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The best laptops for battery life

Battery life is an area where modern laptops have made great strides. Even as laptops get thinner and lighter, battery life has continued to improve. You have to be careful, though — manufacturers often claim impressive numbers that don’t reflect real-life usage. The problem is battery life varies greatly depending on the task at hand.

That’s why in our laptop reviews, we run three tests to evaluate battery life. First, we play a local 1080p video on loop, which primarily tests the impact of the display on longevity. Next, we use a script to run the latest version of Chrome through a series of popular websites to test typical light productivity. Finally, we run the demanding Basemark web benchmark, which tests how the laptop performs when the battery is being stressed by the CPU.

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Combined, these methods provide a well-rounded look at how long a laptop lasts. Based on our testing, the Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 has the best laptop battery but it’s also the longest lasting laptop.

The best laptops for battery life at a glance:

The best laptop for battery life: Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1

Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 review
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 leverages a significant 78 watt-hours of battery life and a low-power 14-inch Full HD display to produce the best battery life we’ve ever tested. The Latitude is our leader in the video looping test at a remarkable 21.8 hours, and it comes in second in our web browsing test at 14.3 hours. It falls a bit behind a bit in the Basemark test, while still managing a strong 6.5 hours.

If you’re looking for a business-class 360-degree convertible 2-in-1 with awesome battery life, then the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 should be on your shortlist. In fact, given that it’s a great laptop in so many other ways, it should be the only laptop on your list.

The Surface Book 2 was the only laptop to ever beat the Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 in our web browsing test. It’s since been replaced by the Surface Book 3, however, which doesn’t last as long.

Read our in-depth Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 review

The best 13-inch laptop for battery life: Samsung Galaxy Flex 13

While 14- and 15-inch laptops have larger chassis to fit in more battery capacity, most 13-inch laptops are more limited in how much juice they can pack inside. The Samsung Galaxy Flex 13 is an exception to this rule — it squeezes 69.7 watt-hours of battery into its relatively tiny chassis.

Add in a 13.3-inch Full HD QLED display that’s less power-hungry than many others while still offering exceptional quality, and you have a recipe for excellent longevity. The Galaxy Flex 13 lasted an impressive 17.5 hours in local video playback, 13.8 hours browsing the web, and a less impressive 3.5 hours on our Basemark test.

That places the Galaxy Flex 13 among the longest-lasting laptops we’ve tested of any size, and it beats out every other 13-inch laptop we’ve tested.

Read our in-depth Samsung Galaxy Flex review

The best gaming laptop for battery life: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Gaming laptops aren’t known for great battery life — they’re too concerned about high performance to worry about working away from a plug. But that doesn’t mean some gaming laptops don’t have better battery life than others, and the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is one example.

It’s our longest-lasting gaming machine, and interestingly enough, it leans on AMD’s Ryzen 9 4900HS CPU for that performance. It lasted 6 hours on our web browsing test, just over 10 hours looping our test video — which is excellent for a gaming laptop — and just over 4 hours on the Basemark test.

Most gaming laptops last for just a fraction of those times. Note that your ROG Zephyrus G14 won’t last that long while you’re gaming, but if you need to get some work done while on the road, Asus has you covered.

Read our in-depth Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review

The best Chromebook for battery life: Google Pixelbook Go

Google Pixelbook Go keyboard
Riley Young / Digital Trends

Google’s Chrome OS platform is more efficient than Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Apple’s MacOS. Even though Chromebooks don’t always pack in the same kind of battery life as Windows 10 laptops and MacBooks, they benefit from that efficiency to achieve some very good battery life. The longest-lasting Chromebook is the Google Pixelbook Go, which managed an impressive 13 hours in our web browsing test, 13.6 hours in our video looping test, and just over 4 hours in our Basemark test.

The Pixelbook Go is also the best Chromebook overall, so if you’re in the market for a Chrome OS laptop, then it’s the best all-around choice — with some great battery life to go with everything else that’s great about it.

Read our in-depth Google Pixelbook Go review

The best budget laptop for battery life: Asus ZenBook 13 UX333

asus zenbook 13 ux333fa
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 is on a number of our “best-of” lists thanks to a solid build, excellent performance, and, yes, great battery life for such an economical laptop. The ZenBook 13 leverages a decent 50 watt-hours of battery and some efficiency magic to stretch to an excellent 12.2 hours on our web browsing test, 13.7 hours on our video looping test, and almost 5 hours on our Basemark test.

You can’t go wrong with this budget laptop, and the Asus ZenBook 13 will keep you working away from a plug all day and then some.

Read our in-depth Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 review

The best MacBook for battery life: MacBook Air 2020

MacBook Air 2020
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

Back in the day, Apple’s MacBook line led the field in battery life — Windows laptops just couldn’t keep up. Those days are long gone, though, as Windows 10 laptops and Chromebooks last much longer on a charge. But if you’re determined to buy a MacBook and battery life matters, then the best choice is the 2020 MacBook Air. It leverages low-power CPUs to manage decent — but not great — battery life at 9.4 hours on our web browsing test and just under 10 hours on our video looping test.

If you need a laptop that will last into a second day of working without plugging in, then you’ll want to look elsewhere. But of all the MacBooks we’ve tested, the 2020 MacBook Air is the battery life leader.

Read our in-depth Apple MacBook Air 2020 review

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