Best Windows 10 laptops for 2020
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.
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.
In this article:
- How much should I spend on a Windows laptop?
- What type of Windows 10 laptop should I buy?
- Our pick of the best Windows 10 laptops
- Windows 10S - the next big thing?
- Less than £200 – Intel Celeron or Atom processors, 2GB of Ram and 32GB of storage. Won’t be particularly fast, but fine for note taking and browsing the internet.
- Less than £400 – Intel Pentium, Core i3, AMD Ryzen 3 and 4GB Ram. Fast enough for web browsing and research work. Aim for a Full HD screen and an SSD if you can.
- Less than £600 – Intel Core i5, i7, AMD Ryzen 5, 7 and 8GB of Ram. Should be ideal for photo editing and some light video work. Look for a thin and light design, a Full HD screen and an SSD.
- Less than £800 – As above, but in increasingly high-end designs. Look for great battery life on premium ultrabooks More than £800 – Some stunning designs, great screens and good speakers. High-end laptops will suit more intensive tasks, such as video editing or playing games.
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. Each month we'll pick one laptop from each of the following categories:
- 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.
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Best Windows 10 laptops
Multimedia This is one of the most desirable Windows laptops around thanks to its premium build quality, powerful processor and great screen. It rivals the likes of the MacBook Pro for performance, too. If you’re after a laptop for work and games, this could be a great choice. Read our full review to find out whether this is the right laptop for you.
This 13-inch laptop is reasonably priced and ticks almost every box when it comes to portability and performance. Our main complaint is with the speakers, which are very poor, but there are very few laptops that actually succeed when it comes to sound.
If you’re looking for a laptop for less than £400, look no further than this one. It has a thin and lightweight design, a Full HD screen and performance that’s good enough for all your daily computing tasks. What’s more, it’s the cheapest Best Buy we’ve tested in almost three years. Read our full review for the verdict on this budget machine.
Recommendations, pricing and scores correct as of December 2019.
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Windows 10 ‘S Mode’ is on its way to more laptops. “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.