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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 all the best options on the market in a variety of categories, from basic home use to work on the go to pro-level gaming. 

For Spring 2018, we've updated this guide with our favorite picks starting at $350 and going all the way to $2,500. Our personal favorite is the 2.1-pound LG Gram 13, shown here, which simply blows away the competition by offering a quad-core processor and a 13.3" touchscreen in a body that weighs less than a kilogram! That being said, everyone has different needs (and budgets!), so we list nine other great options, split between home office and gaming-specific models. Speaking of gaming, Nvidia's "Pascal" GPUs featured in all of our gaming picks provide impressive desktop-class performance despite slipping into true portable systems. This guide includes three gaming-specific laptops featuring the GTX 1060, GTX 1070, and GTX 1080 graphics chips. If your gaming laptop doesn't have one of these GPUs, it's not a gaming laptop at all!

And here's the most important news of all - Intel's latest 8th-gen low-voltage processors allow ultra-light machines to pack in four of Intel's latest "Coffee Lake" cores. Just a few years ago, this much power could only be found in laptops over five pounds. Now you can get a 2-pound laptop with the same computing power!

One important tip for buyers who haven't been in the laptop market for a while: the trend is no longer to include internal DVD drives in laptops, as they add a lot of weight and bulk. Therefore very few of the models we list include one. If you decide you'd like an ultra-slim laptop but still need a DVD drive, we recommend picking up an inexpensive external DVD burner, like the sleek LG GP65 USB 2.0 model, for software installations or backups.

Laptops - Spring 2018

Home/Small Office

    The Midrange Media Laptop:

    Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM

    If you're looking for a low-cost laptop to use around the house, there's absolutely no better value than the Aspire E 15 from Acer. At 5.3 pounds, it's not particularly light, but thanks to its Intel Core i3-7100 dual-core processor, it's plenty fast, and the 1TB hard drive will provide enough space to store photos, videos, and music.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This is the only laptop on this list that uses a hard drive as its primary storage device. Hard drives are slower than solid-state drives, but hard drives are cheaper and offer much more capacity per dollar. You won't find SSDs in laptops at this pricepoint.

    The Perfect Family PC:

    Acer Aspire 3 15.6"

    Offering a big step up in performance versus the budget model above, the Aspire 3 features an Intel Core i5-7200U dual-core CPU, 8GB of RAM, and most importantly, a speedy 256GB solid-state drive, which together propel it into a completely different performance class. It's even pretty light given its big 15.6" screen, coming in at 4.6 pounds. A few years ago that would have been in Macbook Pro territory, which would have set you back $2,000!

    The Guru's Tip:

    It's really, really hard to find any laptop with an SSD around the $500 pricepoint, so Acer's offering here is truly something special.

    The Work/School Laptop:

    Dell i5379-5893GRY Inspiron 2-1

    If you're going to be on the move with your laptop and looking to get serious work done, you need a lot of power packed into a small chassis. Enter the Dell Inspiron 2-in-1, weighing in at just 3.43lb. Equipped with Intel's incredible new 8th-generation Core i5-8250U 1.6GHz quad-core processor that can turbo to 3.4GHz, 8GB of DDR4-2400MHz RAM, a quick 256 GB solid-state drive, and a 13.3" 1920 x 1080 IPS touchscreen display, you'll be set for wherever the road takes you!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Being a 2-in-1, this model flips into tent or tablet mode, which can be really useful when travelling.

  • The Affordable Ultralight:

    Lenovo Ideapad 720s 13"

    If you simply want the lightest, most powerful laptop you can buy for the money, you want the 720s from Lenovo. Coming in at an astounding 2.2lb and .53" thick, it still manages to pack in an 8th-generation Intel Core i5-8250U quad-core 1.6GHz CPU with Turbo to 3.4GHz, a 13.3" 1920x1080 screen,  8GB of DDR3 memory, and a 256GB PCIe-based solid-state drive.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This system may be light on the frills, but that's what makes it so incredibly lightweight!

    The Quad-Core Ultrabook:

    HP Envy 13-ad120nr

    From our point of view, this is now the ultimate professional laptop. Sure, you could spend more, but why? Featuring Intel's new Core i7-8550U quad-core CPU with Turbo up to 4GHz, it's blazing fast, yet it still gets up to 14 hours of battery life and weighs just 2.92 pounds. Packed inside its stylish "edge" chassis is 8GB of RAM, a PCIe-based 256GB solid-state drive, and a 13.3" touchscreen with ultra-slim bezels. It also has two USB Type-A ports, two USB Type-C ports, and a microSD memory slot.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Packing this much power into a sub-3lb. laptop is simply incredible, and it's what makes the latest CPUs from Intel truly revolutionary.

    The Extreme Ultra-Light:

    LG Gram 13Z980

    While the rest of the PC industry plods on with 3lb. laptops, LG has been blazing a trail with its Gram line of sub-1kg laptops. Simply put, there's nothing else like this on the market. The newest LG Gram offers a 13.3" 1080p touchscreen, Intel's new Core i7-8550U 1.8GHz quad-core CPU with Turbo up to 4GHz, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive, and an absolutely-massive 72Wh battery that provides up to 18 hours of battery life. All this and the Gram is just 2.1 pounds, which is mind-blowing given its awesome specs.

    The Guru's Tip:

    A few other notable features included on the Gram that are hard to find in other ultra-lights: a microSD card memory slot, a full-size HDMI port, three full-size USB 3.0 Type-A ports plus a USB Type-C port.

    The Ultimate Productivity Machine:

    Razer Blade Stealth 13.3" Gunmetal

    OK, let's say you want it all: a device that looks as good as it works. Then step right up to the Razer Blade Stealth. Featuring Intel's Core i7-8550U quad-core CPU, a 13.3” QHD+ touchscreen (3200 x 1800) that achieves 100% sRGB color space, a 512GB ultra-fast PCIe SSD, and 16GB of dual-channel 2133MHz RAM. All this and it's just 0.54” thick and 2.98lbs.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The gunmetal version of the Blade Stealth is aimed directly at professionals, with a subtle logo, white backlit keyboard, and the perfect paint scheme to complement the exterior, which is CNC-machined from a single piece of aluminum! The Black Edition has a bold green logo and RGB backlighting.

Gaming

    The Midrange Gaming Laptop:

    Acer Predator Helios 300 w/ 2TB Hard Drive

    Need an ultra-capable gaming PC at a bargain-basement price? Look no further than the Helios 300 from Acer. It gives you the ultra-fast Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz quad-core with Turbo up to 3.8 GHz, a desktop-class Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB video card (a huge upgrade from the 3GB model most laptops come with), 16GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive, and a 1080p 15.6" screen.

    The Guru's Tip:

    There's just one catch when it comes to the Helios 300: Acer hit an absurdly-low pricepoint by skipping the hard drive entirely. The 256GB SSD is nice for the OS, but you won't be able to load more than a handful of games on it. That's why we insist that you go with the laptop/hard drive bundle offered from Amazon. It's there for a reason: the standard Helios 300 just isn't usable out of the box.

    The Lightweight Gaming Laptop:

    MSI GE63VR Raider-075

    Just when you thought things couldn't get any better for mobile gamers, MSI and Nvidia team up to drop a bombshell on the gaming laptop world. The new Raider packs in a desktop-class GTX 1070 8GB video card for absolutely amazing performance, despite coming in at a svelte 4.85lb. and 1.1" thick. You also get an Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.8GHz quad-core CPU with Turboboost to 3.8GHz, 16GB of RAM, a 128GB solid-state drive, a 1TB hard drive, and a 15.6" 1920 x 1080 120Hz screen for an ultra-smooth gaming experience. Its keyboard even has per-key RGB backlighting, allowing for the ultimate in customization.

    The Guru's Tip:

    If you want a truly portable gaming machine, this is the one!

    The Ultimate Gaming Laptop:

    HP Omen X 17-ap020nr

    Don't think you can have it all in a gaming laptop? Think again. Witness the latest Omen X HP. This model comes packing an Intel Core i7-7820HK Processor with Turbo up to 3.9GHz, a 17.3" 1080p G-Sync display with an ultra-fast 120Hz refresh rate, a GeForce GTX 1080 8GB video card, 16GB DDR4 Memory, a 256GB PCIe-based SSD, and a 1TB HDD.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We want to make something abundantly clear: on a laptop, we'd take a 1080p 120Hz G-sync screen over a 4K screen any day of the week. On a 17" screen, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference in resolution, but you'll definitely be able to tell how smooth 120Hz feels versus the 60Hz that 4K screens are locked at. And no laptop GPU can drive 4K resolutions anyway.

  1. The Midrange Media Laptop Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM ($350.00)
  2. The Perfect Family PC Acer Aspire 3 15.6" ($529.00)
  3. The Work/School Laptop Dell i5379-5893GRY Inspiron 2-1 ($712.00)
  4. The Affordable Ultralight Lenovo Ideapad 720s 13" ($800.00)
  5. The Quad-Core Ultrabook HP Envy 13-ad120nr ($999.00)
  6. The Extreme Ultra-Light LG Gram 13Z980 ($1396.00)
  7. The Ultimate Productivity Machine Razer Blade Stealth 13.3" Gunmetal ($1650.00)
  8. The Midrange Gaming Laptop Acer Predator Helios 300 w/ 2TB Hard Drive ($1140.00)
  9. The Lightweight Gaming Laptop MSI GE63VR Raider-075 ($1799.00)
  10. The Ultimate Gaming Laptop HP Omen X 17-ap020nr ($2278.00)