Computers / Buying Guide

Best Laptops for Different Uses


Gift-giving season is around the corner and with big savings coming your way, maybe it’s time to get that notebook you (or your friend or family member) have always wanted. While it’s hard to pick out the “best,” why don’t you scroll through our suggestions to see if any of these are a good fit for you?

The Appealing Apple

If you’re already invested in the Apple ecosystem or thinking about hopping on the bandwagon, the MacBook is the perfect starting point. Sporting a 12" Retina display, up to a seventh-generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor, and SSD storage, it’s more than capable of tackling everyday tasks and serving as your go-to mobile entertainment machine. Additionally, it measures 13.1mm thin and weighs 2 lb, making it as lightweight and portable as the MacBook Air. One thing users should note is that it only has a single USB Type-C port, so be sure to invest in a multi-port dock to help make your life easier. Alternatively, if you’re willing to spend a bit more for a larger screen and a performance bump, aim for the MacBook Pro.

Apple 15.4" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

The Jack of All Trades

Have you ever wanted a notebook that does everything? Well, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a solid option, thanks to its 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrid design, powerful Intel Core processor, speedy SSD, expansive PixelSense display, and dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. Work as you normally would in Laptop Mode, watch videos and present in View Mode, detach the screen for Tablet Mode, and try out Studio Mode to let your creative side free. Be sure to combine it with the Surface Pen and Surface Dial to unlock new possibilities.

Microsoft 13.5" Surface Book 2 Multi-Touch 2-in-1 Notebook

For Keeping It Simple

Need a simple, no-fuss system that’ll keep on keeping on? Then check out the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Series notebook. This notebook doesn’t have any fancy bells and whistles attached, keeping it at an affordable price for users who need a reliable everyday system. Use it to browse the Internet, compose and edit documents, stream online TV shows and movies, video-chat with friends and family, and more. Bonus points for having an optical drive, SD card reader, wired and wireless Internet connectivity, and 1TB of storage that’s adequate for most uses.

Dell 15.6" Inspiron 15 5000 Series Notebook

The Fashion Police

So, you want a laptop, but you wouldn’t be caught dead with another generic, bulky, gray or black hunk of junk (figuratively speaking, of course). You want a fashion statement piece and at the same, you want the performance for the price you’re paying. Luckily, the ASUS ZenBook UX430UA fits that profile (as long as you’re into blue). This laptop features a 14" Full HD touchscreen display crammed into a 13" chassis, thanks to its eye-catching NanoEdge bezel design. Moreover, it’s got a Core i7 processor, an SSD, modern connectivity options such as USB Type-C, a built-in fingerprint reader, and an all-day battery. While it may lack in the graphics department, due to its integrated graphics, it’s a nice step up from “Keeping it Simple.”

ASUS 14" ZenBook UX430UA Notebook

For the Classroom

School has changed and students are now starting to use notebooks much earlier in the classroom, so why not get them a Chromebook? Aside from being able to handle the usual demands of schoolwork, such as online research and writing papers, a Chromebook should also be priced appropriately. At an affordable price point, the Acer Chromebook 14 generously features a 14" Full HD IPS display, 32GB of eMMC storage (which is a nice bump over the standard 16GB), and an all-day battery. It’s also housed within an all-aluminum-alloy chassis that’s stylish and durable.

Acer 14" 32GB Chromebook 14

For Working on Weekends

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” that is, until the bills start piling up. If you’re a creative professional seeking a portable solution, check out the HP ZBook 15 G4. This mobile workstation is decked out with a Core i7 processor, an SSD, and an NVIDIA Quadro graphics card to help speed along your workflow. Moreover, it’s got multiple video ports, which allow you to connect external displays for enhanced multitasking and larger viewing. Weighing less than 6 lb and measuring 1" thin, you’ll be able to keep up with your post-production work wherever you may be.

HP 15.6" ZBook 15 G4 Mobile Workstation

For Gaming, Anywhere and Everywhere

Picking a gaming notebook used to be a tough choice. Do you get something that’s portable, or a ten-pound desktop replacement? Thanks to the advancement in GPU technology, manufacturers are now able to offer desktop-like performance in a compact chassis, such as the Gigabyte Aero 15. This notebook is equipped with a Core i7 processor, an SSD, and most importantly, a dedicated graphics card. (In this case an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060.) Combined with a 15.6” thin-bezel display, it should have no trouble tackling graphically demanding games at 1080p. And of course, it’s got an RGB keyboard, because it wouldn’t be a gaming laptop without it.

Gigabyte 15.6" Aero 15 Notebook

We’ve covered a few typical uses here and there, and hopefully you’ve found one that’s worth considering. If not, is there a type of laptop you think would make a good addition to this list? Let us know, below, in the Comments section.