09 Sep 2021 12:13 PM +00:00

Best Laptop 2021: Top Picks From Budget To Premium

When it comes to finding the best laptop for your needs, let's be honest, there sure is a lot to get through.

Add that to the fact that laptops in general can be a bit of mystery when they come to specs, with many features being great, but not 100% necessary depending on what you'd use it for.

As always, we've done some of the research for you, and selected a number of laptops based on their specs, features, and reviews, to give you a hand with your search.

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So, whether you're looking for a rather capable all rounder in the Dell XPS 13 or more of a wallet-friendly candidate in the Acer Swift 1, we've got you covered.

Let's get to it!

Best Laptop 2021

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Best Laptop 2021 All-Rounder - Dell XPS 13

Best Laptop Dell XPS 13
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Image Credit: Dell

CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7GPU, Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD | Display: 13.4-inch, 1200 | Size: 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds

The Dell XPS 13 is described as a bit of a powerhouse, and based on what's under the hood it's not hard to see why.

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It packs an Intel Core i7-1165G7GPU with Intel Iris Xe Graphics, which is both powerful and energy-efficient. In fact, this laptop even boasts up to 12h battery life, making it great for those working on the move.

When it comes to looks, this Dell XPS 13 is practically bezel-free, giving you more screen real-estate and making it a real standout in the design department.

We'd say if you're going for a great all-rounder, one of the best for video editing, everyday work, and more, this laptop could be a great option to look into.

See More: Best Laptop For Video Editing: Our Top Picks From Budget To Premium

Best Gaming Laptop Premium - MSI Gaming CUK GE66 Raider

Best Laptop MSI
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Image Credit: MSI

Refresh Rate: 300Hz | Resolution: FHD | CPU: Intel i7-10870H | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX3080 | RAM: 32 GB DDR4 RAM | Storage: 2 TB SSD

The MSI CUK GE66 Raider is a bit of a beast and we think it's one of the best gaming laptops that we've come across.

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Featuring an Intel 10th gen processor, a substantial amount of RAM and storage and that much-coveted RTX 3070, this is a great choice for the serious gamers out there, who want to be able to game on the go.

A standout gaming laptop if we ever saw one, this MSI GE66 Raider ticks all the boxes.

In our view, the MSI CUK GE66 Raider is an absolute beast.

See More: Best Gaming Laptop 2021: Top Picks From Budget To Premium

Best Budget Gaming Laptop - Acer Nitro 5

Best Laptop Acer
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Image Credit: Acer

Brand: Acer | Display Size: 15.6 inches | Resolution: 1080p | RAM: 8GB | OS: Windows 10 | CPU: 9th Generation Intel Core i5-9300H Processor | Storage: 512 GB SSD | Refresh Rate: 144hz | Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1650 | OS: Windows 10 | Weight: 5.07 lbs

Now when it comes to the best budget gaming laptops, you may find yourself redefining exactly what 'budget' means, as these machines still tip the scales a little in the price department.

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However, this Acer Nitro 5 comes in at a fairly accessible price point and packs some impressive specs too.

One standout feature is its whopping 144hz refresh rate, which is great for racing games, first-person shooters and more.

A great looking and powerful laptop for those sticking to a budget, we think this Acer Nitro could be a worthy addition to your setup.

See More: Best Budget Gaming Laptop 2021: 144hz, Full HD, And More!

Best 2-in-1 Laptop under 600 All-Rounder - Microsoft Surface Go 2

Best 2-in-1 Laptop Microsoft
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Image Credit: Microsoft

Brand: Microsoft | Colour: Silver | Operating System: Windows 10 | Processor: Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4425Y | Screen Size: 10 inches | Display: LED | Memory: 4GB/8GB RAM | Storage: 64GB eMMC/128GB SSD | Display Resolution Maximum: 1920 x 1080 Pixels

Small but mighty, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a great choice for people finding themselves on the move more often than not.

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With a number of separately sold accessories, you can transform this device into a standout tool for graphic design, editing, writing or entertainment.

There are loads of amazing 2-in-1 laptops on the market today, but this Surface Go 2 stood out from the crowd thanks to its lightweight frame, ample battery life, and minimal looks.

See More: Best 2-in-1 Laptop Under 600: Our Top Picks

Best Business Laptop - Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Best Laptop for working from home Microsoft Surface laptop 3
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Image Credit: Microsoft

Brand: Microsoft | Operating System: Windows 10 | CPU Model: Intel Core i5 | Screen Size: 13.5 inches | Memory: 8GB RAM | Storage: 128GB SSD | Display Resolution Maximum: 2256 x 1504

The Windows Surface Laptop 3 stands out as one of the best business laptops around for a few reasons.

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Performance speaking, it claims to be up to 2x faster than previous iterations, which should come in handy with a whole host of work activities.

In terms of battery, you're getting a substantial 11.5 hours, meaning you won't need to plug in as often when you're travelling or on the move.

And as for Windows 11, all you need to do is wait and you'll get your free upgrade when it's available. This Surface Laptop 3 certainly caught our eye.

See More: Best Business Laptop 2021: Top Picks For Working Remote, From Home, And More

Best Laptop For Students - HP Pavilion 14-dv0603na

Best Laptop for Students HP
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Image Credit: HP

Operating System: Windows 10 | Processor: Intel® Pentium® Gold 7505 Processor, Dual Core | RAM: 4GB DDR4 | Storage: 128 GB SSD | Ports: USB Type-C x 1, USB 3.1 x 2, HDMI 2.0 x 1, DisplayPort 1.4 x 1, 3.5 mm jack x 1

When weighing up whether to go for a laptop vs a Chromebook, there's a lot to consider, but if you have decided to go all-in with a 'regular' laptop, then we'd consider this HP Pavilion one of our top picks for students.

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For working, watching films, calls, and online classes, this laptop ticks all the boxes, and we think for a 'student' laptop it actually looks quite high-end too.

Versatile, solid performance, and a great all-rounder, the HP Pavilion 14 is up there with the best in our eyes.

See More: Best Laptop For Students 2021: Top Picks From Budget To Premium

Best Laptop For Video Editing - Apple Macbook Pro

Best Laptop for students Apple Macbook pro
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Image Credit: Apple

Brand: Apple | Operating System: MacOS Big Sur | CPU Model: Intel Core i5 | Screen Size: 13 inches | Display: LED | Memory: 8GB RAM | Storage: 256GB SSD | Display Resolution Maximum: 2560 x 1600 Pixels

The Apple Macbook Pro is practically the go-to for creatives who need something fast, with an amazing display, easy to use, and intuitive.

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This Macbook Pro comes with the new M1 chip, which boasts a huge leap forward across the board and in our eyes makes it one of the best laptops for video editing available.

If you're on the go, then you're getting 20h battery life, which is massive, and if you want to use the machine docked and connect up to one of the best monitors around, you can do that with ease too thanks to its multiple ports.

For a premium option, we think the Apple Macbook Pro is one to seriously consider, but remember the new Macbook Pro should be on the way soon too!

See More: Best Laptop For Video Editing: Our Top Picks From Budget To Premium

Best Laptop Under 400 - Acer Swift 1

Best Laptop Acer
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Image Credit: Acer

Brand: Acer | Colour: Silver/Black/Pink | Operating System: Windows 10 | Processor: Intel Pentium N5000 | Screen Size: 14 inches | Display: IPS | Memory: 4GB RAM | Storage: 128GB SSD | Display Resolution Maximum: 1920 x 1080 pixels

Finding some of the best laptops for under 400 can be a little tricky, as you want to ensure you get the most bang for your buck as possible.

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In our eyes, this Acer Swift 1 is a solid all-rounder choice that boasts some impressive specs for the price, alongside an IPS display for wider viewing angles.

This Acer laptop is powered by the impressive Intel Pentium N5000 this understated laptop can actually last up to 20 hours, which saves you having to plug in everywhere you go.

See More: Best Laptop Under 400: Our Top Budget Picks

Best Chromebook Under 300 Large Screen - ASUS 15.6" Chromebook CX1500CNA HD

Best Chromebook Under 300 Large Screen
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Image Credit: ASUS

Brand: ASUS | Colour: Silver | Operating System: Chrome OS | Processor: Intel Celeron N3350 | Screen Size: 15.6 inches | Display: LED | Memory: 4GB RAM | Storage: 64GB eMMC | Display Resolution Maximum: 1366 x 768 pixels

Just one of our top Chromebook picks for under 300, this ASUS Chromebook hits the mark with both performance and affordability.

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For the price, a 15.6-inch screen displays HD 1366 x 768 pixels and is actually very sizeable, and should provide ample room for multiple windows.

4GB of RAM is what you'd tend to expect at this price range, and of course, the storage may seem small, but that's because everything is basically stored on the cloud with Chromebooks.

If you're going for a Chromebook and want something that'll handle day to day tasks with ease, then we think this ASUS 15.6" could be the one for you.

See More: Best Laptop Under 300: Top Budget Picks For Everyday Use

How To Pick The Best Laptop

There are a fair few questions surrounding picking the best laptop, as understandably some of the specs can be a little confusing at times, so here are our two cents on the matter to some of the most common questions out there.

How Much Should You Spend On A Laptop?

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A very valid question and one that we recommend you base on what you're primary usage of the laptop will be.

For everyday usage, writing, streaming, browsing and some light editing, you can get an amazing laptop for under 400.

If you're okay with less internal storage, then you can find Chromebooks for under 300 easily.

But if you need something for heavy-duty creative tasks, like video editing, or having multiple programs running, tabs open, and more, then we'd say anything between 700 - 1000 should fit the bill.

What Should You Check Before Buying a Laptop?

If you want to cut through the noise and dive straight into the important specs, there are a few worth noting that give a sense of what the laptop will be like.

RAM is one to look into, as it will generally dictate the speed of the laptop. How much RAM you need is up to you, but a guideline would be 4GB for everyday use, around 8 - 16GB (perhaps more) for heavy use.

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The screen type is also something to check out. A good rule of thumb is that if it's an IPS display you're in the money. That technology has wider viewing angles which come in very handy.

Internal storage like an SSD is something to consider. The bigger the better, but don't be put off if some are quite small, as you can purchase external SSDs to give your computer some breathing room.

Typically you'll find 1TB SSDs in the best gaming laptops, while some mid-range slim laptops have around 128 GB.

It's worth noting that there is a difference between eMMC vs. SSD storage that's good to know too.

What Is The Best Laptop Brand?

It's an interesting question, but we'd say it's difficult to define what 'best' is in relation to different brands.

Laptops vary wildly even within brands themselves, and while some may lean more towards a certain type of usage, generally speaking, you'll be able to find something great in practically every brand out there.

Some well-known brands include but are not limited to: Razer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Microsoft, Samsung, ASUS, ACER, and many more, but we'd say focus on the individual machine itself, rather than the brand, to find something you like.

READ MORE: Best Laptop for under 500: Our Top Budget Picks