Today’s best laptops bask in the glow of Intel’s 8th-gen Core CPUs, which at last bring quad-core performance to mainstream machines. The only thing missing is Oprah shouting, “And you get an 8th-gen quad-core laptop!”

There’s plenty of good news with this new generation. Our favorite convertible laptop, HP’s Spectre x360 13, sports a quad-core 8th-gen chip while maintaining its diminutive size. It’s really the total package. 

But let’s be honest: You probably don’t need a quad-core powerhouse, especially if the hottest application you run is Microsoft Excel. Check out our budget favorites, like the Acer Aspire E 15 and Asus ZenBook Flip, whose dual-core CPUs do just fine with mainstream fare. Or read about the Asus Chromebook Flip, a well-priced and versatile laptop for living on the web—or delving into the wide, wide world of Android apps. 

Read on for our picks in all categories and price points.

Update 10/29/2018: We’ve recently posted these reviews:

  • Razer Blade 15 (available on Amazon)isn’t exaggerating when it calls itself the “world’s smallest  15-inch gaming laptop.” While it’s impressive to get a six-core 8th gen Core i7-8750H and GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q performance into a compact chassis, note that it’s densely packed and feels heavy for its size. It garnered an Editor’s Choice and is also our new runner-up for best portable gaming laptop. Read our review
  • Dell’s XPS 15 2-in-1 (available via Dell) is built on Intel’s ambitious Kaby Lake G part. It combines an Intel quad-core CPU and an AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL graphics chip, a once-unthinkable marriage. It’s compact and fast, and we’re bummed that it’s one of the few of its kind. Read our review
  • The Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UA (available via Amazon) is just the ticket for productivity-minded road warriors on a budget. It weighs less than three pounds, measures a little more than a half-inch thick, and boasts a quad-core processor and all-day battery life. There are some things it’s not up for, like intensive gaming or multitasking, but for everyday use it’s a good deal. Read our review
  • The bargain-priced Lenovo Legion Y530 (available via Lenovo) could be a good entry-level gaming laptop if you manage your expectations. It’s impressively portable and has a solid feature set. Unfortunately its middling graphics card struggles to deliver buttery visuals from today’s AAA games, and its performance will only go downhill as more demanding titles come down the pike. Read our review

Latest laptop news

HP has updated its flagship Spectre laptops. We went hands-on with HP’s Spectre  x360 13 , which promises an insane 22.5 hours of battery life. Its larger cousin, the HP Spectre x360 15 (which we also previewed), emphasizes performance instead, offering the option of a fast six-core Intel Core CPU.

google pixel slate group shot trond wuellner Google

The thin, 12.3-inch Google Pixel Slate has an aluminum chassis in a distinctive midnight blue color.

Chromebooks are slowly merging Android capabilities. Google’s Pixel Slate is a Chromebook tablet with a detachable keyboard—read our hands-on from Google’s big launch event. HP’s Chromebook x360 14 offers a tablet mode via its 360-degree hinge and hopes users are ready to pay more ($599 from Best Buy) for better features.

Best thin-and-light laptop

Dell made a bold statement when it claimed its completely redesigned New XPS 13 would be among the fastest laptops in its class, if not the fastest. But Dell ain’t just trash-talking. Thanks to a new cooling system, the XPS 13 with an 8th-gen Core i5 is as fast, if not faster than, most 8th-gen Core i7 laptops, and many larger, beefier laptops, too.

But that’s not all. The mid-range model we tested boasts an improved display and keyboard, and satisfyingly long battery life of about 12.5 hours.



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