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Best laptop 2022: top picks in the UAE and Saudi Arabia for every user and every budget

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Apple MacBook Air against red background saying 'best laptop'
(Image credit: Apple / Future)

Welcome to our pick of the best laptops 2022 has to offer in the UAE, Saudi and the Middle East. Unbelievably, we're already almost a quarter of the way through the year, and we're starting to see a steady stream of new and updated laptops.

However, none have so far managed to knock the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) off the top spot, and it remains our top choice, offering style and performance, as well as great value for money as well, especially now that it's been out for a few years. We had hoped to see a follow up to the MacBook Air at Apple's recent event, but it didn't appear. Perhaps we'll see a new version later on this year.

However, if you want a more affordable device, then the Acer Swift 3 is our choice for the best budget laptop you can buy right now, offering a perfect balance of affordability and performance.

We also have some brilliant devices from Dell, HP, Lenovo, Huawei and more. No matter what kind of laptop you're looking for, from top gaming laptops or high-end Ultrabooks, we have a device for you. 

How to pick the best laptop for you

So, what makes a laptop worth buying? First, it needs to offer excellent value for money. That means budget laptops below AED 1,500 price point need to still offer good performance and build quality.

Meanwhile, ultra-expensive devices need to justify their high price tags with best-in-class performance, premium build quality and lengthy battery lives.

If you want something to work on, a laptop with a modern processor, at least 8GB of RAM and a large screen (and comfortable keyboard) are worth considering.

For gaming, you'll want a gaming laptop with a dedicated graphics card and fast and responsive screen.

Check out our guide on what you should look for when buying a new laptop at the end of this page for more in-depth advice on buying a laptop.

Best laptops 2022

The best laptop of 2021

Specifications

CPU: Apple M1
Graphics: Integrated 7-core /8-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.61cm; W x D x H)

Reasons to buy

+
Silent to use
+
Amazing battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
No new design
-
Fanless design could impact performance

The new Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) isn't just the best laptop Apple has ever made, it's the best laptop money can buy right now. This is the first time a MacBook has topped our list, but the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is worthy of this spot. Thanks to the revolutionary ARM-based Apple M1 chip that powers the new MacBook Air (Apple has ditched Intel for these new laptops), this is a stunning achievement: a thin and light laptop that offers great performance, even with 4K video editing, while also offering incredible battery life. 

Easily managing over 11 hours on a single charge, this is a laptop you can easily carry around with you at work or school, and its price is incredibly competitive compared to Windows 10 rivals like the Dell XPS 15 (below). Running both new and old Mac apps, the new MacBook Air can now also run iOS apps for iPhone and iPads, giving it access to hundreds of brilliant mobile applications and games as well.

Even if you've only ever used Windows laptops before, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is well worth getting and making the jump to macOS. Yes, it really is that good. Make sure you check out all the best MacBook Air deals and sales available now before you buy.

Read the full review: MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

The best laptop in 2021 for productivity

Specifications

CPU: Apple M1 Pro 8-core – M1 Max 10-core
Graphics: Integrated 14-core – 32-core GPU
RAM: Up to 64GB
Screen: 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
Storage: Up to 8TB

Reasons to buy

+
 Brilliant performance
+
 Best screen on a laptop

Reasons to avoid

-
14-inch screen may be a bit small

The brand-new MacBook Pro 14-inch is easily the best productivity laptop you can buy in 2021. For creative professionals such as photographers, video editors and music producers, the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) is a dream to use, thanks to a choice between powerful new M1 Pro or M1 Max chips that can handle even the most intensive workloads with ease.

Not only that, but its Liquid Retina XDR display with mini-LED technology is absolutely stunning, and the best screen you can get on a laptop right now. Add in a 1080p webcam and boosted port selection, and you have a brilliant business and productivity laptop. It won't be for everyone – the price and power will be too much for most people's needs – but if you want a killer laptop to do creative work on, this is the laptop to get. For everyone else, check out the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) instead.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)

3. HP Spectre x360 (2021)

This year's model is a brilliant 13-inch laptop

Specifications

CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS BrightView micro-edge WLED-backlit multitouch – 13.3" diagonal 4K (3840 x 2160) UWVA BrightView micro-edge AMOLED multitouch
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous design
+
Excellent battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Fans can get noisy
-
Pricey

The HP Spectre x360 has been one of the best laptops for years now, and the 2021 model is no different. Now coming with 11th-generation Intel Core processors, which offer a decent performance boost, and feature better integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, the HP Spectre x360 (2021) is better than ever.

It still features the impeccable 2-in-1 design and pristine gem-cut chassis that these laptops are known for, meaning that the HP Spectre x360 (2021) is one of the best looking 2-in-1 laptops ever made, and when it comes to build quality, it's rivalled only by the excellent MacBook Air (M1, 2020), which is at the top of this best laptop guide.

While it's certainly pricey, you're getting some excellent extras, such as formidable security features and Bang & Olufsen speakers. If you care about aesthetics as much as you do performance and overall quality, this is the laptop for you.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 (2021)

4. Huawei MateBook 14s (2021)

Small in size, big on power

Specifications

CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11370H
Graphics: Intel Iris XE
RAM: Up to 16GB DDR4-3200
Screen: 14-inch 2K 90 Hz display
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent 2K screen with 90 Hz
+
11th Gen high-end Intel Core Processor

Reasons to avoid

-
Iris graphics

The Huawei MateBook 14s is easily one of the best Ultrabook you can get right now. It has an excellent screen size of 14.2-inches with a high-resolution and fast refresh rate. It also comes with Intel's high powered Core i7-11370H Processor, 16GB or RAM and 512GB of storage. 

It's also part of Huawei's 'Super Device' lineup, meaning it can wirelessly interact with select Huawei tablets and smartphones to - quite literally - extend your screen's desktop or even run mobile apps, or simply to drag and drop files between devices. It's an uncanny offering for sure, but one that we're sure will be the norm fairly quickly.

On the security side, Windows Hello is supported through a fingerprint scanner or the camera. Add to that all kinds of ports such as HDMI, USB3.2 and USB-C  along with fast charging and a 60 Wh battery and you have a laptop that it just about perfect.

A stunning Ultrabook from Asus

Specifications

CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i3 – i7 / AMD Ryzen 5000
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics / AMD Radeon
RAM: 8GB - 32GB
Screen: 13.3-inch, OLED 1080p, 400 nits
Storage: 256GB - 1TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous OLED display
+
Phenomenal battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
No headphone jack
-
Radeon graphics underperform

The Asus ZenBook 13 is a brilliant laptop, and the 2021 model comes with some of the best mobile tech you'll find in a modern notebook. So, it packs a choice of an AMD Ryzen 5000 series processor, or Intel 11th gen CPU. It also has an absolutely stunning 13.3-inch OLED screen and one of the best battery lives around.

There's also up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage, which makes this a brilliant laptop for working on.

It's also supremely thin and light, as well as stylishly designed, which makes it a joy to carry around and use. It's also pretty respectably priced compared to competitors like the Dell XPS 13. The only downsides are that there's no headphone jack – which is a bit of a shame, but likely a result of its ultra-thin design, and during our time testing the Asus ZenBook 13, we found that the integrated AMD Ryzen graphics weren't quite as good as Intel's offering. Despite that, this is still a brilliant ultra-thin laptop that's well worth considering.

Read the full review: Asus ZenBook 13 (2021)

6. Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

Dell does it again

Specifications

CPU: Up to 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7
Graphics: Up to Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: Up to 32GB 4267MHz LPDDR4x
Screen: 13.4" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 13.4" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display
Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning design
+
Gorgeous 16:10 display
+
Excellent battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Sound quality is just OK
-
Pricey

At this point, we doubt that the Dell XPS line can do anything wrong. Its yearly updates have consistently made it to our best laptops list, and they’re only getting better. The Dell XPS 13 (2020) is not only a gorgeous piece of kit. It also comes, as expected, with excellent performance, a stunning display and long battery life, alongside a few others.

Much like its predecessor, it’s a pricey investment – but that is barely reason enough for us to discourage Ultrabook fans. This is among the best laptops of 2021, and it’s worth every penny.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 (2020) 

The top laptop for gaming in 2022

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 - RTX 3080
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 14-inch 144Hz Full HD – 14-inch 165Hz QHD
Storage: 1TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful chassis
+
Thin and light

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive despite its performance
-
Not the most powerful gaming laptop

This luxurious thin and light gaming laptop from Razer just oozes class, and is an ideal laptop for people who want a gaming device they can take around with them. It's solidly built, so you won't worry about it getting damaged during your travels, and it's one of the nicest looking modern gaming laptops we've seen.

It's not all about looks, however, as the Razer Blade 14 comes with cutting edge components as well, including the awesome AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and up to an RTX 3080 graphics card. This means you'll be able to play any AAA game you want in all its glory. It's by far the best gaming laptop you can buy in in 2022, but it does cost a lot of money.

Read the full review: Razer Blade 14

8. LG Gram 17 (2021)

A great new super-light laptop for 2021

Specifications

CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB LPDDR4X
Screen: 17-inch WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS LCD
Storage: up to 2TB NVMe SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent battery life
+
Large, high-quality display
+
Very light

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Subject to screen glare

The LG Gram 17 is one of the best laptops of 2021, and the new version once again features an incredibly light design, and comes with some of the best mobile tech in the world.

That includes Intel's new 11th generation processors and Iris Xe graphics as well as two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, and coupled with up to 16GB of RAM and speedy SSDs, means this is a laptop that is brilliant for day-to-day tasks. Battery life is also phenomenal, easily lasting around 12 hours on a single charge.

It's one of the best laptops for carrying around for school and work, then. However, it is expensive, and the design is a little plain.

The long battery life and stunner of a screen are back, though so too is its steep price tag. It’s worth it though if you want the power and portability of Ultrabooks yet also need a bigger screen.

Read the full review: LG Gram 17 (2021) 

9. Acer Swift 3

The best budget laptop in the world

Specifications

CPU: up to Intel Core i7-8565U
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce MX150, Intel HD Graphics 620 or AMD Radeon Vega 8
RAM: 4GB – 8GB
Screen: 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) ComfyView IPS – 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Storage: 128GB – 1 TB HDD, 16 GB Intel Optane Memory

Reasons to buy

+
Superb keyboard and trackpad
+
Excellent performance
+
Very reasonably priced

Reasons to avoid

-
Looks a little plain

Beyond the Acer Swift 3's modest exterior, you'll find an excellent laptop that boasts plenty of power for work and study. The Swift 3 (not to be confused with the Switch 3 another laptop from Acer) is an inexpensive laptop; however, that plain chassis is all-aluminum and packed with beefy components. 

In terms of performance, it gets surprisingly close to the far more expensive Microsoft Surface Laptop. Its display is a little lower-res, but the two are otherwise strikingly similar - other than the price. 

This laptop is incredible to use as well, with its roomy trackpad as well as its backlit keyboard that offers a comfortable typing experience with decent travel. If you're going to be writing a lot – whether you’re traveling or at the office, this is one of the best budget laptops 2021 has on offer.

Read the full review: Acer Swift 3

10. HP Elite Dragonfly G2

The best 2-in-1 laptop 2021

Specifications

CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i3 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB - 32GB
Screen: 13.3-inch diagonal BrightView LED FHD, 400 nits – 13.3-inch diagonal BrightView LED 4K UHD HDR-400 550 nits
Storage: up to 2TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable keyboard
+
Excellent screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
USB-C ports on only one side

The HP Elite Dragonfly G2 takes everything that we loved about the original HP Elite Dragonfly, and adds cutting-edge Intel technology and a gorgeous 4K screen. This means HP has once again made the best 2-in-1 laptop money can buy in 2021, and it's a worthy inclusion in our best laptops 2021 list.

You get that gorgeous 2-in-1 design, which allows you to turn this thin and light laptop into a tablet-like device, plus one of the best battery lives we've experienced on a Windows 10 laptop. It also comes with more powerful 11th-gen Intel Core chips, Intel Iris Xe graphics, and now a 4K display, upgrading from its previous Full HD models. There’s a lot to love here, and it might just be as close to being the perfect business laptop as any manufacturer can get. If you can afford it. 

Read the full review: HP Elite Dragonfly G2 

What should you look for when buying a new laptop?

There are certain things you can look out for when buying a new laptop in 2021 that can ensure you get the best laptop for your money.

Make sure you take a look at the specifications of a laptop before buying. This is a good way of quickly seeing how powerful a laptop is, and what it is capable of – as long as you know what you’re looking for.

First of all is the processor. This is essentially the brain of the laptop, and a laptop will usually have a processor (also known as a CPU) made by either Intel or AMD. Intel is by far the most popular CPU maker for laptops, though we’re seeing an increasing number of AMD-powered laptops as well.

As a general rule of thumb, Intel processors offer better performance, but AMD processors are better value.

To make things more simple, both Intel and AMD have numbered their processors to give you a rough idea of what sort of tasks a laptop with that processor can perform.

If you’re after a budget laptop for simple tasks like browsing the web or watching Netflix, then a laptop with an Intel Pentium, Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3, processor will do that job without making the laptop too expensive.

If you’re after something with a bit more oomph – perhaps to do more complex task like editing your home videos or playing games – then go for a laptop with an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor as a minimum.

The best laptops for media creation, and more complex tasks, come with an Intel Core i7 or Core i9 processor, or an AMD Ryzen 7 processor. Laptops with these processors in them are top-of-the-range laptops that will provide brilliant performance no matter what you want to do – but be warned that they are often found in the most expensive laptops.

Finally, keep an eye on how new the processor is. Intel handily gives its processors generations, so the higher the generation, the newer it is. The latest generation is the 10th generation, though 9th generation Intel Core processors are also pretty recent.

A newer processor performs better and is more power efficient – so battery life will last longer. They are more expensive, though.

RAM (Random Access Memory) is another important specification to look for in a laptop. You’ll want 4GB at the very least for a Windows laptop – though we’d actually recommend for many people to go for 8GB. That will ensure that the laptop runs well for years to come.

When it comes to graphics, you don’t need to worry too much, as laptop processors come with built-in (integrated) graphics. However, if you want to play PC games on your laptop, then you’ll want a gaming laptop with a discrete GPU – either from Nvidia or AMD.

What are the best laptop brands?

The best brands for laptops include Apple, Dell, Lenovo and HP, and they all have their strengths. For example, Apple make brilliantly-designed slim and light laptops, while Dell does a great range of high-end ultrabooks, as well as affordable devices and Chromebooks as well. Lenovo's well known for making solidly-built business laptops (and some great 2-in-1 laptops as well), and HP’s also been making some gorgeous laptops recently that are some of the best laptops in the world.

When it comes to gaming, the best laptop brands include Alienware, Asus and Acer.

How much RAM does a laptop need?

RAM (Random Access Memory) is an important specification to look for in a laptop. You’ll want 4GB at the very least for a Windows laptop – though we’d actually recommend for many people to go for 8GB. That will ensure that the laptop runs well for years to come. Budget Chromebooks can get away with less RAM, such as 1GB or 2GB.

Battery life considerations

Finally there’s battery life. This is likely to be one of the most important considerations you have when choosing what laptop to buy. The best laptops need to be able to let you work - and play - for hours on end without you having to scramble for a power adapter. Modern laptops are getting ever more power-efficient, which has led to longer battery lives. For a laptop to be included in our best laptops list, it needs to offer a battery life of five hours or more.

Bear in mind that the battery life that the laptop makers claim their device has could be quite different to what you actually experience. This is because many laptop makers test their batteries in very controlled environments, with the laptop used in ways that you might not necessarily use. So, while a laptop might have a claimed battery life of 10 hours, you may find that when using it for certain tasks – like streaming high definition content – your battery life could run out faster.

That’s where our in-depth reviews come in, as we run a series of tests on each laptop in this best laptops guide to see how long the battery life lasts under certain conditions. If a laptop’s battery is ridiculously short (or impressively long) we’ll tell you.

Which type of laptop is best for you?

General laptops: Where the best cheap laptops (opens in new tab) are found, devices that focus more on practicality than style, portability or power. That’s not to say they can’t be fast, but you’ll typically find a non-Ultrabook clamshell laptop with an HD screen and spinning drive-based storage for less than AED 1,500 or SAR 1,500.

Ultrabooks: Where you’ll find thin-and-light notebooks sporting SSD storage and display resolutions that exceed 1080p. Paired with powerful, albeit mobile-centric components and especially long battery life, the best Ultrabooks (opens in new tab) will cost a pretty penny.

2-in-1 laptops: Where notebooks that double as tablets are located. The Surface Book 2 might be a ways off (opens in new tab), but many of the best 2-in-1 laptops (opens in new tab) are available right now. Outfitted with both detachable and 360-degree rotating hinges, these hybrids are the most versatile way to experience Windows 10 (or Chrome OS) on a touchscreen.

Chromebooks: Where you’ll find the best Chromebooks (opens in new tab) running Chrome OS. These do much of what Windows and macOS can in the browser, focused on cloud storage over local, while recently getting Android app support for touchscreen models. They generally cost less than your general laptop.

Gaming laptops: Need a laptop to play games (almost) just like a shiny desktop PC can? Then you’ll want one of the best gaming laptops (opens in new tab). These machines can get super pricey and they’ll likely be the ones to take advantage of AMD’s laptop-grade Ryzen processors (opens in new tab) first. If you're really on a budget, then you can check out the best cheap gaming laptop deals (opens in new tab).

Laptop-tablet hybrids: Designed from the tablet-first approach to laptop-tablet hybrids, the best Windows tablets (opens in new tab) pack beyond-HD touchscreens, sometimes with kickstands in their frames or provided via keyboard covers. These generally shine with a stylus, and range from the budget to the premium price ranges.

How we test laptops

We know that buying a new laptop can be a huge investment, so every laptop in this list has been extensively tested by us. When we test laptops, we use them in our day-to-day lives to see who they perform. We look at their design, including how stylish they are, or if they are thin and light enough to carry around with, and how comfortable they are to work on.

When it comes to performance, we use a mix of real-world tests and synthetic benchmarks to see how powerful (or not) these laptops are. This means using Windows 10 (or Chrome OS on Chromebooks and macOS on MacBooks) and running various apps and seeing how fast they load, noting down any problems.

These days, the webcam and microphone in a laptop is also incredibly important, so we take time to test out these as well. When it comes to gaming laptops, we’ll run more benchmark tests, as well as fire up games to play on them as well (it’s a hard job, isn’t it?)

Battery lives are also important, so we’ll keep track on how long we can use the laptop without needing to charge. We also run our own battery life benchmark that plays a looped 1080p movie until the battery dies. We also run the PC Mark 10 battery life benchmark, which replicates real-world usage, such as web browsing and document creation. These tests give us an excellent idea of how long the batteries in these laptops last.

We then take everything we’ve learned about the laptop and compare it to its price, to see if it offers the best value to customers.