Best laptops 2021: Reviews and buying advice

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The laptop market is busy! New models are coming out with AMD’s Ryzen 5000 and Intel’s 11th-gen Tiger Lake. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30-series is bringing some graphics oomph to the table, The best laptops are getting better. Computex 2021 (virtual) brought a heavy rain of news from AMD, Intel, and Nvidia, everything from new CPUs to technologies that enhance gaming performance. but if you yearn for the latest and greatest, this is your time. Keep reading for the latest news and reviews. 

Our top picks from currently available laptops are below: 

Latest laptop news and reviews

Here are the latest stories:

  • The HP Elite Dragonfly Max is made for the Zoom-driven life of today’s executives, bringing a five-megapixel (1440p) webcam and four microphones to show you off best to your bosses. It competes well in most ways with other premium business convertibles, but for that price ( $2,789 on HP.com) it offers a few surprising disappointments. Read our full review
  • Framework wants you to take its laptop apart and repair it. Seriously. While most laptops are difficult to impossible to repair or upgrade, this debut product from Framework not only can be dismantled and upgraded, but the company actually encourages you to do it. Find out what we learned when we took an early-production Framework laptop for a whirl.
framework 4431 Gordon Mah Ung

The Framework laptop is designed to be taken apart for repairs or upgrades.

  • Razer has launched the latest generation of its Razer Blade 17 gaming PC (previous generations were known as the Razer Blade Pro 17). It will be available on July 30 in seven configurations, starting with a base price of $2,399 up through $3,699.  You can preorder now on Razer.com.
  • Having your laptop stolen is stressful because you need to replace a pricey piece of hardware—and it also poses a threat to your digital security. Read on to learn about how to prepare yourself against the possibility of notebook theft, how to report the theft if your laptop is stolen, and how to protect your data after it’s in the hands of thieves. 

Best thin-and-light laptop

When we think about the best thin-and-light laptop, it’s always been a close contest between the Dell XPS 2-in-1 and the HP Spectre x360. This time around, we’re giving the luxurious HP Spectre x360 14 some time in the sun, with a nod to the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 9310 that preceded it as our top pick. The Spectre x360 14, now sporting the same Intel 11th-gen Tiger Lake CPU available in the Dell XPS line, trades blows with its eternal rival in test after test. It rises to the top because of a few key advantages: It offers longer battery life (thanks to a bigger battery), a far better keyboard, and little things like a USB-A port and a physical webam shutoff switch, all for a lower price. Well played. Read our full review.

[ $1,590 on HP.com ]

Runner-up

acerswift5hero Jared Newman / IDG

Now that Apple’s M1 chip has raised the bar for lightweight laptop performance, there’s a question every ultraportable PC maker must address: Why would someone buy this instead of a MacBook Air?

Well, here’s an answer for the new Acer Swift 5: It’s fast enough to play Fortnite and a bunch of other games that are absent from Apple’s platform, but it weighs only 2.3 pounds and gets stellar battery life for work or web browsing. It also has a touchscreen and a bunch of useful ports, including HDMI out and USB-A, none of which you’ll find on Apple’s thin-and-light (ahem). Read our full review

[Currently about $1,300 on Amazon.com, but prices fluctuate frequently.]



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