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Best Laptop 2024: The top 8 laptops you can buy

A laptop is one of the most important gadgets you can buy, as it can have a major impact on your productivity, whether you’re a student, office worker, freelancer, business owner or even just someone looking for an easy way to access their emails or play PC games on the go.

There are a huge number of laptops out there, with the likes of Acer, Asus, Lenovo and HP launching multiple models each year, making it difficult for the average person to find the perfect option. That’s why we’ve decided to help and create this Best Laptop list.

We test numerous laptops each year, conducting thorough tests with industry-standard equipment and benchmark software. We also use each laptop for at least a week to evaluate the day-to-day experience with the portable. We then judge how the laptop compares to the competition in terms of pricing, and then will give it a star rating to reflect this.

Any laptop that achieves at least a 4-star rating (out of 5) is considered for this list. That means you can be confident that you’re getting the best laptop possible for your money.

Still can’t find the perfect laptop? Then it’s worth having a look at our other guides, which offer a shortlist of more specific laptop categories such as Best Student Laptop, Best Budget Laptop, Best Chromebook and Best Gaming Laptop.

Alternatively, if you’re loyal to a specific brand, then we also have dedicated guides such as Best MacBook, Best Asus Laptop, Best Microsoft Surface Laptop, Best Acer Laptop, Best Dell Laptop and Best Huawei Laptop.

Best Laptop at a glance

How we test

Learn more about how we test laptops

Every laptop we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality, performance, screen quality and battery life. 

These include formal synthetic benchmarks and scripted tests, plus a series of real world checks, such as how well it runs the most frequently used apps. 

We also make sure to use every laptop we review as our primary device for at least a week to ensure our review is as accurate as possible.

Asus Zenbook 14 OLED

Best overall laptop
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Pros

  • Great performance in mainstream apps
  • Good gaming performance by iGPU standards
  • Fantastic OLED screen
  • No compromises on the connectivity or ergonomics

Cons

  • GPU speeds constrained by slimline form factor

Up until a couple of years ago, the title of best laptop was often contested by the everpresent MacBook Air and Dell’s XPS 13. Since then, the Dell XPS 13 has dropped off. One of the companies to fill the void has been Asus, with excellent laptops like the Zenbook S 13 OLED. Now, with the launch of Intel’s Core Ultra chips, it has achieved our Best Laptop crown with the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED.

The Zenbook 14 OLED is a terrific all-rounder, offering a superb combination of productivity, creative and gaming performance as well as a stylish and lightweight frame. On the productivity front, the Asus will comfortably take down plenty of tabs, along with strong multi-tasking capabilities. However, it’s the boosted graphical capabilities of the new Intel Core Ultra and its Arc integrated graphics that are worth noticing. Admittedly, it remains far from a gaming powerhouse but it gives this laptop the ability to comfortably dip its toe into AAA gaming at low to medium settings along with being ideal for creators on the go.

The laptop looks good while doing all this too, from a terrifically bright and detailed 1800p OLED display to a slim 15mm design that weighs just 1.29kg. Despite this, it manages to pack in a solid range of ports, from two Thunderbolt 4 and a USB-C to a handy HDMI 2.1 and a headphone jack. Another factor that manages to not be hindered by the light frame is the keyboard, we found it to be delightfully clicky and crisp.

One area in which high-end Windows productivity laptops have lacked over recent years, particularly Intel ones, is on battery life. Well, the Zenbook 14 OLED may not hit the heights of the MacBook Air, but it comes closer than before. It reaches close to a solid 13 hours of juice.

Reviewer: Stuart Andrews
Full review: Asus Zenbook 14 OLED review

Apple MacBook Air 15-inch

Best MacBook
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Pros

  • Thin and light with a huge screen
  • The M2 remains a powerful chip for everyday tasks
  • Not a huge price increase over the 13-inch model

Cons

  • Annoying port placement
  • Internal upgrades are expensive
  • M2 not a massive jump over M1

The Apple MacBook Air 15-inch is our pick for the best all-round MacBook you can buy. The latest Air model builds on its, already excellent, smaller sibling by accommodating an improved viewing experience with its larger display.

The MacBook Air range has been a tremendous showcase of Apple Silicon since the launch of the first M1 model and the latest version is no different. The new 15-inch model offers tremendous productivity performance, if you’re using this for writing essays, browsing the web and watching multimedia, it’ll be a delightful breeze for you to use from the moment you turn it on. With no fan on board either, it runs silently.

All this is backed up by excellent battery life, coming in at well over a work day in our real-world testing and managing 14 hours in our battery benchmarking test. The results are similar to the 13-inch MacBook Air as, despite the 15-inch model having a slightly larger battery, it seems to be offset by the larger display. The larger screen is absolutely a welcome addition, providing a more multitasking-friendly canvas as well as a more immersive panel for watching movies.

Movie-watching and the overall audio experience is boosted from the 13-inch too, which already donned class-leading sound. The larger chassis enables additional speakers and it’s mightily impressive, with strong bass chops and solid vocal clarity. The entire package makes this the best laptop for most people, dominating the productivity category.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full review: Apple MacBook Air 15-inch review

Samsung Galaxy Book 3 360

Best laptop under £900
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Pros

  • Strong productivity performance
  • Best-in-class Full HD AMOLED display
  • High-quality design
  • Great typing experience

Cons

  • Awkward keyboard and trackpad placement
  • Basic speakers

The Samsung Galaxy Book 3 360 is the dark horse of the laptop world in 2024. It hasn’t been touted by Samsung all that much, overshadowed by the Galaxy Book 3 Pro and new Galaxy Book 3 Ultra. But, when it comes to broad appeal and value, it’s comfortably the best of the bunch.

Despite its lower price than many key rivals, the 13th Gen Intel Core P-series chip inside provides plenty of productivity performance, no less than you need for a student or word processing workload. And, it’s aided by a display that may look under-specced initially. Coming in at just Full HD, the screen redeems itself through Samsung’s AMOLED panel, which is crisp and lush. With a 16:9 aspect ratio and 360-degree hinge, this is a laptop that’s ideal for media consumption too.

The keyboard experience is excellent, you can spend hours comfortably typing away on the Galaxy Book 3 360. And, you’ll be proud to do it in whatever setting, with the design matching that of most high-end, and more expensive machines, with an all-metal build. The top-notch S Pen is included too, for breezy drawing and handwriting capabilities.

Reviewer: Adam Speight
Full review: Samsung Galaxy Book 3 360 review

HP Pavilion SE 14

Best budget laptop
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Pros

  • Very good value
  • Latest 13th generation Intel CPU
  • Impressive keyboard and speakers
  • Biometric security

Cons

  • Mediocre battery life
  • IPS display is bland
  • Type-C port doesn’t support power or video

It’s been said once, it’s been said 1000 times. When you’re buying a budget laptop there are going to be compromises. However, far too many laptops ask you to compromise on too much. The HP Pavilion SE 14 gets the balance right for under £500.

Right off the bat, the Pavilion SE 14 impresses by giving you modern specifications, when many budget laptops ask you to pay top dollar for last year’s processor. This laptop offers up a 13th Gen Intel Core chip alongside a solid 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD. It is a potent combination that’s great for productivity and solid multitasking, while also giving you plenty of room to store tons of documents and photos.

Other key compromises for budget laptops often include a shoddy keyboard and tinny speakers, but the Pavilion SE 14 bats this norm away. The keyboard is comfortable and you’ll have no trouble typing out a long essay on this machine, even if it takes you hours to mull over. We were surprised to discover the speakers offered surprisingly full and loud audio too. The 1080p webcam is another top-notch inclusion for a budget laptop too, meaning this laptop is also suited well to video conferencing.

Where the HP Pavilion SE 14 doesn’t pull up trees is with the display. It isn’t an OLED, so the colours won’t knock your socks off but, being an IPS panel rather than a TN, it offers satisfactory viewing angles and brightness. The battery life isn’t amazing either, at around 7 hours. Nevertheless, the design should still please the likes of students who want something durable yet stylish, with it being made from plastic but offering a deceptively sleek look.

Reviewer: Alun Taylor
Full review: HP Pavilion SE 14 review

Asus Chromebook Plus CX34

Best Chromebook
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Pros

  • Great keyboard and port selection
  • Nippy performance
  • Solid endurance

Cons

  • Cheap-feeling construction
  • Basic speakers

The Asus Chromebook Plus CX34 was part of a new range of ChromeOS devices that launched in 2023. The aim of the Chromebook Plus initiative was to raise standards for cheap Chromebooks, making it easier for buyers to feel comfortable picking one up. The CX34 absolutely did that, a laptop that punches well above its low £429 price point.

The specifications are unlikely to knock your socks off, with just a 12th Gen Intel Core i3 chip leading the charge. But, backed up by 8GB RAM and the lightweight ChromeOS, the CX34 is a machine that can handle intensive browsing with ease and multitask comfortably too. That lightweight ChromeOS also means that, despite donning a rather small 50Wh battery, it manages to give you an impressive 11+ hours of battery life.

The chassis may be plastic and feel rather cheap but it offers stylish signature Asus looks and a plethora of ports. We were also mightily impressed by the solid travel of this keyboard that makes this a joy of a laptop to type away on. The display is strong for the price too, offering pleasing detail if lacking a little in the brightness department.

Google’s Chromebook Plus devices offer some neat new features to users as well. You’ll find the Magic Eraser onboard, moving over from its Pixel phones, letting you erase unwanted figures and objects from images. AI video calling features are here to tidy up your meetings also. Then, there is Offline File Sync, which makes it easy to access your files on the go, a feature long absent from ChromeOS laptops.

Reviewer: Reece Bithrey
Full review: Asus Chromebook Plus CX34 review

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch M3 Max

Best photo and video editing laptop
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Pros

  • Exceptional performance
  • Stunning display and keyboard

Cons

  • The price builds up very quickly
  • No Face ID

It’s hard to compare the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3 Max) with many other laptops on the market. It comes with a high price tag and is aimed squarely at serious professionals who need hardware that can live up to intensive computing and graphical processing demands. But, if you fall into that bracket, you won’t be disappointed.

The 16-inch M3 Max model of the latest and greatest MacBook Pro isn’t a huge departure from the previous M2-flavoured iteration, offering modest performance gains, but that still makes it a beast for serious creative work on the go. It remains the leader of the pack when it comes to performance up against key rivals on the Windows side of things and it retains the top trick of M-series MacBook, being able to provide almost equal performance when not plugged in as it can when it is. This remains mightily impressive as the drop-off is large on high-performance Windows laptops.

To meet its market, the MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3 Max) needs to offer titanic performance to cater to professionals who need to be able to create, modify and render complex pieces of work, like video editing projects with multiple streams and intricate effects. For those needs, the MacBook Pro has chops to hit the mark. Across most of our testing benchmarks, this laptop barely made noise above a whisper and the machine never got overly warm. If you are someone who has less complex graphical needs but is looking to future-proof your machine by buying more power than you need, you’re going to find a device that tackles most graphical tasks with stunning ease.

Aside from the solid boost to performance, you’ll find strong features that remain the same from the M2-series MacBook Pro. That’s a revigorated set of ports and a luscious Mini LED display that’s stunningly bright and accurate. The battery life remains remarkable too, being able to last for around 15 hours of web browsing. The one other change from last year is the introduction of Space Black, which replaces Space Grey. It’s wonderfully stealthy but is closer to an even darker Space Grey than actually being black.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full review: Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3 Max) review

Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 X3D

Best gaming laptop
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Pros

  • Even better gaming performance from new 3D V-Cache Ryzen 9 CPU
  • Expansive, feature-laden keyboard
  • Cool and quiet even under heavy load

Cons

  • New CPU only available with premium RTX 4090 GPU
  • 720p webcam is a poor effort
  • Unbalanced layout of I/O ports

The ROG Strix Scar 17 from Asus was already one of our top picks for the best gaming laptops around but AMD had more in store. The Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 X3D boosted the excellent gaming laptop even further with a chip that takes advantage of AMD’s new 3D V-Cache technology, and the results are stunning.

The laptop is all about cutting-edge gaming performance so let’s get into it. The ROG Strix Scar 17 X3D offers up remarkable QHD results at Ultra settings, achieving 104fps in Cyberpunk 2077, 90fps in Returnal and 192fps in Rainbox Six Extraction. What’s more, with Cyberpunk 2077’s demanding RT:Ultra mode enabled (for high-quality ray tracing), it was still able to manage 75fps. It being the most powerful gaming laptop isn’t the only reason this is our top pick for the best gaming laptop but it absolutely dominates in that department.

There’s a powerful display to present all those glorious frames on too. It’s got a 1440p 240Hz IPS panel that is fast and offers good colour accuracy. It may not have flashy Mini LED technology but it hits all the right notes for gamers, with a 3ms response time included too. This device also features a MUX switch, making sure your CPU doesn’t get in the way of raw GPU performance. The keyboard is up to the ROG Strix Scar 17 X3D’s high standards too, providing solid travel and feedback.

Reviewer: Alun Taylor
Full review: Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 X3D review

Medion Erazer Major X20

Best value gaming laptop
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Pros

  • Extraordinarily good value
  • Strong gaming and productivity performance
  • Excellent mechanical keyboard
  • Bright 240Hz WQXGA display

Cons

  • Battery life is very poor

Ever heard of Medion? If you haven’t and are after a top-notch bang-for-your-buck gaming laptop then you need to pay attention to them. The Medion Erazer Major X20 is the stand-out in its excellent value range and gained a rare 5-star review from us.

We loved this laptop as it provides a stunning amount of gaming performance for a price far lower than most similarly specced devices from rivals, at under £2000 for a 13th Gen Intel Core i9 and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 combination. The team-up gives you QHD+ performance at high settings across a range of titles, netting 55fps in Returnal, 46fps in Cyberpunk 2077 and 79fps in Borderlands 3.

You’ll find better performance in gaming laptops that don the more powerful RTX 4080 and RTX 4090 chips but the jump isn’t typically significant enough to warrant the massive rise in cost.The gaming experience is boosted by an impressive set of Cherry MX switches for the keyboard, with 1.8mm travel along with pleasing and precise feedback.

The display itself gets plenty bright, at around 411 nits, and offers crisp visuals through its QHD+ IPS panel. It’s well equipped for competitive gaming too, with a 240Hz refresh rate. Surprisingly, the screen is matched by decent sound, especially for a value-focused gaming laptop. The speakers get plenty loud and offer acceptable quality. There’s even a good amount of bass too.

Reviewer: Alun Taylor
Full Review: Medion Erazer Major X20 review

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FAQs

What is an SSD?

The SSD (solid state drive) is essentially the component that determines how much storage your laptop has. A 512GB SSD is the norm these days, with anything less making storage space feel cramped if you download a lot of music, photos and videos.

What is a 2-in-1 laptop?

A 2-in-1 laptop is a device that has a flexible hinge, allowing it to be folded up into a tablet form. These laptops often have stylus support too, making them good options for doodlers and creatives.

What is RAM?

RAM (Random Access Memory) is computer memory that helps the processor offer a smooth performance. 8GB seems to be the default for laptops these days, with anything less potentially seeing noticeable slowdowns for your computer when performing multiple tasks.

Specs compared

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
CA RRP
AUD RRP
CPU
Manufacturer
Quiet Mark Accredited
Screen Size
Storage Capacity
Front Camera
Battery
Battery Hours
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
ASIN
Operating System
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
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Resolution
HDR
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Audio (Power output)
GPU
RAM
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Display Technology
Screen Technology
Touch Screen
Convertible?

Trusted Reviews test data

PCMark 10
PugetBench for Premiere Pro
Cinebench R23 multi core
Cinebench R23 single core
Geekbench 5 single core
Geekbench 5 multi core
Geekbench 6 single core
Geekbench 6 multi core
3DMark Time Spy
CrystalDiskMark Read speed
CrystalDiskMark Write Speed
Brightness (SDR)
Black level
Contrast ratio
White Visual Colour Temperature
sRGB
Adobe RGB
DCI-P3
PCMark Battery (office)
Battery discharge after 60 minutes of online Netflix playback
Borderlands 3 frame rate (Quad HD)
Borderlands 3 frame rate (Full HD)
Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (Quad HD)
Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (Full HD)
Cyberpunk 2077 (Quad HD)
Cyberpunk 2077 (Full HD)
Cyberpunk 2077 (Full HD + RT)
Cyberpunk 2077 (Full HD + Supersampling)
Returnal (Quad HD)
Returnal (Full HD)
Rainbow Six Extraction (Quad HD)
Rainbow Six Extraction (Full HD)
F1 22 (Quad HD)
F1 22 (Full HD)
Fan noise under stress
Temperature under stress

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