Tablets are great for browsing the web, reading ebooks, playing games, listening to music and video calls with friends and family. But you should look at a laptop for handling lots of emails, creating documents and general work/business needs. While tablets rely mostly on touchscreens, which is OK for texting, you’ll want a full keyboard for more intensive tasks.
Here are our picks for the best laptops that fit into any budget.
Best laptops under $500
Lenovo IdeaPad 3i
Why we picked it up: It’s lightweight and affordable, with a powerful Intel Core i5 processor.
You get a lot of bang for your buck with the Lenovo IdeaPad 3i. It packs in a 12th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage via the solid-state (SSD) drive.
The 14-inch FHD display with narrow bezels gives you a great viewing experience, whether streaming movies or on a conference call. Connect your favorite devices via the USB-C port, two USB ports, HDMI or Bluetooth.
This laptop is travel-ready, weighing just over 3 lbs. and with a battery life of up to 10 hours. Windows 11 Home is included, so you don’t need to worry about upgrading your OS anytime soon. The Lenovo IdeaPad 3i laptop is suitable for home, school and business use.
HP 15 Laptop
Why we picked it up: For a budget laptop, this is powerful with 8GB of RAM.
With an AMD Ryzen 3 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for all your storage needs, this is a fast little machine. But don’t expect it to run the latest games or too many apps simultaneously.
Ultra-thin bezels mean more screen size in a smaller package — 15.6 inches, to be exact, and in HD. You also get the full version of Windows 11 Home, a 720p webcam, three USB ports, an HDMI port, Bluetooth and up to seven hours and 15 minutes of battery life with fast charging.
Is your laptop having problems holding a charge? Batteries aren’t meant to last forever and will worsen with time. Tap or click here to quickly check your laptop’s battery health.
Don’t let this laptop’s low price scare you away. It has a solid build quality and performs beyond its price tag.
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 11 Chromebook
Why we picked it up: Super affordable option that checks all the boxes for working or school from home.
At just over $100, this Lenovo Chromebook is a cheap option that works great for kindergarten to sixth-grade students.
This Chromebook’s Intel Celeron processor does the job (if that job doesn’t involve high-end gaming or graphic design). With 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD and integrated Intel UHD graphics, it’s not exactly a slouch.
With an 11-inch HD display, 11 hours of battery life, Bluetooth, two USB-C ports and a standard USB port, there’s much to like here. There’s even an audio jack for your headphones and microphone. At just under two-and-a-half pounds, you can take it anywhere.
Best laptops from $500 to $1,000
HP 15.6 Laptop
Why we picked it up: For the power user that does not need dedicated graphics.
This HP laptop has an 11th-generation Intel 4-core i5 processor that can be clocked up to 4.2GHz. You also get 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics are good (but not great) for high-end gaming and creating, but you’ll want a dedicated card if you’re a more hardcore user.
The 15.6-inch FHD screen is designed for wide viewing angles. This mid-range laptop also comes with a USB-C port, two USB ports, an HDMI port and Bluetooth support. Windows 11 is included. Coming in at 3.75 lbs., you can take this laptop on the go, but make sure you have some extra space in your bag. The battery is good for nine hours.
The HP 15.6 Laptop is a workhorse ready for a full day on the job.
Acer ConceptD 3 Pro
Why we picked it up: Editing workstation on a budget that can handle video, audio and design with a dedicated graphics card.
The ConceptD 3 Pro uses an Intel 9th-generation i5 processor that can be clocked up to 4.1GHz. Graphic designers will appreciate an NVIDIA Quadro T1000 graphics card and 16GB of RAM. A 512GB SSD offers plenty of storage space and speed.
The 15.6-inch FHD screen is PANTONE Validated for creators who work extensively with color. There’s a USB-C port, two USB ports, an HDMI port and Bluetooth support for your other gadgets. You’ll get 10 hours of battery life between charges.
One drawback is the included Windows 10 Professional OS. You’ll want to upgrade to Windows 11 ASAP. Microsoft is still offering this for free. To check if Windows 11 is ready for your device, select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates.
If you’re a digital creator looking for a solid machine that doesn’t break the bank, look at the ConceptD 3 Pro.
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Best laptops for $1,000+
ASUS TUF Dash 15
Why we picked it up: This model from ASUS is powerful enough for gaming on the go.
Moving up a price tier gets you quite a few goodies. The ASUS TUF Dash 15 is built for gamers. It has an 11th-generation Intel i7 processor (up to 4.8GHz), 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050Ti graphics card.
Gamers will also love the 15.6-inch FHD display and RGB backlit keyboard. Connect all your gaming peripherals via Bluetooth, three USB ports, an HDMI port, or a Thunderbolt port.
This rig comes with Windows 10 Home, which you should upgrade as soon as you boot it up. Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates and you can get Windows 11 for free.
Gaming laptops don’t come cheap, and if you’re on a budget, the ASUS TUF Dash 15 is a good entry point to get your game on.
Apple MacBook Air
Why we picked it up: The latest MacBook Air packs everything a Mac user can want into a beautifully designed package.
Apple’s M2 chip outclasses its predecessor, the M1, in every way. The new MacBook Air combines the M2 chip with 8GB of RAM, an 8-core graphics processing unit (GPU) and 256 GB of storage.
The 13.6-inch display, 1080p FaceTime HD camera, three-mic array and four-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio will enhance all your video calls. There are two Thunderbolt/USB ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
You’ll get up to 18 hours of battery, which can be topped off via the MagSafe 3 charging port. At under three lbs. and less than half an inch thick, the MacBook Air is ready to fly.
If you have an iCloud storage account for your iPhone or iPad, you can also store your MacBook files. If you’re already part of the Apple ecosystem, the MacBook Air is a bit of a no-brainer.
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