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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 our top 10 picks on the market today in a variety of categories, from basic home use to work on the go to pro-level gaming. And believe it or not, every sing

For Spring 2020, the laptop market is more dynamic than ever, with new models coming out at an incredible pace. And that's why you need this guide - so you don't get stuck with last year's also-ran!!! There truly is a great laptop for everyone on this list, but that doesn't mean everyone needs the same thing. That's why we have budget choices for families and students, ultra-light choices for serious travelers, 2-in-1 choices for those who need tablet functionality, and of course, gaming laptops.

Now, let's make something very clear: we've drawn a firm line on minimum specs to make sure our readers enjoy their new laptops for years to come. In short, while there are plenty of laptops being peddled by the biggest manufacturers with 4GB of RAM or a mechanical hard drive, they're complete junk, period. Don't touch them. You will have a bad user experience, and we don't want that to happen! This means we no longer recommend any of the sub-$400 ultra-budget models or work-unfriendly Chromebooks.

Note that 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. Interesting, Intel released two completely different laptop CPU lineups simultaneously in Q3'19: Comet Lake and Ice Lake. We strongly favor Comet Lake, which is denoted as 10xxx, over Ice Lake, which is listed as 10xxGx. Ice Lake is just a beta release from our point of view: using the new but sub-optimal 10nm manufacturing process, Ice Lake processors are slower than Comet Lake, use more power, and cost the same! Perhaps most importantly, you won't find either of these CPUs in lower-cost laptops yet, so all of our budget recommendations use the still-capable Core 8000 series.

One important tip for buyers who haven't been in the laptop market for a while: laptops worth buying no longer include internal DVD drives in laptops, as they add a lot of weight and bulk. Therefore, 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 Asus USB 2.0 model, which we personally use for software installations and backups.

Laptops - Spring 2020

Home/Small Office

    The Budget Laptop:

    Asus Vivobook 15 F512FA-AB34

    Powering this great family PC is the Intel Core i3-8145U dual-core processor with boost to 3.9GHz, which is more than powerful enough for any typical home computing task. Most importantly, unlike any other laptop under $500, it comes equipped with both a full 8GB of RAM (which we now consider the minimum for modern PCs), along with a 128GB solid-state drive (an SSD is another absolute requirement). It also features a big, high-resolution 15.6" 1920 x 1080 IPS Display, and yet still comes in at a back-friendly 3.75 pounds. Wow, this is a serious winner!

    The Guru's Tip:

    If you buy an alternative sub-$500 laptop equipped with a "big" 1TB hard drive and 4GB of RAM, prepare to be sorely disappointed in the fact that it performs like it's already 10 years old! We're shocked that Microsoft even allows its Windows 10 operating system to be marketed on laptops with 4GB of RAM, because it really can't run with so little RAM.

    The Work/School Laptop:

    Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-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 Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1, weighing in at just 3.52lb. It's equipped with AMD's Ryzen 3 3200U with Vega 8 Graphics, which makes streaming and video encoding a breeze. Also onboard are a huge 12GB of RAM, a quick 256 GB solid-state drive, and a 14" 1920 x 1080 IPS touchscreen display, which you can of course flip into tablet mode! The Flex even includes the "Active Pen", which allows you to take notes or draw right on the screen.

    The Guru's Tip:

    There are two things you give up with this all-purpose wonder vs. the laptop listed above: a bit of CPU performance, and a bit of battery life. We actually think that between the two, the Flex is the better overall package, but if you're just after flat-out speed, the Intel-based option wins.

    The Budget Ultra-Mobile Laptop:

    Acer Swift 3 SF314-55-55UT

    With its latest Swift, Acer has designed what can only be considered the perfect home PC. Featuring the powerful Intel Core i5-8265U quad-core processor with Turbo Boost to 3.9GHz, it offers a big step up in performance versus the models above. It also has the ideal combination of 8GB of RAM and a spacious 256GB PCIe-based solid-state drive for exceptional bootup and app launching speed. To ensure excellent productivity, it has a big 14" 1920 x 1080 screen.

    The Guru's Tip:

    At just 3lb and 0.6" thick, this laptop is also very portable!

    The Affordable Ultralight:

    Asus ZenBook UX331FA-AS51

    If you simply want the lightest, most powerful laptop you can buy for the money, you want the Zenbook from Asus, which is the gold standard for well-designed, well-priced ultra-lights. Coming in at an astounding 2.5lb and .5" thick, it still manages to pack in a powerful Intel Core i5-8265U quad-core processor with Turbo Boost to 3.9GHz, a 13.3" 1920x1080 screen, 8GB of DDR3 memory, and a big 512GB PCIe-based solid-state drive.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The main benefit of going with the ZenBook over the model listed above is that the Asus drops 1/2-pound off the weight, which is a very big deal if you travel regularly! You also get a much bigger, much faster SSD, perfect for serious content creation work.

    The Extreme Ultra-Light:

    LG Gram 13Z990-A.AAS5U1

    If the Asus Zenbook is the gold standard for ultra-lights, the LG Gram is the gold standard for super-ultra lights, and it's what we personally use here at TBG for our business travel! While the rest of the PC industry plods on with 2.5-3lb. 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 LG Gram 13 offers a 13.3" 1080p touchscreen, Intel's Core i5-8265U quad-core CPU with Turbo up to 3.9GHz, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive, and an absolutely-massive 72Wh battery that provides up to 20.5 hours of battery life. All this and the Gram is just 2.1 pounds, which is mind-blowing given its awesome specs. Don't think it's worth paying more to drop nearly a pound in weight versus competing touchscreen laptops? You'll think again once you tote this featherweight laptop on your shoulder during a day of traveling! Sadly, LG has cancelled the Gram 13 for 2020, with the smallest model being the Gram 14 for 50% more money, so scoop up the Gram 13 while you can - it's a true gem!

    The Guru's Tip:

    A few other notable features that make the Gram the perfect travel companion: a backlit keyboard, a microSD card memory slot, a full-size HDMI port, two full-size USB 3.0 Type-A ports plus a USB Type-C port.

    The Ultra-Fast Ultrabook:

    HP Envy 13-aq1010nr

    We just got done saying how much we love the LG Gram, but if you want to have the newest, fastest laptop on the market, you want the latest HP Envy. It features the insanely-fast Intel Core i7-10510U quad-core that boosts up to 4.9GHz. It's the new hotness from Intel, no doubt! Everything else is pretty much standard issue: 8GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe-based SSD, and a 13.3" 1080p touchscreen. But wow, that CPU!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Coming in at 2.5lb with a 53Wh battery pack, this isn't quite as travel-friendly as the LG Gram, but it's most definitely faster at the same pricepoint. We're all about options here at TBG!

    The Ultimate Productivity Machine:

    MSI Prestige 14 A10SC-021 14" 4K

    OK, let's say you want it all: a device that looks as good as it works. Then step right up to the Prestige from MSI. It comes completely loaded, and there's simply nothing that can compare in terms of value and functionality. You get a 14.0" 3840x2160 (4K) screen, the incredible Intel Core i7-10710U six-core processor that boosts all the way up to 4.7GHz, along with a full 16GB RAM and a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive. This is a serious productivity powerhouse!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Also on board: cutting-edge features like Thunderbolt 3 (2 ports), WiFi 6, and a GeForce GTX 1650 video card that gives a massive boost to various content creator applications!

Gaming

    The Midrange Gaming Laptop:

    Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-78VL

    Offering up amazing specs for the price, the latest Predator from Acer offers up an Intel Core i7-9750H 6-Core CPU with boost to 4.5GHz, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB GPU, an impressive 16GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe-based solid-state drive, and a big 15.6" 1920 x 1080 IPS display with an ultra-fast 144Hz Refresh Rate.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model's one weakness is that the fast 256GB SSD will fill up fast given that modern games typically occupy 25-50GB. Luckily, it has an empty and easily-accessible slot for M.2 drives, and we recommend you immediately pick up an XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB, which will allow you to store a nearly unlimited number of games and boot them instantly!

    The Premium Gaming Laptop:

    HP Omen 17-cb0090nr

    Just a year ago, it would have been a dream to find a gaming laptop with these specs under $2,000, now it's a reality. The Omen by HP features Intel's aweseome Core i7-9750H 6-Core processor, which is about 10% faster than the previous-gen 8750H. You also get Nvidia's top-of-the-line GeForce RTX 2080 8GB video card, 16GB of RAM, a capacious 512GB PCIe-based solid-state drive, and a big 17" 144Hz, 1080p IPS panel.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The screen on this laptop features G-Sync, which provide ultra-smooth gaming by matching framerates to refresh rates.

    The Ultimate Gaming Laptop:

    Gigabyte AORUS 17 YA-9US2452SH

    Absolute insanity, that's what this laptop is! Gigabyte packs this behemoth with the Core i9-9980HK 8-core CPU with Turbo to 5GHz (seriously?!?), an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 8GB, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB solid-state drive, and a 2TB hard drive. For the display, you get a giant 17. 3” 240Hz 1080p screen.

    The Guru's Tip:

    There is simply no better mobile CPU than the 9980HK - it's a behemoth!