Tried and tested: best laptops to buy in 2020
A look at some of the leading models on the market
Long gone are the days when our use of laptops was limited to creating work documents and spreadsheets.
The latest models are now built for watching TV, streaming movies, picture and video editing, coding, gaming and podcasting.
Samsung Galaxy Book S (£999)
Review by Adam Shepherd, ITPro We weren’t expecting terribly much from the Samsung Galaxy Book S; a sleek and shiny package, maybe, but with little to recommend it above and beyond similarly-priced Intel-based laptops. Instead, what we got was a laptop that not only looks amazing and goes toe-to-toe with rivals on performance, but also delivers one of the most staggeringly long-lived batteries we’ve seen - and all for less than £1,000 after tax. That’s some seriously impressive stuff, and well worth overlooking some lingering compatibility issues for. If this is the future of Windows on ARM then it can’t come soon enough.
Apple MacBook Air 2020 (from £999)
Review by Carly Page, ITPro Battery life disappointment aside, it’s never been clearer as to why the MacBook Air remains Apple’s most popular laptop. The 2020 model is the one we’ve been longing for too, particularly in this newfound era of working from home where a comfortable keyboard, desk-to-sofa portability and a clear, crisp screen are at the top of our feature wish-list. Let’s just pray this penchant for endless Zoom calls soon comes to an end, otherwise we’re going to be forced to buy a stand-alone webcam.
Google Pixelbook Go (from £629)
Review by Jonathan Bray, Expert Reviews It might “only” be a Chromebook but the Pixelbook Go is one of our favourite laptops, full stop. Not only is it light and amazingly slim it’s also an absolute pleasure to work on, with one of the best keyboards we’ve come across on any laptop anywhere. Couple that with a solid 13.3in 1080p touchscreen and better battery life than on most Windows 10 or MacOS based machines and you have a simply superb machine.
Dell XPS 13 (from £1,399)
Review by Jonathan Bray, Expert Reviews The 2020 Dell XPS has had a price hike this year but it’s the best ultraportable laptop money can buy. This is a laptop that gets everything right, from the brilliant build quality and colour accurate display to the fabulous keyboard and a generous specification for the money. New features for the 2020 refresh include a Windows Hello-compatible webcam and a taller more work-friendly aspect ratio of 16:10. As ever, there’s an XPS 13 for every budget. It’s better value for money than the MacBook Pro 13, that’s for sure.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (from £999)
Review by Jonathan Bray, Expert Reviews We loved the previous two Surface Laptops but Microsoft’s third-generation is the best of the lot.... It really is one of the best laptops you can buy at the price. Microsoft has added USB-C at last, refined the design and the latest tenth-gen Intel Core i5 and i7 chips to ensure tip-top performance and decent battery life. The big change this year, however, is that there’s now a 15in model available for those who want a little more screen real estate. The 13.5in remains our favourite, however, balancing portability and power with perfect poise. This is one fabulous machine.
Huawei MateBook D 15 (£529)
Review by Tim Danton, Expert Reviews In a sea of luxurious, convertible 13.3in laptops, this 15in machine is a welcome relief. It’s unpretentious – there’s no cutting-edge processor, touchscreen or backlit keyboard – but it sets out to be a good-quality laptop for a low price. And does so exceptionally well.
Gigabyte Aorus 15G (from £1,899)
Review by Tom Bruce, Expert Reviews If you’re after a gaming laptop with mind-boggling performance, the Gigabyte Aorus 15G is it. With its 10th-gen Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card, the Aorus 15G is able to handle even the most demanding of titles with relative ease: it excelled in all of our performance tests and left the likes of the Razer Blade 15 (2019) in its wake. You’d expect such power to come at the expense of battery life, but the Aorus 15G managed a very respectable 6h25m during testing. The only real drawback to its extreme power is how noisy the fans are, but they do a top job of keeping the laptop cool so the extra noise is forgivable.
Bmax X14 (£399)
Review by Jonathan Bray, Expert Reviews There are loads of dirt-cheap Chinese laptops around but a lot of them aren’t as good as they look. The Bmax X14 bucks that trend: it’s a genuinely good laptop for not much more than you’d pay for an iPad. In fact, we can’t fault the Bmax X14 for performance, build quality or value for this sort of money. It’s the best cheap Chinese laptop we’ve come across; indeed, it’s the best budget laptop around right now, full stop.