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Best Laptops of 2019

Whether you value mostly portability or performance, these are the models that Consumer Reports recommends

An illustration of a laptop.

It used to be relatively easy to choose a laptop. You picked the screen size and looked for the thinnest, lightest model around. But these days, there are more factors to consider.

Do you spring for the dedicated graphics card, which helps you play games such as Fortnite and edit video? Do you buy a two-in-one convertible, which lets you fold the screen back and use the device like a tablet? And what exactly is the difference between Intel Core i5 and i7 processors?

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If you click on the links above, we can help you make these decisions. Thanks to our test labs, we know a thing or two about how all these factors add up to performance in a full range of screen sizes.

Consumer Reports tests dozens of new laptops each year, evaluating them on elements such as ergonomics, battery life, display quality, and, yes, portability, so you don’t waste your money on a clunker. All the products we test—from headphones to smartphones to OLED TVs—are bought at retail stores. That’s because samples sent directly from a manufacturer could be tweaked to perform better in our tests.

Consumer Reports also incorporates brand reliability and owner satisfaction data collected from surveys of our members into the Overall Scores for laptops.

Below are some of the best laptops of the year in each of five screen-size categories.

10- to 11-Inch: Microsoft Surface Go

Very small laptops such as the 11-inch Microsoft Surface Go generally aren’t powerful, but this one makes up for it with portability and convenience. It’s light at just 1.7 pounds, and its battery lasts a generous 11 hours in Consumer Reports testing. The display is bright, produces accurate colors, and is easy to read even when you’re outside or working under harsh lighting.

But the Microsoft Surface Go won’t work for everyone. The computer’s brain is a relatively low-end Intel Pentium processor, and some applications may run slowly as a result. The other major compromise is in storage. You get just 64 gigabytes, which is less than what many smartphones have. That’s fine for text files and spreadsheets, but if you choose this one and you want to store lots of high-definition videos or a large digital photo library, you’ll probably need to resort to cloud storage.

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