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The best laptop brands

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By Jon Martindale


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With so many different types of laptops out there, one of the first steps in narrowing down your choices is selecting a few brands that you like. To do that though, it helps to know which are the best laptop brands. The brands that offer quality, reliability, and decent hardware under the hood without charging a ridiculous premium for it.

Looking back on our extensive catalog of laptop reviews, we’ve put together a list of the best laptop brands out there with all factors considered.

The best

Dell

Dell XPS 13
Greg Mombert/Digital Trends

Dell’s work, particularly in the ultrabook field, has yielded an incredible new crop of ultraportable laptops that work great, have powerful specs, and don’t give up the ghost without a fight. If you need a PC for work or school and want it to last for as long as possible, Dell’s machines are a great choice.

This is especially true with its latest XPS models, which do everything to a high standard. They have the latest screen resolutions, connections, and software. There’s a reason that the XPS 13 has been our go-to favorite laptop for several years now and it’s contemporaries like the XPS 15 only reinforce that with comparable quality and expanded hardware options.

You can even pick up a decent gaming laptop from Dell without having to break the bank and all of them come with a standard limited warranty of one year, with options to extend it to three and five if you want to pay a little extra for peace of mind. Better yet, repairability scores for some of Dell’s hardware are surprisingly good for compact laptops, and Laptop Magazine gave Dell a 90/100 score for its customer services.

Dell’s line up of laptops look great, offer decent internal hardware, and have heaps of style. They’re made with premium materials, sport solid battery life, and are light and portable. Some of Dell’s budget or business-oriented laptops are still lackluster, but in the XPS line, it’s hit after hit.

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The rest

Apple

cheap macbook deals

If there’s one thing that nearly everyone agrees on, it’s that Apple laptops are very reliable and predictable. When you buy a MacBook, you know what to expect. You’ll get a fantastic screen, solid battery life, and a beautiful chassis with thin bezels. They do tend to be a little more expensive than their Windows counterparts and sometimes the hardware doesn’t always quite measure up, but when it comes to style, ease of use, and reliability, Apple laptops are top notch. Despite our disliking of the most recent MacBook Pro update, Apple’s incredible customer support (top of the class in Laptop Mag’s testing) and warranty options must be considered as a factor as well.

The MacBook Pro line is easily its best, but that doesn’t mean the standard MacBooks aren’t worth considering and if Apple refreshes the MacBook Air in 2018 as expected, that could well be a range we recommend again.

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AppleBest Buy

HP

HP-Spectre-x360-15-inch-2018

HP may not have always had the best laptop reputation, but the latest HP laptops have taken some design cues from their contemporaries and have really raised the bar. The current crop of notebooks are fast, powerful, and easier for consumers to adopt for their personal projects. And through it all, HP has earned a reputation for reliable laptops with very competent customer services.

Today HP regularly goes head to head with some of the best laptop manufacturers in the world. Its Spectre x360 stole the showagainst the Surface Laptop in our head to head, and even gave the Surface Book 2 a run for its money.

Customer support options place HP in the top five of all manufacturers and Laptop Mag rates its hardware as the one of the most reliable overall. With options for up to three years comprehensive warranty, you can net yourself some serious protection for your new laptop too.

HP’s laptops may not always steal the show, but its lineup of hardware is stronger today than it’s ever been and is all well worth considering if you want an alternative to some of the above offerings.

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HP

Microsoft

Surface Book 2 op-ed header
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

A decade ago no one would have thought that Microsoft would be one of the best laptop brands in the world, but today it has a well-earned spot on this list. After a few iterations of Surface tablets with some reliability issues, today Microsoft claims a 99 percent reliability on its new Surface devices and offers hardware that is often class leading in its own way.

The Surface Book 2 has some of the best battery life we have ever seen in a laptop, convertible or no, and the Surface Pro is our favorite 2-in-1 right now. Even more mid-range devices like the Surface Laptop help bolster Microsoft as one of the best laptop brands today. It offers a standard one year warranty for Surface products should new owners run into trouble, with 90 days of free technical support.

Not all of the Surface devices are fantastic and we certainly have our favorites, but that’s no different from the other entries on this list, making us more than a little excited about what Microsoft has up its sleeve for the next round of refreshes. Its laptops aren’t the most repairable, with iFixit describing one device as a “glue filled monstrosity,” but Microsoft does seem to be improving its reliability and support as it becomes more established as one of the better laptop brands out there today.

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Microsoft


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