The best laptop of 2022 can come with a variety of brands, prices, and features. Here, we’ve got the rest of the best laptops, Windows 10 business notebooks, gaming rigs, Chromebooks, laptops for school, and 2-in-1 convertibles.
Our current pick for the best laptop of 2022 is the MacBook Air. It’s a device that does just about everything right. While it’s certainly not a perfect device, there are no major flaws. It’s a great pick for productivity, browsing, and even light gaming.
We live in a world where smartphones are ubiquitous, tablets are commonplace, and even smartwatches are a thing that people talk about on the regular. But throughout all of these advances, the humble laptop has persevered — and for good reason. When it comes time to work, whether that’s editing photos, writing a lot of emails, composing documents, or staying in touch with colleagues and family, we’re here with our top picks to help you find the best laptop for the job.
It’s getting harder to buy a bad laptop, but what separates the best laptop of 2022 from good laptops is how they balance power, efficiency, portability, and comfort. The top 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.
In our view, the best laptop for budget shoppers is the HP Envy x360 13. For a sub-$1,000 price, it delivers performance on par with much more expensive laptops.
Our other picks for the best laptops, Chromebooks, and 2-in-1s of 2022 include the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15, 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.
Best overall: MacBook Air M1
As a Windows user, I find myself reluctant to name a MacBook the best overall laptop. But I can’t deny that Apple’s transition to its own Silicon has made its machines better. The MacBook Air M1 even outperformed many PCs while maintaining a fanless design. Though the current model is two years old at this point, it’s still one of the best laptops around. You’ll get blazing fast performance, a great keyboard and excellent battery life, along with a nice Retina display.
Our main gripes with it are the low-res 720p webcam and the fact that it only has two USB-C ports. But if you’re already living a largely wireless life, that shouldn’t bother you too much. Plus, thanks to its ARM architecture, the M1 MacBook Air can also run iPhone and iPad apps.
If you can wait a little longer, the MacBook Air is overdue an update and Apple’s new model is likely to deliver even better performance. But if you need a new machine right now and want a bit more power than the M1 Air has to offer, then consider the 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip. It’s more expensive, but will smoothly handle more intensive tasks like video editing and also packs an onboard SD card reader. The M1 Pro still lags more-powerful NVIDIA and AMD systems, though, so if you need something for 3D rendering, you may need to turn to a Windows machine.
Best Windows: Dell XPS 13 Plus
The best PC has long been Dell’s well-rounded XPS 13 series and I still recommend it to anyone that doesn’t want a Mac. Yes, the new XPS 13 Plus lacks a headphone jack, and we haven’t got one in to test yet. But the XPS 13 is a well-rounded machine and still one of the best-looking PCs out there.
Like its predecessors, the XPS 13 Plus offers a lovely OLED screen with impressively thin bezels and packs a roomy, comfortable keyboard. It also features a new minimalist design that looks more modern. I’m not sure about the row of capacitive keys at the top in lieu of traditional function keys, but I’m confident that the laptop’s 12th-gen Intel Core processors will provide a healthy performance boost from the last model.
If you’re not sure about the changes Dell has made to the XPS 13, or if you definitely need a headphone jack, the older generations are still solid options. There’s also the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro series, which feature beautiful OLED screens and sharper webcams in thin and light frames. I also like Microsoft’s Surface Laptops, and the most recent edition offers great performance and battery life, albeit in an outdated design.
Best for gaming: Razer Blade 15 Advanced
Gamers should look for machines with responsive screens and ample ports for their favorite accessories that can best help them defeat their virtual enemies. My colleague Devindra Hardawar goes into more detail about what to consider in his guide to buying a gaming laptop, which you should read to learn about different CPUs and GPUs, minimum specs and more. Our favorite gaming laptop is the Razer Blade 15 Advanced, which has an Intel Core i7 processor, and an NVIDIA RTX 3070 graphics for $2,500.
It’s the most expensive item on this list, but you also get a 15-inch quad HD screen that refreshes at 240Hz. Different configurations are available, depending on your preference, including a Full HD 360Hz and a 4K 144Hz version. The Blade series is also one of the most polished gaming laptops around.
Those looking for something cheaper and more portable should consider the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14, which was our favorite model last year. The main reason it got bumped down a notch is because the 2022 refresh is almost $600 more expensive. It’s still a solid gaming laptop though, with an excellent display, roomy trackpad and plenty of ports in spite of its thin profile.
Best Chromebook: Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook
Our favorite Chromebook is Lenovo’s Flex 5 Chromebook, which Engadget’s resident Chrome OS aficionado Nathan Ingraham described as “a tremendous value.” This laptop nails the basics, with a 13-inch Full HD touchscreen, a fantastic keyboard and a 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor. The 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage may sound meager, but in our testing the Flex 5 held up in spite of this constraint. It’s also nice to see one USB-A and two USB-C ports, eight-hour battery life and a 360-degree hinge that makes it easy to use the Flex 5 as a tablet. That’s a bonus, especially now that Chrome OS supports Android apps.
Though the Flex 5 is almost two years old by now, it’s a solid deal at around $400. In fact, you can sometimes find it on sale for as little as $300, making it a great option for someone looking for a basic browser-based machine on a tight budget.
Best budget: HP Pavilion Aero 13
If you’re looking for something under $800, your best bet is the HP Pavilion Aero 13. For around $750, you’ll get a Full HD screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio and surprisingly thin bezels, as well as a comfortable keyboard and spacious trackpad. Importantly, the Aero 13 provides relatively powerful components compared to others in this price range, with an AMD Ryzen 5000 series processor and Radeon graphics. Plus, it has a generous array of ports and enough juice to last you the entire work day and then some.
Best convertible: Microsoft Surface Pro 8
For those who need their laptops to occasionally double as tablets, the Surface Pro series is a no-brainer. Compared to notebooks with rotating hinges, tablets with kickstands are often much slimmer and lighter. The Surface Pro 8 is the most recent model and it features Microsoft’s sleek new design with a thinner profile and minimal bezels. The Pro 8 also has a 120Hz display that makes scrolling long documents or spreadsheets feel much faster, and you can drop the refresh rate down to 60Hz if you want to conserve battery life.
We also like Microsoft’s Type Covers for its Surface Pros, though it’s worth noting that they’ll cost you an additional $100 to $180. Those who want to doodle or sketch on the display may appreciate the Surface Slim Pen 2’s haptic feedback.
Unless you’re bent on sticking to Apple’s ecosystem, in which case an iPad Pro would suit you best, the Surface Pro 8 is arguably the best convertible laptop around.