Is Refurbished Mac Laptop Best For The Money

Posted By admin On 15.02.22

Apple MacBook Air MD711LL/A 11.6-Inch HD Laptop Computer, Intel Core i5 Processor 1.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 802.11ac WiFi, USB 3.0, Bluetooth 4.0; MAC OS X (Refurbished). The MacBook Air is Apple's cheapest MacBook laptop at $1,000, but it's an old and tired laptop in 2018. The latest model that was refreshed in 2017 doesn't actually have 2017 parts.

Dear Lifehacker,
I saw your recommendation about buying refurbished Apple products and was wondering about other refurbished electronics or brands. Is it safe to buy a refurbished or open box TV, for example, or a refurbished computer from another source? I want to save money, obviously, but am afraid of getting burned.

Why You Should Choose Refurbished If You're Buying Apple Products

Buying refurbished electronics can save you some dough, but it can also feel like a game of Russian …

Read more Read

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Thanks,
Wary of Refurbs

Dear WoR,
We understand your trepidation. In some people's minds, refurbs are faulty products hastily pushed on to the next consumer (rejects!). But in many cases refurbished electronics are a great steal—'good as new' computers, TVs, stereos, mobile devices, etc. that cost much less and last at least as long as their brand-new counterparts. The key to buying refurbished electronics without having problems is knowing where to look and doing a bit of shopping detective work. Let's sort it all out.

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Best Mac For Your Money

What Does 'Refurbished' Mean?

Although the word 'refurbished' may conjure up not-so-reassuring images of retailers and manufacturers resurrecting defective products, lots of items fall under the 'refurbished' umbrella. Sometimes a customer returns a product for a refund without even opening the box or using the item at all. There's nothing wrong with it, but the item can't be sold as new and has to be offered as a refurbished product—often at a deep discount (around 15 to 30 percent).

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Other types of reasons products get labeled refurbished include:

  • Shipping or exterior damage: Minor scratches or dents to the product during shipment would force a retailer to return it to the manufacturer and put on the refurbish checkout lane.
  • Demo units: Demonstration units used at trade shows, retail stores, or product reviewers may be repackaged as refurbished items.
  • Opened box: Opened box can mean anything. Technically, there should be no issue and the item is 'like new,' but the box was simply opened.
  • Production Defects: If a defect in one part is found, manufacturers might repair the returned defective units and sell them or send them to retailers as refurbished units.

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The issue is that in most cases, you don't know why a product has been labeled refurbished. If a customer just changed his or her mind and returned it, then the item is basically new and—sweet—you've saved yourself a lot of dough. But with things like 'opened box' items, a returns department clerk could have just slapped that label on a product someone brought back because it wasn't working or had some major defect. And then you're screwed if you buy it.

So what should you do if you want to save money but are scared of refurbished products? The best bet is to shop from a reputable source and look for a generous warranty.

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Where to Shop for Refurbished Electronics

Buy refurbished products directly from the manufacturer, so you can get the assurances that they've rigorously tested and rebuilt the devices themselves, or else buy from a reputable authorized dealer (e.g., Amazon, Newegg) that gets the refurbs from the manufacturer.

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Apple's exemplary refurbished policy and system, as we mentioned previously, mean you should start there if you want the best deals on iPhones, iPads, iPods, and other iDevices. Apple devices get the same warranty, case, and battery as the new stuff but can cost a whole lot less.

You're not limited to Apple stuff, though. Dell Outlet offers excellent refurbish options—ones labeled as new (just canceled orders), certified refurbished (tested by Dell to be good as new), and scratch and dent (may have cosmetic blemishes that don't affect performance). You get the same warranty and support as if you bought new, similar to Apple's policy.

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Other major tech manufacturers with clearance offerings include HP (which offers the same-as-new warranty and support) and Sony (warranty term is limited 90 days). Epson has a clearance section too, but items are final sale—no return policy, so think carefully before buying. Check the site for your favorite manufacturer to see if there's an outlet section.

Why You Need to Be Careful Buying Refurbished from Other Places

You can buy refurbished electronics from other places, but you have to be a bit more wary. I'm sad to say my personal experience buying refurbished gadgets has been a horror story, in two cases. At a discount appliance store chain, my father bought me an 'open box' television for college (my dad's frugal, and he rocks). That thing could not hold a signal for its life. Naive as we were at the time, we were convinced by the salesman's explanation that the open box label just meant the customers had looked inside the package and returned it right away. When we had plugged it in at the store it worked, but of course it didn't work miles away at college, and the TV was bought 'as is.' Moral of the story: Avoid buying refurbished products 'as is.'

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In the second case, years ago I bought a refurbished laptop online from what looked to be a reputable vendor. After a few months the system would just start turning off randomly throughout the day. It turned out to be a hardware problem (not the hard drive, which I replaced, but an issue with the connectors). Unfortunately, by the time I figured out the problem it was past the warranty coverage. Did I just get a dud, buy from the wrong place, or buy the wrong laptop? It really could have been any of those, which is part of the risk of buying refurbished. You can minimize the risk by buying from the right seller (direct from manufacturer or from trusted reseller) and a few more tips:

What to Look for When Buying Refurbished Electronics

  • 'Factory certified' refurbished products. Not all refurbs are the same. Third-party refurbished products are available, but go for the factory-refurbished electronics, which come with the manufacturer warranty and have been carefully tested and brought to the original standards.
  • Warranty. Many retailers and manufacturers offer 90-day warrantees on refurbs. As mentioned above, for peace of mind you're better off looking for the full (e.g., one-year) warranty if you can find it. Unfortunately, credit cards are not likely to extend the warranty on refurbished products, but ask the retailer if you can get an extended warranty on the item—not that you should buy it, per se, but if the retailer does offer an extended warranty, it's a good sign of faith in that product.
  • Return policy. A liberal return policy means if you can catch any issues early (do some stress testing if possible) or are simply not happy with the product you're in luck. Target allows returns within 90 days of purchase, Amazon and Sony have refund refurbs within 30 days, and Apple has a 14-day refund policy. Make sure there's at least some return policy.
  • Accessories and Other Details. Check that all the chargers, cables, cords, manuals, software, drivers, and whatever else comes with your product are included in the package. Also check the complete description and specs list for your product and make sure it is the item you are expecting (a simple change in model numbers, for example, might mean you're looking at a different product).

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Although there are some risks when it comes to buying refurbished electronics, there's no reason to be put off just by the label 'reburbished.' Buying refurbished can land you an incredible deal. Just buy it from the manufacturer or reputable dealer and with a long warranty to cover any problems—and enjoy your savings.

Love,
Lifehacker

Have a question or suggestion for Ask Lifehacker? Send it to [email protected]

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The Lay of the Laptop Land

The laptop market has undergone major changes in the past few years, and there's likely to be more confusion in the notebook aisle now than at any other time. Today's models encompass everything from featherweight, business-savvy ultraportables that barely tip the scales at less than 2 pounds, to lap-crushing gaming behemoths of 10 pounds or more.

Your standard laptop doesn't look the way it once did, either, with dozens of convertible designs that rethink the standard clamshell to take advantage of touch interfaces. Some laptops double as tablets, with hinges that bend and fold, while other touch-enabled PCs are actually slate tablets that come with hardware keyboards for notebook-style use. There's simply too much variety in the laptop space for one size or style to fit every person's needs.

That's where this buying guide comes in. We'll brief you on all the latest designs and specs, and parse the current trends, helping you figure out which features you need and how to find the laptop you really want.

The Best Laptop Deals This Week*

  • Samsung Chromebook 3 Intel Celeron N3060 11.6-Inch Laptop With 4GB RAM, 16GB SSD $159 (List Price $229.99; Save $70.99)
  • Asus VivoBook F510QA AMD A12-9720P Quad-Core 15.6-Inch 1080p Laptop $259 (List Price $399; Save $140)
  • HP 14 Slim Laptop with an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U and Radeon Vega 3 Graphics $269 (List Price $379.99; Save $110.99)
  • HP Pavilion 14 Intel Core i5-8265U Quad-Core 14-Inch 1080p Laptop With 256GB SSD — $499 (List Price $699; Save $200)
  • Lenovo Flex 14 AMD Ryzen 5 3500U 14-Inch 1080p 2-in-1 Touch Laptop with 256GB SSD, Active Pen — $529.99 (List Price $650; Save $120.01)

*Deals are selected by our partner, TechBargains

Finding the Best 12- to 13-Inch Laptop

At the small-screen end of the spectrum, 12- and 13-inch laptops, or ultraportables (more on these below), are worth considering if you plan on toting your laptop. These models are small enough to weigh 3 pounds or less, but large enough that they include a full-size keyboard and a decent size-screen. The downside is that port selection tends to be minimal due to the limited amount of room available on side panels. These laptops usually serve simple needs like surfing the web or modest word processing, and they're a good choice for business travelers who need to tote a laptop frequently. Smaller 10- and 11-inch laptops (now less common than they used to be) have even less room for ports, and will have smaller keyboards and space between the keys, so you'll have to adjust your typing style to accommodate.

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Sweet Spot: The Best 14- to 15-Inch Laptops

Laptops with 14- to 15.6-inch screens are the most popular, because they hit the sweet spot between portability and features that most users find desirable. Yes, they may weigh a few more pounds than their smaller-screen siblings, but in return you get easy reading on a larger screen, more room for various I/O ports, better internal components, and extra battery cells. You're up to 3 or 4 pounds in weight at this screen size, but that's still easy to carry around an office building or your home.

Screen Giants: The Best 17-Inch Laptops

The largest screens available typically show up in workstation-class and gaming laptops, though there are a few budget desktop-replacement options here as well. A 17-inch screen is large enough to share for presentations, or if you need the extra pixels to immerse yourself in your graphics projects or 3D games. The extra space in the chassis can be used for one or more graphics processors, desktop-class CPUs, or multiple banks of hard drives and SSDs. The larger chassis also usually means a more roomy keyboard. Weight is typically more than 6 pounds at this screen size, and sometimes 10 pounds or more for gaming rigs. These systems aren't meant to be portable, and they typically don't have long battery life.

Almost all offer screen resolutions of at least full HD or 1,920 by 1,080 (often abbreviated 'FHD' or '1080p'), while an increasing number feature displays with the big-screen resolution of 4K (3,840 by 2,160 pixels). Between 4K and 1080p, an emerging resolution in panels this size is QHD, or 2,560 by 1,440 pixels; QHD is showing up in a few elite-level machines, such as certain high-end configurations of the Alienware 17. But 1080p is by far the most common resolution you'll see. Also know: Touch screens are rare at this size. (See our roundup of the best 17-inch laptops.)

Ultraportables

Walk down any laptop aisle, and you'll notice that the selection of laptops has become dramatically thinner and sleeker over the last couple of years. Each of these wafer-thin systems represents a new vision for ultraportable computing: a no-compromises laptop light enough that you'll forget it's in your briefcase, with a long-lasting battery that will keep you working even when no power outlet is available. Fast storage, including 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB solid-state drives (SSD), or more affordably, 32GB to 64GB of slower eMMC flash, gives these ultraportables the ability to resume work in seconds after being idle or asleep for days. A significant slice of this market now belongs to convertible-hybrid laptops and detachable-hybrid tablets, often called '2-in-1' devices (see the next section for more information), but ultraportables are still a distinct category.

Most important, the entire category has thinned down in general. Whether you're looking at sliver-thin ultraportables, mainstream PCs, or even gaming machines, laptops of every flavor today are thinner, lighter, and better suited to life on the go. The best of these models will still cost you a pretty penny, particularly if you're looking for a business system that won't weigh you down when you travel for work, but they offer remarkable performance and often come with several high-end features as well. Touch screens (with 1080p resolution), full-size HDMI ports, and 8 or more hours of battery life are commonplace, and premium laptops (with premium prices) now come with high-resolution screens, up to 3,840-by-2,160 resolution (4K) at the top end.

For more, check out The Best Ultraportables and The Best Business Laptops.

Hybrid Laptops

The parallel evolution of powerful tablets and laptops' emphasis on touch capability haven't just encouraged the growth of those individual categories—they've created one that combines them. Hybrid systems, a.k.a. 2-in-1s, are capable of functioning either as a laptop or a tablet, depending on what you need (or want) at any given moment. This gives you a lot more freedom when interacting with the device, and makes it more functional in more places.

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There are two types of 2-in-1. The first is the convertible-hybrid, which transforms from a laptop to tablet and back again by rotating all the way around on the display's hinge. You can also stop at various positions along the way, if you want to stand the screen up on the keyboard like a kiosk display, or if you want to balance it on its edges, tent-style, so you can use just the touch screen in very little space. This design is best if you're interested in a tablet, but expect to need a good keyboard with some frequency.

If the keyboard is less important, the second kind, the detachable hybrid, might be the better way to go. These are primarily tablets that you can dock with an accessory keyboard for laptop-like functionality. Some of these designs offer docking keyboards with secondary batteries that provide all-day charge, while others opt for Bluetooth keyboards, forgoing the bulk of a docking hinge and connecting wirelessly.

Interested in one of these alternative types? Check out our roundups of the Best 2-in-1s and the Best Windows Tablets.

Mainstream and Premium Models

While the entire laptop category has gotten slimmer, there's still a market for larger 'classic' desktop-replacement laptops that blend premium design and function. Desktop replacements aren't quite as easy to cart around as smaller ultraportables, but these 14- and 15-inch laptops offer everything you need in a day-to-day PC. They have bigger displays, as well as a broader selection of ports and features, and are one of the few categories that still offer optical drives. Screen resolutions run the gamut from 1,366 by 768 for budget systems to the more mainstream 1,920-by-1,080-pixel resolution, up to the 3,840-by-2,160-pixel resolution found on high-end multimedia laptops intended for graphics professionals.

Media and Gaming Machines

Laptop and desktop sales may have started to decline in recent years, with tablet sales expanding to fill the gap, but gaming PC sales have actually increased. For anyone who wants top-of-the-line performance for PC games, the combination of a high-end processor, a potent discrete graphics card, and a large, high-resolution display is well worth the higher prices that such gaming rigs frequently command. And do those prices ever run high—while an entry-level gaming laptop typically starts at about $799, you can expect to pay $3,000 or more for a system with a powerful processor, lots of memory, and one or more high-end GPUs with the horsepower needed to play games with all the graphical details maxed out.

Before you drop a grand or two on a gaming laptop, you should know what you're getting for your money. Powerful quad-core processors are par for the course, with Intel Core i7 chips pushing serious performance even for non-gaming applications. Discrete GPUs from Nvidia and AMD provide silky-smooth graphics and impressive frame rates; some high-end rigs come with two GPUs, helping justify their high prices. External GPU docks are also an option, connected to the laptop via a Thunderbolt 3 cable. Additional features to watch for include high-resolution displays and hard drives that offer 1TB or more of local storage space, so you can store your entire game library on the machine.

Not all gaming laptops are hulking beasts, however. The sleek designs of ultraportables have given rise to a new breed of machine that puts gaming-level performance into a more portable design, with the sleek build and long-lasting battery life you haven't traditionally seen in this category. But this high-level performance doesn't come cheap here, either—gaming ultraportables usually run in the $2,000 range.

Check out our top-rated gaming laptop picks.

Chromebooks

Chromebooks are at the other end of the pricing spectrum from gaming laptops. These Chrome OS–based laptops generally run from $199 to around $500 in price, with many in the middle of that range. The $999 Google Pixelbook is an outlier that competes with Windows-based premium ultraportables. These power-efficient systems are made primarily to surf the Internet using Chrome OS. Small in stature, tall in power, narrow of purpose, and wide of vision, Chrome OS is essentially the Google Chrome browser running on hardware specs that would be considered 'tight' for a Windows PC. System memory is typically a lean 2GB to 4GB, and local storage is commonly limited to 16GB of flash memory (though you will see systems with 32GB to 64GB). But that's certainly enough to get on to the Internet, where cloud services like Google Drive store your files.

A primary benefit of Chrome OS is that it is relatively immune to the malware plaguing Windows systems, because you're not running Windows programs at all. Chrome OS updates also take seconds, rather than the minutes and hours you might wait on macOS and Windows updates. If you spend more than 90 percent of your computer time in a Web browser, you should have no trouble using a Chromebook as your primary PC.

Is Refurbished Mac Laptop Best For The Money

A recent development is the ability to run Android apps from the Google Play Store on Chromebooks. This perk lets you use the laptop, even when you're not connected to the Internet. These are the same apps you run on your phone, including games, productivity apps, and streaming video services. Productivity apps like Word and Excel extend the Chromebooks' usefulness offline.

Chrome OS has also recently expanded into the tablet form factor to compete with the Apple iPad and Android tablets. Chrome OS-powered tablets like the HP Chromebook x2 and the Google Pixel Slate come without built-in keyboards, which makes them extremely portable. They're an intriguing option for frequent travelers who don't need a conventional laptop.

In the market for a Chrome OS laptop? We've rounded up the best Chromebooks available. If you're simply on a strict budget, our list of the best cheap laptops is worth a look.

Understanding Laptop Connections: Ports and Slots

Connectivity is key for a modern laptop. Almost every model on the market today offers Bluetooth for connecting wireless peripherals, and Internet connectivity via 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Mobile broadband options, for when there's no Wi-Fi hotspot handy, include 3G, 4G HSPA+, and 4G LTE, but these are increasingly rare, as users opt for personal mobile hotspots that work with several devices or tether their smartphone to use its broadband connection.

Ultraportables and desktop replacements alike depend upon USB connectivity to work with a broad range of accessories and peripherals. USB 3.0, which offers much greater bandwidth and faster data transfer than USB 2.0, can be found in all but the oldest and lowest-priced designs; it's usually identifiable by a port colored in blue or labeled with the letters 'SS' (for Super Speed). Some USB ports can charge handheld devices even when the laptop is powered down. Look for a lightning bolt icon next to the USB logo for these charging ports.

Although for a while manufacturers like Apple, HP, and Lenovo implemented Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 interfaces as a faster alternative to USB 3.0 for hooking up monitors, storage devices, and docking stations, for the most part they did not gain widespread adoption. That's not the case with USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3, however. In addition to allowing for huge amounts of throughput as well as power delivery, the USB Type-C interface is much smaller than the older (Type-A) USB port. (You also don't have to worry about flipping the orientation of the plug.) This makes it ideal for the svelte laptops (half an inch or less) that are popular today. The downside is that you'll also have to give up larger, useful ports like Ethernet and HDMI, unless you're willing to carry around dongles for each, which can be inconvenient.

Thunderbolt 3 rides in on USB-C's coattails, using the same plug and socket, with extra circuitry to boost throughput to 40Gbps for humungous data transfers. That's eight times as fast as USB 3.0, and four times as fast as USB 3.1/USB-C. USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 are showing up in a lot of new laptops, from $229 budget models to $5,000 mobile workstations; Apple MacBooks and MacBook Pros that use it exclusively are among the highest-profile adoptees to date. Because of the general necessity of having thinner, more extensible ports in computer hardware of all types, these two interfaces are rapidly proliferating. This year, Thunderbolt 3 speeds will be integrated into the USB standard, likely dealing a death blow to USB 3.0.

The venerable VGA interface is rapidly disappearing as well, due in part to space constraints in ultraportables that preclude the bulky connector, and newer monitors and projectors that work better with DisplayPort, HDMI, USB-C or Thunderbolt 3. HDMI is especially popular lately, thanks to the demand for connecting laptops to TVs. Alternately, you can use an Apple TV or Google Chromecast device to beam video and audio to your TV wirelessly.

Also becoming scarce is the optical drive. With so many software and game purchases occurring online, and cloud services taking over for many local applications, the optical drive has been dropped from most model lines, with new systems touting slimmer, lighter form factors. For those who still need to install software from a disc or want to enjoy movies on DVD or Blu-ray, you can still find them (particularly on gaming laptops with 15-inch screens), but it takes some hunting. For those without, external USB DVD and Blu-ray drives are as easy to use as built-in drives.

While premium ultraportables rely solely upon SSDs for the performance boost offered by solid-state storage, most mainstream systems use a combination of an SSD and a traditional spinning hard drive. This lets you run programs quickly and still have lots of (slower) storage for your photos, videos, and other files. SSD-only laptops frequently top out at 256GB or 512GB, though you may occasionally see some premium systems with 1TB and larger drives. If you need more hard drive space, a USB 3.0 or USB-C external hard drive should do the trick.

What's Under the Hood?

The most dominant processor chips come from Intel. Made with ultraportables and hybrid designs in mind, Intel's latest Core mobile CPUs not only stretch battery life, but they also boast improved graphics processing. (See our picks for the longest-running laptops in terms of battery life.) These latest processors, identifiable by model numbers in the 8000s and 9000s (such as Core i7-8550U), also feature more cores than their predecessors. Nowadays, you will find a true quad-core CPU in your Core i5 laptop, with more power than an older dual-core. Dual-core chips live on, though, in the form of the cheaper Intel Pentium and Celeron CPUs that mostly power Chromebooks and entry-level laptops.

AMD's own line of processors also offers enhanced performance at low prices, but it can't match the efficiency gains of Intel's latest chips. You'll see the latest Mobile Ryzen chips in some budget and midrange machines, along with a select few models featuring AMD's Mobile Ryzen plus Vega graphics.

Whether you go with Intel or AMD, you should find an integrated graphics subsystem adequate for graphics tasks, unless you're a part-time gamer or a CAD user. High-end discrete graphics-processing units are terrific for 3D games, transcoding 1080p video, or watching 4K movies, but like fast processors, they also feast on laptop batteries.

Many laptop designs now incorporate non-removable batteries that can't be swapped out. While the move toward sealing batteries into the chassis does allow for thinner designs, it removes the possibility of swapping out batteries on the go for longer use between charging. On the other hand, the efficiency gains of Intel's newest processors mean that most laptops will still last for the better part of a day.

Beyond Plastic

As designs get sleeker and slimmer, manufacturers are using an array of materials in their construction. Plastic (or polycarbonate) is the least expensive and most commonly used material in laptop frames, but manufacturers have shown great ingenuity in making plastic not look cheap. The most common technique is in-mold decoration or in-mold rolling, a process made popular by Acer, HP, and Toshiba, in which decorative patterns are infused between plastic layers. This process has evolved into etched imprints and textures, commonly seen on laptop lids.

In the end, though, plastics are often associated with low-priced laptops, while higher-end models rely on metals. Common premium choices include aluminum, which has a more luxurious look, and can be fashioned into a thinner chassis than plastic. Unibody construction, where the entire chassis is made from a single piece of metal, has become the gold standard, as seen on Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro lines. Other all-metal designs mimic this same look and feel, securely sandwiching two separate layers together.

Other common chassis materials include magnesium alloy and carbon fiber, both of which add strength while keeping overall weight low. Glass has long been found covering displays, but with ultra-strong variants like Gorilla Glass, you'll find the material being used in everything from the lid to the touchpad.

Should You Buy an Extended Warranty?

Most laptops are backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor. The standard warranty is limited, so it won't cover accidents that stem from, say, spilling a drink on the keyboard or dropping the system to a hard surface.

Most laptop manufacturers also sell accidental coverage as a separate plan on top of optional extended warranties, so you might end up spending close to $300 for three years of comprehensive coverage. Apple offers a maximum three-year extended warranty ($249 to $379), while most Windows-based laptop manufacturers offer up to four years.

Is Refurbished Mac Laptop Best For The Money

Our rule of thumb is that if the warranty costs more than 15 percent of the laptop's purchase price, you're better off spending the money on backup drives or services that minimize downtime. Of course, you can't put a price tag on peace of mind. There are instances when the logic board or the display—the most expensive parts of a laptop—fail, and while rare, such a catastrophe can cost you half of what the laptop is worth. Defective components usually break down during the first year; anything after that is typically attributed to wear and tear. If the breakdown can be attributed to a design flaw, laptop manufacturers will sometimes extend free warranties to cover these flaws, but only for certain models built during limited time periods.

Ready for Our Recommendations?

The systems below, some of the best we've recently tested, span the spectrum of features, performance, and price to provide top choices for each type of user. We refresh the list constantly to include the newest products, but because of the large number of laptops we review every year, not every top-rated product makes the cut. For the very latest reviews, and to search for more top-rated products, check out the Laptop Product Guide.

Laptop Best For The Money

Best Laptops Featured in This Roundup:

Is Refurbished Mac Laptop Best For The Money Suv

  • Dell XPS 13 (9380) Review


    MSRP: $899.99

    Pros: Compact and classy. Beautiful rose-gold-and-white color scheme. 4K touch screen. Two Thunderbolt 3 ports plus USB-C.

    Cons: No HDMI or USB Type-A ports. 4K display isn't the best for battery life. Loaded models get pricey.

    Bottom Line: Dell moves the webcam to where it always should have been, fixing one of the very few faults of the drop-dead gorgeous, highly capable XPS 13. Earning our highest recommendation and a rare five-star rating, the XPS 13 (9380) is, indisputably, the best ultraportable laptop you can buy.

    Read Review
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 (2019) Review


    MSRP: $1179.00

    Pros: Thin, light, and very sturdy. ThinkPad-typical comfortable keyboard. Long battery life, as configured with 1080p screen. Many screen options. Optional Intel vPro. Full-size HDMI output.

    Cons: Small touchpad. Requires (not-included) Ethernet adapter.

    Bottom Line: With a sturdy, lightweight carbon-fiber exterior, an excellent keyboard, and plenty of security and manageability features, Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 is the best laptop you can buy for your business.

    Read Review
  • Lenovo Yoga C930 Review


    MSRP: $999.00

    Pros: Integrated stylus. Thin and light. Stylish metal design with multiple color options. Optional 4K display. Webcam privacy filter. Dolby Vision (HDR) support. Excellent battery life.

    Cons: No SD-card reader. Ships with some bloatware.

    Bottom Line: With a revamped hinge, an integrated stylus, and a sleek design, Lenovo's Yoga C930 2-in-1 convertible laptop is even better than its winning predecessor.

    Read Review
  • MSI GS65 Stealth (2019) Review


    MSRP: $1699.99

    Pros: Sharp design. High-quality, portable build. Better-than-60fps gaming at appealing price via GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU. 144Hz display. Long battery life for a gaming laptop. Solid port selection. Per-key backlighting.

    Cons: 512GB of storage in tester unit is a little tight for gaming. A bit of lid flex.

    Bottom Line: MSI's GS65 Stealth delivers better-than-60fps gaming performance and a premium, portable build with long battery life. With no real flaws, an appealing price, and power topped only by pricey alternatives, it's our top midrange gaming laptop.

    Read Review
  • Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model (2019) Review


    MSRP: $2299.99

    Pros: Portable, spiffy design. High-end build quality. Hits well over 60fps while gaming with its RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU. 144Hz display benefits from high frame rates. Per-key RGB keyboard backlighting. Good battery life.

    Cons: Garish lid logo. Runs hot while gaming. White 'Mercury Edition' costs extra.

    Bottom Line: The 2019 Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model takes last year's slick, winning design and adds peppy, muscled-up Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics. It's our top recommendation in its class.

    Read Review
  • Acer Chromebook 514 Review


    MSRP: $349.00

    Pros: Sharp-looking aluminum design for a budget machine. Excellent battery life. Touch display (as tested) looks great. Comfortable backlit keyboard. Big touchpad.

    Cons: Processor could use a pick-me-up. Ho-hum speakers.

    Bottom Line: Aluminum-clad and ready for all day off the plug, the Acer Chromebook 514 is a reasonably-priced standout on the premium Chromebook stage that's right-priced for students and budget buyers.

    Read Review
  • Acer Predator Helios 300 (2019) Review


    MSRP: $1199.99

    Pros: Unbeatable gaming performance for the price. Solid build. 144Hz display. Good port selection. Seamlessly integrated component monitoring and boosting.

    Cons: 256GB of storage restrictive for gaming. Brief battery life.

    Bottom Line: Performing like a pricier machine without skimping on build quality or features, Acer's 2019 Predator Helios 300 delivers excellent value. It's our new top pick among entry-level gaming laptops.

    Read Review
  • Apple MacBook Pro 13-Inch (2019) Review


    MSRP: $1299.00

    Pros: Thin, light, and stylish. Excellent trackpad. Long battery life. Brilliant display. Two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

    Cons: Relatively expensive, even in starting config. Limited connectivity for peripherals in lower-end models. Polarizing keyboard lacks vertical travel.

    Bottom Line: The 13-inch MacBook Pro is Apple's best ultraportable laptop, thanks to stylish looks, an excellent touchpad, and long battery life.

    Read Review
  • Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 Review


    MSRP: $1599.00

    Pros: Proximity sensor streamlines sign in. Sturdy, sleek chassis. Thin screen bezels, and relatively large 14-inch screen. Excellent touchpad and keyboard. Three-year warranty. Prime-time battery life.

    Cons: Relatively low maximum screen brightness. Lackluster audio quality.

    Bottom Line: With a deluxe chassis, keyboard, and touchpad, paired with a snappy sign-in feature and superb battery life, Dell's Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is a top contender among business convertibles.

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  • Microsoft Surface Book 2 Review


    MSRP: $2499.00

    Pros: Premium alloy construction. Elegant convertible design. Sharp high-resolution touch display in new larger size. Discrete Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics. Very long battery life. Multiple configuration options. Xbox wireless controller receiver is integrated.

    Cons: 16GB RAM maximum. Surface Pen is an additional purchase. Adding SSD storage is pricey. Some finicky issues required troubleshooting in our tests.

    Bottom Line: The Surface Book 2 is a feat of design, a top-of-the-line premium convertible 2-in-1 laptop that's fast, long lasting, versatile, and portable. It's even up for gaming.

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