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12 Best Laptops (2022): MacBooks, Windows, Chromebooks

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Best MacBookApple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2022)

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Best Windows LaptopLenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

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Best Windows UpgradeAsus ZenBook S 13 OLED

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Best 2-in-1 LaptopHP Spectre x360 14

Read moreBuying any laptop is a big decision. You may end up using it for several years before getting another, and there are many makes, models, and chip configurations to choose from. Lucky for you, we’ve tested many of the new releases in the past year. These are our top picks for the very best laptops you can buy right now.

If you don’t know exactly what you need, or what all the various hardware jargon means, be sure to read our guide on How to Buy a Laptop. And check out our many other computing guides, including the Best MacBooks, Best Gaming Laptops, Best Cheap Laptops, and Best Laptop Backpacks.

Updated December 2022: We’ve added the Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED, HP Spectre x360 14, Asus Chromebook Flip CX5, and some honorable mentions.

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Scott Gilbertson, Brenda Stolyar, and Andrew Williams contributed to this guide.

Photograph: Apple

Best MacBookApple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2022)

Apple’s newest MacBook Air (7/10, WIRED Recommends) is powered by the company’s second-gen M2 processor. It won’t blow your mind quite like the 2020 model with the M1 chip, but the new upgrades are very welcome. There’s a larger and brighter display, a 1080p webcam, a flatter, more modern design, and the return of the MagSafe connector—handy if you tend to trip over the charging cord.

Battery life remains ahead of the competition and performance is breezy for most average tasks. (You’ll notice some stuttering here and there if you tend to push your devices hard with demanding apps.) It’s a fanless design, so it won’t sound like you’re sitting in a jet, but this Mac does tend to run hot. One big downside? The Air can only connect to one external monitor, which means no dual-monitor setup for you.

Specs to look for: Apple M2, 8-Core GPU, 8 or 16-GB of Unified Memory, 256-GB SSD

Photograph: Lenovo

Best Windows LaptopLenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5 range has been a tremendous value proposition for several years now and things are no different with this 2-in-1 model. Alongside the 360-hinge, accommodating a tent mode for better movie-viewing angles, and a tablet mode, there’s a snappy AMD Ryzen 5 chip, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256-GB SSD. That combo is plenty for essay-writers and heavy web-browsers alike. There’s a Ryzen 7 model also available should you want an extra boost in performance, though it costs a smidge more.

Whichever you get, you’ll be happy with the connectivity options: there are two USB-A ports, an HDMI, an SD card reader, one USB-C, a headphone jack, and a charging port (though you can use the USB-C to recharge the laptop too).

Specs to look for: AMD Ryzen 5, 16-GB RAM, 256-GB SSD

Photograph: Asus

Best Windows UpgradeAsus ZenBook S 13 OLED

This Asus laptop is remarkably lightweight and portable—weighing in at just over 2.2 pounds (1 kg) and being a super-slim 14.9-mm thick. The 16:10, 2.8K, 13.3-inch display is the bright and colorful star of the show.

It did sometimes struggle with more demanding workloads, but essay writers and those who love a lot of open tabs will do just fine. The battery life is okay—getting you through a busy work day with a little bit to spare. The keyboard similarly wows with a ton of travel packed into this pocket rocket. The port selection is not bad, if aggressively modern. The speakers are perfectly fine at lower volumes, but don’t touch rivals from Apple, Dell, and HP.

A pricier high-end spec is the only one readily available, with other models suffering from limited availability. That said, the combination is great for those who want bags of productivity power and an astoundingly lightweight device.

Specs to look for: AMD Ryzen 7, 16-GB RAM, 1-TB SSD

Photograph: HP

Best 2-in-1 LaptopHP Spectre x360 14

The latest HP Spectre x360 14 model has a more rounded design—it’s a welcome change, as the previous, more angular model could be an uncomfortable place to rest your wrists. HP has also changed which ports are available and now there’s a decent selection.

I’ve not had a great time in my testing of 12th Gen Intel Core i5 models, but with a Core i7 chip in the Spectre x360 14 I tested, there were no issues. The performance is swift—expect upward of 20 tabs before you see slowdown when browsing. This is matched by a keyboard with a surprisingly good amount of travel and a middling level of feedback.

The display is crisp, bright, and luxurious—with a 3K2K OLED panel on offer. The speakers go the other way, with a bigger sound prioritized over luxury. It remains detailed at high volumes, but the treble becomes a little harsh.

Specs to look for: Intel Core i7, 8-GB RAM, 256-GB SSD