The Best Laptop Buyer’s Guide – Spring 2022
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 Spring 2022, 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 latest RTX 3000-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. Its latest 12th-Gen CPUs, based on the cutting-edge Alder Lake hybrid architecture, are a huge leap forward in terms of computing power. As is often the case with new tech, however, it’s going to take time to trickle down, and the first out of the gate are the high-wattage versions, which are best utilized in premium gaming laptops. That’s where you’ll find them in our guide.
As for our home and work laptop picks, they are powered by either Intel’s older 11th-Gen CPUs or one of AMD’s impressive 5000-series CPUs based on the Zen 3 architecture. Note that AMD has played a few games with its naming scheme, such that the latest 5000-series processors don’t all use Zen 3… some are rebadged 4000-series processors, which is fine as long as the price is right. Just pay attention to our recommendations and you’ll be set.
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 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 and Newegg links we provide. Our Amazon links will 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 –
HP Chromebook X360$355Chromebooks 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 HP x360, 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 14″ 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 Pentium Silver N5030 quad-core processor (most Chromebooks have dual-cores!), 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 –
Lenovo IdeaPad 3$435If you want the perfect work-from-home laptop at a great price, go with the Lenovo Flex 5! It offers a 14.0″ 1920×1080 screen, a potent AMD Ryzen 5 5500U six-core, 12-thread processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive, and Windows 11 Home. Topping it off is next-gen WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 for the latest in connectivity! With a weight of 4.4lb, it’s not an ultra-light, but one look at the price and you’ll see that it is an ultra-bargain!
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 Budget Convertible –
HP Pavilion x360 1135G7$600If you want the most versatile laptop on a budget, go straight for the Pavilion x360. This model packs in a powerful Intel Core i5-1135G7 quad-core processor with Turbo Boost to 4.2GHz and Iris Xe graphics, a 14″ 1920×1080 touchscreen, 8GB of DDR4 memory, and a 256GB PCIe-based solid-state drive. And it’s just 3.55lb despite offering a 360-degree hinge and full tablet functionality!
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 –
HP Pavilion Aero 13$830Few companies have been willing to break into the ultra-light category of laptops, which we consider under 2.5lb, and those that have typically charge a big premium. With its new 2.2lb Pavilion Aero 13, however, HP is offering an amazingly-light laptop at an equally-amazing price. The Aero 13 packs in a powerful AMD Ryzen 5 5600U six-core, 12-thread processor, along with a 13” IPS screen with a work-friendly 1920 x 1200 (16:10) resolution. It also includes 8GB of RAM, 512GB solid-state drive pre-loaded with Windows 11, and a backlit keyboard. And despite its ultra-light design, it still gets over 10 hours of battery life on a charge.
This laptop really hits the sweet spot in terms of price, performance, and portability!
The Content Creation Machine –
Acer Swift X 5800U/RTX 3050 Ti$925If you want to create content on a budget, you simply cannot do better than the Acer Swift X. Combining the power of AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800U eight-core, 16-thread wonder-CPU with Nvidia’s potent GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU on acceleration duties, this laptop packs a punch! It also features 16GB of RAM, which is practically a necessity for serious content creation, along with a 512GB solid-state drive. The screen is a 14″ 1920×1080 IPS model with 300nits of brightness, and the Swift X also features next-gen WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, a biometric fingerprint reader, and an impressive 12 hours of battery life. Best of all, it’s designed to actually be portable, at just 3.06lb, which is amazingly light for a laptop with a discrete GPU on board.
This laptop offers a big boost in performance over the model above, thanks to the more powerful CPU and the dedicated GPU, but it also weighs 0.9lb more, meaning it's in a different weight class. Both are fantastic deals for slightly different users!
The Ultimate Business Laptop –
Asus ZenBook 14$1100The Zenbook line from Asus has defined elegance for years, setting the standards by which all others are judged. And the latest Zenbook 14 is no different – it packs incredible power into a slim, attractive chassis. Coming in at just 2.87lb, it’s simply loaded with features starting with the massively-powerful AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU, an 8-core, 16-thread CPU that cannot be matched in terms of performance in a slim laptop. Also on board are a big 14″ 1080p display, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB solid-state drive, Windows 11 Pro, and a big 63Wh battery good for 15 hours of battery life!
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 5900HX/3050 Ti$1699Welcome to the ultimate productivity laptop! This model is bursting with power, despite a weight of just 4.3 pounds! It all starts with the shockingly-fast AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX 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, a 1TB PCIe SSD, and Windows 11 Pro. 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 Budget Gaming Laptop –
Acer Predator Helios 300 11800H/RTX 3060$1200 The Guru’s Tip
It's really hard to argue with the value Acer packs into this laptop... it's 5.1 pounds of pure gaming power!
The Mid-Range Gaming Laptop –
ASUS TUF Gaming F15 12700H/RTX 3060$1500 The Guru’s Tip
The main advantage of this laptop versus the one above is the much more advanced CPU.
The High-End Gaming Laptop –
ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 12900H/RTX 3070 Ti$2050 The Guru’s Tip
AMD forced Intel's hand with its Ryzen chips, and now Intel has come storming back with the biggest gen-on-gen boost in nearly a decade!
The Extreme Gaming Laptop –
Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 12900H/RTX 3080 Ti$3300 The Guru’s Tip
This and the Strix Scar model listed above are identical in terms of their chassis and dimensions (both 5.1lb and 1.1" thick) - the main difference is the GPU (and it's a big difference!) as well as the resolution of the screen.
The Ultimate Gaming Laptop –
MSI Raider GE66 12900HK/RTX 3080 Ti$3849 The Guru’s Tip
You are paying a premium for this system versus the one above, with the two main differences being overclocking ability (the CPUs are otherwise identical), and the 4K screen versus a 1440p screen. These are nice to have, but for gaming on a laptop, they are definitely not required.
- The Touchscreen Chromebook – HP Chromebook X360 ($355)
- The Home Office Laptop – Lenovo IdeaPad 3 ($435)
- The Budget Convertible – HP Pavilion x360 1135G7 ($600)
- The Affordable Ultralight – HP Pavilion Aero 13 ($830)
- The Content Creation Machine – Acer Swift X 5800U/RTX 3050 Ti ($925)
- The Ultimate Business Laptop – Asus ZenBook 14 ($1100)
- The Ultimate Content Creation Laptop – ASUS VivoBook Pro 16X 5900HX/3050 Ti ($1699)
- The Budget Gaming Laptop – Acer Predator Helios 300 11800H/RTX 3060 ($1200)
- The Mid-Range Gaming Laptop – ASUS TUF Gaming F15 12700H/RTX 3060 ($1500)
- The High-End Gaming Laptop – ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 12900H/RTX 3070 Ti ($2050)
- The Extreme Gaming Laptop – Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 12900H/RTX 3080 Ti ($3300)
- The Ultimate Gaming Laptop – MSI Raider GE66 12900HK/RTX 3080 Ti ($3849)