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These 12 laptops deliver the best battery life

If you need a notebook that can last all day away from a power outlet, these dozen can handle it -- and then some. Your options include top-rated Windows, Mac and Chromebook systems.
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By Sean Portnoy, Contributor on
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1 of 12 Sean Portnoy/ZDNet

Lenovo Yoga 920

This 14-inch 2-in-1 laptop has been hailed for its battery life nearly across the board, from Consumer Reports (16.5 hours in its testing) to PC Magazine (a whopping 22 hours and 38 minutes) to our own reviewer, Sandra Vogel, who watched her test unit's battery only drop from full to 72 percent after four hours of video viewing, web surfing, and word processing.

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2 of 12 Sean Portnoy/ZDNet

Dell XPS 13

One of Dell's flagship laptops, the XPS 13 combines an extremely small form factor with solid performance and a top-notch scree,n. To round out the package, add excellent battery life to the tune of at least a dozen hours -- according to CNET -- and even 15 or 16 hours, according to Laptop Magazine and Consumer Reports, respectively. For her part, ZDNet's Sandra Vogel used her test unit for five hours and the battery only dropped to 56 percent.

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3 of 12 Sean Portnoy/ZDNet

Apple MacBook Pro

At one time, Apple's laptops held a distinct advantage in battery life over their Windows counterparts. While that gap has been narrowed, MacBooks continue to hold their own, with the latest MacBook Pro delivering power for hours -- over 11 hours for the 13-inch model and a little less for the 15-inch edition, according to CNET's testing.

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4 of 12 Sean Portnoy/ZDNet

LG Gram

As the name suggests, LG's laptop is all about weight -- or lack thereof. And a byproduct of fewer ounces is improved battery life. In fact, CNET found that the larger 15-inch notebook offered more than 14 hours of charge even with a test configuration that included an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a dual of 512GB solid-state drives.

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5 of 12 Sean Portnoy/ZDNet

HP Spectre x360

If you're looking for an alternative to the Yoga 920, consider the Spectre x360 13, which is a similar 2-in-1 in terms of price, performance, and battery life. In fact the Spectre outperformed the Yoga in CNET's streaming video battery drain test, lasting well over 13 hours. To learn more, check out our video review of the Spectre x360 13.

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6 of 12 Sean Portnoy/ZDNet

Lenovo ThinkPad T480

You know what you're getting with a ThinkPad, a solid laptop whose lineage goes back more than a quarter-century. While the business black color scheme and boxish design remain, new models like the T480 shouldn't be confused with relics. It features the newest Intel Core processors, HD screens, and the latest ports -- along with spectacular battery life. Laptop Magazine and PC Magazine got 16 and 17 hours between charges in their respective testing, while ZDNet's Sandra Vogel only pushed the battery meter from full to 70 percent after four hours of use.

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7 of 12 Sean Portnoy/ZDNet

Samsung Notebook 9

Samsung's prosaically named entry in the premium 2-in-1 space is super lightweight (just 1.9 pounds for the 13.3-inch version, 2.9 pounds for the 15-inch edition) and includes a spill-resistant keyboard and a glass Windows Precision that allows multitouch gestures. Just as importantly, the Notebook 9 15-inch flavor promises 12 hours of battery life, a claim that was borne out by CNET's streaming video test.

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8 of 12 Sean Portnoy/ZDNet

Acer Chromebook R 13

Running the efficient Chrome OS with components that often aren't the most power hungry, nearly all Chromebooks have substantial battery life as a feature of the platform. But the Chromebook R 13 from Acer stands out even among its Chrome-running rivals. The 2-in-1 laptop clocked in at just over 13 hours of battery life in CNET's testing, which is a few hours more the typical Chromebook. It also costs a little more than some other Chromebooks, but it's still priced below most mid-range Windows notebooks.

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9 of 12 Sean Portnoy/ZDNet

Microsoft Surface Laptop

It took a couple of iterations to get its footing, but Microsoft has turned the Surface into its vision of a high-performance portable device family that can compete with tablets and increasingly MacBooks and other Windows laptops. The Surface Laptop is a more recent addition to the lineup, and among its many features, battery life is exceptional, with CNET getting more than 10 hours out of the device and PC Magazine needing more than 16 hours between charges. ZDNet's own review confirmed the battery's prowess.

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10 of 12 Sean Portnoy/ZDNet

Asus Zenbook 13

Asus has made a name in the laptop market by delivering a range of quality systems, including the popular ZenBook series that features some high-end offerings like the ZenBook 13 UX331UN. Touted as the thinnest laptop available that included a discrete graphics card (Nvidia's GeForce MX150), that extra power drain hasn't appeared to put much of a damper on its battery life. CNET got more than 11 hours of juice in its testing, while ZDNet reviewer Sandra Vogel found that it should be able to get you through a full day of use.

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11 of 12 Sean Portnoy/ZDNet

HP Elitebook x360 1030 G2

HP hasn't refreshed the EliteBook x360 1030 G2 since last year, but if you don't require the absolute latest and greatest hardware, this 2-in-1 is still a capable business portable. Despite not being the slimmest laptop (though it does meet MIL-STD standards for durability), it delivers more-than-respectable battery life - more than 11 hours, according to CNET's testing.

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12 of 12 Sean Portnoy/ZDNet

Dell Latitude 7390

Dell hasn't saved its battery-life improvements just for consumer laptops. Starting with its efficient eighth-generation Intel Core processors and light weight, the 2-in-1 Latitude 7390 may not have as good battery life as the XPS 13, but CNET's tests show that it provides over 10 hours of use between charges. In her testing, ZDNet's Sandra Vogel did four hours of typical tasks and the battery level only dropped to 73 percent.

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