Finding the Best High-End Laptops

Last Updated: February 26, 2017 by

Finding-the-Best-High-End-Laptops

Welcome to our monthly updated guide to the best high end laptops on the market based one expert reviews, consumer feedback and user feedback.

While our guides on laptops under $1000 and below have some excellent products, they aren’t exactly powerhouses and they generally skimp on hardware and other features in order to offer more competitive pricing. Our premium laptop guide is built for people who want the best performance, design and features on their notebooks for everyday, business and multimedia activities. Note that this section covers general high-end laptops and not high-end gaming laptops. These premium machines neither have the beastly appearance nor the gaming prowess of a high-end gaming rig, but they fare far better in other aspects like build quality and battery life. With a price range of $1000 to $3500, you have a ton of Premium options to choose from depending on your exact needs. With your budget on the upper end of the scale you can expect no compromises on quality and these laptops deliver by giving you Full-HD to Ultra-HD displays, the latest processors, metallic finishes and other top of the line features. They also have excellent battery longevity and ultrathin profiles so you won’t need to lug around the power adapter or break your back carrying your new machine around all day. These laptops function great not only as general purpose laptops but also as powerful mobile workstations for business oriented users.

If you don’t want a top quality display or a premium design, check out our mid-range laptops under $1000 for products that look modest but pack some serious hardware for their price. If you need something just for routine tasks, there are lots of money saving options in our budget laptop guides featuring laptops from under $500 and below.

Top Picks >> Premium >> Under $2000 >> Under $1500 >>

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Best Overall High-End Laptops – Top Picks

Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar MLW82LL/A 15.4-inchApple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar MLW82LL/A 15.4-inch

While the new MacBook Pro was met with criticism from even some of the most hardcore Apple fans, it still remains a piece of brilliant forward thinking design. The new MacBook Pro shares the same stylish aluminim unibody design of its predecessor, however Apple have made it almost 40% thinner than the previous model. It now measures a mere 0.61-inches thick and it weighs in at a super light 4.02 pounds, bringing this MacBook Pro onto the border of Ultrabook territory. Sharing the same powerful Intel Core i7-68200HQ processor as some high-end gaming laptops, the Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar MLW82LL/A will have no issues running even the most demanding audio or design applications on the market. However, Apple only offer the Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar MLW82LL/A with 16GB of RAM that is not upgradable. This is something that we have seen with other Apple products such as the iMac and the Mac Mini, which feature integrated memory modules. So bad news for those who were hoping to upgrade the memory of their brand new MacBook Pro to either 24GB or 32GB. The most talked about feature of the new MacBook Pro is the all new Touch Bar with integrated Touch ID. The new Touch Bar will now display new shortcuts depending on what applications you are working in and promises to speed up your workflow at home or at the office. The integrated Touch ID allows you to quickly and safely approve Apple Pay transactions and will allow you to quickly switch user accounts and login securely. Apple have also given the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar MLW82LL/A a beefier AMD Radeon Pro 455 GPU with 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 video memory. It also features automatic graphics switching to switch to the Intel HD Graphics 530 GPU to conserve battery life when using less demanding applications. The Achilles heel of the Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar MLW82LL/A is the fact that it no longer features any legacy ports or Apple’s MagSafe charging port. Charging is now handled by one of the four Thunderbolt 3 (USB 3.1 Type-C) ports. This will also mean purchasing adapters or a dock in order to use standard USB 2.0 and 3.0 devices or to connect an HDMI cable.

Specs

  • 15.4 inch, 2880 x 1800 pixels (IPS)
  • Mac OS X 10.12 Sierra
  • 10 hours battery life
  • 4.02 lbs

Pros

  • Touch Bar with Touch ID
  • Powerful CPU
  • Dedicated AMD graphics
  • Large SSD
  • Brilliant Retina display
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • No standard ports
  • No MagSafe port
  • Non-upgradable RAM
  • Price
  • No SD card slot

Summary

The Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar MLW82LL/A is a powerful MacBook Pro for the power user, however with a hefty price tag and no legacy ports it might not be the MacBook that we hoped for as everyday users.

Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar MLW82LL/A 15.4-inch
Price Currently Unavailable Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 19-03-2017 13:05 UTC) Details

Microsoft Surface Book SX3-00001 13.5-inchMicrosoft Surface Book SX3-00001 13.5-inch

In today’s day and age, professionals often find themselves having to lug around a laptop as well as a tablet which can be cumbersome. Microsoft’s solution to this problem is the Surface Book SX3-00001. With its modern stylish design, high performance specs, crystal clear and incredibly responsive multi-touchscreen display, the Surface Book is perfect for the working professional. Powered by an Intel Core i5-6300U processor and 8GB of DDR3 RAM, the Surface Book SX3-00001 has the power to tackle any office task that can be thrown at it. The Surface Book SX3-00001 also features an NVIDIA Maxwell graphics card that has been specifically designed for the Surface Book. This will allow for some casual gaming, but more importantly it will allow for far better raw rendering power when it comes to design and architecture apps. The display offers a maximum resolution of 3000 x 2000, which gives it a ratio of 3:2. While this is an odd aspect ratio, it does mean that an A4 document will look more realistic than on most other laptops. The crystal clear display offers great viewing angles and rich colors for Full-HD videos and full frame photos. The superfast SSD allows you to boot into Windows in seconds and will allow your apps to launch with lightning fast speeds. You get 256GB of storage space, which will allow you to store a healthy amount of work documents. However it will fill up very quickly if you have a large multimedia library. Microsoft has successfully combined the raw power of a laptop-grade CPU and an NVIDIA GPU with the portability of a tablet into a hybrid that incorporates the best of both worlds. Able to handle anything from spreadsheets to 3D architectural design the Surface Book is the perfect business partner for the user who needs the power of a laptop with the versatility of a tablet.

Specs

  • Windows 10 Pro
  • 12 hours battery life
  • 3.34 lbs

Pros

  • Exceptional battery life
  • Powerful hardware
  • Thin and light
  • Pin point accurate touchscreen
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • NVIDIA graphics

Cons

  • No Ethernet
  • No USB Type-C
  • 3:2 aspect ratio
  • No HDMI
  • Price

Summary

The Surface Book SX3-00001 is a purpose built business laptop that offers great performance, an NVIDIA GPU and excellent battery life that will get you through the day.

Microsoft Surface Book SX3-00001 13.5-inch
from $1,490.84 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 26-03-2017 05:40 UTC) Details

Lenovo ThinkPad S1 Yoga 20CD00B1US 12.5-inch

Lenovo ThinkPad S1 Yoga 20CD00B1US 12.5-inch

The S1 Yoga 20CD00B1US looks like a typical Thinkpad ultrabook but in fact it has a multi-functional design. Its hinges allow the screen to flip around 360 to switch between laptop, stand, tablet and tent modes. The keyboard itself has a lift and lock mechanism which prevents accidental key strokes by flushing the keys within the chassis when you fold the screen backwards. Unlike the shiny metallic ultraportables, it sports a basic matte-black casing which Lenovo uses on most of its Thinkpad business laptops. With a tough magnesium alloy frame and scratch resistant Gorilla Glass display, it is designed to be a reliable investment for business use. Its 12.5-inch Full-HD display with a matte finish helps reduce glare, and its touchscreen works well with both traditional touch and the included digitizer pen. Inside its thin chassis lies some top-end hardware including a Core i7-4600U processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD storage. Aspowerful as it is, the S1 uses power efficiently giving users up to 7 hours of battery life. The port selections are good but most users may prefer a full-sized HDMI over the included mini-HDMI port. All in all, with a rugged modern design, fast performance and long battery life, the 20CD00B1US provides a highly rated enterprise-level ultraportable notebook.

Specs

  • 12.5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 8.1
  • 7 hours battery life
  • 3.6 lbs

Pros

  • Great display
  • Long battery life
  • Solid performance
  • Digitizer stylus

Cons

  • Poor sound quality
  • Poor graphical performance

Summary

An ultra portable convertible device which can keep up with most business applications. The integrated graphics are not really suitable for gaming.

Lenovo ThinkPad S1 Yoga 20CD00B1US 12.5-inch
Price Currently Unavailable Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 26-03-2017 05:30 UTC) Details

ASUS-ZenBook-Pro-UX501VW

ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW 15.6-inch

Packing some high-end components inside a sturdy unibody chassis, the ASUS Zenbook Pro UX501VW is designed to be an all-in-one solution for business users, graphics professionals and moderate gamers. The 15-inch Zenbook Pro has a simple yet elegant design with a silver finished aluminum construction with ASUS’s signature concentric ring on the outer lid. At 0.8 inches thick and weighing 5 pounds, it is a bit heavier and thicker than competitors like the Macbook Pro and Dell XPS 15, although it must be noted that the latter devices cost about $500 more while packing similar hardware. The keyboard on the Zenbook Pro offers a comfortable typing experience and it is complemented by a spacious palm rest which is also metal covered. Besides three USB 3.0 ports, this upgraded UX501VW features a USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support. However, like many modern laptops, it is missing the miniDisplay port, Kensington Lock and Ethernet port. The laptop’s 15.6-inch touch screen supports a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, making it ideal for photo or video editors. Featuring an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, a whopping 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a fast 512GB SSD, the Zenbook Pro is able to meet your multimedia, productivity and everyday needs. You will also be able to run some modern games thanks to the dedicated NVIDIA GTX 960M GPU. While the previous Zenbook Pro had a meager 4 hours of battery life, the UX501VW lasted a solid 8 hours on Laptop Mag’s battery test.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 3840 x 2160 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 8 hours battery life
  • 5 lbs

Pros

  • Metal chassis
  • UHD touch screen
  • Fast Quad-Core processor
  • Dedicated graphics
  • Fast USB-C connection

Cons

  • Heavier than some competitors
  • Glossy screen

Summary

The UX501VW’s glossy display and extra heft are minor shortcomings considering you are getting a UHD display, all-day battery life and an all metal unibody design for a lot less than the “pro” laptops from other manufacturers.

ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T 15.6-inch
Price Currently Unavailable Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 26-03-2017 05:34 UTC) Details

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Best High-End Laptops Under $1500 – Top Picks

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon 20FB004JUS 14-inchLenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon 20FB004JUS 14-inch

In an effort to produce a super light and thin ultrabook, Lenovo looked at the racing and aviation industry and incorporated carbon fiber and magnesium alloy in the impressive Thinkpad X1 Carbon. Designed with business users in mind, the Thinkpad X1 Carbon offers a single-touch fingerprint reader, Trusted Platform Module encryption and Windows Professional to access further security features. It has also been tested to military standards to ensure that it will be able to cope with the various challenges of business travel. Powering the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon is a 6th generation Intel Core i5-6200U processor and 8GB of RAM, which combined make light work of everyday tasks. The solid state drive offers lightning fast boot and app loading times, making it great for users who need to access their apps and files on the fly. The 256GB of storage space will be enough for most users, but those with larger music and movie collections will have to look at using an external storage drive. The display offers great image quality, vivid colors and 104% sRGB color Gamut. But the display brightness level is quite average, which might bother some users who prefer a brighter screen for low light use. But the Thinkpad X1 Carbon does come with a backlit keyboard, making working in those low light situations much easier. Being a Thinkpad laptop, it comes with the recognizable TrackPoint pointing stick, providing you with the most accurate way to navigate around Windows and your apps.

Specs

  • 14 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • 10.25 hours battery life
  • 2.54 lbs

Pros

  • Light weight
  • Great keyboard
  • Battery life
  • SSD
  • Bright display

Cons

  • No Ethernet port
  • No USB 3.1 Type-C
  • New docking port

Summary

Overall the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon is a beautiful ultrabook that incorporates carbon fiber for durability and lightness. But does not have an Ethernet port or USB 3.1 Type-C.

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon 20FB004JUS 14-inch
from $1,299.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 26-03-2017 05:40 UTC) Details

Dell XPS9350-5340SLV 13.3-InchDell XPS9350-5340SLV Microsoft Signature Edition 13.3-inch

With the rise in popularity of tablets in the modern tech market, touchscreen displays have become popular among users who are after a hybrid experience. The Dell XPS9350-5340SLV offers great performance in a small 13.3-inch laptop that is perfect for users on the go. Powered by a Skylake Dual-Core i7-6500U processor which is backed by 8GB of RAM, the Dell XPS9350-5340SLV has more than enough power to handle day-to-day tasks. The installed 256GB solid state drive allows for fast booting and lightning fast app launching, but the total storage space is a bit limited for modern use. It boasts Intel HD 520 integrated graphics which are sufficient for day-to-day tasks, but for gaming it is under powered and will only run newer titles on low to medium settings. The QHD IPS display offers great viewing angles, great color range and a maximum resolution of 3200×1800, but due to the smaller display size the full QHD experience is lost as the full resolution leaves everything looking tiny. The touchscreen is quite responsive and offers a great touch experience for multimedia and web browsing. Designers will need to look elsewhere as it does not offer the responsiveness that is offered by products such as the Wacom range. The Dell XPS9350-5340SLV features low voltage hardware which means that the battery life is far better than some of its competitors and will offer a great 8 hours of use.

Specs

  • 13.3 inch, 3200 x 1800 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 8 hours battery life
  • 2.8 lbs

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • Powerful hardware
  • Solid state drive
  • QHD touch display
  • USB Type-C with Thunderbolt 3
  • Thin and light
  • No 3rd party bloatware

Cons

  • Smaller storage device
  • Display to resolution ratio
  • Weird Webcam position
  • Limited amount of ports

Summary

The Dell XPS9350-5340SLV is a great touchscreen laptop that is small, light and offers a brilliant QHD display for users on the go.

Dell XPS9350-5340SLV Microsoft Signature Edition 13.3-Inch
from $1,149.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 26-03-2017 05:36 UTC) Details

Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation 15.6-inchDell Precision 15 5510 Workstation 15.6-inch

While many gaming laptops can be used for design and animation work thanks to their dedicated graphics cards, if you are serious about your work then you will consider a dedicated workstation laptop. One of the cheaper workstations on the market is the Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation, which offers a dedicated NVIDIA Quadro graphics card. But other than the Quadro card, the specs are a bit average for its over $1000 price tag. Powered by a 6th generation Skylake Intel Core i5-6300HQ processor and a meagre 8GB of RAM, the Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation will cope with most tasks, but is slightly underpowered for more intensive rendering and processing. The crowning feature, the Quadro M1000M is NVIDIA’s entry level rendering card and will offer users the performance that they need while working. The card can even be used for gaming, but the lower shader count puts it just below the GTX 950M. Designed for a specific purpose, you would expect more storage space to store larger projects, but the Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation has a 500GB mechanical hard drive. But it is a 7200rpm drive, which offers better performance than the 5400rpm hard drive that is commonly used. If you have a larger budget then we recommend looking at the MSI WT72 6QM-423US, but if not then the Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation is worth looking at.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • 16 hours battery life
  • 3.93 lbs

Pros

  • Sharp display
  • NVIDIA Quadro card
  • USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Designed for rendering

Cons

  • Battery life
  • Only 500GB of storage
  • Only 8GB of RAM
  • Intel i5 processor
  • Price

Summary

The Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation offers users a Quadro M1000M rendering card, but the RAM and storage space are below average for its price

Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation 15.6-inch
from $1,146.11 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 26-03-2017 05:40 UTC) Details

Apple MacBook MJY42LLA 12-Inch

Apple MacBook MJY42LL/A 12-Inch

The latest version of the MacBook replaced the old 13-inch version in 2015, being much lighter and thinner than its predecessors. Replacing the previous generations Intel Core i-series processors is a Dual-Core Intel Core M Processor, which has been criticized by some Apple fans, but this CPU is one of the most revolutionary processor to be released in the last few years. Being 50% smaller than other Intel processors and not requiring a fan for cooling, the Core M allows for the new MacBook to be a mere 0.52-inches thick. Backing this new generation of mobile processor is 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM that helps conserve power and allows the new MacBook to offer an average battery life of over 14 hours. The lightning fast 512GB of PCIe based flash storage offers enough space for professional writers and editors, but will fill up quickly if it is used for storing multimedia. The 12-inch display offers an unusual 16:10 aspect ratio and an unusual resolution of 2304×1440. Like some of Apple’s more premium machines the new MacBook comes standard with a Retina display and thanks to IPS technology it offers wide viewing angles and rich colors. One of the biggest criticisms of the new MacBook is that Apple has done away with all of the ports that you would expect to find on a laptop and have replaced it with a single USB Type-C port. This means purchasing an adapter to be able to connect a standard USB device or connect an external monitor or TV via HDMI or VGA. While it looks sleek and allows the laptop to retain a thin profile it is far from convenient. All in all, the new MacBook offers a sleek design that weighs in at 2lbs, making it extremely light and portable for Mac users on the go.

Specs

  • 12 inch, 2304 x 1440 pixels (IPS)
  • Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite
  • 14 hours battery life
  • 2 lbs

Pros

  • Insane battery life
  • Thin and light
  • Retina display
  • SSD

Cons

  • Price
  • One USB Type-C port
  • No USB Type-C adapter included

Summary

The new MacBook is perfect for Mac users who are after a thin and light laptop that can offer a 14 hour battery life, making it great for travelling professionals.

Apple MacBook MJY42LL/A 12-Inch
from $1,349.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from BHPhotoVideo.com
(as of 26-03-2017 05:36 UTC) Details

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Best High-End Laptops Under $2000 – Top Picks

Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar MNQG2LL/A 13.3-inchApple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar MNQG2LL/A 13.3-inch

After almost four years of small changes, Apple have finally done a big revamp of their world famous MacBook Pro range. The new MacBook Pro shares the same stylish aluminim unibody design than its predecessor, but it now weighs in at a super light 3.02 pounds and is a mere 0.59-inches thick. The most talked about feature of the MacBook Pro MNQG2LL/A is the all new Touch Bar with integrated Touch ID. The new Touch Bar will now display new shortcuts depending on what app you are working in, which will be great for creatives using the Adobe’s collection of apps. The integrated Touch ID allows you to quickly and safely approve Apple Pay transactions and will allow you to quickly switch user accounts. Designed for the power user, the Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar MNQG2LL/A is powered by a sixth generation Intel Core i7-6267U processor and 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and it will easily be able to cope with intensive apps and processes. The memory can only be upgraded to a maximum of 16GB at the time of purchase as the RAM is now integrated on the motherboard. The display has also seen an improvement over the last generation MacBook Pro. The new display is brighter, offers 25% more colors than sRGB and a 67% increase in the display’s contrast ratio. This combined with the In-plane switching technology and a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1600 make the new display perfect for media fans and creative alike. The biggest drawback of the MacBook Pro MNQG2LL/A is the fact that it no longer features any legacy ports or Apple’s MagSafe charging port. Charging is now handled by one of the four Thunderbolt 3 (USB 3.1 Type-C) ports. This will also mean purchasing adapters or a dock in order to use standard USB 2.0 and 3.0 devices or to connect an HDMI cable.

Specs

  • 13.3 inch, 2560 x 1600 pixels (IPS)
  • Mac OS X 10.12 Sierra
  • 10 hours battery life
  • 3 lbs

Pros

  • Thin and light
  • Touch Bar with Touch ID
  • 512GB SSD
  • Brilliant display
  • Battery life

Cons

  • No MagSafe charging port
  • Price
  • No SD card slot
  • No legacy ports
  • Only Thunderbolt ports

Summary

The MacBook Pro with Touch Bar MNQG2LL/A offers great battery life and performance for power users, but the lack of ports will mean using adapters or a dock for standard devices that we all still use.

Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar MNQG2LL/A 13.3-inch
from $1,949.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 26-03-2017 05:46 UTC) Details

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Premium High-End Laptops

Apple-Macbook-Pro-MJLT2LLA-13.3-Inch

Apple Macbook Pro MJLT2LL/A 15.6-inch

The Apple Macbook Pro MJLT2LL/A features some refreshed internals but retains the same sleek appearance of its predecessor. Its unibody aluminum casing feels sturdy and houses some powerful components while maintaining a very thin profile. Most windows laptop easily bow down to Macbook Pro’s superior design, but if you’re not much into looks or if you’re not a diehard Mac fan, there are Windows ultraportables offering better specs for a similar or lower price. The 2880 x 1800 IPS Retina display has remained unchanged from previous generations and with its excellent color calibration it’s still one of the best screens for Photoshop experts and video editors to work on. The new Macbook comes with a refreshed 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7 Crystalwell processor, an AMD Radeon R9 M370x discrete graphics and a new 500GB flash storage which Apple claims to be 2.5 times faster than its previous generation. With an average battery life of 9 hours, it last about 30 minutes longer than its predecessor. Its speakers aren’t particularly loud but produce well-balanced sound. The keyboard is as comfortable as always and the new Force touch trackpad offers many new features for intuitive navigation. For general users, the 2014 Macbook Pro doesn’t warrant an upgrade, but for 3D graphics designer, video editors and serious gamers, the new Macbook Pro MJLT2LL/A may offer a much needed boost in performance.

Specs

  • 15.4 inch, 2880 x 1800 pixels (IPS)
  • Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite
  • 9 hours battery life
  • 4.49 lbs

Pros

  • Premium design
  • Brilliant aluminum finish
  • Impressive performance
  • Extra long battery life
  • Crystal clear display

Cons

  • Premium price
  • No optical drive

Summary

A premium machine with a modern and stylish design and the specs to match the Apple MacBook pro offers high performance computing paired with excellent build quality. The price may seem high but Apple computers generally outlast their competitors by several years.

Apple Macbook Pro MJLT2LL/A 13.3-Inch
Price Currently Unavailable Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 19-02-2017 05:32 UTC) Details