Finding the Best High End Laptops

Last Edited: February 18, 2018 by

Finding the Best High End Workstation Laptops

Welcome to our monthly updated guide to the best high end laptops on the market based one expert reviews, consumer feedback and user feedback.

While our guides on laptops under $1000 and below have some excellent products, they aren’t exactly powerhouses and they generally skimp on hardware and other features in order to offer more competitive pricing. Our premium laptop guide is built for people who want the best performance, design and features on their notebooks for everyday, business and multimedia activities. Note that this section covers general high-end laptops and not high-end gaming laptops. These premium machines neither have the beastly appearance nor the gaming prowess of a high-end gaming rig, but they fare far better in other aspects like build quality and battery life. With a price range of $1000 to $3500, you have a ton of Premium options to choose from depending on your exact needs. With your budget on the upper end of the scale you can expect no compromises on quality and these laptops deliver by giving you Full-HD to Ultra-HD displays, the latest processors, metallic finishes and other top of the line features. They also have excellent battery longevity and ultrathin profiles so you won’t need to lug around the power adapter or break your back carrying your new machine around all day. These laptops function great not only as general purpose laptops but also as powerful mobile workstations for business oriented users.

If you don’t want a top quality display or a premium design, check out our mid-range laptops under $1000 for products that look modest but pack some serious hardware for their price. If you need something just for routine tasks, there are lots of money saving options in our budget laptop guides featuring laptops from under $500 and below.

Top Picks >> Runners Up >>


Top High-End Laptop

Apple Macbook Pro MPTT2LL/A 15.4-inch

Apple Macbook Pro MPTT2LL/A

The 2017 Apple Macbook Pro MPTT2LL/A 15.4-inch laptop is the newest version of Apple’s stunning, but expensive range of Macbooks. It shares the beautiful aluminum unibody design of its predecessor, but Apple have gone and made it 40% thinner, giving it an even more sleek profile. The omission of some key ports has received criticism, along with MagSafe charging port that was so well received. Apple has decided to use only USB Type-C ports (Thunderbolt 3) that will require additional adapters. Now something as simple as connecting a mouse has become a bit of headache. The Macbook Pro MPTT2LL/A, while super slim and portable, packs some impressive specs. The 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM makes this computer production orientated, and running demanding audio or design applications on the market will be a breeze, especially since Apple have also included a Radeon Pro 560 with 4GB memory. The RAM is, however, not upgradable, which may be a drawback for some. The new Touch Bar will display shortcuts depending on what applications you are working in and promises to speed up your workflow. The integrated Touch ID allows you to quickly and safely approve Apple Pay transactions and will allow you to quickly switch user accounts and login securely. The 512GB solid state drive is fast and the 2880×1800 Retina display remains one of the most beautiful displays available on the market. The Macbook Pro MPTT2LL/A does come at quite a price however, and there are equally powerful windows machines that retail for lower prices. But most Apple fans quickly point out the convenience and productivity orientated approach Apple take with their machines, and the Macbook Pro MPTT2LL/A is no different.

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

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$2599.00
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from BHPhotoVideo
(as of 08-12-2017 05:41 UTC) Details

Top High-End Laptops Under $1500

Microsoft Surface Book SX3-00001 13.5-inchMicrosoft Surface Book SX3-00001 13.5-inch

In today’s day and age, professionals often find themselves having to lug around a laptop as well as a tablet which can be cumbersome. Microsoft’s solution to this problem is the Surface Book SX3-00001. With its modern stylish design, high performance specs, crystal clear and incredibly responsive multi-touchscreen display, the Surface Book is perfect for the working professional. Powered by an Intel Core i5-6300U processor and 8GB of DDR3 RAM, the Surface Book SX3-00001 has the power to tackle any office task that can be thrown at it. The Surface Book SX3-00001 also features an NVIDIA Maxwell graphics card that has been specifically designed for the Surface Book. This will allow for some casual gaming, but more importantly it will allow for far better raw rendering power when it comes to design and architecture apps. The display offers a maximum resolution of 3000 x 2000, which gives it a ratio of 3:2. While this is an odd aspect ratio, it does mean that an A4 document will look more realistic than on most other laptops. The crystal clear display offers great viewing angles and rich colors for Full-HD videos and full frame photos. The superfast SSD allows you to boot into Windows in seconds and will allow your apps to launch with lightning fast speeds. You get 256GB of storage space, which will allow you to store a healthy amount of work documents. However it will fill up very quickly if you have a large multimedia library. Microsoft has successfully combined the raw power of a laptop-grade CPU and an NVIDIA GPU with the portability of a tablet into a hybrid that incorporates the best of both worlds. Able to handle anything from spreadsheets to 3D architectural design the Surface Book is the perfect business partner for the user who needs the power of a laptop with the versatility of a tablet.

Pros

  • Exceptional battery life
  • Powerful hardware
  • Thin and light
  • Pin point accurate touchscreen
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • NVIDIA graphics

Cons

  • No Ethernet
  • No USB Type-C
  • 3:2 aspect ratio
  • No HDMI
  • Price

Specs

  • Windows 10 Pro
  • 12 hours battery life
  • 3.34 lbs

Summary

The Surface Book SX3-00001 is a purpose built business laptop that offers great performance, an NVIDIA GPU and excellent battery life that will get you through the day.

Microsoft Surface Book SX3-00001 13.5-inch
$1899.00$997.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 15-01-2018 15:57 UTC) Details

Top High-End Laptop – Runner-Ups

Microsoft Surface Book 2 13.5-inch

Microsoft Surface Book 2 HMW-00001

Microsoft’s latest laptop, the Surface Book 2, is a 2-in-1 premium laptop that has wowed many users with its elegant looks and immense performance capabilities thanks to its premium components. This lightweight, 3.62-pound machine comes in a beautifully crafted magnesium body and it is fitted with a 13.5-inch PixelSense display that has a resolution of 3,000 x 2,000 (267 ppi). Disappointingly, Microsoft have not included a Thunderbolt 3 port, which we do see in many newer laptops, such as the Dell XPS 15. It does, however, come with a USB-C port. The Intel i7 8650U is one the most powerful processors around that can Turbo Boost up to 4.2 GHz, and the 16GB of RAM is more than enough to have a heap of applications and web pages open. The fact that it is fanless has also not affected performance according to reviewers, as it still delivers amazing performance while staying pretty quiet. Its ability to transform into different modes is what makes it such a versatile laptop. The screen detaches easily from the fulcrum hinges with the touch of a button and becomes a tablet, and it can be reattached backwards to change it into studio and view mode. The included NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU is the discrete version, and it allows for some decent entry level gaming, but the GPU fan is said to get quite loud when gaming or video editing. This model comes with a decent sized 512GB SSD and both the front and rear camera quality is said to be great. Their are also a few of other accessories that one can use with the Surface Book 2, including the Surface Precision Mouse and the Surface Dial. If you are looking for a versatile 2-in-1 in laptop that is both elegant and incredibly efficient, then the Surface Book 2 will suit your needs.

Pros

  • Excellent PixelSense display
  • Versatile
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Beautiful design
  • Dedicated GPU
  • 17 hour battery life

Cons

  • No Thunderbolt 3
  • Loud GPU fan
  • No included Surface Pen

Specs

  • 15.0 inch, 3240 x 2160 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • 15.75 hours battery life
  • 4.2 lbs

Summary

Microsoft's Surface Book 2 13.5-inch laptop comes in a beautiful magnesium case that is fitted with powerful premium components, but for this price, the omission of Thunderbolt 3 support and no included Surface Pen is rather disappointing.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 HMW-00001 15-inch
$2899.00$2733.24
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from Amazon.com
(as of 21-02-2018 14:40 UTC) Details

Dell XPS 15 9560-7001SLV-PUS 15-inch

Dell XPS 15 - 9560 laptop

Dell’s XPS 15 9560-7001SLV-PUS is the older brother of the highly regarded 2015 Dell XPS 13. The first thing many notice about this laptop is its incredible display. The 15-inch IPS 4K InfinityEdge display is simply gorgeous, and it has a near 100 percent Adobe RGB color according to Notebookcheck, but not a full 100 percent as claimed by Dell. The display is also a touchscreen, and is said to be highly responsive, allowing you to “interact naturally with your technology” as per Dell’s description. The XPS 15 is an incredibly versatile machine, as it’s both suitable for productivity users looking for a powerful workstation thanks to its powerful 7th-Gen Intel Core i7 and 16GB of RAM, and it’s suitable for mid-tier gaming, thanks to its entry level NVIDIA GTX 1050. It’s clearly designed for power users, however, with laptops dedicated for gaming delivering a much better gaming performance in this price range. The GPU will also allow for some heavy duty video and photo editing, however. The XPS 15’s aluminium body feels great and the construction of the laptop is awesome. Some noted that it is surprisingly heavy, however. The battery life, according to users, when used moderately, is around 6-7 hours and typing is great thanks to the carbon fibre palm rest. Quality control is a major concern, however, since some customers received laptops that had various issues: no OS installed, faulty drivers, and damaged laptops. Fortunately, they were able to return them. But this is worth noting in case you do find yourself receiving a faulty machine. It runs quietly under moderate use, but stressing it does seem to make the fans get quite loud according to reports. This did not deter many people though, and most were immensely happy with their purchase. If you are looking for an excellent all purpose workhorse of a laptop that easily has a class leading display, then look no further than the Dell XPS 15 9560-7001SLV-PUS.

Pros

  • Stunning display
  • Near 100% Adobe RGB color
  • Class topping performance
  • Dedicated GPU
  • Great construction
  • Thunderbolt 3

Cons

  • Poor quality control
  • Noisy fan under stress
  • Webcam placement
  • Keyboard

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 8 hours battery life
  • 4.5 lbs

Summary

The Dell XPS 15’s 4K InfinityEdge display is one of the best screens available, and Dell have thrown a decent GPU into a mix of already powerful hardware, making it an awesome all purpose laptop.

Dell XPS 15 – 9560 15.6-inch
$1999.00$1499.00
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from Microsoft
(as of 12-02-2018 02:15 UTC) Details

HP Spectre X360 15t 15.6-inchHP Spectre X360 15t 15.6-inch

Thin and light 2-in-1 laptops have become popular among those users who enjoy both laptops and tablets. The HP Spectre X360 15t closes the gap between the two markets and can easily be transformed into a super powerful Windows 10 tablet. The brilliant 4K touchscreen helps this laptop standout from the competition and will allow you to easily enjoy the best 4K series and movies right in the comfort of your own lap. Driving the 4K display is a dedicated NVIDIA 940MX graphics card, though it’s not suited for hardcore gaming. Instead the graphics card is more intended for running photo and video editing applications. You also get an HP Active Stylus Pen which can be used to illustrate breathtaking artworks or draw amazing blueprints for ground breaking products. The brilliant display and the Active Stylus Pen are not this laptop’s only amazing features, you also get 1TB of SSD storage, a seventh generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor and a whooping 32GB of memory. This combined make the HP Spectre X360 15t a great choice for power users on the go who are looking for a powerful machine that won’t skip a beat and that will keep up with their high standards. Overall, the price might be steep for some who are looking for more powerful graphics, but to be honest it is not meant for gaming. Instead it’s meant for those working professionals who need and what a powerful, yet elegant 2-in-1 laptop.

Pros

  • Brilliant 4K touchscreen display
  • Elegant design
  • HP Active Stylus Pen
  • Large 1TB SSD
  • 2-in-1 design

Cons

  • Higher price
  • Not as light as we would have liked
  • Only one full-size USB port

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 3840 x 2160 pixels
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 8.25 hours battery life
  • 4.4 lbs

Summary

The HP Spectre X360 15t is a powerful laptop for the working professional, though it does come with a steep price and only one full-size USB port.

HP Spectre X360 15t 15.6-inch
$2149.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 21-02-2018 15:22 UTC) Details

Top Laptops Under $1500 – Runners up

Lenovo Yoga 720 81C3005PUS

2018 Lenovo Yoga 720 13.3-inch laptop

It seems that 2-in-1 laptops are making their mark in the productivity orientated ultrabook market, with models such as the HP Spectre X360 and the Microsoft Surface Book being a popular choice for the modern day person looking for efficiency. The Lenova Yoga 720 81C3005PUS 13.3-inch offers the same lightweight efficiency and versatility thanks to its ability to double up as a tablet and its excellent set of features. The Yoga 720 is well priced for the performance it is able to deliver, and this may be due to the fact that Lenovo have kept onboard graphics (HD Graphics 620) as opposed to going with a dedicated card as we have seen with other pricier ultrabooks. However, this does mean that super demanding video editing and photo editing programs may take a hit, but there is still plenty of processing power thanks to the 8th Generation Intel i7-8550U CPU that is backed by 16GB of RAM. Storage space will also not be much of an issue since there is a spacious 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD that has fast data transfer rates and it will allow your laptop and applications to load up in seconds. The lightweight (2.9 pounds), sleek design is both eye catching and highly portable, and its ability to readily transform into a tablet is what makes these hybrids so great for business meetings. The touch screen display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080, and this may be another reason why it is lower priced when compared to the other giants in the workstation market that all sport 4K resolution. Most noted that its color representation is great and it is responsive to the touch, but technical review sites such as notebookcheck.com noted that the display could be brighter. Furthermore, the screen is said to exhibit PWM flickering, which may lead to headaches for some users. It has a good battery life of around 8 hours when not used under load, which will get you through the day. If you don’t need a laptop that has a dedicated card for hardcore video editing or gaming, then the Lenovo Yoga 720 81C3005PUS will provide you with everything you need.

Pros

  • Up-to-date CPU
  • Excellent IPS display
  • Super portable
  • High-speed, large M.2 PCIe SSD
  • USB Type-C and ThunderBolt
  • 2-in-1 functionality

Cons

Specs

  • 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 2.9 lbs

Summary

Although the IPS display is crisp, it may not be bright enough for some, but most will agree that Lenovo Yoga 720 81C3005PUS has an attractive price tag for the strong performance it’s able to deliver.

Lenovo Yoga 720 81C3005PUS 13.3-inch
$1139.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 21-02-2018 14:36 UTC) Details

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon 20FB004JUS 14-inchLenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon 20FB004JUS 14-inch

In an effort to produce a super light and thin ultrabook, Lenovo looked at the racing and aviation industry and incorporated carbon fiber and magnesium alloy in the impressive Thinkpad X1 Carbon. Designed with business users in mind, the Thinkpad X1 Carbon offers a single-touch fingerprint reader, Trusted Platform Module encryption and Windows Professional to access further security features. It has also been tested to military standards to ensure that it will be able to cope with the various challenges of business travel. Powering the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon is a 6th generation Intel Core i5-6200U processor and 8GB of RAM, which combined make light work of everyday tasks. The solid state drive offers lightning fast boot and app loading times, making it great for users who need to access their apps and files on the fly. The 256GB of storage space will be enough for most users, but those with larger music and movie collections will have to look at using an external storage drive. The display offers great image quality, vivid colors and 104% sRGB color Gamut. But the display brightness level is quite average, which might bother some users who prefer a brighter screen for low light use. But the Thinkpad X1 Carbon does come with a backlit keyboard, making working in those low light situations much easier. Being a Thinkpad laptop, it comes with the recognizable TrackPoint pointing stick, providing you with the most accurate way to navigate around Windows and your apps.

Pros

  • Light weight
  • Great keyboard
  • Battery life
  • SSD
  • Bright display

Cons

  • No Ethernet port
  • No USB 3.1 Type-C
  • New docking port

Specs

  • 14 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • 10.25 hours battery life
  • 2.54 lbs

Summary

Overall the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon is a beautiful ultrabook that incorporates carbon fiber for durability and lightness. But does not have an Ethernet port or USB 3.1 Type-C.

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon 20FB004JUS 14-inch
$1277.99
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from Amazon.com
(as of 21-02-2018 14:43 UTC) Details

Dell XPS9350-5340SLV 13.3-InchDell XPS9350-5340SLV Microsoft Signature Edition 13.3-inch

With the rise in popularity of tablets in the modern tech market, touchscreen displays have become popular among users who are after a hybrid experience. The Dell XPS9350-5340SLV offers great performance in a small 13.3-inch laptop that is perfect for users on the go. Powered by a Skylake Dual-Core i7-6500U processor which is backed by 8GB of RAM, the Dell XPS9350-5340SLV has more than enough power to handle day-to-day tasks. The installed 256GB solid state drive allows for fast booting and lightning fast app launching, but the total storage space is a bit limited for modern use. It boasts Intel HD 520 integrated graphics which are sufficient for day-to-day tasks, but for gaming it is under powered and will only run newer titles on low to medium settings. The QHD IPS display offers great viewing angles, great color range and a maximum resolution of 3200×1800, but due to the smaller display size the full QHD experience is lost as the full resolution leaves everything looking tiny. The touchscreen is quite responsive and offers a great touch experience for multimedia and web browsing. Designers will need to look elsewhere as it does not offer the responsiveness that is offered by products such as the Wacom range. The Dell XPS9350-5340SLV features low voltage hardware which means that the battery life is far better than some of its competitors and will offer a great 8 hours of use.

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • Powerful hardware
  • Solid state drive
  • QHD touch display
  • USB Type-C with Thunderbolt 3
  • Thin and light
  • No 3rd party bloatware

Cons

  • Smaller storage device
  • Display to resolution ratio
  • Weird Webcam position
  • Limited amount of ports

Specs

  • 13.3 inch, 3200 x 1800 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 8 hours battery life
  • 2.8 lbs

Summary

The Dell XPS9350-5340SLV is a great touchscreen laptop that is small, light and offers a brilliant QHD display for users on the go.

Dell XPS9350-5340SLV Microsoft Signature Edition 13.3-Inch
$1059.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 21-02-2018 14:52 UTC) Details

Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation 15.6-inchDell Precision 15 5510 Workstation 15.6-inch

While many gaming laptops can be used for design and animation work thanks to their dedicated graphics cards, if you are serious about your work then you will consider a dedicated workstation laptop. One of the cheaper workstations on the market is the Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation, which offers a dedicated NVIDIA Quadro graphics card. But other than the Quadro card, the specs are a bit average for its over $1000 price tag. Powered by a 6th generation Skylake Intel Core i5-6300HQ processor and a meagre 8GB of RAM, the Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation will cope with most tasks, but is slightly underpowered for more intensive rendering and processing. The crowning feature, the Quadro M1000M is NVIDIA’s entry level rendering card and will offer users the performance that they need while working. The card can even be used for gaming, but the lower shader count puts it just below the GTX 950M. Designed for a specific purpose, you would expect more storage space to store larger projects, but the Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation has a 500GB mechanical hard drive. But it is a 7200rpm drive, which offers better performance than the 5400rpm hard drive that is commonly used. If you have a larger budget then we recommend looking at the MSI WT72 6QM-423US, but if not then the Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation is worth looking at.

Pros

  • Sharp display
  • NVIDIA Quadro card
  • USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Designed for rendering

Cons

  • Battery life
  • Only 500GB of storage
  • Only 8GB of RAM
  • Intel i5 processor
  • Price

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • 16 hours battery life
  • 3.93 lbs

Summary

The Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation offers users a Quadro M1000M rendering card, but the RAM and storage space are below average for its price

Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation 15.6-inch
$1998.57$1814.73
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from Amazon.com
(as of 21-02-2018 14:43 UTC) Details

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Apple MacBook MJY42LLA 12-Inch

Apple MacBook MJY42LL/A 12-Inch

The latest version of the MacBook replaced the old 13-inch version in 2015, being much lighter and thinner than its predecessors. Replacing the previous generations Intel Core 2 Duo processors is a Dual-Core Intel Core M Processor, which has been criticized by some Apple fans, but this CPU is one of the most revolutionary processor to be released in the last few years. Being 50% smaller than other Intel processors and not requiring a fan for cooling, the Core M allows for the new MacBook to be a mere 0.52-inches thick. Backing this new generation of mobile processor is 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM that helps conserve power and allows the new MacBook to offer an average battery life of over 14 hours. The lightning fast 512GB of PCIe based flash storage offers enough space for professional writers and editors, but will fill up quickly if it is used for storing multimedia. The 12-inch display offers an unusual 16:10 aspect ratio and an unusual resolution of 2304×1440. Like some of Apple’s more premium machines the new MacBook comes standard with a Retina display and thanks to IPS technology it offers wide viewing angles and rich colors. One of the biggest criticisms of the new MacBook is that Apple has done away with all of the ports that you would expect to find on a laptop and have replaced it with a single USB Type-C port. This means purchasing an adapter to be able to connect a standard USB device or connect an external monitor or TV via HDMI or VGA. While it looks sleek and allows the laptop to retain a thin profile it is far from convenient. All in all, the new MacBook offers a sleek design that weighs in at 2lbs, making it extremely light and portable for Mac users on the go.

Pros

  • Insane battery life
  • Thin and light
  • Retina display
  • SSD

Cons

  • Price
  • One USB Type-C port
  • No USB Type-C adapter included

Specs

  • 12 inch, 2304 x 1440 pixels (IPS)
  • Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite
  • 14 hours battery life
  • 2 lbs

Summary

The new MacBook is perfect for Mac users who are after a thin and light laptop that can offer a 14 hour battery life, making it great for travelling professionals.

Apple MacBook MJY42LL/A 12-Inch
$1192.79
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 21-02-2018 14:52 UTC) Details

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