Best Personal Computer To Buy Fixed
At CNET, our laptop experts have collective decades of experience testing and reviewing laptops, covering everything from performance to price to battery life. This hand-curated list covers the best laptops across various sizes, styles and costs, including laptop computers running on Windows, MacOS and Chrome.
best personal computer to buy
If you want more laptop brands and options for a particular category, we also have specialized lists you can look at, including the best gaming laptops, best 15-inch laptops, best two-in-ones and best Chromebooks, as well as the best laptops for college students, designers and the best MacBook Pro alternatives. If you need to stay as low as possible on the price of a new laptop computer, check out our best budget laptop and best budget gaming laptop picks.
This best laptop list is updated periodically with new models we've tested and reviewed. If you need advice on whether a particular type of laptop or two-in-one is right for you, jump to our laptop FAQ at the bottom of the list, and if you're looking to save some money on your purchase, be sure to check out our best laptop deals page.
Thanks to a new design, a larger display (13.6 inches versus the previous 13.3 inches), a faster M2 chip and a long-awaited upgrade to a higher-res webcam, the 2022 version of the MacBook Air remains our top choice for the most universally useful laptop in Apple's lineup, with one caveat. At $1,199, the $200 increase over the traditional $999 MacBook Air starting price is a disappointment. That's why you'll still find the M1 version of the Air retains a spot on our best laptop list. Still, we like everything else about it and it's our first choice if you're considering an Air and don't mind spending more.
Acer had one of the best Chromebooks available in 2021 with the Spin 713, and now it's repeated that success with the Chromebook Spin 714. The premium two-in-one doesn't stray far from its predecessor in terms of what it offers, but Acer did make some changes to keep it competitive, like including a USI pen that stores and charges in the 714's body. There are less expensive options, but if you want a Chromebook that'll last for years, this is it. Keep an eye out for a sale on this one: Its normal price is $729, but is frequently on sale for less if you shop at the right time.
There's a lot to love with the Razer Blade 14, which incorporates one of the fastest mobile CPUs available (for now, at least), the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX, and top-end mobile graphics with the GeForce RTX 3070 or 3080. Its display can go pixel-to-pixel with the MacBook's. And its high-quality build is up there with the best MacBooks but, like an Apple, it's not necessarily the best laptop deal, even compared to other premium laptops.
Apple's 2023 update to its flagship MacBook Pro 16-inch line is a modest refresh from the more significantly redesigned 2021 model; notably, it upgrades to the latest generation of M2-class processors, Wi-Fi 6E and HDMI 2.1. With those updates, it gains support for displays up to 8K/60Hz and 4K/240Hz as well as variable refresh rates. The combination of the old and new enhances the veteran laptop's chops as a powerhouse computer for creation and development work.
Samsung's big-screen two-in-one doesn't look all too different from its predecessor, but inside is a 12th-gen Intel processor that gives it a sizable multicore performance bump. Plus, the other, smaller updates Samsung made to the Pro 360 improve the overall user experience, making it one of the best two-in-ones available. At least until we get a chance to test and review the Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360.
The XPS 17 combines the same slim, premium design of its 13-inch linemate but with increased performance possibilities. It can be configured with up to a 12th-gen Intel Core i9 processor, 64GB of memory and a 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics chip. The best part: Dell trimmed up the chassis so much that you get a 17-inch display in a body that's the size of an older 15-inch laptop. You're getting a lot of power and a big screen in the smallest possible package.
Setting a budget is a good place to start when shopping for the best laptop for yourself. The good news is you can get a nice-looking, lightweight laptop with excellent battery life at prices under $500. If you're shopping for a laptop around $500 or less, check out our top picks here, as well as more specific buying advice for that price range.
Above $1,000 is where you'll find premium laptops and two-in-ones. If you're looking for the fastest performance, the best battery life, the slimmest, lightest designs and top-notch display quality with an adequate screen size, expect to spend at least $1,000.
Deciding between MacOS and Windows laptop for many people will come down to personal preference and budget. Apple's base model laptop, the M1 MacBook Air, starts at $999. You can sometimes find it discounted or you can get educational pricing from Apple and other retailers. But, in general, it'll be at least $1,000 for a new MacBook, and the prices just go up from there.
MacOS is also considered to be easier and safer to use than Windows, especially for people who want their computers to get out of the way so they can get things done. Over the years, though, Microsoft has done its best to follow suit and, with Windows 11 here, it's trying to remove any barriers. Also, while Macs might have a reputation for being safer, with the popularity of the iPhone and iPad helping to drive Mac sales, they've become bigger targets for malware.
The review process for laptops, desktops, tablets and other computer-like devices consists of two parts: performance testing under controlled conditions in the CNET Labs and extensive hands-on use by our expert reviewers. This includes evaluating a device's aesthetics, ergonomics and features. A final review verdict is a combination of both those objective and subjective judgments.
The list of benchmarking software we use changes over time as the devices we test evolve. The most important core tests we're currently running on every compatible computer include: Primate Labs Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23, PCMark 10 and 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra.
Finding the best computer can be challenging since there are so many different types of desktop PCs. We look at all different kinds and compare them to other PCs in their class and consider everything from price to performance.
That means a PC less than $500/500/AU$800 won't be as powerful as the best gaming PC, but if it outperforms our expectations then it is a strong candidate for our list. Meanwhile, if a PC has best-in-class performance but is selling for three times what it should, we're very unlikely to recommend it to anyone since you can pay considerably less with just a slight decrease in performance.
Choose the best computer to suit your needs. Instead of spending a lot of money on a kitted-out machine that's overkill or cheapening out on a budget PC that won't meet your demands, your main goal should be finding that perfect PC that can handle your day-to-day workload without slowing down or heating up your whole space.
If your demands include intensive tasks like video editing or gaming, you might need something with more powerful specs. One of the best gaming PCs might be a great choice. But, if you only need something for sending out emails and streaming content, you're better off with a more affordable system. Luckily, you have a lot of options just with the type of computer you want, much less specific brands and what they bring to the table.
We'll help you get something that's the best value for your money, instead of getting one that's overkill or a cheap one that barely runs. We've put our many years of PC experience to use to by running them through their paces and choosing only the best computers on the market.
Whether its the best budget gaming PC or the best all-in-one computer you're after, chances are we've tested it. And, you'll find something from our picks below to suit your needs and wallet. We've even included the best prices available so you can save if a PC deal is available.
Powered by 12th-gen Intel Core processors (up to an Core i9-12900K), and up to an Nvidia RTX 3090, this rather compact desktop PC from Dell packs an enormous punch. And given that it is a Dell PC and Dell remains one of the best OEM systems integrators in the world), the hardware in the XPS desktop manages to edge out similar systems from rivals with the same hardware configurations at a generally lower price.
While we didn't quite get around to writing a full review of this machine, we did test it extensively in the office, using it to get through our daily workloads. And we must say, this is a fantastic workhorse, especially for the price. It misses out on some features - it's got just the one USB-C port, for example. But it's proven to be a great proposition for the price, which is why it tops our current list as the best PC for most people.
If you didn't think the Mac mini could get any better, then think again. The Mac mini (2023) is by far the best mini PC you can buy right now, with Apple improving the smallest Mac in every way that matters. While it's still not upgradeable, it's more powerful than ever, powered by the new M2 and M2 Pro chips. We performed similar tests on the Mac mini as we did on the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023), and it performed brilliantly, seeing us through editing 8K movie files and making projects in Ableton Live 11 without a sweat.
It certainly won't be for everyone, but sometimes you just want the best of the best, the absolute cream of the crop. By our judgement, that's the MSI MEG Aegis Ti5: an almost ludicrously powerful gaming PC with a jaw-droppingly unique chassis that includes a 'Gamer Dial' on the front, which can be used to tweak your system performance settings and also display information or fun animations on its dinky circular display.
Naturally, the MEG Aegis Ti5 comes in a variety of models, all equipped with the latest gaming hardware. The newest top-spec configuration uses the top-of-the-line Intel Core i9-12900K CPU and an Nvidia RTX 3090 graphics card, and there are a tonne of different models available if that isn't exactly what you're looking for. Of course, most of these models will cost you a pretty penny, but if you're looking for the best in performance, look no further. 041b061a72