The best laptops to buy in 2020 come with a variety of brands, prices, and features. Our current pick for the best laptop of 2020 is the MacBook Air. Here, we’ve got the rest of the top laptops, business notebooks, gaming rigs, Chromebooks, and 2-in-1 convertibles.
We live in a world where smartphones are ubiquitous, tablets are commonplace, and even smartwatches are a thing that people talk about on the regular. But throughout all of these advances, the humble laptop has persevered — and for good reason. When it comes time to work, whether that’s editing photos, writing a lot of emails, composing documents, or staying in touch with colleagues and family, we’re here with our top picks to help you find the best laptop for the job.
It’s getting harder to buy a bad laptop, but what separates the best laptops of 2020 from good laptops is how they balance power, efficiency, portability, and comfort. The top laptop should have a fantastic keyboard and trackpad — after all, those are the two biggest reasons you’d choose a laptop over a smartphone or tablet. Its display should be easy on the eyes, bright, and sharp enough that you aren’t distracted by jagged edges and visible pixels. It should be powerful enough for most anything short of intensive video editing and advanced gaming. It should be easy to carry around from place to place, and it should be able to last all day without needing to be plugged in.
That’s why the MacBook Air is the best laptop in 2020. It’s a device that does just about everything right. While it’s certainly not a perfect device, there are no major flaws. It’s a great pick for productivity, browsing, and even light gaming.
In our view, the best laptop for budget shoppers is the HP Envy x360 13. For a sub-$1,000 price, it delivers performance on par with much more expensive laptops.
Our other picks for the best laptops, Chromebooks, and 2-in-1s of 2020 include the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, the MacBook Pro 16, and the HP Elite Dragonfly. Check out the full list of best laptop picks below.
The Best Laptops 2020
The Apple MacBook Air is the best laptop of 2020. Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge
1. MacBook Air (late 2020)
The best laptop of 2020
The late-2020 MacBook Air, powered by Apple’s M1 processor, is the best laptop you can buy. The base model, which includes 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, starts at $999.
Appearance-wise, this laptop has a lot in common with the Intel-powered MacBook Air that Apple released earlier this year, including the same 2560 x 1600 screen, Touch ID, 720p webcam, fingerprint sensor, and scissor-switch keyboard.
The late-2020 MacBook Air is the best laptop you can buy
But the new processor is the star of the show here; it’s fast. In our testing, it handled intense photo- and video-editing workloads better than almost any Intel-powered laptop we’ve tried this year. It was also able to run Shadow of the Tomb Raider at close-to-playable frame rates, which is quite a feat for integrated graphics. At launch, these apps hadn’t yet been optimized for the M1 processor and were running through Apple’s Rosetta 2 translation layer — but they still worked fine.
And the processing power didn’t even weigh down the battery life: we got between eight and 10 hours of sustained work.
MacBook Air (late 2020)
Prices taken at time of publishing.
The MacBook Air is a competent, reliable device with a stellar processor.
$999 at Apple $999 at Best Buy