What’s the best laptop in 2020?

We’re approaching Black Friday weekend, which is arguably the best time of year to sought out the very best laptop you can buy.

The laptop market is incredible competitive right now, with the likes of Apple, Dell and Microsoft all hitting top form in 2020. We’ve also seen some emerging competitors like Honor, LG and Samsung, providing a huge variety of different portables. We also hope to review additional exciting laptops soon,

Having a huge variety of laptops to choose from is undoubtedly great, but it does however make it increasingly more difficult to narrow down the choices. In order to help you with your buying decision, we’ve ranked the top 10 laptops currently available, making sure to feature a wide variety to please gamers, creators and bargain hunters alike.

1. Dell XPS 13 (2020)

The best all-round Windows 10 laptop you can buy

Display: 13.4in FHD / 4K | CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core | RAM: 8/16 GB
GPU: Intel Iris Plus | Storage: 512GB / 1TB | Weight: From 1.2kg

Pros:

  • Ideal 16:10 InfinityEdge display
  • Comfortable and clicky keyboard
  • Remarkably thin and compact
  • Productivity performance perfection

Cons: 

  • Short on ports
  • Keyboard can get a tad warm

The Dell XPS 13 is the best laptop you can buy right now, delivering a stellar all-round performance with very few flaws. If anyone is looking for a 13-inch ultrabook that can blast through productivity tasks and offer outstanding visuals for Netflix, then this has to be on your shortlist.

Admittedly, there aren’t a huge number of improvements from the Dell XPS 13 2019 here, but the new InfinityEdge display at least ensures this is one of the most gorgeous laptops available, while also ensuring a 16:10 aspect ratio that is well suited to social media and web browsing. Plus with the Ice Lake chip, you’ll not only be able to multitask efficiently, but also dabble with gaming and creative applications. Although it’s worth bearing in mind we’ll be reviewing the Dell XPS 13 With tiger  processor very soon.

Is there any reason why you shouldn’t buy a Dell XPS 13? Well, it is more expensive than its rivals, but if you want the absolute best laptop money can buy, then the Dell XPS 13 is our top recommendation. And if you fancy a bit more size and graphical horsepower, then you may want to consider the new Dell XPS 15 instead.

2. Honor MagicBook 14 (2020)

An incredibly affordable budget laptop

Display: 14in FHD | CPU: Ryzen 5 3500U | RAM: 8GB
GPU: Intel UHD | Storage: 256GB | Weight: 1.4kg

Pros:

  • Student-friendly premium style
  • Superb value
  • Pleasant typing experience
  • More than capable productivity performance

Cons:

  • Webcam position on keyboard
  • Below average display

Most decent Windows laptops cost upwards of £1000 these days, which is a serious lump of cash if you only want a system for web browsing and streaming video content. The Honor MagicBook 14 is a fantastic exception to the rule, as its all-round performance is astonishingly good considering its £549.99 price.

Being half the price of some of other laptops inevitably means you have to make compromises, as the MagicBook 14’s matte display is below average. The ultrabook is still very much adept for Netflix and YouTube viewing, but professional design work must be ruled out. But with a decent productivity performance, ultra-portable design and fantastic battery life, the MagicBook more than makes up for its adequate screen.

If you’re a student or someone on a tight budget, then we reckon the Honor MagicBook 14 is the best laptop for the job. You’ll get better quality by spending more, but no other laptop offers better value.

3. MacBook Pro 16-inch

Best laptop for creative tasks

Display: 16in (3072 x 1920) | CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core | RAM: 8GB
GPU: Radeon Pro 5300M / 5500M | Storage: Up to 8TB | Weight: 2kg

Pros:

  • Incredibly powerful
  • Bigger display still looks stunning
  • Scissor keyboard a huge improvement
  • More stylish with smaller bezel

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Stingy port offering
  • Lack of Wi-Fi 6

You could make a very good case that the MacBook Pro 16-inch is Apple’s best laptop in yonks. Many flaws of previous Apple laptops have been addressed, including a much-improved keyboard and a new wafer-thin bezel that finally makes MacBooks look modern compared to the competition.

The performance of this MacBook Pro is just as excellent as you’d expect, with the processing speeds and GPU grunt that far exceeds the other laptops on this list. To be fair, Apple’s laptop is also a lot more expensive than the other portable PCs here, but that’s the price you have to pay to be able to blast through media tasks.

The MacBook Pro 16-inch Pro is now available too, but since that lacks a dedicated GPU, the smaller Pro can’t realistically be seen as a genuine alternative to this powerhouse portable. And if you want an Apple laptop, but have no need the hardcore performance, you’ve also got the superb MacBook Air 2020 to consider.

However, there’s a big issue with recommending Intel-powered Apple laptops since the Apple Silicon revolution is underway, likely seeing a new MacBook Pro launched in 2021. Apple has confirmed that Intel MacBooks will still be supported via software updates for the foreseeable future, but the upcoming Apple-powered MacBook laptops are clearly the better option going forward.

4. Surface Laptop 3 (13-inch)

One of the best value laptops available

Display: 13.5in (2256 x 1504) | CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core | RAM: 8/16GB
GPU: Intel Iris Plus | Storage: Up to 1TB | Weight: From 1.3kg

Pros:

  • Classy, ultra-portable design
  • Excellent performance
  • Stunning 3:2 display
  • Available in four colours

Cons:

  • Average battery life
  • Lack of Thunderbolt 3

The Surface Laptop 3 13-inch comes the closest to challenging the Dell XPS 13 2020 as the best quality productivity laptop. It packs great components including Intel’s 10th-generation Ice Lake processor, which also features integrated graphics for casual gaming and Photoshop work.

One area where Microsoft is arguably better than Dell is in the looks department, as the Surface Laptop 3 is available in four different colours and looks drop-dead gorgeous, while the iconic Alcantara design is optional this time round.

Why isn’t the Surface Laptop 3 at the top of rankings? Underwhelming battery life and the frankly absurd exclusion of a Thunderbolt 3 port are big enough flaws to make this ultrabook miss out on the top spot, but these are arguably minor problems for an otherwise superb laptop.

It’s also worth considering that the Surface Laptop Go is available at a more affordable price. If you love the Surface brand but fancy yourself a bargain, it may be worth waiting for our review.

5. Acer Swift 5 (2019)

A great value ultra-portable laptop

Display: 14in FHD | CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core | RAM: 8/16GB
GPU: Intel Iris Plus | Storage: Up to 1TB | Weight: 990g

Pros:

  • Solid performance, quiet running
  • Pleasingly slim and light
  • Incredibly good value
  • Great port offering

Cons:

  • Couple of keyboard issues

The Acer Swift 5 (2019) has no right to challenge the Dell XPS 13 considering its price, yet it offers similar high-end specs including Intel’s 10th Generation processor, up to 16GB RAM and SSD storage maxing out at 1TB.

Acer’s ultrabook even offers some added benefits too, such as a lighter frame (just 990g) and the option of an Nvidia MX250 GPU. So why does the Swift 5 miss out? Its keyboard isn’t quite good enough to challenge the very best, and its design isn’t as jaw-dropping. These are small margins though, as the Swift 5 is more than good enough to serve as a cheaper alternative.

It’s worth knowing that the Acer Swift 5 (2020) is now available too, featuring the cutting-edge Intel Tiger Lake CPU. We’re yet to review this laptop, but hope to start testing very soon.

6. HP Envy 13 (2020)

A great affordable laptop for the office and home workers

Display: 13.3in FHD | CPU: 10th Gen Intel | RAM: 8GB
GPU: Intel Iris Plus | Storage: 512GB | Weight: 1.3kg

Pros:

  • Great privacy features
  • Relatively cheap price
  • Great performance
  • Ultra-portable design

Cons:

  • Loud fans
  • Reflective screen
  • Not as stylish as more expensive laptops

The HP Envy 13 (2020) is very similar device to the Acer Swift 5 above; they both have a great all-round performance, are available at a relatively low price and have solid (albeit unremarkable) designs. But while the Swift’s unique feature is its unbelievably light design, the HP Envy 13 instead excels at security thanks to a large helping of privacy features.

The Envy allows you to cut power to the webcam with a press of a key, and can restrict the peripheral view of nosy snoopers thanks to the SureView feature. Such skills make this an excellent business laptop, especially if you’re dealing with sensitive data.

The Envy 13 also has all the required specs to compete with the likes of Dell and Microsoft, even if it doesn’t look quite as fancy. And while issues such as a glossy screen and loud fans are slightly irritating, they’re not significant enough to prevent this being an worthwhile device for work and leisure.

7. Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020)

One of the best looking laptops we’ve tested

Display: 13in QHD| CPU: 10th Gen Intel | RAM: 16GB
GPU: Nvidia MX250 | Storage: 1TB | Weight: 1.3kg

Pros:

  • Looks fantastic
  • Screen aspect-ratio is great for productivity
  • Lots of good specs for the price
  • That green colour

Cons:

  • Reflective screen
  • Everything about the webcam is bad
  • SD slot would have been the icing on the cake

The first thing to say about the Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) is that it’s absolutely gorgeous, with a screen-to-body ratio almost as high as the Dell XPS 13 and a mesmerising Emerald Green colour option.

It’s no slouch in other areas either, with the base model boasting a 10th Gen Intel Core Core i5 processor, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage. The screen also packs more pixels than most of the laptops on this list, making it an excellent option for Netflix and Disney Plus.

But while this laptop excels at most laptop criteria, it also has a few shortcomings. The webcam is our main complaint, positioned on the keyboard and lacking clear video quality. It’s also an expensive laptop, with a starting price of £1399.99. That said, if you buy it through the official Huawei online store, you’ll at get a bundled tablet and Mini Speaker to offset the high cost.

8. LG Gram 17 (2020)

An incredibly lightweight 17-inch laptop

Display: 17in QHD | CPU: 10th Gen Intel | RAM: 16GB
GPU: Intel Iris Plus | Storage: 512GB | Weight: 1.4kg

Pros:

  • Unbelievably lightweight
  • Superb 17-inch display
  • Great battery life
  • Improved processor performance

Cons:

  • Gaming performance with Ice Lake is disappointing
  • Bland design compared to rivals
  • Annoyingly reflective screen

The 17-inch form factor for laptops seemed to be as dead as the dodo a couple years back, especially for productivity focused machines. That was no major surprise though, since such laptops were so large and heavy that they proved difficult to stow in a bag, but the LG Gram 17 (2020) looks to change that.

This is a 17-inch laptop that weighs just 1350g, which isn’t too far off the smaller Dell XPS 13. This allows users to watch the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus on a massive screen without suffering back cramps on the work commute as a consequence. For the 2020 iteration, LG has also fitted in Intel’s 10th Gen Ice Lake processor. This ensures a nippy multi-tasking performance, although the gaming and creative talents are still lacking here, despite the integrated graphics.

The LG Gram 17 (2020) is our favourite 17-inch laptop you can buy, and one of the best laptops in general if video streaming is your top priority. We will be reviewing the Dell XPS 17 (2020)  shortly though, which may displace the Gram as the best large laptop.

9. Samsung Galaxy Book Flex

Our top-rated 2-in-1 laptop comes bundled with an S-Pen stylus

Display: 15.6in FHD | CPU: 10th Gen Intel | RAM: 8GB
GPU: Up to Nvidia MX250 | Storage: 512GB | Weight: 1.2kg

Pros:

  • Gorgeous QLED display
  • Bundled S-Pen stylus
  • Stylish blue design
  • Excellent battery life

Cons:

  • Shallow keyboard
  • Flimsy hinge
  • Squashed down Shift key

The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex is our favourite 2-in-1 laptop, with the included S-Pen stylus proving a great accessory for scribbles and sketches. The gorgeous QLED screen can be flipped at a 360-degree angle, turning the laptop into a makeshift tablet. Such Windows 10 ‘tablet modes’ are never as user-friendly as you’d find with a full-fat Apple or Android tablet, but it still gives the Flex spades of versatility.

The Flex also offers up a respectable performance and a great battery life, lasting around 10 hours when ploughing through basic tasks. It also flaunts a lovely blue design, standing out from the majority of other laptops in this list.

It’s not a perfect device though, with a wobbly hinge and a shallow keyboard proving mild inconveniences. It’s also rather expensive, with the 13-inch model costing £1349. That’s a couple hundred quid more than the likes of the Surface Laptop 3, so you really need to make the most of the ‘tablet mode’ and stylus to make it a worthwhile purchase. But if you’re an entry-level creative looking for a top class 2-in-1 notebook, the Flex should be at the top of your shortlist.

10. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

A fantastic gaming laptop adept at day-to-say tasks

Display: 14in FHD | CPU: Ryzen 9 4900HS | RAM: 16GB
GPU: Up to Nvidia RTX 2060 | Storage: 1TB | Weight: 1.7kg

Pros:

  • Incredible CPU performance
  • Great for Full HD gaming
  • Ultra-portable design
  • Impressive battery life

Cons:

  • Lack of RGB lighting
  • No integrated webcam
  • Underwhelming SSD speeds

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 feels like the odd one out in this list of laptops, since it prioritises gaming performance above all else. But unlike previous gaming laptops, the Zephyrus G14 is an ultra-portable machine that can double up as a productivity powerhouse thanks to its insane CPU speeds, comparatively dinky 1.69kg weight and superb battery life.

The Zephyrus G14 is currently our top recommended gaming laptop, and with a reasonable £1100 starting price it’s a genuinely worthwhile alternative to the likes of a Dell XPS and Surface Laptop. You’ll need to be into your gaming to make the most of it, but if you fancy playing a bit of Fortnite, Civilization or Sims on your lunch break, then there is no better choice.