You’ll find out about the 10 best rated laptops on the market today as well as the most relevant, valuable and understandable buying advice. Buying a laptop is a significant investment, and for most of us selecting the right laptop will require making difficult decisions and compromises.
When choosing a best rated laptop looking over all of the available features and options can be a difficult process. After all, the options and choices are quite extensive and it is quite easy to become lost.
In order to protect yourself, and to ensure that you’re getting most from your investment, you need to select a good quality unit.
Keeping something that will last a few years is very important in order to ensure you have a good quality computer that will give you what you need.
We hope that providing you with a list of the best rated laptops will help you cut through the clutter and better find that laptop that will best serve you for years to come.
#1 Best Rated Laptops Guide Pick
Is The Lenovo G560 Series
The Lenovo G560 shot to #1 on our list when the price dropped a short time ago (the Microsoft store briefly had it for a real steal which influenced other vendors such as batteries-company.com). It was a very strong laptop but now that the price is right it really makes this laptop the best bang for your buck. This is not a desktop replacement laptop however for all other uses it’s perfect. I’d rate it 5 stars.
It has a solid Intel® Pentium® P6200 processor and lots of RAM (4 gigs) to best realize some great benefits of 64-bit Windows. You might want to consider doubling the RAM to 8 gigs in the future, and the G560 allows for that. In my mind, 4 gigs ought to be the minimum amount of RAM offered with computers using a 64-bit Windows OS.
Pros: The top of lid was made in order to not collect fingerprints. Little glare from the screen. Great to have a numeric keypad. The G560 runs very cool. There are a number of convenient power management options that influence performance and battery life. The battery charge still expires fairly quickly, though. Ease of backup and system restoration. The “One Key” backup options are excellent and should be taken advantage of immediately. There isn’t a great deal of bloatware to eliminate which is quite common in todays best rated laptops. The G560 also features AnchorFree’s HotSpotShield. This is a handy app for unsecured hotspots. The “Windows Experience Index” scores are great and you can tweak settings to improve these scores (rated on a scale 1 – 7.9):
• Processor (calculations per second): Score of 5.8
• RAM (memory operations per secon): Score of 5.9
• Graphics (desktop performance for Windows Aero): Score of 4.4
• Gaming Graphics (3D business and gaming graphics): Score of 4.9
• Primary hard disc (disk data transfer rate): Score of 5.5
Cons:There is no HDMI. It does have a VGA out which most new TVs support. The webcam and microphone performances are not perfect but they work. There is no “mute” button for the speakers.
Suitability: This is for people looking for a mix of speed and portability. It’s definitely a solid business laptop but is also for someone looking for personal computing power.
Why is this the #1 on Best Rated Laptops?
• We found 21 expert reviews that have highly rated this laptop including 100 ratings from alaTest and Good Gear Guide.
• Average customer rating is 4.5 stars out of 5.
• Won the Editor’s Choice from Notebook Review
• Lenovo Laptop ranks #2 in customer support by Consumer Reports and PC Magazine Readers’ Choice Survey (first is Apple).
2. Acer Aspire One
This is easily the best all-around Netbook we’ve seen for less than $300. While many of the second-generation Netbooks are creeping toward mainstream laptop prices, we’re pleased to see the smart-looking Acer Aspire One holding the line at around $270, without skimping too much on features or design.
For such a small laptop, the Aspire One boasts an excellent amount of storage space (160GB). It’s Intel Atom processor offers enough performance for common work tasks. The design on this mobile Internet device has received much acclaim, including the Japan Good Design Award, one of the internationally renowned design awards. Acer’s Aspire One scores big points in excellent design and is very wallet-friendly.
Pros: Boasts First-Rate design & superb price. Features great storage space for such a small laptop. Great keyboard considering the notebook’s size. The Aspire One has great port selection – it’s nice having 3 USB ports and two media card readers. Has second SD card slot for dedicated system memory.
Cons: With only 1GB of RAM in its system, its performance is somewhat limited. It has no bluetooth feature and the mouse button placement is a minor issue. Its screen has minor glare. The battery life hovers around the 4-hour mark.
Suitability: For the user who wants ultimate portability that offers wireless internet and can perform basic office and word processing tasks.
Why best rated?
• The winner of a renowned design award that identifies products that promote the quality of life via the power of design.
• 29 expert reviews suggest a high rating for this laptop including a 95 from alaTest.
• More importantly, 846 out of 1566 real users gave five-star ratings for this laptop. The average user rating for this product was 4.5 out of 5 stars.
• Consumer Report’s Top Laptop under $400.
• The best selling netbook on Amazon.
3. Apple 13? MacBook Pro
The Macbook, one of Apple’s best rated laptops, has undergone radical overhaul over the last year and Apple has done an admirable job filling in some of the major missing pieces. Apple’s Macbook line has moved to aluminum construction, edge-to-edge glass over LED displays, and oversized multitouch trackpads (with the exception of the lone $999 white plastic model).
This recent round of updates is more of a refinement than a revolution, but it adds some much-sought-after features, meanwhile lowering prices on many configurations. Most notable, the 13-inch aluminum unibody MacBook has been promoted to join the MacBook Pro family. It’s a move that makes sense, as the differences between the two lines were becoming increasingly blurred.
To complete the transformation, the 13-inch Pro regains its missing FireWire port, making it even more useful for creative professionals on the go. Also new to the Pro line is something we never thought we’d see on a MacBook: an SD card slot. Standard on the 13- and 15-inch Pro laptops, this corrects one of our main annoyances with the Macbook.
We’re also pleased to see the backlit keyboard on even the base model – previously found only in the more expensive 13-inch versions. Some fret over the nonremovable battery, but we think the promise of better battery life (Apple claims up to a 40 percent improvement), and three times as many recharge cycles as older batteries is just as important.
Pros: Adds SD card slot and reacquires FireWire; lower starting price; same solid unibody construction and giant multitouch trackpad. The combination of lowered prices, upgraded hardware and solid design should attract both consumers and corporate buyers, even in these financially tight times.
Cons: Some have negative feelings about the Nonremovable battery. Still a few items on our wish list for the Macbook such as matte screens, mobile broadband options, discrete graphic options, and Blu-ray.
Suitability: Those who want ease of use with power.
Why ranked so high?
• GreenTech approved for energy efficiency.
• Apple Laptop customer support consistently ranks #1 on Consumer Reports and PC Magazine Readers’ Choice Survey.
• Consumer demand is very high. By offering more features for less money, the 13-inch MacBook Pro remains one of the most universally useful laptops available.
• Many expert reviews suggest a high rating for this laptop including a 91 from alatest and a 90 from PC Advisor.
• CNet’s Editors Choice Award.
• Apple OS is very easy to use.
4. HP Pavilion tx2500z
The Hp Pavilion tx2500z tablet could be an ideal notebook for students. It is powerful enough to be a primary notebook and offers the flexibility of tablet computing at a reasonable price. The tx2500z maintains the same solid design and features as its predecessor, the tx2000. It has about twice the graphics performance compared to the tx2000z thanks to the addition of an ATI HD3200 GPU.
Other features include an AMD Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core Mobile Technology processor, up to 4GB DDR2 system memory, ATI Mobile Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics, and a 12.1? WXGA touchscreen / active digitizer display. The touchscreen display swivels 180 degrees and lays flat into tablet mode.
If you find a 12.1-inch notebook too small to work on for long stretches you could invest in the new HP xb4 docking station, which connects to the tx2500z with a single cable. The xb4 is packed with features, including speakers and a slot for a hard drive. The Best Rated Laptops Guide really believes that Tablet PCs are one of the best kind’s laptops in the market.
Pros: Dual-mode active pen and touch screen makes tablet use easier and more accurate than last year’s model ; includes credit-card remote control ; excellent battery life ; handy controls built into lid. Includes improved GPU. The AMD’s Turion Ultra processor means most video games will be playable on the tx2500z. Also has a removable DVD Drive with Bay Cover and a nice keyboard.
Cons: The display has some glare. Battery life of approx 2.5 hours. High heat output when system is stressed. Touchpad doesn’t have horizontal scroll. Some argue that its heavier than a 12-inch laptop should be; missing a FireWire jack.
Suitability: It is a Convertible Tablet PC. Lot’s of portability, a touchscreen interface and stylus control.
Why is it ranked high on best rated laptops?
• It’s the least expensive tablet on the market
• Tops the charts in a speed test against other laptops in its category.
• Has a solid design and features a touchscreen and active digitizer.
• Its wallet-friendly and includes entertainment features.
5. Dell Studio 15
The Dell Studio 15 represents the perfect blend of high-end multimedia and mobility. The new Studio Line, as personified by the $1,250 15-inch Studio 15, has a similar design to the XPS line but a Studio system costs roughly $300 less than a similarly outfitted XPS. Even though it has a similar shape, the Studio laptop is about 25 percent thicker and slightly heavier than its more upscale XPS cousin, with plastic accents instead of metal.
The trade-off is mostly in size and finish. We’d be tempted to toss in the extra $300 for the brushed-metal wrist rest and slimmer design of the XPS, but the Studio line does offer personalization options (assortment of colors, artistic designs, and graphic imprints).
The Studio 15 boasts a 15.4-inch LED backlit display with a native resolution of 1,440×900. It also includes a slot-loading optical drive and an Express Card slot that can double as a credit-card-style media remote. The Studio 15 follows Dell’s recent, and welcome, trend of putting HDMI outputs and touch-sensitive control buttons on their laptops.
Pros: The Studio 15 is a great value for the price. Has a nice design with a solid selection of available configurations. Reasonable battery life and nice keyboard. Touchpad with convenient media buttons. Great component layout makes for easy upgrades/repair.
Cons: No lugs/screw posts for VGA cable and no docking station connector. HDMI with integrated Intel graphics… not ideal. No option for better graphics than ATI Radeon HD 3450 at this time.
Suitability: This is for people looking for mobility and high-end multimedia capabilities.
Why is it ranked?
• We found 23 expert reviews that have very high ratings for the Studio 15, including a 100 rating from Dev Hardware, a 90 from PC Magazine, and a 94 from alaTest.
• 205 5-star customer reviews out of 447 (average of 4/5)
• Ranked 3rd in customer service consumer reports
6. Fujitsu LifeBook T5010 Tablet PC
The Fujitsu LifeBook T5010 is a well-rounded convertible with an optical drive, much like its predecessor, the LifeBook T4220. Fujitsu has squeezed in a larger 13.3-inch display while adding very little weight. The lifebook has also been updated to reap the benefits of Intel’s Centrino 2 technology.
These improvements, along with a reliable pen-input experience and a solid design structure, make this an optimal business Tablet. The T5010 weighs a manageable 4.9 pounds and is 1.4 inches thick. You can bring it down to 4.5 pounds by swapping the DVD drive with a weight saver. The system can easily be hauled around without straining your shoulder, and it isn’t too bulky to carry around.
The black matte lid along with a light silver keyboard and palm rest give the system a bit of spice. The Fujitsu LifeBook T5010 offers very good ergonomics. The touchpad is wide and the mouse buttons are responsive and quiet. Users will also appreciate the scroll pad on the right of the touchpad. You’ll also find a fingerprint reader on the screen’s bezel, which is excellent for data protection.
Pros: Good performance; high-quality keyboard; sizeable screen for a tablet PC; modular bay supports a second battery; mobile-broadband option. Strong wireless range. Durable rotating hinge. The T5010 has a solid array of ports, including three USB, FireWire, VGA, Ethernet, a PC Card slot, and a 2-in-1 memory card reader.
Cons: Battery life could be longer; touchscreen requires use of a stylus/No finger-touch input. Relatively large and heavy. Sluggish hard drive. No mobile broadband option yet.
Suitability: For people looking for multipurpose, reliable performance outside the office.
Why rated so high?
• Ranked highest in speed tests for overall performance.
• Laptop Logic Editors Choice Award.
• Fujitsu definitely didn’t skimp in outfitting the LifeBook T5010 like many other tablet makers have done. In addition to a 13-inch widescreen and an integrated optical drive, it’s equipped with the latest Intel Centrino 2 parts.
• The 13.3-inch WXGA display is impressive. The 1280 x 800-pixel glossy screen is crisp, and colors look clear without grayness typical of other tablets. Viewing angles are fine in both notebook and tablet mode.
• Ranked highly in 11 expert reviews: rated 91 by alaTest, and 80 by PC magazine.
7. Toshiba Portege M700
The Portege M700 offers a smooth transition from notebook to Tablet PC. With powerful Intel Centrino Pro processor technology and support for wireless 802.11a/g/n, the M700 is a highly mobile standard for productivity. The Portege M700 Tablet PC has a 12.1-inch diagonal widescreen LED Backlit Display with digital pen support, optional touch capability and anti-glare display for indoor & outdoor viewing.
The Toshiba Portege M700 is a business-oriented tablet and improves upon features found on the company’s lighter and more expensive flagship Tablet PC, the Portege R400. For example, the Portege M700 incorporates the same useful display anchors, which keep the screen from wobbling.
The Portege M700 also borrows the 12.1-inch backlit-LED display of the R400, but adds touch-screen capabilities to the display, meaning that you can use either the included stylus or your finger (or the top of your pen, for that matter) to take notes and navigate menus. These features may seem insignificant, but they are indicative of the thoughtful design that puts the Portege M700 ahead of many business tablets we’ve seen over the years. The tablet is able to perform at a high level, powered by a full-voltage Core 2 Duo processor.
Like most convertible tablets, the Portege M700?s screen swivels between landscape and portrait modes, automatically switching its orientation in midswivel. The 12.1-inch backlit-LED screen features an extra-sharp 1,280×800 native resolution that provides excellent image detail without making text and icons too small to read. A Webcam sits above the display bezel; a handy LED next to it lights up when the camera is on so you know when you’re being watched. The fingerprint reader lets you log on to Windows or your favorite Web sites with the swipe of a finger.
Pros: Great tablet design with a stable display and comfortable stylus; impressive performance; touch screen doesn’t require stylus to navigate; sharp screen resolution; Webcam with handy light; price includes three-year warranty.
Cons: Weak battery life; slightly small keyboard and touch pad; weak speakers; quick-launch buttons are not user-programmable.
Suitability: Power users will be well-served by the performance and feature set of the Toshiba Portege M700.
Why top rated?
• High performance and a great tablet design.
• We like that the display appears bright and clear both indoors and outside–helpful for those who use their tablets away from a desk.
• We found 24 expert reviews that have highly rated this laptop including an 84 from alaTest, and 80’s from PC Magazine, Laptop Magazine, Tech Radar, and Good Gear Guide.
8. Dell Mini 9
There are not many surprises in the new Dell Inspiron Mini 9, but it is an excellent example of the mini-laptop form, without any of the deal-breakers that have kept other Netbooks from being more universally useful. The Inspiron Mini 9 has an 8.9-inch widescreen display and can be configured with either Windows XP or Ubuntu Linux.
The Mini 9 is powered by an Intel Atom processor for power saving performance. An 8GB flash drive makes it so the Mini is quiet and has very fast Storage. Configure up to 1GB of RAM for a performance boost too. In typical Dell fashion, there are more customization options than we’ve seen other Netbooks.
Pros: Small and portable; Firmly designed; Synaptics touchpad is responsive; Easily upgradeable; Nearly silent; Under $400 on Amazon; Good battery life (Runs for almost 4 hrs.)
Cons: Gets very hot; Only 8-16 GB of storage space; Glossy screen causes glare and attracts fingerprints; Strangely placed Function keys; Lack of F11 or F1; No 6-cell battery. No SSD options larger than 16GB.
Suitability: For the user who wants ease of use and high portability.
Why is it a best rated laptop?
• Very high expert ratings for Dell’s first Netbook, including a 97 from alaTest.
• CNet Editors Rating of Excellent.
• More configurable than other Netbooks; XP and Linux OS options.
• Has a solid design and is wallet-friendly.
9. Sony VAIO CS
The Sony VAIO CS offers plenty of power combined with an array of colors and limited edition patterns; the customizable laptop is designed to match your personality. The CS series features up to 2.80GHz Intel CoreTM 2 Duo processor, Genuine Windows Vista Ultimate or other editions, a 14.1? widescreen LCD display, up to 320GB hard drive, and 4GB RAM.
Holds up to 4 hours of battery life and weighs in at 5.7 lbs. The glossy 14.1” display uses a native resolution of 1280×800. Colors appear bright and vibrant with very good levels of contrast thanks to the glossy surface. This multimedia notebook from Sony offers a fairly unique feature, a pulsing LED light bar that pulses to whatever music you are listening to.
This sleek colorful notebook is offered in a wide range of colors including Glossy or Matte Black, Seashell Beige, Copper Brown, Dove White, and for those seeking more flair, Sangria Red and Cosmopolitan Pink. Whether you’re listening to music or watching an HD movie with the optional Blu-ray drive, the Sony VAIO CS is designed to handle your needs with a splash of style. The Sony VAIO CS looks pretty just sitting alone closed on your desk.
Pros: Has good paint quality. Solid keyboard and chassis. The pulsing light bar is very cool. Good battery life.
Cons: The plastic used isn’t too durable. No HDMI or eSATA.
Suitability: Best Rated Laptops Guide fells this is for the user who wants a nice multimedia notebook with good looks and cool features.
Why is it rated so well?
• Top shelf multimedia laptop.
• The pulsing light effect is quite impressive. If you like the design this notebook is highly worth your dollar. Features Hi-Def with optional Blu-ray drive.
10. Fujitsu LifeBook T2020
Fujitsu’s LifeBook T2020 shys away from sleek design and sex appeal in favor of getting the job done. Like many tablet PCs, Fujitsu’s LifeBook T2020 caters to business folk. It is angling to be a useful, lightweight (3.6 pounds), compact (11.7 by 8.6 by 1.3 inches) package. While it doesn’t deliver in speed, it sure is ready for the long haul.
The LifeBook T2020 retains virtually all of the physical features of its predecessor, the sober, professional-looking LifeBook T2010. The only thing about the T2020 that screams “2009,” however, is its flawless 12.1-inch screen that boasts a 1280×800 pixel panel. Graphics, photos, and text are all very sharp and well defined, and the screen maintains its visually appealing contrast and intensity indoors and out.
The tablet learns your specific handwriting. The included stylus permits very smooth and easy writing on the tablet in most applications, including essential ones such as Microsoft Word and Google Gmail. Need more than a touchscreen? Simply rotate the screen, and you can use the full keyboard. The keyboard is flat and plain with a small, soft touchpoint in the center.
Several convenient shortcut keys sit on the most accessible side of screen in tablet mode. The shortcut keys include page up, page down, a secondary function key, a key for screen rotation, and a Ctrl-Alt-Delete combo button for moments when everything goes sideways.
Pros: Lightweight with improved performance and wireless connectivity. Has excellent battery life. Nice screen with bi-directional hinge. Solid design and build quality. The first touch screen that actually works in a PC enviroment. Also impressive is the inclusion of built in 3.5G connectivity.
Cons: It lacks connectivity functions such as HDMI and an internal DVD drive. One speaker, which doesn’t do justice. It is a little noisy, tends to get warm. High price tag and low availability.
Suitability: A useful, lightweight, compact laptop for business folk.
Why is this one of your best rated laptops?
Fujitsu’s LifeBook T2020 is an excellent tablet option – simple yet effective.
This is a sturdy well built notebook with great functionality.
The 1280-by-800-pixel panel looks exceptional, with much brighter and more-vivid colors than a typical matte laptop screen produces.