Laptops with great speakers often seem few and far between, but there are a number of great-sounding laptops out there if you know where to look. Our reviews tend to focus on performance, displays, build quality, and other factors that go into making the best laptops, but we like to take a closer look at laptop audio, too. Where most laptops don't sound too good, there are some that are much more impressive.
The Apple MacBook Pro 16 has the best speakers on a laptop today, with the 14-inch model coming in a close second. But those aren't the only laptops with good sound. Here are some of our favorite laptops with great speakers.
Apple MacBook Pro (16, 14)
Unusually great laptop sound
- Incredible XDR display
- Fantastic creative performance
- Extensive port selection
- Keyboard and trackpad are perfect
- Excellent speakers and webcam
- Endless battery life
- Notch is a distraction
Why you should buy this: It's a great laptop in all ways, and its sound is second to none.
Who it's for: Creators and others who want a truly excellent laptop.
Why we picked the Apple MacBook Pro:
The MacBook Pro 14 and 16 are newer additions to the MacBook family that have elevated this already excellent lineup. They're incredibly well-built, they feature the super-fast Apple M1 Plus and Pro CPUs, and their displays feature Apple XDR mini-LED technology for incredible brightness, colors, and contrast.
The laptops make some of the best media consumption devices around, and that's doubly true when you consider their outstanding audio. Apple built in six high-fidelity speakers with force-canceling woofers, along with support for Dolby Atmos spatial audio in music or video. The speakers provide loud sound with excellent mids and highs and more bass than you'll find on almost any other laptop. Pair the MacBook Pro 14 or 16 with the latest Apple AirPods, and you'll enjoy spatial audio with dynamic head tracking — the 3.5mm audio jack supports high-impedance headphones, too.
Apple MacBook Air M2
Awesome sound in a smaller package
- 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
Why you should buy this: It's an incredibly thin performer with surprisingly great speakers.
Who it's for: Anyone who wants a highly portable laptop without compromise.
Why we picked the Apple MacBook Air M2:
The MacBook Air M2 is a complete redesign with a new thin 0.44-inch chassis that makes it one of the thinnest laptops. That doesn't detract from its build quality, though, which is as rock-solid as all MacBooks. The aesthetic no longer features a taper but rather looks a lot like the larger MacBook Pro machines, giving it the same elegant yet simplified look. Apple's M2 processor is on hand to provide exceptional performance and battery life.
Despite being considerably smaller, the MacBook Air M2 shares many of the same audio traits as its larger siblings. It has four speakers that feature spatial audio with Dolby Atmos, and the audio experience is phenomenal for a 13-inch class laptop. You'll also get the same benefits when plugging in a pair of wired headphones or Apple AirPods.
Dell XPS 17
Large sound to go with a large laptop
- Outstanding build quality
- Streamlined good looks
- Thin and light
- Excellent productivity and creative performance
- Solid midrange gaming performance
- Superior IPS display
- Great keyboard and touchpad
- Limited collection of ports
- Some thermal throttling
Why you should buy this: It's the best 17-inch laptop for most people, with awesome speakers.
Who it's for: Anyone who wants a large laptop that performs well but is still portable.
Why we picked the Dell XPS 17:
If you're a creator who's looking for a large display to work on, the XPS 17 is probably your best choice. It's surprisingly thin and light, given its excellent 17.3-inch panel, and it packs in high-end components like 45-watt Intel 12th-generation CPUs and Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. Productivity workers will love the screen real estate, and video and photo editors will love the laptop's relative portability.
The XPS 17 also features four speakers, two upward-firing and two downward-firing, that provide some of the best audio in a Windows laptop. Waves Nx 3D Audio provides the ability to pump out spatial audio that rivals the MacBook's, and there's tons of volume and base with clear mids and highs. It's not quite as good as you'll find on the MacBook Pro 16, but it's as good as it gets for Windows users.
Dell XPS 15
The best audio in a 15-inch laptop
- Streamlined and solid build
- Aesthetically perfect
- Strong productivity and creative performance
- Above-average battery life
- Excellent keyboard and touchpad
- Superior OLED display
- Outstanding audio
- Performance ceiling limited by thin chassis
Why you should buy this: It's an excellent 15-inch laptop with superior sound.
Who it's for: Anyone who wants a portable creative workstation with outstanding audio.
Why we picked the Dell XPS 15:
The XPS 15 features the traditional XPS build quality and elegant aesthetics, combined with a thin and light chassis and fast 45-watt Intel 12th-gen CPUs and up the Nvidia's GeForce 3050 Ti. The XPS 15 is a strong competitor to either the MacBook Pro 14 or 16, with solid performance and good battery life for a Windows 15-inch machine. The available OLED display is spectacular, while the 4K+ IPS panel offers class-leading color width and accuracy.
In terms of its audio, the XPS 15 matches its larger sibling. It has the same quad speakers and Waves Nx 3D Audio, providing equally excellent volume and bass with mids and highs that are unparalleled in Windows laptops. Again, the XPS 15's audio isn't quite as good as Apple's offerings, but it's about as good as you'll get from a Microsoft-powered laptop.
Razer Blade 17
Excellent audio in gaming rig
- Great design and build quality
- Powerful for gaming
- Extensive ports
- Excellent, colorful screen
- Surface stays relatively cool
- Throttled CPU performance
- Poor battery life
- Very expensive
Why you should buy this: It's a powerful gaming platform with audio to match.
Who it's for: Anyone who wants a large gaming machine with awesome sound.
Why we picked the Razer Blade 17:
The Blade 17 is perhaps the most elegant, well-built 17-inch gaming laptop you can buy today. It's fashioned from a solid hunk of aluminum and matches the MacBook's quality with an aesthetic that's a bit more adventuresome. Its performance is excellent thanks to 45-watt Intel 12th-gen CPUs and a variety of Nvidia GeForce GPUs up to the ultrapowerful RTX 3080 Ti. With up to a crazy 360Hz refresh rate, the Blade 17's display options match the superior gaming performance.
There are four speakers housed inside the Blade 17's chassis, and while they don't quite meet the standards of the best on this list, they're better than most. And with gaming laptops, you're mostly worried about overpowering fan noise when using external speakers, which the Blade 17 does with better-than-average quality. The audio's not quite as fancy as the rest of the machines here, but it gets the job done.
Think these laptops are a little too expensive? You can still get great sound on some of the best budget laptops.
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