If you're looking for the top laptops around, you've come to the right place. Whether it's school work, video editing, spreadsheet managing, or whatever else your job may entail, you need a good laptop to get the task in hand sorted.
This guide is platform agnostic, covering Windows, Chrome OS, and macOS systems. However, we've split our list into several sections - the best premium notebooks, then 2-in-1s, then ultraportables and finally there are a couple of Chromebook options, too.
We've also got a separate guide to the best Chromebooks and we'll also be producing a guide to the best gaming laptops over the next few weeks, too.
The best premium clamshell laptops
Dell XPS 13 and Dell XPS 15
For years Dell has been making really, really great laptops that not only look the part, but act the part too. That's the great thing about the two latest XPS series with InfinityEdge display: they squeeze more into their small form factor than their respective 13-inch and 15-inch screen resolutions might suggest. Plus battery life is up there among the best.
In addition to appearing stylish, the XPS 13 and XPS 15 and powerful beasts too. Fully equipped with the latest processors, all the ports you'd need, plus discrete graphics (in the case of the XPS 15) if you want, these Dell machines leave no stone unturned. If you're not a Mac user and you don't have the cash for the Surface Book 2, then we can think of no better all-round workhorse option. The XPS 13 has recently been updated and we'll bring you a review of that model when we can.
Surface Book 2
As an update to the original, the Surface Book 2 makes some neat nips and tucks - mainly under the skin, with improved power and performance - that add up to make this Microsoft a seriously powerful contender for Apple's MacBook Pro (also on this list). The Book 2 is more versatile, for starters, given its touchscreen and multi-function screen positions.
It's ludicrously pricey though, ranging up to £3000 and there are a few points that could have been addressed over its predecessor, such as a wider colour gamut and a better-balanced design in terms of weight.
In many areas the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is an unrivalled pro workhorse though; a device more versatile than just a laptop. It further cements Microsoft's position as a hardware manufacturer to be reckoned with and it'll be more than worth it for many, especially those who use it beyond its laptop form.
Read the full Microsoft Surface Book 2 review
Apple MacBook Pro (13-or 15-inch)
As of mid-2019 all available MacBook Pros now have the TouchBar control strip along the top of the keyboard (rather than a touchscreen) and Touch ID fingerprint login.
Elsewhere, both MacBook sizes include brighter screens than earlier models, have exclusively USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, add a butterfly keyboard (which has a few issues) and, naturally, have powerful specs - including Intel's fairly new 8th generation Core i5 processors. You can even go with Radeon Pro discrete graphics in the 15-inch model, in a similar fashion to the Dell XPS 15 (above).
More so now than ever, each MacBook Pro option is a perfect workhorse - there's no underpowered entry-level model any longer.
Read the full Apple MacBook Pro review
Lenovo Yoga C930
It's not a thin and light or ultraportable, but this premium laptop has it all - it's a reliable, long-life workhorse with decent sound and HDR visuals. It's brilliant to type on, the display looks great and the battery life is solid at over 12 hours for video
There's plenty of ports, too, while a speaker in the hinge ensures excellent Dolby-enhanced sound that's right in front of you. The only real disadvantage is that we wish there were better graphics options.
Read the full Lenovo Yoga C930 review
The best 2-in-1 laptops
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Is it a tablet, or is it a laptop? Well, the Surface Pro is the best of both worlds. And it's the 2-in-1 device to beat in its category. Many have tried - from Acer to Samsung and beyond - but it's Microsoft that still has the upper hand.
The Surface Pro is the best built, offers exceptional performance with near-silent operation - whatever loadout you choose - and has a pin-sharp 12.3-inch PixelSense screen (which, at 2,736 x 1,824, is ultra-high resolution).
Ok, so it doesn't come with a keyboard as a default - although bundle deals are available you'll need to get that separately. And the battery life isn't as out-and-out good as a dedicated and larger device, but the Surface Pro has defined a whole category for good reason. It's certainly one for creatives who want to use the - also optional - Surface Pen for drawing, painting or sketching.
Too expensive? Consider the Surface Go as well, although that's more of a secondary machine due to its fairly underwhelming processor.
Read the full Microsoft Surface Pro 6 review
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga
With a superb keyboard, high-quality screen options and excellent performance, this convertible laptop has a huge amount to offer. However, some other options offer better power for the money. Mind you, it doesn't skimp on the processor - there's no low power CPU here.
Although the ThinkPad line has branched out in the years since Lenovo bought IBM's laptop business, you still get the same understated design and TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard.
Read the full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga review
Asus ZenBook Pro 14
The ZenBook Pro 14 is an interesting reaction to the MacBook Pro's TouchBar - instead, the trackpad is a screen. But for something so unusual, it's available at a great price and is a real pick among Asus' latest line of ZenBooks.
There are dedicated Nvidia graphics, solid battery life and plenty of connectivity. It could do with a screen that goes beyond Full HD, though, while there's little doubt we won't be seeing the trackpad in too many other notebooks. Still, it's certainly an interesting option.
Read the full Asus ZenBook Pro 14 review
Best ultraportable laptop
Apple MacBook Air
Last year, the MacBook Air got the update it deserved and since then there's been an additional improvement recently with the addition of a True Tone display and a lower entry-level starting price.
The latest MacBook Air delivers a lot of what people have been waiting for – more resolution, thinner bezel, a smaller footprint – in a long-lasting and largely great package.
But there are issues. The third-generation butterfly keyboard is problematic for many users and is the subject of an ongoing recall programme. The lack of an SD card slot is also an irritation but it's easily solved with the dongle.
Read the full Apple MacBook Air (2018) review
Dell XPS 13
A second appearance in this feature? Well, the XPS 13 really is that good and has recently been updated with an even more improved model which we are yet to review.
The new model features a more refined design and even manages to squeeze the webcam into the top bezel - gone is the weird perspective of having the camera at the top of the keyboard.
Read the full Dell XPS 13 review
Microsoft Surface Laptop 2
The Surface Laptop 2 is an absolute powerhouse that's also gorgeous to look at, well built, silent in operation and with an excellent screen and decent battery life to boot.
The only disadvantage is that it comes with a selection of legacy ports, meaning that while rivals have moved to USB-C for charging, display and general connectivity, the Surface Laptop 2 has been left behind (expect this to change later in 2019). It's a shame, because otherwise this is a formidable package.
Read the full Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 review
HP Envy 13
The HP Envy 13 is all the laptop most people need for a very compelling price. It can do things several pricier options simply can't, largely thanks to its built-in discrete graphics card. You'll still have to fiddle with resolutions and graphics settings in recent games, but it provides excellent performance.
Sure, the trackpad could be better, the screen resolution isn't mind-blowing, and the binary on/off keyboard backlight should be stepped but otherwise, the sheer versatility of this little laptop is hard to beat. For the price point you'll struggle to find a 13-inch laptop more compelling and versatile than the new HP Envy 13.
Read the full HP Envy 13 review
Huawei MateBook 13
Although Huawei has had recent woes in the mobile market due to trade wars, there's no reason to not buy a Huawei laptop because it runs Windows 10 which is unaffected. OK, so the design is a bit derivative but the price alone is a reason to recommend - you can snap one of these up on awesome deals.
Aside from the MacBook Air, the HP Envy 13 above is the key rival for the MateBook 13 because the HP has better connectivity and a discrete graphics card.
Read the full Huawei MateBook 13 review
The best Chromebook
Asus Chromebook Flip
Yes, it's more expensive than many Chromebooks clocking in around the £200-300 mark, but the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA is a Chromebook that feels like a lot more than its price point suggests.
You can use it pretty much all day thanks to excellent battery life, while the casing, screen and keyboard are of the kind of quality that makes the purchase worthwhile.
Read our full Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA review
Want more Chromebooks? Check out our guide to the best Chromebooks around