To earn the crown as the best laptop in 2024, a device needs to have it all: gorgeous design, killer performance, a productive keyboard, long-lasting battery life, and much more.
Each of the laptops below has been vetted thoroughly by us here at Digital Trends. Whether it's an affordable Chromebook or a top-of-the-line gaming laptop, they've all been subjected to real-world testing, as well as benchmark and battery tests, to collect enough data to objectively pit them against each other.
With lots of new laptops coming in 2024, it's wise to consider whether or not it's worth waiting for the updates -- but as it stands now, these are your best options.
Apple MacBook Air M2
The best laptop
- Incredibly thin
- Upgraded webcam and speakers
- Shockingly good performance
- Battery life stomps the competition
- Screen and keyboard are world-class
- Worryingly hot internal temperatures
- Still only supports one monitor
|Apple M2 8-core
|8GB, 16GB, 24GB
|Apple M2 8-core, 10-core
|256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB SSD
|11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches
When Apple updated the MacBook Air to its latest M2 processor, it didn't stop there. Instead, the laptop was completely redesigned, starting with the chassis which took on the same general design as the larger MacBook Pro. The iconic MacBook taper was dropped and the chassis was trimmed, resulting in a minimalist and elegant laptop that's among the thinnest ever made at just 0.44 inches thick.
The M2 is an incremental improvement over the M1, slightly faster and more efficient but not a game-changer. It provides outstanding productivity performance and excellent battery life, making it one of the more balanced laptops you can buy today. The Liquid Retina IPS display is as good as always, and the keyboard (making it among the best laptops for writers) and Force Touch touchpad are the best available.
A recent price drop to $1,099 makes the MacBook Air M2 the second-most affordable MacBook, behind only the MacBook Air M1 that's $100 cheaper. There's even a larger 15-inch model that's also excellent. Even with the M3 MacBook Air coming soon, the M2 MacBook Air remains a fantastic option.
Asus ZenBook 14 OLED
The best affordable laptop
- Excellent OLED display
- Solid build quality
- Fast productivity performance
- Very good keyboard
- Attractive aesthetic
- Mediocre creativity performance
- Limited configurations available
|Intel Core Ultra 7 155H
|Intel Arc graphics
|256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD
|12.34 x 8.68 x 0.67 inches
Finding a new laptop under $1,000 that doesn't make some significant compromises isn't easy. But sometimes, a laptop comes along that walks that balance in just the right way. The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED was one such laptop when it came out in 2023. The combination of the OLED screen, solid performance, and affordable price make it a killer deal.
There's just not another laptop, outside of perhaps the M1 MacBook Air, that can compete at this price. Even then, the Zenbook 14 has the advantage of its stellar OLED screen. This model, the Zenbook 14 OLED UM3402, is still a fantastic purchase today, selling for as low as $629 at some retailers.
The 2024 model is also really solid after making the switch from AMD to the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H. Everything that made the UM3402 so good is still present. Unfortunately, the configurations are fairly limited at the moment, and restricted to just high-end models that are probably more than what people need from this type of laptop.
Don't get me wrong -- $1,300 for a laptop with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage is still a really good deal. But the starting configurations are the ones most value-oriented buyers are going to be interested in. And while our review unit does appear to include a bit of a price increase, we'll have to wait until some of the base configurations are available.
HP Spectre x360 14
Best HP laptop
- Attractive aesthetic
- Very good productivity performance
- Good to great battery life
- Excellent haptic touchpad
- Superb 120Hz OLED display
- Superior audio quality
- No discrete GPU option
- A bit expensive
|Up to Intel Core Ultra 7 155H
|Up to 32GB
|Intel Arc Graphics
|14.0-inch OLED 120Hz
|Up to 2TB SSD
|12.35 x 8.68 x 0.67 inches
We've always liked the HP Spectre x360 series, but the new 14-inch model might be the best of the lot. It's fast, flashy, and portable -- but in a balanced way. That's always been the name of the game for the Spectre x360.
It can't compete with some of the more powerful 14-inch laptops that offer better graphics, like the MacBook Pro 14-inch, Dell XPS 14, or even the Razer Blade 14. However, the Spectre is the choice if you want a super-premium laptop with a 360-degree hinge that excels at both work and movie-watching. The OLED 120Hz screen is fantastic -- and it's an exceedingly pretty laptop. That earns it more points than you might assume.
It's one of the nicest new laptops to come with Intel's latest Core Ultra processors, adding NPUs into the mix, as well as some impressive efficiency at low wattages. These chips also provide the Spectre x360 14 with vastly improved integrated graphics. These aren't unique to the HP Spectre x360 14, but again, it's one of the most premium new laptops to feature the Core Ultra chips and you can buy it right now.
Razer Blade 14
The best gaming laptop
- Fantastic gaming performance
- Relatively cool and quiet
- Solid IPS screen
- Great battery life and portability
- Bulky charger
- More expensive than the previous model
|AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS
|Nvidia RTX 4060, RTX 4070
|14-inch QHD+ 240Hz refresh rate
|12.23 x 8.97 x 0.70 inches
Gaming laptops are their own class of laptop that demand their own list, but we wanted to include some here that could easily double as your standard laptop – of course, with the added benefit that these can do some serious gaming after work.
The Razer Blade 14 might be the best example of such a premise. In many ways, it doesn't feel like it shouldn't be possible. Up to an RTX 4070 in a thin, 14-inch laptop? Yep, that's right. And it does it with some pretty impressive performance, too. It comes with a 1600p screen with a 240Hz refresh rate, ensuring that you're never bottlenecked by the display. Then again, the previous model, that's still available to purchase, has an optional 1080p 144Hz panel that can be configured with up to an RTX 3060 and a Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU and manages to land well under $2,000, which is a rare feat for a Razer laptop.
Yes, this bad boy's expensive. But what you're paying for is the ability to switch between work and play without batting an eye. The Razer logo on the lid and the per-key RGB backlighting might catch some attention at the office, but other than that, it's modern and premium a laptop as you'll find.
If you want more performance, there will always be room for larger gaming laptops like the Razer Blade 15 or Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, but the Razer Blade 14 works better as hybrid machine for work and play.
A minor update to the Razer Blade 14 is in the works for 2024 with the latest AMD processors, but it hasn't yet been launched.
Dell XPS 13 (9315)
The best budget laptop
- Aggressive price
- Very compact design
- Great battery life
- Comfortable keyboard
- Display is bright and high quality
- No headphone jack
- Performance is lacking
|Intel Core i5-1230U, Core i7-1250U
|8GB, 16GB, 32GB
|Intel Xe Graphics
|13.4-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS
|256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD
|11.63 x 7.85 x 0.55 inches
You might be surprised to see a laptop from a couple of years ago on this list. No -- it's not a mistake, and I'll explain why. As of now, Dell is selling three different versions of the XPS 13, and the one from 2022 might be the best value proposition at the moment.
It uses an older processor, of course, but it's currently selling for just $599. For a laptop that feels this high-end (and is this compact), that's pretty great. I wouldn't buy this for someone with a heavier workflow, but for a student or as a computer for web browsing, writing, or basic work, there's enough performance to last you for a few years. It's certainly a better option than something like the Surface Laptop Go 3. The only real problem is that it doesn't come with a headphone jack, which will be a turn off for some.
But what about the newer versions of the XPS 13? Well, there is a new XPS 13 (9340) in 2024, but it starts at a staggering $1,399, which is $700 than a similarly-configured XPS 13 9315. We haven't reviewed that new one yet, but the price alone makes it a harder pill to swallow. To make things more confusing, Dell also still sells the XPS 13 Plus (9320) for $300 less than the 9340. It has the same exact design, but uses the previous-gen Intel processors. The seamless haptic trackpad and capacitive touch buttons make for a stunning visual design in their own right, but they're considerably more expensive.
Apple MacBook Pro (M3 Max)
The best content creation laptop
- Space Black is the new king
- GPU performance gets big upgrade
- XDR display is even brighter
- Speakers are fantastic
- Decent webcam
- Storage and RAM is soldered on
- M3 model only supports one external display
|Apple M3 Max
|Up to 128GB
|Up to 40-core
|Liquid Retina XDR display
|Up to 8TB
|14.01 x 9.77 x 0.66 inches
The M3 Max is a big deal. I already loved the MacBook Pro, don't get me wrong. The mini-LED screen was already the best you could find on a laptop. But with the M3 Max, the MacBook Pro becomes an unstoppable force. There's a huge upgrade in the graphics of the M3 Max, rivaling the discrete GPU options on comparable laptops. It's even a half-decent gaming laptop -- if only there were some more games available.
But really, this is the complete package. It's top of the line in every thinkable way, and you'll pay for it. Can a $3,000-plus laptop really be worth it? I'd say so. Especially if you're a creative professional who wants the best possible portable workstation that money can buy. If that's you, look no further. I won't vouch for the M3 or M3 Pro MacBook Pro with that same kind of enthusiastic recommendation, but the M3 Max is something special.
There's just not a Windows laptop that can compete with the M3 Max MacBook Pro for creatives right now, especially considering just how much performance and battery life you can get out of it.
Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3
- Good enough productivity performance
- Excellent battery life
- Surprisingly good display
- Folio kickstand and keyboard included
- Strong value
- Keyboard is too cramped
- Limited to Wi-Fi 5
|11-inch 2000 x 1200
|10.16 x 6.57 x 0.3 inches
Laptops that cost $300 shouldn't be this good. Seriously. Most laptops you can buy at that price have serious deficiencies, like pitiful performance or awful 720p screens. That's often true, even on Chromebooks.
But the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 manages to deliver a great laptop experience, albeit on a very small device. But this little 10.9-inch is perfect for students or anyone who just needs a compact device to take on the go. The screen resolution is even better than 1080p, reaching up to 2000 x 1200. That's very sharp for a screen of this size, making it excellent for writing and reading text. It even gets up to 400 nits of brightness, meaning working near windows isn't an issue. Again, this is unheard of for a laptop of this price.
Surprisingly, the Lenovo Chromebook Duel 3 also comes with a 5-megapixel camera for solid videoconferencing. It has just about everything it needs to compete with the iPad (especially with the recent price jump). The iPad is undoubtedly a better tablet. It's lighter and has a wide range of gestures and apps to support touch-only controls. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 will disappoint you in that regard, even with support for Android apps. But that's nothing new for ChromeOS tablets.
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 excels, though, as a work or school device and is one of the best laptops for college. As good as iPads have become at doing work, if you're needing to do actual work or school work, having a normal desktop browser and a full keyboard goes a long way toward being more efficient. The magnetic back cover also gives the tablet a kickstand for lots of angles, and you can even bundle in the Lenovo Digital Pen for stylus use.
Microsoft Surface Pro 9
Best 2-in-1 laptop
- New colors look great
- Design and build quality are top notch
- SQ3 is a solid alternative
- Type Cover keyboard is excellent
- High resolution webcam
- No headphone jack
- Upgrades still too expensive
- Limited performance improvements
|Intel Core i5-1245U, Core i7-1255U
|Integrated Intel Xe graphics
|13-inch PixelSense Flow
|128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD
|11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches
For many years, the Surface Pro was all on its own. Other manufacturers had given up on the 2-in-1 form factor, and Windows wasn't doing much to improve touch interfaces. But that changed this year when multiple new Surface Pro-like devices were released, no doubt thanks to the momentum Microsoft is building with Windows 11.
That means the Surface Pro 9, the latest model in the line, has some serious competition. But even with challengers like the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 available, the Surface Pro 9 remains on top. Microsoft has been perfecting this hardware for years now, and it shows. The buttery smooth 120Hz display is a highlight, especially with the thin bezels introduced in last year's model. Microsoft has a more polished product, and even though it asks for more money, the product experience is totally worth it.
Interestingly, though, the Surface Pro 9 is also the first to offer both an Intel model and an ARM configuration. The ARM model uses the Microsoft SQ3, the company's latest collaboration with Qualcomm, and you might be wondering if it's finally become a better option than the more conventional Intel model. It certainly gets more battery life, and the addition of 5G connectivity is a bonus. But if performance is what you're looking for, the Intel model is still the way to go, especially since the 12th-gen chips bring quite a performance jump over the previous generation.
As it stands, that's the way most people should go, though we wouldn't blame you for wanting to try something new with the SQ3 model. It seems like many companies want ARM to be the future of Windows PCs, and portable 2-in-1 devices seem like a category ripe for more efficient chips. The Surface Pro 10 is rumored to be a big change, though it may not be available until this summer.
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8
Best Lenovo laptop
- Fast productivity performance
- Spectacular OLED display
- Solid build quality
- Good keyboard and touchpad
- Elegant good looks
- Battery life is below average
- Slightly expensive
|Intel Core i7-1360P
|Intel Iris Xe
|12.52 x 9.06 x 0.60 inches
The Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 inherits the gorgeous, rounded design of some other recent Lenovo laptops, giving it both an elegant look and a comfortable feel. The latter is particularly nice when you're using this 360-degree convertible 2-in-1 in tablet mode, where the lack of sharp edges are welcome.
The laptop is thin and light enough to be useful in this mode as well, thanks to minimal bezels and the increasingly iconic Lenovo reverse notch at the top of the display that houses a 1080p webcam. Even given its relatively svelte frame, it provides solid performance thanks to 28-watt Intel 13th-gen CPUs, plenty of RAM, and fast storage. Toss in excellent active pen support and you have a laptop that can tackle any task.
And you'll particularly enjoy the 2.8K or 4K OLED display, either of which will provide incredibly wide and accurate colors, plenty of brightness, and the kind of inky blacks that only OLED can provide. If you're a creator, either makes for the perfect display, and if you consume a lot of high dynamic range (HDR) video then you'll be pleasantly surprised at the image quality.
Battery life isn't the best, but that's a small price to pay for such a flexible and powerful machine that's one of the best 14-inch laptops. This is Lenovo's best all-around machine, making its place on this list a natural one.
Our expert laptop reviewers have tested and reviewed more than 500 laptops over the years, searching for the best of the best. We've reviewed every kind of laptop available, from traditional clamshell laptops to a variety of 2-in-1s to gaming laptops to unusual and innovative machines. We've applied a consistent and reliable formula to each of our reviews, pulling from a massive database of performance testing to make it possible for you to compare laptops with confidence.
Laptops are complex machines, so there are a few key considerations we focus on when evaluating them.
You'll want a laptop that's fast enough for your needs, but you don't want to overspend for performance you don't need. So don't buy a gaming laptop with a super-fast CPU and a powerful discrete GPU if you'll just be surfing the web and answering email. Pay close attention to the processor choice, regardless if it's Intel, AMD, or Apple. And in the end, it's key to be honest with yourself and the kind of performance you actually need.
If you need a large display for tasks like video and photo editing, then by all means, choose a 15-inch or larger laptop. You'll also be able to get more powerful components. But if you need something you can easily slip inside a backpack without weighing yourself down, then you'll want to pick a laptop that's smaller and lighter. It's also important to consider battery life here to ensure you have what suits your lifestyle.
You'll be handling your laptop and carrying it around into all kinds of environments. Some laptops are built better than others, so make sure you pick a machine that will stand up to your typical abuse. No matter the price, you want something that feels sturdy and robust. It's not worth saving a couple hundred bucks if the thing is falling apart one year later.
You probably have a budget to work with, which can range from a few hundred dollars up to many thousands. If you're using your laptop to drive a business, then you'll probably be more inclined to make a significant investment, whereas if you're a hungry college student, you might be willing to compromise in a few areas to make it fit your budget.
Beyond those listed above, you should also consider the display quality, the webcam, port selection, design, keyboard, touchpad, and speakers. That's a lot, but don't be overwhelmed! These are all factors we consider when reviewing and recommending laptops.
We extensively handle every laptop we review and use them in a variety of real-world conditions. We're looking for how well a laptop is built, how it feels in hand, and hold it generally holds up to the uses for which it's designed. We describe our experiences and discuss the materials and concepts used in a laptop's design to provide an informative hands-on impression.
On all laptops, we test the keyboard and touchpad to make sure that both are comfortable to use for extended periods of time. For keyboards, we consider the key spacing, keycap size, and switch performance to determine how precise and comfortable it is to use. For touchpads, we test for how smooth the surface is and how responsive it is to taps and clicks. If the buttons are too loud, we'll tell you. If a laptop has a touch display and supports an active pen, we'll tell you how those work, as well.
Display and audio impressions
We give the display both an objective test with a professional colorimeter, judging it based on color width and accuracy, brightness, and contrast. We also provide our subjective viewpoint – is the display pleasant to use, is it sharp enough, and does it support advanced capabilities like high dynamic range (HDR) video. We also listen to the audio, giving an impression of its volume and clarity and its suitability for more than just playing system sounds.
We run every laptop through a suite of benchmarks, both synthetic and real-world, to provide an indication of how it performs relative to other similar machines. We test both the CPU and the GPU, and during testing we provide an idea of how loud and hot a laptop gets while performing typical productivity tasks as well as more demanding uses like video editing and gaming.
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