Best laptops 2019: Dell, Apple, Acer and more

The best notebooks, ultrabooks and ultraportables around

Given how powerful and portable smartphones and tablets have become in recent years, you may be wondering if there's any place for traditional laptops in today's hyper-mobile world. With Android and iOS offering similar experiences to apps running on Windows, it's never been more convenient to work from a smaller, pocket-sized device.

However, you shouldn't discount the humble laptop just yet. New designs are proving to be more powerful, thinner and lighter than previously thought possible, and, as a business tool, there's still nothing quite as useful as a keyboard and mouse/trackpad for working your way through a busy day. What's more, a design penchant for carbon fibre or brushed aluminium has turned the modern laptop into a fashion accessory as much as anything else.

Laptops will never truly match the processing power of a desktop counterpart, however, the sophistication of modern applications means you can get more out of your device than ever before. Aside from the most demanding tasks, such as gaming or bulk video editing, mainstream laptops can perform most tasks, only with the added bonus of being portable.

Perhaps the most important change has come in the sheer variety of products and price points on offer, especially when it comes to business-grade machines - devices that were traditionally as expensive as they were heavy.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

That added choice means there's now something to fit every budget and need, so we've rounded up what we consider to be best laptops for business to help make your decision a little easier.

HP Spectre Folio 13

HP's Spectre Folio manages to stand out in a market that's already busy with eye-catching devices, partly due to its luxurious leather cover. There aren't many better-looking laptops around and according to our review, it's more mature than the Dell, more eye-catching than the Microsoft Surface and subtler than the Asus Zenbook.

It's not just a pretty machine either, the Folio is also easy to use thanks to the double-hinged design, and it's only a tiny bit larger than its rivals. Battery life extends beyond the competition, it's easily got the power and lifespan for day-to-day computing. Price wise, it doesn't cost much more than any of its competitors.

CPU1.5GHz Intel Core i7-850Y 
RAM8GB
Screen13.3in, 1,920 x 1,080
Dimensions320 x 234 x 15.2mm
Weight1.49Kg

Price when reviewed: 1,249 (inc VAT)

Read our full HP Spectre Folio 13 for more information.

Apple MacBook Pro 13in

You can usually count on Apple to deliver exceptional devices, but the most recent MacBook Pro is something very special indeed. A modest update from its predecessor in some ways, there are no external changes and it still looks as good as ever. The keyboard has been made quieter (and more dust-resistant), and the display now incorporates Apple's True Tone technology.

The biggest change is under the hood; Apple has upgraded the MacBook Pro to Intel's latest Coffee Lake processors, and it goes like a bat out of hell. It's by far the fastest worktop we've tested outside of proper professional workstations - and even then, it's giving them a run for their money.

CPUQuad-core 2.7GHz Intel Core-i78559U 
RAM16GB
Screen13.3in, 2,560 x 1,600
Dimensions304 x 212 x 14.9mm
Weight1.37Kg

Price when reviewed: 2,999 (exc VAT)

Read our full MacBook Pro 13in review for more information.

Dell XPS 13

Dell's XPS 13 range has been producing some of the best laptops around for a few years now, but the latest incarnation is something really special. The 2018 model is slimmer and lighter than ever - more so, in fact, than the latest MacBook Pro - and that gorgeous aluminium and carbon fibre design scheme is still as eye-catching as ever.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The latest XPS 13 is a very nippy laptop indeed, and while it hasn't managed to retain the crown of the fastest ultraportable around, it's still one of the speediest Windows laptops on the market. We're slightly dismayed that Dell has joined the ranks of manufacturers that have gone all-in on Thunderbolt 3, but when the rest of the device is this good, it's a complaint we can easily look past.

CPUDual core 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8500U 
RAM16GB
Screen13.3in, 1,920 x 1,080 
Dimensions302 x 199 x 8-11.6mm
Weight1.21Kg

Price when reviewed: 1,374 (exc VAT)

Read our full Dell XPS 13 review for more information.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme

As expensive as the ThinkPad X1 Extreme is (1,250 when we reviewed it) it's very much the kind of laptop that earns its high-end status. This is a top-to-bottom business notebook and one that's powerful in compute-heavy workloads, very well made and packed with enterprise-friendly features, especially on the security side.

It also fixes and avoids several problems we had with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, making it the best of Lenovo's most recent premium ThinkPads. If the price does put you off, you can always save a few hundred by going with a smaller SSD and just picking up an external hard drive if needed.

CPU2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
RAM32GB
Screen15.6in, 3,840 x 2,160 
Dimensions362 x 245 x 18.4 mm
Weight1.8Kg

Price when reviewed: 2,141 (exc VAT)

Read our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme review for more information.

Razer Blade 15 (2018)

Despite the Blade 15 being a technically inferior desktop replacement to the Core i9 MacBook Pro, it will save you 400. In fact, we're not even convinced that the MacBook Pro's CPU performance is sufficiently higher to justify spending so much more. Razer's laptop will still happily cope with hardcore multithreading and its far stronger GPU arguably makes it a more balanced laptop overall. On top of that, you'd be getting the crispness of 4K, plus more extensive and varied physical connectivity.

CPU2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
RAM16GB
Screen15.6in, 3,840 x 2,160
Dimensions355 x 235 x 17.3mm
Weight2.15kg

Price when reviewed: 2,050 (exc VAT)

Read our full Razer Blade 15 review for more information.

Dell XPS 15 9570

The Dell XPS 15 has proven itself an incredibly powerful laptop and while the machine has a handful of flaws that have been glossed over with a series of otherwise positive design tweaks, it exceeds the standards of its Windows rivals in terms of both design and performance.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

All things considered, the XPS 15 represents great bang-for-buck, with its fully-specced Core i9 configuration available at less than half the cost of the 15in i9 MacBook Pro, priced at 5,174 exc VAT (when reviewed).

Exuding just as much style as 2017's model - and buckets more power - Dell's premium notebook is a must-have investment for business users seeking a high-end 15.6in notebook that can offer performance, portability, and functionality - while looking damn good too.

CPUI2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
RAM16GB
Screen15.6in, 3849 x 2160
Dimensions357 x 235 x 17mm
Weight2kg

Price when reviewed: 1,624 (exc VAT)

Read our full Dell XPS 15 review for more information.

Google Pixelbook

Google's flagship Pixelbook is a luxury device not to be missed. It's not only razor-thin, but it also boasts an impressive eight hours battery life.

While it doesn't run x86 applications, it does have full support for the Google Play Store - meaning that you should have plenty of apps you can download to take advantage of the device's unique selling point. Even without Windows or macOSx, it's safe to say it's one the Pixelbook is one of the best laptops of the year. 

CPUIntel Core i5-7Y57 3.3GHZ
RAM8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
Screen2,400 x 1,600, 12.3in
Dimensions290mm x 220mm x 10mm
Weight1.1kg

Price when reviewed: 833 (exc VAT)

Read our full Google Pixelbook review for more information.

Lenovo Yoga 730 15in

The unassuming Iron Grey chassis of the Lenovo Yoga 15in houses a seriously powerful laptop. And while 1,250 might sound like a lot of money, it's actually quite reasonable considering what's on offer. With a 4K touch display, powerful CPU and blazingly fast SSD, it's a true all-rounder. The nice array of ports and bundled-in stylus sweeten the deal.

If you're looking for a capable 15.6in laptop that can turn its hand to almost anything, then the Lenovo Yoga 730 15in is a good choice. It's not perfect, though; it has poor battery life, modest screen brightness and middling colour accuracy.

CPUIntel Core i7-8550U 
RAM8GB
Screen15.6in, 3,849 x 2,160 
Dimensions360 x 249 x 17 mm
Weight2Kg

Price when reviewed: 1,250 (exc VAT)

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Read our full Lenovo Yoga 730 review for more information.

Microsoft Surface GO

Although undersized and under-equipped, the Surface GO is a device that's deceptively versatile. Despite its seemingly weedy processor, it copes well with day-to-day use, rarely complaining even when subjected to reasonably strenuous workloads. The USB-C support means one can take advantage of the usual one-cable connection to an external monitor and mouse, making it more versatile. It's a huge advantage and with it, the Surface Go finally lives up to the hyper-agile dream that the Surface range has always promised.

It's not without flaws, such as woeful battery life and a handful of other concerns, but not only is the Surface Go a worthy successor to the Surface 3, the addition of USB-C support means it's at least as versatile as the Surface Pro -- if not more so.

CPUDual-core 1.6GHz Intel Pentium  
RAM8GB
Screen10in, 1,200 x 1,800 
Dimensions245 x 175 x 8.3 mm
Weight522g

Price when reviewed: 424 (exc VAT)

Read our full Microsoft Surface Go review for more information.

Featured Resources

The IT Pro guide to Windows 10 migration

Everything you need to know for a successful transition

Download now

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

Download now

Software-defined storage for dummies

Control storage costs, eliminate storage bottlenecks and solve storage management challenges

Download now

6 best practices for escaping ransomware

A complete guide to tackling ransomware attacks

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/operating-systems/23119/windows-10-release-date-features-devices-and-free-upgrade-microsoft-issues
operating systems

Windows PowerToys customisation project returns

10 May 2019
Visit/operating-systems/28288/how-to-factory-reset-windows-10
operating systems

How to factory reset Windows 10

26 Mar 2019
Visit/operating-systems/25802/17-windows-10-problems-and-how-to-fix-them
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

4 Nov 2019
Visit/operating-systems/25802/17-windows-10-problems-and-how-to-fix-them/page/0/1
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

4 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Visit/security/identity-and-access-management-iam/354289/44-million-microsoft-customers-found-using
identity and access management (IAM)

44 million Microsoft customers found using compromised passwords

6 Dec 2019
Visit/cloud/microsoft-azure/354230/microsoft-not-amazon-is-going-to-win-the-cloud-wars
Microsoft Azure

Microsoft, not Amazon, is going to win the cloud wars

30 Nov 2019
Visit/network-internet/wifi-hotspots/354283/industrial-wi-fi-6-trial-reveals-blistering-speeds
wifi & hotspots

Industrial Wi-Fi 6 trial reveals blistering speeds

5 Dec 2019
Visit/business/policy-legislation/354282/boris-johnson-suggests-uk-will-side-with-us-over-huawei
Policy & legislation

Boris Johnson suggests UK will side with US over Huawei exclusion

5 Dec 2019