Laptop Buying Guide (2023): How to Choose the Right PC (Step-by-Step Guide)
The letter at the end of the chip name (“U” in our example) is Intel’s designation for the chip’s purpose. For laptops, the letters you’ll see at the end are Y, U, and H. The only one you need to worry about are the Y series chips, which are optimized for battery life. That’s good if you’re frequently away from a plug for long periods of time, but that added battery life comes at the expense of some performance. H chips are optimized for performance, and U chips are “power efficient” but not “extremely” efficient like the Y line.
AMD’s chip naming is just as difficult to decipher as Intel’s.
In the name AMD Ryzen 5 7600X, the “7” is the generation (how old it is; higher is better), and the “6” is how powerful it is. A “6” would make this example a medium-powered chip, whereas a 3 or 4 would be weaker (slower). The next two numbers don’t have much impact on anything. The “X” at the end indicates high performance. Other letter designations include U for ultra-low power.
Is there a huge difference between Intel and AMD chips? My experience, testing dozens of both every year, is that it depends. Generally speaking, an Intel i5 is indistinguishable from a Ryzen 5 outside of very specific benchmarks. They’re similar when you’re doing things like browsing the web or editing documents. The same goes for the Intel i7 and Ryzen 7, and the Intel i3 and the Ryzen 3.
Graphics performance is where you’ll notice a difference. In my testing, in both benchmarks and real work use, AMD’s integrated graphics tend to perform better than Intel on graphics-intensive tasks—think editing videos or playing games. Intel’s most recent series of chips have closed that gap significantly, but AMD still has an edge. You may benefit from buying an AMD machine if you’re a video editor or gamer, but what you most likely want is a dedicated graphics card. (More on that in the GPU section below.)
How Much Processing Power Do You Need?
If you’re a typical user who runs a web browser, Microsoft’s Office Suite, and perhaps even some photo editing software, we recommend a laptop with an Intel Core i5 ninth-generation or later processor. That would be displayed something like “Intel Core i5-9350U.”
If you can afford it, an Intel i7 chip makes a nice upgrade and will make your laptop feel snappier. The extra power often means shorter battery life, though, so you’ll need to balance that with your needs. A gaming laptop, for instance, would use an i7 (or i9) chip, but an i3 or i5 is usually fine for less demanding tasks.
Likewise, for the average user the AMD Ryzen 5000 series will suffice, but the Ryzen 7000 makes a nice upgrade—again at the cost of battery life.
Are You a Power User?
If you compile software, edit video, or work with very large databases, you’re going to want more processing power than the rest of us. I suggest an Intel i7 or Ryzen 7. You’ll also want to load up on RAM, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Also keep in mind that at CES 2023, both Intel and AMD released a slew of new processors which will be making their way into laptops as the year progresses. Intel announced its 13th generation processors, dubbed “Raptor Lake,” and AMD has released new Ryzen 7000 “Zen 4” processors. While we haven’t seen anything to indicate massive speed gains, we do expect better battery life out of some of the mobile chips to come (we’re particularly anxious to try AMD’s Ryzen 7040 mobile chips).
Best Processors for Chrome OS laptops
Lenovo Flex 5
Chrome OS is built around Google’s Chrome web browser and runs most software directly in the browser. That means it doesn’t need big, powerful Intel chips. That’s the theory, at least. In my experience, Chrome OS does best with at least an Intel i3 chip or, what I think is the best value you can currently get with a Chromebook, an AMD Ryzen 4000 chip.
12 Best Laptops (2023): MacBooks, Windows, Chromebooks
Scott Gilbertson Gear Team
These are our favorite Windows notebooks, MacBooks, and Chromebooks.
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Featured in this article
Apple MacBook Air (13 and 15 Inch)
$1,099 at Apple (13 Inch)
Best Windows Laptop
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5
$800 at Best Buy (16 Inch, 7000 Series)
Best Linux Laptop
System76 Pangolin Laptop
$1,399 at Amazon
Best Budget Laptop
Asus Zenbook 14 (2023)
$699 at Walmart
4 / 14
Buying any laptop is a big decision. You may end up using it for several years before getting another, and there are many makes, models, and chip configurations to choose from. Lucky for you, we’ve tested many of the new releases in the past year. These are our top picks for the best laptops you can buy right now.
If you don’t know exactly what you need, or what all the various hardware jargon means, be sure to read our How to Buy a Laptop guide. And check out our many other computing guides, including the Best MacBooks, Best Cheap Laptops, Best Gaming Laptops, and Best Laptop Backpacks.
Updated July 2023: We’ve added the latest Framework laptop, MacBook Air, LG Gram SuperSlim, Asus Zenbook 14, Lenovo Yoga Book 9i, and Lenovo IdeaPad 5.
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Scott Gilbertson, Brenda Stolyar, Christopher Null, Adam Speight, and Andrew Williams contributed to this guide.
Apple MacBook Air (13 and 15 Inch)
Apple’s newest MacBook Air comes in two sizes: 13 inches (7/10, WIRED Recommends) and 15 inches (8/10, WIRED Recommends). Both are very similar, powered by the company’s second-gen M2 processor, and they feature larger and brighter displays, a 1080p webcam, a flatter, more modern design, and the return of the MagSafe connector—handy if you tend to trip over the charging cord. This is one of the very first lower-priced MacBooks with a large screen, and having all that screen real estate is fantastic for productivity. The bigger machine also has a slightly louder six-speaker sound system, but they’re otherwise the same.
Battery life remains ahead of the competition, and performance is breezy for most average tasks. You’ll notice some stuttering here and there if you push your devices hard with demanding apps, but this becomes less of an issue if you bump the unified memory to 16 GB instead of the base 8 GB. It’s a fanless design, so it won’t sound like you’re sitting in a jet, but this Mac does tend to run warm. One big downside? It can only connect to one external monitor, which means no dual-monitor setup for you.
Specs to look for: Apple M2, 8-Core or 10-core GPU, 16 GB of Unified Memory, 256-GB SSD
$1,099 at Apple (13 Inch)
$1,099 at Best Buy (13 Inch)
$1,299 at Apple (15 Inch)
$1,199 at Amazon (15 Inch)
Best Windows Laptop
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5
Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5 range has been a tremendous value proposition for several years now, and things are no different with this 2-in-1 model. Alongside a tablet mode and a 360-hinge, accommodating a tent mode for better movie-viewing angles, there’s a snappy AMD Ryzen chip. It’s not enough for gaming or video editing, but these specs are plenty for typical office apps and web-based work. There are two USB-A ports, an HDMI, an SD card reader, one USB-C, a headphone jack, and a charging port (though you can use the USB-C to recharge the laptop too).
Specs to look for: AMD Ryzen 5 7000 series, 16 GB RAM, 512-GB SSD
$800 at Best Buy (16 Inch, 7000 Series)
$590 at Amazon (14 Inch, 5000 Series)
Best Linux Laptop
System76 Pangolin Laptop
System’s Pangolin is a 15-inch, AMD-powered monster of a laptop (8/10, WIRED Recommends). It’s based around an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U, with 32 gigabytes of RAM (soldered), and a 250-gigabyte SSD. You can configure the Pangolin with up to a whopping 8 terabytes of storage, and it offers every port a sysadmin could hope for—a single USB 3. 2 Gen 2 Type-C port, three USB-A ports, a 3.5-mm headphone/microphone combo jack, a full-size SD card reader, HDMI 2.0, and Gigabit Ethernet. The battery life is good for the size, it lasts all day in most use cases, and the keyboard is fantastic (though I wasn’t a fan of the off-center trackpad). Otherwise, this is a beast of a Linux machine.
Read our Best Linux Laptops guide for more recommendations.
Specs to look for: AMD Ryzen 7 6800U, 32 GB RAM, 250-GB SSD
$1,399 at Amazon
$1,299 at System76
Best Budget Laptop
Asus Zenbook 14 (2023)
Budget laptops don’t often impress, but Asus defies the odds with a Windows machine that offers a good combination of performance, great battery life, and an OLED display—all for $700 (8/10, WIRED Recommends). The model we like uses an AMD Ryzen 5 7530U CPU, with 8 gigabytes of RAM and a 256-gigabyte SSD. That may not sound like much, but we were impressed with the performance, especially given the price. Graphics and gaming aren’t entirely workable, with rather pitiful frame rates throughout, but battery life is outstanding, clocking in at 12.5 hours (measured looping a YouTube video at full brightness).
This is a small, portable machine too (3.1 pounds and 19 mm thick), and it manages to pack in plenty of ports despite the slim form. There are two USB-C ports (one of which is needed for charging), one full-size USB 3.2 port, a full-size HDMI output, and a microSD card reader. The keyboard has small arrow keys but is otherwise nice to type on. If you want to bump the specs, you can get the model with 16 GB of RAM and a 512-GB SSD for not much more.
Specs to look for: AMD Ryzen 5 7000 series, 8 GB RAM, 256-GB SSD
$699 at Walmart
$850 at Amazon (16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD)
Best Repairable, Upgradeable Laptop
Framework Laptop 13 (2023)
If you want to buy a laptop you can keep for five, maybe 10 years, look no further than Framework’s Laptop 13 or 15 (8/10, WIRED Recommends). The user-repairable and upgradable Framework Windows laptop comes in many flavors (it’s Linux-friendly too), but we’re fans of the DIY build options, which allow you to assemble the machine yourself, screwing in SSD, RAM, screen bezel, and more. The 2023 Intel version features much-improved battery life and an excellent matte 3:2 screen. The hot-swappable, extensible port system means you can add and remove ports according to your needs. When a new chipset is released, you can upgrade instead of buying a whole new laptop.
There are two downsides: The AMD model isn’t currently available yet, and, fully tricked out on Framework’s site, the high-end models are pricey for what you get.
Specs to look for: Intel Core i5 or higher, 16 GB RAM, 512-GB SSD
$850 at Framework
Best MacBook Upgrade
Apple MacBook Pro (16-Inch, 2023)
Apple’s latest MacBook Pro models (9/10, WIRED Recommends) don’t reinvent the wheel—in fact, they barely fit shiny new rims. All the changes come on the inside, with the big difference being the M2 chips. If you have an M1 Pro or M1 Max MacBook Pro, then you don’t need to upgrade. Otherwise, these are the versions to buy if you’re looking to nab a powerful Apple laptop.
Get the new M2 Pro if you’re a serious productivity user or content creator—if you regularly have more than 20 tabs in Chrome and dabble in some multitasking or light video editing. Take a look at the M2 Max if you need some serious power for demanding creative and production tasks, like 3D modeling and complex video editing. As for screen sizes, the 16 incher will nab you better battery life and a larger display versus the 14-inch model. Like the previous models, the keyboard and trackpad are excellent, if lacking some travel. The display is bright and luxurious. The new selection of ports will allow most to live a welcome dongle-free life too.
Specs to look for: 16-inch M2 Max, 64 GB of Unified Memory, 256-GB SSD
$1,950 at Amazon (14 Inch)
$2,450 at Amazon (16 Inch)
$2,499 at Apple (14 Inch)
$3,099 at Apple (16 Inch)
Best 2-in-1 Laptop
HP Spectre x360 14
This HP Spectre x360 14 Windows laptop has a more rounded design, a welcome change as the previous, more angular model was an uncomfortable place to rest your wrists. HP has also improved the port selection too, which I will never complain about. Performance is swift—expect upward of 20 tabs before you see any slowdowns when browsing Chrome. This is matched by a keyboard with a surprisingly good amount of travel and a middling level of feedback. The display is crisp, bright, and luxurious—with a 3,000 X 2,000-pixel resolution OLED panel on offer. The speakers go the other way, with a bigger sound prioritized over luxury. It remains detailed at high volumes, but the treble becomes a little harsh.
This is pricey for what you get, but it’s a 2-in-1, meaning you can flip the touchscreen all the way around to use it like a tablet or keep it propped up in tent mode when you want to watch a movie. Read our Best 2-in-1 Laptops guide for more.
Specs to look for: Intel Core i7, 8 GB RAM, 256-GB SSD
$1,400 at HP
Best Cheap MacBook
Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
The 13-inch MacBook Air from 2020 is still one of the best laptops around (9/10, WIRED Recommends). It was the first from Apple to ditch Intel chips for the company’s very-own M1 processor. Even with the new MacBook Air and its M2 processor (see above), this older version is just as appealing considering it’s frequently available for $900 or less (especially with the education discount).
Battery life is great, easily lasting more than a full workday, and we’ve encountered fewer hiccups with performance (and fewer thermal issues) with this MacBook over the latest Air. It’s not as svelte as the latest Macs, but it’s still slim and lightweight with good speakers, an excellent keyboard, and a nice screen. I love how it now instantly wakes from sleep, just like an iPhone or iPad. If you want a Mac and aren’t planning on taxing it too much with demanding tasks like video editing, this is the MacBook you want.
Specs to look for: Apple M1, 8 GB of Unified Memory, 256-GB SSD
$800 at Amazon
$999 at Apple
$1,000 at Best Buy
$899 at B&H
Asus Chromebook Flip CX5
There’s a lot to love with this Asus Chromebook. The keyboard is excellent, for starters. Typing is often the first to get trashed when manufacturers seek to save money, but Asus has clearly focused on this area—there’s a ton of travel and a satisfying click. I could happily type for hours on end on this device. The material used on the inside is also exquisite—its soft touch and immensely smooth. There’s nothing else quite like it on the market.
Down to the nitty gritty. With 16 GB of RAM and an 11th-Gen Intel Core i7, our review model has a lot in the tank for a device that’ll just be used for web browsing and productivity tasking. This laptop is a tab hoarder’s wonder. The display won’t knock your socks off but it is one of the better 1080p panels I’ve used and gets bright enough for most typical conditions. The port selection is strong, with a focus on variety. There are two USB-Cs, a USB-A, a headphone jack, a microSD, and even an HDMI. Read our Best Chromebooks guide for more.
Specs to look for: Intel Core i5, 16 GB RAM, 128-GB SSD
$699 at Amazon (Core i3)
$900 at Walmart (Core i5)
$1,050 at Amazon (Core i7)
Best for Big Screen Productivity
LG Gram 15. 6-Inch SuperSlim
The LG Gram SuperSlim (7/10, WIRED Recommends) retains its spot as our favorite large laptop, and how could it not? It’s impossibly thin—just 15 mm thick including the elevating standoffs underneath the chassis—and all of 2.2 pounds in weight. Despite that thin, light frame, it manages to be a solid machine. The only difference between models is the amount of RAM and storage; the CPU, a 2.2-GHz Intel Core i7-1360p, remains the same no matter which one you opt to get.
There is a trade-off to be made for that thinness: performance. On business apps, the Gram scored lower than the $700 Asus above, and it wasn’t much better on graphics performance. Still, that ultrabright 15.6-inch screen is a joy to use, and the fans are so quiet you barely notice them. We also managed an excellent 10.5 hours out of the Gram’s battery on a full-brightness YouTube playback, which is impressive considering the luminosity of the screen.
Specs to look for: Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 512-GB SSD
$1,997 at Amazon (32 GB, 2 TB)
$1,797 at Amazon (16 GB, 1 TB)
$1,899 at B&H (32 GB, 2 TB)
$2,000 at LG (32 GB, 2 TB)
Windows for Budding Creators
Acer Swift 3X
Intel is in the middle of a graphics revolution, and the Acer Swift 3X is one of the first devices to sport its XE Graphics technology. The GPU won’t give you high-end gaming performance—far from it—but it does provide a graphical boost, making this light and thin machine capable of entry-level content creation. It’s pricey for the quality, but the mix of performance and diminutive size makes an excellent combo for creative and design students. It doesn’t match Apple’s M1 (or M2) MacBook Air, but it’s a comparable Windows equivalent if you don’t want to enter Apple’s garden.
Specs to look for: Intel Core i7 with XE Graphics, 16 GB RAM, 1-TB SSD
$1,000 at Amazon
A Dual-Screen Dream Machine
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i (2023)
The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is not the first laptop to add a second screen, but it might be the first to actually succeed in this somewhat niche design. With the Yoga Book 9i, “second screen” means a full screen. There’s no keyboard here at all; the lower half of the laptop is a touchscreen identical to the upper half. Take two 13.3-inch OLED displays and sandwich them together with a hinge in between and you’ve got the idea.
You can use the Yoga Book as if it were two Windows tablets or one giant one, putting different apps on either side of the device and holding it like a giant book. That may sound frivolous, but the Yoga Book 9i is surprisingly well positioned for getting real work done—and potentially succeeds on that front better than a standard laptop. It’s a portable dual-screen setup that actually works (mostly). It even comes with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. The downside is the price and the sometimes clumsy interactions between screens. Performance is also lackluster for the price.
$2,000 at Best Buy
$2,000 at Lenovo
Lenovo Slim Pro 7 AMD for $1,200: Lenovo’s Slim series are solid laptops. This AMD model (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is particularly nice with good battery life and impressive performance, especially in graphics-intensive tasks. It sports a bright 2.5K, 16:10 screen, aluminum construction, and a variety of ports.
Dell XPS 13 Plus for $1,299: Dell split its flagship laptop lineup in 2022 and the results haven’t been great. The XPS 13 Plus (7/10, WIRED Recommends) implemented some good new ideas but failed to justify its high price tag. Then, the typically excellent Dell XPS 13 (5/10, WIRED Recommends) saw its quality slide. Neither of these devices should be completely written off if you’re determined to get a Dell, but consider rivals on this list first.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 for $1,000: The Microsoft Surface team needs to pull its finger out. The look of the machine has barely changed since its inception and it’s most evident with its obscenely-sized bezels. It’s a shame as the Laptop 5 sports a nice keyboard and the outer design remains stylish, if a tad stale. It’s hard to justify the price of the new model given its shortcomings. Little has changed since the Surface Laptop 4 (7/10, WIRED Recommends) so save some money on that instead.
Photograph: Charles O’Rear/Getty Images
Laptop Buying Tips
How to Choose the Right Laptop for You
If none of these laptops quite rings your bell, that’s OK! There are far more laptops out there than we have time to test. To help you make smart choices, we put together a complete laptop buying guide. We recommend sticking to these guidelines:
- RAM: Make sure you get at least 8 GB of RAM—16 GB would be even better.
- 10th-generation or higher: There are dozens of chips on the market, but we prefer 10th-generation or higher Intel chips (we’re currently in the 13th generation).
- Core i5 or higher: We suggest going with at least an Intel Core i5, though an i7 will give you more power, which you’ll be glad you have if you’re doing anything taxing, like editing video or even processing large batches of photos. AMD has wisely elected to follow a similar naming convention, and we suggest a Ryzen 5 chip—though again, for more processor-intensive tasks the Ryzen 7 is the better choice. Currently, the newest chips are Intel’s 13th-generation Core chips and AMD’s 7000 series Ryzen chips.
- Screen resolution: The display depends on the size of the laptop. A 1080p (HD) screen on a 13-inch laptop looks good enough. A 1080p screen on a 15-inch laptop does not. If you spend all day staring at your screen, a higher-resolution screen (like a 4K screen) can ease eyestrain.
- 10 hours of battery: Make sure it’s advertised to get at least 10 hours of battery life if not more. Realistically, that should be enough to get you through a workday.
Scott Gilbertson is a senior writer for WIRED. He was previously a writer and editor for WIRED’s Webmonkey.com, covering the independent web and early internet culture. He studied at the University of Georgia. You can reach him at luxagraf.net.
More from WIRED
8 Best Laptops for Photo Editing | Articles | Photo, video, optics
A laptop is the second most important gadget in a photographer’s life after the camera. But for high-resolution shots, any laptop won’t work.
All the technical terms and specifications, not to mention the many popular brands on the market today, are easily confusing. However, there are a few key things you need to think about when choosing a laptop for photo editing.
First, you need a good screen and a cool graphics card to accurately reproduce a wide range of colors and intricate details. You also need to pay attention to a capacious drive and a fast hard drive so that the laptop does not crash when working with heavy images.
Another factor to consider is how portable your laptop needs to be, especially if you are a frequent traveler.
Best Notebooks for Photographers
1. Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019)
MacBook Pro – best laptop for photo editing
At the moment, Apple’s brother MacBook Pro 16 – 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 – is the latest “bug”. It received rave reviews due to its excellent combination of performance and efficiency. However, this MacBook is only available with a 13-inch screen, and its maximum 16 GB of RAM can limit the process of editing high resolution RAW images or large layered PSD files.
But the slightly older MacBook Pro 16 doesn’t force you to compromise. It has good performance, so it’s lightning fast in Photoshop.
At the top of the keyboard you will find the Apple Touch Bar. This row of buttons changes according to your current application and is a very convenient feature to use while working in Photoshop. The touch panel automatically displays adjustment buttons depending on the selected palette or tool.
The main Retina display has an aspect ratio closer to 3:2 than 16:9, making it more suitable for displaying photos from most cameras. The 3072×1920 resolution might be a bit smaller than 4K, but it’s reasonably sharp. The laptop also supports Apple’s True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts screen color to compensate for ambient light.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is available with up to 64 GB of RAM and up to 8 TB of storage. But this also changes the price.
Your best bet would be a 2.3GHz octa-core Core i9 processor with 32GB RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a Radeon 5500M graphics card with 4GB VRAM.
If you need additional storage, it can be purchased at a lower cost by purchasing one of the portable hard drives.
2. Dell XPS 15 (2020)
Great all-rounder and the best Windows laptop for photo editing
The Dell XPS 15 can be confusing with a variety of configurations to choose from and prices fluctuate frequently. Perhaps the best configuration for photographers is one that includes a Dell 4K+ (3840×2400 16:10) screen that boasts 500 nits of brightness and touch sensitivity. The only problem is that multiple XPS 15 configurations come with this display, and they are inevitably on the pricier end of the range.
A higher price tag also gives you better performance with a 10th Gen Intel Core i9 8-core processor. You can choose from 16 GB to 64 GB of RAM – although the last figure is only worth choosing if you will be editing both high-definition video and images. 16GB or 32GB should be enough for image editing.
The choice of ports is also quite good: Thunderbolt 3, USB-C 3.1, and adapters for USB-A and HDMI. There’s even a built-in full-size SD slot, something that’s sadly becoming a rarity in premium laptops.
3. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9
A great choice for traveling photographers
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has long been a great choice for photo editing on the go with its compelling combination of high performance and lightweight design.
The current 9th generation X1 Carbon can be equipped with several 14-inch screen options. All of them have at least 1920×1200 resolution and a respectable maximum brightness of 400 nits, plus 100% sRGB color gamut. The display is an ultra-high resolution 3840×2400 panel with 500 nits of brightness and an impressive 100% DCI-P3 color space coverage.
11th generation Intel Core processor provides enough power. The RAM is soldered to the motherboard so it can’t be swapped out for more capacity in the future, so remember that it’s unwise to settle for a base 8GB X1 Carbon.
4. Apple MacBook Air 13-inch M1
The best MacBook for image editing on the go
The 13-inch MacBook Air M1 impresses in three main areas: first, design, finish and ergonomics; second, its performance for a lightweight laptop; thirdly, the ratio of price and quality, taking into account these two things. The Air might not be as fast as the dedicated 16-inch MacBook Pro, but if you value portability more than peak performance, the Air is the better choice.
Its Retina screen is beautiful as always. Contrast, clarity, and brightness are top notch, and while 2560×1600 isn’t the same as 4K, it’s already good compared to a regular 1920×1080 screen.
There are only two USB ports, although it’s not much smaller than the regular MacBook, which has 4.
Overall, this is a great laptop that’s great for mobile image editing if you want maximum portability on a large enough screen.
5. Asus ZenBook Duo UX581
A laptop that looks amazing
The heart of the ZenBook Duo is its huge touchscreen secondary above the keyboard. Asus calls it the ScreenPad Plus, and you can use it as a true secondary monitor to display another app on your home screen, or it can be split into two or three columns, each containing a different open app. There’s even a screen extension feature that lets you put the same app on both screens.
This is a much more versatile setup than the original ScreenPad built into the old ZenBook Pro UX580. The only downside is that the ScreenPad’s viewing angles and color brightness don’t match the main screen, so there’s some color and contrast mismatch between the two displays. This is partly noticeable due to the excellent color and contrast of the main display. The screen’s full brightness doesn’t quite match the MacBook’s Retina display, but you’re unlikely to notice this when viewing.
The UX581 is powered by a blazingly fast 8-core Intel Core i9 processor, and you can equip your ZenBook with up to 32GB of RAM, great for the heavy editing process in Photoshop. Two USB-C ports, two regular USB ports, an HDMI port, and a for Micro SD card.
6. The Razer Blade 15
Blade – The is an impressive all-rounder if you work hard and have time to play.
The Razer brand is focused on the gaming market, and the Blade 15 4K is a gaming laptop first and foremost, but the style doesn’t scream it like many other gamer-focused laptops. Only the green backlit Razer logo on the front and the color-changing backlit keyboard reveal the gaming soul, but it can be turned off to keep the style clean.
What makes the Blade 15 a good photo-editing machine is its 15. 6-inch 4K screen, which in the top-of-the-line Blade 15 Advanced is now an OLED panel for amazing color brightness and contrast. It’s touch-sensitive, with an ultra-fast 300Hz refresh rate for smooth gaming.
This particular Blade 15 configuration also features the blazing fast GeForce RTX 2080 Super graphics card. This is great for gaming at 4K: you can see the performance boost, but apps like Photoshop won’t really use the extra power. The solid build quality with great heat ventilation, as well as the usual three USB ports are obvious plus points, although the lack of an SD card slot is a big drawback for photographers.
7. LG Gram 14″ (14Z90N)
Want to travel light? The 14-inch LG Gram is made for you
The LG Gram is available in three screen sizes: 14″, 15″ and 17″. All have their pros and cons regarding portability versus viewing comfort, but the svelte 14-inch model is especially appealing to traveling photographers. You get Full HD 1920×1080 resolution, which is smaller than many of the competition but still good enough for crisp images, and IPS screen technology delivers good color and contrast.
The entire Gram range is synonymous with portability. The 14″ version weighs just 1kg – compare that to the similarly small 14″ Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon which weighs around 1120g. The slim design saves space for two USB-A ports, one USB-C port, an HDMI port, as well as a microSD slot.
While the 4-core Intel Core-i7 processor in our Gram is reasonably fast in general use, it doesn’t perform well in speed tests: Applying heavy filters in Photoshop can take a while. However, this laptop has a certain advantage – 18.5 hours on a single charge.
This is a tempting option if portability is your priority.
8. HP Specter x360 15 Convertible
Smart photo-editing laptop that doubles as a tablet
In the laptop’s name, “x360” refers to the ability of the touch screen to rotate so that the laptop can be converted into a tablet . Windows 10 automatically detects the position of the screen and adapts the interface to make it easier to use. This is a useful feature if you regularly use your laptop on the road and can’t always find a surface to sit it on. Weight in 1.92kg is reasonable for a 15.6-inch laptop, it’s heavy for a tablet, so the Specter can’t replace a regular tablet.
HP have switched to an AMOLED screen for their flagship 2021 Specter x360 15t-eb100 touchscreen model. It still supports 4K resolution (3840×2160), but now you get 100% DCI-P3 color space coverage and an impressive 400 nits peak brightness. Anti-scratch protection from Corning Gorilla Glass further enhances the usability of the x360 in tablet mode.
There is only one USB Type-A port, plus two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, an HDMI 2.0b port, and a Micro SD slot. However, there’s plenty of room for image editing thanks to an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 quad-core processor and 16GB of RAM.
There is no integrated graphics card, so don’t expect to meet a gaming monster. Another handy feature is automatic face recognition for logging into Windows Hello.
How to choose the best laptop for photo editing
1. Screen quality matters. Previously, laptop screens were terrifying with contrast and viewing angles. Luckily, IPS display technology has fixed that, and you shouldn’t settle for anything less.
2. Memory. SSD (Solid State Drive) is required in any new laptop. All of the options in this buying guide include one, but don’t settle for a small amount: 512GB is the minimum if you’re working with 4K video.
3. Graphics . Integrated graphics cards are great for gaming, but they’re not required here. Today’s processors can replace them, and they have enough power for photo editing.
4. Processor . The model numbers of laptop processors are almost impossible to decipher. Just focus on the “base frequency” (speed measured in GHz) and the number of processor cores (two, four, or six).
5. Mac or Windows? The MacBook is the favorite of many photographers, and for good reason. But don’t rule out comparable-priced laptops that can offer just as much with more upgradability.
Which company’s laptop is better to choose: reviews of specialists
Good day, dear friends! There are so many computer manufacturers around. Brands are shouting their benefits on every corner and claiming they are better than others. Do you need a laptop and are you afraid to make a mistake with the choice, buy not what you want? I will tell you which brand laptop is better to choose. Which of the venerable manufacturers takes money for the name, and who offers a good product? Let’s try to figure it out.
Let’s talk about what, in principle, should be a laptop for home. What criteria should be taken into account when choosing, and what should not be paid attention to. So, for each item separately:
This is what determines the speed of any computer device. The choice is small. In the middle price segment, laptops are equipped with two types of processors – Intel and AMD.
The former are slightly more expensive, but their performance is better. The second is the lowest price range for primitive tasks. Playing modern games even at the lowest settings will not work here.
Fans of games with heavy visuals, multitasking and problem-free use of programs need a laptop with a processor, not lower than Intel. Don’t forget to consider the number of cores and clock speed. Quad-core laptops are the best option for mid-level gamers.
It must be expandable. For simple office tasks, 2 GB of RAM is enough, for simple games 4 GB. For more serious tasks, you should buy a device with at least 8 GB of RAM. A laptop is quite difficult to upgrade, so poor memory settings may not initially pull the software in five years. Your laptop will become just “firewood”, movies and social networks – that’s what will be available to you. I recommend taking a device with a capacity of at least 4GB.
An average battery lasts 4-5 hours for simple tasks. The more powerful the running program, the faster the additional power source will run out of steam. The most optimal choice is a battery with rates from 2500 to 3500 mAh.
They are divided into two categories – HDD and SSD. The advantages of the first are a simplified design, rapid cooling. The second is more voluminous, sensitive and responsive. Working on it will be a real pleasure for impatient users. Be aware it costs more.
It’s very simple. You need to choose according to the size, to whom it is more comfortable to work. The larger the screen, the better. But not always, very large diagonals can irritate when transporting the device.
The surface finish of the screen matters. Glossy is more juicy, conveys rich contrasting colors. Matte – friendly to the eyes. Schoolchildren, copywriters and accountants are recommended this type of coverage.
Aluminum armor is the pride of any laptop owner. Quite reasonable, by the way. Metal lids are more reliable and cool faster. Nobody canceled the image component either.
The advantages of plastic – the variety of ornaments on the cover of a portable PC. The choice is obvious.
Take immediately with a licensed OS – protect yourself from many third-party problems in the work, but it costs money. Downloading a pirated version – deprives the laptop of the right to warranty service.
The type of operating system also matters. Traditional Windows steadfastly holds leadership positions. Linux is far behind in this regard.
Programs for the initial stage of using PC
TOP 5 most popular companies
The rating of the five best selling laptops at the moment can help you make a choice. One model of the most famous manufacturers and a brief description of each brand in the list below:
Chinese brand products are distinguished by affordable prices and good performance. The build quality is a little let down, but at this price you can safely put up with it. In the end, you do not chop wood.
Acer Extensa 15 EX215-51-32ET. Convenient and reliable budget device based on 2-core Intel Core i3 processor. The clock frequency of the processor is 2100 MHz. The special anti-reflective technology of the screen provides an opportunity for avid Internet surfers not to be afraid of the harmful effects of radiation. The diagonal size is optimal for watching movies and working with office programs 15.6 inches. Matrix resolution 1920×1080 pixels. Communication with any access point through a dual-band Wi-Fi adapter will please those whose work is directly related to the Internet. USB, HDMI, network adapter jack are located on the back of the laptop case, so a large number of wires will not interfere and irritate while working with third-party devices.
Chinese brand, direct competitor of the previous brand. It is competition that forces these manufacturers to constantly introduce the latest developments into their products and not raise the price to sky-high heights. A good budget option for home use and office tasks.
Notebook ASUS Laptop 15 X509JA-EJ022T . A good dual-core Intel Core i3 processor with a clock speed of 1.2 GHz fully covers the needs of a schoolboy, student and social network lover. Screen diagonal 15.6 inches, resolution 1920×1080 pixels. Built-in SSD memory = 256 GB. The sparing Eye Care mode is specially designed to respect the user’s eyes and is convenient for those who like to read a lot from the monitor screen. A large number of ports of all kinds will help bring the use to a new level, comparable to the capabilities of a stationary PC – USB 3.1 A, 2 USB 2.0 A, HDMI, headphone and microphone jack. Slot for SD/SDHC/SDXC microcards. The maximum amount of RAM that can already be used in this laptop is 8 GB. The manufacturer claims long battery life, up to 7 hours. An excellent choice for travelers and summer residents.
The lion’s share of sales in the segment of mid-range devices belongs to this company. Consumers note the large weight and dimensions of the devices, but they work well.
DELL Inspiron 3500 . Working at high speeds in multitasking mode is not a problem at all for a laptop on a modern Intel Core i3 processor with a clock speed of 3000 Hz. Hard drive capacity 256 GB. Its volume is enough to store a large number of photos, you can expand the possibilities due to two slots for solid-state storage media. There is plenty of RAM here – 8 GB, but it can be expanded up to 16 GB (there are 2 slots). 15.6″ TFT display by 19″20×1080 pixels. The absence of a CD / DVD drive more than compensates for the optimal set of connectors of various types for any third-party gadgets. Excellent stuffing is securely packed in a combined plastic and metal case.
The famous American company Hewlett Packard proudly bears its name and sells quite decent products to consumers for normal money. The constant growth in sales of the Pavilion series is a clear proof of this.
Hp 15-da2025ur. A special line for girls in a smooth matte plastic case. In fairness, it should be noted that the design is thought out to the smallest detail. Working with the device is very convenient, thanks to the raised keyboard. Responsive and responsive, the device operates on a dual-core Intel Core i3 processor and an integrated graphics card from the manufacturer of the same name Intel UHD Graphics. The capacity of the SSD drive is 256 GB. The matte surface of the 15.6-inch TFT IPS display successfully relieves the pressure on delicate female eyes. The lithium-ion battery has a claimed battery life of 10.5 hours, so you don’t have to worry about being near a power outlet all the time. An interesting option is a special Audio Boost technology for comfortable listening to music at frequencies that are optimal for the human ear. It is worth taking as a gift to your girlfriend.
– (formerly IBM). Very well-known company, products are popular, the price is justified. It produces IT-devices of various form factors – from smartphones and tablets to popular laptops. Demanded by consumers, it is distinguished by high-quality assembly of devices.
Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga-ITL . The best option for a great price. A four-threaded Intel core i5 processor, a capacitive SSD drive instantly respond to any user command, even in multitasking mode. The compact dimensions of the 14-inch display do not affect the image quality from the IPS matrix. Screen tilts 180°. An excellent solution for people living in a modern rhythm – small dimensions, reliable metal case, high speed, Wi-Fi connection to any free network.
For fans of “apple” devices, the question of which brand of device to buy, ipad or another brand, never arises. Fans of Cupertino devices pay for the convenience and security of special software. But, most of the advertising is in the price. A global brand, it is prestigious to have its products! Is the image component very important to you? Then only Apple!
For a rather high price, the user receives a system of use thought out to the smallest detail, stable data protection from virus attacks, and a solid, solid laptop. The main advantage is that the laptops of this company practically do not get into repairs, subject to careful use.
Conventionally, brand laptops are divided into three price categories:
- 12″ netbooks with Intel Core M processors,
- elegant Air, with more affordable MacBook Air
- powerful Pro with a long-lasting battery for active users.
Apple laptops cannot be included in the general ratings of well-known companies. They have always stood apart and positioned themselves as trendsetters in computer fashion. Quite rightly so, in my opinion. But expensive.
And a few more models with other diagonals: Apple MacBook Air 13 Retina display with True Tone technology Early 2020.
Before buying, always study the fair responses of real users through the Internet. You should be alerted by criticism of the same node of a particular model from a wide range of owners.
The most important criterion for choosing a laptop for you – your personal goals and needs. Make a choice based on the tasks that are in front of you. It is foolish to buy a laptop from the luxury segment to view messages on social networks. At the same time, the life of any popular blogger directly depends on the speed of Internet access anywhere. Only a laptop for a decent price can quickly and without problems catch a signal over a wireless network, unlike “state employees”.
Remember! The best laptop is the new laptop! Always treat your “pet” with care and consideration. As a reward, it will serve you faithfully for many years without the need for replacement.
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