U.S. markets open in 2 hours 1 minute
  • S&P Futures

    4,167.50
    -8.75 (-0.21%)
     
  • Dow Futures

    34,011.00
    -70.00 (-0.21%)
     
  • Nasdaq Futures

    13,993.00
    -36.50 (-0.26%)
     
  • Russell 2000 Futures

    2,244.10
    -14.90 (-0.66%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    63.06
    -0.07 (-0.11%)
     
  • Gold

    1,785.60
    +5.40 (+0.30%)
     
  • Silver

    26.18
    +0.08 (+0.29%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.2045
    +0.0065 (+0.54%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.5730
    0.0000 (0.00%)
     
  • Vix

    17.13
    +0.56 (+3.38%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3911
    +0.0071 (+0.52%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    108.1510
    -0.6320 (-0.58%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    56,979.90
    +2,159.42 (+3.94%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,292.62
    -99.09 (-7.12%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,037.52
    +17.99 (+0.26%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    29,685.37
    +2.00 (+0.01%)
     

10 best high-end laptops for great performance with sleek design

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
David Phelan
·9 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
<p>Good design isn’t limited to expensive laptops, but the best design is certainly found on higher-end ones</p> (Independent)

Good design isn’t limited to expensive laptops, but the best design is certainly found on higher-end ones

(Independent)

Do you need an expensive laptop? After all, you can buy a usable one for a couple of hundred pounds, can’t you? Well, yes, but sometimes one wants more than usable.

A pricier laptop has a lot going for it. The processor will be faster, there’ll be more active memory and SSD storage, for a start.

All of which means the laptop will go faster, not pause endlessly while doing the most mundane of tasks. If your laptop does that, you may be wishing you’d spent a bit more, after all.

It’s not just the processor that will be better on a pricier machine. The screen, keyboard, speakers and build quality will be better on a high-end computer.

Oh, and if you use software that makes heavy demands, such as video editing, then you need something with a bit more poke.

Good design isn’t limited to expensive laptops, but the best design is certainly found on higher-end ones. So are displays that go to the edge of the device, super-slim builds and top-flight materials.

There are three operating systems to choose from, Windows, which has the most mainstream programs, Google Chrome and macOS, which is only found on Apple’s computers. The newest MacBook Pro and MacBook use a new processor which means many iPhone and iPad apps will work on the Mac screens, too.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Read More

10 best tablets that are perfect for drawing, gaming and note taking

9 best laptops for kids that have good storage, battery life and speed

8 best gaming headsets: Enhanced audio for PS5, Xbox, Nintendo and PC

8 best laptops for students studying for success

Apple MacBook Air

Operating system: macOS Big Sur

Storage: 256/512GB

RAM: 8GB

Processor: Apple M1

Display size: 13.3in

Touchscreen: No

The MacBook Air is remarkably lightweight and slim, an effect made the more appealing thanks to a tapering design – at its thinnest point it’s 0.41cm thick. But the new version is the first to use Apple’s own silicon instead of an Intel processor. The M1 chip is breathtakingly fast, so that everything, from the instant-on display, to when you open the laptop’s lid, is amazingly speedy. The magic keyboard, as Apple calls it, is dreamy to use, responsive and comfortable with plenty of travel to make it feel good. The latest macOS software is bright and appealing while remaining as intuitive and accessible as ever. There are other neat features such as a fingerprint sensor in the power button to make it secure and a huge trackpad. The processor is the real standout, though. It’s so strong that many who have previously sought out the pricier MacBook Pro will find this more than powerful enough for their needs. The extra power has not diminished the Air’s great battery life, however, as this model has six more hours’ usability than the previous model.

Buy now £999.00, Apple

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2020

Operating system: Windows 10

Storage: 512GB

RAM: 16GB

Processor: Intel Core i5

Display size: 13.9in

Touchscreen: Yes

Huawei’s latest laptop is powerful and attractively designed. It’s also great value. The display has especially narrow bezels, so it looks good and means there’s a 13.9in screen in a laptop barely any bigger than the MacBook Air. There’s no camera on the screen, which saves space. Instead, it’s hidden under the central key of the keyboard top row. Press it and the camera pops up. Neat Huawei extras include Huawei Share: tap a Huawei phone on the computer and phone’s contents appear on the laptop’s display. It’s slim and reasonably light, with a powerful charger to recharge quickly, though the battery life is good for 11 hours.

Buy now £1099.00, Huawei

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Operating system: Windows 10

Storage: 128GB

RAM: 8GB

Processor: Intel Core i5

Display size: 13.5in

Touchscreen: Yes

Microsoft’s own-brand hardware is extremely good, with great build quality and durability. There are five colours to choose from (sandstone is particularly cool-looking) and some come with a different surface material, alcantara, to add to the comfort level. The design has a slightly angular, slim profile but still includes a full USB-A socket where many rivals plump for the smaller USB-C (there’s one of those, too). The benefit of USB-A is lots of older products will attach to it. The high-resolution 13.5in display looks great, and it’s available with a larger, 15in display if you prefer. Good, but not exceptional, battery life.

Buy now £999.00, Microsoft

Google Pixelbook Go

Operating system: Chrome OS

Storage: 64GB

RAM: 8GB

Processor: Intel Core m3

Display size: 13.3in

Touchscreen: Yes

This is about the classiest Chrome laptop around, with a neat magnesium casing that feels great to the touch. The operating system is keyed into Google and works best when it’s connected to the internet, though there is no longer the need for it to be connected continuously, as there was when Chromebooks launched. The keyboard is especially pleasing because it’s so quiet and battery life is very strong. It also recharges fast: a 20-minute top-up gives two hours of usage. Prices start from £629, but configurations top out at a model that costs £1,329, which is the fastest and most capable, of course.

Buy now £629.00, Google

Apple MacBook Pro 13in

Operating system: macOS Big Sur

Storage: 256GB

RAM: 8GB

Processor: Apple M1

Display size: 13.3in

Touchscreen: No

Like the MacBook Air, this laptop has the brand-new, super-fast Apple-made M1 chip at its centre. As it’s the same as in the more affordable MacBook Air, why would you choose this model instead? For the most demanding users, there are benefits to the Pro. Unlike the Air, there is a fan in this model which means the fast performance can continue for even longer. Additionally, the entry-level Pro includes a slightly more powerful graphics chip. There are other benefits: the top row of function keys is replaced by a narrow touchscreen so the functions change according to whether you’re using a word processor or photo editor, for instance. Like the Air, the power button has a fingerprint sensor in it, the keyboard is supremely comfortable and the trackpad is huge and very responsive.

Buy now £1299.00, Apple

HP Spectre x360 13-aw0114na

Operating system: Windows 10

Storage: 256GB

RAM: 8GB

Processor: Intel Core i5

Display size: 13.3in

Touchscreen: Yes

The design is really eye-catching, with corners that are angled and include sockets tucked away in them. Anti-reflection display makes the nearly borderless screen easier to see. This is a convertible laptop which means that you can use it in conventional fashion, as a tablet, or even standing the display up in “tent mode” which is great for watching video or scribbling on the display with the supplied stylus. The “poseidon blue” finish looks brilliant and every part of the styling, down to the hinges, is excellent.

Buy now £1199.95, Amazon

Huawei MateBook 14

Operating system: Windows 10

Storage: 512GB

RAM: 16GB

Processor: AMD Ryzen 7

Display size: 14in

Touchscreen:Yes

The high-resolution display on the MateBook 14 looks sensational and has an impressively narrow bezel around it. This means that, like the MateBook X Pro above, the webcam we’re all using so much at the moment for group video calls, is buried in the keyboard. Still the angle of view isn’t too up-your-nose and the advantage is that when you press the key down you can be certain that the camera can’t see you. Like the MateBook X Pro, this has Huawei Share to easily put an image of your Huawei handset screen on the laptop screen. It’s also light, thin and very fast. A version with less storage, less RAM and a slower processor is also available, for £689.99.

Buy now £949.99, Huawei Store

Dell XPS 15 9500

Operating system: Windows 10

Storage: 1TB

RAM: 16GB

Processor: Intel Core i7-10750H

Display size: 15.6in

Touchscreen: No

The XPS 15 9500 is fast and powerful, with an attractive design and immersive 15.6in display which is particularly inviting for video games, though this is not a dedicated gaming laptop, it’s much more versatile. The huge SSD storage (1TB) means there’s plenty of space for all your files and programs. The display looks so good thanks to the narrow bezel all round and the XPS15 also has impressive audio thanks to great stereo speakers.

Buy now £1699.00, Currys PC World

Microsoft Surface Book 3

Operating system: Windows 10

Storage: 256GB

RAM: 8GB

Processor: Intel i5

Display size: 13.5in

Touchscreen:Yes

The Surface Book 3 is a powerful, fully-featured laptop. However, if there are times when you only need a tablet, you can click a switch and remove the display, which is light and attractive. Even detached, this still offers full Windows software but as some of the processing power and the battery are in the keyboard side, you get the most out it when it’s connected. The magnesium build makes the Surface Book light but robust, and the hinge between the two halves is a quiet masterpiece of design. Performance is fast and consistent.

Buy now £1599.00, Microsoft

Lenovo Yoga 5G

Operating system: Windows 10

Storage: 512GB

RAM: 8GB

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx 5G

Display size: 14in

Touchscreen: Yes

This is the world’s first 5G laptop, meaning you needn’t worry about getting on to a wifi broadband network – which means your valuable data can’t be compromised on a dodgy wifi connection. It also means you can use it outdoors, for instance. Because of the 5G sim in the laptop, you just connect to the EE network, the most advanced 5G network in the UK. It’s sold by EE in the same way as a mobile phone would be: there’s no upfront cost but instead a monthly charge of £112.50 for 24 months. This includes 80GB of data each month. The laptop looks great and is pretty light. Battery life is outstanding: up to 24 hours.

£112.50 per month, EE

Buy now £112.50, EE

The Verdict: High-end laptops

The real combination of brains and beauty is the new Apple MacBook Air with the company’s own silicon powering it, the M1 chip. But Windows users can turn to the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 for a solid, impressive machine. And Huawei’s MateBook 14 is great-looking and strong value.