From busy commuters to entry-level gamers, we’ve got you covered.
There are a dizzying number of laptops and desktops to choose from. Cut through the clutter with this list of our top recommendations so you can get the right one for you.
If you’re looking for a specific style of laptop, here are our best gaming laptops, two-in-ones and Chromebooks, as well as the best choices for college students, creatives and MacBook Pro alternatives for the Windows set. Plus, if you just want pure power or battery life, our rankings of battery life and performance are for you. Need to stay as low as possible on price? Check out our picks for budget laptops and budget gaming laptops. See all of CNET’s laptop reviews here.
Best for your commuters
Dell XPS 13
Dell’s is a 13.3-inch laptop that’s so trimmed up that the body is basically the size of an older 11.6-inch laptop. Being part of the company’s XPS line means both its chassis and components are top notch for its class, so you’re getting great battery life and performance, too. Read our Dell XPS 13 (2019) review.
Best for those who crave portability and flexibility
Lenovo Yoga C930
The C930 is our go-to pick when someone asks for a recommendation on an ultraportable two-in-one. It’s just awesome all the way around, and we mean that literally since it has 360-degree hinges to use it in multiple positions.
Lenovo announced its replacement, the C940, at IFA 2019, which updates it with the latest Intel processor. It qualifies as an Intel Athena laptop, which means certain aspects of its performance are more phonelike. This also means there should be a price drop for the C930; it’s already less than $1,000 direct from Lenovo. Read our Lenovo Yoga C930 review.
Best MacBook for just about anyone
Apple MacBook Air
This is our go-to recommendation for those in search of a MacOS laptop for everyday basic use. The Air was updated earlier in the year with Apple’s True Tone display, new processors and a $100 price drop. As Apple’s most affordable laptop starting at $1,099, it’s not exactly a bargain and you can get a lot more computer for you money if you go with Windows. However, the Air is frequently discounted for the holidays and last year’s model is still a good choice and available for less.
Best for Google Chrome fans
Asus Chromebook Flip C434
There are certainly less expensive Chromebooks out there, but spending a little more gets you a better experience now and down the road.
Best for those who want a tablet and a laptop
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Convertibles like the Yoga C930 are more laptop than tablet, while the Surface Pro gives you a full tablet experience, but can also be used as a laptop with its keyboard cover. And unlike an iPad or Android tablet, you’re getting a full desktop operating system. The keyboard and stylus are generally sold separately, but keep an eye out for great bundle deals this time of year. Read our Microsoft Surface Pro 6 review.
Best for entry-level gamers
Dell G5 15
The midrange G5 15 hits the mark with an excellent price-to-performance ratio, build quality and design. Dell’s G-series gaming laptops are cheaper than those from its Alienware division, but still capable of playing the latest AAA titles. Read our Dell G5 15 5590 review.
Best for the stylish exec
HP Spectre x360 13
A great choice for anyone who needs to work from anywhere, this two-in-one has a thoughtful design, excellent component options and looooooong battery life. Read our HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, 2019) review.
Best desktop for entertainment
Apple Mac Mini
Apple’s little desktop is perfect for taking advantage of Apple’s Arcade gaming and Apple TV Plus services as well as handling everyday tasks. You even get a year of the latter for free when you buy a Mini. Read our Apple Mac Mini (2018) review.
Best desktop for gamers on a budget
Dell G5 5090
Just like its laptop equivalent, the Dell G5 desktop offers a lot of gaming performance in a compact design. It’s available in a variety of configurations starting below $650. Unlike a laptop, though, you can upgrade or add components down the road.
Best desktop for the family
HP Envy AIO 27
All-in-one PCs are great if you want a single computer for the entire family to use. The space-saving design makes set up easy and they come in a wide variety of sizes and configurations. HP’s Envy is one of our favorites: It performs well for a wide variety of tasks and looks like furniture more than a desktop. If it’s more than you need, though, HP offers a wide variety of attractive AIO models starting as low as $330.
Credits: Joshua Goldman