Update: While we had previously recommended the Huawei MateBook 13 in top place, the ongoing trouble the company faces with the US Government casts a great deal of uncertainty on the degree of support its products will receive into the future. As such, we recommend the excellent Dell XPS 13 in its stead.
If you’re looking at getting yourself a new laptop but don’t really know where to start, you’re in luck – that’s the entire point of this very page!
Here at TechRadar, we get to review the full breadth and width of currently-available laptops, so we’re well and truly across what’s worth the dosh and what’s not.
Whether it’s Apple’s freshest MacBook Pro, the newly-arrived Huawei MateBook 13, or the latest winner in the Dell XPS range, we’ve painstakingly compared and contrasted each one in order to give you a rundown on the laptop with the best value.
We’ve taken into account ultrabooks, gaming laptops, 2-in-1s, and every other shape and size that laptops come in these days – so don’t worry if you’re in it for work or play, we’ve got you covered.
Best laptops in Australia 2020 at a glance
- Dell XPS 13 (2020)
- Huawei MateBook 13
- HP Spectre x360 (2020)
- Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED
- Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
- MSI GS65 Stealth
- Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
- Dell G5 15 5590 Gaming
- Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch)
- Alienware Area-51m
The best laptops of 2020:
1. Dell XPS 13 (2020)
Still one of the best laptops of all time
CPU: 10th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 4k (3840 x 2160) | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Excellent battery life
The Dell XPS 13 has maintained pole position in our best laptops list for years, and the 2020 again earns its well-deserved crown. It keeps everything we’ve come to love from Dell’s flagship 13-incher, from the gorgeous and light design, to the powerful modern components that power it. The Dell XPS 13 now rocks 10th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors and a bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display, which means the Dell XPS 13 (2020) is a brilliant performer, while remaining thin and light. What’s more, there’s a wide range of customisation options, so you can really make the Dell XPS 13 the best laptop for your needs. The 2020 model refines the already-brilliant design of the XPS 13, but it does come at a high cost. While this is easily one of the best laptops in the world right now, it’s also one of the most expensive as well.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
2. Huawei MateBook 13
Our new pick for the best laptop in the world
CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 , Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13-inch 1440p (2,160 x 1,440) | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
Only 8GB RAM
No Thunderbolt 3
Our pick for the pinnacle of laptops you can buy in Australia for 2019 would be the Huawei MateBook 13, were it not for the ongoing issues the company faces. Like the MateBook X Pro before it, the MateBook 13 packs some of the latest components and tech into a nifty lightweight package at an affordable price. It’s this deft balance that would give it the slight edge over the reigning champ, the Dell XPS 13, if it weren’t for the unknown future of support for the device.
Read the full review: Huawei MateBook 13
3. HP Spectre x360 (2020)
The best laptop overall
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS BrightView micro-edge WLED-backlit multitouch – 13.3″ diagonal 4K (3840 x 2160) UWVA BrightView micro-edge AMOLED multitouch | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Stylish and high-quality finish
Great all-around performance
Battery life takes a hit
Can run hot at times
The HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptop has had a big refresh for 2020, with 10th-generation Intel Core processors and Intel Iris Plus graphics, along with the impeccable 2-in-1 design and pristine gem-cut chassis. We’re huge fans of the power, build quality and design of this laptop, and if it weren’t so expensive for Australians comparatively, then it’d likely be in the number one slot.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 (2020)
4. Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED
The list-topper just got an OLED upgrade
CPU: Intel Core i7 9750H | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 (8GB GDDR6; MaxQ) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 4K (3,840 x 2,160), 60HZ, AMOLED, Gloss | Storage: 512GB SSD
4K HDR OLED screen
RTX GPU and 9th-gen CPU
Sleek with better thermal management
Max 60HZ refresh rate
Unfortunate webcam placement
While the Aero 15 range from Gigabyte is aimed at designers, it makes for the best value gaming laptop on the Australian market right now due to its powerful internals, brilliant display, and sleek, stylish chassis. This year’s model comes packing a new 15-inch 4K HDR screen ideal as a high-resolution on-the-go gaming monitor, media machine, or its intended design-centric use. Considering it’s also packing the latest Nvidia RTX series GPUs and 9th-gen Intel Core CPUs.
Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED
5. MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
The best Apple laptop
CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M – Radeon Pro 5500M | RAM: 16GB – 64GB | Screen: 16-inch Retina display with True Tone | Storage: 512GB – 8TB SSD
Stunning 16-inch screen
New and improved keyboard
Limited to four Thunderbolt 3 ports
While we are sad that the 15-inch MacBook Pro is no more, we’ve welcomed the MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) with open arms. As thin, light and sleek as ever, you wouldn’t think this was a 16-inch behemoth. Yet, you’re getting that extra real estate on that stunning display, as well as the latest and greatest components behind it. This is, without a doubt, the best MacBook for content creators, designers and other creative professionals. With amazing (and loud) speakers and a much, much better keyboard to boot.
Read the full review: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
6. MSI GS65 Stealth
The best gaming laptop of 2019
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM, Max-Q) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare, wide-view 144Hz panel | Storage: 512GB M.2 SSD
Beautiful, subtle design
Underside gets very hot
The new MSI GS65 Stealth has knocked our previous choice of the best gaming laptop, Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501, off this list, thanks to its excellent array of cutting edge components, which includes an 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU. It’s also more reasonably priced than the Zephyrus GX501, and its subtle design means that it can double as a work or study laptop without raising any eyebrows. If you’re looking for a more affordable gaming laptop, however, check out the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming below.
Read the full review: MSI GS65 Stealth
7. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
The best laptop by Microsoft
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 / AMD Ryzen 5 / AMD Ryzen 7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics / AMD Radeon Vega 9 / AMD Radeon RX Vega 11 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch PixelSense (2,256 x 1,504) / 15-inch PixelSense (2,496 x 1,664) | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD
Excellent battery life
Choice of Intel or AMD CPU
No Thunderbolt 3 option
Too few ports for its size
With the third version of the Surface Laptop 3, Microsoft has made its best laptop yet. While it’s not a huge leap over its predecessor, the Surface Laptop 3 does improve on almost every aspect.
Best of all, with the 15-inch version you now get a choice of either Intel or AMD hardware. Previously, only Intel tech was included. Elsewhere, the Surface Laptop 3 continues the Surface Laptop’s reputation for being a stunningly designed laptop.
These are some of the most desirable laptops in the world that don’t have a logo of an apple on them, with a new aluminum body that gives it a premium feel, while protecting it from knocks and drops. There are still a few niggles, like the continued lack of ports, but in general this is one of the best laptops in the world right now.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
8. Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
Luxury meets power
CPU: Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics with 4GB HMB2 Graphics Memory | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
Kind of expensive
Last year’s Dell XPS 15 was already one of the best laptops you could buy, but now that Dell has taken the beautiful redesign of the Dell XPS 13 and applied it here – while also making it a convertible. Well, it’s amazing. Not only do you get one of the most aesthetically pleasing 15-inch laptops on the market, but it also packs one of those new Intel Kaby Lake G-series CPUs featuring ‘discrete-class’ Radeon graphics. This means that this laptop packs serious power – even if it can get a little loud.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
9. Dell G5 15 5590
Currently the best budget gaming laptop of 2019
CPU: up to 9th generation Intel Core i7-9750H | Graphics: up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 with Max-Q | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS 300-nits – 15.6 inch FHD(1920 x 1080) 300nits IPS Anti-Glare LED with 144Hz refresh rate | Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD – 1TB SSD
Perfectly balanced feature set
Strong gaming performance
Great battery life
IPS panel is merely OK
Confusing configuration options
While the Alienware Area-51m (featured earlier in this best laptops list) is the best gaming laptop for people with a lot of money to spare, if you’re on a tighter budget, then the Dell G5 15 5590 gaming laptop is a fantastic choice. Dell’s 15-inch G5 doesn’t have the highest end specs, but it will see you through 1080p gaming and last you up to 10 hours of battery life as well – which is pretty remarkable for a gaming laptop. It also features a stylish design and great build quality, and Dell also allows you to configure the Dell G5 15 5590 to better suit your budget and needs.
Read the full review: Dell 5 15 5590
10. Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch)
The most powerful 2-in-1 laptop in the world
CPU: Intel Core i5-7300U – Intel Core i7-8650U 1.9GHz | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620; Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (2GB GDDR5 VRAM) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 3,000 x 2,000 (267 ppi) PixelSense display, 3:2 aspect ratio | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Very good battery life
No Surface Pen included
With the Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch), Microsoft has crafted one of the most powerful 2-in-1 laptops in the world. The Surface Book 2 has some powerful enough components to handle most day-to-day tasks, and even some light gaming and video editing if you go for a model with a dedicated graphics card. Brilliant build quality and excellent battery life makes this a wonderful device for using as either a laptop, or as a powerful Windows 10 tablet. It also comes in a 15-inch version, which is more powerful and with a larger screen. If you’re after a more affordable 2-in-1 device, then the Acer Switch 3, below, is well worth checking out.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch)
11. Alienware Area-51m
The best gaming laptop of 2019
CPU: Intel Core i7-9700 – i9-9900K | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 – 2080 | RAM: 16GB – 64GB | Screen: 17.3″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 60Hz Anti-Glare IPS – 144Hz IPS NVIDIA G-SYNC | Storage: 1TB SSHD – 2TB RAID0 SSDs + 1TB SSHD
The Alienware Area-51m is a strong contender for the best gaming laptop of 2019, and earns that place in other markets (such as the UK and US) due to its relative affordability. Down under, it’s a little more expensive and doesn’t quite earn that spot, but it’s still absolutely worth considering (especially if it’s on sale). With an eye catching design and brilliant build quality, which we’ve come to expect from Dell’s Alienware brand, this is an incredible performer, offering a choice of some of the very best gaming components on the market right now, including 9th generation Intel Core processors and Nvidia’s latest RTX range of GPUs. Sure, it’s pretty expensive, but if you’re serious about getting the best gaming laptop money can buy in 2019, then you’ll need to expect to splash out a little bit, and the Alienware Area-51m really is worth every penny.
Read the full review: Alienware Area-51m
Which type of laptop is best for you?
General laptops: This broader category is dedicated to devices that focus more on practicality than style, portability or power. That’s not to say they can’t be fast, but you’ll typically find a non-Ultrabook clamshell laptop with an HD screen and spinning drive-based storage for less than AU$1,000.
Ultrabooks: Where you’ll find thin-and-light notebooks sporting SSD storage and display resolutions that exceed 1080p. Paired with powerful, albeit mobile-centric components and especially long battery life, the best Ultrabooks will cost a pretty penny – closer to AU$1,000 to AU$3,000.
2-in-1 laptops: Where notebooks that double as tablets are located. Outfitted with both detachable and 360-degree rotating hinges, these hybrids are the most versatile way to experience Windows 10 (or Chrome OS) on a touchscreen.
Chromebooks: Where you’ll find the best Chromebooks running Chrome OS. These do much of what Windows and macOS can in the browser, focused on cloud storage over local, while recently getting Android app support for touchscreen models. They generally cost less than AU$500.
Gaming laptops: Need a laptop to play games (almost) just like a shiny desktop PC can? Then you’ll want one of the best gaming laptops. These machines generally cost more than AU$1,000 and can quickly get into the AU$4 – 5,000 range for the beastlier models.