A decent laptop can make or break your productivity. After all, if you’re sitting around waiting for apps to load, processing to complete, and so on, you’re losing valuable time that you could be spent working — and that can often mean making more money.
Of course, there are a ton of laptops to choose from — and they’re not all created equal. Not only that, but people need different things from a laptop. Some who travel a lot might value portability more than others, while other might instead simply want the most powerful machine they can get. And then you have others who still prefer Apple’s macOS over Microsoft’s Windows.
You’ll also want to consider how powerful the computer is under the hood — though that could depend on your line of work. After all, professional video editors will simply need a more powerful computer than those that limit their work computer use to things like emailing and word processing.
Whatever you’re looking for in a great work laptop, here are some of the best options out there. We list some pros and cons, but since these are some of the best work laptops available, there aren’t much cons with each option. (Also looking for the right printer for your home? This guide can help.)
HP EliteBook 800-series
Screen size: 13.3 inches – 15.6-inches
Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 – 3,840 – 2,160
Why it’s good for work: The HP Elitebook 800-series offers HP’s excellent security features, plus it offers a range of ports.
Rundown: The HP Elitebook 800-series is aimed at offering a high level of performance, excellent security, and in a relatively good-looking package. Under the hood, the computer boasts some serious power — the base model offers a seventh-generation Intel Core i5 processor, along with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive. Options only range up from there. You’ll also get a range of ports, including a docking connector, and things like call management buttons on the keyboard.
- Exceptional security features
- Touch screen
- A little heavy
Shop Now: HP EliteBook
Apple MacBook Pro
Screen size: 13-inches – 15-inches
Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600
Why it’s good for work: The MacBook Pro is highly portable and extremely powerful, plus it’s an excellent option for media professionals who might like Apple’s media apps.
Rundown: The MacBook Pro is known for its excellent build-quality, awesome design, and high level of performance. On top of that, the computer boasts Apple’s MacOS, which many consider to be easier to use than Windows. The computer comes in two sizes, and the base model comes with a 7th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB solid-state drive.
- Beautiful design
- MacOS isn’t for everyone
Shop Now: Apple MacBook Pro
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Screen size: 14-inches
Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 – 2,560 x 1,440
Why it’s good for work: The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon may not feature the sleek design that others have, but under the hood it’s all power — plus the display will help make those spreadsheets look better than ever before.
Rundown: The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon isn’t as flashy as some others on this list, but it boasts among the best performance you can find in a laptop. The thinkpad series in general has long been hailed for its business-class performance, and the X1 Carbon is no different. The base model offers a 7th-gen Intel Core i5 processor coupled with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of RAM, though options range up from there. The display is also world-class — it has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 for the base model, but it looks awesome — and if you want you can upgrade the resolution too.
- Super powerful
- Great display
- Slightly older design sensibility
Shop Now: Lenovo ThinkPad X1
Dell XPS 13 (9370)
Screen size: 13-inches
Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 – 3,840 x 2,160
Why it’s good for work: The Dell XPS 13 is pretty powerful, but the best thing about it is that it’s ultra-portable — it’s the smallest 13-inch laptop currently available.
Rundown: The Dell XPS 13 features great specs, but it’s also beautifully-designed — thanks largely to the fact that it has an amazing edge-to-edge display, which helps give it the smallest footprint for a laptop with a 13-inch display. It also boasts some nice specs — the base model features an 8th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage in the form of a solid state drive.
- Amazing design
- Very portable
- Relatively powerful
- Not as powerful as some others
Shop Now: Dell XPS 13
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Screen size: 13.5-inches – 15-inches
Resolution: 3,000 x 2,000 – 3,240 x 2,160
Why it’s good for work: Looking for a super high-power laptop that you can also pass around the desk in a tablet form? The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a detachable 2-in-1, so it can be used in a fully capable tablet form-factor too.
Rundown: Microsoft hasn’t been building hardware like it is now for long, but it’s certainly doing a pretty good job of it. The Surface Book 2 boasts performance to rival the most powerful laptops out there — the base model offers an Intel Core i5 processor, coupled with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Of course, it can be customized up to even include a super powerful Nvidia GeForce graphics card.
- 2-in-1 design
- Super powerful
- A little bulky
Shop Now: Microsoft SurfaceBook 2
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