The best Windows laptop should offer the perfect balance between performance and versatility. These machines can handle your most basic everyday computing tasks, but many of them also have the processing power to handle much more intensive workloads – whether that’s powering through 3D rendering or editing 4K video footage.
While we have a lot of love for the best MacBooks and Macs, the simple fact remains that Windows 11 remains the best operating system out there for sheer flexibility, accessibility, and software support. And the notebooks powered by them are among the best laptops out there.
It’s worth bearing in mind that we’re looking at all sorts of Windows-powered laptops here, but if you’re after something a bit more specific, you may want to check out our rankings of the best 2-in-1 laptops or the best gaming laptops – the majority of which run on Windows 11.
We’ve accounted for plenty of key factors in deciding our ranking of the best Windows laptop and update it whenever we review a laptop that we feel deserves a spot on the list. Performance is naturally a major factor, but we also examine durability, aesthetics, user experience, and most importantly pricing. In the current economic climate, affordability is vital for many tech buyers – if you’re shopping on a budget, be sure to check out our best laptop deals too!
The quick list
Want to cut to the chase and find out what the best Windows laptops are? Below, you’ll find a roundup of our choices, and you can jump to a more detailed review of every pick, along with our price comparison tool to help you find the best deals.
The best Windows laptops in 2023
Below you’ll find full write-ups for each of the best Windows laptop in our list. We’ve tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.
The best Windows laptop overall
Updated with new hardware and that classic XPS style, the Dell XPS 15 remains to be the best Windows laptop around. Dell has upgraded the internals to include new Intel Alder Lake processors and faster RAM so that it’s more capable than ever. While it’s no gaming laptop, but it still turned in respectable gaming results in our testing and blasted though everyday tasks with ease. That’s while delivering a full workday on a charge, averaging at 12:01 in our PCMark 10 test.
The chassis remains unchanged, but that classic XPS look and brushed aluminum finish remains as stunning as ever. It’s incredibly thin and lightweight, making it extremely portable, especially for a 15-inch laptop. And, its keyboard and trackpad are just as responsive and as comfortable as ever.
It’s not a cheap purchase, to be sure, but it’s reasonably-priced for a laptop in its class. And, you’re definitely getting what you’re paying for.
Read the full Dell XPS 15 (2022) review
The best budget Windows laptop
No budget Windows laptop is as good as the Acer Aspire 5, which offers so many configurations covering different display sizes and your choice of integrated and discrete graphics that the line has something for pretty much every user. What’s more impressive is that this entry-level model provides respectable performance for a laptop in this price range.
You’re not going to get cutting-edge design, but it gets the basics right, from its sturdy chassis to its comfortable keyboard and a fingerprint sensor on the trackpad. And the 1080p14-inch screen is bright, clear, and comes with good viewing angles.
Being a budget option, there are compromises here: the 720p webcam is a bit basic, the built-in speakers are somewhat feeble, and connectivity is a bit of a mixed bag. However, they aren’t deal-breakers either. You’re definitely getting a great value for your money here.
Read the full Acer Aspire 5 (2022) review
The best 2-in-1 Windows laptop
The Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 (2023) is an absolute stunner with its elevated design featuring an OLED display with amazing picture quality and a 360-degree-rotating soundbar that delivers a more immersive streaming experience. And, it’s a testament to Lenovo’s brilliance.
But, it’s powerful as well, crushing other touchscreen laptops such as the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 in our benchmarks and holding its own tackling creative workloads such as exporting 50 edited high-res 7952 x 4472 images from RAW to JPEG in Lightroom. And while it may not have the longest battery life, it lasted a little over 10 hours on a full charge in our web surfing battery test, which means you can leave the charger at home and still have a full workday.
The OLED display is not as bright as we’d hoped, averaging around 350 nits, but it’s vibrant nonetheless thanks to those deep, rich colors. And, if you want to go on tablet mode, you’ll find it responsive and intuitive to your touch commands as well.
Read our full Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 review
The best premium 2-in-1 laptop
The HP Spectre x360 has been one of our favorite laptops for years now, and the 2022 model is no different. It’s more powerful than ever, however, with 12th-generation Intel Alder Lake processors and better integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, both of which offer a serious performance boost.
It ran work programs, handle multiple browser tabs, and even play plenty of low and mid-range video games during testing with no issues. And its performance was incredibly consistent throughout. We just wish that the battery life lasts longer then eight hours, but at least, it charges fast, reaching at least 80% capacity in about an hour.
Really, this is the single best 2-in-1 laptop on the market right now, especially with that impeccable design, pristine gem-cut chassis, and solid build. If you care about aesthetics as much as you do performance and overall quality, this is the best Windows laptop for you. While it’s certainly pricey, you’re getting some excellent extras, such as formidable security features and surprisingly decent Bang & Olufsen speakers.
Read our full HP Spectre x360 (2022) review
The best thin and light Windows laptop
The Acer 3 Swift OLED is the follow-up to one of the best laptops ever made, and this refresh doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. This lightweight and thin notebook in a lovely well-built chassis belies an incredible CPU performance, which has some of the best we’ve seen from an Ultrabook.
In fact, it’s one of the highest-scoring laptops we’ve ever tested – almost every result is at least the highest number in its category. Of course, the GPU performance is no slouch either, ensuring that you can work and play with ease. And while the battery life may not be the longest, it’s actually pretty decent.
Though it’s not a touchscreen, its main draw is its gorgeous OLED display that also supports HDR. This screen is one of the most beautiful we’ve seen on a laptop. Meanwhile, the keyboard balances a smooth and sleek design with a satisfying feel. Rounding it all out is the incredibly affordable pricing that makes it an absolute steal.
Read our full Acer Swift 3 OLED (2022) review
The best gaming laptop
It might be fairly expensive at $2,350 (around £1,950 / AU$3,410) for the model we reviewed, so this will be one to skip if you’re on a tight budget, but the Alienware m17 R5 ‘AMD Advantage’ edition is an absolutely mighty Windows gaming laptop, delivering top-notch performance both in games and in creative workloads.
As we noted in our review, it’s really unclear whether credit should lie with Dell or AMD for producing such an excellent laptop, but we’re happy either way. The internal components pull their weight in practically every area, and the sleek Alienware chassis packs a nifty cooling solution that keeps your system running smoothly.
Still not sold on it? Well, the 4K 120Hz display is absolutely magnificent, giving more expensive gaming laptops a serious run for their money. The keyboard has full RGB lighting, which is aesthetically appealing but not over-the-top, and while the battery life isn’t spectacular, it outstrips the majority of gaming laptops in its weight class. The Alienware m17 R5 AMD Advantage is one of the best Windows gaming laptops you can buy right now – end of story.
Read our full Alienware m17 R5 AMD Advantage review
The best budget gaming laptop
The HP Victus 15 is proof that you don’t need to splurge on an expensive Windows laptop for gaming to enjoy great performance. Much like with many budget offerings, there are a few concessions here. The laptop, while sturdy, is a bit chunky, which means it isn’t the most travel-friendly gaming machine. Its design is also basic, but the fact that it’s partially made of post-consumer recycled and ocean-bound plastic makes up for it, especially if you’re big on sustainability and having a lower carbon footprint.
In terms of performance, we found the battery life disappointing as well, as it gave us a little over four hours during our battery tests. The good news is that this is made for the desk, rather than for travel anyway so you can keep it plugged.
Even better news, its performance and heat management are hard to beat. At lower settings, you should be able to enjoy the most demanding games without frustration. It’s also a monster at multi-tasking, which makes it ideal for work, school, and entertainment.
Read our in-depth HP Victus 15 review
The best Windows laptop with AMOLED display
It’s rare that we come across a consumer laptop that does it all, so this Ultrabook from Samsung is special in that way. The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra is capable of nearly any task you put it to, which means it’s the laptop you want if you need that one portable machine that can tackle productivity tasks, creative work, and even gaming – even though you do have to pay quite a bit to get it.
Inside its absolutely gorgeous and sleek chassis is a workhorse tackled most creative and editing tasks we put to it, alongside productivity and even higher-end gaming. And we found that it can keep up with the likes of the M2 Max chip-outfitted Apple MacBook Pro 16. And while it obviously cannot beat a dedicated gaming laptop, it absolutely swept its last-gen rivals in benchmark test scores with its RTX 4000 GPU.
What’s more, the Samsung ecosystem inside is a feature that rivals Apple’s as well while its keyboard is not only comfortable to use, but has well-sized keys and a num lock pad as well. Just be mindful and take that charger with you as it’ll only last around six hours at most at full charge.
Read our in-depth Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra review
The best desktop replacement
One of the most powerful gaming laptops we’ve tested so far, the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i delivers some incredible gaming performance, absolutely smoking through every one of our graphics-based benchmark tests. This level of power naturally translates to gaming performance, seeing through titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered without a sweat. Even with maxed-out graphical settings and ray tracing on, there’s no noticeable stuttering or slowdown.
The screen, an absolutely ridiculous 16-inch WQXGA 240Hz panel, is extremely bright, and that refresh rate is butter smooth enough for fast-paced games and professional gamers. It also features an RGB-lit keyboard with an excellent port selection to boot.
This is a desktop replacement laptop so of course the chassis is very bulky and heavy and the battery life is an abysmal two and a half hours. It’s also extremely expensive. However, this one is a gaming powerhouse.
Read the full Lenovo Legion Pro 7i review
The best laptop with long battery life
It’s not the most exciting laptop Dell has ever put out, but if you’re looking for a versatile 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop for everyday work that won’t cost the world, the Inspiron 16 is a great choice.
We say ‘won’t cost the world’ – this device does still start at $1,000 (£780 / AU$1,600), which is a bit steep for the average 2-in-1 laptop, but this isn’t the average 2-in-1: most hybrid laptops pack a 13- or 14-inch display, but this Inspiron’s beefy UHD+ display is a whopping 16 inches, bigger than the majority of 2-in-1s around right now.
That means the Inspiron 16 fills a rather unique niche, but is arguably the very best at what it does. The only significant downside is the resultant increase in weight – and the lack of a garaged stylus, which would’ve been nice to see. If you want a powerful 2-in-1 but don’t want to downsize, snap this up.
Read the full Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 review
How to choose the best Windows laptop for you
When it comes to choosing the right Windows laptop, you have to take into account what you want out of it. Maybe you’re looking for a powerhouse for gaming or other intensive tasks like video editing. Or, maybe you prefer something that’s portable and is ideal for checking emails and basic productivity work.
If performance is a priority, you’ll want something that comes with the higher end components such as a fast processor, a decent amount of RAM – 16 GB is a good target to shoot for – and discrete graphics such as one of Nvidia’s 3000 series GPUs. If you just need to do basic day-to-day computing, you won’t need anything that robust. You still will want internals that can keep up in a few years time, however, so make sure to get a portable with a current generation processor, and at least 8 GB of RAM. And, while storage space can be expanded through any of the best portable SSDs, you should make sure that whatever you choose has enough for your needs.
When it comes to portability, take into account not only the size and weight of the notebook you’re considering but also its battery life. After all, it needs to have enough juice to last a workday without needing a charge. Keep in mind that more powerful laptops with discrete graphics, ones meant for gaming in particular, tend to come with shorter battery lives.
And, of course, make sure you’re getting the proper size for your needs. Laptops typically come in 13, 15, and 17-inch models. If portability is your top priority, a smaller 13-inch model is probably going to be your best bet. However, if you need to balance portability with performance, 15-inch models tend to hit that sweet spot. While 17-inch models are ideal for someone who wants a portable with a lot of power and a lot of screen space for easier multitasking.
Beyond that, you should consider the kinds of ports and features you need out of your portable. Some come with just a few USB-C ports while others include SD card readers and HDMI ports for easy use with external monitors. And, some come with security features that you won’t find with every portable, such as a fingerprint reader, webcam cover or Kensington lock.
If you can narrow down what kind of performance, portability, battery life, size, and features you expect out of that next Windows laptop, you’ll be able to find the right one in no time.
How we tested these Windows laptops
We know how big an investment getting a new computer is, so when we test a Windows laptop, or any other laptop for that matter, we make sure to try out every aspect of it. To start with, we take a look at its design and how well thought its layout is. Its size, portability and even aesthetics are taken into account as well. After all, if you’re going to drop a decent amount of money on something, you want it to look like it’s worth the price tag. The keyboard and trackpad get plenty of attention so that we know how comfortable a notebook is to work on.
We spend quite a bit of time testing performance. And, we start by getting a sense of what a portable can do in the wild. Whether that means editing, playing games, or opening a bunch of tabs in Google Chrome depends on the type of laptop. But, we make sure that it does what it claims it’s supposed to do as well as compare that real world use to its competitors. There’s also some standardized testing to make the comparisons easier. We run the same benchmark tests on all the laptops we review for concrete comparisons.
Included in that testing is battery life. Considering how much users expect out of a laptop, this is a vital step in our process. On top of a synthetic benchmark test, we also run a 1080p movie on loop to simulate more organic battery usage and record the results.
Of course, we test all the individual features of a portable as well, including a its webcam, mic, ports, and other features. Once we’ve gathered all our notes and have seen where a laptop has exceeded or missed expectations, we look at the price to see if it’s worth the price for its intended audience.