EDIT (21/12/2020): Winners and video added
You might have seen our Top 5 Picks for phones, cameras, audio and laptops last year, but this year, we’re doing it different (like how the year has been) and big. We have close to 40 products nominated for Best of 2020 across 13 categories.
The team has spent plenty of hours reviewing most of the products entrusted to us by brands, putting them to real tests to see if they live up to your expectations and sharing our thoughts about them. Before we share the winners of each category, here is a sneak preview of our nominations of best laptops that made the cut in 2020.
We’ve hyperlinked the reviews down below in the nomination list, so click on the names to check out the full reviews and let us know which one you think will win!
First up, the Dell XPS 13. This is honestly a no-nonsense laptop that has also become a staple benchmark within the industry. It’s lightweight, has a really clean design, an amazing display and probably provides one of the best user experiences, down to the feel of the keyboard. The only drawback would probably be the lack of ports in the latest iteration and the sticker price. In all though, it’s a solid laptop.
Next, we have the Asus ExpertBook B9450. This is a laptop that takes this category to the next level. With the 33 watt-hour battery variant, the laptop weighs less than a kilogram. It’s so light that you might not even notice it in a bag. Despite that, it still provides ample performance, with up to a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and even dual NVMe SSDs. It also has the advantage of having the most amount of ports in the list, so that’s a plus.
We then have the Huawei MateBook 13, and this is a laptop that’s a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. Yet it still has a really great display that’s touch-capable, solid performance with that Core i5, while also offering a pretty great keyboard and battery life. Now certainly, it loses out on each individual statistics when compared to the previous two laptops. But at almost half the sticker price, yet offering 90% of the experience, you cannot disregard this.
Lastly, we have the Apple MacBook Air with the new M1 chip. This needs no introduction. It is the benchmark for lightweight laptops ever since it was introduced, and with the M1 refresh, it still very well is. It’s got a stunning display, a much-improved keyboard, the best trackpad in any laptop, great battery life, the list goes on. And now? Possibly the best performance as well. The only major downside is the lack of ports.
So now, our choice for the best lightweight laptop in 2020… goes to the Huawei MateBook 13.
Surprised? Well, we have our reasons. But the main takeaway is that the MateBook 13 provides 90% of the experience, compared to the XPS 13 or the ExpertBook B9450, for almost half the price. You really can’t argue with that, and we would say that this is a laptop that you would enjoy and still possibly be able to afford it, especially during these times.
But of course, we do also need to have a special mention for the MacBook Air with the M1 chip. It is by far the best performing MacBook Air, and in due time, probably even the best performing laptop in the category. If you’re more of a MacOS person, the new MacBook Air is certainly worth taking a look at.
For the next category, we’ll first be taking a look at the big boy, the Asus Zephyrus Duo. This is the most powerful and chunkiest laptop across the categories, but with good reason. It sports the best CPU and GPU combination in a laptop, along with NVMe SSDs in RAID Zero, which is music to the ears when it comes to creative work. But the most distinct has to be the dual displays. This is what makes it special, yet still being pretty practical.
Next, we have the Asus Zephyrus G14. This is a really impressive laptop, and part of the reason is thanks to AMD. The Ryzen 9 4900HS is a beast of a CPU that can practically beat the highest-end Intel Core i9 at half the wattage. It really is insane when you see the amount of performance you can get from a chassis such as the G14. This is a laptop that’s great on almost all fronts.
We then have another unique laptop, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7. First up, we do have to mention that you can’t get this laptop at all, for Lenovo doesn’t sell it here in Singapore. But it is what we’ve tested, and it’s honestly a really impressive laptop. No thanks to AMD once again, as it features the Ryzen 7 4800U, boasting 8 cores and 16 threads at just 15 watts. The performance that this laptop could achieve in this form factor is amazing. It can easily take on 1080p, or even 4K edits, and take care of your photo editing needs like Photoshop or Lightroom, all in a thin and light form factor.
Now just like earlier on, we do also have the Apple MacBook Pro 16. It goes without saying that they are a staple in the industry, and will continue to be. After quite a few revisions, the MacBook Pro 16 certainly performs great even with an Intel Core i9 equipped, and of course, it has a stunning display, a much-improved keyboard and the best trackpad in the world. The only downside, once again, is the ports. You definitely need adapters.
Now as for our choice for the best creative laptop in 2020…? That goes to the Asus Zephyrus G14.
You get really great performance from that Ryzen 9 4900HS, outperforming higher-end laptops with Core i9s. It’s got a good 120Hz display, a variety of ports, but most importantly, it’s offering all of these at a price that’s really tempting, especially in comparison. AMD is honestly killing it, and that’s why it’s our pick.
But of course, we do also have to give a special mention to the MacBook Pro 16.
Now you might be wondering, why does Apple always get a special mention? Well, the answer is simple. If you’re more of a MacOS person, and you want to get a good laptop for creative work, well, the MacBook Pro is your only option.
We all know Razer, they’ve been in the gaming scene for a long time now. The Razer Blade Pro 17 is their flagship Blade, and it certainly shows. You can choose between a 4K 120Hz Touch display, or a 1080p 300Hz display, you can get up to an Intel Core i7 and RTX 2080 Super Max-Q graphics, and a chassis that’s just solidly built while being quite minimalist as well. The kicker, though, has to be the thermal performance, because despite the high-end components, the Blade Pro 17 is by far the coolest laptop across the category.
Next, we have the MSI GS66 Stealth. It boasts up to an Intel Core i9 and RTX 2080 Super Max-Q in a 15.6-inch chassis and it certainly performs admirably. Pair those with a 300Hz display, it makes for a really great gaming experience. Despite the thin chassis, the laptop still runs pretty cool during gaming, but most impressive of all has to be the battery. This laptop comes equipped with a 99 watt-hour battery, which is basically the legal limit you can carry aboard a plane. Battery life is certainly one of its strong points, especially within the gaming laptop category.
Lastly, we have yet again, the Asus Zephyrus G14. Not only is this a great creative laptop as mentioned earlier, the combo of a Ryzen 9 and a RTX 2060 makes for a great gaming experience. Coupled with that 120Hz display, it is also a solid choice for a gaming laptop.
Now, of course, a special mention to Apple… Just kidding guys, don’t use a MacBook for gaming, just don’t.
Anyways, our pick for the gaming category goes to the Razer Blade Pro 17. Despite its high price, you’re getting a great laptop that only performs admirably, but looks awesome and minimalist as well. It is also one of the only laptops to offer a 4K 120Hz display, and has a built-in SD card reader, which makes it an option for creatives as well.
If you need a new laptop, hopefully, this list will help you make your choice!