The best laptops of 2022 offer a wealth of specifications for all kinds of activities, from photo and video editing to gaming, and even simple tasks like web browsing, video conferencing and media streaming. While most laptops are capable of performing most jobs, some are more specialized. What they all share in common, however, is portability. Sure, the best tablets (opens in new tab) are even more lightweight and portable, but if you want to get some real work or play done on the move, nothing beats a quality laptop.
We’ve explored the pros and cons of laptops vs home computers (opens in new tab), but the best home computers (opens in new tab) will invariably provide the brute power required by more demanding tasks like high-end gaming and intensive media creation. But in 2022, the line between laptops and desktop computers continues to narrow at a remarkable pace, with laptops sporting ever more powerful processors and beefier graphics cards that easily rival their deskbound cousins.
So, whatever your needs, if you’re looking to crack open the latest laptop, you’ll find our guide below especially useful, with devices from some of the biggest brands including Apple, Microsoft, Dell and HP.
CPU stands for Central Processing Unit, and it’s essentially your laptop’s brain, processing staggering amounts of information at lightning speeds to make your experience as smooth and fluid as possible. The more powerful your CPU, the faster your laptop will run and the more demanding tasks it can handle. There are two main manufacturers of CPUs - Intel and AMD. Most laptops use Intel or offer a choice of both. Intel is currently on its 11th generation of laptop CPUs, and these include i3, i5, i7, and i9 models. I3 is the slowest processor in the range, and i9 is the fastest. We’d recommend an i5 at a minimum.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory, and it is the component that helps your laptop or desktop computer run multiple tasks at once. The more RAM your laptop has, the more programs you’ll be able to run concurrently, and the more tabs you’ll be able to have open in your web browser. RAM is also important for gaming and other complex or demanding programs like Photoshop.
SSD stands for Solid State Drive, while HDD stands for Hard Disk Drive. These are the two most common types of storage devices found in laptops. Your operating system, programs, and files are all stored on one of these. While HDDs are older and slower technology, they’re also cheaper so shouldn’t be overlooked over the far faster SSD. And SSD is probably the best bet for your laptop, providing a smoother, faster experience, while HDDs are better suited to storing large amounts of data like photos, music, and movies. If you need this, you can get an external hard drive (opens in new tab).
GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit, though they’re more commonly referred to as Graphics Cards. Some laptops have a dedicated GPU, while cheaper models may have on-board graphics as part of the CPU. For general tasks such as web browsing, working on documents and facetiming family or work colleagues, a powerful GPU isn’t necessary, but a beefy graphics card is an absolute must if you intend to enjoy gaming, video editing or 3D modelling.
Best laptops 2022
1. HP Elite Dragonfly: Best laptop overall
If you're looking for a seriously powerful and lightweight laptop then you'll struggle to find a better choice than the exceptional HP Elite Dragonfly. This stylish ultrabook is lightweight and compact, making it perfect for mobile workers who are constantly moving between appointments or commuting to work on the train.
With an 8th gen intel core i5 or i7, 512GB SSD and a whopping 16GB of RAM, this pint-sized laptop has some serious power under the hood. The only downside is the Intel UHD Graphics 620, which is fine for some light gaming but won’t run AAA games at their top specs.
The screen is only FHD rather than 4K, but a 4K screen on a laptop of this size is unnecessary – you’ll barely be able to see a difference. The choice of FHD screen does mean a significant saving on battery usage though, allowing the HP Elite Dragonfly to run for up to 16 hours between charges (24.5 hours if you upgrade the battery).
It’s not cheap though, with price starting at $1629 for the base model. You can get similar specs and build quality elsewhere for cheaper. But if the light weight is your primary concern, and if you can afford the steep price, the HP Elite Dragonfly is one of the best laptops there is.
- Read our full HP Elite Dragonfly review (opens in new tab)
2. Apple M1 MacBook Pro 13-inch: Best Apple laptop
Rather than reinventing the wheel and radically evolving their bestselling MacBook Pro line, Apple have instead opted to super-charge the hugely popular laptop with their own M1 chip, yet the addition of such horsepower still feels like a significant leap forward in performance. The M1 chip replaces the CPU, GPU, input/output, and other features, doing the job of dozens of components to make the experience as buttery smooth as possible, providing a 3x speed boost from the prior generation and up to 5x faster graphics. And it does so while being extremely quiet.
There’s the gorgeous 13.3-inch Retina display with 500 nits brightness, and Dolby Atmos support to enable rich, deep audio and recording. Outputs are minimal with a pair of USB-C ports on the left that support Thunderbolt 3, and a solitary headphone jack on the right. One of the few disappoints would be that the embedded FaceTime camera is still only 720p which has been overtaken by many other cheaper laptops.
With battery life now extending to around 17 hours of wireless web browsing, you could find yourself charging the laptop after a few days rather than a few hours as before. You simply won’t find this kind of battery life on any of our other best laptops.
- Read our full Apple M1 MacBook Pro 13-inch review (opens in new tab)
3. Alienware m-15: Best gaming laptop
Alienware has always been the go-to name when it comes to gaming laptops, and the Alienware m-15 proves that it hasn't lost its touch. This thing is an absolute beast.
There are various options for different CPUs, RAM configurations and graphics cards that you can put in this thing, but even the base model is going to outshine a standard laptop when it comes to gaming. There’s also the gorgeous 4K OLED screen option on the higher spec models, which let you show off the beautiful graphics of the latest games.
But what you might not expect is that the Alienware m-15 can also be used a grown-up, sensible laptop... should the need arise too. While it still looks a little bit sci-fi with its too cool for you sports exhaust on the back, the Alienware m-15’s styling is much more reserved and understated than previous Alienware laptops. This means that it’s something you wouldn’t be embarrassed to use at work if the need arises. But make no mistake, this is a gaming laptop first and foremost.
- Read our full Alienware m-15 review (opens in new tab)
4. Dell XPS 13: Best thin and light laptop
The Dell XPS 13 has been consistently reaching the top of best laptops lists since its inception, and this latest revision continues that stellar record. With a gorgeous slim design and impressive performance under the hood, we think you'll struggle to find a better lightweight laptop than this.
The Dell XPS 13 has a simple but elegant design. It's outer shell is crafted from a single sheet of aluminum which solidifies what the fantastic build quality already told us - this is a well-built, premium machine. You can continue that premium feel with a few optional extras too, including upgrading to a gorgeous 4K screen.
Our only real complaint is the lack of ports, but that's to be expected on a laptop as compact and light as the Dell XPS 13. The price can also get a little bit lofty, especially if you go for the top-end models, but the base models are reasonably costed if you're looking for a solid mid-range laptop.
- Read our full Dell XPS 13 review (opens in new tab)
5. Surface Laptop 3: Best MacBook alternative
Apple better watch its back, because Microsoft is coming for them with the Surface Laptop 3 which is, for our money, the best alternative to a MacBook Pro on the market... it might even be better. There, we said it. Our ranking system doesn't allow for tiebreakers, so assume these two are equally matched. The immovable object and the unstoppable force, if you will.
The Surface Laptop 3 really is an absolute wonder of a machine. It's beautiful to look at, for one thing. The sleek design and dark aluminum shell mean that this is a laptop you'd be proud to pull out, whether you're in a board meeting or a trendy coffee shop. And while it certainly looks the part, it's not all style and no substance. There is some serious hardware in this thing and it's all configurable to your needs and price range.
Speaking of price range, that might be the Surface Laptop 3's ultimate party piece, because it's a heck of a lot cheaper than comparable models of MacBook Pro. If you want Apple style, build quality and power, but don't want the cost and can stand to lose the badge value, then look no further than the Surface laptop 3.
- Read our full Surface Laptop 3 review (opens in new tab)
6. Lenovo Yoga C940: Best 2-in-1 laptop
The Lenovo Yoga C940 is the latest iteration of the high-end 2-in-1 laptop from the company that pioneered the concept. This time around though, the innovations comes in performance while the excellent 2-in-1 design remains largely untouched, letting you swap between laptop and tablet modes quickly and easily.
Like many laptops these days, the Lenovo Yoga C940 goes for a minimalist look with a sleek metal body and minimal branding. This results in a stylish, but professional look and feel to the laptop, which means it suites both work and home use.
The hardware configurations on offer are almost as versatile as the hybrid laptop is itself. You can get a base model with an i5 processor, 256GB of storage and a FHD screen, or you can splash the cash to get a 4K screen, a beastly i7 processor and a chunky 1TB SSD for storing all your photos and games on.
There are a few downsides to consider though. At 2.98 lbs, it’s one of the heavier 2-in-1 laptops out there and battery life as good as it was in previous models. Still though, we’re huge fans of the Lenovo Yoga C940 and we think it’s easily one of the best hybrid laptops out there.
- Read our full Lenovo Yoga C940 review (opens in new tab)
7. HP Spectre x360: A superb hybrid laptop
Hot on the heels of the Lenovo Yoga comes another fantastic 2-in-1 laptop, the HP Spectre x360. Again, this was basically a tie between these two so it will largely come down to personal preference if you need to choose between them. We loved the HP Spectre x360 for its gorgeous display, excellent touchscreen and powerful performance.
It’s light too – lighter than the Yoga if that’s your primary concern. That light weight combined with its slender frame means that the HP Spectre x360 is an excellent laptop for people on the go. If you travel a lot between several workplaces or just like to visit coffee shops to write, the HP Spectre x360 is an excellent choice.
Despite its diminutive stature, the HP Spectre x360 has excellent performance too. The downside is that it can run a little hot. The battery life is a little average too, but we think these are reasonable sacrifices to make for a laptop that’s this small and this powerful.
- Read our full HP Spectre x360 review (opens in new tab)
8. Dell XPS 15 2-in-1: A second superb laptop from Dell
If you’re in the market for a hybrid, 2-in-1 laptop but want something a little bigger than the others that we mentioned above, then the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 might be the laptop for you. With a 15.6-inch screen that’s available in either FHD or 4K resolutions, this heavyweight hybrid is the ideal laptop for watching movies or playing games on.
This chunky size and heavier weight does hamper portability though, so the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 isn’t as suited to moving around town with – this is more of a stay-at-home laptop that can do on-the-go working in a pinch. The sub-eight hour battery life reinforces this point too.
Sadly, there are a few other things that hold the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 back from greatness. For one thing, it runs loud and hot if you’re doing anything intensive like playing games, which isn’t ideal for a laptop – you don’t want to fry your legs every time you play Fortnite. It’s also not cheap, especially when you look at what similarly specced laptops from other manufacturers cost.
- Read our full Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 review (opens in new tab)
9. Asus Zenbook 14 - Best for comfort
In a world of identical looking laptops that all pack the same set of features and specs, the Asus Zenbook 14 tries something different with its innovative Screenpad, a trackpad that doubles up as a touchscreen with dedicated apps. Sadly, it’s a bit of a gimmick, but the Asus Zenbook 14 itself is a fantastic laptop, so we’ll forgive this indulgence on its part.
For the asking price of $1,199 you get a chunky i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and an SSD for storage, so the Asus Zenbook 14 is pretty well equipped to handle just about any task. At the same time, there are some extra touches like the ergonomically designed keyboard to improve comfort when using it for long stretches, which makes it an ideal work laptop.
The tiny screen bezels are another excellent feature, meaning you don’t have ugly borders around your FHD screen when you’re watching movies or playing games. Overall, we’re very impressed with the Asus Zenbook 14, even if its headline feature is a bit of a gimmick.
- Read our full Asus Zenbook 14 review (opens in new tab).
10. Huawei MateBook 13: A great budget laptop
At first glance the Huawei MateBook 13 seems like a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none in the laptop world. It has a good tech specs, but not exactly class-leading. The design is simple and stylish but doesn’t do much to stand out in a crowd and the QHD screen is quite middle of the road – better than FHD, but it doesn’t have the clarity of a true 4K screen.
And yet despite that, we found a lot to like about the Huawei MateBook 13. It has some nifty features that you just don’t see on many laptops, like a fingerprint sensor for quick and easy unlocking. The 13-inch screen, while not true 4K, is excellent too (and honestly, at 13-inch screen size 4K is rather decadent, since you’ll struggle to notice much improvement over QHD or even FHD).
The lack of thunderbolt USB slots is a shame though, as this makes transferring files to and from your Huawei MateBook 13 a tedious process. We also think that it’s a little bit too expensive for what it offers, and due to Huawei's current tussle with the US government, you'll need to import one. But those drawbacks aside, the Huawei MateBook 13 is a still a great laptop.
- Read our full Huawei MateBook 13 review (opens in new tab)