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Best Windows Laptops

These options from HP, LG, Lenovo, and others all get the thumbs-up from CR's testers

An illustration of a laptop computer with a Windows logo

Unlike Apple fans, PC people have a wide range of options when it comes to choosing a portable computer.

Various companies—from Asus to HP to LG to Samsung—make Windows-based laptops with powerful processors and enough memory to support demanding apps, like Adobe Photoshop, without performance slowing to a crawl.

Some models even function as tablets, because they have touch screens and hinges that allow you to swivel the keyboard out of reach, which is something you can’t do with an Apple MacBook.

More on Laptops

And speaking of keyboards, the ones on the laptops we list below are much less of a sore point than those on Apple’s current offerings.

At the end of the day, a laptop may look the part, but if it doesn’t perform well, it's of little use to you. We buy and test dozens of them each year so that you know what you're getting.

Buying laptops at retail stores ensures that manufacturers don’t influence our ratings by giving us hand-picked units that might perform better than models bought in the real world. We then run the store-bought laptops through our labs, evaluating aspects such as battery life, display quality, and overall performance.

The following options all come recommended by our testers. They're the best Windows laptops in our ratings because they aced those exams.

HP Spectre 15

This is a 15-inch two-in-one convertible, which means you can bend the keyboard behind the 4K touch screen (also known as Ultra High Definition) to take notes with a stylus or watch a little YouTube in bed. It may not have the fancy leather wrapping of the Spectre Folio, but the laptop scores so well in our tests, you may not even miss that.

Here you’ll find an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, 512GB of solid state storage, and a dedicated Nvidia graphics card. Those are high-end specs, especially when it comes to the storage space.

You can expect the battery to last an impressive 16.5 hours when you're doing light tasks like browsing the web. And, at 4.6 pounds, the Spectre 15 is about average weight for a laptop this size.

Other useful features include a built-in fingerprint reader and webcam capable of facial recognition (both of which are easier than typing a password every time you want to log into Windows) and plenty of USB ports to connect accessories like a mouse and printer. 

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HP Spectre 15-DF0023DX x360 Laptop computers

Price: $1,450

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Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

Samsung may be better known for its smartphones and televisions, but its laptops are also worth a look. Take the Notebook 9 Pro, a 15-inch convertible that places high-end specs inside a machine that weighs only 3.8 pounds.

About those specs: There’s an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, 256GB of solid state storage, and a dedicated graphics card from AMD. That, of course, is more than enough to handle ordinary productivity tasks like editing Microsoft Word and Excel documents or streaming video from YouTube and Netflix. There’s a Full HD display here, which is still the standard for laptops, even if 4K displays are becoming more common.

There are plenty of USB ports to charge a smartphone and accommodate a mouse, printer, and thumb drive. The laptop also features a fingerprint reader and a built-in webcam that can be used for things like video chats and unlocking the screen. 

Quick Take

Samsung Notebook 9 Pro (2018) Laptop computers

Price: $1,350

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LG Gram 13

The LG Gram 13 is among the lightest laptops we have in our ratings—so light, in fact, that at 2.1 pounds, this 13-inch laptop weighs less than some 10- to 11-inch laptops.

But just because it’s light doesn’t mean it’s a lightweight: You’ll find an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and 256GB of solid state storage inside. The biggest concession to its small size is the lack of a dedicated graphics card, which would be useful for things like playing video games at very high settings and quickly rendering high-res video.

While those cards are more common in laptops today (thanks in part to Nvidia’s efforts to create smaller, more energy-efficient options), you can still happily browse the web or work inside productivity apps like Word or Excel without one. And though there’s a fingerprint reader so that you can easily log into Windows, the built-in webcam doesn't allow for facial recognition.

Because it’s so thin and light, the LG Gram 13 could be the ideal Windows laptop for someone who values portability above all else. Yes, you’ll have enough power to actually get work done, and you won’t mind tucking the thing into your bag when you’ve wrapped up for the day. 

Quick Take

LG Gram 13 8th Gen Laptop computers

Price: $950

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Asus ROG Strix

This is a big one—literally. The Asus ROG Strix is a 17.3-inch, 6.1-pound gaming laptop that belongs on the wishlist of anyone who plans to spend more time with “Battlefield 5” or “Metro Exodus” than, say, Microsoft Excel.

Not that you can’t use the ROG Strix to balance your monthly budget, browse through your Facebook News Feed, or watch a little YouTube, but that’s almost beside the point when you have this much power at your disposal. There’s an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, and 512GB of solid state storage.

What sets this model apart is the new dedicated graphics card from Nvidia that carries the RTX branding. (Older graphics cards carry the GTX branding.) RTX cards support a new technology called ray tracing that allows for more detailed and realistic graphics, particularly with respect to lighting. Not all games support the feature, but some of the biggest ones on the market do, including “Battlefield 5”—and they look mighty impressive.

Not into gaming? Though the RTX graphics card may not mean much to you, the sheer power on offer will also be useful for demanding tasks like editing video or managing large photo libraries. 

Quick Take

Asus ROG Strix GL704GV-DS74 Laptop computers

Price: $1,800

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Lenovo Yoga 920

Lenovo is the company that first helped popularize the idea of a two-in-one laptop, and the Yoga 920 is a fine result of that tradition. The 13.9-inch model weighs 3 pounds on the dot, which is about average for a convertible laptop of this size. The specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory, and 256GB of solid state storage. (There’s no dedicated graphics card.)

Lenovo is also known for the quality of its keyboards, and the one on this model is no exception: Our testers describe the keys (which light up in the dark) as large and comfortable—a handy attribute if you expect to do a lot of typing.  

Quick Take

Lenovo Yoga 920 14 Laptop computers

Price: $1,040

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