We test a wide variety of laptops each year here at The Verge, and many of them are very good. But you can’t buy them all. So I’ve done the very difficult (very difficult, trust me) task of selecting some of the best laptops you can get. Whether you’re looking for a Chromebook, a gaming laptop, a 2-in-1 convertible, an ultralight notebook, or something that’s a little bit of each, I’ve got multiple options for you here. These aren’t necessarily the best laptops of all time, but they are, in my opinion, the best laptops you can buy right now.
Our current pick for the best laptop of 2023 is the MacBook Air. It’s a device that does just about everything right. While it’s certainly not perfect, there are no major flaws. It’s a great pick for productivity, browsing, and even light gaming.
It’s getting harder to buy a bad laptop, but what separates the best laptops from good laptops is how they balance power, efficiency, portability, and comfort. A great laptop should have a fantastic keyboard and trackpad — after all, those are the two biggest reasons you’d choose a laptop over a smartphone or tablet. Its display should be easy on the eyes, bright, and sharp enough that you aren’t distracted by jagged edges and visible pixels. It should be powerful enough for most anything short of intensive video editing and advanced gaming. It should be easy to carry around from place to place, and it should be able to last all day without needing to be plugged in.
Our other picks for the best laptops, Chromebooks, and 2-in-1s include the MacBook Pro 16 and the HP Spectre x360 14. Check out the full list of best laptop picks below or our roundup of the best gaming laptops, if you’re looking for a powerful machine that doesn’t sacrifice portability.
The best laptop
CPU: M2 (8-core) / GPU: M2 (8- or 10-core) / RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 24GB / Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB / Display: 13.6-inch IPS display, 2560 x 1664, 60Hz, no touch option / Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches / Weight: 2.7 pounds
The 13-inch MacBook Air, powered by Apple’s M2 processor, is the overall best laptop for most people. The base model, which includes 8GB of memory, 256GB of storage, an eight-core CPU, and an eight-core GPU, starts at $1,099. A model with 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage, which we recommend for most people and will let you keep using the laptop for longer, costs $1,499. If you’re trying to save money, you can drop back down to 256GB of storage for $1,299, but we recommend keeping 16GB of RAM. External storage is fast and cheap; you can’t add more RAM to a MacBook.
The Air has lost the wedge-shape design that was its calling card for years but retains many of the other excellent features of years past, including MagSafe charging, Touch ID, and the scissor-switch keyboard, and adds a new 1080p webcam and two new color options.
The M2 processor inside isn’t as fast or powerful as the M3 Pro or M3 Max you get in the MacBook Pro models, but it’s still mighty fast. In our testing, it was able to handle intense office workloads with little to no heat or slowdown. Given how thin and light this device is, it delivers a combination of power and portability that you’ll be hard-pressed to find in many other machines out there.
The 13-inch M2 Air didn’t give us quite as much battery life as the 13-inch Air or the 16-inch M1 Pro MacBook did in our rundown testing, but it will still last most people a full day of continuous use.
If you want a larger screen, consider the 15-inch MacBook Air, which Apple (finally) introduced in summer 2023. It has essentially the same specs as the 13-inch Air in a bigger chassis, with most of the same advantages and disadvantages. Same processor, same storage options, same two USB-C ports. It’s a half-pound heavier, the screen resolution is a tiny bit higher, and the battery lasts a bit longer, but that’s about it.
The biggest drawback to the MacBook Air (which might not matter to you at all) is that the M2 processor, like the M1 and M3, only supports one external display. If you want to connect more than one monitor without resorting to workarounds, you’ll need to step up to a MacBook Pro with a Pro or Max processor — or, you know, literally any Windows laptop.
The best Chromebook
CPU: Intel Core i5-1335U / GPU: Intel Iris Xe / RAM: 8GB / Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD / Display: 14-inch IPS, 1920 x 1200, multitouch / Dimensions: 12.31 x 8.82 x 0.71 inches / Weight: 3.1 pounds
The Chromebook Spin 714 is a great 14-inch 2-in-1 convertible Chromebook with a 1920 x 1200 screen, blazing fast processors, and a good keyboard. It was a pretty good deal at $700-ish when it launched, but these days you can regularly find it for under $500 with a 13th-gen i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB NVMe SSD. That’s a screaming deal while it lasts.
The Spin 714 has more going for it. It has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 1080p camera, Wi-Fi 6E, even a stylus tucked away in there. It’s also been updated with Chromebook Plus certification, which means it’ll get 10 years of software updates.
Read our Acer Chromebook Spin 717 review.
The best convertible Windows laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5-1335U, i7-1355U / GPU: Intel Iris Xe / RAM: 16GB, 32GB / Storage: 512GB, 1TB, 2TB / Display: 13.5-inch IPS, 60Hz, 1920 x 1280 / OLED, 3000 x 2000, touch option / Dimensions: 11.75 x 8.67 x 0.67 inches / Weight: 3.01 pounds
The HP Spectre x360 13.5 is a drop-dead gorgeous machine with a sturdy build and a premium look and feel. It can be configured with a 3:2 OLED screen that’s vivid, crisp, and bright and has an adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz. You also get a comfortable keyboard, clear and bass-heavy audio, and a practical port selection. (There are even ports on the corners.) HP ships it with a number of webcam features via its GlamCam package, which you can use to “glam” your video calling experience if that is of interest.
Performance (on the unit we received) was quite speedy and was cool and quiet throughout much of our day-to-day testing. If you’re looking for a sleek and beautiful device, you should look no further than HP’s Spectre line.
You can get the Spectre x360 13.5 for under $1,000 with a Core i5 processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and a 400-nit 1080p IPS touchscreen; the configuration we tested has a 3000 x 2000-pixel OLED screen, Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, and 1TB of storage for around $1,500.
This machine comes with a couple major caveats, however. First, the battery life on the OLED model we tested is not great. We averaged between four and five hours of continuous use. That’s not necessarily unexpected given the screen’s high resolution and refresh rate, but it will still make the Spectre an impractical buy for some people. Previous models with IPS screens lasted longer in our tests, so if battery life is a higher priority, configure accordingly.
Read our HP Spectre x360 14 review.
The best laptop for AAA gaming
CPU: Intel Core i9-13980HX, Core i9-13950HX / GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 4060, RTX 4070, RTX 4080, RTX 4090 / RAM: 16GB, 32GB / Storage: 1TB / Display: 16-inch Mini-LED, Dual UHD / FHD+, 120Hz/240Hz / Dimensions: 13.98 x 9.61 x 0.87 inches / Weight: 5.4 pounds
The Razer Blade 16 is an incredible purchase for gamers with very, very deep pockets. Equipped with top-end chips from Nvidia and Intel, it can run most of today’s most demanding games at their highest settings with all the effects you want. Add Razer’s signature suave chassis and fun (but unobtrusive) RGB keyboard, and there’s little to complain about.
But it’s not just the performance that stands out — games also look great. The Blade comes with an optional Mini LED screen. Not only does the panel deliver rich and vivid colors, but it also has a dual-mode feature that allows you to swap between native UHD Plus /120Hz and FHD Plus / 240Hz modes with one click.
You don’t need to spend this much on a gaming laptop in order to get a good gaming experience, as some of the entries earlier on this list prove. But if you’re looking for the best performance and best display you can squeeze out of the 16-inch form factor, this is the choice for you. It’s a luxury gaming experience for a luxury price.
Read our Razer Blade 16 review.
The best MacBook for photo and video editing
CPU: M3 Pro, M3 Max / GPU: M3 Pro, M3 Max / RAM: 18GB – 36GB (M3 Pro), 36GB – 128 GB (M3 Max) / Storage: 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB / Display: 14.2 / 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR, 3024 x 1964 / 3456 x 2234, adaptive refresh up to 120Hz, no touch option / Dimensions: 12.31 x 8.71 x 0.61 / 14.01 x 9.77 x 0.66 inches / Weight: 3.5 / 4.7 pounds (M3 Pro), 3.6 / 4.8 pounds (M3 Max)
If you need more power for intensive creative work — like 3D rendering and working with ultra-high-resolution photos and video — the MacBook Pro is your huckleberry. Both the 14- and 16-inch models are available with powerful M3 Pro or M3 Max processors. There’s also a 14-inch Pro with a plain-old M3 processor, but it’s kinda weirdly positioned and most people shouldn’t get it.
Processors (and the new space black color option) aside, the MacBook Pro has remained largely unchanged since 2021. It has a bright, beautiful, color-accurate, high-definition screen with HDR and adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz; amazing speakers, a comfortable keyboard and trackpad; and a good port loadout: three Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C 4 ports, plus HDMI and an SD card slot. The 14-inch MacBook Pro is a few hundred dollars cheaper than the 16-inch, but aside from the very lowest processor options, most configurations are available in either size, so pick whichever works for you.
In our benchmarks, which test a variety of creative tasks including encoding, playback, and export time, the MacBook Pro 16 did better than any laptop we’ve ever used — the only other machines that have come close to matching this thing in some of our benchmarks are high-end desktop PCs. The battery life is also record-shattering. The top-of-the-line 16-inch M3 Max model lasted around 18 hours in our most recent testing, with no battery-saving features enabled.
Most people who need more power than a MacBook Air — including pro photographers —will be fine with an M3 Pro model, which starts at $1,999 for the 14-inch with an 11-core CPU, 14-core GPU, 18GB of memory, and a 512GB SSD. The 16-inch starts at $2,499 for a 12-core CPU, 18-core GPU, 18GB of memory, and 512GB SSD. The Pro chip can be configured with up to 36GB of memory and a 4TB SSD, at the usual absurd Apple markups, and it supports up to two external displays.
If you absolutely need more GPU power — or more than two external monitors — you can step up to the M3 Max. The base M3 Max with 14 CPU cores and 30 GPU cores, plus 36GB of RAM and 1TB SSD, starts at $3,199 in the 14-inch and $3,499 in the 16-inch. There’s also an M3 Max with 16 CPU and 40 GPU cores, which starts at $3,699 and $3,999, respectively. The M3 Max models are configurable with up to 128GB of RAM and 8TB of storage and can support up to four external monitors. The vast majority of people don’t have workloads heavy enough to notice a difference between the M3 Pro and M3 Max; if you do, you probably know it.
The best midrange gaming laptop
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS / GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 / RAM: 16GB / Storage: 1TB / Display: 14-inch IPS, 2560 x 1600, 120Hz, no touch option / Dimensions: 12.28 x 8.94 x 0.73 / Weight: 3.64 pounds
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is the best 14-inch gaming laptop you can buy. It’s a perfectly portable device at just 3.79 pounds and 0.77 inches thick, and it comes with a great keyboard, touchpad, port selection, and screen. The frame rates it produced in our testing were solid, and we got all-day battery life, which you don’t see in gaming laptops every day.
If you are interested in having an animated grid of colored lights on your computer, you can also pay more for a model that has Asus’ AniMe Matrix. We don’t think these models offer particularly good value for their price, but they do have some cute benefits — you can customize them to display words or images of your choice, and there’s a virtual pet on it that you can play with.
Read our Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review.
The best repairable laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5-1340P / i7-1360P / 17-1370P, AMD Ryzen 7 7840U / GPU: Intel UHD / Iris Xe, Radeon 700M / RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB / Storage: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB / Display: 13.5 inch IPS, 2256 x 1540, 60Hz, no touch option / Dimensions: 11.68 x 9.01 x 0.62 inches / Weight: 2.87 pounds
If you want a 13-inch laptop that you can configure and assemble yourself, from the ground up, the Framework Laptop 13 is pretty much your only option. The Framework is a modular laptop that users can repair and upgrade over the length of their ownership. Everything from the RAM, to the storage, to even the processor can be upgraded down the line. The company has even come out with upgrades for parts like speakers and hinges that you can install yourself. Not only can you buy it as a prebuilt system, but you can also order it as a DIY kit, allowing you to assemble the entire thing yourself and swap out parts as you please.
Repairability aside, the Framework has a number of laudable features as a laptop itself. The display is bright and high resolution, the speakers are great, and the chassis is quite portable, coming in at under three pounds. The 3:2 aspect ratio provides a lot of room to work and is still a somewhat rare find on today’s market.
That said, I won’t pretend that this is the best 13-inch laptop you can buy. On its own merits, it is an unremarkable system with a somewhat generic look and plasticky build, particularly compared to others in its price category. Nevertheless, the Framework’s standout feature is the unprecedented access it allows its users to replace and repair its parts. We’d love to see more companies make that kind of commitment to sustainable design.
Read our Framework Laptop 13 review.
The best laptop under $400
CPU: Intel Core i3-1215U / GPU: Intel UHD / RAM: 8GB / Storage: 128GB, 256GB UFS / Display: 14-inch IPS, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz, non-touch / Dimensions: 12.9 x 8.4 x 0.74 inches / Weight: 3.17 pounds
The Asus Chromebook Plus CX34 is the least expensive laptop with Google’s new Plus certification. At around $400 for a Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, it’s the baseline Chromebook you should consider if you can’t spend any more.
It’s so easy to get a bad Chromebook at this price, so it’s a relief that the Chromebook Plus CX34 is so good. Not only does it have respectable internals, but the 1080p screen and 1080p webcam are good for the price, the keyboard is great, and the trackpad is fine, if a bit stiff. Battery life is decent, too, and like all Plus Chromebooks, it comes with 10 years of software updates. You can spend more on a laptop, and you probably should, but don’t buy a Chromebook less powerful than this one.
Read our review of the Asus Chromebook Plus CX34.
Updated Nov 21st, 8:51AM ET: Updated MacBook Pro recommendation to M3 Pro and Max models; new Chromebook picks, updated recommended specs for several laptops and removed a few old models.