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.
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.
|CPU||1.5GHz Intel Core i7-850Y|
|Screen||13.3in, 1,920 x 1,080|
|Dimensions||320 x 234 x 15.2mm|
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.
|CPU||Quad-core 2.7GHz Intel Core-i78559U|
|Screen||13.3in, 2,560 x 1,600|
|Dimensions||304 x 212 x 14.9mm|
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.
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.
|CPU||Dual core 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8500U|
|Screen||13.3in, 1,920 x 1,080|
|Dimensions||302 x 199 x 8-11.6mm|
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.
|CPU||2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H|
|Screen||15.6in, 3,840 x 2,160|
|Dimensions||362 x 245 x 18.4 mm|
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.
|CPU||2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H|
|Screen||15.6in, 3,840 x 2,160|
|Dimensions||355 x 235 x 17.3mm|
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.
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.
|CPU||I2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H|
|Screen||15.6in, 3849 x 2160|
|Dimensions||357 x 235 x 17mm|
Price when reviewed: 1,624 (exc VAT)
Read our full Dell XPS 15 review for more information.
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.
|CPU||Intel Core i5-7Y57 3.3GHZ|
|RAM||8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM|
|Screen||2,400 x 1,600, 12.3in|
|Dimensions||290mm x 220mm x 10mm|
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.
|CPU||Intel Core i7-8550U|
|Screen||15.6in, 3,849 x 2,160|
|Dimensions||360 x 249 x 17 mm|
Price when reviewed: 1,250 (exc VAT)
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.
|CPU||Dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Pentium|
|Screen||10in, 1,200 x 1,800|
|Dimensions||245 x 175 x 8.3 mm|
Price when reviewed: 424 (exc VAT)
Read our full Microsoft Surface Go review for more information.
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