Decision aid: the 10 best laptops of the moment (December 2020)

If you are looking for a computer on which you can seriously work on the road, you still can't get around the laptop, despite increasingly better tablets. Laptops nowadays come in all shapes and sizes, so you need to know what you need to make the right choice. In this article you can read which are the best laptops of the moment with an up-to-date top 10 and tips on buying laptops.

Top 10 Best Laptops
  • 1. Dell XPS 15 7590
  • 2. Asus ZenBook 14 UX434
  • 3. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch
  • 4. Asus ROG Zephyrus S
  • 5. Lenovo IdeaPad S540
  • 6.Xiaomi Mi Air
  • 7. Acer Swift 5
  • 8. HP Envy X360 15
  • 9. HP 14 cf
  • 10. Asus ZenBook Pro Duo
Tips for your laptop
  • Image quality
  • The processor
  • video card
  • Storage area
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Do you need an SSD on a laptop?
  • Can you game on a laptop?
  • How much storage space do I need?
  • Can you upgrade a laptop?
  • Can you change the battery in a laptop?
  • Can you edit photos on a laptop?
  • What is a USB-C connection?
  • Is a matte or glossy screen better?
  • What should you pay attention to with a laptop keyboard?
  • How do I recognize a good WiFi adapter?
  • What should I pay attention to with a laptop battery?

Top 10 Laptops (December 2020)

1. Dell XPS 15 7590

The most versatile laptop 9 Score 90

+ Versatility

+ Battery life

+ Build quality

+ Keyboard and touchpad

The Dell XPS 15 has received a number of significant updates this year, making this stylish laptop even more versatile. Depending on the model chosen, the laptop has an extremely large 97Wh battery and can therefore easily last a day without a charger. The fast Intel processor is combined with an Nvidia GTX 1650, so that you can also play a bit on it. The laptop has the necessary ports, including HDMI and USB-C with Thunderbolt 3. Read our review here.

2. Asus ZenBook 14 UX434

A surprising laptop 9 Score 90

+ Display in touchpad

+ Stylish design

+ Keyboard

- No Thunderbolt 3

The Asus ZenBook 14 is a separate phenomenon. This very compact 14-inch laptop has a screen hidden in the touchpad. This can be used as a second screen in Windows, but can also serve as a numpad or as a special menu for supporting applications such as Microsoft Office. The keyboard is excellent and there is plenty of connectivity, but unfortunately Thunderbolt 3 is not supported.

3. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch

The Best Apple Laptop 7 Score 70

+ Design


- Connectivity

- Keyboard

While Apple hasn't made any major updates to the 2019 model, the MacBook Pro 13 remains the best choice for anyone who is a fan of the OSX operating system. Connectivity is very limited with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, but this can easily be solved with a dongle. The screen is excellent and True Tone is nice for everyday use, although it's important for photo editors to turn it off. The price seems fairly high, but compared to the 15-inch model it is not that bad.

4. Asus ROG Zephyrus S

The best gaming laptop 8 Score 80

+ Powerful video card

+ Relatively light

+ Ingenious cooling system

- Keyboard placement

The Asus ROG Zephyrus S is a very powerful gaming laptop that can be equipped with an Nvidia RTX 2080. Despite the powerful video card and processor, the laptop weighs only 2 kg. The low weight is partly made possible by an ingenious cooling system that ensures that the laptop can easily lose its heat. The keyboard on the front of the laptop takes some getting used to and the price is not too bad either. Read our review here.

5. Lenovo IdeaPad S540

The cheapest laptop with GTX 1650 8 Score 80

+ Specifications

+ Battery life

+ Build quality

- Screen brightness

The Lenovo IdeaPad S540 is one of the cheapest laptops with an Nvidia GTX 1650, but it also does very well in other areas. The reasonably portable laptop has a nice metal housing and the weight of 1.9 kg is not that bad. The battery life is very good due to the 70 Wh battery and the SSD is also nice and fast.

6.Xiaomi Mi Air

Cheap and light 7 Score 70

+ Price

+ Lightweight

- Battery life

- Screen

Xiaomi is slowly taking over the European market and we also see that with the laptops. The affordable Xiaomi Mi Air looks a lot like a Macbook Pro, but is a lot cheaper. The lightweight device has good build quality and decent specifications for its price. Unfortunately, the battery life and the screen cannot keep up with the more expensive competition.

7. Acer Swift 5

Lightweight 15" 7 Score 70

+ Weight

+ Screen

+ Battery life

- Build quality

The Acer Swift 5 is a remarkably light laptop with a weight of less than a kilogram. To get the weight so low, Acer had to use thin materials, which is reflected in the build quality. Yet there is still reasonable hardware in the laptop and especially a nice large battery. The display is also excellent with good calibration and pleasant brightness. Read our hands-on here.

8. HP Envy X360 15

The best 15-inch convertible 8 Score 80

+ Battery life

+ Silent cooling

+ Quality housing

- Performance

The HP Envy x360 15 is a convertible laptop with a very high quality housing. The beautiful screen can be completely folded and has a good touchscreen. The laptop is equipped with a powerful AMD processor and AMD video card, but unfortunately the silent cooling is not able to keep it at a good temperature.

9. HP 14 cf

The Best Budget Laptop 6 Score 60

+ Price

+ Specifications

- A lot of plastic

- Touch pad

The HP 14-cf is a budget laptop that pretends to be more expensive than it actually is. For just 500 euros you get 8GB of RAM and an SSD with 256GB of storage. The Intel Core i3 processor does not have a turbo, but that means the laptop lasts a long time on the battery. Although the laptop has an aluminum look, it is actually made of plastic. Unfortunately, that also applies to the mediocre touchpad.

10. Asus ZenBook Pro Duo

Two screens in one laptop 9 Score 90

+ Two screens

+ Keyboard and touchpad

+ Powerful hardware

- Price

The ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 is an impressive laptop. It is equipped with very powerful hardware and has no less than two screens: a 15.6-inch 4K UHD OLED panel and a 14-inch IPS panel, both equipped with a touchscreen. The keyboard and touchpad are excellent, allowing you to work productively on them. The price is not attractive, but you do get a unique product in return. Read our review here.

Tips for your laptop

There are many types and sizes of laptops for sale in all price ranges. Before you buy a laptop, you need to know where and what you want to use a laptop for. A laptop for on the road should be as compact and light as possible, while the weight is less important for a laptop that you only use at home. You also need to determine what your budget is.

The screen is one of the most important features of a laptop because the screen size largely determines the size of the laptop. The screen size is expressed in inches measured diagonally. Common sizes are 13.3, 14 and 15.6 inches. If you mainly want to use a laptop on the go, then 13.3 or 14 inches offer a good balance between portability and workspace. The popular 15.6-inch laptop is more pleasant to work on on a daily basis, but naturally takes up more space. If you are looking for a laptop for your home, you may want to consider a 17-inch model. Such a 'desktop replacement' has the advantage of a large screen, but is really designed to stay in one place.

Image quality

Although the screen size is an important property, the size says nothing about the image quality. The image quality of a screen is determined by the resolution and the screen technology used. The resolution of a screen is expressed in pixels, for example 1920 x 1080 pixels (full hd). Make sure the laptop you buy has a minimum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Only on really small screen sizes (11 inches or smaller) you can consider a lower resolution like 1366 x 768 pixels if the laptop is really cheap. The resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels perfectly matches screens with a size of 13.3, 14 or 15 inches and ensures a sharp image. A higher resolution such as a 4k uhd screen (3840 x 2160 pixels) gives a slightly sharper image, but in practice the difference can only be seen from very close up.

The screen technology used is also important when choosing a laptop. With laptops we usually see a choice between tn screens (twisted nematic) or ips screens (in-plane switching). If you have the choice, choose an IPS screen. Such a screen offers better colors and a larger viewing angle, which ensures a pleasant working experience for all the work you perform on your laptop. Nowadays we also see OLED options with the most expensive laptops. Such screens have a perfect contrast and are therefore ideal for watching films and series.

The processor

Finding the ideal processor is very difficult due to the large selection. At Intel, there is a choice of Core i3, i5, i7, and i9 processors, of which the i3 processors are the most economical and the i9 processors the most powerful. The number that follows the "ix" indicates the generation and processing power. For example, the i7-9750H is the successor to the i7-8750H. The i7-9850H is not newer than the i7-9750H, but a bit faster. Then the letter at the end; it makes a bigger difference than you might think. The 'standard' processor ends with an "H", while the very frugal processors end with an "U". Extra powerful variants end in "HK" or "K".

Recently, AMD has also become very active in the market for mobile processors. Fortunately, their offer is slightly simpler. At the moment, only AMD Ryzen 3000 processors can be found in new laptops. The name is similar to that of Intel, with Ryzen 3 3200U as the most economical and cheapest processor and Ryzen 7 3750H as the most powerful.

video card

If you are a fanatic gamer, or if you regularly use GPU acceleration, it is important to choose a laptop with a powerful video card. Nvidia is currently the sole ruler in this segment and that makes choosing a lot easier.

Nvidia's offer starts with the GTX 1650, a capable video card that will run most games, although the settings must be lowered regularly. The next option is the GTX 1660 Ti, which immediately takes a big step forward in graphics power. If you want a higher frame rate or if medium settings are not enough for you, then it will be an RTX 2060, 2070 or 2080. These are more powerful than the GTX cards and also support ray tracing. Do you see "Max-Q" behind it? This means that it is a slightly less fast variant that also consumes less power.

Storage area

The storage capacity story used to be very simple: more is better. With the advent of SSDs, that is no longer the case. SSDs are much faster than traditional hard drives and are indispensable in a laptop these days. They are still more expensive than a hard drive, so lower capacities are common. We do not recommend buying a laptop with an SSD of 128GB or less, especially because the step to 256GB is very small in terms of costs. After that the rule applies again: more is usually better. A hard drive as extra storage in a laptop provides a shorter battery life and a higher weight, but can still be a cheap solution for bulk data.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need an SSD on a laptop?

The answer to this question is a convincing yes. This form of storage is much faster than a traditional hard drive.

Can you game on a laptop?

Serious gaming is only possible if the laptop, in addition to a powerful processor, also contains a powerful video card.

How much storage space do I need?

We recommend a minimum storage capacity of 256 GB for a Windows laptop, a smaller SSD of 128 GB, for example, can lead to problems in practice. If you want to use the laptop to store an extensive photo or film collection, you need more storage capacity. This extra storage can possibly be in the form of an HDD.

Can you upgrade a laptop?

That differs greatly per laptop. Not a processor or graphics card, but the memory and storage often do. However, there are now also laptops where nothing can be adjusted at all, especially with the extra thin and light laptops.

Can you change the battery in a laptop?

Nowadays, a battery is fully integrated into the laptop. Changing the battery for a full one while on the road is therefore not possible. Sometimes it is possible to replace the battery when it is worn out, but it can be difficult to find a replacement battery.

Can you edit photos on a laptop?

For photo or video editing you need a relatively powerful laptop with a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of ram and an SSD as a guideline. If you regularly edit videos, even 16 GB of ram can be useful. In addition to power, screen quality is also important in image editing. Get a laptop with an IPS panel for good viewing angles and color reproduction. Of course you can also connect a separate screen.

What is a USB-C connection?

USB-C is the latest USB standard. The connection is handy because it doesn't matter how you insert the plug into the port. More and more laptops are equipped with a USB-C connection. Conveniently, this connection is often used to charge the laptop, just like on smartphones. Unfortunately, usb-c is only a connection and various protocols such as usb 2.0, usb 3.1 Gen 1, usb 3.1 Gen 2, DisplayPort and Thunderbolt can be supported. The most complete form of USB-C is a Thunderbolt 3 connection. In addition to USB 3.1 Gen 2 and DisplayPort, this also offers lightning-fast Thunderbolt.

Is a matte or glossy screen better?

Both finishes have their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, colors look better on a glossy screen, while colors on a matte screen look a bit duller. On the other hand, with a glossy screen you logically suffer from reflections in the image.

What should you pay attention to with a laptop keyboard?

What a keyboard is all about is, of course, typing comfort. In general, the comfort with cheaper laptops is usually less good than with more expensive ones. Unfortunately, it is often the case that you also see a keyboard on the more expensive and thinner laptops that many people do not like tapping. Apple's MacBook Pro, for example, is a laptop whose keyboard has significantly less travel than the previous generation. Actually, you should first try the keyboard of a laptop in real life before you buy the laptop. A feature that is really useful in practice, even if you can type blind, is a backlit keyboard.

How do I recognize a good WiFi adapter?

It is usually not immediately clear from the specifications what the specifications of the WiFi adapter used are. Often a manufacturer only indicates which Wi-Fi standards are supported, usually in the form of 802.11a/b/g/n/ac. In any case, make sure that ac is mentioned in the specifications, then you know for sure that both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands are supported.

What should I pay attention to with a laptop battery?

Manufacturers specify the capacity of the battery in their specifications. You can recognize the capacity of the battery by the amount of watt-hours, usually expressed as Wh. That in itself does not say much, but with comparable specifications, a higher battery capacity is of course better. Manufacturers often also give a usage time in hours, but this is often a bit on the optimistic side. It is therefore best to look for reviews in which the battery life has been tested. Please note that it often happens that within the same series, different versions can also have different battery capacities. In addition, more powerful hardware is usually also less economical, so you can use a full battery faster. The same goes for displays with higher resolutions.

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