The end of the year is here, and with it comes holiday sales. If you’re in the market for a new laptop, there’s an overwhelming amount of brands and models to choose from.
But not every laptop is created equal. Some of those doorbuster holiday deals may actually be a headache in disguise.
If you’re looking for a good run-down of the best and worst laptop brands, look no further. We’ve made a comprehensive guide of the various brands and their most notable models. Read on to find out more!
What To Look For In A New Laptop
Before narrowing down your search to a handful of brands and models, it’s important to figure out what exactly you’re looking for in a new laptop.
Almost every brand offers something for everyone, from bare-bones internet and document-making machines to top-of-the-line gaming laptops. Determining exactly what you need will help narrow down your search.
Are you rough on your computers? You might want something with easy-to-repair parts. Do you want something that lasts forever with minimal fussing? Look for brands with long-term reliability.
Do you need a lot of performance or simply need something reliable to get work done every day? Determining the specs that you need before shopping makes your search much easier.
Certain brands are also known for having a focus on their laptops. Some brands make better gaming laptops, while others make laptops geared towards working professionals. Others still take a “little bit of everything but nothing well” approach.
The first thing to consider about a brand is customer service. Does the brand honor their warranties without hassle, and are they easy to work with on repairs or replacements? Or are you out in the cold after two months with a broken laptop?
Another is the ease of repair and upgrading. While some top-of-the-line brands such as Apple build laptops that can last for a decade, they include proprietary parts and components that take specialist knowledge to replace if they fail or need an upgrade.
The last major consideration is the cost-to-value ratio. Generally speaking, the more expensive models of laptops are intended to last four years or more, while cheap budget ones might end up getting replaced every other year.
Many cheap laptops are built for planned obsolescence, with parts that seem to go out right after the warranty expires.
So while you may be hesitant to shell out a grand or more on a new laptop in favor of something more in the $300 range, remember that you get what you pay for.
Once you’ve determined your needs and budget, it’s time to look into the best and worst laptop brands in 2020. This list is in no particular order but focuses on what these brands do or don’t do well.
Dell is one of the largest brands in the laptop world today. While they had a rough go of it for a while in the 2000s, their revamped XPS line saw them shoot back up to the top of the “best-of” lists.
And certainly, the XPS lineup is enough on its own to put Dell in direct competition with Apple. With their slim, sleek design, excellent performance specs, and reliability, the XPS has become a go-to for working professionals in many fields.
If you’re turned off by the steep price tag of the XPS series, Dell also offers several stellar options in the mid-range market. The Latitude series comes in between $500-$1000 and offers great performance for everyday work and light gaming.
If the XPS series isn’t quite enough horsepower for your gaming needs, Dell also offers a “value” gaming line in the G-series, and their separate Alienware sub-brand is specifically focused on high-end gaming laptops.
Overall, it’s hard to go wrong with Dell nowadays. They have really turned things around from the “dark years” a while back, so if you haven’t owned a Dell in a while, consider giving them another look.
HP is another long-time brand and a direct competitor to Dell. In a very similar way, HP also went through a very rough spot with their quality a few years ago. But they have also turned their ship around with the Spectre lineup.
The Spectre series is a 2-in-1 design that combines the best of both tablets and laptops. These are very capable machines for people doing creative work on the go.
HP also has several other high-end models geared towards working professionals, such as the Envy series. For gamers, the Omen series has several excellent options.
HP also has a huge chunk of the Chromebook space, with their Chromebook 14 coming in at under $200 with rave reviews.
However, HP also offers some middling-quality low-end laptops that are best avoided if you are shopping in the budget category. The build quality and specs are not up to snuff with other brands’ offerings.
Apple is unique in this list since the Apple ecosystem is completely separate and distinct from other computers running Windows. Apple is well-known for being easy to operate and stable, but also difficult to repair or upgrade.
If you are a fan of the Apple operating system, then there is a lot to love about the Macbook Pro. Tailored towards people working in creative fields such as graphic design and audio/video editing, it’s hard to beat the Macbook pro for reliability.
On the flip side, Apple doesn’t really have any budget offerings. The Macbook Air is their cheapest and comes in around $900.
While its specs have vastly improved over previous years, the 2020 Air still lacks the port options and touch screens found on similar-priced Windows-based competitors.
Apple laptops are also not easily fixed. Repairing or replacing components requires sending it directly to Apple or taking it to an authorized repair shop to avoid voiding the warranty. But Apple’s customer service is excellent, so it balances out.
Lenovo is a well-loved classic in the world of business computers. Their flagship ThinkPad design has been around for decades, and they bought out the personal computer division of IBM in 2004.
Lenovo’s longevity is both a plus and a minus for the brand. They make EXCELLENT laptops. Their Thinkpad and the newer 2-in-1 Yoga series are highly regarded and often standard-issue for corporate business people on the go.
These choices easily place Lenovo at the top of the list. And there are quite a few builds within their lines for various budgets, making virtually any Lenovo a good choice, especially in the mid-range field.
However, Lenovo’s actual designs leave a bit to be desired. In comparison to the sleekness of the Dell XPS or Apple, Lenovo computers can tend towards a bit chunky and dated-looking.
But their specs and reliability keep them at the top of the pack. ThinkPads are virtually bullet-proof and built to handle whatever you can throw at them. If you’re looking for a rugged laptop, look no further.
If you are looking for a dedicated gaming laptop, ASUS is an obvious choice. Their ROG series packs a serious punch in the mobile gaming department.
However, ASUS has a massive lineup, and with so many options, there are bound to be a few stinkers. Their lower-end regular laptops have some reliability and build quality issues.
ASUS does lead the pack in innovation, though, even ahead of Apple and Dell. Dual-screen laptops, 2-in-1s, tablet-based laptops for artists, ASUS’ catalog of offerings has some unique ideas that cater to very specific needs.
While they were slow to get off the ground, software giant Microsoft has finally broken into the competitive laptop field with their new Surface lineup.
The Surface Book 3 is the top of the bunch, with 2-in-1 functionality that works seamlessly with the Windows 10 operating system. For creative types and busy students, this is an obvious choice.
It will be interesting to see how Microsoft develops from here. Their initial Surface offerings faced a difficult market and were not quite up to speed, but their 2020 lineup is fantastic and meets several different budgets, starting at $550.
Brands To Avoid
These are brands that generally have performed decently in the past, but their 2020 offerings leave a lot to be desired. There is always room for improvement, but there is a consensus that these are the worst laptop brands in 2020.
Long known for their gaming keyboards and mouses, Razer has yet to put out a laptop that made waves. The Razer Blade 15 is notorious for software and hardware issues, such as touchpad unresponsiveness and OS crashes.
MSI used to be at the top of the pack for gaming laptops, but in recent years has been on a sharp decline as the company has seemed to focus more on hardware components rather than their full computer builds.
Heating issues, bad case construction, faulty hardware, and software all are complaints made against several items in the MSI lineup. Best to skip one of the worst laptop brands in 2020, despite the on-paper specs.
2020’s Best and Worst Laptop Brands
With such an evolving market, almost every well-known brand has to put out innovative products every year. Some years are a hit, and some miss, even on the same lineup of computers. One thing is certain, you don’t want one of the worst laptop brands.
Don’t shop according to brand loyalty or recognition. Instead, research the specs and reliability of individual 2020 models to find the best laptop to fit your individual needs.
If you’re looking for more insightful articles about business technology, make sure to check out our other blog articles, and feel free to contact us at any time!