The best Windows laptops

Whether you need something powerful, portable, or affordable, there's a Windows laptop for everyone.

Best overall

Best Windows Laptops Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS

Best for gaming

The best windows laptop ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Best budget

best windows laptops lenovo ideapad 5

Lenovo IdeaPad 5

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There are dozens of Windows laptops to choose from, many of which offer similar features and designs, so finding the right one can be challenging. Are you looking for a powerful gaming machine or do you need something that’s more portable? Maybe you want something a little more versatile, in which case a 2-in-1 might suit your needs. We know buying a laptop is a big decision, so we’re here to explain what’s important, what isn’t, and what to avoid altogether. From Dell to HP to Lenovo, our picks for the best Windows laptops currently available can be found here.

How we picked the best Windows laptops

I’ve tested and reviewed numerous laptops from every category and major manufacturer for publications like TechnoBuffalo, XDA Developers, and Android Central. I use a laptop every day for work and when I need to do more intensive tasks, like editing photos and videos. A laptop is also my go-to device for travel because it provides me with the performance, battery life, and screen size to do my best work. To arrive at this list, we analyzed offerings from all the major manufacturers and compared models based on fundamental specs such as battery life, screen size and resolution, and overall power level. 

The best Windows laptops: Reviews & Recommendations

Knowing what to look for in a Windows laptop is the first step. The next step is vetting the numerous options, and then choosing the one that works best for you. As we previously mentioned, there are a lot of models and configurations at different prices, so picking just one is easier said than done. We tried to make your job as easy as possible by finding the best options in specific categories.

Best overall: Dell XPS 15

Best overall

Still the Best

Why it made the cut: With the latest specs, an OLED touchscreen, and a sturdy, elegant design, the Dell XPS 15 is still the best around.


  • Processor: Intel Core i5, i7, i9
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • GPU: Intel Arc A370M, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070
  • RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB DDR5
  • Storage: 512GB SSD, 1TB SSD, 2TB SSD, 4TB SSD, 8TB SSD
  • Screen size: 15.6″ 3.5K HDR OLED (3456 x 2160), 15.6″ FHD+ (1920 x 1200)
  • Dimensions: 13.56 in x 9.06 in x 0.73 in
  • Weight: starts at 4.22 lbs
  • Connectivity: 2 Thunderbolt 4, 1 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 1 SD, 3.5 mm audio, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2


  • Beautiful OLED touchscreen
  • Sturdy, elegant design
  • Good battery life


  • 720p web camera
  • No USB-A ports

Dell’s XPS line has long been a favorite among reviewers and consumers for its performance, portability, and design. The XPS 15, updated for 2023, carries the mantle forward while carving its place in the crowded Windows market. With a 12th Generation Intel Core processor (i5, i7, and i9), up to 64GB of RAM, and a 15.6-inch OLED touchscreen (16:10 aspect ratio), the XPS 15 is the closest challenger to Apple’s M2-equipped MacBook Pro in terms of performance and design.

If you can afford it, you can upgrade the XPS 15 with a high-end NVIDIA graphics card, giving you plenty of power to play games and edit high-resolution videos. You can also configure the device with up to 8TB of SSD storage, which is plenty of storage for files, images, and video. The XPS 15 also features two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, a USB 3.2 Type-C port, and a built-in SD card reader. Other configuration options include a Full HD Plus (1920×1080) non-touch display and an Ultra HD Plus (3849×2400) touch display, which features 500 nits of brightness.

The XPS 15 is hard to beat for design and performance, and there are several configuration options to meet specific needs. That’s why Dell’s XPS is so beloved in the Windows market and why the XPS 15 is our best overall pick.

Best gaming: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Best gaming

Gaming on the Go

Why it made the cut: The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 offers an impressive balance of power and portability.


  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7, AMD Ryzen 9
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 4050, 4060, 4070, 4080, and 4090
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD, 1TB SSD
  • Screen size: 15.6-inch WQHD (2560×1440)
  • Dimensions: 12.28 in x 8.94 in x 0.77 in
  • Weight: starts at 3.64 lbs
  • Connectivity: HDMI 2.1, 2 USB 3.2 Type-A, 2 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, microSD card reader, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2


  • Thin and lightweight for a gaming laptop
  • Excellent battery life
  • Capable of playing the latest AAA titles on high settings


  • High price
  • A 14-inch screen is on the smaller end for gaming

Asus’ ROG Zephyrus G14 is a lightweight gaming laptop that doesn’t compromise performance, portability, or battery life. Equipped with a 14-inch 240Hz WQHD display and weighing in at just under 4 pounds, the Zephyrus G14 is powerful enough to handle AAA titles, and any Zoom calls you have planned.

All of the available configurations offer AMD’s Ryzen 9 6900HX processor, and you can now equip it with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 40 series. All models come with 16GB of RAM and support up to 32GB, and offer a fast SSD and a combination of ports, including HDMI 2.0b, two USB 3.2 Type-A, two USB 3.2 Type-C, a Display Port, and a microSD card reader. The Zephyrus G14 also supports Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, and a battery that can last around 8 hours on a single charge. If you’re not happy with the 14-inch screen, Asus also makes the same machine with a 16-inch screen.

Despite the price, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is an impressive gaming laptop that offers excellent performance, an excellent display, and a long-lasting battery.

Buy it at Best Buy

Best budget: Lenovo IdeaPad 5

Best affordable

Keep it Cheap

Why it made the cut: The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 has everything you need and doesn’t add anything you don’t want, making it a great bang-for-your-buck laptop.


  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5, AMD Ryzen 7
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • GPU: AMD Radeon Integrated Graphics
  • RAM: 8GB, 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 512GB SSD, 1TB SSD
  • Screen size: 15.6-inch FHD (1920×1080)
  • Dimensions: 14.04 in x 9.17 in x 0.66 in
  • Weight: 4.08 lbs
  • Connectivity: 2 USB-C, 2 USB-A, HDMI 1.4b, SD card reader, 3.5mm audio, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2


  • Thin and relatively lightweight
  • Sleek design
  • Under $1,000


  • Less money means less power and performance
  • Soldered-in RAM prevents future upgrades

Lenovo’s IdeaPad series has been around since 2008, and they’ve consistently been one of the better options in the lower price ranges. The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 is no exception, with the cheapest option starting at $720. If that’s still a bit too much for your budget, check out our recommendations for the best laptops under $500.

The available configurations offer AMD Ryzen 5 or 7 processors, which are handy enough to deal with almost anything. The IdeaPad offers a 512GB or 1TB SSD, a great collection of ports, including HDMI, USB Type-A and Type-C, and an SD card reader, and supports Bluetooth 5.2 and WiFi 6 for connectivity.

Unfortunately, the laptop does come with some downsides. You don’t have the option to upgrade to an external graphics card, and even more limiting is the maximum 16GB of soldered ram, which prevents adding more capacity later. Spend the extra money up front, because opting for the 8GB now might be limiting if you’re working with resource-intensive programs like the Adobe suite.

But despite the limits of the hardware, the IdeaPad 5 is still a very serviceable laptop, which is why it’s our budget recommendation.

Best 2-in-1: HP Spectre x360

Best 2-in-1

The Perfect Convertible

Why it made the cut: The HP Spectre x360 is small and portable but still incredibly powerful.


  • Processor: 12th Gen Intel Core i5, i7
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • GPU: Intel Iris Xe
  • RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD, 1TB SSD, 2TB SSD
  • Screen size: 13.5-inch WUXGA+ (1920 x 1280), 13.5-inch 3K2K OLED (3000 x 2000)
  • Dimensions: 11.73 in x 8.68 in x 0.67 in
  • Weight: 3.01 lbs
  • Connectivity: 2 Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C, 1 USB Type-A, 3.5mm audio, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3


  • Portable and lightweight
  • Option for OLED screen
  • Comes with an attachable stylus


  • Low on ports
  • Not upgradable after purchase

HP’s Spectre x360 features some of the best specs for 2-in-1 laptops on the market alongside Microsoft’s Surface Pro series. Unlike the Surface Pros, the Spectre x360 does not give you the option to detach the keyboard, making it a bit heavier. However, in almost every other way, the Spectre x360 outperforms the Surface Pro.

The Spectre x360 comes with 12th Generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB of built-in RAM, and a very respectable 512GB, 1TB or 2TB SSD. You can get a Spectre x360 with a nice OLED display without the battery life suffering too much, either, and the Spectre comes with a slightly bigger screen.

Most 2-in-1 laptops tend to have fewer ports, but Spectre again does quite well here, with two Thunderbolt 4 ports and a USB Type-A to Surface’s 2 Thunderbolt 4. The WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 also put Spectre at the front of the pack in terms of online connectivity.

Buy it at Best Buy

Best for productivity: Dell XPS 13 Plus

Best for productivity

The Best Gets Better

Why it made the cut: The Dell XPS 13 Plus adds capacitive function buttons, an expansive haptic touchpad, and a more comfortable keyboard.


  • Processor: 12th Gen Intel Core i5, i7
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • GPU: Intel Iris Xe
  • RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD, 1TB SSD, 2TB SSD
  • Screen size: 13.4-inch FHD+ (1920×1200), 13.4-inch OLED (3456×2160), 13.4-inch UHD+ (3840×2400)
  • Dimensions: 11.63 in x 7.84 in x 0.6 in
  • Weight: 2.71 lbs
  • Connectivity: 2 Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2


  • Haptic touchpad
  • OLED display
  • Slim and lightweight
  • Dongles included in the box


  • Super low on ports

Thanks to its power, portability, and reliability, the Dell XPS 13 Plus is an excellent pick for students. Again, Dell’s XPS line has long been a favorite among critics and fans, and the smaller 13-inch model makes for the perfect device to write papers, do research, and haul around campus.

Dell recently gave the XPS 13 a makeover by adding new speakers, a new keyboard, a new camera, and capacitive function keys. The display (there are three different options, including an OLED touchscreen) also now features a 16:10 aspect ratio, giving users slightly more room to get work done. The changes give the XPS 13 a more modern look without compromising what made the laptop so good in the first place.

The XPS 13 also features a haptic touchpad similar to what you’d find in Mac laptops. Instead of an actual click, the touch-sensitive surface provides haptic feedback to mimic that old-school feeling of clicking a button.

Things to consider when shopping for the best Windows laptops

Before purchasing a laptop, there are numerous factors to consider, including performance, battery life, and display size. Your choice also depends on how you plan to use your device, how often you’ll use it, and what you can afford. The good news is there is a Windows laptop for every user, whether you’re constantly on the road or doing creative work. Here’s what to look for during your search.


The Central Processing Unit, or CPU, is one of your laptop’s most essential components. Newer Windows laptops generally feature either 12th or 13th Generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, which can offer 6 or 8 processor cores. Some machines opt for processors from AMD, including the Ryzen 5000 or 6000. One of the easiest ways to assess a laptop’s compute power is to look at its clock speed, measured in GHz, and the number of cores in the CPU. A processor with higher clock speeds and more CPU cores can complete tasks more quickly and are suitable for users who plan to do intensive work, like editing high-resolution video. This is one area in which you’ll want to invest because you won’t be able to upgrade this hardware after the fact.


Your computer’s Random Access Memory, or RAM, plays an integral part in your laptop’s performance. RAM provides applications with a place to temporarily store and access data. If you use a lot of applications at once, you’ll want a laptop with more RAM. We recommend at least 8GB of RAM for more basic tasks but recommend 16GB if you use creative apps. The more memory your laptop has, the faster it will complete tasks. Laptops typically don’t allow users to upgrade memory after the fact, so you may be stuck with the configuration you buy.


Most modern laptops rely on solid-state drives (SSD) to store and access data. An SSD uses different technology than a traditional hard drive and is generally faster and more reliable than a conventional hard drive because SSDs lack moving pieces. They can reduce the time to load files and other applications, which is particularly good for gaming and content creation. We recommend a laptop with a 256GB SSD, but if you can afford to do so, you should upgrade to 512GB or even 1TB because storage can fill up quickly as you use it over time.


Your computer’s Graphics Processing Unit, or GPU, displays the data processed by your device’s CPU. Without a GPU, you wouldn’t see anything on your screen. When it comes to laptops, you have two options: integrated or dedicated. A laptop with integrated graphics finds the GPU included on the same chip as the CPU. However, laptops designed for more intensive tasks feature dedicated graphics cards with their own memory. 

Laptops with a dedicated graphics card, like Nvidia’s 30-series GPUs, can display higher-fidelity graphics at higher frame rates. One of the downsides of laptops with dedicated graphics is that they’re usually bigger and heavier, so they’re less portable. They also require more power, which means you may have to monitor your battery life throughout the day more closely.


How you plan to use your laptop can help determine the proper display size and resolution that best fits your needs. A laptop with a smaller screen is generally lighter and good for people who constantly move from place to place. If you plan to carry your laptop every day, a 13- to 15-inch display is a comfortable size. However, if you only occasionally travel with your laptop, you might want to consider something even larger. A bigger screen will give you more screen real estate for multitasking and looking at timelines in video editing apps like Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro. Remember that laptops with larger screens usually contain more powerful components and are generally heavier.

A 1080p (Full HD) display will be fine for general use like browsing the web and writing papers. We recommend a high-resolution display for creative work and gaming—either 1440p (Quad HD) or 3840×2160 (4K). A higher resolution will make the screen look sharper and allow you to see more minor details in your photos and video. Some of the options on our list feature OLED displays, where an LED independently backlights each pixel, allowing for precise control over color and contrast. It’s the same technology you’d find in OLED TVs.

A display with reliable color accuracy is also ideal for creative work because you’ll be able to make your images and video look as close to real-life as possible. You want a screen covering 90% to 100% of the sRGB color gamut. Some laptops take a step beyond this with support for DCI-P3, which offers 26% more color space than sRGB, which means DCI-P3 provides a greater range of colors for a more saturated and vibrant image.


The ports in a laptop allow you to work smarter, faster, and longer by plugging in various peripherals like a monitor and an external hard drive. USB-A ports were the industry standard and still play an essential role, but you’ll want your next laptop to have more modern high bandwidth ports, like USB-C and Thunderbolt 4, to quickly import and export media. An Ethernet port will allow you to connect directly to your home network and is more reliable than Wi-Fi, while an HDMI port can connect your laptop to an external display. Meanwhile, if you handle a lot of photos and videos, a built-in card reader is nice because it eliminates the need for extra dongles.

If you need additional ports, you can purchase a USB hub to augment your laptop with additional connection options. However, nothing beats the convenience of a built-in port.

Battery life

The fun of owning a laptop is being mobile and away from a power outlet. It feels nice to have the freedom to work from any location. But that freedom also adds a layer of anxiety. If you run out of battery while working in the field, it could mean not being able to send an email or finish an important project (like this roundup). 

How long your laptop’s battery lasts is determined by multiple factors, including how you use it and what processor is under the hood. The more processing power you have under the hood, the more frequently your laptop will need to be charged. No matter what your day looks like, a modern laptop should have a battery that can survive a hard day’s work.

Size and weight

Your daily workflow will help determine which laptop’s size and weight is right for you. A good middle-ground for weight is 3 pounds to 5 pounds and a screen between 13 inches and 16 inches. If you care only about portability, a laptop with a 13-inch display is a comfortable size and offers a good balance of performance and battery life. On the other hand, if you game or edit a lot of photos and videos, you might want to consider something larger. The downside to having more screen real estate is your laptop will likely be heavier and less portable. There’s no perfect size, so you should choose what feels suitable for you.


Q: How long do Windows laptops last?

There’s no definitive timeline for a laptop’s lifespan, and a modern PC that’s well cared for should be able to last three to five years or even longer. I’m currently writing this on a machine from 2017 and it’s more than enough for my needs, which include web browsing, photo editing, and running apps like Spotify, Slack, and Notion. The longevity of your laptop largely depends on how you use it. If your work requires you to perform intensive tasks, like editing video, you may need to upgrade your machine more regularly to keep up with the demands of creative apps.

Q: How much should I spend on a laptop?

If you don’t plan to do much beyond writing papers and browsing the web, you can find something in the $600 to $800 range. If you need something that’s powerful enough to handle gaming or more intensive creative apps, you’ll likely need to spend upwards of $1,000. More powerful laptops are generally more expensive, but they last longer because their specs hold up better over time.

Q: Which brand is the most reliable?

All of the brands on our list have been making consistently good laptops for years. When considering reliability, we pay close attention to performance, battery life, keyboard, display, etc., and how they age over time. If you repeatedly run into issues with any of these components, your laptop isn’t very reliable. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t wear out over time. You may have to replace your battery after a few years as it degrades, but you shouldn’t have to fix keyboard and display issues regularly. As we said above, a good laptop should generally last between three to five years or even longer without any significant problems.

Q: Can I install the Linux operating system on my Windows laptop?

Yes! Linux operating systems like Ubuntu and Debian can be easily installed on Windows laptops, either in addition to Windows or to replace it. However, there are many things to consider before you make the switch. It’s easy to assume that you’ll have access to many of the same programs you have on Windows, but that’s not the case. In addition, you may run into the occasional technical glitch because your laptop’s hardware wasn’t originally configured to run on Linux. To avoid that, you can look for top Linux laptops that come with the operating system pre-installed.

A final word on the best Windows laptops

There is an abundance of options in the Windows laptops market, ranging from gaming powerhouses to sleek convertibles. Our picks offer the best-in-class performance, design, and portability, but you can easily find an alternative if our picks don’t fit your needs. It comes down to what you’re looking for in your laptop and how much you’re willing to spend. No matter what you choose, now is an excellent time to pick up a new Windows laptop because the options at your disposal have never been better.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.