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Top laptops

Top five laptops for 2018

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 

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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 in 2018. 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 5 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.

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?.

Top five laptops for 2018

Typical price £900.00
Which? score 92%
Reviewed Jul 2017
Ease of use:
5 out of 55 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
Ram (GB):
Member exclusive
Claimed storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

This thin and light laptop looks great and is light enough to carry around with you. Good performance and a wonderful design make it a great option.

Typical price £1,749.00
Which? score 90%
Reviewed Sep 2018
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
Ram (GB):
Member exclusive
Claimed storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

This is an outstanding example of a no-compromises laptop. With a world-beating screen, great performance and a thin and light design that puts most other laptops to shame, this is the ultimate lightweight laptop.

Typical price £979.00
Which? score 89%
Reviewed Nov 2018
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 54 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
Ram (GB):
Member exclusive
Claimed storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

A 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 £530.00
Which? score 82%
Reviewed Dec 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:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Portability:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Processor:
Member exclusive
Ram (GB):
Member exclusive
Claimed storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

This is one of the best mid-range laptops on the market right now. It includes a 360-degree hinge to it can be used in tablet mode, and performance is better than the average Chromebook. If you want a lightweight and simple laptop, look no further.

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
Ram (GB):
Member exclusive
Claimed storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

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

Pricing, recommendations, and test scores correct as of October 2018.

Not found the product for you? Browse all of our laptop reviews

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

Typical price £219.00
Which? score 45%
Reviewed Aug 2018
Ease of use:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Screen quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Sound quality:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Features:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Processor:
Member exclusive
Ram (GB):
Member exclusive
Claimed storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

This brand is apparently popular on Amazon, but our tests reveal this budget laptop is a complete false economy. It’s slow, poorly made and the battery life is awful. Other than that, it’s great.

Typical price £250.00
Which? score 41%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Ease of use:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Screen quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Sound quality:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Features:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Processor:
Member exclusive
Ram (GB):
Member exclusive
Claimed storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

A cheap laptop that skimps on the processor, speakers, keyboard, screen, and…well, just about all the components. Cheap? Yes. Cheerful? Oh dear no.

Five tips for picking a laptop

Processor

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

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

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. 

Screen

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.

Storage space

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.

Want more? See all our laptop reviews

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