If you’re looking to purchase a new laptop, then there are many different laptops out there for you to consider. As well as there being many different models, you can also decide on a laptop by looking for the best laptop brands and seeing what laptops they have to offer.
Whilst generally you want to look at each model on a specification basis and check its reviews, some people prefer to stick with one brand all the way. Undoubtedly all brands have released awesome laptops and poor laptops over the past two decades, but some of them have gained in popularity – whilst others have declined.
So what are the best laptop brands heading into the new decade? Well, we’re going to take a look at the top brands that are available now, as well as some potentially underrated ones too.
Best Laptop Brands in 2021
When we’re looking at the best brands out there, we can really narrow it down to 6 major players. This is Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, ASUS and Acer. These are what are considered to be the best laptop brands out there.
But outside of the big six, there are some great deals to be had with some awesome laptop models being released this year. This includes the Huawei Matebook series, the Razer Blade series and the LG Gram range too, which are producing some of the lightest laptops on the market.
We also need to consider brands like Alienware, which are technically part of Dell, but their own independent brand too. For those looking for a powerful gaming laptop, then you’ll likely want to look at Alienware or MSI.
But for the most part, people are looking for a laptop to complete their day to day activities. Let’s browse through these top brands.
When we’re talking about the best laptops out there, then the first one that comes to mind is Apple. This is at least true for the Western world, where Apple makes up a decent part of the overall marketshare.
However if we look at the worldwide market share of Apple’s Macbooks, then they’re actually quite small in comparison to Dell, HP and Lenovo. Even though Apple has a lot of critics in general, most people can admit that their laptops have very good user experience.
Although you’ll get used to using a Windows laptop in the long term, the reality is that the Mac OS is very beginner friendly, and it can be a perfect place to start for younger people getting their first laptop.
Apple laptops are at the top of the list when it comes to things like overall design, and build quality. Their best aspect is probably the strong customer service that the company offer. With Genius bars in major cities all over the world, it’s very easy to go and get your Macbook Pro or Air fixed if you do come across any problems.
For the average consumer, it’s hard to look past the usability of the Apple Macbook. Their only drawback is really their expense, with other brands offering a lot more power for a lower price.
Best Model – Macbook Air
Operating System: Mac OS | Screen size: 13 or 15 inch | RAM: Up to 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Processor: M1 chip | Average Battery Life: 11 hours
As you’re probably already aware, there’s only two different models of Macbook currently available that Apple are releasing. They did release an in-between laptop named simply as the “Macbook”, however it’s since been discontinued.
So deciding between the Macbook Pro and the Air isn’t easy, but I think the new Air offers pretty great value for money. It’s recently seen loads of upgrades too, so if you’re looking for an improved Apple laptop, the Air might be it.
New better quality speakers installed give an overall more powerful experience, and this is just one of the improvements that has been made. Actually, the biggest improvement to the brand is in the new line of processors that they’ve just released.
What many perceive to be a game-changer to the laptop world is the introduction of the new M1 CPU and GPU combo that Apple have started using with their laptops. It allows for more power, without having to rely on Intel for one of the main components of their computers.
Apple’s M1 chip actually comes with 8 cores, which is definitely a step up on the Intel Core i3 processors that they were using before. The additional processing power ensure that it stays ahead of the competition, and they manage to deliver it in a good price too.
In all honesty, the new Macbook Air is actually pretty hard to beat when you’re looking for a reliable laptop. It’s typically available at a pretty reasonable price, though it is at the high end of the market. But for those looking for a thin and light laptop, it’s one of the best laptops you can buy.
Lenovo has had an increasing share of the laptop market for the last few years, and it’s overtaken Dell and HP as the biggest laptop seller in the world. This is due to its different series of laptops, which have covered the entire market.
For lower cost Lenovo laptops, you can look towards the Ideapad, which provides a good amount of power for a cheap price. For business use, the Thinkpad is the most popular, and one of the bestselling laptops overall for the past few years. And for more flexible 2-in-1 laptops, then you can look at the slimline Yoga series.
So, it’s clear to see why the Chinese brand have an increasing share of the worlds laptop users using their brand (the fact they’re massive in China is part of this as well, of course). They make some pretty reliable laptops overall, and if you’re looking for good value for money, then you’ll have to consider Lenovo seriously.
- Read: Lenovo Laptops
Best Model – Lenovo Thinkpad
Operating System: Windows | Screen size: 14 inch | RAM: Up to 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Processor: Intel i7 | Average Battery Life: 12 hours
It’s only fair to give the award for the best Lenovo model to the Thinkpad series, as it has constantly won awards for the best business laptop for the past several years. These are commonly used in business environments, but you can also find them as the laptop of choice in schools too.
They’re well designed machines, and their Lenovo’s premium answer to the Dell XPS and the Macbook. All Thinkpad models tend to have an excellent battery life, matched with a good amount of power too. All of this is wrapped up into an ultra-thin design.
For those looking for a more serious laptop to get their work done, the Thinkpad X1 Carbon is one of the best models around. They’re not just for business users, and are also a wise investment for anyone looking for something reliable.
Dell has been one of the most popular laptop manufacturers in the United States for years now, and although their market share of laptops has decreased with increasing competition, they still have a big percentage of the overall computing market.
With the flagship model being the XPS series, this isn’t all that Dell have to offer. Another one of their acclaimed series of laptops is the Dell Inspiron range, which produces some well priced laptops that anyone can afford. They also have their Latitude range, which is their business line of laptops.
They have a loyal customer base who have been with them for decades, and you’ll find some people who won’t go for anything else but a Dell. Whilst they do make an excellent laptop, their main criticism is the same as Apple – they’re overpriced for what you’re actually getting.
- Read: Dell laptops
Best Model – Dell XPS 15
Operating System: Windows | Screen size: 15.6 inch | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Processor: Intel i9 | Average Battery Life: 10 hours
The Dell XPS 15 is one of the best premium laptops that you can buy in the current market, and it holds its own with the better laptops out there. They’re well made laptops, and they have everything that you could need from a laptop.
Made with up to 16GB of RAM and Intel processors, they’re not only high spec models but they’re also made to a high standard, too. With their Nvidia chipset, there’s no cost spared with these models, which is one of the reasons why they’re so expensive.
If you’re looking for a competent laptop with a strong battery life and a whole host of features, then look at the Dell XPS 13 or the 15. Sticking with a reliable laptop brand can mean that you get more life out of your laptop altogether.
Another one of the big brands when it comes to laptops is HP. They’re one of the biggest producers of laptops in this list, and the original company Hewlett Packard is more than 80 years old (older than anyone else here), although they’re now just known as HP.
They have various different models and ranges of laptops to choose from, with many of them available at decent prices. They have their Envy and Pavilion ranges, as well as their HP Omen range, which is their line of gaming laptops.
The brand is large and well respected, and you’ll probably know them for their wide range of printers too. So, they’re another contender for one of the top laptop brands, and they definitely sell some good quality laptops. Whilst the HP Envy x360 is a personal favourite, the Spectre series gets the thumbs up too.
- Read: HP Laptops
Best Model – HP Spectre x360
Operating System: Windows | Screen size: 15.6 inch | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Processor: Intel i7 | Average Battery Life: 8.5 hours
One of my favourite laptops that’s been released in years is the HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptop. For those looking for a convertible laptop, it’s one of the best options out there. You can easily use it as a work laptop throughout the day, and then use it as a casual tablet in the evening.
The Spectre series is one of HP’s best lines, and it’s usually their most expensive as well. It’s made to a high standard, and it’s a reliable laptop that has a lot of features included with it, including an innovative fingerprint reader and a great graphics card.
So if you’re looking for one of the best convertible laptops, then this model is definitely one of them, and one of HP’s best. It’s a solid choice for pretty much any task, from online editing to simple web browsing in tablet mode in the evenings.
Although some people don’t like to opt for brands outside of the four I’ve just mentioned, you’d be foolish to think that ASUS don’t produce some pretty great laptops.
You can often get a lot more for your money than if you were to opt for an Apple or Dell laptop, so if you’re looking for maximum power, I’d advise that you opt for an ASUS laptop.
They have their Zenbook and VivoBook ranges, which are designed to offer a consumer laptop at a much cheaper price than the competition. They also have their own range of Chromebooks too, which might be a wise choice if you’re not interested in having a Windows laptop.
As well as having a lot of general consumer laptops, ASUS also make a lot of different gaming laptops too. Their ASUS ROG series (Republic of Gamers) has become increasingly popular amongst new gamers. They’re a great place to start if you’re just starting out with online gaming and you’re looking for a new, fairly cheap gaming laptop.
- Read: ASUS Laptops
Best Model – ASUS ZenBook Ultra-Slim Laptop
Operating System: Windows | Screen size: 14 inch | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Processor: Intel i7 | Average Battery Life: 10 hours
If you’re looking for a laptop with decent power and a lot of storage but you don’t want to pay premium prices, then the ASUS Zenbook range is a good one to look at. You can get high quality laptops at a much lower price than what you can find elsewhere online.
Encased in a high quality chassis, this Zenbook is a great laptop with a high quality HD screen. Whilst there’s nothing amazing about it or extra special, it does everything it needs to do at a decent standard. However, the unique touchpad is something that stands out about this ASUS laptop.
Another good thing about this laptop is that it has a slim, lightweight design that’s little over 2.5lbs. So, if you’re looking for a day-to-day laptop to use, then check out the ASUS Zenbook range.
Another one of the cheaper brands outside of the premium ones is Acer. And like ASUS, I wouldn’t overlook all of their laptops just because they’re not as acclaimed as the others.
They still released some pretty impressive laptops, with one of my favourite lines being the Acer Aspire series. They’ve released some solid laptops under the Aspire name over the last decade, and they’re often available at really good prices. So if you’re after good value, an Aspire laptop might be a wise choice.
With Lenovo catching up on the bigger brands over recent years, it might only be time before Taiwanese giants Acer and ASUS become more popular too. If you’re looking for a budget laptop, it’s hard to beat these two.
- Read: Acer Laptops
Best Model – Acer Swift 3
Operating System: Windows | Screen size: 15.6 inch | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 | Average Battery Life: 7 hours
Another good range of Acer laptops like the Aspire is the Acer Swift, which is also a budget friendly option too. It has a long battery life, which is one of the most important things that consumers are looking for.
The Swift, as it sounds, is a slim laptop that’s not very heavy, making it very portable and easy to carry around with you. It comes with pretty impressive specs, with 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage and a really decent graphics card that will allow the laptop to produce some really vibrant colours.
This is also a good laptop to opt for if you have an Amazon Alexa at home too, as it’s actually easy to integrate the microphone of this laptop with your Alexa too. So, if you are looking for a cheap laptop, the Acer Swift range is a pretty good place to start.
There’s a good chance that you may have heard of Alienware before, especially if you have any interest in PC or computer gaming.
Of course, it’s also worth noting that the brand Alienware are actually owned by Dell, with Alienware being one of the most respected names within the gaming industry. Its main competitors are the Razer Blade series and MSI, another Taiwanese brand like Acer and ASUS.
So if you’re looking for a solid business laptop, then maybe Dell would suit you. And if you’re looking for a gaming laptop, then Alienware is typically going to be the first brand that you check out.
Best Model – Alienware Area 51m
In terms of gaming laptops, Alienware are the most highly regarded name in the industry. They do have lower end laptops available, but even they tend to be fairly expensive when compared to HP or ASUS gaming laptops.
And when it comes to their best models, one of them is the Alienware Area 51m. It’s essentially as close as you’re going to get to PC gaming with just a laptop.
Another reason why this laptop is so popular is that it’s very easy to upgrade. You can upgrade the RAM and the storage, which is fairly normal for a laptop. But with the Area 51m, you can also upgrade your GPU later down the line too, which isn’t typically the case for a laptop.
So, it’s designed to be used for many years, and upgraded in the future too, which is impressive for a gaming laptop.
As the majority of the brands above using the Windows operating system, it’s fair to say that Microsoft are the most important brand here. But it’s only in recent years that the company have started to launch their own line of laptops to run the Windows OS.
Specialising in thin and light laptops that can be used for editing and other tasks, Microsoft’s Surface series provide some of the highest quality laptops on the market. Though generally with this quality comes a premium in price too.
Best Model – Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
Whilst the Surface Book 3 is Microsoft’s premium range, it doesn’t provide the best value for money. Instead, it’s worth checking out the Surface Laptop 3 instead, which is very similar, just dramatically lower in cost.
It really stands out with its bright display, and performance is pretty solid all-round. It’s one of the most attractive laptops on the market, with an ultra-slim design that makes it perfect for packing up into your backpack.
The only downside of this laptop is like many touch screen models, it has a pretty poor battery life. But aside from this, it’s a great choice if you’re browsing budget laptops trying to decide which one to opt for.
All in all, this is just a quick list of the best laptop makers that are currently on the market. The Razer series just missed out on making the list, though it’s likely to be added here soon due to the popularity of the Razer Book 13 as a laptop that can easily be used for gaming and business.
The vast majority of people like to stay within these brands without branching out, and that’s probably a good idea if you’re looking for reliability and a solid warranty. And whilst some of these brands are better than others, like I’ve mentioned, all of them have released good laptops over the years.