Best Laptop for 2022: Here Are 14 Laptops We Recommend

id="article-body" class="row" section="article-body" data-component="trackCWV">

Spring is one of the best times to hunt for deals on a new laptop outside of Black Friday. There are lots of new 2022 laptops rolling out now, which means you'll see many 2021 models that you can pick up at a significant discount. That includes new versions of two of our favorites, and . Plus, there are plenty of big sales events around this time for graduations and back-to-school shopping.

At CNET, our laptop and computer experts have spent collective decades testing and reviewing laptops, covering everything from performance to price to battery life. This hand-curated list covers the best laptops across various sizes, Book styles and costs, including laptop computers running on Windows, MacOS and Chrome. (Microsoft released the  in October 2021; all of the Windows laptops on this list should fully support that new OS.)

If you want more laptop brands and options for a particular category, we also have specialized lists you can look at, including the , and , as well as the , and the best . If you need to stay as low as possible on the price of a new laptop computer, check out our  and  picks.

This best laptop list is updated periodically with new models we've tested and reviewed. It's a great place to get an idea of what's available. If you need advice on whether a particular type of laptop or two-in-one is right for you, jump to .

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Apple announced a fully updated version of the , a larger 13.6-inch display, a four-speaker audio system and a 1080p webcam. It's also now $200 more and it won't be available until sometime in July. 

However, the M1 MacBook Air (one of the first to switch from Intel to Apple silicon) is sticking around as Apple's entry-level laptop and is still our go-to recommendation for a MacOS laptop for basic everyday use. It has great performance and long battery life -- up to 18 hours -- and is a solid choice for school or work. 

.

 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Dell XPS 13 is a perennial favorite for its size, weight and performance and just overall good looks. In 2020, Dell made the laptop even smaller, while making the laptop screen larger and increasing performance for both CPU and graphics-intensive tasks. For 2022, it made the , kept its sub-$999 starting price the same and dropped in the latest 12th-gen Intel processors.

While we haven't had a chance to test the new model yet, we expect it to be a strong Windows alternative to the MacBook Air. Also, if you want to save money, the 2021 XPS 13 with 11th-gen Intel chips is available for less now.

Josh Goldman/CNET

HP packed a lot of value into the Aero 13: Eye-pleasing magnesium-aluminum chassis, strong processing performance, long battery life, a bright, colorful display and a weight of just 2 pounds (0.94 kilograms). Amazingly, with all that it offers though, it has a regular starting price of less than $700.

.

 

Josh Goldman/CNET

A remarkable deal for simple tasks like email, word processing and much more, thanks to AMD Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors. It's available with 11th-gen Intel processors, too. This budget laptop has a backlit keyboard, a fingerprint reader and a USB Type-C port, too. The Acer Swift 3 is also an incredibly lightweight laptop -- less than 3 pounds -- for a machine that can be found for less than $700.

In addition to this Acer Swift, we're also fans of the Acer Aspire 5, which has a larger 15.6-inch display. The Acer Aspire 5 is available in a variety of configurations starting as low as $400, but can go up to $690 if you want entry-level discrete graphics for basic gaming and content creation.

.

 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Regularly available for less than $800, this thin, 3-pound convertible is a solid choice for anyone who needs a laptop for office or schoolwork. The all-metal chassis gives it a premium look and feel, and it has a comfortable keyboard and a responsive, smooth precision touchpad. Though it's light on extra features compared to its premium linemate, the Yoga 9i, it does have one of Lenovo's sliding shutters for its webcam that gives you privacy when you want it. And it has a long battery life to boot.

Josh Goldman/CNET

Tired of trying to work on documents or spreadsheets on a small widescreen display? The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 uses one of Acer's bright VertiView displays, a 13.5-inch 2,256x1,504-pixel touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio. As the name implies, it gives you more vertical room to work, but it still has the width of a typical 13.3-inch laptop with a 16:9 ratio. Between that and its battery life, which lasted nearly 13 hours in our tests, you'll be able to get more work done in a day with this Chrome OS laptop -- and it's still thin and light enough for an everyday carry. 

The latest version of this Chromebook is the first to receive Intel's Evo verification, which means you'll be getting the best possible mobile experience with this model. It's also the first with Thunderbolt 4 support, which lets you connect to multiple external displays as well as providing fast data speeds and networking.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Josh Goldman/CNET

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Although this Microsoft Surface laptop is not the , the Surface Pro continues to hit all the right notes if you're looking for a do-it-all Windows tablet that doubles as a Windows laptop. Microsoft recently overhauled it for the , which has a larger 13-inch display, 11th-gen Intel Core processors and two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports. The Surface Pro 7 is still around for the time being at a discount, and an updated version called the Surface Pro 7 Plus will stay in the lineup, so you'll still be able to get the classic Pro design but with new processors.

.

 

Sarah Tew/CNET

There's a lot to love with the Razer Blade 14, which incorporates one of the fastest mobile CPUs available (for now, at least), the , and top-end mobile graphics with the . Its display can go pixel-to-pixel with the MacBook's. And its high-quality build is up there with the best MacBooks but, like an Apple, it's not necessarily the best laptop deal, even compared to other premium laptops.

.

 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Dell streamlined its G-series gaming laptops, going from three models down to just one -- and it's all for the best. Instead of having to decode the various feature and quality differences between them, there's just one chassis available with a variety of configurations with up to an 11th-gen Intel processor or . Updated versions with , too. All of the processors can be paired with up to a 6GB Nvidia RTX 3060, 8GB or 16GB of memory and up to 1TB of storage. They're basically more budget laptop-friendly versions of those from its Alienware division, but still capable of playing the latest AAA games. Due to availability issues, prices are unstable but do normally start below $1,000.

Lori Grunin/CNET

If you're going for the best, go big. Yes, there are faster 17-inchers, but I draw the line at dual humongous power bricks. The Blade Pro is fast and provides powerful gaming performance with an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series graphics, but doesn't sacrifice its svelte figure. While I recommend getting this Blade Pro laptop with its 4K-resolution display option for creators, gamers will want to get the display with a 360Hz refresh rate that Razer offers for this model.

Best Laptops of CES 2022

<div class="videoPlayer " data-component="videoPlayer" data-video-player-options='{"config":{"policies":{"default":11417438},"tracking":{"can_partner_id":"canPartnerID","comscore_id":"3000085","comscore_home":"3000085","comscore_how_to":"3000078","comscore_news":"3000078","comscore_reviews":"3000087","comscore_videos":"3000088","comscore_sense_id":"cnetvideo","comscore_sense_home":"cnethome","comscore_sense_how_to":"cnethowto","comscore_sense_news":"cnetnews","comscore_sense_reviews":"cnetreviews","comscore_sense_videos":"cnetvideo","nielsen_cid":"us-200330","nielsen_vcid":"c07","nielsen_vcid_reviews":"c05","nielsen_vcid_home":"c07","nielsen_vcid_news":"c08","nielsen_vcid_how_to":"c09","nielsen_vcid_videos":"c20"},"uvpConfig":{"mpx_account":"kYEXFC"}},"playlist":[{"id":"c891985a-61d5-4278-97da-34eb08ceb280","title":"The best laptops of CES 2022","description":"From dual screens to gaming tablets, we run down the most exciting laptops from CES 2022.","slug":"best-laptops-of-ces-2022","chapters":{"data":[],"paging":{"total":0,"limit":15,"offset":0}},"datePublished":"2022-01-07 website

Laptop FAQs

How much does a good laptop cost?

Setting a budget is a good place to start when shopping for the best laptop for yourself. The good news is you can get a nice-looking, lightweight laptop with excellent battery life at prices under $500. If you're shopping for a laptop around $500 or less, check out our top picks here, as well as more .

Higher-end components like Intel Core i-series and AMD Ryzen processors and premium design touches like thin-display bezels and aluminum or magnesium bodies have made their way to laptops priced between $500 and $1,000. You can also find touchscreens and two-in-one designs that can be used as a tablet or a laptop -- and a couple other positions in between. In this price range, you'll also find faster memory and ssd storage -- and more of it -- to improve performance. 

Above $1,000 is where you'll find premium laptops and two-in-ones. If you're looking for the fastest performance, the best battery life, the slimmest, lightest designs and top-notch display quality with an adequate screen size, expect to spend at least $1,000. 

Which is better, MacOS or Windows?

Deciding between MacOS and Windows laptop for many people will come down to personal preference and budget. Apple's base model laptop, the M1 MacBook Air, starts at $999. You can sometimes find it discounted or you can get educational pricing from Apple and other retailers. But, in general, it'll be at least $1,000 for a new MacBook, and the prices just go up from there. 

For the money, though, you're getting great hardware top to bottom, inside and out. Apple recently moved to using its own processors, which resulted in  compared to older Intel-based models. But, the company's most powerful laptop, the 16-inch MacBook Pro, still hasn't been updated to Apple silicon. 

But, again, that great hardware comes at a price. Also, you're limited to just Apple laptops. With Windows and Chromebooks (more on these below), you get an amazing variety of devices at a wide range of prices. 

Software between the two is plentiful, so unless you need to run something that's only available on one platform or the other, you should be fine to go with either. Gaming is definitely an advantage for a Windows laptop, though.

MacOS is also considered to be easier and safer to use than Windows, especially for people who want their computers to get out of the way so they can get things done. Over the years, though, Microsoft has done its best to follow suit and, with , . Also, while Macs might have a reputation for being safer, with the popularity of the iPhone and iPad helping to drive Mac sales, .

Are Chromebooks worth it?

, but they're not for everyone.  and Chromebooks -- laptops that run on Chrome OS -- are great for people who do most of their work in a web browser or using mobile apps. They are secure, simple and, more often than not, a bargain. What they can't do is natively run Windows or Mac software. 

What's the best laptop for home, travel or both?

The pandemic changed how and where a lot of people work. The small, ultraportable laptops valued by people who regularly traveled may have suddenly become woefully inadequate for working from home. Or maybe instead of needing long battery life, you'd rather have a bigger display with more graphics power for gaming.

If you're going to be working on a laptop and don't need more mobility than moving it from room to room, consider a 15.6-inch laptop or larger. In general, a bigger screen makes life easier for work and is more enjoyable for entertainment, and also is better if you're using it as an extended display with an external monitor. It typically means you're getting more ports, too, so connecting an external display or storage or a keyboard and mouse are easier without requiring a hub or dock. 

For travel, stay with 13- or 14-inch laptops or two-in-ones. They'll be the lightest and smallest while still delivering excellent battery life. What's nice is that PC-makers are moving away from 16:9 widescreens toward 16:10- or 3:2-ratio displays, which gives you more vertical screen space for work without significantly increasing the footprint. These models usually don't have discrete graphics or powerful processors, though .

Which laptop is best for gaming or creating?

You can play games and create content on any laptop. That said, what games you play and what content you create -- and the speed at which you do them -- is going vary greatly depending on the components inside the laptop. 

For casual browser-based games or using streaming-game services like  and , you don't need a powerful gaming laptop. And similarly, if you're just trimming video clips, cropping photos or live-streaming video from your webcam, you can get by with a modestly priced laptop or Chromebook with integrated graphics. 

For anything more demanding, you'll need to invest more money for discrete graphics like Nvidia's RTX 30-series GPUs. Increased system memory of 16GB or more, having a speedy SSD for storage and a faster processor such as an Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 will all help you get things moving faster, too. 

The other piece you'll want to consider is the display. For gaming, look for screens with a high refresh rate of 120Hz or faster so games look smoother while playing. For content creation, look for displays that cover 100% sRGB color space. 

How we test computers

The review process for laptops, desktops, tablets and other computer-like devices consists of two parts: performance testing under controlled conditions in the CNET Labs and extensive hands-on use by our expert reviewers. This includes evaluating a device's aesthetics, ergonomics and features. A final review verdict is a combination of both those objective and subjective judgments. 

The list of benchmarking software we use changes over time as the devices we test evolve. The most important core tests we're currently running on every compatible computer include: , , and . 

A more detailed description of each benchmark and how we use it can be found in our page. 

More for people who spend all day on their computers

  • Share this post

    Post Comment