The portable computer landscape has recently undergone radical changes. With touch screens and the ditching of optical drives, your typical notebook looks quite different from just a few years ago.
From expensive machines to portable, budget-friendly laptops for reading ebooks, an unbelievable range of different options are readily available.
Whether you need a fast laptop for your business or a stable machine for researching school papers will determine what is your one “best” laptop.
We’ve looked through them all and found you the best laptop in 2020!
If this is your new laptop for a while, be sure to read this in-depth laptop buying guide first.
Recommendations for July 2020
- Best 15” laptop – LG Gram Thin & Light Laptop (popular choice)
- Best overall – Dell XPS13
- Best 2 in 1 pick – HP Spectre x360
- Best chromebook – Asus Chromebook C434
- Best ultrabook – Acer Swift 7
- Best budget option – Acer Aspire 5 (best for value)
- Best business choice – Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
- Best college pick – HP Envy 13t
- Best for gaming – Alienware Area-51m
- Best choice for power user – MacBook Pro 16 inch (new release)
Top 10 Best laptops for 2020
1. Best laptop for the money 2020 – Acer Aspire E
- 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7500U Processor (Up to 3.5GHz)
- 15.6" Full HD Widescreen Comfy View LED-backlit Display supporting Acer Color Blast technology
- NVIDIA GeForce 940MX with 2GB of GDDR5 Video Memory
Want an absolutely killer processor with decent RAM and SSD specs for covering any kind of usage? This should be your pick!
- Top-of-the-line processor
- Optical drive
- Dedicated graphics card
- Less storage space than other laptops in the price range
- 8GB of RAM instead of 16
Different versions of the Aspire E are available in varying configurations, and they often beat the competition in terms of overall specs.
For the best overall laptop, our favorite pick is all about the processor. Capable of reaching up to 4.0GHZ, the i7-8550U is one of the best 8th gen processors on the market right now.
With a solid state drive and a dedicated graphics card, you are covered on anything from school projects to gaming as well.
Keep in mind that other models in this price range will typically come with 12 – 16GB of RAM. Unless you are using very specific memory-intensive programs, however, that amount isn’t usually needed.
Some of the most frequently mentioned features brought up by reviewers are the DVD-RW and the ability to add another drive for more storage space.
One potential downside that is often referenced is the positioning of the power cable, which is in the way on the right side.
2. Convertible Pick – HP Spectre X360-13t
- - 13.3" diagonal FHD IPS micro-edge WLED-backlit touch screen with Corning Gorilla Glass NBT (1920 x 1080), HP Active Stylus - 2 Thunderbolt 3 (Data Transfer up to 40 Gb/s, Power Delivery, DP1.2, HP...
If money is no object and you need the absolute best hybrid laptop with killer specs, this should easily be your pick!
- Large SSD
- 8th gen processor
- Flip touch screen
- Smaller display size
- No dedicated graphics card
The current Cadillac of 2-in-1 laptops for work or school is easily the HP Spectre. This one isn’t just great for a hybrid machine, it has flat out great specs for any style of notebook.
As a hybrid, you can use this model as a full work laptop or fold it to use as a touch style tablet. Even with that dual functionality, you don’t lose out on the extras.
Two Thunderbolt USB ports, a fully backlit keyboard, and a discrete fingerprint scanner are all included.
Buyers don’t often have a lot of negative feedback on this model. There is one potential issue often brought up when using the keyboard instead of the stylus or touch display, however.
The Spectre’s touchpad is located directly beneath the keyboard and offset to the right. This means you may accidentally end up clicking the top edge of the touchpad while typing.
As with the VivoBook Flip listed below, this isn’t a machine meant for running games at high graphics settings. For that functionality, take a look at our best gaming machines listed below.
3. Best Chromebook Choice – Google Pixelbook
- Meet google pixel book, the high performance chromebook; it’s the first laptop with the google assistant built in; press the google assistant key on your keyboard or say "Ok google" to get started;...
- Features 7th gen intel core i5 processor, 8gb ram and 128gb for storage; the long lasting battery delivers up to 10 hours of use and it’s fast charging so you can get 2 hours of use in 15 minutes
- The 4 in 1 design adapts to whatever you’re doing with laptop, tablet, tent and entertainment modes; ACcess to favorite apps including google drive, Gmail, YouTube, Evernote, slACk, infinite...
Ready to pull the plug on Windows entirely and get a thin Chrome OS machine instead? This should be your pick!
- Incredibly thin and light
- High end specs
- Larger SSD than most Chromebooks
- Different viewing screen form factor
- Chrome OS rather than Windows 10
Most users spend the majority of their time on a web browser, rather than using any particular executable program.
If you’re in that boat, a chromebook can be a better option than a full Windows laptop. Surprisingly, the Pixelbook actually has still better specs than many other full notebook computers.
With a Chromebook, you typically get 16 – 64GB of storage space at maximum. Here, you get a full 128GB SSD just like with a normal laptop.
Since the bloated Windows 10 OS isn’t eating up the drive space, that’s a bigger deal than you might think. Now that you can use Android apps on Chrome OS, you don’t actually lose much functionality by ditching Windows entirely.
The overall design is the feature most frequently referenced by buyers. They consistently praise the silicone palm rests, incredibly responsive touchpad, and thin style.
One potential downside could mar this as your choice, though — it takes time to get used to the different form factor. This 12 inch display is a 4:3 screen instead of the normal 16:9, which makes some apps (like YouTube videos) look slightly more cramped.
4. Best Ultrabook – Dell XPS 13
- 13.3” QHD+ (3200 x 1800) InfinityEdge TouchScreen display w/ WebCam | Killer Wireless-AC 1535
- New 8th Generation Intel Quad-Core i7-8550U 1.80 GHz (Turbo 4.0 GHz, 4 Cores 8 Threads, 8MB SmartCache)
- 16GB LPDDR3 1866MHz | 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 2280 Samsung SSD PM961 | Back-Lit Keyboard
When you need an extremely light computer that doesn’t take up much room in your backpack, this should be your pick, if you don’t mind the high price!
- Extremely light and thin
- Great specs for such a small unit
- High price
- No ability to upgrade
Normally going the ultraportable route means giving up higher end specs. That’s not the case here, as Dell managed to cram some top shelf components into a tiny space.
At under three pounds, you get both an 8th gen processor and a full 16GB of RAM. Throw in the touch screen and you’ve got a killer laptop that’s still easy to carry around to school or work.
Of course you’ll pay a premium for those high end specs in such a small package. Keep in mind this model also isn’t intended to be upgraded, as the slim design prevents access to internal components.
Most users don’t ever crack open their laptop cases anyway, so that may not be a problem for you. If you are a power user who loves to upgrade components, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Love the style and specs but want something more like a tablet instead? For an extra $100, you can get the XPS in a 2-in-1 flipbook version.
For another look at a very light machine, be sure to take a look at the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon listed below.
5. Best budget laptop in 2020 – Acer Aspire 5
- Excellent multitasking power with a 7th Gen Intel Core i3-7100U; 2.40 GHz
- 8GB DDR4 SDRAM memory, and a spacious 1TB 5400 RPM SATA
- 15.6 in diagonal HD SVA WLED backlit touchscreen (1366 x 768), 10 finger multi touch support
An improvement over its predecessor, and a decent, if compromise-laden, choice for shoppers eyeing a big-screen laptop on a budget.
- Excellent value for money
- Good battery life
- Good selection of ports
- A bit bulky and heavy
When the Acer Aspire 5’s lid is open, you’re greeted with a 15.6-inch full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) display, with an LED backlight and in-plane switching (IPS) technology.
Screen quality is excellent, with crisp text and vivid colors, when the backlight is set to its maximum level.
So what’s the downside here? This is the price point where solid state drives aren’t quite standard yet.
Instead of a quick-booting SSD, the Pavilion comes with a slower 5400 RPM SATA hard disk drive. Unfortunately there’s also no M.2. slot for easily adding in a solid state drive later on.
Buyers who reviewed this model tend to mention the responsive touch screen. They also tend to note that it’s odd for a laptop of this price to not include keyboard backlighting.
6. Best Business Notebook – Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon
- Long Battery Life
- ThinkPad Precision Keyboard
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
If you don’t need touch screens for your employees, this is the absolute best work laptop available at the moment.
- SSD with full 1TB of space
- Fingerprint scanner
- High end processor and RAM
- High price
- No touch screen
For a business operation — large or small — you want the absolute most bang for your buck when it comes to a laptop.
Your investment needs to be worthwhile, and that’s what you get with the Thinkpad X1 carbon. If you need to buy a bunch of machines for a group of employees, you can’t go wrong here.
With these high end specs, your work laptop won’t be out of date anytime soon. Best of all, the Carbon has a full 1TB drive that also happen to be solid state, rather than the older HDD design.
What you get here is thin, portable, durable, fast, and has a staggering amount of storage space. When you need files to stay confidential, you also get a fingerprint reader for security.
Since this model is aimed at business rather than gaming, the lack of a dedicated graphics card means it stays cooler and runs quieter.
With the HDMI port, you can also hook up to an external display for presentations during meetings.
7. Best Laptop For School – ASUS VivoBook Flip
- Stylish, Portable and convertible 2-in-1 laptop with four viewing modes: tablet, tent, stand, and laptop, 14-inch Full HD (1920x1080 )Wideview Touch Display with up to 178 degrees viewing angle...
- 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7500U 2.7 GHz Processor (4MB cache, Turbo boost up to 3.5 GHz), Fingerprint Reader
- 16GB DDR4 SDRAM, 256GB Solid State Drive, Intel HD Graphics 620, Backlit Keyboard
Want a great college laptop that’s the size and weight of a Chromebook, while still getting the full Windows 10 OS? This should be your pick!
- Touch screen
- 16GB of RAM
- No dedicated graphics card
- Touch screen is a fingerprint magnet
The VivoBook Flip delivers on nearly all fronts, offering a lot of power in a tiny package. This model is extremely thin in comparison to your average laptop, but without sacrificing much screen size.
It also stays cool and quiet, and comes with a fingerprint lock for the security-minded. You want have to worry about noisy fans in class or lugging around a heavy machine.
There is one potential downside here — this is very much intended for the actual school projects, and not the extracurricular stuff after class. This simply isn’t meant to be a gaming machine.
With no dedicated graphics card, that’s just not the focus of this particular model. You will still be able to play games like League Of Legends or Fortnite, but AAA games with high graphics requirements aren’t going to work here.
When reviewing their Asus Flip, buyers often bring up the excellent battery life and fast speeds. The shiny touch display attracts fingerprints easily however, so get yourself a nice cleaning cloth or a screen protector.
8. Best For Gaming – MSI GT75 Titan-055
- Display: 17.3" FHD, Anti-Glare Wide View Angle 120Hz 3ms 94% NTSC | Operating System: Windows 10
- Processor: New Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2 - 4.1GHz (6 Cores)
- Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX1080 8G GDDR5X
Do you want the single best graphical performance available in any laptop, anywhere? This should be your pick, if you’ve got deep enough pockets.
- GTX 1080 graphics card
- 17” screen
- Huge storage capacity
- Very high price
- Low battery life
For gamers, it doesn’t really get more high end than this. Until the new GeForce 2080 series makes into mobile form next year, this laptop features the best graphics card you can buy.
For a gaming rig, that should be your main deciding factor. A GTX 1080 will chew up and spit out absolutely any game you throw at it and still ask for more!
Gamers typically want extras besides just high specs, and you get that as well with the mechanical, per-key RGB. Yes, you can literally change the color of every individual key on the keyboard.
If you want a truly absurd amount of power, you can manually upgrade from 16GB to 64GB of RAM. With that amount of memory you get a beast of a machine that will still play anything at ultra settings for years (and years) to come.
With that much power under the hood, the Titan drains battery life at an astonishing speed, which is the biggest complaint from most buyers. You should expect to be plugged in for any sort of extended gaming session.
Be aware that as a desktop replacement, this thing weighs almost 10 pounds, which is more than twice the weight of your average business laptop.
9. Gaming Laptop – MSI GV62
- Display: 15.6" Full HD eDP IPS-Level 45% NTSC | Operating System: Windows 10
- Processor: New Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2 - 4.1GHz (6 Cores)
- Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX1050Ti 4G GDDR5
Looking for a great gaming rig without spending an absurd amount of money? This should be your pick!
- High end processor
- Dedicated graphics card
- Lots of storage space
- Low battery life
- Only 8GB of RAM
This model not have the raw power of the GT75 Titan listed above, but it will also cost you about $2,000 less. It also manages to weigh half as much as the Titan, so there’s much more portability here.
When you’ve got some money to spend but can’t go crazy for the latest bleeding edge tech, this is an excellent mid-point option.
You get an SSD for fast booting into Windows and an extra HDD for storing your large installation files. The 8th gen processor is also great for gaming or normal computer tasks.
The Ti edition of the GTX 1050 is also a solid graphics card for running games at medium-high settings. It will run nearly anything, although it may struggle with VR applications, so you may want to get something more expensive for using the Oculus Rift.
8GB is about the baseline for RAM at this point, so if you want a smoother experience don’t be afraid to upgrade to 16GB later on.
As with most other gaming laptops, the big downside is the extremely low battery life, which is constantly mentioned by reviewers.
Don’t forget you still get all the extra bells and whistles though, like an RGB backlit keyboard and cooling boost option.
10. Best 15” Laptop – LG Gram Thin & Light Laptop
- Ultra-light weight laptop weighing just under 2.5 lbs. Lithium Battery Voltage - 7.7 V
- Long-lasting 72Wh battery for up to 16.5 hours* battery life (*Mobile Mark 2014 standard)
- 15.6 inch full HD IPS touchscreen display w/ultra-slim bezel
Do you want all the functionality of a touch screen and extremely high end specs while staying at the 15” size? This should be your pick!
- Extremely thin and light
- Amazing specs for the size
- High battery life
- Very high price
- Not meant for upgrading
When you need to stick to a mid-sized machine instead of going ultra portable, LG’s Gram is the reigning king. While still having a touch display, you get the full 15” screen and some amazing specs.
Not many laptops provide a full 1TB of space while using solid state drives, but you get that here. With an 8th gen process and 16GB of RAM, this LG can run pretty much anything you care to install without skipping a beat.
With a fingerprint scanner and an incredibly slim profile, there’s not many downsides to this machine.
Only two concerns are often brought up by buyers when reviewing the Gram. You get the full 10 key here, but due to the layout of the keyboard it can feel a bit cramped compared to other laptops.
Second, the memory is arranged as two 8GB sticks of RAM, and one is soldered directly to the motherboard. Essentially, that means this laptop isn’t ideal for upgrading the memory in the future.
Picking The Best Laptop In 2020
What Do I Really Need From A New Laptop?
Are your main tasks with a laptop simply word processing, sending emails, and watching YouTube vids? In many cases, a budget machine with 4GB of RAM will more than fit your needs.
When you expect to run dozens of tabs at a time and use higher end software, that’s when it’s time to more closely check the specs.
8GB of RAM is becoming the norm for business operations, and a 7th or 8th gen processor will keep your laptop running smoothly.
When possible, go with a solid state drive or a hybrid SSHD over the standard HDD. The speed and extremely quiet operation are well worth the reduced storage space.
After considering those specs, check to see what extra features a laptop offers that appeal to you.
Want a fingerprint scanner for security? Are you planning upgrading the memory later on? Do you need an SD card reader?
These options can vary wildly between models, so pay close attention to the fine print!
Should I Pick A Touch Screen?
The traditional concept of a laptop is rapidly changing. What was once thought of as a bulky machine to sit directly on your lap is now becoming much thinner and lighter.
Although it’s not quite industry standard yet, nearly every manufacturer is putting out touch screen models.
These hybrid laptops let you operate the normal keyboard and touchpad, or instead use your finger like with a tablet. Not everyone needs this functionality, however, and in some cases it may not be worth the cost.
Are you used to typing on a keyboard, or do you have a toddler who likes to tap the screen? A touch display probably shouldn’t be high on your list of priorities in those cases.
Do I Want A Laptop With An Optical Drive?
Much like with the touch screen option, another previously standard piece of hardware is changing in new laptops. Most devices these days simply don’t have an optical drive for reading or burning DVDs.
Due to the prevalence of cloud-based backup services and cheap USB storage, DVD-RW drives aren’t as necessary.
Do you still have a large collection of installation discs sitting around? Do you prefer CDs over digital media?
In those cases, going out of your way to find a laptop with a built-in optical drive is worth the hassle. If the programs you use for school or work are all available to download however, then save yourself the money and space by ditching the optical drive.
From first time college students to professionals who need a machine for trading stocks all day, one of these laptops will perfectly fit your needs and budget!
What did you think of our picks for the best laptop in 2020? Let us know what styles and features you prefer, and be sure to leave a comment if you plan on buying any of these computers!