You need the best Windows 11-ready laptops to experience the Microsoft’s latest OS, we’ve cheapest suggestion for you.
The latest model of Dell’s XPS 13 has an 11th Gen Intel Tiger Lake processor, making it one our top picks for laptops for Windows 11.
Windows 11 is coming to all types of computers, but there’s some important things you need for the upgrade. A 8th Gen Intel CPU (with some 7th gen chips now included), 4GBs RAM and 64 gigs storage space will set your laptop up with enough power so that it can run smoothly in Windows 11 or if wanted later down the line when updates come out adding new features onto old ones! You’ll also want 9-inch display having HD resolution along side UEFI compatibility which ensures safe booting during startup as well as TPM 2.
Microsoft itself has recommended some laptops for Windows 11 and we’re going to take a look at them now.
Microsoft has a list of laptops that are officially supported by them. These include the Dell XPS 13, HP Spectre x360 and many more!
List of Best Laptops With Windows 11
- Acer Travelmate P4 Thin & Light Business Laptop (Cheapest Windows 11 Laptop)
- ASUS ExpertBook B1 Business Laptop (Best Asus Windows 11 Laptop)
- Dell XPS 13 9310 2-in-1 (Best Windows 11 Gaming Laptop)
- HP Envy 14 Touchscreen Laptop (Best Budget Windows 11 Laptop)
- HP Pavilion 14″ FHD Premium Laptop (Best HP Windows 11 Laptop)
- MSI GL66 Gaming Laptop (Best MSI Windows 11 Laptop)
- Acer Aspire 5 (Best Windows 11 Laptop with Backlit Keyboard)
- ASUS TUF Dash F15 Gaming & Entertainment Laptop
- HP EliteBook 840 G8 Business Laptop
1. Acer Travelmate P4 Thin & Light Business Laptop (Cheapest Windows 11 Laptop)
If we were forced to summaries the Acer TravelMate P4 P414-51 in one word, it would be “solid”. This isn’t a laptop that will bring an RECOMMENDED ABOVE Solid stuff: the TravelMate P4 exudes reassuring sturdiness LEFT The1.4kg weight and compact foot print make it easy to carry admiring glance from passers-by, nor one that will ever sit at the top of the performance charts, but if you’re after a business laptop for an aggressive price then it deserves to be at the top of your shortlist.
In part that’s due to the solidity of the laptop. Other machines at this price often feel thrown together, but the TravelMateP4 exudes reassuring sturdiness. That’s despite the fact only the lid is made from metal, with the rest of the chassis fashioned from rigid plastic, and its dark blue livery gives it a professional look. Windows 11 Pro comes as part of the package – we were offered an upgrade to Windows 11 Pro within a week of use – and our only criticism is that Acer doesn’t upgrade its warranty to two years as standard.
There are some handy security features built in, too, with support for Windows Hello via the 1R webcam and the fingerprint reader embedded into the power button. The former works seamlessly, but with the power button awkwardly placed on the right edge of the chassis, this proved more of a faff in practice. Acer also provides a Smart Card reader on the front edge, with a microSD card reader on the right, but it’s the left-hand side that holds most of the physical ports: two USB-A, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and a solitary USB-C port. The latter supports Thunderbolt 4, with both Type-A connectors supporting USB 3.2 Gen 2 for fast 10Gbits/sec transfer speeds.
Acer supplies a 65W DC power brick, but you can charge this laptop via the USB-C port as well. A 55WI1 battery isn’t the largest, but you can still expect around nine hours of life from a charge – yet another solid result. This means you should get away with taking TravelMate into town without bunging the charger into your bag, and with a 1.4kg weight and compact footprint this laptop lives up to its name.
It’s also a solid performer, with our unit – identified by its part number NX.VPCEK.001 – powered by a Core i5-1135G7. Other laptop manufacturers squeeze more out of this chip than Acer, where it’s soundly beaten by the Asus ExpertBook and Dell XPS 13 2-in-i in most tests. But for general office tasks we doubt you’d notice any difference between the machines. You can also add to the 8GB of RAM (as well as replace the SSD and, more trickily, the battery) by removing the dozen crosshead screws that secure the base; we recommend an electric screwdriver, as three of those 12 were devils to remove.
Aside from this, the laptop is a pleasure to use. With the fan rarely brought to bear, it’s a largely silent machine and, so long as you don’t bash it, the keyboard is similarly quiet. There isn’t much travel or feel to the keys, but Acer covers the basics by including a (very bright) backlight and, for the most part, a sensible layout. The Enter key is huge, even if it’s annoying to have the PgUp and Pg Dn immediately above the cursor keys. Acer would have been wise to include a larger trackpad to more easily accommodate gestures, but it works fine.
Considering this laptop’s price, we can’t complain about the screen, either. It covers 56% of the sRGB gamut and a mere 41% of DCI-P3, but whites are clean, it hit a satisfactory peak brightness of 306cd/m- and its 1,558:1 contrast ratio is exceptional. It’s best not to linger on its color accuracy scores – an average Delta E of 4.73 is poor – but this isn’t a laptop that will be used by videographers, photographers grading their work. Or at least, we hope not.
The speakers are dear if not exactly rich; good enough for watching the occasional film, speech radio and video calls. Acer annoyingly provides a mediocre 72op webcam, but the biggest hurdle to our calls was the low volume of the microphone. Also note that we had to switch off the audio enhancements in the speakers’ properties to play video recordings (and stream Netflix).
It’s these niggles, and the average screen, that stop the TravelMate P4 from earning five stars. However, we’d still recommend this Core is version for business buyers on a budget. It isn’t the perfect system, but it is superb value.
2. ASUS ExpertBook B1 Business Laptop (Best Asus Windows 11 Laptop)
This is a fine choice for smaller companies that seek bigger screens, especially if money is tight.
As the saying used to go, an IT manager was never going to be fired for buying IBM. Today, in the world of laptops at least, that might equally be said of Dell, Dynabook (formerly Toshiba), UP and Lenovo, but as this Labs demonstrates both Acer and Asus now have compelling business offerings that deserve your attention.
In the case of the ExpertBook B1 series, its big appeal is value for money. Asus is offering a well-balanced specification in a well-built chassis with a well rounded supporting cast of security, screen and expansion offerings. At the risk of over-egging our point, it’s great for the money.
The same could be said of the Acer TravelMate P4 opposite, but the ExpertBook targets a different type of user: one who’s looking for a lightweight desktop replacement rather than a commuting machine. At 1.7kg you will notice it in a briefcase, and the chassis is wide at 358mm. However, it’s also slim, and the fact it can be charged over USB-C as well as via the supplied (and relatively compact) DC power supply compensates for a lowly battery life of around six hours in our light-usage tests. Let’s not gloss over those results: we hoped for eight hours, and the HP EliteBook whips it here with almost twice the battery life. As we say, this Asus is not designed for the daily commute.
All three business-focused laptops proved much closer in our speed tests, which shouldn’t be a surprise as they all use Intel’s Core 15-113567 processor. The HP’s 16GB of RAM proved little advantage in our benchmarks, which reinforces our belief that there’s little point in adding to the 8GB that Acer and Asus choose to accompany the mid-range CPU. These are machines designed for lightweight office tasks, not to tear through tough jobs that require as many cores as you can throw at them.
Still, there is room for expansion should you feel the need. Ten easy-to-remove crosshead screws are all that stand in your way; you then use a plastic slider to dislodge the ExpertBook’s base and you’re inside, where you’ll find a single empty SOD IM M socket (the supplied RAM is soldered on) and an occupied M.2 slot. There’s also an empty 2.5m bay, making it simplicity itself to expand upon the supplied 256GB. You can also replace the battery, but that’s more of a hassle.
Considering the aggressive price, we’re happy with Asus’ choice of screen. A peak brightness of 3o6cd/in2 is fine for office use, and while 56% coverage of the sRGB gamut means it looks drab compared next to the best laptops (and an average Delta E of 4.54 certainly rules it out for anyone seeking color accuracy), It’s pleasant to look at. Generous viewing angles and a 6614K temperature – close to the perfect-whites target of 6500K -both help on that front.
Then we come to the keyboard, which would be at home on a laptop costing twice as much. The keys are well separated and easy to hit, with a quiet action that won’t wear on you. Asus also separates out the cursor keys and finds room for a slim numberpad to the right. The trackpad could be larger, but that’s our only complaint. It also helps that the speedy and effective fingerprint reader doubles as the power button.
Another nice touch is the privacy slider integrated into the 720P webcam. Sadly this is the highlight of the webcam, which suffers from a slight lag and mushy detail, though it captures audio well. The camera isn’t compatible with Windows 11 Hello, so there’s no facial recognition to log you into Windows 11.
We were pleased to see an upgrade to Windows 11 was offered when we booted up the ExpertBook, and that Asus includes Pro rather than Home; it could have skimped on this at such a low price. It all adds up to the feeling that, webcam aside, you’re getting far more than you have any right to expect for the price. While the chassis is made from plastic rather than metal (other than the lid), it looks the part of an executive’s machine, too.
As with Acer and its TravelMate P4, the Asus ExpertBook proves there are business bargains to be had if you’re willing to look outside the usual corporate suspects. You won’t be fired for buying one.
3. Dell XPS 13 9310 2-in-1 (Best Windows 11 Gaming Laptop)
Quality bursts from this gorgeous convertible, and it’s easy to negotiate a chunk off the list price.
its name makes clear, this isn’t a run-of-the-mill laptop: it’s a 2in1 convertible, capable of transforming from laptop to tablet with one smooth swing of the hinge. As with every aspect of the XPS 13’s engineering, it does so with grace and finesse; you can only compare Dell’s 2-in-i to the GeoFlex 340 in the same way that you can describe both Liverpool FC and Accrington Stanley as football teams.
The bigger question is whether a convertible design makes sense for you over the non-convertible XPS 13 or a rival such as the HP Pavilion 14. It certainly opens up your options. For instance, flip this lap lop into tent mode and it becomes a superb mini TV. Or perhaps you need to read and sign a PDF. Here, tablet mode makes most sense.
Then there’s the traditional laptop format, where the keyboard comes to the fore. Dell stretches the keys across almost the full width of the chassis, ensuring they’re large and easy to hit. To add some extra class, a two-level backlight shines through the keys rather than around them, and the glass-coated trackpad is super smooth. There is little travel to the action, however, which is one area where the standard XPS 13 is superior.
Dell integrates an effective fingerprint printer into the power button, just above the Backspace key, but you’ll probably use the infrared webcam more frequently. Again, this works excellently, but we were less impressed by the quality of the webcam itself: noise-heavy images fail to bring out any detail.
We have fewer criticisms of the 13.4m screen, which offers 120 more vertical pixels than standard 1,920 x 1,080 panels to produce a 16:10 aspect ratio rather than 16:9. This also makes the panel a fraction sharper.
The screen holds a couple of potential irritations. The first is its glossy finish, although anti-glare technology reduces reflections of overhead lights. The second is that it isn’t a perfect 6500K color temperature; we measured 6365K, which lent whites a subtle warm hue. Other than this, it’s a tough display to criticise, it covers 96% of the sRGB gamut with an average Delta E of 0.57 (less than one is basically perfect), with a peak brightness of S64cd/m2 and a superb contrast ratio of 1,825:1. Even though it isn’t tuned to the DCI-P3 space favored by Netflix and its ilk, covering 70% of that color gamut, we enjoyed watching films on it. It helps that the speakers are among the best you’ll find on a laptop.
What truly impresses, however, is the balance between power and longevity. Despite the aluminium alloy chassis measuring just 14.4mm, minimising opportunities for cooling, Dell makes good use of Intel’s Core i5-1135G7 processor in both standard tasks and gaming, and for students as well. This laptop was one of the best performers in all our gaming tests, with a so fps average in Metro: Last Light at io8op. That’s a superb result for a laptop with integrated graphics.
Then consider its results in our battery life tests, where it kept going for around 11 hours in our office and video playback scenarios. At 1.3kg, it’s a brilliant choice for people on the move. The sole sacrifice you make is physical connectivity, with one USB-C port on either side (both output to monitors and support power delivery) along with a 3.5mm jack and microSD card. The lack of a USB-A port is potentially irritating, despite Dell providing a USB-C to USB-A travel adapter.
Note that the memory and SSD are both integrated onto the system board, so there’s no way to upgrade yourself If you want a 512GB SSD then your only option is to double the RAM to 16GB, upgrade to a Core 17 and switch to a 3,840 x 2,400 display.
4. HP Envy 14 Touchscreen Laptop (Best Budget Windows 11 Laptop)
Equally at home playing games and films as it is tackling a day’s work, this is a top-quality offering.
The HP Envy range has been a regular on the List, often offering amazing quality for the money. With a starting price the latest iteration of the Envy 14 range falls short of that description, but if you’re after a powerful machine with luxury trimmings, then read on.
Let’s start with the power on offer. Our test system included a Core i7-1165G7 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and discrete GeForce GTX1650 Ti graphics. As such, it’s no surprise to see it near the top of every speed-test graph. If you’re after firepower, this is a superb choice.
It even qualifies as a gaming laptop of sorts thanks to that GeForce chip, which is based on Nvidia’s older GTX technology (so not RTX with its raytracing abilities) and meant the Envy actually beat the AsusTUF Dash in Dirt; Showdoum at 1080p. Admittedly, the newer and more technically demanding Metro: Exodus put the Envy back in its box, scoring 31fps at 1080p compared to 73fps for the Asus.
If gaming isn’t so important to you, then you should consider buying that cheaper version of the Envy 14. This still includes a Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, but drops the storage to 512GB and relies on Intel’s integrated iris Xe graphics. As can be seen from the other laptops here that use Intel’s accelerator, it still offers enough grunt for playable rates in many games.
What’s most impressive about the Envy 14 is that it offers all this power without sacrificing portability. Sure, it isn’t the sleekest or lightest laptop here – it’s 17.9mm thick and weighs 1.6kg – but a typical battery life of almost ten hours shows that you won’t be searching for a plug socket all day. If you want a quick top-up, then throw the chunky 135W charger into your bag, which promises 50% capacity in half an hour, but you can charge via the USB-C port on the left side of the chassis at a push.
It would have been nice to have more than one such port, but it’s a flexible beast as it can also be used for outputting to a monitor. Alternatively, you can use the HDMI port that sits beside it. HP splits the pair of USB-A ports on either side of the chassis with a3.5mm jack and microSD card slot on the right. Not a bad haul. We’re even bigger fans of the keyboard, which is arguably the best of this Labs. The keys have a cushioned, quiet action, and when coupled with the excellent layout (let’s not quibble over the single-height Enter key), this is a laptop we would be delighted to use if forced to write a 100,000-word novel on it. We would add a mouse, though, as the trackpad’s clicking action feels comparatively cheap.
The screen doesn’t quite reach the heights of the keyboard, in part because of the glossy finish and visible overhead lights, but it’s still one of the best on test. Whites look white, and it covers 97% of the sRGB gamut with an average Delta E of 0.51; both commendable figures.
This all means that movies look great, and we have more good news if you’re looking for a laptop to entertain you: the speakers are excellent. They’re downward-firing from the sides, which means they work best when you place the Envy on a hard surface rather than resting on your lap, but it’s worth the effort -and likewise for music, with this laptop one of the few that’s capable of handling delicate classical tunes along with bass-heavy tracks.
Audio is sadly the star of this laptop’s webcam show as well, with the usual compressed mushy video to contend with. HP has committed to improving this aspect of its laptops in future releases, and in truth it’s no worse than any other here. It doesn’t support Windows Hello for facial recognition sign-in (surprising at this price), but the large fingerprint reader to the left of the cursor keys is a capable substitute.
We like the HP Envy 14 and it came close to winning an award. Standing in its way are a trio of factors: the high price, its girth and strong competition. Including HP’s own Pavilion 14 opposite. We also note that, like all the laptops with discrete graphics, Windows 11 hadn’t landed by the end of our tests. Nevertheless, this is a top-quality laptop packed with powerful components. If you’re looking for a machine to keep entertaining you for years to come, it’s a sound investment.
5. HP Pavilion 14″ FHD Premium Laptop (Best HP Windows 11 Laptop)
This stylish laptop has some shortcomings, but we can’t argue about the quality on offer for the price.
In the HP hierarchy of consumer laptops, the Pavilion range sits one step up from the bottom rung: it goes Essentials, Pavilion, Envy and then Spectre at the top. This means you miss out on some luxuries found on the Envy 14 opposite, but it looks and feels like a much more expensive laptop than its price suggests.
Finished in attractive silver, an aluminium alloy lid and keyboard deck both add to the premium aroma. Put it side by side with Acer’s budget offerings and there’s only one winner for style.
It’s a compact system as well. Measuring 17mm high and with a 1.4kg weight, it takes up little room in a travel bag. More expensive laptops beat it comfortably for screen-to-body ratio, but the side bezels only consume 7mm ABOVE The compact Pavilion 14 will take up little room in a bag LEFT The aluminium alloy lid gives the laptop a premium feels below the Full HD screen is as we’d so are barely noticeable in use. There would have been plenty of space in the centimetre-tall top bezel for a Windows Hello-compatible infrared camera, but HP saves such nice-to- haves for its more expensive laptops.
It would have been nice to have a better webcam full stop, but this 72op unit sits in the middle of the pile in terms of quality. We don’t think anyone will complain about the image on a Zoom call – they definitely won’t complain about the clearly captured audio – but we hoped for more detail and less visual noise.
The 14in Full HD panel is exactly what we’d expect for a competitively priced laptop such as this. Put it next to the HP Envy 14 and it looks drab, which is due reflection of its color coverage: 57% of the sRGB gamut compared to 97% for the Envy. And its color accuracy is far worse, with an average Delta E of 4.49 to its posher sibling’s 0.5. Nor do whites look quite so while. Still, a far fairer comparison is with similarly priced laptops, and in this company it’s difficult to criticize. Especially when you consider that it’s a touchscreen, which often comes in useful.
The Pavilion’s keyboard wouldn’t be out of place in a far more expensive machine, with highlights that include clearly separated cursor keys and dedicated buttons for Home, Pg Up, Pg Dn and End. We could be picky and call out the single height Enter key, but in practice this didn’t prove an issue to hit.
And if we were being really picky then we’d say there isn’t much travel on the keys themselves, and note the lack of a backlight, but we are far too polite to make such remarks. And even if we did, we would quickly move on to praise the sizeable trackpad that was tailor-made for gestures.
One of the many laptops here that include Intel’s Core i5-1135G7 processor, the Pavilion 14 comes in third fastest across all our tests. The Dell XPS 13 and HP EliteBook 840 both ramp up the speeds with a higher wattage, pulling them away from competitors, but we suspect that HP believes this machine is built for modest tasks.
A score of 122 in the benchmarks indicates there’s years of life in this laptop, and Intel’s iris Xe graphics give it enough 3D acceleration to cope with undemanding games such as Minecraft at 1080p, and 3D Modelling. For Fort nite, think 720P at lower settings if you want to get above 30fps.
There’s potential to upgrade the 8GB of RAM, which is supplied as two 4GB DIMMs, but doing so involves removing the two long strips of rubber feet that provide a grip. We didn’t succumb to temptation on this occasion, but HP provides a detailed maintenance and service guide that walks repairers through the steps required. It’s easy enough to replace the battery, SSD, memory and Wi-Fi module, but we’d leave the fingerprint reader and display to the professionals.
This still leaves upgrade paths for anyone with a screwdriver set, and if this machine is still going after a few years you may well decide it’s time to move from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6, for example. Or upgrade the 256GB SSD to a larger device; it’s a fast reader, at 2,033MB/sec for sequential reads, but 672MB/sec for writes is slow compared to the other systems here.
Taken as a package, and one that costs a remarkably keen, this is the stand-out offering for anyone with around under $1000 to spend. And if your budget is closer to under $700, then seriously consider the Core 13 version over the faster but less sophisticated Acer Swift 3.
6. MSI GL66 Gaming Laptop (Best MSI Windows 11 Laptop)
A superb choice for gamer hunting for a sub-$1,000 machine, with sacrifices made in the right places.
The MSI Pulse GL66 is one of two gaming laptops submitted to this Labs, and it edges ahead of the Asus TUF Dash F15 not merely due to price but also because it’s faster overall. Indeed, the gaming test graphs suggest that the MSI laptop includes a faster graphics card, but in truth its chart-topping results in Dirt: Showdown and Metro: Last Light reflect that these games are limited by the CPU at 1080p.
It would be fairer to compare the two in more demanding games, where the positions were reversed. For instance, in Metro: Exodus the Pulse averaged 52fps while the Asus returned 73fps (at 1080p. High settings). The gap was narrower in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, with scores of 8ofps and 88fps respectively. And note that 3DMark Time Spy showed the greater skills of the Asus laptop’s with GeForce RTX 3070 Mobile chip compared to the 3050 Ti Mobile in the MST, with a score of 7,279 versus 5,693.
What pushed the MSI to the top of the table elsewhere is its stunning Core i7-11800H processor, as this includes eight cores to the four inside the Asus, It’s an astonishing inclusion for the price, and means the Pulse has much to offer creative professionals as well as keen gamers.
One limitation of the Pulse GL66 with a 3050 Ti inside is that it includes one M.2 slot rather than the two found in more expensive variants of the brand. You can replace the 512GB SSD, but you’ll need to break the factory seal. We think that’s a mis-step, especially when MSI is generous enough to include a two-year warranty.
At least it’s only crosshead screws that then stand in your way, with the plastic bottom prising off with relative ease to reveal two SOD1MM sockets – both full – and a replaceable 52WI1 battery.
The combination of such a small battery and such a powerful processor was never going to be a recipe for great battery life, and with fans that kick in under even moderate duress, the Pulse came bottom in all three of our battery tests: a life of less than three hours in light use is the worst here by a distance. Then again, this chunky machine is designed for life on a table rather than the road, with a 2.1kg weight and inch-thick chassis.
Talk of mid -table brings us to the Pulse’s results in our screen tests, where it sits in the median position in every single one of our results: peak brightness (341cd.M2), sRGB gamut coverage (85%) and average Delta E (1.41)- AU three scores are highly respectable, and when you consider its 144Hz refresh rate we can find nothing to criticise for the price.
If we were paying a few hundred dollars more then we might ask fora higher resolution than 1,920 x 1,080 – there’s some fuzz to text, and viewing angles aren’t the best of this group – but overall it’s a great inclusion for the money.
There are a couple of game-friendly features too, including a crosshair (press the Function key plus down cursor) and a small but perfectly formed number pad to the right of the main keyboard, the keys are backlit – useful in the darkened rooms many gamers prefer – and well proportioned, with a gentle, quiet action. It’s odd to position the Fn key right next to the cursors, and the single-height Enter key is smaller than ideal, but both quirks are easy to adjust to.
Likewise we can live with the compact trackpad, not least because you can plug a wired mouse into either side. Two USB-A ports sit on the left, along with a DC input, with the right home to a third USB-A port, the solitary USB-C port, a 3.5mm jack, HDMI port and Ethernet port. With 150W required it’s no surprise that the USB-C port can’t be used to power the laptop – you’ll need to carry the 488g power brick – but note if can’t output to a monitor either.
Unlike Asus, MSI finds room for a webcam. It’s nothing special in terms of sharpness, but we’d be happy to use it for video calls thanks to its natural colors. The final dollop of luxury cream comes in the form of a creditable pair of speakers that didn’t massacre our audio-testing playlist. Bass lacks depth, but that’s its only obvious weakness.
All this makes the MSI Pulse GL66 not only a gaming bargain but also one of the best all-rounders here, so long as portability doesn’t top your wish list. Nor should you expect Windows 11 right away. While it meets the requirements, we were still waiting for the update to appear when we finished testing. Still, when it does land, the Pulse GL66 has so much power it will be one of the most responsive Windows 11 laptops around.
7. Acer Aspire 5 (Best Windows 11 Laptop with Backlit Keyboard)
Acer needs to upgrade the Aspire 5 chassis, which is looking tired even for a budget machine.
The Acer Aspire 5 chassis – the A514-54 on test is one variation of many that Acer sells – has been largely unchanged for years, and it’s showing its age. The metal effect finish of the plastic chassis fools no-one, while the high-contrast black bezels around the screen simply look large. And while Acer quotes an 18mm height, it’s closer to 20mm in many places. At 1.7kg, this is a chunky machine by modern standards.
First impressions aren’t improved by a lackluster screen. Whites aren’t true, and even when we pushed the brightness up to its 264cd.m2 maximum – and tweaked its color balance in software – this wasn’t a panel that brought joy to our eyes. If you plan to watch films on your laptop, then again we suggest steering clear, but this time due to a pair of tinny speakers.
We’ve seen worse webcams than the 720P unit here, which suffers from noise, but it does at least capture natural looking colors. You won’t be embarrassed making video calls on it.
And there are other positives. With an 11th generation Core is in place, it’s a nippy machine that performed creditably in all our benchmarks, while only 11 cross he ad screws separate you from the internals. You can add a 2.sin SATA drive into an empty bay, replace the supplied 256GB M.2 SSD or upgrade the 4GB SODIMM (4GB of memory is also soldered onto the motherboard).
Acer spoils you when it comes to connectivity too, with Wi-Fi 6 inside and five handy ports on the left of the machine: Gigabit Ethernet, HDMl, two USB-A ports (a third sits on the right) and a USB-C port.
Don’t expect great speeds from the USB ports, however, as they’re stuck on the old USB 3.1 standard, confusingly rechristened USB 3.2 Gen 1, and that means a theoretical 5Gbits/sec maximum. The USB-C port is strictly for data transfers, too, with no support for Power Delivery or monitor connections. That’s a disappointing omission.
We were also left wanting when it came to Windows 11, with no support for this system by the time we concluded our tests in early January. An update should come, as the laptop is fully compatible, but you may have to wait a while.
Sadly, this all adds to a feeling that this laptop is falling behind the times. Especially when the HP Pavilion 14 offers a far more compelling package for a similar price.
8. ASUS TUF Dash F15 Gaming & Entertainment Laptop
The RTX3070 Mobile will bring big benefits, but the MSI Pulse is our pick of best gaming laptops.
If the MSI Pulse wins for value- and it most definitely does between the two gaming laptops on test – then the Asus TUF Dash F15 wins for fit and finish. By comparison it screams luxury, whether that’s through a delightful soft-touch keyboard (complete with highlighted WASD keys) or the top-quality trackpad with its super-smooth finish. We suspect you’ll enjoy using the TUF Dash if you buy it.
While the screen didn’t excel in our technical tests, there’s much to like from a gamer’s point of view: support for adaptive sync and a 144Hz refresh rate make it a fine choice for the powerful gaming components inside.
Chief among these is Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070 Mobile chip, which includes 8 GB of memory, and that more or less guarantees playable frame rates at the screen’s native io8op in even the most demanding games. That isn’t true for the GTX 3050 Ti in MSI’s cheaper system.
As we noted in the review of the MSI Pulse, however, that laptop’s superior processor helped push up frame rates in CPU-limited games such as Metro: Last Light.
The TUF Dash F15 must also make do with a mere four cores, which is what held it back – comparatively – in media- focused benchmarks PC Mark 10 Digital Creation. Still, the TUF Dash is a powerful system by almost any metric.
We also appreciate the fact that Asus supplies a self-repair manual for the TUF Dash F15. Admittedly, it’s overkill to have 16 crosshead screws securing the base, and once you battle past them you’ll discover that 8 GB of RAM is embedded on the motherboard; not ideal if something goes wrong with it.
You can at least replace the supplied 8GB SODIMM. There’s no second M.2 slot, either: you must again replace the supplied 512GB SSD if you need more capacity. Fortunately, the single USB-C port supports Thunderbolt 4 for speedy external storage.
This port can also be used to charge the TUF Dash, which destroyed the MSI in both our non-gaming battery tests: expect around nine hours to the three hours of its rival. It’s level pegging when it conies to gaming, though, with life expectancy dropping to a paltry hour.
Neither machine is ideal for a traveling life, but the F15 is notably less chunky than the MSI Pulse and benefits from a 2kg weight compared to the 2.1kg of its rival.
It misses out on an award, but we like the Asus TUF Dash F15: it’s a high-quality laptop that can handle AAA games, which is quite something for the price.
9. HP EliteBook 840 G8 Business Laptop
A top-quality laptop best suited to bigger businesses thanks to HP’s security and management tools.
his is a business laptop that screams quality from every pore. Its slim chassis is built using magnesium, which is why it’s so solid yet so light: at 1.2kg you can slip the EliteBook 840 Aero into a briefcase or rucksack without feeling weighed down.
(The “Aero” indicates that this is the lighter variant of the standard 840.) You probably won’t even need to bring the power supply with you as it lasted for a dozen or so hours in both of our light-use tests.
Don’t think it lacks power, either. Our test unit included a Core i5-113SG7,16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD, which pushed it to a nippy 143 in the benchmarks and 4,846 in PCMark 10.
Removing the base gives access to both SODIMM sockets and the M.2 slot. HP doesn’t supply the speediest SSD but we’re confident this laptop will keep Windows 11 Pro running happily for years. It comes with a three-year warranty as standard, too.
More reassurance for businesses comes via the suite of tools HP offers with its Elite Books, which include protected BIOSes, a three-year license of HP’s Wolf Security Pro suite and comprehensive hardware protection: the infrared webcam and fingerprint reader for Windows Hello logins, plus a smart card reader on the left-hand side.
There’s no shortage of ports either, with two USB-A connectors on the left, two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports on the right, plus an HDM1 output. Our sample also included a nano-SIM slot, but that isn’t an option on the models bought direct from HP.
Traditionalists will also appreciate the trackpoint built into the center of the keyboard, complete with physical left- and right-click buttons, but the star of the show is the keyboard itself. This is a joy to type on, with plenty of travel to the keys, separated out cursors and navigation buttons, plus clearly labelled function buttons.
The 14in screen is equally solid, covering 91% of the sRGB space with a peak brightness of 429cd/m2 and excellent color accuracy. We would have liked a touchscreen, but overall it’s a fine if unexciting inclusion.
Which sums up the EliteBook 840 Aero as a whole. Its key attraction is its portability, and with strong performance al lied to HP’s suite of security software it should have obvious appeal to larger businesses looking for an easy-to-manage fleet.
Best Windows 11 Laptops Buying Guide
Before investing hundreds of dollars in a top rated windows 11 laptop, there are some important questions you need to ask yourself.
Two years ago, the quality of webcams was rarely discussed. Now they’re of keen importance to anyone forced to work at home, but unfortunately laptop makers haven’t responded as quickly as we’d like to the shift in priorities. At best, the webcams here are passable and no more.
We were surprised to see only one laptop with an AML) Ryzen chip inside. Providing you choose a machine with a Ryzen 4000 or Ryzen 5000 series processor then we think you’ll be pleased with both the performance and battery life. Some Ryzen chips also include more cores than Intel machines, which can slash the time taken to perform tasks that take advantage of multiple threads, such as video encoding.
However, Intel still rules via its 11th generation Core processors. These are denoted by “11” at the start of their names, such as the Core i7-1135G7 in the Acer Aspire 5. Look out for a “G5” or “G7” at the end, as this denotes an integrated Iris Xe graphics chip. Compared to the Intel Ultra HL) graphics in older Core processors, this offers a big boost in games.
If you want a gaming system, then you need a discrete graphics chip. Nvidia is your friend here, with its GTX and RTX families making a total of three 78 appearances among this group. The GTX 1650 Ti in the HP Envy is still a fine choice for modest games such as Fortnite, and will also allow you to up the settings in older first- person shooters. For those with more demanding titles in mind, an RTX 3050 or RTX 3060 offers a route to high frame rates at 1080p.
Most gaming laptops include screens with higher refresh rates, too. Where laptops include discrete graphics, we cover these screens’ abilities in the reviews, along with the machines’ performance in demanding games such as Metro: Exodus and Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
While Windows 11 will happily run with 4GB of RAM “ we recommend 8GB if you can afford it. Only those who use demanding applications will need 16GB or 32GB of RAM, but it’s nice to have the headroom. Note that few laptops include a way to upgrade the RAM, with the memory often soldered onto the motherboard and no available slots for adding more.
If you’re constantly on the move – a student going to lectures or a worker who will one day return to the office commute, perhaps – then it’s worth choosing a laptop weighing 1.3kg or less. These also tend to be slimmer, so are easier to slip into a bag. Also take note of the battery life, as this will dictate whether you need to bung the charger in the bag, too; many lightweight laptops include USB-C chargers, and we include their weights in the feature.
If your laptop is going to spend most of its life on a desk, then there’s not much point worrying about weight. Anything under 2kg is fine, but as laptops approach this weight you won’t want to lug it about the house every hour. If you know you’ll be moving from room to room, then try not to go over 1.5kg. However, there is one more related question you need to answer.
The yin to portability’s yang, screen size is one of the biggest decisions you need to make. If this is going to be your daily machine, then you may find a 13m screen a fraction too small; 14in screens are that much more comfortable to use, and by comparison 15.6m screens can seem absolutely enormous.
However, if you’re using a laptop for daily work at home, we strongly recommend that you partner it with a separate monitor. Ideally, you should choose a monitor with a USB C connection and a laptop that can charge via USB-C (again, We list this in the feature table), as this will make your desk that much neater.
While you’re at it, mouse and keyboard sets are cheap and make a huge difference to posture.
Touchscreen or 2-in-1
Few people need a touchscreen on their laptop: it’s only a vital inclusion if you want to draw or write on the surface. It’s also one more thing to go wrong, and should the screen break it can be expensive to fix.
All that said, a touchscreen is nice to have. Once you gel used to a touchscreen laptop you start instinctively using it to prod windows and swipe along, just like using a phone. And if you choose a 2-in-1 design such as the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, it adds a whole new dimension to your laptop: you can put it into tent mode for watching films, and use the screen surface as a notepad or drawing surface.
Thankfully, the days of 128GB SSDs appear to be nearing their end: only one machine here includes such a drive, and it offers easy expansion. Drives with 256GB are the norm and fine for most people. The jump from 256GB to 512GB gives welcome space, but will pay particular dividends if you know you’ll be downloading games or handling large media files.
All these machines include a trusted platform module (TPM), as this is the foundation of many of Windows 11’s h security features. For example, it’s a key part in Windows Hello facial recognition, where suitably equipped laptops lock the machine unless they recognize you.
It’s also used in Bit Locker encryption, which you can enable for the whole disk or for certain folders. As well as providing additional security, fingerprint readers and facial recognition both make Windows 11 more convenient as they remove the need for entering a password or PIN every time you switch on your machine.
Every single laptop here includes at least one USB-C port, but while these look identical they vary in their capabilities. Ideally you want a port that allows you to charge the laptop, connect to a monitor and speedily transfer data. We list their transfer rates in the feature table.
It’s also useful to have at least one USB-A port (a traditional USB port), as that makes it easier to connect flash drives, printers and countless other peripherals. HDMI ports are also useful for similar reasons: if your monitor doesn’t support USB-C, then that’s the next best way to connect.
Battery / Chargers
It seems a minor point, but we far prefer it when manufacturers supply compact USB-C chargers compared to the traditional “rat and tail” power supplies. The latter are cumbersome and heavy. Also look out for the power rating: as a rule of thumb, the higher the wattage, the quicker battery will recharge.
Finally, take a good look at the connectivity on offer. Some laptops offer USB-C connectors alone, which could be a pain if you still rely on USB-A peripherals (as a rule, we still like to have one USB-A port, just in case). However, buying a USB-C docking monitor or a port replicator will solve that problem at a desk.