How We Test Gaming Laptops
When we bring a laptop into our laboratory, our goal is to see how it would work if you brought it into your home or office. While we use a number of industry standard benchmarks such as Geekbench and 3DMark, we focus heavily on real-world tests that we have developed in-house.
To test endurance, the Laptop Mag Battery test surfs the web at 150 nits of brightness until the system runs out of juice. To judge pure processing power, we use a giant spreadsheet macro that matches 65,000 names with their addresses, a video transcoder that converts a 4K video to 1080p and the Geekbench 4 synthetic test. We measure graphics prowess with both 3DMark Ice Storm / Fire Strike and a series of actual game titles.
We use a colorimeter to measure screen brightness and color gamut while other instruments help us determine a laptop’s key travel and ambient heat. See this page on How We Test Laptops for more details on our benchmarking procedures.
Operating System What Type Of Laptop Do I Need
There are three major players when it comes to the software your computer runs on. You can find out more in our guide to MacOS, Windows and ChromeOS, or look at our brief summaries below.
Buy a Windows 10 laptop if
- You prefer the familiarity of Windows
- Have specialist software you cant live without
- Want a big variety of laptops to choose from
Buy a MacBook if
- You have a budget of at least £999
- Value longevity and build quality
- Use other Apple products, or are happy to learn a new operating system
Buy a Chromebook if
- Dont mind working in web-based applications
Laptop Cpus: What To Look For
The fastest laptops, from a raw-CPU perspective, tend to fall into four classes. The first is made up of business machines with top-end processors but integrated graphics. You’ll find them under top vendors’ business brands, such as Latitude for Dell, ThinkPad for Lenovo, and EliteBook for HP.
The second consists of high-end gaming laptops that pair a powerful mobile GPU, chosen to blaze through the latest games at a level appropriate for the laptop’s screen, with a CPU that is at least sufficient not to hamper the graphics chip.
Next are mobile workstations, productivity-minded laptops designed for professional content creation and data analysis and often optimized for the specific advanced applications they use. You can identify these machines either by brand, such as HP’s ZBook and Dell’s Precision, or by the Nvidia Quadro or AMD Radeon Pro GPUs they carry.
Finally, some notebooks such as Gigabyte’s Aero 15 OLED XB and HP’s ZBook Create G7 target creative pros such as video editors and game designers. They overlap with mobile workstations but lack those systems’ ISV certifications for specialized apps. Both high-speed and stunning high-resolution screens are featured here.
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Hp Chromebook X360 Best Affordable Laptop
Chromebooks provide a lot of value for low-end users as well as schoolgoers to get things done quickly without spending much money for a decent device. HP comes with their x360 Chromebook, which offers a bit more than most conventional Chromebooks out there.
You will enjoy its 14-inch HD display for whatever purposes you will be using it. The lid can be turned 360-degree to use as a tablet. Tablet mode in budget-friendly Chromebooks is rare.
Powered by Intel Pentium Silver N5000, the processor does seem to handle tasks that its designed for. Whether its an online class, making presentations, office applications, streaming, watching videos, and surfing the web, you wont notice much lag.
For multitasking and stuff, it has 4GB of RAM. However, you might feel the system is a bit slower while running multiple heavy applications at a time, especially while watching YouTube.
As Chromebooks are cloud-based, this one also has an eMMC storage of 64GB. You can replace it with an SSD to increase the storage for more stuff.
Weighing only 3.30 lbs. the device is extremely lightweight and portable. You can also use it as a laptop to use while on the go.
The laptop will last up to 12 hours with moderate usage, which is more than enough for most people.
- The screen isnt that bright for outdoor uses
For those who want a well-functioning and reliable laptop for office applications as well as online classes or conferences, this Chromebook would be a value for money pick.
How To Choose The Best Laptop Under $500 For You
It can be tricky to weigh up how much one can expect from a laptop that costs less than $500. Youre not going to get bleeding-edge performance or a super premium design. And you might have to make a few compromises on the display, such as how well it handles colors and how bright gets. But that doesnt mean you have to make do with a laptop that feels cheap rather, youre looking for one that’s affordable. So here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a laptop under $500.
Chrome or Windows? With $500 or less, youre limited to getting a new Windows 10 or Chrome OS machine, as even the cheapest MacBook Air 2020 will be way out of your price range. As such youll need to decide whether a Windows laptop or Chromebook better fits your needs.
Chrome OS offers a lightweight operating system that will run on even the most basic hardware, yet still offers a comprehensive suite of abilities and web-based apps to get a lot of day-to-day computing tasks done. Furthermore, it now supports Android apps.
Window 10, on the other hand, requires a little more power to ensure it runs smoothly. But it supports a huge range of software, far more than Chrome OS can currently dream of. And Windows 10 is being improved upon at a regular basis meaning youll be able to get the best software Microsoft can offer years after youve bought your laptop.
- Upgrade your workspace with some of the best monitors
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A Cheap Laptop With Standout Build
The Yoga C740 is as straightforward as a laptop can get. It has a sturdy aluminum build and perfectly fine 10th Gen Intel processors. We were pleasantly surprised by the devices audio the upward-firing speakers on the sides of the keyboard deliver a nice surround-sound experience. The keyboard and touchpad are both quite comfortable to use. Theres not much to complain about and not much to enthusiastically praise if youre looking for a sub-$800 Windows laptop with a well-made aluminum chassis and a sturdy frame, youre looking for the Yoga.
The C740 is a year old now, but that means you can get it at very affordable prices. Were looking forward to reviewing its successor, the Yoga 7i, shortly in the future.
Who Are The Best Laptop Makers
The truth is that today there are very few makers who are pumping out bad laptops. Indeed, we think the biggest mistake a person can make today is buying a laptop that is badly suited to their needs.
However, there are laptop makers who have proven themselves over decades of strong laptop production. These makers produce laptops with a high level of fit an finish, strong core functionality and, crucially, excellent after care service in terms of support.
The makers we consider that do these things best are: Dell, Lenovo, HP, Apple, Asus, Acer, Microsoft and LG.
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Dell Inspiron 15 3000
Reasons to avoid
Its not the most inspiring of laptops despite its name sounding similar to such a description, but the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 is a cheap and practical laptop for a price that starts at $380. For that reasonably small wad of cash you can get a 10th Gen Core i3-1005G1 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of PCIe NVMe storage.
Its all packed up in a relatively unassuming chassis offering a decent selection of ports and a 15.6-inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768. Weve not reviewed the laptop ourselves but user reviews are reasonably positive, with the laptop getting an average score of 3.8 stars out of 5. And as this is a Dell machine its likely to be fairly reliable and unlikely to let you down — though its not going to amaze you either.
Reasons to avoid
Acers Spin 311 is exactly what many people expect of a Chromebook: Small, inexpensive, and capable enough to handle work and light play every day. The keyboard is excellent for a Chromebook of this size and price the battery life is solid, too, and although performance isnt great, its enough to handle light, day-to-day tasks.
For students, children, or anyone looking for an extremely portable machine that gets the essentials right, the Spin 311 is one of the best Chromebooks for kids that can also compete with some of the best Chromebooks of comparable price. It’s so good it won a recommendation for best budget laptop in our Tom’s Guide Awards 2021.
Reasons to avoid
Reasons to avoid
Storage Hard Drive Or Solid State Drive
Storage space on a laptop can be a tricky thing to work out. Do you want all your files accessible locally, or are you happy to make use of the practically infinite space of the cloud?
Do you go for a traditional hard disk or a solid state one?
It all depends on your needs. If you mainly use your laptop for surfing the web, emailing and writing the odd document, then you wont need too much space, and chances are it will take you a long time to fill up a fairly typical 500gb hard drive. The rise in digital streaming and cloud storage mean that most of us dont need as much room as we once did.
However, if youre the sort of person who hoards movies, music and want all your games installed at once, then youre going to want to go with a pretty large hard drive. The best way to gauge how much space you need is to look at what’s on your current laptop, how much of it youll want to transfer over, and then at least double that space.
Youll have noticed that you get less storage space on an SSD for your buck compared to a HDD. This is because SSDs are faster and can really ramp up the time it takes to load your programs, or even your operating system. The best solution is a SSD/HHD combination, which gives you speed start up times coupled with loads of storage.
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Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Nano: Performance
I tested an X1 Nano configured with an Intel Core i7-1160G7 CPU and 16GB of RAM, which proved more than speedy and cable. To put that power to the test, I opened 30 Google Chrome tabs and five 1080p YouTube videos, and it handled all of that without an issue.
On the Geekbench 5.3 overall performance test, the X1 Nano scored 5,155. Thats a solid score, but it still falls behind the Dell XPS 13 , which scored 5,254 on the Geekbench 5 general performance test. It also couldnt touch the score from the Apple MacBook Pro M1 , which scored 7584 on the 5.3 Geekbench test.
The X1 Nano took 16 minutes and 15 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p on our HandBrake benchmark. That ended up being faster than the Dell XPS 13, which took about 18 minutes, but was significantly much slower than the Apple MacBook Pro M1, which took 7:44.
What Does A Processor Do
The Processor, also called CPU, is an essential piece of hardware of computer that enables your computer to interact with all of the applications and programs installed on your computer. The processor is able to interpret the programs instructions and create the output that you interface with when you are using a computer.
The processor provides information and is able to complete tasks that you request when you open an application or make changes to a file because it is made of hardware that works together.
The processor would affect your computer experience since it may perform quickly or slowly. At the same time, computer performance may be decided by the processor cores and clock speed.
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Microsoft Laptop Surface Go
Why we like it: Everything we loved about the Surface 3 at a price to suit your needs
Battery life: Up to 13 hours
Operating system: Windows
Storage space: 64GB-256GB
I once wrote that if Microsoft were ever to produce a budget version of its excellent-but-pricey Surface Laptop 3, I’d “have absolutely no doubt that itd be historic considered one of the best laptops in history.” Well, apparently dreams can come true.
The Surface Go takes everything I loved about the Surface Laptop 3 and slashes the price to a figure normal people might actually be tempted by. While technically the Surface Laptop 3 is the superior in terms of specifications, the Surface Go makes you forget about all that with its smart, elegant design and ease of use.
I use the term elegant because while it’s a handsome device with a sleek aluminium chassis on top in ice blue, platinum, or sandstone , it’s not trying to reinvent the wheel: it still looks like a laptop. Even so, the 12.4 inch touchscreen with slim bezels are nice enough and optimised for colour so it’s great and bright to work on. It’s also lighter than it’s predecessor at just 1.1kg, which puts it among the very lightest laptops out there.
The other big thing to talk about is the battery which is excellent. Microsoft claims it can make 13 hours on certain settings I’ve managed about 10 and a half, but either way it’s impressive. Even more so when you can consider go from 0-80pc with an hour’s charge.
Weight: 1.26kg – 1.54kg
Best Gaming Laptops In 2021
The best gaming laptops manage to squeeze the power of a gaming desktop PC into a machine you can tuck under your arm and take with you. Well slightly less power maybe, but not far off. The benefits of having a portable gaming machine speak for themselves as wellthey can be a better option to bulky desktop PCs in plenty of areas. They’re not as easy to upgrade, but that’s about the only downside to modern laptops.
The newest models pack all the features you’ll find in big desktop gaming rigs too, including powerful multicore CPUs, the latest Nvidia RTX 30-series and AMD Radeon RX 6000-series GPUs, as well as speedy NVMe SSDs, oodles of RAM, and quality, super high-refresh screens. You can even enjoy mechanical keyboards on some models, although we’d still recommend having a proper keyboard and mouse for serious gaming suggestions.
There’s actually some good news for laptops in these silicon-starved times as well, in that they’re often the most immediate way of securing the best gaming hardwarehello GeForce RTX 3080. Stock levels are healthy too. And while high-end gaming laptops can be pricey, there are plenty of more affordable options out there too. If you’re on a tight budget, be sure to check out the best cheap gaming laptop deals.
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Lg Gram Thin And Light Laptop
This lightweight model comes under the best laptop brands in India 2021 with impressive ease of portability. The battery life on it is very long and provides up to two times graphics performance. The Full HD display delivers precise and clear images. The full metal body made from magnesium alloy used as aircraft material is lightweight and super-strong. Its durability is clarified by passing the demanding military standard of durability and reliability that checks seven factors from shock and dust to extreme temperatures. To log on or reawaken your laptop, you just need to touch the power button with fingerprint recognition. With the Backlit Keyboard, you can keep at your work in dark environments by touching the power button. Its truly immersive 3D audio over Speakers and Headphones provides the most believable surround experience.
- Price – INR 72,990
DTS:X Ultra 3D audio that provides a superior sound quality
Why Is My Laptop Battery Draining So Fast Secrets Revealed
Battery degradation is something we cannot do anything to prevent. Depending on your usage, the battery backup can be reduced by 1-2 hours each year. But if you are experiencing sudden battery draining and wondering why is my laptop battery draining so fast, we are here to help.
You can experience drastic battery draining even though the laptop is always on battery-saving mode. Some settings, as well as user preferences, influence battery consumption, and this is what you need to find and address properly.
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Computer Specs Explained What To Look For In A Laptop
When you’re choosing a new laptop or desktop computer, it’s important to understand the specs and features you’ll see listed by each model. That way, you can be sure to choose the right laptop for your own particular needs.
Knowing what processor to go for, how much RAM you’ll need and whether or not you require a graphics card are all questions will have a bearing on your setup, and your budget.
We explain some of the key components to look for when picking up your new laptop.
Just want to see the best laptops money can buy? Check out our recommendations for The Best Laptops of 2021
How To Find The Right Gaming Laptop
When shopping for a gaming laptop, there’s a lot to consider. To help you choose a system, here are five key points to keep in mind when choosing a system.
Budget: What you get for the money.
You can find good inexpensive gaming laptops for under $1,000. However, more powerful mainstream gaming laptops are often priced between $1,500-$2,000. Premium systems typically cost more than $2,000 and come stacked with a host of high-powered goodies such as high-powered specs and tricked-out software.
Screen Size: 15 inches is the go-to
It’s very rare that you’ll find a 13 or 14-inch gaming laptops nowadays as smaller bezels and lighter frames have paved the way for seriously thin-and-light gaming laptops. That means the days of chunky 15.6-inch laptops putting a strain on your back are over .
From there, you have the 17.3-inch desktop replacements that like their smaller counterparts are becoming super svelte. But there are still the big behemoths that don’t skimp on the specs. However, weighing upwards of 8 pounds, those big boys are made for your home gaming station.
Screen Resolution: 1080p for high refresh rates, 4K for detail
Refresh rate: 120Hz is the sweet spot
Intel or AMD?
Battery Life: At least 4.5 hours
Specs: 1080p / Core i5 / 16GB Are Best Bets
You can spend a lot of time delving into specs, but here are the key components to think about. If you just want really good mainstream performance, go for a Core i5 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 1080p screen.
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