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Top laptops

Best Windows 10 laptops for 2018

By Michael Passingham

Article 2 of 4

Windows 10 is still the operating system that most people are familiar with, and there’s a wide variety of options available. We run through what you need to know about Windows 10 laptops, then make five recommendations for laptops at different budgets and use cases.

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Microsoft’s operating system is the most widely used computer software on the planet. This means there’s a huge variety of devices to choose from, ranging from budget netbooks to high-end multimedia laptops.

If you’re currently using a computer that’s running an older version of Windows – such as XP, 7 or 8, the basic concepts of Windows remain the same, with some added polish and features. If you want a new Windows laptop, you don’t have any other choices beyond Windows 10, especially since the older versions of Windows will soon no longer be supported by Microsoft and will stop receiving essential security updates.

How much should I spend on a laptop?
Price range Pros and cons
Under £500
  • Fine for basic tasks such as word processing and browsing the internet
  • Available in screen sizes from 12 inches right up to 17 inches”
  • May be larger and heavier than more expensive models
£500-£1,000
  • Fine for basic and more advanced tasks and multi-tasking
  • More likely to have a touchscreen and additional features such as flexible hinges to double as a tablet
  • May not be worth the extra money for basic users
More than £1,000
  • Premium models, many offer sleek, cutting-edge designs
  • Can handle more power-hungry tasks such as video editing and gaming
  • Battery life can take a hit on models with more power-hungry processors.

 

What type of Windows 10 laptop should I buy?

To point you in the direct direction, the table below gives you five top Windows 10 laptop options from five different categories and price points, depending on what you’re looking for:

  • Just the basics - a laptop that can handle general, day-to-day tasks
  • Mid-range Ultrabook - Ultrabooks are thin, light and powerful laptops, and the cheaper models can offer exceptional value for money
  • 2-in-1 convertible - 360-degree hinges are the order of the day, allowing to use your laptop in various modes, including as a tablet. Great for watching videos or making notes with a stylus.
  • Premium Ultrabook - The ultimate in thin and light computing: These machines can do almost everything, and that’s reflected in the price.
  • Multimedia laptop - Top-spec, larger laptops with more powerful processors, powerful graphics hardware and better-quality screens. Battery life can sometimes suffer.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by joining Which?.

Best Windows 10 laptops

Typical price £979.00
Which? score 90%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Battery:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Portability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Processor:
Member exclusive
Claimed storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Resolution (pixels):
Member exclusive

High-end UltrabookA firm Which? favourite. This 13-inch ultrabook has a great screen, excellent build, fast performance and superb speakers. It's the complete package.

Typical price £1,299.00
Which? score 81%
Reviewed Sep 2018
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Portability:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Processor:
Member exclusive
Claimed storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Resolution (pixels):
Member exclusive

Multimedia This high-end laptop is a triumph in almost every area. A great screen combines with superb performance and good battery life to make for the ultimate Windows laptop for photo and video editing, and it can even manage some games as well.

Typical price £600.00
Which? score 80%
Reviewed Sep 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Portability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Processor:
Member exclusive
Claimed storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Resolution (pixels):
Member exclusive

This laptop isn't new, but it's still great value. One our top choices for a mid-range Ultrabook.

Typical price £700.00
Which? score 77%
Reviewed Jul 2018
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Battery:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Portability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Processor:
Member exclusive
Claimed storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Resolution (pixels):
Member exclusive

2-in-1 convertible This excellent 2-in-1 laptop fetches a higher price than some laptops, but we think it's worth it. It has a good screen and performance is fast. Our only major complaint is mediocre battery life.

Typical price £700.00
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Sep 2018
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Portability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Processor:
Member exclusive
Claimed storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Resolution (pixels):
Member exclusive

The laptop to watch in 2018. A great screen, fast performance and good battery life make it a winner at its price.

Recommendations, pricing and scores correct as of October 2018. 

Looking for our full reviews? Click to jump straight to our independent laptop reviews.

Windows 10 S – The next big thing?

Windows 10 ‘S Mode’ is on its way to more laptops, with 2018 the year in which more cheap models come bundled with the operating system. “S Mode” is Microsoft’s answer to the Google Chromebook, with measures in place to prevent you from installing applications from anywhere outside the built-in Windows Store. This means that the apps available to you have, been vetted by Microsoft and, in theory, should be more secure, easier to update and more respectful of your privacy.

By its nature, the Windows Store has fewer apps than the wide open internet – and you’re currently limited to using the Microsoft Edge web browser – but the upshots are that, Microsoft claims, your PC should feel as fresh and fast after a year as it did on the day you bought it.

But Windows isn’t your only choice. Our guide to Windows, MacOS and Chrome OS reveals that you have more options than you might think.

We test laptops more thoroughly than anyone else

Because Which? is independent and does not accept advertising or freebies, you can trust our reviews to give you the full, honest and impartial truth about a product.

We use a vast combination of objective and subjective examinations to ensure that the laptops we recommend truly are the best. As well as using light-monitoring equipment to evaluate screen quality, for example, we also have a panel of experts to see how each laptop's screen looks in various environments, and whether it suffers from distracting reflections.

From battery life to the sound you'll get from the speakers, we test every nook and cranny. Find out which machines flew through our in-depth tests by discovering all our Best Buy laptops.

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