How We Test Laptops
Laptop Mag has been testing and reviewing laptops for over two decades. We test over 150 different models per year, subjecting each system to a series of rigorous benchmarks that provides a complete picture of performance, battery life and usability.
Our expert reviewers also use each product to see how it looks and feels in everyday situations. Because we see so many different notebooks, we can compare each to its direct competitors and give you an idea of how it stacks up to the average laptop in its price band.
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.
An Affordable Laptop With A Bold Look
If youre looking for an affordable Chromebook that stands out from the crowd, the $549 Galaxy Chromebook 2 should be on your list. It comes in a bold fiesta red color . Its a touchscreen convertible with stylus support .
On top of the design, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 includes an excellent QLED panel, which is one of the best displays weve ever seen on a Chromebook. You also get a solid keyboard, decent battery life , and a port selection that includes two USB-C ports, a microSD slot, and a headphone jack. Its easily one of the best Chromebooks you can buy and one of the best cheap laptops as well.
Fastest Laptop: How We Test
To test the speed of a laptop, we use an in-house application called Bench. We created Bench as a means of testing overall performance unlike GeekBench 4, which solely measures CPU speed, Bench involves the whole system. In a way, its more of a stress test than a processor speed test.
Essentially, the application forces the laptop to run complex processing tasks on 4K image and video files, then runs it through some multitasking tests. This combination of tasks is designed to put the CPU through its paces, but it also challenges the laptops GPU , along with its memory, storage and thermal management systems.
When Bench has run its course, it produces three results: an image score, a video score and a multitasking score, represented in seconds. Fewer seconds is better because it means that the laptop completed the test faster.
Next, we take those three results and calculate a final score. The quicker the laptop finishes the Bench test, the higher that overall result will be. This calculation is based on a reference score of 100, which was achieved by a laptop using an Intel Core i5-4670K that we tested when Bench was first created. Unlike the seconds scores of the individual tests, where less is more, a higher number is better when it comes to the overall Bench result.
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Do I Need Any Extras When I Buy A Laptop
To my mind, the whole charm of a laptop is that it gives you everything you need in one device. That being said, I know that some people find laptop keyboards cramped and trackpads annoying. Thankfully, these days almost every peripheral keyboard and mouse is Bluetooth enabled so all should connect to your laptop with ease. You can find my guides to the best keyboards and best computer mouse by clicking those links.
Best Windows Laptop : Top Windows 10 Laptops Available
Choosing the best Windows laptop for most people involves many different factors. A reasonable price, ample performance, suitable display, and comfortable keyboard are just some of the features considered. Manufacturers continuously update their product lineups with new hardware and design, but HP’s Spectre x360 14 is currently our pick for the best Windows laptop. It has a gorgeous gem-cut design, a touch display with a slim bezel and 3:2 aspect ratio, and powerful performance from 11th Gen Intel Core processors . It’s also priced very competitively, pushing it above many other close seconds that might take the top spot. Not quite what you need? There are many other great picks for the best Windows laptop, which we’ve rounded up here.
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A Stylish Powerful Productivity Laptop
Razer is best known for its gaming laptops, but the company is making a big splash in the business and productivity space with its new Razer Book 13. At 0.6 inches thick and 3.09 pounds, the Book 13 is a portable workstation with a gorgeous and sturdy aluminum build. It features a good port selection including Thunderbolt 4, USB-A, HDMI 2.0 and a microSD slot, and its one of very few non-gaming laptops out there to come with a per-key RGB keyboard.
On the inside, this laptop is even more impressive. Its powerful chip did better than any other Windows laptop of its size on our Premiere Pro media export test. And while the Book 13 isnt a gaming laptop, it delivers some of the best gaming performance Ive ever seen from integrated graphics it can even run Shadow of the Tomb Raider over 30fps. While the Razer Book 13s high price means it wont be ideal for everyone, its still an outstanding laptop all around, combining a high-quality chassis with powerful productivity performance.
Understanding Graphics Performance: Power For Play And Content Creation
If the kind of speed you are after is for PC gaming, what you need is a laptop with a dedicated graphics chip, or GPU. Most of the leading-edge gaming laptops these days use various flavors of Nvidia’s GeForce mobile chips, with the RTX 30 series the current kings of the hill.
If your laptop has a 1080p display, a GeForce RTX 3050 or higher chip will generally suffice, if you play modern games at high settings. The RTX 3070 is usually a good match for a resolution of 2,560 by 1,440 pixels , while a GeForce RTX 3080 will be overkill for 1080p but a good starting point for gaming on a 4K screen. That said, most gamers stick to 1080p.
If you’ll use your gaming laptop with an external monitor or monitors that have a higher resolution than the laptop’s built-in screen, you might consider a GPU that’s several steps ahead of the laptop’s own screen. Otherwise, you’ll want to match the performance of the GPU with the upper limits of the laptop’s own panel.
On a related note, laptops with screens that support Nvidia’s G-Sync technology are worth looking out for. In these, the screen rewrites at the same rate that the GPU churns out frames, in essence adjusting the refresh rate dynamically. This reduces screen artifacts and “tearing” . With a high-refresh screen, a top-notch GPU will be better leveraged with G-Sync, a marginal one will be enhanced.
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Weve Tested Hundreds Of Laptops To Find The Fastest Most Powerful Laptops You Can Buy Today
There are so many things to consider when youre shopping for a brand-new laptop. Everyone wants to find a well-priced machine with that perfect balance of build quality, performance and battery life. And then theres the display to think about: do you want a standard screen or a touchscreen, and at what resolution? Storage quality and connectivity matter, of course, as does the operating system.
Its not easy to say which of the above is the most important because, actually, theyre all important. If you dont have decent performance, however, no laptop can really make the grade. No matter how pretty that snazzy 4K touch display might be or how thin, light and shiny the chassis, youll soon regret the purchase if it cant perform the daily tasks you set it without slowing you down. Thats where this guide comes in.
READ NEXT: Best laptops of the year
Here at Expert Reviews, we use an exhaustive suite of benchmarks on every laptop we review, measuring everything from display quality and battery life to storage and gaming capabilities. The first thing we do, though, is test performance. Having tested the CPU performance of hundreds of laptops weve sorted through the results to reveal the twenty fastest laptops you can buy today. Read on to find out what they are and how they were tested.
The Best Laptops In 2021
Zenbook 13 OLED
The best laptops are the ones that help you stay on top of all your different projects and gadgets. Once you’ve equipped yourself with the right one, you’ve acquired the speed to power you through all of your assignments, and the battery life to make it through a day of work without worrying about the nearest power outlet.
Finding the best laptop for you can be tricky, because you’ve never had more choices. There are top rated laptops for basic web surfing, mainstream machines with premium components and attractive designs, and beastly gaming laptops that will let you play the hottest PC games the way they were meant to be played.
- These are the best Windows laptops on the market
- The best laptops under $500 can help you stay productive on a budget
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Buying Guide For Best Dell Laptops
When Dell first started marketing computers to consumers, the company wasnt viewed as a threat to established manufacturers like HP, IBM, and Compaq. But a lot has changed since then. Dell has become the biggest name in PC hardware and the default choice for thousands of businesses around the world. Dell computers are powerful, affordable, and best of all, well-supported by the company.
Dells laptops are no exception to this rule. A wide variety of Dell laptops, each based around specific use cases which is another way of saying that no matter what your needs are, theres a Dell laptop thats perfect for you.
Whether youre replacing a dying machine or buying a new laptop for your next digital adventures, weve got you covered. Heres everything you need to know to find the right Dell laptop for you.
What’s The Most Important Gaming Laptop Component
When it comes to gaming, the obvious answer is the graphics card, but that’s where things have gotten a little more complicated recently. With GPU performance now so dependent on cooling, you have to pay attention to what wattage a graphics card is limited to and what chassis it’s squeezed into.
As we said at the top, an RTX 3080 confined in an 18mm chassis will perform markedly slower than one in a far chunkier case with room for higher performance cooling.
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If Youre Looking For The Fastest Laptop For Graphic Design And Gaming Then This Article Is For You
Having the fastest laptop is probably one of the greatest advantages for every creative person, especially graphic designers.
Although it is a little bit more expensive than regular laptops on the market, youll be guaranteed that youll be getting a high-performing device.
What is the best and fastest laptop to buy?
Since there are a lot of brands claiming that they have the most powerful laptop for graphic design, it must be confusing for you to decide which one to buy.
Thats why this article is specially written for creative people like you to give you an idea of which is the best laptop for graphic design.
They all boast great and powerful performances, so it will be a matter of preference for you as a graphic designer.
If youre an Apple user like me, then the MacBook Pro 14″ 2021 is probably the best choice for you.
Of course, I also include the fastest laptop for gaming, which is the ROG Zephyrus G15, in case you love playing in your free time.
Whether youre looking for a best-budget laptop or a high-end one, Ive got something for you.
You can also check out my other article where I featured the best laptop stands for graphic designers.
So without further ado, heres my list of the most powerful and fastest laptops to buy in 2022.
Please note: as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost to you.
The Best Multimedia Laptop
Most thin and light laptops share one significant weakness thin, tinny audio. Thats not the case with the Lenovo Yoga 9i. This 14-inch convertible has a rotating soundbar in its hinge, meaning that no matter how its positioned, the speakers face outwards. You can expect clear, booming sound whether youre using the 9i in tablet, tent, or clamshell mode.
Theres a lot more to like as well. You get an excellent 1080p touch display and a built-in stylus for easy artwork and note-taking. The 11th-Gen processors deliver satisfactory performance and all-day battery life. The audio quality, screen, and convertible form factor all add up to an unbeatable machine for multimedia entertainment.
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Do I Need Dedicated Graphics
A graphics processor thats built into the CPU is perfectly adequate for most everyday laptop use. Youll know youre looking at an IGP if you see a reference to Intels HD Graphics, UHD Graphics, or Iris as the graphics solution on an Intel-CPU laptop . An IGP shares the CPUs processor cores, memory, or both. The amount of memory available to the integrated graphics chip is usually fixed, so increasing the amount of system memory wont result in better graphics performance.
Most gamers will want to consider a discrete GPU with its own dedicated computing resources. Even a budget gaming GPU will offer an immense advantage over an integrated graphics processor when it comes to playing 3D games. At the high end, hardcore gamers should look for Nvidias latest GeForce RTX GPUs.
With gaming laptops, the level of GPU you need is very much tied to the frame rate you want to run at the laptops native screen resolution, and the kind of games you play. Thats where our reviews come in handy. We test with several demanding gaming and industry-standard benchmarks to give you a relative sense of a laptops graphics performance. Check out our roundup of favorite late-model gaming machines and best budget gaming laptops for much more.
Screen Size And Resolution
Picking a screen size is important when it comes to photo editing. Laptops are available in a wide variety of screen sizes, generally falling between 11 inches and 17 inches. That measurement is taken diagonal, from bottom corner to the opposite top corner.
While screen size is a personal preference, a larger screen can make editing a lot easier as you will get a clearer view of the image, and the various tools that you use in your photo editing application will be easier to access.
On the flipside, a larger screen will require a larger and heavier laptop. We would suggest that a 13 or 15 laptop would be the ideal compromise between usability and portability for most users. If you plan to mainly work in one place, a larger screen size is nice to have, although you can also purchase an external monitor.
As well as the physical size of the screen, screens will also have different resolutions. The screen resolution refers to how many physical pixels make up the screen.
For example, a 1920 x 1080 pixel screen, also referred to as a high definition, or 1080p HD screen, will be 1920 pixels wide, and 1080 pixels high. In total, this is just over 2 million pixels.
Its also possible to get much higher resolution screens. These have the advantage in that the images will be sharper and clearer, and the disadvantage that the processor or graphics card will have to work harder. Higher resolution screens are also more battery intensive, and cost more.
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The Fastest Laptops For 2021
Based on our in-depth benchmark testing, these are the speediest laptops on the market today. See them alland learn how to look at the idea of speed before you buy.
- Luxurious keyboard, touchpad, and speakers
- Long battery life
- Peak gaming performance just shy of class-leading
- No high-refresh-rate 1080p screen option
- Gorgeous 17-inch 4K touch screen
- Available Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics
- Large touchpad
- Shorter battery life than expected
- No USB Type-A ports
- Excessive CPU and GPU power
- Bling-tastic RGB backlit keyboard
- 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD instead of 32GB and 1TB
- Ho-hum webcam placement
Meet Your Needs And Budget
Of course, you need to balance these features with your budget and your needs, and you might have to make some compromises. Rarely does a laptop come along that ticks all the boxes, especially when it comes to price.
Let us know in the comments below if you consider other aspects of a laptop to be more important , and especially let us know if youve already found the perfect laptop for your needs.
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