Best laptops 2021: Reviews and buying advice

Best laptops 2021: Reviews and buying advice


The dogpile of new laptop technologies—AMD’s Ryzen 5000 and Intel’s Tiger Lake CPUs, plus Nvidia’s RTX 30-series mobile GPUs—are leading to a welcome rain of faster, better portable PCs, the latest of which we’ve just started reviewing. It’s still a tight market, as pandemic-fueled sales remain strong. But if you yearn for the latest and greatest, this is your time. Keep reading for the latest news and reviews. (Psst: We also have a list of all the laptops available with RTX 30-series.)

Our top picks are below: 

Latest laptop news and reviews

Here are the latest stories:

Best thin-and-light laptop

When we think about the best thin-and-light laptop, it’s always been a close contest between the Dell XPS 2-in-1 and the HP Spectre x360. This time around, we’re giving the luxurious HP Spectre x360 14 some time in the sun, with a nod to the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 9310 that preceded it as our top pick. The Spectre x360 14, now sporting the same Intel 11th-gen Tiger Lake CPU available in the Dell XPS line, trades blows with its eternal rival in test after test. It rises to the top because of a few key advantages: It offers longer battery life (thanks to a bigger battery), a far better keyboard, and little things like a USB-A port and a physical webam shutoff switch, all for a lower price. Well played. Read our full review.

[ $1,590 on HP.com ]

Runner-up

Best laptops 2021: Reviews and buying advice Jared Newman / IDG

Now that Apple’s M1 chip has raised the bar for lightweight laptop performance, there’s a question every ultraportable PC maker must address: Why would someone buy this instead of a MacBook Air?

Well, here’s an answer for the new Acer Swift 5: It’s fast enough to play Fortnite and a bunch of other games that are absent from Apple’s platform, but it weighs only 2.3 pounds and gets stellar battery life for work or web browsing. It also has a touchscreen and a bunch of useful ports, including HDMI out and USB-A, none of which you’ll find on Apple’s thin-and-light (ahem). Read our full review

[Currently about $1,300 on Amazon.com, but prices fluctuate frequently.]



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