It is need to understand which laptop or ultrabook to buy is certainly not a simple operation. In this regard, we wanted to create our own ranking of the Top 10 laptops based on different criteria. Specifically, in this article we will not focus attention on the price, but on the most suitable solutions based on the type of user and use.
Here are the 5 categories selected for you …
Below you will also find some useful information to easily decree the goodness of any type of laptop. Here we advice you with the best proposals available on the market.
Enjoy the reading!
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Regardless of how much you can spend, there are certainly four elements that can be considered fundamental when you go to buy a computer …
1) MEMORY: Even more important than the processor, the provision of RAM and internal memory is fundamental. A laptop with Windows 10 with less than 4GB of RAM is not, in our opinion, advisable and it makes no sense to save 20/30% for ultra-cheap products. If necessary, postpone the purchase for a few months. Similar speech for internal memory: Windows occupies a lot of resources and 64GB are already a significant limit and we recommend at least 128GB. In this case, however, having 128GB on SSD compared to 500GB on HDD is much better given the much higher performance of SSDs.
2) PROCESSOR: The processor comes after the memory and it is very important but be careful not to overdo it. In the low end, the problem does not arise particularly and clearly more power is had, mallet it is. In the high end, however, when you start talking about i5, i7 or even i9, you have to take into account the performance / autonomy / heat compromise. A laptop with i5 and ultra-fast SSD will always be better than an i7 with HDD. Also it is always preferable to have a 256GB SSD rather than a 128 SSD + a 500GB or 1TB mechanical disk. Not only will you have less weight, but still better performance and greater autonomy. Furthermore, an i7 processor may never be really exploited and, in the same way, an i9 could reach excessive temperatures without real improvements in your activities.
3) DISPLAY: OLED, LCD, opaque, glossy is of little importance. In 2020, it is still possible to find laptops even not cheap with bad screens and HD resolution. So pay close attention and if you find products with apparently excellent hardware at very low prices, perhaps a 1366 TFT display and a mechanical HDD will be present and … if you can avoid them.
4) AUTONOMY: In this case, the budget makes the difference. Cheap laptops hardly have long run times and only with the latest CPUs are consumption very low, including standby. There are, however, important differences on the Wh, that is the capacity of the batteries and if you want an excellent duration outside your office / home, going below 50Wh is not recommended.
The first notebook we have entered is called Honor MagicBook, cousin of the Huawei MateBook D14, an inexpensive product and with perfect hardware for home use made mainly of web browsing, mail management, document creation and video streaming. It features a particularly refined design for the category with optimized dimensions, a particularly solid metal body and metallic blue edges. The 14-inch FullHD LCD display is of good quality, does not have a particularly high brightness, but sufficient to be visible even outdoors, and can be opened up to 180°.
Under the hood, we find a Ryzen 5 3500U CPU accompanied by a Vega 8 graphics card, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of PCIe SSD memory. The system is stable in any situation, respectable performance and perfect for almost all types of use. Obviously it is not a gaming PC, but it can also be used for a few short game sessions. We complete its description by confirming the presence of a fingerprint reader integrated in the power button, compatible with Windows Hello, an adequate number of ports and a battery capable of guaranteeing up to 8 hours of working use.
In case you need a larger display, we advise you to focus on the excellent Asus VivoBook 15, precisely the version with code S512JF. The price of this model is higher than the Honor, but the performance and internal hardware are certainly higher. The most suitable configuration is the one with 10th Gen. Intel Core i5 processor, 512GB SSD and Nvidia MX 130 graphics card with 2GB of dedicated memory.
The screen is 15.6 inches, obviously FullHD, but the dimensions of the metal body, also in this case, are compact. Very interesting is the presence of a keyboard complete with numeric keypad. Other noteworthy aspects include the SonicMaster surround sound system certified by Harman Kardon and the facial recognition camera.
Here is a notebook for the so-called creators, a category particularly sought after especially in this period. This is the MSI Prestige 15, a product that has really convinced us during the tests carried out recently. Although it is a product designed for productivity, we find a thickness of only 16 mm and a weight of 1.6 kg that make it transportable and not bulky. One of the most interesting aspects of this product is its ability to adapt to any type of use thanks to a scalable platform that can be silent and inexpensive in terms of battery, but, if necessary, pull the muscles out carrying the CPU with a TDP up to 64W. The latter is a tenth generation Intel Core i7, accompanied by 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB SSD and a GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, also suitable for gaming.
Compatibility with the NVIDIA Studio drivers and the optimization of many software, such as those of the Adobe suite, allow the notebook to take advantage of the graphics acceleration and free up part of the CPU resources that can be used elsewhere. Good the provision of ports even if we would have liked an SD reader in standard format.
The second solution dedicated to creators comes from Cupertino; we refer specifically to the MacBook Pro 16. It is a machine that really needs no introduction and that, especially if used in conjunction with Apple software such as Final Cut and Logic Pro; it turns into a very powerful tool for the production of content. The hardware is really super, it can also be equipped with Intel Core i9 processors and with a maximum of 64GB of RAM, characteristics that will inevitably raise the price to very important figures.
Noteworthy are the new keyboard introduced by Apple and the excellent sound system capable of giving a sound quality never heard before of a portable product. The latter is flanked by internal microphones also suitable for music recording. In summary, by purchasing this notebook, you will always have a complete study with you and you will be able to create contents of the highest level wherever you are. For more information, please read our full review.
Let’s start with the category of ultra-laptops perfect for mobility and we certainly cannot take the scepter away from the Dell XPS 13 9301 which, in the 2020 version, changes in various ways to improve what is considered by many to be the best user experience in this segment. The construction quality has always been one of its strengths; the body is in aluminum and carbon fiber and guarantees strength and lightness at the same time. This is the most compact and lightest XPS 13, thanks to the new Infinity Edge display that minimizes the frames on all 4 sides. The panel has an aspect ratio of 16:10, particularly convenient as it guarantees a better organization of the various open screens and less scrolling to browse the web pages.
Of course, the processors have also been updated. We now have 10th generation Intel Core CPUs with integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics, a plus not least, the latter, compared to past generations that were slightly penalized due to GPU not up to par. In conclusion, we recommend the model with Core i5, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD that manages to guarantee performance adequate to the needs of most users.
Another extremely compact, elegant and suitable notebook for mobile use is the Lenovo IdeaPad S540, cheaper and more accessible than the Dell proposed before. The most recommended configuration is the one with 14-inch FullHD display, 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor, at least 8GB of RAM and 1TB SSD. This machine is characterized by a refined design with metal body, reduced thickness and screen that can be opened up to 180°, all qualities that will allow you to always have performance appropriate to the context.
In this section, we insert the new version of the 15-inch DELL G5, a very interesting product and particularly appreciated by many of you. For less than $1000, you can take home a gaming laptop with an Intel Core i5 10300H processor, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe SSD. The GPU is an NVIDIA GeFOrce GTX 1660 Ti, perfect for playing in fullHD, even with high detail, maintaining a framerate higher than 60fps and, therefore, ensuring excellent playability even with the most recent titles. The dimensions give the only negative note: 2.4 cm in thickness and 2.34 kg in weight are not a few, but it is a notebook that points to the substance in the face of some acceptable compromise.
The RGB keyboard is backlit and can be customized on 12 zones. Good the provision of ports that includes 1 HDMI 2.0, 3 USB type A 3.1, 1 SD card slot, microphone and headphone jack, an Ethernet port and a mini display port. Many of these are located on the back, a noticeable feature in similar devices as it allows you to leave the side parts of the notebook free of cables that could get in the way during gaming sessions. The IPS display is good and has a 144Hz refresh rate.
The second gaming proposal is represented by the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14. We can define this notebook as the best compact solution in this segment, given its well-optimized dimensions, low weight and 14-inch display with refresh rates up to 122Hz. Despite what has just been anticipated, the performance is really excellent, thanks to the software optimization carried out by Asus, the engineering of the cooling system and the internal hardware. We find, in fact, a Ryzen 9 4900HS CPU, or an octa-core at 7nm accompanied by an NVIDIA RTX 2060 Max Q graphics card, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD memory. Another aspect that contributes to maintaining high performance is the design, or rather the Ergolift hinges which, by raising the keyboard, improve ergonomics and guarantee a greater flow of air in the lower part of the PC.
Other noteworthy aspects include the good quality sound system and the integrated battery, capable of guaranteeing 8 hours of work use and 1.5 hours of play. Too bad for the not very large touchpad, for the not always precise fingerprint reader and for the total absence of a webcam, all details that would have made this ROG even more advisable.
As a first solution dedicated to students, we propose the Lenovo IdeaPad C340. It is a convertible notebook with a display capable of rotating 360° and flattening against the body in order to make the most of the touch and the pen included in the package. The latter is called Lenovo Active Pen and will allow you to take notes, edit documents or draw.
The panel is a 14-inch FullHD IPS Touch with a glossy finish, characterized by bright colors and good contrast. The choice of hardware platform made up of the tenth generation Intel Core i3 10110U processor is flanked by 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB PCIe SSD. Among the noteworthy specifications, we also mention the presence of a fingerprint reader that will guarantee you quick access to Windows using the Hello software.
We conclude this buying guide with another 2-in-1 notebook suitable for school use. We refer to the HP Envy X360 15, a product with 15.6-inch FullHD touch IPS display with nib support and 360° opening body. The configuration that we indicate as most appropriate is that moved by an Intel Core i5 1035G1 processor, accompanied by 8 GB of RAM, 512GB of PCIe SSD memory and an NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics card.
In this model, there are a reader for the recognition of fingerprints, a camera Shutter, perfect to guarantee more and more privacy, a keyboard complete with numeric keypad and a charger with fast charge that will allow you to get 50% charge in about 30 minutes.