A laptop, also known as a laptop computer or notebook computer, is a compact, mobile personal computer (PC) featuring a screen and keyboard. Although 2-in-1 PCs with a detachable keyboard are frequently marketed as laptops or as having a “laptop mode,” laptops traditionally feature a clam-shell form factor with the screen positioned on the inside of the higher lid and the keyboard on the inside of the lower lid. Laptops are convenient for mobile use since they can be folded shut for transportation. They are named after the fact that when in use, they can almost be placed on a person’s lap. Laptops are utilized in many different contexts nowadays, including work, school, gaming, web browsing, personal multimedia, and basic home computer use. However, laptops also tend to be more expensive than comparable desktop computers.
Best Laptop for 2022-2023
It’s not simple to choose a new laptop, whether it’s for work, home, or school. Many good laptops are available that deliver dependable performance, but how can you tell which models stand out? Well, CNET’s ranking of the best laptops for 2022-2023, which includes our top selections in terms of brands, operating systems, price ranges, and categories, is a terrific place to start. The newest chips from Intel, AMD, and Apple‘s new M2 chips have been added to several of the 2021 models for 2022-2023.
Experts in laptops have tested and reviewed computers for decades, covering everything from performance to pricing to battery life. This hand-curated list features the top laptops in a range of price ranges, sizes, and designs, including Chromebooks, Windows Laptops, and MacOS Laptops.
Types of Laptops
In general, the terms “laptop” and “notebook” are used interchangeably. Though they aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, you can nonetheless divide things into more manageable subcategories.
Notebook (Aka Laptop)
The collective phrase for laptop that strikes a balance between functionality and portability.
Processor speed, storage capacity, memory (RAM), and screen size can all vary significantly in terms of both overall size and specification.
Price-wise, they range from affordable budget models to powerful models for productivity and gaming.
Ultra-portable refers to small, lightweight laptops that are designed to be portable (also sometimes called a sub-notebook).
They have to sacrifice some functionality, such as larger connection ports and fewer connection ports, to maintain a super-slim profile. The lightest models have a kilogram or so in weight.
The word “ultrabook” was created by computer chipmaker Intel to describe a specific kind of ultraportable notebook (hence Ultrabook). Ultrabooks must adhere to certain requirements for factors like size/weight, battery life, and type of chipset (including built-in security features).
Strong security and anti-theft protection that is incorporated into the hardware are one of its strong aspects.
Although the original MacBook Air is thought to have served as the model for the Ultrabook category, it is not an Ultrabook.
The ChromeOS operating system, which is based on Linux, is used by Chromebooks. These often feature a little amount of onboard storage and are primarily meant to operate with web programs and data that is saved to the Cloud rather than the laptop itself. Obtaining apps requires visiting the Chrome Web Store. Android apps can be run on Chromebooks of recent generations.
Because there are numerous less expensive variants available and their simple configuration makes centralized administration and security easier, Chromebooks are common in various schools and even business settings.
The ultra-slim 13-inch MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro, which comes in 13-inch, 14-inch, and 16-inch models, are the two generations of laptops produced by Apple. The macOS is used by all of them.
The most recent MacBook models have moved away from Intel’s platform and are now powered by Apple’s proprietary chipsets, collectively referred to as “Apple Silicon,” which have gradually taken the role of Intel chipsets in Apple laptops. These include the single-chip integrated M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M2 chipsets (called a SOC, or system on a chip). This offers Apple complete control over the tightly integrated hardware and software, which has led to considerable speed and battery life increases.
This mixes a laptop and tablet characteristics. They are also referred to as hybrids or 2-in-1 laptops.
They can change in a variety of methods, including detaching, sliding, twisting, and fold-back mechanisms, to fast move between touchscreen tablet mode and conventional keyboard mode. Though a few models still feature removable screens, the majority of devices now employ the fold-back technique.
Tablet as a Laptop
Some tablets can be converted to laptops by adding a detachable keyboard, just like convertible laptops can also function as tablets. In particular, Windows-based tablets with the Windows operating system, like Microsoft’s Surface Pro series and the smaller Surface Go, benefit greatly from having a keyboard. However, they may be swiftly utilized in tablet form without the extra weight and bulk of a keyboard, unlike a 2-in-1.
The iPad and iPad Pro tablets, which utilize Apple’s iPad operating system, may also be used as laptops and have optional detachable keyboards. However, these tablets perform best when using apps that feature laptop capability. Additionally, Samsung offers several tablets that, depending on the model, can be upgraded to include a keyboard and function as laptops running either Windows or Android.
A type of compact, affordable laptop computer called a “netbook is made for online computing (hence the name “netbook”). Due to their low price, these little laptops enjoyed considerable popularity for several years. However, the trade-off was that they were also slow, and the cost-cutting was evident in many areas, most notably in the low RAM, CPU, and storage. They made advantage of the weak Intel Atom processor. These days, tablets, Ultrabooks, and ultraportables, especially Chromebooks, offer more capable substitutes.