The Best Laptop Buyer’s Guide – Winter 2023
Choosing the Right Laptop, Made Easy!
Need a new laptop but haven’t quite kept up with all the latest product releases? Well, we’ve got you covered – this guide profiles a dozen of the best laptop on the market today, in a variety of categories, from home office to work on-the-go to enthusiast-level gaming.
The Best Laptops, Right Now!
For Winter 2023, every single one of our 12 picks is new, which goes to show how truly dynamic the market is. That’s in part due to renewed competition between Intel and AMD, each vying for dominance in the laptop processor market like never before. Translation: consumers win with every new CPU released! And that’s why you need this guide… so you don’t get stuck with last year’s also-ran, which many vendors will be more than happy to sell you!!!
And while there’s truly a great laptop for everyone on this list, not everyone needs the same thing. That’s why we have budget choices for families and students, ultra-light choices for serious travelers, content creation machines, and of course, gaming laptops, all of which are equipped with Nvidia’s RTX 3000 and RTX 4000-series GPUs. Anything less would be a mistake!
Key Things to Look For
As noted, Intel and AMD are now competing hard for the attention of laptop buyers, and we’ve incorporated the best from both companies in our selections. Notably, Intel called a “time out” in order to fight back against a renewed AMD, releasing nothing new in 2021, but coming storming back for 2022 with its 12th-Gen CPUs. With its latest 13th-Gen models, Intel stretches its lead, although Intel’s main advantage is at the very high end. Its hybrid architecture packs in efficiency and performance cores to beat AMD in both lightly-threaded and highly-threaded workloads.
One last thing: there’s been a lot of innovation with regard to laptop screens as well lately, and many high-end models offer features such as OLED or mini-LED panels, high-refresh rates, extreme resolutions, or work-friendly 16:10 aspect ratios. We’ve made sure to call these out in our recommendations so you know all the great tech you can get!
We update this guide quarterly, as new laptops are constantly hitting the market, and Intel and AMD update their CPU offerings at least once a year. To help support continued development of this guide, please use the Amazon links we provide. They will auto-convert for readers in Canada, the UK, and parts of the EU, with automatic substitutions made where necessary based on regional variations.
The Touchscreen Chromebook –
Lenovo Flex 5$250Chromebooks took on a huge new life once so many people found themselves (and their kids) at home, because these devices can be ideal low-cost machines. The one concern we have is that they’ve become so popular that no-name models often sell for more than much more powerful Windows-based PCs. That’s why we strongly recommend the Flex 5, which is far and away the best Chromebook you can buy for a reasonable price. It has a feature that is simply critical from our point of view: a touchscreen, and a big 13.3″ one at that. We can’t believe so many Chromebooks are sold without touchscreens given the OS they are running comes from a smartphone! Also onboard are an Intel Celeron N5205U dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 64GB solid-state drive. You even get full 360-degree flip functionality with this Chromebook, another reason it is head-and-shoulders above all the similarly-priced competition!
Fun fact: Chrome OS is now the second most popular operating system in the world, behind Windows and ahead of macOS!
The Home Office Laptop –
Acer Aspire 5$491If you want the perfect work-from-home laptop at a great price, go with the Acer Aspire 5! It offers a 15.6″ 1920×1080 IPS screen, a potent AMD Ryzen 5 5500U six-core, 12-thread processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive, and Windows 11 Home. With a weight of 3.9lb, it’s a true thin-and-light, and a bargain one at that!
This laptop uses a Zen 2-based AMD CPU, the 5500U, which is a rebranded version of the older 4600U. That doesn't bother us one bit at this pricepoint!
The Work/School Laptop –
Acer Aspire Vero 1195G7$627If you want the most versatile laptop on a budget, go straight for the Aspire Vero. This model packs in a powerful Intel Core i5-1195G7 quad-core processor with Turbo Boost to 5GHz and Iris Xe graphics, a 15.6″ 1920×1080 screen, 16GB of DDR4 memory, and a 512GB PCIe-based solid-state drive. And it’s just 4lb, making it very portable!
We think touchscreens are seriously under-valued, as they make laptops so much more versatile and fun to use. Because of that, we consider this the perfect student laptop.
The Affordable Ultralight –
Acer Swift 3 SF314$880The Acer Swift 3 is an amazingly-light laptop at an equally-amazing price. It packs in a powerful Intel Core i5-1240P ten-core, 16-thread processor, along with a 14” touchscreen. It also includes 16GB of RAM (a necessity for serious multi-tasking), a 512GB solid-state drive pre-loaded with Windows 11, and a backlit keyboard. And despite weighing just 2.76lb., it still gets over 7 hours of battery life on a charge.
This laptop really hits the sweet spot in terms of price, performance, and portability!
The Ultimate Business Laptop –
ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED 6800U$1300The Zenbook line from Asus has defined elegance for years, setting the standards by which all others are judged. And the latest Zenbook S 13 OLED is no different – it’s the ultimate workstation for the professional on the go. Coming in at an ultra-portable 2.43lb, it still manages to come fully-loaded. It starts with the massively-powerful AMD Ryzen 7 6800U CPU, an 8-core, 16-thread CPU that cannot be matched in terms of performance in a slim laptop. Also on board are a gorgeous 13.3-inch 2880×1800 OLED touchscreen with a 16:10 ratio, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB solid-state drive, and Windows 11 Pro.
This slim and light laptop truly fits the description of a portable workstation, and will be the perfect choice for mobile professionals needing power and portability in equal measure.
The Ultimate Content Creation Laptop –
ASUS VivoBook Pro 16X 6900H/3050 Ti$1600Welcome to the ultimate productivity laptop! This model is bursting with power, despite a weight of just 4.4 pounds! It all starts with the shockingly-fast AMD Ryzen 9 6900H 8-core, 16-thread processor, which will rip through anything you can throw at it. Backing this CPU up is an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, perfect for content creation, along with 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. The icing on top is the gorgeous display: a 16” WQXGA+ (3840 x 2400) OLED screen with an enhanced 16:10 aspect ratio and an impressive 400 nits of brightness.
While many high-end laptops are created specifically for gaming, this was was created for creators!
The Lightweight Gaming Laptop –
ASUS TUF Dash F15 12650H/RTX 3060$1189 The Guru’s Tip
This laptop's weight nearly qualifies it as a true thin-and-light, impressive for a gaming model!
The Mid-Range Gaming Laptop –
MSI Pulse GL66 12700H/RTX 3070$1254 The Guru’s Tip
If you have the budget for it, this is a really nice upgrade from the model above. The only real tradeoff is that it's heavier.
The High-End Gaming Laptop –
Gigabyte Aorus 15 XE5 12700H/RTX 3070 Ti$1583 The Guru’s Tip
AMD forced Intel's hand with its Ryzen chips, but Intel is now firmly back in the driver's seat!
The Extreme Gaming Laptop –
Gigabyte Aero 17 YE5 12700H/3080 Ti$2099 The Guru’s Tip
This is an unbelievable deal. It's technically "last-gen," but the discount makes it a shocking value!
The Extreme Gaming Laptop –
MSI Stealth 17 Studio 13900H/RTX 4080$2799 The Guru’s Tip
AMD doesn't have anything in its stable that can counter the 13900H!
The Ultimate Gaming Laptop –
MSI Raider GE78 13980HX/RTX 4090$4099 The Guru’s Tip
The RTX 4090 used in laptops is based off the RTX 4080 used in desktops. Some people may wonder why, and the answer is that the desktop 4090 is a 450W GPU... that's never going to work in a laptop!
- The Touchscreen Chromebook – Lenovo Flex 5 ($250)
- The Home Office Laptop – Acer Aspire 5 ($491)
- The Work/School Laptop – Acer Aspire Vero 1195G7 ($627)
- The Affordable Ultralight – Acer Swift 3 SF314 ($880)
- The Ultimate Business Laptop – ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED 6800U ($1300)
- The Ultimate Content Creation Laptop – ASUS VivoBook Pro 16X 6900H/3050 Ti ($1600)
- The Lightweight Gaming Laptop – ASUS TUF Dash F15 12650H/RTX 3060 ($1189)
- The Mid-Range Gaming Laptop – MSI Pulse GL66 12700H/RTX 3070 ($1254)
- The High-End Gaming Laptop – Gigabyte Aorus 15 XE5 12700H/RTX 3070 Ti ($1583)
- The Extreme Gaming Laptop – Gigabyte Aero 17 YE5 12700H/3080 Ti ($2099)
- The Extreme Gaming Laptop – MSI Stealth 17 Studio 13900H/RTX 4080 ($2799)
- The Ultimate Gaming Laptop – MSI Raider GE78 13980HX/RTX 4090 ($4099)