While we don’t have anything like the launch of the first OLED laptops to really distinguish 2020 laptops from their predecessors, there are a number of smaller advancements that do add up to a good amount of new tech in this year’s updates.
The second generation of AMD processors are showing some serious headway in raw computing power and overall efficiency – even if Intel is still ahead when it comes to laptop gaming capabilities.
Of course Intel has also updated to 10th Generation CPUs, which bring with them the new Wi-Fi 6 networking specification and often some interesting features like the Project Athena certification.
Perhaps more importantly though, we’re now into the second generation of Core i9 laptops, and while these overclockable 9th generation processors ran a little too hot for most host devices, they seem to have become more balanced this time round and deliver harness-able performance bumps.
If that wasn’t enough you’ll also see the arrival of a handful of units with 300Hz monitors this year, which perhaps isn’t critical for professional ultrabooks, but is a boon for anyone who likes to do some high level gaming when they clock off.
Devices continue to make incremental reductions to overall size, meaning there’s offerings here under a centimeter thick and clamshells that weigh less than a kilogram, which is a pretty neat milestone.
The same steps are being made in processor efficiency and battery technology so that you can now get powerful laptops with full-day battery life.
It’s not even too farfetched to expect your work rig to be able to do heavy graphical work loads and carry light gaming capabilities.
Not a bad time to buy a professional laptop on the whole!
Best 2 in 1 Laptops Under 1000 Consumer Reports
Below are our top recommendations for the best 2 in 1 laptop under $1000 dollars you can buy in 2020.
- Acer Swift 5
- Apple MacBookAir 2020
- AppleMacbook Pro 16
- ASUS ExpertBook B9450 Thin and Light Business-Laptop
- Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
- Dell XPS 13
- Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED
- HP Spectre X360
- HuaweiMatebook X Pro
- Lenovo Yoga C940
- Microsoft Surface Book 3
- Microsoft Surface Pro 7
- MSI GS66 Stealth Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop
- MSI Prestige 14 UHD Ultra Thin and Light Professional Laptop
- Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook Laptop
- Razer Blade 15″ Advanced (2020)
Also See: Laptops Under $700
1. Acer Swift 5
Is Acer trying to pull a quick one with its new professional ultrabook? The Swift 5 is one of the few offerings here that range an Intel Core i5 model as well as the more powerful i7-1065G7 variation, so you can get one for as little as $1,799.
For that you’ll get the i5-1035Gl, 8GB of RAM and a tiny 256GB SSD, which is just enough to be able to work from if you have everything in the cloud. If you can afford the $2,399 model you’ll get that faster processor, 16GB of RAM and a serviceable 512GB of PCIe SSD storage, which is a more well-rounded configuration.
Like Asus’s ExpertBook, the Swift 5 is trying to be as light as possible at just 990g, although while the former manages to keep everything feeling premium in the process, the lack of resistance on the Swift 5’s thin plastic keyboard and trackpad can feel a little flimsy and loose for a premium ultrabook.
That said, it was perfectly workable, and without another laptop to compare next to it you probably wouldn’t notice the difference that much. The 1080p IPS screen doesn’t look particularly enticing next to the other devices here, but it is enough to still look nice and is capable of decent media playback.
Performance was between three and seven percent above the average quad-core CPU on PCMark 8 and 10 benchmarks, but was between three and fifteen percent behind on raw CPU and media encoding tests. It was also forty percent behind the average GPU performance, only beating the Spectre x360 and the ExpertBook, but it did have decent battery life, lasting seven hours and 32 minutes in 1080p movie playback.
Summary: A long-lasting and lightweight professional ultrabook that’s powerful enough for those on a tight budget.
2. Apple MacBookAir 2020
Is the design of Apple’s recent entry level laptop air-tight? The MacBook Air range is back and it’s trying to fill the space Apple recently made when it discontinued the 12-inch MacBook in 2019, as well as be a good upgrade. What is nice is that Apple has managed to reduce the base price of the 2020 MacBook Air by $100, so you can get a configuration with a 1.1-3.2GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 CPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for $1,599.
If you are doing any more than the lightest of web browsing and document processing you’ll probably want to go for the l.l-3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM and 512GB storage configuration for $1,999. This is the first quad core processor on a MacBook Air, so the performance bump will be dramatically larger than that of previous generations. If you do want to bolster performance even further then you can upgrade the CPU to a 1.2-3.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU for an extra $150, or double the RAM for $300 more and then there are also two additional storage options of1TB and 2TB, which cost an additional $300 and $900 respectively.
We got our hands on the standard Core i5 variation, which was about 20% behind the average quad-core devices here on the Geekbench 4 multi-threaded CPU test. This is about five to 10 percent lower than we were anticipating, but it’s still more than enough to get you by if you have light browser based workloads.
Battery life is seven hours and 55 minutes for 1080p movie playback, which means you’ll just get through a work day under light usage.
Summary: A great lightweight work device for those wanting MacOS on a tight budget.
3. AppleMacbook Pro 16
Apple’s new Pro form factor is only 2% bigger than the MacBook Pro 15 in chassis size, but offers an inch more screen thanks to a better screen to body ratio. It’s also got a bigger heat sink that is capable of handling the powerful CPUs that range all the way up to an Intel Core i9-9880H CPU. Apple is the only vendor here to have 9th generation CPUs in its current lineup, since Intel wasn’t doing a great job at delivering the custom processors in a timely fashion (which is likely why Apple announced in June That it’d be making its own chips going forward).
Nevertheless the processor’s optimisation in the MacBook Pro 16 is one of the best we’ve seen and more than holds up against Intel’s stock 10th- generation mobile CPUs.
The 3,072 by 1,920 pixel Retina display is one of the standout features, with a bright 500nit HDR display capable of reproducing the full P3 gamut, which is critical for videographers.
If you do need extra graphical processing capabilities then the MacBook Pro 16s can be configured with an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU that is competent at graphical processing and will even offer decent 1080p gaming performance.
While this premium unit isn’t cheap in any configuration, some of the higher specced units are actually competitively priced and Apple has made some solid design choices by reinstating the Magic Keyboard design, including powerful Dolby Atmos configured speakers and throwing in a lOOWh battery that’ll keep you going for 11 hours of web browsing.
Summar: An powerful laptop for video editors and creatives that want access to Apple’s software.
4. ASUS ExpertBook B9450 Thin and Light Business-Laptop
There are other laptops in this roundup using the Intel Core i7-10501U CPU, but we didn’t really see this chip’s potential till we came to the ExpertBook. You see, the base clock sits at 1.8GHz, but the quad-core i7 can boost to a speedy 4.9GHz, which means that while it has the power to perform demanding tasks, it can also be super efficient.
Asus has taken this feature and run with it in the Expertbook, adding a 66Wh Li-Po battery to give it serious longevity. While the 24 hour lifespan claimed in its marketing material is a little lofty, we did get seven hours and 30 minutes in PCMark 8’s battery life benchmark, which we’re guessing could last 12 or so hours under lightwork conditions.
This is the best offering of the roundup by about an hour (and is only outlasted by the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 according to our records), which is a great feature on an ultraportable work laptop.
Despite being more efficient, when it comes to general work tasks and RAW CPU performance the ExpertBook actually outperformed most quad-core processors here. There is a bit of a sacrifice in terms of graphical performance, netting between half and a third of the devices with the Intel Iris Plus Graphics.
The ExpertBook is wrapped in a magnesium lithium alloy that is lighter than aluminium and allows the device to come in at an impressive total weight of 995g. The 14-inch 1080p frameless NanoEdge display has a nice 94%screen-to-body ratio and the device takes the screen’s 16:9 footprint.
Summary: A powerful compact ultrabook that’ll last as long as you do.
5. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is the best 2 in 1 laptop under $1000 dollars in 2020. AMD’s new CPU makes the G14 powerful, efficient and reasonably priced, so what’s the catch? The Zephyrus G14 was the first device we’ve tested with one of AMD’s second generation mobile processors, the Ryzen 9 4900HS, and it’s a big win for both AMD and Asus.
Against MSI’s GS66 running a hexa-core Core i7-10750H, the G14’s 8-core 4900HS offered between five and eleven percent more power in raw multithreaded computing tasks.
It even kept pace with a MacBook Pro 16 running an i9-9880H in the Geekbench 4 Multi-core benchmark, which is an amazing result considering this configuration of the G14 is $2,799 and the i9 MacBook Pro 16 starts at $4,399.
It doesn’t skimp on the graphical capabilities either, with this unit offering 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU, which means it’s capable of solid 1080p gaming (30fps+ on Ultra), and heavy graphical workloads.
This is handy considering it can be configured with a high refresh rate 120Hz 1080p screen, although we’d recommend opting for the 60Hz WQHD 1440p display if you’re using it for work as it makes reading detailed documents easier.
Despite being supremely powerful the Ryzen 9 is extremely efficient, offering eight hours and 24 minutes of1080p movie playback, which can be stretched to over 12 hours by manually swapping the display to 60Hz and turning the discrete GPU off in power settings.
There are some peculiarities like the lack of a webcam, lightweight plastic chassis and a mushy keyboard, but these elements allow it to be just 1.8cm thick and 1.6kg, so they’re not exactly deal breakers.
Summary: A standout performer with amazing battery life, and solid graphical capabilities.
6. Dell XPS 13
The XPS range is considered by many to have been the class-leading ultrabook for years running now due to its Infinity Edge display, decent battery life and good balance of professional level components.
This year’s XPS 13 builds on these strong points with a new 13.4-inch 4K display with such thin bezels that allow it to fit into a traditional 11-inch chassis form factor.
You can choose from a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU catering to your pricing and performance needs and this is complimented by either 8GB or 16GB of RAM and various PCIe SSD sizes.
The new CPU offers a five percent performance bump over its predecessors and landed somewhere in the middle of the laptops tested here in overall computing performance (even though raw CPU performance was the highest scoring quad core chip).
GPU performance was about what you’d expect from the Intel Iris Plus Graphics, capable of handling browser based gaming and essential graphical tasks easily enough.
At 1.5cm thick and just 1.27kg the XPS 13 is one of the most portable models here, but battery life is a little disappointing at just five hours and 50 minutes in 1080p movie playback.
This means you won’t get a full day of working out of it without seriously tweaking brightness and power settings. Stack it up next to the other devices here and you’ll also notice it comes with a premium price tag, despite only offering quad-core CPU performance.
Summary: A decent ultraportable that is a little overpriced to be the laptop to beat anymore.
7. Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED
The amazing colours of OLED shine through in Gigabyte’s latest professional powerhouse. With a 4K VESA certified HDR OLED panel at 400nits up front, it’s hard not to be wooed by Gigabyte’s Aero 15 OLED.
Supporting this premium screen is one of three Intel Core processors, the hexa-core i7-10750H, the octa-core i7-10875H and the octa-core i9-10980HK, which are three of the most powerful laptop processors around.
RAM ranges from 16GB to 64GB and you can configure it with any Nvidia GPU between the RTX 2060 to the RTX 2080 Super locally. This ultra premium range starts at $3,499 so it’s really only for those with the heaviest workstation requirements.
Unfortunately this unit doesn’t perform quite as well as it should, lining up with Apple’s Core i9 MacBook Pro 16 on Cinebench R20 benchmarks and scoring 15 percent lower than the hexa-core+ average in the roundup on PCMark 8 benchmarks.
It’s also a little more expensive than it needs to be considering the $5,699 unit we tested only offered 512GB of storage space, but at least some of this is going to be down to the OLED display.
The Aero 15 OLED also has a decent 94Wh battery that lasts 4 hours and 41 minutes in PCMark 8 benchmarks and 6 hours and 10 minutes in 1080p movie playback, even with the extremely powerful components and 4K display.
Graphically this machine is really solid with the 2080 Super landing in between the similarly speed MSI GS66 and the Razer Blade 15. The unit manages to come in at under 2cm thick and weighs less than 2kg, so gone are the days when power translated to a lack of portability.
Summary: A powerhouse ultrabook with an amazing screen and long lifespan that’s pricey and a bit light on storage.
8. HP Spectre X360
The Spectre x360 is HP’s long standing ultrabook convertible, pitched at professionals who want all the pro-perks in a 13-inch foldable form factor. The convertible features a new 13.3-inch 4KAMOLED touchscreen that can produce deeper blacks and a much more vibrant picture.
The Spectre X360’s OLED panel looks amazing during media playback and the screen has a Delta E colour variation of less than two, so you’ll be able to use the included AdobeRGB and DCI-P3 color profiles for HDR colour work on the go.
The Spectre x360 comes with either an Intel Core i5-1035G4 or an Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU that range in price from $1,497 to $3,799. While the former is generally paired with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, the i7 features either 8GB or 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage, depending on the retailer you’re shopping at.
The Core i5 Spectre x360s is limited to a Full HD 400nit IPS panel, while the Core i7 models can choose between 1080p or 4KOLED displays. The i7 models also come with an additional 32GB of Intel Optane Memory which is designed to speed up overall system responsiveness by adding a cache of fast short-term memory to the systems that need it.
Battery life is a little underwhelming at four hours and 40 minutes in 1080p movie playback, so you’ll need to take your charger for a full day of work.
Summary: A sleek 13-inch OLED touchscreen convertible with a solid processor, business perks and a slightly undercooked battery lifespan.
9. Huawei Matebook X Pro
Not many vendors are able to hit a home run on the first swing in a new region, but Huawei’s first 2018 Matebook Pro got very close, so we had high expectations from the 2020 update. The new MateBook X Pro again borrows its general aesthetic and naming style from Apple, but it offers some unique features and a low enough price, for it to seem nit-picky to focus too much on this.
The 2020 MateBook X Pro has a 13.9-inch 3000 x 2000 pixel resolution display and the same 91 percent screen to body ratio as its predecessor, but instead of offering two configurations, there’s just the one more powerful offering this time around.
This is made up of an Intel Core i7-10510U quad-core CPU, 16GB of RAM and Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU, which is a great configuration for a professional work machine. CPU performance was generally between 10%and 20% below the average of the quad-core performance on multi-threaded and general work tasks and the GPU was at most 20 percent better with the discrete GPU being entirely pointless at times.
This disappointing performance is compounded by the new device’s price hike, which makes it far less competitive than the 2018 offering. While 1080p media playback battery life is 10 hours and 37 minutes, PC Mark 8 battery life is just three hours and nine minutes, so your mileage will vary depending on how heavy your workload is. While this isn’t a complete fall from grace, this device has made enough critical missteps to mean that it is no longer a contender for the best laptop crown.
Summary: Sub-par performance and a price hike mean that this decent device isn’t looking like a segment leader anymore.
10. Lenovo Yoga C940 2 In 1 Laptop
Lenovo’s flagship Yoga 2 in 1 has long been at the top of our favorite 2-in-ls list and the C940 looks like it’ll be tough to beat again this year. While the 14-inch 4K model with aVesa400 HDR certification was originally being sold at Bine Lee for $2,999, this model seems to only be available directly from Lenovo for $3,699 now, which is a little disappointing.
Nevertheless, the Yoga C940 is sporting one of Intel’s latest 10th generation lOnm Ice Lake CPUs that brings Wi-Fi 6, better Al processing and a new GPU to the range. The Yoga C940 was between five and 21% better than the YogaC930 in all our CPU and general performance benchmarks, averaging out to around 10% across most tasks. If we put the Yoga C940 against the Surface Pro 7 with the same i7 CPU and 16GB of RAM the two largely perform at a similar level.
One thing that was worth noting is that the Yoga runshot, with the optimised CPU regularly hitting 100-degrees. We would usually say that pushing a CPU this hard would reduce the battery lifespan, but the C940 seems to have compensated by including a generous 57Wh battery that lasts more than 6 hours in PCMark 8 and 8 hours and 35 minutes during 1080p movie playback.
The C940 has returned with the Yoga’s clever Dolby Atmos speaker hinge, a decent keyboard, fingerprint reader, a physical webcam shutter and a rear mounted stylus, so there’s lots of perks here.
Summary: The flagship Yoga 2-in-l gets a performance bump, better battery life and some novel Al-powered features.
11. Microsoft Surface Book 3
This device really blurs the line between a tablet and a graphically competent professional workstation. Much like the Surface Pro line, Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 takes a lot of elements from its predecessor and updates the core components for a service that’s even closer to being the ‘desktop replacement tablet’ the company pitches it as.
The unit returns with either a 13.5-inch or a 15-inch 3:2 PixelSense display at 3000 x 2000 or 3240 x 2160 pixel resolutions, respectively. The smaller size can be configured with either an Intel Core i5-1035G7 or an i7-1065G7 CPU; and a choice of 8,16 or 32 GB of RAM and costs between $2,649 and $4,499.
The 15-incher on the other hand only comes as an i7, with either 16GB or 32GB of RAM and ranges between $3,699 and $4,759. If you opt for the more powerful processor it comes with Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU on the 13.5-inch and a GTX 1660Ti on the bigger model and the accompanying 256G, 512GB or 1TB PCIe SSD storage is pegged to variations in other components, which means you need to pay for more power if you want more storage.
The most powerful 15-inch model performed within about 10% either way of the average laptop in the roundup (excluding the fully gaming capable powerhouses here), and performed more than four times better than devices relying on integrated graphics. This is enough for reasonable 1080p gaming and decent graphical workloads.
Battery life was solid at six hours and 37 minutes in PCMark 8, which means you’ll easily get a full day’s work out of it (unless you’re leaning heavily on the GPU)
Summary: A tablet that’s at least as powerful as the best professional ultrabooks and is even a competent gamer and graphics worker.
12. Microsoft Surface Pro 7
Microsoft continues to add minor refinements to this finely chiseled tablet-laptop. The only real difference between the confusingly named (5th Gen) Surface Pro, its successor the Surface Pro6, and the latest Surface Pro7, is the CPU. All are available in the same four, eight and 16GB RAM configurations and identical 128GB to 1TB storage options. It also uses the same 12.3-inch, 3×2 PixelSense display at the same 2,736 by 1,824 resolution as its two most recent predecessors and even fits into the same 29 x 20 x 0.9cm chassis and weighs an almost identical 790g.
The Surface Pro 7’s CPU has been updated to one of Intel’s latest 10th Gen processors and regardless of whether you get the Core i3-1005Gl, the Core i5- 1035G4 or the Core i7- 1065G7, you will have access to the new faster Wi-Fi 6 networking specification. Microsoft has finally swapped out the Mini DisplayPort for a USB 3.1 Type-C interface, alongside its existing USB 3.1 Type-A port.
In R15 multi-threaded CPU benchmarks, the Core i7 Surface Pro 7 was 31.5 percent better than the Surface Pro 6 and 87.6 percent faster than the Surface Pro (5) and it scored higher than any other quad core CPU in this roundup.
The Intel Iris Plus Graphics won’t be capable of anything more than light games and graphical workloads, but it roughly doubles the graphical performance of its predecessor. The 46Wh battery gets close to six hours in PCMark 8 Battery Life benchmarks, equating to more than a working day’s battery life.
Summary: A decent update that improves on power and efficiency in an ultra-compact and portable tablet 2-in-1, for robotic programming.
13. MSI GS66 Stealth Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop
MSI’s website only list the GS66 Stealth’s Intel Core i9-10980HK models, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that that is the only CPU this device ships with, but the more common variation sold in Australia actually comes with a Core i7-10750H CPU, the same one that’s in most of the laptops here.
The most affordable variation we could find was an i7,16GB, RTX 2060 with a 240Hz 1080p panel and 512GB SSD for $3,498 (which was on sale for $2798.40 at the time of writing). If you do want the wildly powerful Corei9-10980HK CPU with 32GB of RAM, an RTX 2080 GPU, 1TB of storage and a 4Kscreen, you’re looking at a hefty $6,999.
In terms of raw performance only the AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS on the Zephyrus G14 and the MacBook Pro 16’s Intel Core i9-9880H got close on cross-platform benchmarks. MSI’s GS66 was actually outperformed by the Zephyrus G14 on Cinebench multi-threaded CPU tests and was almost matched by it in media encoding, but it took the lead in other general benchmarks.
Graphically this laptop benefited from additional RAM and CPU so it beat the only other device in the roundup with a 2080 Super in 3DMark.
At 2cm thick and 2.1kg, the GS66 is one of the largest devices in the roundup, but considering the power you are carrying it’s still perfectly portable. We wouldn’t choose a 1080p screen on a $7K laptop, and you can easily swap out the 300Hz display for a 4K panel, but for professional gamers this isn’t really an option.
Summary: A supremely powerful portable workstation that is also capable of commanding games, for a price.
14. MSI Prestige 14 UHD Ultra Thin and Light Professional Laptop
MSI’s got a new Prestige 14 and it looks as slick as anything we’ve seen in the professional laptop space. Inside this Pure White, Rose Pink or Carbon Gray ultrabook is a 10th- generation Intel Corei7-10710U CPU, 16GB or RAM and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX1660 GPU- which is plenty of grunt for a day-to-day laptop for most professionals.
While you’d expect this hexa-core chip to be performing alongside the punchier laptops in the roundup, it’s actually much closer to the quad-core CPUs in terms of both raw CPU performance and general work capabilities. This is in part because it uses efficient cores with a base frequency of1.1GHz, but MSI decided to use this advantage to jettison battery capacity.
As a result the installed 52.4Wh battery only manages to chug along for two hours and 37 minutes in PCMark 8’s Battery benchmark and just 3 hours and 5 minutes in 1080p battery lifespan.
This makes it the worst performer of the whole roundup in terms of on-the-go productivity. We ran a configuration with Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU, which is just enough for light 1080p gaming and decent graphical work, but you can configure this unit with a GeForce MX330 (about the same as a GTX 1050 Max-Q) for graphical performance that’s just a bit better than the latest integrated GPUs.
This model also came with a 4K HDR screen that offers 100%Adobe RGB colour reproduction and professional-level color accuracy (Delta E is less than 2) for $2,829, but you can get a 1080p IPS version for less.
Summary: A neat looking ultrabook with decent performance and a short battery life.
15. Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook Laptop
A powerful compact ultraportable that has some new screen tech to show off. Razer’s compact Blade Stealth 13 is one of the few smaller laptops in the roundup to get a dedicated gaming GPU. Pair this Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti with the efficient Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor and 16GB of RAM and you have a very powerful work ultrabook that’ll be capable of solid workloads and decent 1080p gaming.
The Blade Stealth 13 matches these internals with your choice of a 13.3-inch 120Hz display (a world first according to Razer marketing materials) or a 4Ktouchscreen option. Normally we would advise a higher resolution screen on a work machine, but a 13.3-inch display is too small for it to be essential.
On the 120Hz 1080p model it’s not critical either, since you’re unlikely to get much over 60fps on low1080p settings in modern games, unless you’re playing indies or less demanding titles. That said, both are welcome bonuses in your work machine.
While 1.5kg isn’t the lightest offering in the roundup, the Blade Stealth 13 is as thin as any clamshell you can get your hands on at 1.5cm and its footprint is as compact as the 13 and 14-inch offerings here.
Battery life wasn’t particularly impressive with the 53Wh lithium ion pack getting just 3 hours and 40 minutes in PCMark 8 and a little over five hours in 1080p movie playback. This is great against gaming laptops, but was one of the poorest performers in this roundup. So you’ll have to plan to take your charger with you.
Summary: A powerful little laptop with impressive visuals that is a little shy on battery, but not on price.
16. Razer Blade 15″ Advanced (2020)
Razer’s Blade 15 is often seen as the MacBook of gaming laptops, but while the 2020 Blade 15 Advanced looks really nice against gaming laptops, it doesn’t really stand out in a lineup of professional ultrabooks. What it does offer however is a lot more performance.
The Blade 15 Base and Advanced models are basically split by processor with the former bagging Intel’s 2.6-5GHz hexa-core Core i7-10750H and the latter scooping up the 2.3-5.1GHz, octa-core Core i7-10875H. In addition the Advanced model also gets a 300Hz or 4K OLED screen and a Nvidia RTX 2070 Super or 2080 Super GPU and starts at $5,299.
The Blade 15 Advanced pretty convincingly beats all of the quad-core laptops in the roundup, but it actually under performed against the supposedly less expensive hexa-core i7-10750H on Dell’s XPS 15 in raw CPU and media encoding tasks. Fortunately it made up for this by being between 12 and 45 percent better on PCMark general work benchmarks.
The onboard Nvidia RTX 2080 Super meant that it was the second highest performer in the round up graphically, but even with all this power the device managed to last 3.48 hours in PCMark 8’s Home Battery test and 6.5 hours in 1080p movie playback. This means you should be able to get a full working day’s battery life from the unit in light workloads if you tweak the power settings. The 4K panel also offers a DCI-P3 color gamut for anyone needing to do professional video editing.
Summary: One of the longer lasting powerhouse ultrabooks capable of heavy graphical loads and precise colour reproduction.
While AMD’s propensity to add more cores to a processor to get more processing power isn’t always the best solution for gaming (which often can’t utilise multiple threads anyway) however, this approach seems to be working exceptionally well when it comes to the benefits a professional user might want.
The only unit we gave full marks to in this roundup was the Asus ROG Zephyrus and the main component in making it such a standout performer was the AMD processor it was running. The ROG Zephyrus G14 with a Ryzen 9 4900HS costs $2,799, but it performs as well as something running an Intel Core i9-10980HK, which we can’t really find in any configuration locally for under about $5K. This means it’s a pretty amazing bargain for those needing a proper workstation processor on the go.
In addition to this excellent price, the Ryzen 9 4900HS also offers some amazing efficiency, lasting for eight hours and 24 minutes in 1080p movie playback, which is more than double the lifespan of some of the more powerful units here. Then throw in an entry-level gaming GPU and a1.6kg total weight and this device is a truly remarkable configuration from Asus, and we imagine it’ll sell pretty quickly (even though it doesn’t have a webcam).
Apple back on track
There were quite a few devices that came out ahead of the main pack, each of which had their own distinct qualities. For Apple the MacBook Pro 16 seems like a shift in design choices that returns to a focus on customer feedback. Whether it’s little things like fixing the butterfly keyboard reliability by returning to a Magic Keyboard style, or continuing to enhance the colour reproduction of its displays, the MacBook Pro 16 is a signal that Apple is still keen to be a leader in laptop design again. What mainly elevated it this time was price, which seems reasonable in the premium space, and battery life, which is generous considering how powerful this configuration is.
“The only unit we gave full marks to in this roundup was the Asus ROG Zephyrus and the main component in making it such a standout performer was the AMD processor it was running.”
Asus manages to get another mention for its ExpertBook, which is not the most powerful rig here by a long shot, but it’s a laptop that makes a lot of clever design decisions with the processor it got. Bolstering the battery on this lightweight laptop means it had to come up with a new kind of magnesium alloy in order to keep it at the desired weight, but it managed to stick the landing to make a uniquely powerful and long lasting clamshell for professionals that like to travel light.
Then there’s Microsoft, which hasn’t changed much about the overall design of the range, but this consistency allows it to really focus on improving the balance of each device year on year. When you consider that this is the seventh iteration of the Surface Pro, it kind of makes sense that Microsoft is able to make tablets that are actually more powerful than many laptops, and from an engineering perspective that is an extraordinary achievement. There is a price premium for the tablets, but it’s very small these days, and if you want a tablet and a laptop then the Surface range is an awesome choice.