Top five laptops for 2020
By Michael Passingham
Article 1 of 4
We help you find the right laptop for you, picking five of the very best, as well as some you'll want to give a wide berth
We all use our laptops in a variety of different ways, whether it's to compose complicated spreadsheets, catch up on the latest blockbuster via a streaming service, or simply follow friends on Facebook.
The models below are the ones we think are some of the best laptops to pick up right now. This is the first section of our four-page guide to the best laptops you can buy, including the the best Windows 10 laptops for all budgets, the best Chromebooks and the best MacBook to choose for your given task. See our cheap laptop guide for the top five budget laptops for under £500 and our picks for the best laptops for students. Use the navigation buttons at the top or bottom of this page to find the right guide for you.
On this page we've also picked out some of the worst laptops we've tested so you can see what you should be avoiding. Nobody should have to put up with sluggish processors, tinny speakers and dull screens.
Top five laptops
The quintessential laptop for everything from professional creatives to students on design courses, not much comes close to this pricey laptop. If your profession requires industry-standard software and you also want something portable with a great screen, and need a laptop for getting through complex tasks, this is the ultimate option.
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.
Last updated: April 2020.
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And here's two laptops to avoid
Cheap but not cheerful, and packed with slow processors, limited Ram, unpleasant keyboards and screens that are hard to make out, here's two models to steer clear of.
Top two laptops to avoid
Five tips for picking a laptop
Essentially the brains of the machine, the processor is instrumental in making sure your laptop runs smoothly and quickly. Pick a slow one, and you'll be left drumming your fingers as you wait for your program to load. The most common type is Intel's Core i3, i5, and i7 range. The Core i3 will fit the bill for basic tasks like word processing and web browsing, but if you're looking to do anything more intensive, such as graphics editing or playing games, you'll need a beefier processor.
Ram is the memory of the laptop, and the more of it there is, the snappier it will be. 4GB is the minimum we'd recommend unless you're prepared to buy a very basic laptop. It's also worth checking how many Ram slots the laptop has, as it may be possible to add more Ram at a later date to give a flagging laptop a second wind.
Battery life can make or break a laptop. If a machine is packed with the latest specs, but only lasts a couple of hours untethered from the plug socket, it's going to be something of a letdown. Some of the models we've tested can last up to a whopping fifteen hours between charges, but realistically, seven upwards is more than reasonable to look for.
A laptop screen is a simple thing to overlook, but it's an important consideration. The very best are bright, crisp and clear. The worst are dulled and lacking in colour. Pick one of these, and you'll be peering into the virtual world through a dirty window. Our tests break down how good screens are in different conditions.
How much you can store on your laptop will depend on the size of its drive. Around 1TB should be more than enough for most, but if you start looking at solid state drives (SSD), you'll notice that these come in much smaller configurations than traditional hard drives. The upshot is that they are much faster to access information, meaning that your laptop will start faster and load quicker. If speed is key, go with an SSD. If sheer space is more important, opt for a hard drive.
See our guide on how to buy the best laptop for more in-depth advice.