What every best Laptops has:
The 2017 version of the Dell XPS 13 breaks from the pack with a near-edge-to-edge Infinity display that fits a 13.3-inch screen into a laptop sized similarly to an 11-inch model. This Dell laptop is available in a variety of stock and customizable configurations ranging from a non-touch, Core i3 model that's ideal as a budget choice for school and home, to Core i7-driven high-resolution touch versions that can handle anything short of high-end competitive gaming. Road warriors will appreciate the more than 14 hours of battery life that the non-touch versions reached in some tests.
Even if a laptop is a great performer in every other way, modern, high-end games can make most buckle, slowing them to a crawl at all but the lowest graphics settings. The 14-inch Razer Blade isn't most laptops, however. Its current-generation Core i7 processor and near-top-end NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060M graphics deliver terrific gaming performance at full HD resolutions, even with the toughest titles. It's also got the chops to perform admirably as a work computer for graphics pros and others, with enough battery stamina to get through the day. The price is nice for a competent gaming ultraportable laptop, too.
For good, everyday performance in a super-cheap Windows laptop, it's hard to find fault with the 15-inch Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM. This desktop replacement laptop trades portability and a little bit of build quality for performance and battery life that surpasses most laptops in its price range. Paced by a latest generation Intel Core i3 processor, this laptop can handle the types of things that typical home users use a laptop for with no struggles. The battery will keep things humming along all the livelong day, and the full HD display at this price point is a welcome plus.
The Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA isn't the cheapest Chromebook you can buy, but its premium materials and above-average components provide a terrific computing experience for those interested in a super portable 12-inch laptop. It's a Chromebook, which means you'll be ditching Windows in favor of doing almost everything in the cloud via Google Chrome. It can also run Android apps from the Google Play store, and the touch-enabled screen can flip around to form a fully functional slate tablet. The 12.5-inch screen is full HD, too, and the battery will easily get you through a full day.
The 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro hits the sweet spot between performance, portability and price. Though it's not a huge upgrade over last year's version, the mid-2017 update brought the latest-generation processors to the MacBook Pro for faster performance and better battery life than before. The Retina display is as gorgeous as ever, and user ergonomics are well regarded by most reviewers. Build quality lives up to Apple's well-deserved reputation. If there's a gripe, it's that connectivity is limited to just two USB-C ports. Step up versions bring two additional ports and more features, but can get pricey.