The best laptops 2021 in the test & comparison

Buying a new laptop should be carefully considered. For many, the laptop, next to the smartphone, is a constant companion and irreplaceable for both leisure and work. The selection of new laptops is huge. Countless models and providers make it difficult to choose the right device. With our laptop test & comparison, we want to help you to find the best laptop for you.

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    The right operating system

    Similar to the case of Smartphones If so, there are two dominant operating systems on the market for laptops too. These are macOS and Windows. We are deliberately leaving out Linux here. In fact, some laptops are also offered without an operating system. So you also have to buy the system and install it yourself. Most laptops, however, usually have Windows 10 pre-installed. If you opt for a laptop from Apple, you will always find macOS pre-installed there. Both operating systems come with their own office applications and software for image and video editing, some of which are limited to the respective operating system.

    macOS operating system

    macOS operating systemApple's operating system is called macOS and is preinstalled on all Apple laptops free of charge. In addition, the user receives an all-inclusive package with Pages, Numbers and Keynote. These are programs for word processing, spreadsheets and for creating presentations. One of the biggest disadvantages of macOS is that the compatibility with different programs and especially games is much lower than with Windows. If you want to play games on your laptop, macOS is much less suitable than Windows. The biggest advantage of the macOS operating system is that it is optimally adapted to Apple's laptops. As a result, they are often more energy efficient and efficient. There is also significantly less screen freezing or crashing. With its laptops, Apple is particularly aimed at creative people, students and professional users. The video editing program Final Cut, for example, is available exclusively for macOS and is preferred by many Adobe Premier Pro. MacOS is also considered more user-friendly and uncomplicated than Windows.

    Windows operating system

    10 Windows LogoMicrosoft's operating system is called Windows and runs on most laptops and desk-top PCs around the world. However, it does not come pre-installed on all laptops and sometimes has to be purchased for around 145 euros. Windows laptops are much better suited for gaming and anyone looking for a cheaper laptop. The Windows operating system is also more customizable and works with more applications than macOS. The biggest disadvantage of Windows as an operating system is that it is not perfectly set up for every laptop, as is the case with Apple, which means that problems such as screen freezes or crashes occur more often. Windows users are also more frequently affected by viruses and malware than is the case with macOS. So if you decide to use a Windows operating system, an antivirus program is an absolute must. Most users appreciate the complexity and versatility of Windows.

    The most important criteria when buying a laptop

    Laptop graphicWe want to help you find the best laptop for you. In addition to deciding which operating system is right for you, there are a few other criteria that you should definitely consider when buying a laptop. We present the most important ones here in a short overview.

     

     

     

     

    battery performanceConnectionsrandom access memoryhard diskProcessorgraphic cardScreenlongevityform factorKeyboard & touchpadFurther equipmentPrice-performance ratio

    battery performance 

    Most laptops are often used on the move. Therefore, just like with smartphones, the battery life is an important purchase criterion. If you often use your laptop on the go, you should make sure that the laptop you choose allows at least 6 hours of wireless use. But not only how long a battery lasts is decisive. Laptop batteries lose power over time, so it is advisable to choose a laptop that allows the battery to be replaced at low cost in the future. That can allow an older laptop to use an extra year or two.

    Connections

    Your laptop should have enough ports to use all of your peripherals. In addition to the classic headphone connection, a USB interface should be available. Pay attention to USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt 3 allows the use of several interfaces and can also be used as HDMI and display port or even to charge the laptop at the same time. An SD card slot and an HDMI connection are also advisable.

    random access memory

    In addition to the processor, the main memory or RAM (Random Access Memory) is decisive for how fast your laptop is. Current laptop models should preferably have at least 8 GB of RAM. In fact, 16 GB is now the standard for better models. If you use your laptop a lot for multitasking or compute-intensive work, 32 GB is future-proof.

    hard disk

    The hard drive is responsible for how many photos, apps, videos and files you can store on your laptop. Particularly more expensive models should definitely have an SSD hard drive. The smallest SSD hard drives start at 64 GB, which is often far too little. We recommend at least 256 GB of hard disk space and if you use your laptop for video editing or plan to install many programs and games on it, it is best to 1 TB and more. Don't forget that the installation of the operating system also requires storage space.

    Processor

    In addition to the main memory, the Processor about the performance of your laptop. The two well-known providers are AMD and Intel. Only Intel is found in Apple laptops due to software limitations. A good processor is especially important for games and video editing. More cores and more GHz allow better performance.

    graphic card

    The cheap laptop models do not have a dedicated one graphic card but have a graphics chip integrated in the processor. This is enough for simple word processing and surfing the Internet. If, on the other hand, you want to use your laptop for image and video editing or for gaming, it should have a dedicated graphics card with its own video memory of at least 4 GB. The two well-known providers of graphics cards are Nvidia and AMD.

    Screen

    Most laptops have a screen between 10 and 17 inches. The image quality is specified in pixels. 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution is the minimum for a good laptop. However, more pixels often also mean that the laptops have a short battery life. Some laptops even come with a touch display and are especially interesting for graphic designers. Other important values ​​are contrast, color representation and brightness. The latter is especially important if you plan to use your laptop outdoors a lot.

    longevity

    How durable a laptop is depends on various factors. First of all, the laptop should have a well thought out design and sturdy hinges for the screen. The longevity of a laptop can also be greatly increased if certain components such as the battery or the hard drive can be replaced. It is also helpful if you can expand and upgrade the RAM afterwards.

    form factor

    As mentioned above, laptops are often used on the move. Therefore, a laptop is ideally small, light and thin so that you can take it with you wherever you go. Smaller laptops (between 10 and 13 inches) are often very light and weigh less than 1 kg. These laptops often have a very good battery life but a rather poor performance. They are ideal for students and anyone who only uses a laptop Use word processing and surf the Internet. If you want a dedicated graphics card and a very lA powerful laptop should rather opt for a larger model (between 15 and 17 inches). However, these models are often less mobile and weigh up to 4 kg or even more. 

    Keyboard & touchpad

    A good keyboard and a large and easy-to-use touchpad can be important criteria for buying a laptop. Especially if you plan to write a lot on your laptop, you should make sure that the keyboard is comfortable to use. Even expensive models can go wrong here. Until recently, the expensive Apple MacBooks were known for their unreliable keyboard, but the latest models have improved a lot. A good touchpad with swipe functions can also increase productivity.

    Further equipment

    Modern laptops are a real marvel of technology. In addition to the normal functions, the top models offer pleasant ones Comfort features. Some of these features might also be of interest to you:

    • Integrated CD or DVD drive
    • keyboard light
    • WLAN 6.0
    • Thunderbolt 3.0
    • Quick Charge
    • Stylus functionality 

    Price-performance ratio

    The price is of course a more important criterion when buying a laptop. Inexpensive office laptops can be found around 300 euros, while the professional solutions from Apple sometimes cost up to 6000 euros. So you can see that there is an almost infinite price range. We advise you to have a clear idea of ​​how much you want to spend before buying a laptop. This will help you narrow down the choices a bit.

    Tip: If you are a pupil or student, you often benefit from special offers or discounts. Apple is reducing the prices for laptops in its own shop by an average of 8-10%,

    The best laptops in comparison

    Now that you know the most important criteria when buying a new laptop, it is time to introduce you to our list of the best laptops. In addition to performance, we also evaluate mobility, price-performance ratio and our overall impression.

    1st place - MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

    Apple MacBook Pro 16The best MacBook ever. Apple made it to number 16 on our list of the best with the new 1-inch MacBook Pro. The old MacBook Pro (15 inch) has been completely improved. We particularly like the new spectacular 16 inch screen with TrueTone and the simply fantastic sounding speakers. The biggest mistake in the MacBook series so far, the butterfly switch keyboard, has also been completely redesigned. The new MacBook has a new and greatly improved Magic Keyboard. Apple's classic touchpad is huge and offers numerous useful swipe functions.

    In addition to the new keyboard, the inner values ​​have also changed a lot. Apple first installed the new AMD Radeon Pro 5000M series. This delivers surprisingly good benchmark values ​​and is even better than an Nvidia 1650 (laptop version).

    You can now also configure up to an incredible 64 GB RAM and up to 8 TB SSD storage. This makes the new MacBook Pro particularly suitable for graphics-intensive tasks such as video editing. The battery has also been improved and is now 100 watt hours. More is actually not possible if you want to take your laptop in your hand luggage when flying. The new speakers are also really impressive.

    Together with the thin and light design that Apple is used to, the MacBook Pro is a truly mobile professional laptop. The screen comes in 3.072 x 1920 pixels. That is a resolution of 16:10 which we personally like better than 16: 9. That results in a pixel density of 226. According to Apple's own statements, a full 4K resolution is deliberately omitted to ensure that the battery life does not suffer too much. Oh yes, the battery life is absolutely convincing for a 16 inch device and allows about 11 hours of surfing the Internet with 150 nits screen brightness. The screen brightness is typically very bright for Apple and allows you to use the MacBook even in the sunshine.

    The new 16-inch MacBook Pro is also not much larger than the old MacBook Pro 15-inch due to its significantly thinner screen bezels. The only two negative points that we could find were the limited connections (4 Thunderbolt 3.0, no SD card slot) and the price, although the latter has a significantly better price-performance ratio compared to the older models.

    In summary, we can only say: Well done Apple! The new MacBook Pro 16 convinces us for everyone who needs a mobile, reliable professional laptop.

    specifications:

    CPU: 9th generation Intel Core i7 - i9
    GPU: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M - Radeon Pro 5500M (8 GB VRAM)
    RAM: 16 GB - 64 GB
    Display: 16 inch Retina with True Tone
    Hard disk: 512 - 8 TB SSD

    Benefits:

    • Beautiful 16 inch display
    • Much improved, new, Magic keyboard
    • Impressive speakers
    • Better price-performance ratio than previous models
    • Very good performance, especially for photo and video editing

    Disadvantages:

    • Expensive
    • Only 4 Thunderbolt 3.0 ports

     

    Sale
    2020 Apple iPad Pro (11 pouces, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 1 to) - Gris sidéral (2ᵉ génération)
    • 6-core 7th generation Intel Core i9 processor
    • Brilliant retina display with True Tone technology
    • Touch Bar and Touch ID
    • AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4 GB GDDR6 graphics memory
    • Ultrafast SSD

     

    2nd place - HP Specter x360 (2020)

    HP Spectre x360Second place goes to the HP Spextre x360. This laptop is a classic convertible and combines the best features of laptop and tablet.

    The new 2020 range comes with some impressive improvements. A brand new processor, the Intel Core i7-1065G7 Quad Core and 8GB of RAM. The Specter x360 uses an integrated graphics chip and does not have a dedicated graphics card. So for everyone who wants to play with their laptop, we recommend another alternative.

    Other available configurations are a 4K touch display and 1 TB SSD hard drive. Of course, integrating such powerful hardware in such a slim case also has its disadvantages. The HP Specter x360 runs pretty hot under full load. The battery lasted a little more than 10 hours in our test, was acceptable for a 13-inch model but not exceptionally good.

    Nice extra features such as a fingerprint sensor, face recognition and a webcam kill switch are also convincing if your privacy is particularly important to you. Although the HP Specter x360 is only 13 inches, there is space for a microSD card slot, which we really like.

    This 13 inch laptop is therefore suitable for everyone who is looking for a slim mobile companion that achieves good performance and can even act as a tablet.

    specifications:

    CPU: 10th generation Intel Core i5 - i7
    GPU: Intel Iris Plus graphics chip
    RAM: 8 GB - 16 GB
    Display: 13.3 FHD (1920 x 1080) multitouch | 13.3 4K (3840 x 2160) multitouch
    Hard disk: 256 - 2 TB SSD

    Benefits:

    • Very good performance for its size
    • Facescan, fingerprint sensor, webcam kill switch and button to mute the microphone ensure very good privacy
    • 4K touch display
    • Nice, modern design

    Disadvantages:

    • Lots of HP software preinstalled
    • Battery life could be a little better
    • Runs very hot under full load

     

    HP Specter 15-df1211ng (15,6 inch / UHD OLED Touch) laptop (Intel Core i7-9750H, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 32GB Intel Optane, 512GB SSD, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5, Windows 10 Home) dark ash silver
    • Processor: Intel Core i7-10510U; Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce MX250 2GB GDDR5
    • High performance 10: The 10 Generation Intel Core processor is adaptable and learnable for more speed and resilience
    • Experience the spectacular sharpness and the detailed color space of an energy-efficient OLED touch display
    • Enjoy faster access to your files and applications thanks to 32GB Intel Optane memory
    • Scope of delivery: HP Specter 15-df1210ng (8KG48EA) (15,6 inch / UHD Touch) laptop dark ash silver

    3rd place - Dell XPS 13

    Dell XPS 13For a long time the best laptop on the market, the Dell XPS was replaced by Apple and HP this year. Even so, the Dell XPS 13 is still an amazingly good laptop.

    The XPS 13 offers an impeccable design with an excellent display and impressive performance in a compact format. It is not without reason that the Dell XPS 13 has been one of the best ultrabooks on the market for years.

    In the basic configuration lies an Intel Ice Lake Core i5 processor with 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD. These are not impressive values ​​and we therefore recommend the somewhat more expensive configurations.

    In contrast, the screen, the keyboard and the battery are already convincing in the basic configuration. The battery life is just under 13,5 hours with video playback only, a really good value. The keyboard has a pleasant typing experience and has been one of the best on the market for years.

    On the other hand, we like the speakers a little less. These sound a bit tinny and, unlike the MacBook Pro 16, simply sound cheap. There aren't many ports on the XPS 13. Only two Thunderbolt 3s, a microSD card slot and a headphone jack are available.

    Like the MacBook Pro 13, the Dell XPS positions itself as a luxury item and has a proud price. So it is not for the small budget.

    specifications:

    CPU: 10th generation Intel Core i5 - i7
    GPU: Intel Iris Plus graphics chip
    RAM: 8 GB - 16 GB
    Display: 13.3 FHD (1920 x 1080) | 13.3 4K (3840 x 2160)
    Hard disk: 256 - 2 TB SSD

    Benefits:

    • Really nice design to look at
    • Excellent battery life

    Disadvantages:

    • Expensive
    • Bad speakers
    • Only two Thunderbolt 3 ports
    Dell XPS 13 9370 33,8 cm (13,3 inch FHD) laptop (Intel Core i7-8550U, 256GB SSD, Intel UHD Graphics 620 with shared graphic memory, Win 10 Home 64bit German) silver
    • Processor: 8th generation Intel Core i7-8550U (8M cache, up to 4.0 GHz)
    • Special features: Intel UHD Graphics 620 with shared graphic memory, 256GB PCIe Solid State Drive, 8GB LPDDR3 1866MHzMicro SD Card Reader, USB Cfingerprint reader
    • Bluetooth tied to wireless card, MaxxAudio (Windows), Stereo Speakers (Windows), Killer 1435 802.11ac2x2 and Bluetooth
    • Battery: 52 Wh 4 cells integrated
    • Manufacturing guarantee: 12 months on sale and shipping by Amazon. When selling and shipping by a third-party supplier, the details of the respective seller apply

    The Best Laptop for Students - Apple MacBook Air (2020)

    MacBook Air 2020Apple gave the MacBook Air some major updates in 2020, making it the best mobile laptop again. Instead of the previous 128 GB, there is now twice as much storage space available in the basic configuration.

    The inner values ​​of the MacBook Air are finally better. Configurations with a four-core processor and up to 16 GB of RAM are now possible.

    Although the MacBook Air is no longer the thinnest laptop on the market, its design strikes a perfect balance between slim and light construction and enough robustness for everyday use. It weighs 1,29 kg.

    Very atypical for Apple: Although the performance has improved, the price of the MacBook Air has even decreased compared to the previous model.

    The new Magic Keyboard also replaces the old buttfly switch keyboard on the new MacBook Air. Otherwise, not much has changed in the design itself. Unfortunately, in addition to a headphone jack, there are still only two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

    The 13.3 display is also the same as 2019 and supports TrueTone technology. It comes with a resolution of 2560 x 1600, which corresponds to a ppi of 227. Unfortunately, the screen brightness is a little too dark for our taste, but this is only annoying in direct sunlight.

    Photo editing, web surfing, and even less demanding video editing are easily done with the MacBook Air 2020. Thanks to the optimal coordination of hardware and software, the performance is better than the pure values ​​suggest.

    For a long time, the MacBook Air was the king of battery life, but unfortunately this is no longer the case. The runtime is still a decent 11 hours, but other laptops already offer more. However, what Apple continues to do better than the competition is the standby battery life. While a Windows computer in standby mode gives up the ghost within a day, you can leave the MacBook Air on standby for days.

    In summary, we like the MacBook Air 2020 very much. It is particularly suitable for students and anyone looking for a cheap and mobile MacBook. There is also an extra discount for schoolchildren and students in the Apple Store.

    specifications:

    CPU: 10th generation Intel Core i3 - i7
    GPU: Intel Iris Plus graphics chip
    RAM: 8 GB - 16 GB
    Display: 13.3 inches (2560 x 1600)
    Hard drive: 256 GB - 2 TB SSD

    Benefits:

    • Cheaper price than the previous model
    • Powerful 10th generation Intel processor
    • Improved keyboard

    Disadvantages:

    • Battery life is just okay
    • Only 2 Thunderbolt 3.0 ports
    Sale
    2020 Apple iPad Pro (11 pouces, Wi-Fi, 1 to) - Gris sidéral (2ᵉ génération)
    • Brilliant 13,3 "retina display (33,78 cm diagonal) with True Tone technology
    • Illuminated Magic Keyboard and Touch ID
    • 3th generation Intel Core i10 processor
    • Intel Iris Plus Graphics
    • Fast SSD storage

    The best gaming laptop - Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

    Asus ROG laptopThe Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is a really impressive gaming laptop with an incredible amount of power.

    The gaming laptop from Asus comes with the new AMD Ryzen 4000 processors, which were specially developed by AMD for gaming laptops. Until now, you either had to choose a thin ultrabook with good battery life or a gaming laptop with a dedicated graphics card and a bulky design.

    In addition to the incredibly powerful 8 core / 16 thread processor, the Asus laptop comes with an Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card. In fact, with these inner values, one would expect a significantly thicker and heavier laptop, so we are positively surprised by the form factor of the Asus laptop.

    The display is 14 inches tall and comes in a 1080p Full HD resolution and an unbelievable 120 Hz refresh rate. Asus consciously decided against a 4K display in order to improve the battery life. In fact, we think this was a wise decision as the 1080p resolution is more than enough.

    In fact, the laptop has an excellent battery life of just over 8 hours. We normally don't expect more than 4 - 5 hours from a gaming laptop.

    The large number of connections is also surprisingly positive. There are two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A ports available, as well as two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C ports. There is also a dedicated charging cable connection as well as HDMI and of course 3.5mm headphone connection. Strangely enough, what is missing is a webcam. Asus has completely omitted this.

    In summary, we have to say that the Asus Zephyrus G14 is currently by far the best gaming laptop on the market. In fact, the new AMD processor in particular is simply great and allows for a battery life previously unseen in gaming laptops.

    specifications:

    CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS - 9 4900HS
    GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
    RAM: 16 GB - 32 GB
    Display: 14 inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) 120 Hz | 14 inch WQHD (2560 x 1440) 60 Hz
    Hard disk: 512 GB / 1 TB M.2. NVMe PCIe 3.0

    Benefits:

    • Outstanding battery life for a gaming laptop
    • Excellent CPU & GPU performance
    • Light and slim (for a gaming laptop)

    Disadvantages:

    • No webcam
    • Relatively loud fans
    • No Thunderbolt 3.0

     

    ASUS ROG GA502DU-AL025T Black Notebook 39.6 cm (15.6 ") 1920 x 1080 pixels 2.3 GHz AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
    • Amd Ryzen 5 3550H quad-core processor with simultaneous multi-threading technology
    • The NVIDIA GeForce 1660Ti 6 GB graphics makes it the ideal game companion for those who play Battlefield V; Apex Legends; division 2
    • A full 512 GB PCI-E SSD packaging, the zephyrus g doesn't struggle with your favorite games, videos and photos
    • Travel effortlessly between work and play with a compact body that is only 20 mm thin and weighs only 2 kg
    • Super narrow bezels shrink just 6mm on three sides, giving the ROG Zephyrus G an 2 percent screen-to-body ratio that pulls you deeper into the action

    The best budget laptop - ACER Aspire 5

    Acer Aspire 5

    For those who are looking for a powerful, mobile laptop but have a small budget, we recommend the ACPER Aspire 5.

    The Aspire 5 combines performance, a good display and mobility with a good price-performance ratio. The laptop is powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, which is absolutely convincing in connection with 8 GB of RAM. The Radeon Vega 8 also has a dedicated graphics card. This enables him to handle graphics-intensive applications without any problems. Even gaming is possible.

    The display measures 15,6 inches and comes in Full HD resolution. The IPS display delivers good, strong colors thanks to "Acer Color Intelligence". The narrow display frame also looks really nice.

    The battery life is 11 hours, which is a good value for a 15-inch laptop with a dedicated graphics card. There is also a full HDMI connection, 2x USB 3.1 Type C and 2x USB 2.0 as well as 1 Ethernet connection. The keyboard is fine and the speakers are also of good quality. Even a fingerprint sensor is built into the cheap laptop.

    The only disturbing thing is that, as with many cheap laptops, a lot of unnecessary programs (bloatware) are pre-installed and the touchpad could work a bit more precisely.

    specifications:

    CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600
    GPU: AMD Radeon Vega 8
    RAM: 8 GB
    Display: 15.6 inches Full HD (1920 x 1080)
    Hard disk: 1 TB SSD

    Benefits:

    • Good value for money
    • Fingerprint sensor and many connections
    • Good battery life
    • Sufficient power for most applications

    Disadvantages:

    • Lots of bloatware
    • Inaccurate touchpad
    • Not the most robust construction

     

    Sale
    Acer Aspire 5 (A515-43-R6WW) 35,56 cn (15,6 inch Full-HD IPS) multimedia laptop (AMD Ryzen 5 3500U, 8 GB RAM, 1.000 GB PCIe SSD, Radeon Vega 8 Graphics, Win 10 Home) black
    • Processor: Powerful gaming and surfing with the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U
    • Special features: high-resolution display, various hard drives and memory combinations, backlit keyboard, integrated fingerprint sensor, up to 7h battery life.
    • Design: Chic, slim notebook with an elegant texture and noble, brushed aluminum surfaces. The narrow display frames offer even more space for impressive pictures
    • Various connections and interfaces: Bluetooth 4.0, 1x HDMI, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1x USB 3.0 (supports Power-Off USB Charging), 2x USB 2.0, 1x Ethernet (RJ-45), audio
    • Areas of application: The Aspire 3 copes with all tasks that arise in everyday life without any problems - regardless of whether several Office applications are simultaneously streaming, films or just surfing the Internet

    Common questions about laptops

    Which laptop is the best?

    The absolute best laptop money can buy right now is the 16-inch MacBook Pro. However, depending on the configuration, this can cost up to 6000 euros. But even the basic model is an absolutely great laptop.

    What is the best gaming laptop?

    The best gaming laptop currently available is the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. It combines excellent battery life, very good performance and a slim, mobile design. It is suitable for all current triple A titles.

    Which laptop is good for university?

    A good university laptop should have a good battery life and be slim and light. In addition, the keyboard should be comfortable to type and the touchpad should be precise. The best laptop for students in our test is the MacBook Air 2020

    How Much RAM Should a Laptop Have?

    A laptop that is only used for office and for surfing the Internet gets by with 4 GB of RAM. However, we recommend a minimum of 8 GB of RAM.

     

    About Kevin Benckendorf

    Kevin Benckendorf grew up in Germany, but at home all over the world. His passion is the latest technology. Whether hardware or software. He is always up to date and tests the best new releases for you.