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Laptop Random

Best laptops 2019: Reviews and buying advice


The laptop world is a-changing. New CPUs and GPUs—yes, mobile discrete GPUs—are bringing forth laptops that are thinner, lighter, and faster than ever, even gaming laptops. And the advances keep coming: After a busy round of CES announcements in January, Intel and Nvidia have welcomed spring with yet another round of products: the 9th generation of Core mobile processors, and mobile GeForce GTX 1650 and 1660 Ti graphics. Acer, Asus, Dell, Razer, and more companies are jumping on this bandwagon, so stay tuned for new models we bring in for review. 

Updated 04/24/2019: There’s lots more to tell. Read on for all the latest developments, plus our top picks in all categories and price points.

Latest laptop news

Here are the latest stories:

  • Intel continues to stretch its 14nm process with its 9th-gen Core mobile CPUs (code-named “Coffee Lake Refresh” or Coffee Lake-R). This time Intel sweetens the deal with up to 8 cores/16 threads, and boost clock speeds of up to 5GHz. The laptops these will go into won’t be cheap, but they should be plenty fast.
  • Another bit of news from Intel: Its Optane Memory H10 SSD products promise to make laptop SSDs even faster, at least for some jobs. Read our review, and look for this product in upcoming laptops. 
    Acer

    Acer’s new ConceptD line of PCs will be powerful, beautiful, and quiet. 

  • Nvidia launched GTX 1650 and GTX 1660 Ti GPUs for laptops in concert with Intel’s 9th-gen Core CPUs. Nvidia says the mobile GTX 1660 Ti should be up to 1.5X faster than the mobile GTX 1060, while the mobile GTX 1650 can deliver up to 1.7X better performance than the GTX 1050.
  • AMD, after announcing its first mobile Ryzen systems at CES, recently revealed partners including HP and Lenovo. 
  • Not to be outdone, Acer announced ConceptD, an entirely new line of PCs, on May 11 in New York. Acer CEO Jason Chen called ConceptD a “lifestyle” brand designed to be as powerful as gaming PCs, yet quiet and even beautiful. The company also refreshed other products, including the Acer Predator Helios 700, whose forward-sliding HyperDrift keyboard is both fun and thermally advantageous. 

Latest laptop reviews

Catch up on the latest models we’ve tested here, including: 

  • The 2019 version of HP’s Spectre x360 15 (available at HP.com), which earns an Editor’s Choice award. It proves even faster and more beautiful than before—but with a high price to match. Read our review. 
  • In contrast, Lenovo’s IdeaPad 730S (available at Lenovo.com) succeeds by not being fancy. It’s simply a traditional, well-rounded laptop at a good price. Read our review. 
  • Business laptops can get pricey, but Lenovo’s ThinkPad L390 Yoga (available from CDW) is in the attainable $1K+ range. It cuts a few corners, but you still get that trademark high-quality keyboard. Read our review. 
    hp spectre folio 4 positions HP

    The HP Spectre Folio’s display moves from clamshell to viewing to tablet modes.

  • A laptop made of leather?! Yes indeed, the HP Spectre Folio (available at HP.com) is all that. With its light weight and incredibly tactile, comfortable surfaces, it’s truly a pleasure to use, even if it’s not a powerhouse. And by the way, the battery life is amazing. Read our review. 
  • The Alienware Area-51m (available from Dell.com) very well might be the first gaming laptop to bring the Holy Grail of features to consumers: Upgradable graphics and an upgradable CPU. Specifically, Intel;s 8-core Core i9-9900K and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080, in a custom-upgradable version. You must read our review to learn more. 
  • Gamers with modest budgets should check out Lenovo’s Legion Y7000 gaming laptop (available at Costco.com, with other variations available at Amazon). It’s a smart, sophisticated option that will perform admirably for at least a few years—and at a competitive price point. Read our review. 

Best thin-and-light laptop

It’s finally happened. After years of mocking, Dell’s thrown in the towel and moved the camera on the XPS 13 from its unflattering vantage point below the display to its rightful place above the screen.

But there’re more to the XPS 13 9380 than that. It packs Intel’s newest ultra-low power consumption Core i7-8565U, for instance—the first laptop we’ve tested with this Whiskey Lake U chip. Other changes in the CPU include native support for USB 3.1 10Gbps and integrated Wi-Fi support (except for the radio).

Don’t worry about the price. The version we tested had everything on it, but lower-cost models are available. Read our review.

[$2,470 as tested; available on Dell]



Gordon Mah Ung,

Melissa Riofrio,

Alaina Yee

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