Six great laptops ready for Windows 10

From powerhouses to light 2-in-1 models, these laptops -- including two ThinkPads and a MacBook Pro -- should all run Windows 10 like champs.

The next version of Windows should arrive in the not too distant future, and the Windows 10 Preview process is in full swing. The hardware requirements for Windows 10 are unchanged from those for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, so any device that performed well with those earlier operating systems should have little or no problem running Windows 10.

Special Feature

IT Budgeting 2015: Planning the Next Stage

Astechnology decision makers look ahead to budget planning for 2015 and where to focus their IT resources to make the biggest impact in the year ahead, we've got perspectives and research to help inform those decisions.

Read More

The laptops in this collection range from powerhouses to light 2-in-1 models. They are ready for Windows 10, and should run it like champs.

There are three conventional laptops in the list, with great hardware. There are two 2-in-1 (hybrid) devices that can be used as laptops and also as tablets. This makes them great for taking full advantage of Windows 10 and its new tablet mode.

One laptop in this collection may seem like it doesn't belong, but it already runs Windows 10 Preview well and should run the released version even better.

To allow price comparisons, each laptop is priced with a similar configuration whenever possible:

  • Intel Core i7 processor
  • 8GB of system memory
  • 128GB SSD storage
  • High-resolution touch screen

Note: There are a couple of ThinkPads in this list, and those concerned about the Superfish malware situation need not worry according to Lenovo. Superfish was only installed on consumer laptops, and ThinkPads are part of Lenovo's business laptop line.

01-surface-pro-3.jpg
Microsoft Surface Pro 3

The latest PC from Microsoft is a tablet, but paired with the keyboard cover it is a full laptop. As both a laptop and a tablet it is a perfect fit for taking full advantage of Windows 8.1, and it's a sure bet that Microsoft will make sure Windows 10 will run as smooth as butter on the Surface Pro 3.

CNET Review: The best Surface yet is more than a tablet, less than a laptop

The Surface Pro 3 comes with a pen so it covers all of the bases with Windows 10: laptop, touch tablet, and pen tablet. The 12-inch display at a resolution of 2160 x 1440 is standard.

A Surface Pro 3 with an Intel Core i7, 8GB of memory, 256GB SSD (128GB not available with i7), and keyboard cover will set you back $1,579.

Don't miss the Surface Pro 3 review on ZDNet.

02-dell-xps-13.jpg
Dell XPS 13

This ultrabook from Dell may be the best laptop currently available. It features a 13.3-inch display with such a tiny bezel the laptop is the size of 11 and 12-inch notebooks. While the entry-level configuration ($799) is nothing to write home about, it can be ordered with a raft of options that turn it into a powerhouse.

The most notable option is the high-resolution (3200 x 1800) touch screen, which will be great with Windows 10. Windows 10 is designed for both laptops and touch devices, so you'll likely want that touch screen.

A Dell XPS 13 with Intel Core i7, 8GB of memory, 128GB SSD, and the aforementioned touch screen will set you back $1,300, but you get what you pay for. This is a premium laptop so it may be worth the price to run Windows 10 well.

See the review of the Dell XPS 13 on CNET.

03-thinkpad-x1-carbon.jpg
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

The second generation model of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon impressed us when reviewed, and the third generation looks even better. Lenovo addressed the few negatives of the last generation, namely the lack of trackpad buttons and the lack of a top row of Fn keys.

CNET Review:Better-than-HD ultrabook gets smart function keys

The last X1 Carbon model dropped the Fn keys in favor of a much-despised panel of adaptive controls. This new model addresses this with the return of traditional keys.

The entry-level 14-inch display of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is not optimal for Windows 10, so it should be upgraded at purchase time. The better display is a high-resolution (2560 x 1440) IPS touch screen, which is better suited to take full advantage of Windows 10.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a top-class business laptop, so it's not cheap. A model with an Intel Core i7, 8GB of memory, 128GB SSD, and the high-resolution display is currently $1,889 from Lenovo.

Note: Those concerned about the Superfish malware situation need not worry according to Lenovo. Superfish was only installed on consumer laptops, and ThinkPads are part of Lenovo's business laptop line.

04-transformer-book-t300.jpg
Asus Transformer Book T300

Asus has been making true Windows hybrids since the Transformer Book T100. The third generation T300 has taken a big leap forward with performance hardware in the tablet.

CNET Review: The Asus T300 Chi is a highly mobile hybrid for less

The T300 comes with a full laptop dock that turns the system into a laptop much like any other. The 13.3-inch tablet runs at a resolution of 1920 x 1080, and attaches to the keyboard dock magnetically. It's tailor-made for Windows 10 to leverage the laptop features of the OS, and also to pull the display off the dock and run in tablet mode.

There's no pen for the Transformer Book T300, but that's true of most Windows laptops.

The Asus Transformer Book T300 with an Intel Core i7, 8GB of memory, and 256GB SSD (128 not available with Core i7) can be found on Amazon for $1,120.

05-thinkpad-x250.jpg
Lenovo ThinkPad X250

The ThinkPad X250 is another laptop from Lenovo that should be great with Windows 10. From the high performance hardware to the long battery life, the X250 looks like a winner.

The ZDNet review of the previous generation X240 got high marks for excellence. The 12.5-inch laptop is very portable, while offering high performance.

The two-battery configuration using Lenovo's PowerBridge technology can keep the X240 running for up to 20 hours, making it a good fit for professionals wanting to take it on the road. It has a 3-cell internal battery and can be configured with either a 3-cell or a 6-cell second battery that attaches to the laptop by the display hinge.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X250 is ready to take Windows 10 on the road. A model with an Intel Core i7, 8GB of memory, 128GB SSD, high-resolution (1920 x 1080) touch screen, and a 6-cell battery will set you back $1,263.

Note: Those concerned about the Superfish malware situation need not worry according to Lenovo. Superfish was only installed on consumer laptops, and ThinkPads are part of Lenovo's business laptop line.

06-macbook-pro.jpg
Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch)

What's a MacBook doing on a list of laptops ready for Windows 10? Think virtual machine. Macs have long been able to run Windows in either a dual-boot configuration or in a virtual machine.

The latter configuration using Parallels can run Windows very well, even alongside OS X. This allows the MacBook Pro to run all software on both platforms. Windows can run in a virtual machine on the OS X desktop, which enables the powerful capability of moving data between the two OSes.

CNET Review: Apple's updated MacBook Pro with Force Touch is the new no-compromise MacBook

I've run Windows on MacBooks for years using Parallels, and like previous versions it should handle Windows 10 well. Parallels already has been updated to make installing the Windows 10 Preview very easy. Once installed, the preview edition runs as well on the MacBook Pro as it does on other Windows laptops in this collection.

A 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, Intel Core i7, 8GB of memory (16GB available for $200), and 128GB SSD is $1,599 from Apple.

See also:

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All