated laptops encompass the best the internet has to offer from the best laptops of 2017 and 2018, all hand picked and scored based on thousands of reviews and laptop options across the web.

If you already know what your budget is feel free to head over to our laptops under $200, laptops under $300, laptops under $500, laptops under $1000, or our high-end laptops guides for further reading.  Gamers will want to see our gaming laptops under $500 guide, our gaming laptops under $1000 guide, and our high-end VR-Ready laptop guides.  If you are heading to school then our guide to the best laptops for college will be a great fit, or, if you are using your laptop primary for work, our best business laptops guide. For the top 10 laptops in each category be sure to head over to each individual guide for further reading.

The Best All-Purpose Laptops

best-all-purpose-laptops
Whether it be at home or in the office an all-purpose laptop needs to keep up with the demanding tasks and day-to-day computing needs of even the most discerning users. A good all-purpose machine should run applications like Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, Skype and most other demanding software with ease while offering some casual gaming support however this is not always a necessity. The best laptop deals on all-purpose laptop should also be priced competitively to allow the best hardware performance for your money.

The Best Laptop Under $500

HP 15-DY1036NR 15.6-inch

Pros

  • Premium looks on a budget
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Fast performance for day to day tasks

Cons

  • Noisy fans
  • Display quality could be better
  • No backlit keyboard and hard to read keys
  • No ethernet port

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 10 hours battery life
  • 3.75 lbs

Summary & Score

If you are looking for a budget laptop from a reliable brand name with premium looks, then the HP 15-DY1036NR offers some solid performance at its price, though if you are sensitive to noise its fans may be a problem.

HP 15-DY1036NR 15.6-inch
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(as of 10-11-2020 20:11 -07:00) Details

Laptops Under $500 – Full Guide >>

The Best Laptop Under $1000

Apple MacBook Air 2020 MWTJ2LL/A 13.3-inch

Pros

  • Beautiful razer thin and lightweight design
  • Much improved “Magic Keyboard” keyboard design
  • Improved hardware over previous models
  • Very competitive price for a Macbook

Cons

  • Relatively dull display for a Macbook
  • Battery life good but not great
  • Limited connectivity ports
  • Limited performance compared to competing Windows laptops

Specs

  • 13.3 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixels (IPS)
  • 12 hours battery life
  • 2.8 lbs

Summary & Score

Though Apple have had to cut some minor corners in the process, the Apple MacBook Air 2020 MWTJ2LL/A is still one of the most competitive deals on a Macbook Air we have ever seen.

Apple MacBook Air 2020 MWTJ2LL/A 13.3-inch
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(as of 10-11-2020 20:21 -07:00) Details

Laptops Under $1000 – Full Guide >>

The Best  High-End Laptop

Apple Macbook Pro MPTT2LL/A 15.4-inch

Pros

  • Touch Bar with Touch ID
  • Powerful CPU
  • Dedicated AMD graphics
  • Large SSD
  • Brilliant Retina display
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • No standard ports
  • No MagSafe port
  • Non-upgradable RAM
  • Price
  • No SD card slot

Specs

  • Intel Core i7 2.9GHz
  • Radeon Pro 560 4GB GDDR5 [View Framerates]
  • 16GB DDR3 RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • 15.4 inch, 2880 x 1800 pixels
  • Mac OS X 10.12 Sierra
  • 10 hours battery life
  • 2.9 lbs

Summary & Score

The Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar MPTT2LL/A is a powerful MacBook Pro for the power user, however the price is steep and the lack of legacy ports will inconvenience even some of the most diehard Apple fans.

Apple Macbook Pro MPTT2LL/A 15.4-inch
$2799.00$2099.00
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(as of 30-09-2018 04:25 -07:00) Details

High-end Laptops – Full Guide >>

best-gaming-laptops The Best Gaming Laptops

Gaming laptops are the ultimate display of raw power and good looks. A good gaming laptop should at very least have a sharp responsive display, immersive sound, stylish design, a powerful processor, ample RAM and most importantly a graphics card that can handle games. Of course things like budget and practicality often mean some sacrifices need to be made hence our article dividing up the best gaming laptops by price and performance. We have selected the cream of the crop in all price points so that anyone looking to get into gaming can jump right in.

Best Gaming Laptops – Full Guide >>

best-budget-laptops The Best Budget Laptops

In today’s tough economy many users find themselves in a financial dilemma when looking for a personal computer. We know times are tough and that every dollar counts. Luckily we have a great team of frugal technophiles scouring the Internet for a bargain and have put together a list of the best affordable budget conscious laptops available this year. A good low cost laptop should handle basic tasks like emails, Skype calls, multimedia and Internet browsing while not costing a small fortune. Should you be stuck in deciding which machine would best suit you or just looking for a great deal look no further, this guide is certain to help you find the perfect laptop for your budget.

Best Budget Laptops – Full Guide >>

best-chromebooks The Best Chromebooks

ChromeOS has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2009 as an open-source project called the Chromium OS project. While still not a 100% replacement for a PC or Mac, a Chromebook is a fantastic tool especially if most of your computing needs lie in the web. Chromebooks are perfect for email, browsing and streaming media. Another plus is that Chromebooks are usually priced extremely well and have incredible battery life. If the thought of ChromeOS intrigues you, read on. We have listed this years best Chromebooks in one easy place.

Hardware Specs You Should Consider

Asus X555LA-SI30202G 15.6-inch Design

We have all seen those high end laptops with the sleek and stylish design.  They are ultra thin and sometimes even made of high quality aluminum giving them a premium look.  When buying a budget laptop, you will have to pretty much forget those types of design.  That’s alright, though.  Most budget laptops are made from plastic and won’t be as thin or as sleek looking as the high end laptops, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily made cheaply.  Examine the case closely and, if you can, have a look at the laptop and touch it to make sure it feels sturdy.  The goal is to find one that looks good and has a sturdy design so you know it will last.  Believe me, they do exist.  Some of these will even hold up better than many high end laptops over the long haul.

Processors

With so many different processors to choose from, it can be hard to figure out which one you should buy.  AMD chips are not as fast or power efficient compared to the Intel line but are much cheaper allowing you to buy more laptop for your money.  The Intel chips are faster and often get better battery life than the AMD version although they do cost more.  Ideally, you should look for a fourth generation Intel i3 or i5 when shopping for a budget laptop.  The i5 chips are harder to find as they are more powerful, but you can often find a good sale if you shop carefully allowing you to pick up more processor for your money.

Memory

The age old question of how much memory you need still rages today, and when you are shopping for a budget computer, you will find a wide range of memory choices ranging from 2 GB in very inexpensive models all the way up to 6 or 8 GB.  Remember, your machine won’t be running any high end applications or engaging in serious gaming, so you won’t need as much as a high end user.  Still, if you want to multitask your basic applications, the more the better.  I would recommend looking for a laptop with a minimum of 4 GB, but if you can find one with more and it is in your price range, grab it as the more you have the better off you will be.

Screen Size and Resolution

Laptops come in a wide range of sizes today.  In the past, the larger the monitor, the more expensive the laptop.  This isn’t really the case today, however.  Laptops today can be purchases as small as 10 or 11 inches and go up to 17 or even 18 inches with the average being 15.6 inches.  Choose the size that best suits how you plan to use your laptop while weighing the cost at the same time.

Once you have chosen the screen size, you need to look at the resolution.  The resolution is how many pixels are displayed on your screen at a time.  This can range today from 720p to 4K resolution with the average being somewhere in the neighborhood of 1366×768.  Remember, the more pixels you have, the better the image will look.  But the more you have the more expensive the price.  Choose which resolution best fits your usage before you make that purchase.

Graphics

 

ATI or NVIDIAPremium laptops often ship with their very own dedicated video cards that do nothing accept process the graphics that appear on the screen.  These are often made by NVIDIA or ATI.  However, you will be hard pressed to find a budget laptop that comes with its own video card, unless you find an older model that has been put on clearance.  In most cases you will find that most laptops come with Intel HD Graphics or the Radeon R5 graphics.  These chips share memory with your RAM and do not perform as well as dedicated graphics cards with their own memory banks.

Still, in many cases the latest versions of these chips will handle the processing of graphics pretty well and will handle it beautifully when you aren’t trying to run a game.  However, gaming is better suited to dedicated graphics processors.  Although, the latest versions of the Intel and Radeon chips will allow you to run older games at half way decent settings so if you do like the odd distraction here and there, they may just do the job for you.  Don’t expect a budget machine to be a gaming powerhouse, however, as they are designed mainly for everyday basic use and not for high end gaming.

Software Specs To Consider

Once you have found the computer that meets all your hardware requirements, you need to take a look at the software.  First, look at what operating system comes with the laptop.  These days most come with Windows 8.1 but once Microsoft releases Windows 10, you can expect it to appear on budget laptops and premium laptops alike.  Microsoft Windows is still king of the laptop world, so chances are whatever budget machine you choose, it will come with Windows installed.

You may be tempted to buy a Mac.  While they are great machines, the budget model for the Mac laptop checks in at a much higher price compared to other budget models.  Essentially, when you buy a Mac, you are paying for their design and Mac OS X.  If you don’t have to have it, you can save quite a bit of money by choosing a Windows based machine.

There are some budget machines that actually come with Ubuntu Linux as the operating system instead of Windows.  Not including Windows allows manufacturers to sell the laptop for a much lower price as Ubuntu is a free operating system.  While it is safe and secure, if you are not very tech savvy you will want to avoid buying one of these as Linux is very different from Windows and could make it more difficult for you to use effectively.

Finally, you need to look at what other pieces of software come with your laptop.  If you are a smart and savvy shopper, you could find even find a laptop that comes with Microsoft Office or other productivity suites that will make your transition that much easier.

HP-stream-11-425x3331

Who Has Time for Research

With all of these different options available, it can be difficult to figure out which laptop is right for you.  To help you sort through all of the different options, you can visit our Cheap Laptops page to find our top picks or look through our laptop recommendations to help you find the laptop that is right for you.

 

Pro Tips For Making Your Decision

As a general purpose user you may be looking for an all-round home laptop for work, watching movies and browsing the web. On the other side of the coin, you may be a business professional looking for a reliable and ultraportable laptop that you can take with to meetings that will give off a professional image without weighing you down on the move. Every user will have their own special considerations that need to be addressed, including areas such as connectivity and design.

Students

Students usually only require a laptop with basic hardware and don’t require the bells and whistles found on most high-end laptops. Depending on whether you plan on taking your laptop to class with you every day portability is another prime concern. Chromebooks are a viable option for students who do almost all of their work online and don’t mind leaving Windows behind. Windows netbooks and 13-inch tablet/laptop hybrids are also popular options. Lookout for a minimum of 4GB or more of RAM if you are using Windows to prevent sluggish performance when multitasking. Students using their laptops every day at school will also want to pay careful attention to weight and battery life which can severely affect your laptops overall portability and will probably want to avoid a full-size 15-Inch laptops in favor of something smaller.

Home Users

For those of us lucky to have a work laptop to use in the office or the ability to work remotely from home design and portability may not factor as much into your buying decision. Home users will generally be more focused on hardware power and display quality than portability, although your laptops design will still play a major role regardless. You might want to move around the house and use your laptop off charge so battery life can be equally important.  That said, you won’t need to sacrifice in screen real estate and can safely go for a 15 or even 17 Inch laptop as opposed to their 11 or 13 inch counterparts. If you don’t have an external monitor or TV and plan on using your laptop for watching movies and other media then a larger display and good quality speakers are paramount.

Business

Every business owner knows how important the bottom line is. Why spend $1000 plus on an office laptop when a $400 will get the job done just fine? Business users generally have similar needs as students with word processing and other office applications at the top if the priority list, although laptops designed for office use may not require quite as much portability unless you plan on taking your laptop to meetings often. As per our student recommendations look for a laptop with at least 4GB of RAM for standard office applications and web browsing. If your business requires photo or image processing or more advanced appliations 8GB is recommended. Build quality is also an important factor for many business owners – there’s no point investing in a budget laptop if it’s going to need to be replaced in three years. Lenovo and Dell are two manufacturers who are well know for there business oriented budget laptops which may not have the sleek designs found on many competitors but are built to withstand the test of time with sturdier build quality.

Media Junkies

If you’re planning on using your laptop mostly at home for handling all of your movies, music and other media then portability won’t be your biggest concern which means you are free to focus on areas such as screen quality and laptop audio. Unless you have an external monitor or TV lying around you may also want to explore some 17-inch options where possible. Look for a laptop with a 1 TB hard drive if possible, or at a minimum 500GB, and as noted above 4GB of RAM or more as requirement for smooth performance with HD video playback and other tasks.

Hardware + Benchmarks

Your laptops hardware provides the engine for your daily computing and understanding the key components to look out for can help you make the right decision and get the best performance possible. No one likes a computer that freezes and lags under heavy load seriously hindering your ability to work and by checking benchmarks we can easily get  an idea of which hardware will perform the best and which laptops therefore offer the best value for money.

Processors

Your CPU (central processing unit) is the brains of your PC and does most of the number crunching to bring your computer to life. AMD and Intel are the only two mainstream CPU manufactures and compete kneck kneck expecially in the budget market. AMD configurations are generally cheaper than Intel’s and provide excellent value for money although Intel is often still the crowd favorite.

CPU’s – Fastest to Slowest

Graphics

Your GPU (graphic processing unit) differs from your CPU in that in is created specifically for graphic processing in applications such as games and multimedia editing apps.  Generally speaking unless you plan on playing any video games or doing any serious photo or video editing a decent graphics card is not paramount to your laptop experience. Most CPU’s these days come with integrated graphics which are built in as opposed to dedicated graphics cards which are generally found on more powerful machines. As with CPU’s, the main contenders are AMD and Intel who compete neck and neck for the market.

GPU’s – Fastest to Slowest

RAM

Your laptops RAM (or random access memory) is also an important piece of the your PC’s arsenal. RAM is like short term memory for your PC, and the more RAM you have the less change there is of your PC bottlenecking due to limited memory which can seriously hinder performance. For most users, 4GB of RAM is more than sufficient for daily use, although if using advanced applications or running multiple applications at once performance can suffer. If you find yourself running out of RAM you can always just take your laptop in for an upgrade or do it yourself.  Most RAM today is standardized DDR3 RAM and on budget laptops you generally won’t find anything faster.

Display & Screen Quality

Your laptops display is another core piece of your computing experience. If your laptop suffers from poor color production or poor viewing angles  this can put on a dampener on using a PC for many users.  In general on budget  laptops you will find only TN (thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal) displays which can offer variable quality and are almost always inferior to the IPS ( in-plane switching) technology found on more pricey laptops. That said, many budget Chromebooks have started offering IPS displays which puts these budget Chromeboons on the level of more expensive laptops in terms of raw display quality.

Screen resolution is also an important part of your display. In general budget laptops use a 1366 x 786 resolution which is currently the most used screen resolution worldwide. This is compared to the 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution found on more expensive laptops. The extra resolution provides extra screen real estate and makes entertainment and gaming more immersive. Here again Chromebooks stand out from the crowd with many budget Chromebooks offering Full HD IPS displays that are far superior to their budget laptop counterparts.

Most budget laptops come with screen sizes ranges from 11 to 15 inches, with the odd 17-inch also available for users looking for a larger display.

Design & Features

Last but not least, your laptops design, though sometimes a matter of personal preference, is also a huge influencing factor and brings up a number of practical considerations. Some users prefer more basic designs while others simply won’t be satisfied with a run of the mill design that’s too chunky or boring. The obvious consideration here is portability. If your laptop is too big and too heavy, it’s going to turn lugging your laptop around with you and having your PC on you more of a chore than its worth for some people. On the other side of the coin, many smaller laptops make sacrifices in terms of performance to achieve their incredibly lightweight form. Generally Chromebooks and Netbooks of the 11-13 inch variety are popular choices for mobile users, including hybrid tablet / laptops, with some 15-inch options also coming in under the 4.5 pound mark which is comparable to some 13-inch laptops, and again many 15-inch and 17-inch laptops coming in with much heavier weights which are clearly designed more for home or office use with minimal commuting.

In terms of features laptops come with a standard set of connectivity options including USB 3.0, USB 2.0 Ethernet, Bluetooth and Wifi but be sure to check each model to be sure it has all the options you need. Some budget laptops still offer DVD drives, although the general trend is more towards external portable DVD drives with many manufacturers opting to leave them out in favor of a more lightweight and slimmer design.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a laptop is one of the most important decisions you will make.  Once you have made your choice, remember you will be stuck with that computer until you are ready to invest more money into a new one.  That is why you must do your homework first so you are sure that you don’t make the wrong decision.

Keep in mind that most users simply don’t need the latest and greatest hardware to accomplish the tasks they need to do on their laptops.  In most cases, you can get by with a much more affordable laptop to handle the workload for you.  If you are shopping on a budget, you will want to get the best bang for your buck so you are happy with your laptop even if you don’t have over a grand to invest.

In order to do that, you will need to do your homework.  Luckily, understanding how the different hardware impacts your laptop in both performance and cost is a great first step.  You can also look to our guides to help you find the best laptop for you regardless of your budget.

Budget laptops are great tools for most every day users looking to spend some time on social media sites, surf the web and even create documents and perform light work.  However, they are not suited for high end users that enjoy video editing, music composition, or video gaming.  Look at your usage closely before making your decision and refer to our guides here at LaptopNinja to find the best laptop for you, be it budget or premium.

Now that you are well equipped, feel free to browse the guides below for our top picks. You can use this page as a reference when comparing specs and other features or drop us a line if you have any specific questions.

Happy hunting!

The LaptopNinja editorial team

By LaptopNinja Editorial Team

The LaptopNinja editorial team he is dedicated to helping you choose the right laptop for your needs and spreading knowledge about everything tech. Founded in 2012, the LaptopNinja team of motley tech specialists spend countless hours every week scouring the best deals across the web to help save you time and money based on more than half a decade of experience researching and recommended the top value for money and high performing laptops on the planet.

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