Saturday, February 27, 2021

Best laptops 2021: Reviews and buying advice


There are great laptops available now (as pandemic-fueled sales remain strong), and you can see our tested favorites below. But if you yearn for the latest and greatest, you’ll want to see our reviews of Ryzen 5000 and RTX 30-series mobile, and the news about the latest laptops from CES, some of which will begin shipping soon.  (Psst: Check out our list of the first laptops available with RTX 30-series.)

Check out the latest news and reviews, along with our top picks below. 

Best laptops cheat sheet: Our top picks

Latest laptop news and reviews

Here are the latest stories:

  • Apple’s new M1 chip continues to make waves. This time Intel tries to take it down with a volley of benchmarks showing the M1’s not so fast. PCWorld’s Gordon Mah Ung analyzes the fight.
  • Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 upgraded to the 7+ recently, with a big CPU upgrade. We have an early look at the performance benchmarks, and the difference is stark. (Full review coming soon!) 
    Razer

    The Razer Chroma family of laptop accessories will add RGB bling to the plainest laptop. Won’t your friends and coworkers be jealous!

Best thin-and-light laptop

Dell’s XPS 13 7390 proves you can have both performance and light weight in the same laptop. With its 6-core Intel Core i7-10710U CPU, this thin, light machine (available via Dell.com) actually outpaces bigger workhorse models.

Granted, the XPS 13 7390 and its Comet Lake-U CPU are getting a bit old in the tooth. The newer XPS 13 9310 2-in-1, with Intel’s 11th-gen Core CPU, suggests that the clamshell XPS 13 with the same chip will likely blow the XPS 13 7390 out of the water. But we’ve thought long and hard about which XPS 13 is best for you, and the truth is, a lot of people could get good bang for buck on the discounted XPS 13 7390 instead of paying top dollar for the shiniest new thing.

[$1,620 on Dell.com]

Runner-up

acerswift5hero Jared Newman / IDG

Now that Apple’s M1 chip has raised the bar for lightweight laptop performance, there’s a question every ultraportable PC maker must address: Why would someone buy this instead of a MacBook Air?

Well, here’s an answer for the new Acer Swift 5: It’s fast enough to play Fortnite and a bunch of other games that are absent from Apple’s platform, but it weighs only 2.3 pounds and gets stellar battery life for work or web browsing. It also has a touchscreen and a bunch of useful ports, including HDMI out and USB-A, none of which you’ll find on Apple’s thin-and-light (ahem). Read our full review



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