Best Laptops 2022: 9 machines to pay attention to today

We’ve tested and reviewed well over 500 laptops over the years, searching for the best of the best. But to earn the crown for “best laptop” in 2022, it needs to have it all: gorgeous design, killer performance, a productive keyboard, long-lasting battery life, and much more.

Each of the laptops below has been vetted thoroughly, whether it’s an affordable Chromebook or a decked-out gaming laptop. Our pick for the best laptop, the Dell XPS 13, is the option we recommend to most people, but something from the list below should suit your needs.

apple macbook air m1 review the 2020 laptop with cpu

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Apple MacBook Air M1

Still the best MacBook

Pros

  • Apple’s M1 blows Intel away
  • Phenomenal battery life
  • Excellent keyboard and touchpad
  • Rock-solid build quality
  • Simple good looks

Cons

  • Supports only one external display

The M1 MacBook Air is a nearly two-year-old laptop, yet it remains at the top of our list for the incredible value provided by this little MacBook.

The M2 MacBook Air is a flashier design. No doubt about it. It’s more powerful too. But the M1 MacBook Air remains a mind-boggling good value for the amount of laptop on offer — that includes great performance, battery life, and much more. We won’t begrudge for buying the admittedly solid M2 MacBook Air, just know that the M1 model is still the better deal.

Apple MacBook Air M1

Apple MacBook Air M1

Still the best MacBook

dell xps 13 9315 review img 2436 1

Dell XPS 13 (9315)

The best laptop under $1,000

Pros

  • Aggressive price
  • Very compact design
  • Great battery life
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Display is bright and high quality

Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • Performance is lacking

There are two things you need to know about the Dell XPS 13 before buying one. First, it doesn’t have a headphone jack. Second, its performance is a bit lackluster compared to many of the latest 12th-gen Intel-powered laptops.

But if you can set those two negatives aside, you’ll find a gorgeous little laptop priced like none other. The $830 base configuration, which even comes with 512GB of storage, makes a lot of laptops on this list seem overpriced, especially considering how good the battery life and display are. That’s even true sitting next to the M1 MacBook Air. It’s a fantastic value — so long as you can accept the lack of a headphone jack.

Dell XPS 13 9315

Dell XPS 13 (9315)

The best laptop under $1,000

apple macbook pro review 2021 01

MacBook Pro 16-inch

The best laptop for photo and video editing

Pros

  • Incredible XDR display
  • Fantastic creative performance
  • Extensive port selection
  • Keyboard and trackpad are perfect
  • Excellent speakers and webcam
  • Endless battery life

The MacBook Pro 16 fixed a lot of the problems with the “Pro” line in the past few years. The Touch Bar is gone. Extensive port selection is back. It’s even thicker and better cooled now.

But it’s more than just an apology tour. The 120Hz mini-LED screen is the best laptop screen we’ve ever seen, especially when viewing HDR content. The M1 Pro and M1 Max, meanwhile, add discrete-level graphics to the incredible efficiency of the M1. Battery life is off the charts. The 1080p webcam and improved speakers are both best-in-class.

The price and performance mean it’s not for everyone, though. The average person doesn’t need more than the MacBook Air. But if you need a powerful laptop for content creation, the MacBook Pro is the best “pro” laptop you can buy.

MacBook Pro 16 (2021)

MacBook Pro 16-inch

The best laptop for photo and video editing

razer blade 14 review 03

Razer Blade 14

The best gaming laptop

Pros

  • Gaming performance is excellent
  • Colorful, 1440p display
  • Surprisingly small
  • Cheaper than Razer Blade 15
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Warm surface temperatures
  • Thick bezels

The Razer Blade 14 feels like it shouldn’t be possible. Up to an RTX 3080 in a thin, 14-inch laptop? Yep, that’s right. And it does it with some pretty impressive performance, too.

There will always be room for larger gaming laptops like the Razer Blade 15 or Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, but the Razer Blade 14 still feels like a miracle. It’s the first AMD-powered Razer laptop, featuring the powerful Ryzen 9 5900HX. It also sports a 1440p 240Hz screen, ensuring that you’re never bottlenecked by the display. Amazingly, the Razer Blade 14 does all this at a few hundred dollars cheaper than the Razer Blade 15.

But no, it’s not the cheapest gaming laptop. Nor is it the most powerful. It is, however, the best overall gaming laptop you can buy.

Razer Blade 14

Razer Blade 14

The best gaming laptop

dell xps 15 9520 review top down angle view

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Dell XPS 15 (9520)

The best Windows alternative to the MacBook Pro

Pros

  • Streamlined and solid build
  • Aesthetically perfect
  • Strong productivity and creative performance
  • Above-average battery life
  • Excellent keyboard and touchpad
  • Superior OLED display
  • Outstanding audio

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Performance ceiling limited by thin chassis

When you’re editing video, you want plenty of space to view both the results and your favorite application’s interface. But, if you’re using a laptop rather than a desktop PC, then you want to be able to do your editing on the go. That’s where larger laptops come in — they’re powerful and, thanks to today’s thin-bezel movement, highly portable.

Despite having a 15-inch screen, the overall size of the XPS 15 is far smaller than your average 15-inch laptop. That’s thanks to the tiny bezels, of course. It even comes with four powerful Thunderbolt ports and a full-size SD card slot for convenient transfers directly from your camera. But the performance is what really counts for video-editing laptops. Between the 12th-gen Core i9 processor and an Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti, the Dell XPS 15 is one of the most powerful consumer-class content creation laptops we’ve ever tested.

Dell XPS 15 9520

Dell XPS 15 (9520)

The best Windows alternative to the MacBook Pro

lenovo chromebook duet 3 review front view

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3

$300 well spent

Pros

  • Good enough productivity performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Surprisingly good display
  • Folio kickstand and keyboard included
  • Strong value

Cons

  • Keyboard is too cramped
  • Limited to Wi-Fi 5

Laptops that cost $300 shouldn’t be this good. Seriously. Most laptops you can buy at that price have serious deficiencies, like pitiful performance or awful 720p screens. That’s often true, even on Chromebooks.

But the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 manages to deliver a great laptop experience, albeit on a very small device. But this little 10.9-inch is perfect for students or anyone that just needs a compact device to take on the go. The iPad is certainly a better tablet for this price, but if you need something to actually work on, this is the way to go.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3

$300 well spent

microsoft surface pro 8 review 10

Microsoft Surface Pro 8

The best 2-in-1 laptop

Pros

  • Gorgeous, 120Hz screen
  • Impressive performance
  • Has two powerful Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • SSD is easily accessible
  • The Surface Slim Pen 2 is exceptional

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Still lacks mobile apps

The Surface Pro hasn’t changed much over the years. But with the Surface Pro 8, it received the upgrades it always deserved. With thinner bezels, a larger screen, and a redesigned stylus, the Surface Slim Pen 2, the Surface Pro 8 finally feels ready to take on the iPad Pro for all its worth. The Surface Pro 8 even features a 120Hz refresh rate to pair with its larger, gorgeous 13.3-inch screen.

The detachable keyboard and touchpad are as solid as ever, and the new Slim Pen 2 slot with its haptic feedback for creating a more realistic feel is downright clever. Using the device without the keyboard is no longer a huge pain thanks to Windows 11 improvements that make tablet mode more functional.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8-13" Touchscreen - Intel® Evo Platform Core™ i7-16GB Memory - 512GB SSD

Microsoft Surface Pro 8

The best 2-in-1 laptop

lenovo thinkpad z13 review 04

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13

An incredible business laptop

Pros

  • Excellent battery life
  • Performance is impressive
  • Small footprint
  • Webcam is solid
  • Unique design

Business laptops don’t have to be boring, and the Z13 proves it. Not that you need to work for a big company to love what the ThinkPad Z13 has to offer. The Ryzen 6000 processor provides excellent performance, while the leather lid, 1080p webcam, and fantastic battery life add up to a laptop that you’ll be hard-pressed to top.

It’ll be especially hard at this price. Unlike many high-end business laptops, the ThinkPad Z13 isn’t extravagantly overpriced, especially for a laptop of its kind.

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 (AMD)

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13

An incredible business laptop

hp spectre x360 13 5 review 2022 1

HP Spectre x360 13.5

It keeps getting better

Pros

  • Elegant aesthetic
  • Excellent productivity performance
  • Rock-solid build
  • Superior keyboard and touchpad
  • Stunning OLED display
  • Surprisingly good battery life

Cons

  • Creativity performance is lacking
  • Slightly expensive

The HP Spectre x360 series of convertible laptops have long been among our favorites. But the Spectre x360 13.5 is the best of the line in a very long time. It brings together a unique yet elegant sense of style with high-end components such as a stunning OLED display and great battery life.

The only complaint is that it’s a bit more expensive than we’d like, especially compared to new options like the Dell XPS 13 or the M1 MacBook Air. Still, it’s the complete package — and sometimes, that’s worth paying for.

HP Spectre x360 13.5

HP Spectre x360 13.5

It keeps getting better

Editors’ Recommendations