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Best laptops in South Africa

best laptops
You’ll find the best laptop for your needs on this list. (Image credit: Future)

If you're looking for the best laptop of 2020, then you've come to the right place. On this page you'll find the top laptops for a whole range of uses, from working from home, to gaming, or simply unwinding on the sofa with a budget laptop – whatever you're looking for, our best laptops list can help.

Each laptop on this page has been thoroughly tested by us to ensure only the very best laptops are listed here. We look at the price and performance of each laptop, as well as the design and battery life as well. Only the laptops that excel in each of these areas can earn a place on this list, and that means you can safely buy any of the laptops on this page safe in the knowledge that you're getting an excellent machine.

We also have a built-in price comparison tool which scours the internet and ensures you get the best prices for these amazing laptops as well.

Our best laptops list doesn't just focus on the most powerful – and expensive – laptops out there. We've got a wide range of different laptops for different uses and budgets, including the best gaming laptops, affordable Chromebooks and the best budget laptops as well.

No matter what your budget is, or what kind of laptop you're after, our list of the best laptops of 2020 will help you find the right device for you.

The Dell XPS 15 (2020) is currently the best laptop you can buy in 2020. We'd even go so far as to say it's a perfect laptop.

It's got a fantastic thin and light design, while also packing some of the best mobile tech on the market in 2020. It's also got that superb build quality we've come to expect from Dell.

But, if that's not the right laptop for you, then we've also got a number of excellent alternatives as well.

The best laptops 2020:

  1. Dell XPS 15 (2020)
  2. HP Spectre x360 (2020)
  3. Dell XPS 13
  4. Acer Swift 3
  5. MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
  6. Apple MacBook Air (2020)
  7. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
  8. Asus TUF A15
  9. HP Elite Dragonfly
  10. HP Envy x360 13 (2019)
  11. Asus VivoBook S15
  12. Asus VivoBook S14 S433
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Dell XPS 15

(Image credit: Dell)
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Dell XPS 15

(Image credit: Dell)

1. Dell XPS 15 (2020)

The best laptop of 2020

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics - Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti | RAM: 8GB – 64GB | Screen: 15.6" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS - UHD+ (3840 x 2400) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Fast performance
Eye-catching design
GTX 1650 Ti is a little weak
15-inch screen might be too large for some

The Dell XPS 15 is our new pick for the best laptop of 2020. Dell's 2020 update to its 15-inch flagship ticks pretty much every box when it comes to what we want from a laptop. The end result is that the Dell XPS 15 (2020) is about as close to perfect as a laptop can get and one of the best Dell laptops to date; there's really not a lot we can fault it for. It's got some of the latest, and best, mobile tech from Intel, and can even be configured with a discrete GPU, making it adept at image and video editing, and even a spot of light gaming.

It also features one of the finest designs we've seen in a laptop, and is arguably the most stylish Windows 10 laptop on the market right now. Battery life is also phenomenal, and the price, while high, isn't that bad considering what you get. We're used to seeing Dell's smaller XPS 13 (featured below) at the top of this list, so we're glad to see its bigger 15-inch sibling bask in the limelight.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 (2020)

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the best laptop: HP Spectre x360

(Image credit: HP)
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the best laptop: HP Spectre x360

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the best laptop: HP Spectre x360

(Image credit: HP)

2. HP Spectre x360 (2020)

The best 13-inch laptop

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus 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

Stylish and high-quality finish
Great all-around performance
Battery life takes a hit
Can run hot at times

The HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptop has had a big refresh for 2020, and the boost in specs, with 10th-generation Intel Core processors and Intel Iris Plus graphics, along with the impeccable 2-in-1 design and pristine gem-cut chassis, means that the new version has a well-deserved spot towards the top of our best laptops list.

HP has been on a roll of late, with the excellent HP Elite Dragonfly also appearing high in our best laptops list (you'll find it a few places below), but when it comes to build quality, design and pure performance, the HP Spectre x360 (2020) is by far the best 13-inch laptop you can buy right now in 2020.

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 (2020) 

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The Dell XPS 13 is another brilliant laptop

The Dell XPS 13 is another brilliant laptop
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3. Dell XPS 13

Another brilliant laptop from Dell

CPU: 10th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 4k (3840 x 2160) | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Gorgeous design
Excellent battery life
Lackluster audio
Expensive

The Dell XPS 13 has been a regular of our best laptops list for years, and the 2020 again earns a well-deserved spot. It keeps everything we've come to love from Dell's flagship 13-incher, from the gorgeous and light design, to the powerful modern components that power it. The Dell XPS 13 now rocks 10th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors and a bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display, which means the Dell XPS 13 (2020) is a brilliant performer, while remaining thin and light.

What’s more, there’s a wide range of customization options, so you can really make the Dell XPS 13 the best laptop for your needs. The 2020 model refines the already-brilliant design of the XPS 13, but it does come at a high cost. While this is easily  one of the best laptops in the world right now, it's also one of the most expensive as well. If you like the look of the Dell XPS 13, but want a bigger screen, check out the Dell XPS 15 (2020), at the top of this list.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

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Acer Swift 3

(Image credit: Acer)
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Acer Swift 3

(Image credit: Acer)
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Acer Swift 3

(Image credit: Acer)
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Acer Swift 3

(Image credit: Acer)

4. Acer Swift 3

The best budget laptop in the world

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

Superb keyboard and trackpad
Excellent performance
Very reasonably priced
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 2020 has on offer.

Read the full review: Acer Swift 3

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MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

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MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

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MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

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MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

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5. MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

The best Apple laptop ever

CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M – Radeon Pro 5500M | RAM: 16GB – 64GB | Screen: 16-inch Retina display with True Tone | Storage: 512GB – 8TB SSD

Stunning 16-inch screen
New and improved keyboard
Expensive
Limited to four Thunderbolt 3 ports

While we are sad that the 15-inch MacBook Pro is no more, we’ve welcomed the MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) with open arms. As thin, light and sleek as ever, you wouldn’t think this was a 16-inch behemoth. 

Yet, you’re getting that extra real estate on that stunning display, as well as the latest and greatest components behind it. This is, without a doubt, the best MacBook for content creators, designers and other creative professionals. With amazing (and loud) speakers and a much, much better keyboard to boot.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

MacBook Air 2020

(Image credit: Apple)

6. Apple MacBook Air (2020)

The best cheap Apple laptop

CPU: 10th generation Intel Core i3 - i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | 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)

Lovely design
New lower price
Screen colors a little muted
Battery life only OK

Apple has once again refreshed and improved the MacBook Air, and the 2020 model represents the biggest upgrade we've seen in quite a while, easily making it one of the best laptops in the world, and certainly the best affordable MacBook ever made. Apple has now included the latest 10th generation Intel processors, and for the first time you're able to get a MacBook AIr with a quad-core CPU, which makes a big difference when it comes to perfomance.

You also get more storage as well, with Apple doubling the amount the base model comes with to 256GB. While it's can't compete with the raw power of the MacBook Pro 16-inch (above), this is by far the best MacBook Air the company has ever made. Best of all, Apple has once again lowered the entry price, so you're getting a more powerful laptop for cheaper. What's not to like about that?

Read the full review: MacBook Air (2020)

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(Image credit: Asus)
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7. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

The best gaming laptop of 2020

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS – 9 4900HS | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Screen: 14-inch Non-glare Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS-level panel, 120Hz – 14-inch Non-glare WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS-level panel, 60Hz | Storage: 512GB / 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0

Best battery life in a gaming laptop 
Excellent performance 
Thin and light
No webcam
Loud fans

The Asus Zephyrus G14 is not perfect, missing a webcam and a Thunderbolt 3 port. However, it’s damn near close to being one, garnering our coveted yet rarely given five-star rating, and making it one of the best laptops in 2020, and our pick of the best gaming laptop overall. 

This is an absolute beast of a gaming laptop, delivering an incredible performance with its AMD Ryzen 4000 processors and Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card while touting best-in-class battery life that will last you all day long, a fast display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a lightweight, ultra-thin design. The best part is that you’re getting all that without burning a hole in your pocket. Don’t get us wrong; it isn’t cheap, and if you're looking for a more affordable laptop, check out the Dell G5 15 below.

Read the full review: Asus Zephyrus G14 

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ASUS TUF Gaming A15

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ASUS TUF Gaming A15

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ASUS TUF Gaming A15

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ASUS TUF Gaming A15

(Image credit: Asus)

8. Asus TUF A15

The new affordable gaming king

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4600H – 7 4800H | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660TI – RTX 2060 | RAM: up to 32 GB SDRAM | Screen: 15.6" (16:9) FHD (1920x1080) 60Hz Anti-Glare IPS-level Panel – 15.6" (16:9) FHD (1920x1080) 144Hz Anti-Glare IPS-level Panel | Storage: 1TB 5400 rpm SATA HDD – 256GB/512GB/1TB PCIe Gen3 SSD

Great 1080p performance
New AMD processors
Very good battery life
Noisy fans
Not the most powerful gaming laptop
Design won’t be for everyone

If the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 above is out of your price range, then the Asus TUF A15 will be the best laptop for you. It's more affordable than the Zephyrus, but it still offers amazing performance, and is our pick for the best budget gaming laptop in 2020.

Much of what we love about the Asus TUF A15 is down to the brilliant AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile processor inside. The Asus TUF A15, however, is not just fantastic gaming performance, but a great value gaming rig with a long battery life and military-grade durability as well. With the help of Nvidia’s best 1080p graphics card (the RTX 2060), this Ryzen 4000-powered laptop will see you through all your 1080p gaming demands without burning a hole in your pocket. Whether you play a lot of competitive esports, or need a rugged laptop, this one’s a winner.

Read the full review: Asus TUF A15

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HP Elite Dragonfly

(Image credit: HP)
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HP Elite Dragonfly

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HP Elite Dragonfly

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HP Elite Dragonfly

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HP Elite Dragonfly

(Image credit: HP)

9. HP Elite Dragonfly

The best 2-in-1 laptop

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB - 16GB | Screen: 13.3" diagonal Full HD touch display – Full HD touch Sure View display | Storage: 256 GB SSD

Impeccable design
Excellent battery life
Pretty expensive

This laptop from HP is our pick for the best business laptop – put simply, this is one of the most stylish and slimline laptops you'll ever see, and it's also packed with some brilliant features and powerful components.

While the HP Elite Dragonfly is primarily aimed at business users, don't let that put you off. Its incredible design and gorgeous screen makes this the best laptop for anyone who can afford it. Battery life is excellent, the keyboard is a joy to type on, and it also has LTE connectivity. This lets you plug in a SIM card and access mobile internet wherever you are, without having to connect to slow (and potentially compromised) Wi-Fi hotspots.

It's expensive, but if you can afford it, it's easily one of the best laptops of 2020.

Read the full review: HP Elite Dragonfly

HP Envy x360 13 (2019)

(Image credit: HP)

10. HP Envy x360 13 (2019)

The best affordable 2-in-1

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3300U – AMD Ryzen 7 3700U | Graphics: AMD Radeon Vega 6 – Radeon Vega 10 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3" diagonal FHD IPS (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 256 GB – 1TB SSD

Slim and sleek for a 2-in-1
High quality chassis
Improved battery life
CPU performance merely adequate
Graphics performance disappointing

Thanks to its sleek, 13-inch design, this 2-in-1 is leaner that you might have expected, which works in your favor when engaging it in tablet mode. There are other compelling reasons why the HP Envy x360 (2019) is worth considering when you’re on the lookout for the best laptops, especially in the 2-in-1 form factor. 

This HP beauty offers a premium build, boasts 9 hours of video playback and delivers a performance that will get you through most of your schoolwork and project, at a very reasonable price.

Read the full review: HP Envy x360 (2019)

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ASUS VivoBook S15

(Image credit: Asus)
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ASUS VivoBook S15

The Asus VivoBook S15 is the best affordable laptop (Image credit: Asus)

The Asus VivoBook S15 is the best mid-range laptop

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ASUS VivoBook S15

(Image credit: Asus)
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ASUS VivoBook S15

(Image credit: Asus)

11. Asus VivoBook S15

The best budget 15-inch laptop

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch full HD (1920 x 1080) | Storage: 512GB SSD

Bright, colorful 15.6-inch screen
Weighs just 1.8kg
Average battery life
ScreenPad is a bit weird…

The new Asus VivoBook S15 hasn't been out for long, and it's made its way straight into our best laptops list. This is because it combines a thin and light design with great performance and an excellent price. 

If you're looking for a mid-range laptop that doesn't cost too much, but still performs brilliantly, then this is the best laptop for you. 

Thanks to its powerful Intel processor, 8GB of RAM and fast SSD storage, this is a laptop that can handle almost any task with ease – though gaming is out of the question. Its 15.6-inch screen is bright and vibrant, and it has loads of ports that makes it easy to hook up your favorite peripherals. 

However, it doesn't have the longest battery life for a laptop, and the ScreenPad, which replaces the traditional touchpad below the keyboard with a touchscreen, takes a bit of getting used to.

Read the full review: Asus VivoBook S15

Asus Vivobook S14

Asus Vivobook S14 (Image credit: asus)

12. ASUS VivoBook S14 S433

Great form factor and build quality

CPU: 10th-generation Intel i7 | Graphics: Nvidia® GeForce MX250 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080; touch) | Storage: 512GB SSD | Weight: 1,4kg

Great in-hand feel
Slightly expensive

It might be priced above the mid-range but you're getting a well appointed PC for your buck. The compact shape is neatly finished with diamond cut beveled edges, which make it a delight to handle, and the all-aluminium alloy chassis ensures there is none of the flex we associate with these most affordable ultrabooks. 

The keyboard is remarkably spacious for its small footprint, and the key travel was very comfortable too for marathon typing sessions. We also like the fingerprint sensor built into the trackpad which speeds up logins and access to web sites and services. As a nice bonus you can get an optional Nvidia MX250 gaming graphics chip which will handle most games, albeit with settings turned down. 

Read the full review: ASUS VivoBook S14 S433 

What should you look for when buying a new laptop?

There are certain things you can look out for when buying a new laptop 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.

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 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 $600 or £400.

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 will cost a pretty penny – $700 or £500 to $2,000 or £1,800.

2-in-1 laptops: Where notebooks that double as tablets are located. The Surface Book 2 might be a ways off, but many of the best 2-in-1 laptops 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 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 $300 or £200 and some can even withstand a slight tussle.

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. These machines generally cost from $800 or £600 to upwards of $3,000 or £2,800 and they’ll likely be the ones to take advantage of AMD’s laptop-grade Ryzen processors first. If you're really on a budget, then you can check out the best cheap gaming laptop deals.

Laptop-tablet hybrids: Designed from the tablet-first approach to laptop-tablet hybrids, the best Windows tablets 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.