If you've been considering a new laptop, then 2019 threw up a lot of choices for you, and not just for those with big budgets – there were some excellent cheaper options released too, whether you wanted a fully featured Windows laptop, or a light and breezy Chromebook.
From the MacBook Pro to Acer's Chromebooks range, there really is a laptop out there for everyone, regardless of wallet or needs. Want to spend upwards of 5k kitting out your MacBook to be able to compete with the NASA control room? Be our guest. Only got $200 and want to be able to check emails, browse the web and catch up on Netflix? No problem.
We've taken a look at some of the best laptops from this year that we think are worth taking into 2020, so read on if you want to find the right model for you.
Apple MacBook Air
Best Everyday Laptop
Obvious? Yeah, maybe. But what's an end of year laptop list without a MacBook on it? It's like a film list without the Godfather. However, it's important not to overlook the MacBook Air, especially its latest iteration, which Apple unveiled in July. Now, just to be clear, this year's upgrade was hardly a revelation. In fact, it's changes were so slight, we'd struggle to call it an upgrade, but Apple did give it a slightly better display, and a price cut, meaning that the base model came down $100 compared to the 2018 version. That's enough for us, given the killer specs of last years model. Getting it for cheaper seems a no-brainer.
If you've been on the fence about getting a MacBook, this is the model to go for, especially with Apple killing off the 12-inch MacBook model. Sure it's not the cheapest laptop out there, but it will last you forever, and it's a great laptop. You could even say it's one of the best laptops of the year. Oh, we just did.
- Cheapest MacBook
- 15 hour battery
- Light and easy to carry
- Not suited to graphics-heavy tasks
Dell XPS 13
Best Windows Laptop
Want a premium laptop, but don't want to buy Apple? We know you exist, and that's why we'd suggest the Dell XPS 13. When it comes to powerful laptops that suit both the office and the home, Dell's XPS 13 range has been on top of its game for some years. Naturally Dell stuffs these things with high-end specs, like super-fast processors and loads of RAM, but frankly, that's not what excites us (although don't get us wrong, we love the buttery-smooth performance, naturally). For us it's the whole package, including the XPS design.
Dell have crafted a slim laptop that is not only lightweight, but a joy to use. The bezels are so thin they're practically non-resistant, and you can hold your head up high when you pull this from your bag in a trendy cafe or open plan office. It's powerful, feels good to use, and is a looker, too.
- Fast to boot
- Great battery life
- Powerful processor
Buy on Amazon
Acer Chromebook 14
If you want a laptop but can't afford one, then the Chromebook is here to save your day. Now, Chromebooks aren't powerful, they aren't much to look at, and they can't run Windows. On the plus side, you can get them for under $200. That's not a typo. We're actually recommending one that retails for around $300 in the Acer Chromebook 14, but we think it's worth splurging that extra $100, thanks to it's metal chassis.
Chromebooks' main selling point is that they can run the Google suite of applications, and do it quickly, and the Acer Chromebook 14 is no exception. It's fast to boot, has a battery life with more stamina that Bear Grylls on a mountain hike, and unlike some Chromebooks, has a generously large screen, making it a great alternative to more expensive office or home laptops.
- Large display
- All day battery life
- Boots in seconds
- Small storage space
Buy on Amazon
ASUS VivoBook L203MA
Best Budget Windows Laptop
If you're after a cheap Windows laptop, we have great news – there are loads of them out there! Sadly, a lot of them are total rubbish and not as great value as they seem. In order to confidently navigate the minefield of cheap laptops, we'd suggest an Asus VivoBook. Now, first things first, keep your expectations in check. This laptop won't come with the latest processor, and you can forget about all but the most basic of gaming, but for an everyday laptop it's hard to beat, especially for that $250 asking price. If your needs are as low as your budget, then this plucky laptop could become your best buddy.
The same size as an A4 sheet of paper, this 11.6-inch screen is diminutive, meaning that it can be easily popped into a bag, and it's also relatively slim, for a budget model. In spite of this, it's also packing a full-size keyboard, so your fingers won't be fighting for space as you type. Sure, it only packs 64GB of storage, but pop in a micro SD card, and you can expand this with no problem.
- Small and light
- Full size keyboard
- Great value
- Small storage space
Buy on Amazon
Windows Surface X
Best Laptop/Tablet Hybrid
So okay, maybe this last one is a bit of a cheat, as technically the Surface X is a tablet. However, the lines between the two are becoming more blurred than ever, and couple Microsoft's flagship Surface X with the optional keyboard, and you've got yourself a superslim laptop that doesn't compromise specs in its svelteness.
This isn't one for the budget-conscious – the entry model is around $1000, and adding the keyboard and stylus racks up another $300, but for the money, it packs in a lot of interesting specs — most of all its bespoke SQ1 processor, specially developed for Microsoft by Qualcomm, and supposedly the fastest processor the company has ever made. The Surface X certainly doesn't struggle with tasks, and is a powerful tablet/laptop hybrid that rivals Apple's iPad Pro line up.
- Powerful SQ1 processor
- 13 hour battery life
- Super sharp 2880 x 1920 resolution
- Keyboard and stylus cost extra
Buy on Amazon
So that's 2019. 2020 promises to be an interesting year already, with rumors already circling about a bigger upgrade to the MacBook Air and lots of speculation about whether we could see folding screen technology come to laptops. With CES around the corner in January, it's not long until we get our first peak at the next installment of laptops, but rest assured that they won't be gracing store shelves for a good few months, and that the ones we've picked out here will keep you happy for 2020 and beyond.
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