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Looking for the best computer? The top desktops and laptops right now

Whether you're looking for a laptop, a Mac, a Chromebook, or a gaming PC, the best computer for you is out there. These are our top picks.

Figuring out what computer you want and need can be overwhelming. Mac or gaming PC? Laptop or desktop? Will you be using your computer for work or for school? 

There are many factors and configurations to consider when it comes to computers, but we've broken down the best options in virtually every category there is to help you find the best fit for you. 

That way, whether you're looking to treat yourself or a loved one this holiday season, we made the shopping easier. 

Also: Best all-in-one computer

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Impressive battery life
  • More port options than your average Apple product
  • Powerful and fast
cons
  • Expensive
  • On the heavy side
More Details

OS: MacOS (Monterey) | CPU: Apple M1 Pro, M1 Max (10 cores) | GPU: Apple M1 Pro (16 cores), M1 Max (24, 32 cores) | RAM: 16GB (M1 Pro), 32GB, 64GB (M1 Max) | Storage: 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB | Screen: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display, 3456 x 2234 (254ppi), 1000 nits (1600 nits max) | Wireless: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) | Ports and slots: 3x USB-C/Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, SDXC slot, MagSafe 3 | Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD | Audio: 6 speakers, 3 mics, 3.5mm headphone jack | Battery: 100Wh (21h movie playback, 14h web browsing) | Dimensions: 355.7mm x 248.1mm x 16.8mm (14.01in. x 9.77in. x 0.66in.) | Weight: 2.1kg/4.7lbs (M1 Pro), 2.2kg/4.8lbs (M1 Max) | Price: from $2,499 (M1 Pro, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD), $3,499 (M1 Max, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD)

Apple's latest MacBook Pro is designed for power users and creators, meaning it has a super-fast processor, more than enough memory and storage, and a large screen size with powerful graphics. This all-in-one (AIO) Apple laptop has been hailed for its CPU, the M1 chip, which enables it to last for up to 16 hours of continuous use. The display is also something to behold: the Liquid Retina XDR display is crisp and colorful, along with Apple's ProMotion feature that allows a 47.95Hz to 120Hz refresh rate. And, unlike MacBook predecessors, this MacBook Pro has much more port compatibilities than the company's traditional reliance on USB-C.

AlsoThe best laptops

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Great keyboard and trackpad
  • OLED display
  • Windows 11 built in
cons
  • Loud operation when computer runs hot
  • Battery life could be better
More Details

OS: Windows 11 (Home, Pro), Windows 10 (Home) | CPU: Intel Core i3-1115G4, Core i5-1135G7, Core i7-1185G7, Core i7-1195G7 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics (Core i3), Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB | Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB | Screen: 13.4in. InfinityEdge, 1920 x 1200 (169ppi, non-touch/touch), 3840 x 2400 (338ppi, touch), 500 nits | Wireless: Bluetooth 5.1, 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) | Ports and slots: 2x USB-C/Thunderbolt 4, MicroSD | Camera: HD (720p) RGB and IR | Audio: 2 mics, stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone/mic jack | Battery: 52Wh (14h 11m FHD+, 8h 12m 4K+/UHD+) | Dimensions: 295.7 x 198.7 x 14.8mm | Weight: 1.2kg/2.6lbs (non-touch), 1.27kg/2.7lbs (touch) | Price: From $970 (Core i3), $1,070 (Core i5), $1,970 (Core i7)

For Windows users, the Dell XPS 15 is a great choice if you're looking for a new laptop. The new Dell OLED display allows for vivid colors, while the InfinityEdge display provides larger displays in smaller form factors, so you are immersed in the content on your screen. The Dell XPS 15 has also been hailed by both retailers and consumers for the keyboard and trackpad, especially its accuracy and responsiveness. This laptop will provide everything you need, whether you are a casual user, a professional, or any workload, this laptop will provide everything you need with its quality CPU, SSD, hard drive, and GPU.

Also: The best Windows laptops

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Ample color options
  • Fast and efficient M1 processor
  • Great webcam
cons
  • 24-inch screen on the small side for displays
  • Limited ports
More Details

OS: MacOS (Monterey)| CPU: M1 or 10th Gen. Intel Core i5 | GPU: 7-core GPU or AMD Radeon Pro 5300 | RAM: 8GB or up to 128GB | Storage: 256GB or 512GB | Screen: 24-inch 4.5K Retina display, 4480-by-2520 resolution, 500 nits | Wireless: Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) | Ports and slots: 2 Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, 2 USB 3 Ports | Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD camera | Audio: Six-speaker system with wide stereo sound and spatial audio support, 3.5mm headphone jack | Dimensions: 54.7 x 14.7 x 46.1cm (21.5 x 5.8 x 18.1in.) | Weight: 4.46kg/9.83lbs | Price: $1,299 (8-Core CPU, 7-Core GPU), $1,499 (8-Core CPU, 8-Core GPU), $1,699 (8-Core CPU, 8-Core GPU and 512GB SSD)

Apple users looking for something bigger than a MacBook should consider the new high-end 24-inch iMac. This computer comes with the latest version of the Magic Keyboard and the Magic Mouse 2. If your work means lots of Zoom meetings, you'll be thankful for the FaceTime HD camera, the 4.5K Retina display, and the six-speaker sound system that supports spatial audio. Of course, the M1 chip CPU makes it extremely fast and efficient—you won't notice any slowing down if you have 30 browser tabs open. And, to relive the nostalgia of early 2000s Apple computers, the iMac comes in blue, green, pink, silver, yellow, orange, and purple.

Also: The best Macs

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Attractive design
  • Doubles as a touchscreen tablet
  • Fingerprint reader
cons
  • Battery life isn't as long as other Chromebooks
  • Pricey compared to other Chromebooks
More Details

OS: Chrome OS | CPU: Intel Core i3-10110U processor or Intel Core i5-10210U processor| GPU: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 8GB or 16 GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB | Screen: 14-inch LED-backlit FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 display | Wireless: Bluetooth V5.0, Intel Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) | Ports and slots: 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, MicroSD card slot | Camera: HD camera | Audio: Omnidirectional quad-speakers system, 3.5mm headphone jack | Battery: Up to 12 hours | Dimensions: 31.95 x 20.53 x 1.37cm (12.57 x 8.08 x .53in.) | Weight: 2.58lbs | Price: $799 (Core i3) or $999 (Core i5)

If you're looking to strictly use Android apps and Linux tools, a Chromebook is best, and the Asus Flip C436 is the best Chromebook option. What's great about this Chromebook is that you can use it as a touchscreen tablet with support for USI active pens or as a regular laptop. In addition, it has a fingerprint reader, which is a great touch to bypass passwords and is usually only seen in Apple products. Its local storage (up to 512GB) is a lot more than your average Chromebook as well.

 Also: The best Chromebooks

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Dual drives
  • User upgradeable
  • Wi-Fi 6/Bluetooth 5.2
  • Liquid cooling
cons
  • Expensive
  • No peripherals or software included
More Details

OS: Windows 11 Home or Windows 11 Pro | CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 | RAM: Up to 128GB | Storage: Up to 4TB | Wireless: Wi-Fi 6/Bluetooth 5.2 | Ports and slots: 3 USB 3.2 Gen 1, 3 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 4 USB 2.0 Type-A, 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, Ethernet | Audio: Headphone/Line Out | Power supply: 750W Platinum | Dimensions: 529 x 225 x 510mm (20.8 x 8.86 x 20.1in.) | Weight: 15.5kg/34.2lbs max | Price: $1,249-$2,499

If you're a serious gamer looking for the best desktop computer, you should consider the Alienware Aurora Ryzen R14. It's high-end, but you'll get everything you need to game and the speed to do so. This all-in-one desktop PC will always run at optimal temperatures thanks to the 750-watt power supply. The Bluetooth 5.2 connection allows for more reliable connectivity to mice, keyboards, headsets, and game controllers. The high AMD Ryzen CPU in this Alienware Aurora gaming PC means you can alternate between gaming, livestreaming, and creating content without missing a beat. Not to mention that the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 is an incredible graphics card. 

Also: The best gaming PCs

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Latest Intel Core i9 processor
  • 32GB of RAM
  • Relatively lightweight for a 17-inch laptop
cons
  • Expensive
More Details

OS: Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro | CPU: Intel Core i9-11900H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX | RAM: Max 64GB | Storage: 1TB | Screen: 17.3 inches (1920 x 1080 pixel resolution) | Wireless: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth v5.2 | Ports and slots: USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C, USB Thunderbolt 4 Type-C, HDMI, 2 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, SD card reader | Camera: IR HD type (30fps@720p) | Audio: Two 2W speakers | Battery: 11 hours | Dimensions: 396.1 x 259.4 x 20.25mm | Weight: 2.45kg/5.4lbs | Price: $2,199

If you'd rather have one the best all-in-one PC laptops over a larger and more complex gaming desktop setup, the MSI Stealth GS76 is an excellent gaming laptop. This laptop has switchable graphics technology with a high refresh rate and smooth visuals optimized for gamers. In addition, its CPU, the Core i9-11900H octa-core processor, makes it stand out from other gaming laptops with extra performance. The keyboard is also great: you can customize each key to your liking and a wide range of RGB keyboard lighting. Lastly, it's Windows 10 Operating System is better for gaming than an Apple iMac.

Also: The best gaming laptops

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Great display and performance
  • Runs Windows 11
  • Long battery life
cons
  • Have to pay extra for keyboard and stylus
More Details

OS: Windows 11 Home | CPU: Intel Core i5 or i7 | GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics (i5, i7) | RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB | Screen: 13-inch PixelSense Flow display | Wireless: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.1 | Ports and slots:2 x USB-C with USB 4.0/Thunderbolt 4, Surface Connect port | Camera: 5MP front-facing with 1080p full HD video, 10MP rear-facing | Audio: 2W stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, 3.5mm headphone jack | Battery: 16 hours | Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37-inches | Weight: 1.96lbs | Price: $999-$2,399

Of course, if you're torn between a tablet and a laptop, you can opt for the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 to get the best of both worlds. While sold as a stand-alone tablet, you can buy a keyboard to turn it into a completely functional laptop as well as Microsoft's Slim Pen 2 stylus to utilize its touchscreen to the fullest. It runs Windows 11 right out of the box, so you know performance will be top-notch and fast with the best optimizations available for Windows today. In addition, its battery life boasts 16 hours, which is impressive for such a small device.

Also: The best large tablets

What is the best computer?

The best computer will depend on what you're looking for. We rounded up the best computers from each specific category so you can narrow down your search to the best of the best. 

Computer

Price

CPU

Screen

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch

Starts at $2,500

Apple M1 Pro, M1 Max (10 cores)

16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display, 3456 x 2234 (254ppi), 1000 nits (1600 nits max)

Dell XPS 15

Starts at $1425

Intel Core i3-1115G4, Core i5-1135G7, Core i7-1185G7, Core i7-1195G7

13.4in. InfinityEdge, 1920 x 1200 (169ppi, non-touch/touch), 3840 x 2400 (338ppi, touch), 500 nits

M1 iMac 24-inch

Starts at $1,300

M1 or 10th Gen. Intel Core i5

24-inch 4.5K Retina display, 4480-by-2520 resolution, 500 nits

Asus Flip C436

$939

Intel Core i3-10110U processor or Intel Core i5-10210U processor

14-inch LED-backlit FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 display

Alienware Aurora Ryzen R14

$1,249-$2,499

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

N/A

MSI Stealth GS76

$1,499

Intel Core i9-11900H

17.3 inches (1920 x 1080 pixel resolution)

Microsoft Surface Pro 8

$799-$2,299

Intel Core i5 or i7

13-inch PixelSense Flow display

Which best computer is right for me?

As you can see from the variety of computers on our list, there are many features to consider before purchasing a computer. If you're looking for something portable to take with you, a laptop is going to work better than a desktop. Everyone has an operating system preference, so if you're a diehard Apple user, stick with Apple, and same for Windows users, so you're already more familiar from the get-go.

Look at standout features based on how you will be using your computer. For example, if you'll mainly be using it for gaming, make sure it has good CPU and GPU. If you'll be using your computer for more basic things, a great battery life is important to pay attention to, especially when opting for a laptop. Less important specs are cameras and audio since you can always add additional devices to improve upon what your computer already comes with. 

Choose this computer...

If you want...

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch

An excellent laptop for power users and creators.

Dell XPS 15

A Windows laptop with a great keyboard and trackpad. 

M1 iMac 24-inch

The best Mac computer available today.

Asus Flip C436

A Chromebook laptop that doubles as a touchscreen tablet.

Alienware Aurora Ryzen R14

A high-end gaming PC.

MSI Stealth GS76

A gaming laptop with a high refresh rate. 

Microsoft Surface Pro 8

A large tablet with impressive battery life. 

How did we choose these computers?

Since picking and choosing the right computer is a tall task, we looked at our best lists for separate computer categories like laptops, large tablets, gaming PCs, etc., and picked the top product from those lists. 

To choose the best product from each category, we looked at factors like price, power and speed, display, and more. To see more products in the categories listed above, check out the accompanying best list page at the bottom of every product. 

What is the difference between Windows and Mac operating systems?

The age-old debate between Windows and Mac is a tricky one. When it comes down to operating systems (OS), it's all about preference. Mac OS is great if you already have an iPhone since it integrates all your iCloud data right into your new computer. Macs are also historically known for better privacy and fewer Malware threats than Windows devices. Mac OS is straightforward for the average tech user, making it super popular for people of all ages to become familiar with.

On the other hand, Windows is much better for gamers and lets you choose different hardware options such as touchscreens and independently produced components. Corporate users almost always use Windows over Mac. You'll also find more of the best budget computers with Windows over Apple's pricier products. However, since so many different brands and makers widely use Windows, there are sometimes inconsistencies with the OS depending on the device you purchase.  

Do you need to have a touchscreen?

Although most of the world is touchscreen-based these days, your computer definitely does not have to have a touchscreen. 

Of course, a touchscreen is helpful if you're an artist or work a lot with graphics and must draw on a screen, but the average person can forgo the touchscreen feature on a computer.

Are there alternative computers for students worth considering?

Here are a few other worthy options to look into:

Editorial standards

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