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If you’re looking at getting yourself a new laptop but don’t really know where to start, you’re in luck – that’s the entire point of this very page!
Here at TechRadar, we get to review the full breadth and width of currently-available laptops, so we’re well and truly across what’s worth the dosh and what’s not.
Whether it’s Apple’s freshest MacBook Pro, the latest winner in the Dell XPS range, or one of HP’s sleek Spectres, we’ve painstakingly compared and contrasted each one in order to give you a rundown on the laptop with the best value.
We’ve taken into account ultrabooks, gaming laptops, 2-in-1s, and every other shape and size that laptops come in these days – so don’t worry if you’re in it for work or play, we’ve got you covered.
For those that aren’t sure what type of laptop would suit their needs best, scroll down to the foot of the page to find a guide comparing the different types.
Best laptops in Australia 2020 at a glance
- Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
- Dell XPS 13 (2019)
- HP Spectre x360 (2020)
- Dell XPS 13 (2020)
- Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED (2020)
- Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
- Microsoft Surface Book 3
- Apple MacBook Air (2020)
- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
- Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
- HP Elite Dragonfly
- Alienware Area-51m
- Asus VivoBook S15
The best laptops of 2020:
We know, this is technically a gaming laptop, but for those that want to balance work and play, there’s little else out there that’s better value than the Zephyrus G14 right now. It’s worth noting that it’s missing a webcam and a Thunderbolt 3 port, so if that’s a concern this isn’t for you, but its solid battery life, compact form, and powerful specs do a fine job at balancing everything that you’ll need from a laptop. This is an absolute beast for performance, with its AMD Ryzen 4000 processors and Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card, best-in-class battery life that will last you all day long, a fast display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a lightweight, ultrathin design. The best part is that you’re getting all that without burning a hole in your pocket. Don’t get us wrong; it isn’t cheap. However, for a laptop this impressive, we’re surprised Asus isn’t asking for more.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
We know that this isn’t the latest XPS 13 out there (see below for the 2020 model) but we’re rating it higher in our list due to how well it holds up given that the current price that Dell’s asking for it is almost half of the current model. While the 2020 model introduces thinner bezels, much of the other improvements are in the upper-tier configurations (the option for a 4K display and up to 2TB SSD storage, for instance), so much of the effortless power and sleek styling that is core to the XPS 13 is already present in the 2019 model, such as its 10th-gen Intel Core processors.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
The HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptop has had a big refresh for 2020, with 10th-generation Intel Core processors and Intel Iris Plus graphics, along with the impeccable 2-in-1 design and pristine gem-cut chassis. We’re huge fans of the power, build quality and design of this laptop, and if it weren’t so expensive for Australians comparatively, then it’d likely be in the number one slot.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 (2020)
The Dell XPS 13 has maintained pole position in our best laptops list for years, and the 2020 model would earn that crown once more if its Australian price wasn’t quite so harsh. It keeps everything we’ve come to love from Dell’s flagship 13-incher, from the gorgeous and light design, to the powerful modern components that power it. The Dell XPS 13 now rocks 10th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors and a bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display, which means the Dell XPS 13 (2020) is a brilliant performer, while remaining thin and light. What’s more, there’s a wide range of customisation options, so you can really make the Dell XPS 13 the best laptop for your needs. The 2020 model refines the already-brilliant design of the XPS 13, but it does come at a high cost. While this is easily one of the best laptops in the world right now, it’s also one of the most expensive as well.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
While the Aero 15 range from Gigabyte is aimed at designers, it also makes for one of the best value gaming laptops on the Australian market right now due to its powerful internals, brilliant display, and sleek, stylish chassis. This year’s model refreshes much of what was great about the 2019 model – packing a 15-inch 4K HDR screen which is ideal as a high-resolution on-the-go gaming monitor, media machine, or its intended design-centric use. It also ramps up the internals, with a 10th-gen Intel Core i7 CPU running the show and the latest RTX 2070 Super GPU in assistance. It isn’t cheap and won’t suit the everyday user that just needs to run simple tasks, but for those seeking more power, it’s a brilliant option.
Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED
While we are sad that the 15-inch MacBook Pro is no more, we’ve welcomed the MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) with open arms. As thin, light and sleek as ever, you wouldn’t think this was a 16-inch behemoth. Yet, you’re getting that extra real estate on that stunning display, as well as the latest and greatest components behind it. This is, without a doubt, the best MacBook for content creators, designers and other creative professionals. With amazing (and loud) speakers and a much, much better keyboard to boot.
Read the full review: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
In many ways, the Surface Book 3 is an example of just how far the best laptops have come in just a few short years. It has an extremely premium piece of kit – with one of the best displays we’ve used in a laptop, a keyboard that will put the MacBook Pro’s new Magic Keyboards to shame, and a hybrid design with a removable screen. At less than an inch thick, and only 12.3 x 9.14 inches for its 13-inch model and 13.5 x 9.87 inches for its 15-inch version, this is also among the best Ultrabooks 2020 has to offer. It doesn’t necessarily have the strongest processor when compared to many rivals on this list, so you’ll need to weigh up this delightful form factor against your more intensive computing needs.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 3
Apple has once again refreshed and improved the MacBook Air, and the 2020 model represents the biggest upgrade we’ve seen in quite a while, easily making it one of the best laptops in the world, and certainly the best affordable MacBook ever made. Apple has now included the latest 10th generation Intel processors, and for the first time you’re able to get a MacBook AIr with a quad-core CPU, which makes a big difference when it comes to perfomance.
You also get more storage as well, with Apple doubling the amount the base model comes with to 256GB. While it’s can’t compete with the raw power of the MacBook Pro 16-inch (above), this is by far the best MacBook Air the company has ever made. Best of all, Apple has once again lowered the entry price, so you’re getting a more powerful laptop for cheaper. What’s not to like about that?
Read the full review: MacBook Air (2020)
With the third version of the Surface Laptop 3, Microsoft has made its best laptop yet. While it’s not a huge leap over its predecessor, the Surface Laptop 3 does improve on almost every aspect.
Best of all, with the 15-inch version you now get a choice of either Intel or AMD hardware. Previously, only Intel tech was included. Elsewhere, the Surface Laptop 3 continues the Surface Laptop’s reputation for being a stunningly designed laptop.
These are some of the most desirable laptops in the world that don’t have a logo of an apple on them, with a new aluminum body that gives it a premium feel, while protecting it from knocks and drops. There are still a few niggles, like the continued lack of ports, but in general this is one of the best laptops in the world right now.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
Last year’s Dell XPS 15 was already one of the best laptops you could buy, but now that Dell has taken the beautiful redesign of the Dell XPS 13 and applied it here – while also making it a convertible. Well, it’s amazing. Not only do you get one of the most aesthetically pleasing 15-inch laptops on the market, but it also packs one of those new Intel Kaby Lake G-series CPUs featuring ‘discrete-class’ Radeon graphics. This means that this laptop packs serious power – even if it can get a little loud.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
This laptop from HP is our pick for the best business laptop – put simply, this is one of the most stylish and slimline laptops you’ll ever see, and it’s also packed with some brilliant features and powerful components.
While the HP Elite Dragonfly is primarily aimed at business users, don’t let that put you off. Its incredible design and gorgeous screen makes this the best laptop for anyone who can afford it. Battery life is excellent, the keyboard is a joy to type on, and it also has LTE connectivity. This lets you plug in a SIM card and access mobile internet wherever you are, without having to connect to slow (and potentially compromised) Wi-Fi hotspots.
It’s expensive, but if you can afford it, it’s easily one of the best laptops of 2020.
Read the full review: HP Elite Dragonfly
The Alienware Area-51m is a strong contender for the best gaming laptop of 2019, and earns that place in other markets (such as the UK and US) due to its relative affordability. Down under, it’s a little more expensive and doesn’t quite earn that spot, but it’s still absolutely worth considering (especially if it’s on sale). With an eye catching design and brilliant build quality, which we’ve come to expect from Dell’s Alienware brand, this is an incredible performer, offering a choice of some of the very best gaming components on the market right now, including 9th generation Intel Core processors and Nvidia’s latest RTX range of GPUs. Sure, it’s pretty expensive, but if you’re serious about getting the best gaming laptop money can buy in 2019, then you’ll need to expect to splash out a little bit, and the Alienware Area-51m really is worth every penny.
Read the full review: Alienware Area-51m
The new Asus VivoBook S15 hasn’t been out for long, and it’s made its way straight into our best laptops list. This is because it combines a thin and light design with great performance and an excellent price.
If you’re looking for a mid-range laptop that doesn’t cost too much, but still performs brilliantly, then this is the best laptop for you.
Thanks to its powerful Intel processor, 8GB of RAM and fast SSD storage, this is a laptop that can handle almost any task with ease – though gaming is out of the question. Its 15.6-inch screen is bright and vibrant, and it has loads of ports that makes it easy to hook up your favorite peripherals.
However, it doesn’t have the longest battery life for a laptop, and the ScreenPad, which replaces the traditional touchpad below the keyboard with a touchscreen, takes a bit of getting used to.
Read the full review: Asus VivoBook S15
Which type of laptop is best for you?
General laptops: This broader category is dedicated to devices that focus more on practicality than style, portability or power. That’s not to say they can’t be fast, but you’ll typically find a non-Ultrabook clamshell laptop with an HD screen and spinning drive-based storage for less than AU$1,000.
Ultrabooks: Where you’ll find thin-and-light notebooks sporting SSD storage and display resolutions that exceed 1080p. Paired with powerful, albeit mobile-centric components and especially long battery life, the best Ultrabooks will cost a pretty penny – closer to AU$1,000 to AU$3,000.
2-in-1 laptops: Where notebooks that double as tablets are located. Outfitted with both detachable and 360-degree rotating hinges, these hybrids are the most versatile way to experience Windows 10 (or Chrome OS) on a touchscreen.
Chromebooks: Where you’ll find the best Chromebooks running Chrome OS. These do much of what Windows and macOS can in the browser, focused on cloud storage over local, while recently getting Android app support for touchscreen models. They generally cost less than AU$500.
Gaming laptops: Need a laptop to play games (almost) just like a shiny desktop PC can? Then you’ll want one of the best gaming laptops. These machines generally cost more than AU$1,000 and can quickly get into the AU$4 – 5,000 range for the beastlier models.