The best Windows laptops for 2024

Choosing the best Windows laptop can be overwhelming with the wealth of options available. And with Microsoft’s recent announcements at Microsoft Build, we can expect lots of exciting things coming out in the next few months as more Copilot PCs become available. Whether you need a premium ultraportable, a powerful gaming rig, or a versatile mobile workstation, our current list of the best Windows laptops highlights our favorites that have been rigorously tested by our team. For those on a budget, check out our list of the best cheap Windows laptops to find great options that won’t break the bank.

The challenge when thinking about performance is figuring out your sweet spot. That’s because while a Microsoft Windows laptop with blazing speed is nice, you may be paying for more oomph than you need. But if you skimp and get a weak processor, even simple tasks can become a chore and you might end up in a situation where you need to upgrade again sooner than you’d like. Thankfully, many laptops come in multiple configurations at the point of purchase. You can opt for a model with more processing power, for example, if you want to do more than just web browsing. Good performance is more than just clockspeeds too, so we also consider things like fast wake times, storage speeds, multitasking and more advanced features like support for ray tracing.

Regardless of whether a notebook has a touchscreen or a more traditional panel, we look for bright displays (300+ nits or more) that are easy use outdoors or in sunny rooms, accurate colors and wide viewing angles. Screens with high refresh rates are great for competitive gamers, while those with wider color gamuts are important for content creation and video editing. And even if you don’t plan on spending a ton of time on video calls, every laptop needs a decent webcam (1080p or higher).

Even with advancements in cellular modems and WiFi, dedicated ports for transferring data or connecting peripherals can make or break a laptop. Ideally, all but the thinnest and lightest systems come with three USB ports, while things like built-in SD card readers can be extremely handy when trying to import media from a camera. And if a notebook is saddled with a slow or outdated WiFi modem (we’re looking for Wi-Fi 6 or later), that’s basically an immediate disqualification.

It doesn’t matter how powerful a laptop is if it conks out when you need it the most. Typically we look for runtimes of at least eight hours on a charge, but when it comes to good battery life, longer is always better. That said, on gaming machines with thirsty GPUs, you may have to settle for a bit less. And on bigger machines, it’s also important to consider if the system can charge via USB-C or if it needs a larger, proprietary power brick.

June 2024: We updated our top picks to include the Microsoft Surface Pro Copilot+ edition.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at