When it comes to choosing the best laptop, there really isn't a "one-size-fits-all" solution. After all, different users have different wants, different needs, so narrowing down the field into a single perfect choice is impossible. However, what we can do it to choose the best laptop by user type and application—which is exactly what we did. From the business-class to budget, ultraportable to ultraportly, these are the best laptops of 2022.
Best Laptop Overall
Striking the perfect balance between power, portability, and price, the MacBook Air M2 (2022) is our pick for the best laptop of 2022. It doesn’t quite reach the same performance levels as some of the faster, more powerful MacBook Pro models, but it doesn’t need to.
For most users, the MacBook Air’s M2 architecture is plenty powerful enough. Even the base model, which includes an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage can shred through demanding workloads quickly and with ease, barely exhibiting signs of effort.
Nearly as thin in size as the iPhone 14 and weighing less than 3 lb, the MacBook Air is as sleek and portable as ever. Combined with the power of its M2 architecture, the MacBook Air offers the perfect blend of performance and portability.
Finally, let’s not overlook cost. In addition to being super powerful and ultraportable, the MacBook Air is reasonably priced. It’s not cheap by any means, and depending on what configuration you go with, the cost can climb pretty quickly, but compared to other, uber-expensive laptops like the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air’s price tag seems much more manageable.
When you put it all together: the power to tackle any task, portability that allows you to take it anywhere, and a price most people can work with, it becomes clear that MacBook Air M2 is the best laptop of 2022.
Best Laptop for Photo Editing
The MacBook Pro M1 (2021) is the best laptop for content creators, including photo and video editors. In terms of power: it’s simply unrivaled, capable of churning through creative tasks at speeds comparable to the highest of high-end PCs.
The MacBook Pro M1 is available in 14 and 16" configurations, but regardless of which model you choose, the Pro’s Liquid Retina XDR screen delivers gorgeous visuals with true-to-life colors that are perfect for photo and video editors.
For a full rundown on why the MacBook Pro M1 is the best laptop for photo editing, be sure to check out our hands-on review of the MacBook Pro M1 (2021).
Best Laptop for Photo Editing on a Budget
Though primarily billed as a productivity laptop for users on the go, the ASUS VivoBook S15 actually makes for a pretty good photo editing laptop for users on a budget—provided you get the right model. The key specs are the screen and the processor. You’re looking for the 15.6” variant with a Full HD IPS display and a 12th Gen Intel Core processor, preferably the i5.
Why this model? The wide viewing angles and solid contrast you get from the IPS display will help make up for the VivoBook’s rather pedestrian 45% NTSC color gamut. Meanwhile, the Intel processor will boost overall performance, allowing you to run multiple editing applications at once.
Make no mistake: the VivoBook S 15 is not a MacBook Pro M1 competitor. It's not even the same species. But for a third of the cost, the VivoBook S 15 returns high value and great photo editing performance.
Best Gaming Laptop in the World
ASUS's Republic of Gamers Strix SCAR 17 SE is the only laptop on our list that is a double award winner: not only did it receive our vote for the best gaming laptop in the world, it was also our pick for the laptop with the most ridiculous name. Look at that thing. Republic of Gamers Strix SCAR 17 SE. If you're not familiar with ASUS, you have no idea what those words mean. It's way too much.
But then again, maybe that's the point. After all, what should you call one of the most roided-out, tryhard gaming rigs we've ever seen? Shouldn't it be something equally over the top, something that embodies just how truly broken this rig is? Just look at the specs on this thing.
For starters, it's huge. The 7 lb Strix SCAR features a 17.3" 1440p display with a 240 Hz refresh rate. Planning to hook it up to an external monitor? Go right ahead: the Strix SCAR houses a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU and features both DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.1 ports, so you can connect it to whatever monitor you want. 4K, 5K, 8K—sure, why not.
For its CPU, the Strix SCAR is running a 2.3 Ghz Intel Core i9-12950HX chip, which is probably overkill to begin with (unless you were planning on undertaking some super-intense, multiprong task like recording yourself playing a graphically demanding VR title while simultaneously streaming it live on Twitch), but nonetheless can be overclocked further up to 5 GHz.
In terms of storage, the Strix SCAR comes with two M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSDs, each with 1TB of storage, for a grand total of 2TB of installed memory. And, because 16 or even 24GB of RAM would have been a bit too reasonable, the Strix SCAR comes with a mind-boggling 32GB of DDR5 RAM, which you can juice up all the way to 64GB. That's psychotic.
Best Laptop for Writers
Although it was far from unanimous, our vote for the best laptop for writers goes to the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4. What made this category particularly difficult to decide was our individual preferences on keyboards and key switches. We all agreed that the best writing laptop should provide a first-class typing experience; however, we were divided when it came down to what type of keyboard and key switches delivered that experience.
Ultimately, we settled on the Surface Laptop 4, because it was the one laptop keyboard that was viewed positively by everyone on our team. The fact that it’s so light and portable—a plus for journalists and writers on the go—and that it has a bright, easily readable screen also factored in to our decision.
I'm the proud owner of a early-2010 15" MacBook Pro with Touchbar that I purchased from B&H. I don't just like this computer, I love it. It's got a beautiful form factor, and is super fast when working in programs like Photoshop.
I know there's been some controversy regarding CPU power and the lack of anything but USB-C for peripherals, but those haven't been an issue. I really think both complaints are a tempest in a teapot. The CPU is plenty powerful. A newer and more powerful one from Intel would have supported more memory that 16GB, but at the expense of the 10 hours of battery life I'm getting. As for USB-C, you really need only one, inexpensive adapter to go from USB-C to USB-A which is under $10. This then allows you to connect all of your peripherals until such time as USB-C becomes more widely accepted.
Don't let what you read prevent you from enjoying this beautiful piece of engineering. It's a major upgrade to last year's MacBook Pro, and in my case, my early 2010 15" MacBook Pro. I'd be stunned if you don't love this computer.
I am the tech buyer for a school (K-8) going One-to-One this year and have decided on the Lenovo Chromebook. I have done a lot of research and did a pilot test this year. It will be the best for our students, but now I want to buy a Laptop for my granddaughter and thought this would be a good choice for her until I saw what she was doing as a high school freshman taking AP courses. She is using all the "Big Three" Word, Excel and PowerPoint at a level beyond me in some cases, so only a "fully outfitted" laptop will work for what she is doing now and in the next few years.
My point is that buying a computer now is no different than when I bought my first Compaq in 1984. Find out what you or the user is going to do with the computer and know just what specs are needed and buy what they need. I have decided on a Yoga 900 because it fits the way MY granddaughter will use a computer. Powerful to run those Office Apps, will work as a tablet when she studies on her bed at night, small and light to go everywhere and with great battery life.
Indeed, every word is engraved in stone ..
Especially the Dell 15.6 "Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming Series Notebook
Highly recommended one of the best if not the
My girlfriend just by a laptop for mainly do photo editing. She made lots of reserch to do so. It's like there's not a realy photo editing laptop existing on the market. Maybe except for the mac's. If you don't want to go on mac your kind of having to go on gamer's laptop. I found that situation surprising knowing that there is a market for that. Maybe BandH could make one?
I figured the Asus Zenbook Pro 15.6" would be on this list with ultra high def screen and is way less than the surface which is ABSURDLY priced. Thoughts?
Lenovo YOGA 900 is the best hybrid laptop of 2016 period! You can't find better package in $1500 CAD range. Not Dell XPS 13 that will end up costing you $2000 for the 16/512 package or Surface $3500 same config.
You can get Yoga 900 with intel i7 Skylake 6500 2.5Ghz to 3.10Ghz, 16gb ram and 512gb SSD for $1500 CAD! This is the best hybrid mobile laptop you can get for the money. Battery goes for up to 15hr, weight is only 2.5 lbs and it's super slim.
Forget MacBook pro with it's gimmicky one inch touch bar that cost you almost $3000. With YOGA 900 or even 910 both made in 2016 you get all 14" of 4k display that is all TOUCH SCREEN!
For photo edit and digital image production is a different story, I only recommend yoga 900/910 for the "best on the go notebook of 2016"! Merry Christmas to everybody!
What a strange "best of" list ... especially for a photo & video gear shop !
The "Best Laptop for Design or Video Processing" boast a 13 inch reflective screen ... are you kidding me, is that what you recommend for photo/video processing ? LOL ! No really, there's quite a number of far better choises out there, with 15 or 17 inch matte screens, with at least the same muscle power ...
Yes, thank you for saying that! I literally thought I had missed something and went into another dimension or time travelled to a place where the computers you speak of were only living in my dreams! This list is CrAzY!
Cedric, could you recommend some 15" matte screen laptops good for photo editing? I am also surprised the author did not comment on the Apple's lack of an SD card reader and its need for adaptors for all our existing peripherals. I, too, was expecting a more photo-oriented review, and would love to see the same on this website.
I wondered about that too. Hardly seems photography friendly not to include an SD card reader. But then, I gather all the newest Macs will be without an SD reader...not sure what Mac is thinking or where they are going with this.
Any suggestions for music production laptops
Designed to replace the MacBook Air, the space gray 13.3" MacBook Pro from Apple is faster and more powerful than the previous generation, yet thinner at 0.59" and lighter at just 3 lb. This system is powered by a 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7 Dual-Core processor that features a burst speed of up to 3.4 GHz, while 8GB of 1866 MHz LPDDR3 RAM helps to ensure smooth multitasking and also allows the computer to quickly access frequently-used files and programs.
What about HP spectre 360?
A bit pricey but, in i7/16 GBRAM/512 GB SSD configuration works like a charm to me
It would be really nice if you had also highlighted a 3 lb or less computer with Wi-Fi, bluetooth, good graphics for photos. Usage would be for email, light Excel usage, email, etc. with USB ports to connect external HDs for photos, videos, etc.
The 13.3" ZenBook UX301LA Multi-Touch Ultrabook from Asus is a thin and light notebook ideal for users who are constantly on-the-go and need a system that won't slow them down. It's powered by a 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7-5500U Dual-Core processor and 8GB of DDR3L RAM that'll let you efficiently multitask and quickly access frequently used files and programs. When handling a heavier workload, the CPU can reach up to 3.0 GHz thanks to Intel Turbo Boost technology. For storage, this system is equipped with a 256GB M.2 SSD. Should you need more room, you can connect external storage devices using its USB ports as well as its SD media card reader, which can also be used for quickly transferring files between mobile devices.