June 9, 2023

$378 at Walmart

HP Chromebook x360 14c

Really useful 14-inch Chromebook beneath $500

$1,200 at Lenovo

Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 (14 inch)

Lenovo Yoga 9i (Gen 7, 14-inch)

An incredible 2-in-1 at a smaller dimension

Not everybody can afford a top-of-the-line gaming PC and a piece laptop computer, so some should do with a machine that may deal with each. There are lots of totally different laptops that may deal with each knowledgeable’s workload and a gamer’s ardour. However these units are costly, so you will need to know every part you may earlier than dropping an enormous sum of cash.

You’ve got most likely discovered — both from analysis or private expertise — {that a} 13-inch laptop computer is just too small and a 16-inch might be too large; the candy spot lies within the 14-inch and 15-inch display vary. Lately, laptop computer firms have been placing extra emphasis on 14-inch and 16-inch fashions, directing advertising and marketing efforts away from 15-inch laptops. I desire a 14-inch display; it simply appears to supply the most effective steadiness of value, efficiency and dimension. In order that’s why you will discover lots of CNET’s picks for the most effective 15-inch laptop computer have… 14-inch screens.

These are the laptops, from price range to premium, we contemplate to be the most effective 14- and 15-inch work and gaming laptop computer choices based mostly on:

  • Efficiency and battery life for a given set of specs and meant use, the place the configuration specs embody the quantity of solid-state storage and reminiscence (SSD and RAM), predominant processor (CPU) and graphics processor (GPU), and working system (Mac OS or Home windows).
  • Options for a given weight class, reminiscent of the mixture of laptop computer display dimension, sort (touchscreen or not) and backbone (4K, QHD or FHD), ports (reminiscent of an HDMI port, Ethernet port, and the kind and variety of USB connections), webcam and fingerprint reader.
  • Design, each aesthetic and purposeful, together with keyboard format and really feel (a lot of individuals need a backlit keyboard and a numeric keypad on their laptops), construct high quality, upgradeability and reparability and so forth.

For those who’re laptop computer purchasing, keep in mind you do not have to purchase now if cash’s tight or can afford to attend. For those who resolve to postpone your buy, listed here are some suggestions for stretching the lifetime of your previous laptop computer. For those who do decide to go forward, take into consideration recycling it

This record is periodically up to date with new fashions we have examined and reviewed. It is an amazing place to begin to get an thought of what is accessible. For those who want recommendation on whether or not a selected sort of laptop computer or two-in-one is best for you, soar to our FAQ under this record.

Josh Goldman/CNET

It is a 14 incher, however if you happen to’re on a decent price range, 14 inches is your buddy. It is a whole lot for the fundamentals like e mail, phrase processing and way more, because of AMD Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors. It is accessible with Eleventh-gen Intel processors, too. This price range laptop computer has a backlit keyboard, a fingerprint reader and a USB Sort-C port, too. The Acer Swift 3 can also be an extremely light-weight laptop computer — lower than 3 kilos — for a machine that may be discovered for lower than $700.

Along with this Acer Swift, we’re additionally followers of the Acer Aspire 5, which has a bigger 15.6-inch show. The Acer Aspire 5 is out there in a wide range of configurations beginning as little as $400, however that is for a reasonably poor configuration.

Learn our Acer Swift 3 (14-inch, 2020) assessment.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Dell’s G15 has been a favourite price range gaming laptop computer for the previous few years, together with the HP Victus line. In late 2022, a 16-inch G16 joined the veteran 15-inch G15. For those who’re on the lookout for a gaming laptop computer discount, the G15 is the way in which to go. However if you happen to can afford to spend a few hundred {dollars} extra and do not thoughts the slight step up in dimension, the G16 is a greater guess for longevity. We do suggest ready till it goes on sale, although, for the reason that entry-price mannequin incorporates solely an RTX 3050, which can not future-proof you in opposition to the rising legion of power-hungry video games. Learn our Dell G15 and G16 Gaming Laptop computer assessment.

HP Chromebook x360 14 open and angled to your left
Josh Goldman/CNET

The 2-in-one design means you should use the HP Chromebook x360 as a pill (although it’s kind of heavy to make use of as a handheld machine), and 14 inches is far much less awkward to make use of that manner than a 15-inch mannequin. You too can tent it, join an exterior keyboard and mouse and use it as a small all-in-one pc. 

The Core i3 processor and 8GB of reminiscence hold this HP Chromebook working easily even with a pair dozen tabs open and streaming video within the background. And this Chromebook laptop computer has a protracted battery life, lasting 10 hours, 40 minutes in CNET’s checks.

You are receiving value alerts for HP Chromebook x360 14c

Apple 14-inch MacBook Pro

For those who want any convincing that 15-inch (and 17-inch) laptops are a dying breed, take Apple’s killing them off as a confirmational nail of their coffin. In case your main issues are weight and value, and you do not want a lot energy, then the smaller MacBook Air guidelines. 

However I disagree with my colleague Dan Ackerman that the Air is the only option for most individuals: I feel the MacBook Professional 14 is. It prices much more, however it’s considerably higher in each manner, and I feel it’s going to meet most individuals’s wants for lots longer. (The 2022 mannequin of the Air with an M2 processor received higher, however the value for fashions with the newer chip went up as effectively. I agree that the MacBook Professional 13 M1 and M2 offer you little or no over the Air for the additional value and weight.) On the flip aspect, the 14-inch might be configured carefully to the weightier and dearer MacBook Professional 16, except the larger display and choice for a higher-performing GPU.

Learn our Apple MacBook Professional 14-inch assessment.

Razer Blade 15 open and angled to your left
Joshua Goldman/CNET

The 2022 mannequin we examined of the Blade 15 (we have reviewed the brand new 18-inch mannequin) retains the title of least-gaming-like gaming laptop computer, however does not forgo the pace, however like all Razer’s it is fairly costly. It is received a streamlined, slim and durable design with loads of ports and a cushty Razer Chroma RGB keyboard, plus the most recent from Intel and Nvidia and new high-quality panel choices for gaming. For work, you may profit from the 1080p webcam with Home windows Good day assist. It may get a bit heat when it is revved up, although.

The 14-inch Blade 14 is equally engaging and lighter, in addition to just a little cheaper — a pleasant 165Hz QHD mannequin with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti and AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX will run you round $2,300, however the older era remains to be round as effectively if yow will discover a great deal. The additional room on the 15-inch offers it house for a Thunderbolt connection, SD card reader and a further USB-A port.

Learn our Razer Blade 15 Superior assessment.

Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 open and angled to your left
Josh Goldman/CNET

The highlights of this skinny and light-weight 15-inch Home windows two-in-one are its glorious battery life, high-contrast OLED display and the plethora of cross-device options it serves up for house owners of Samsung’s Galaxy telephones and equipment. It is particularly designed for individuals who need a laptop computer expertise much like that of their telephones, with related responsiveness. For its dimension, it is comparatively slim and light-weight, and consists of the superb S Pen.

Learn our Samsung Galaxy E book Professional 2 360 assessment.

Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 (14 inch)
Joshua Goldman/CNET

The Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 continues the corporate’s streak of improbable premium two-in-ones. The Twelfth-gen Intel processor delivers a giant efficiency soar in multicore duties in comparison with its predecessor, and the options and design are well worth the larger value. The most recent mannequin gives a giant efficiency soar, top-flight sound and visuals and bundles a sleeve and stylus. It does go scorching and heavy on the software program and providers upselling, although, so if that is going to drive you nuts, run away.

Learn our Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 assessment.

You are receiving value alerts for Lenovo Yoga 9i (Gen 7, 14-inch)

Laptop computer FAQs

Which is healthier, MacOS or Home windows?

Deciding between MacOS and Home windows laptop computer for many individuals will come down to private choice and price range. Apple’s base mannequin laptop computer, the M1 MacBook Air, begins at $999. You possibly can generally discover it discounted or you may get instructional pricing from Apple and different retailers. However, usually, it will be at the very least $1,000 for a brand new MacBook, and the costs simply go up from there. 

For the cash, although, you are getting nice {hardware} prime to backside, inside and outside. Apple lately moved to utilizing its personal processors, which resulted in across-the-board efficiency enhancements in comparison with older Intel-based fashions. However, the corporate’s strongest laptop computer, the 16-inch MacBook Professional, nonetheless hasn’t been up to date to Apple silicon. 

However, once more, that nice {hardware} comes at a value. Additionally, you are restricted to only Apple laptops. With Home windows and Chromebooks (extra on these under), you get a tremendous number of units at a variety of costs. 

Software program between the 2 is plentiful, so until it is advisable run one thing that is solely accessible on one platform or the opposite, you ought to be nice to go along with both. Gaming is unquestionably a bonus for a Home windows laptop computer, although.

MacOS can also be thought-about to be simpler and safer to make use of than Home windows, particularly for individuals who need their computer systems to get out of the way in which to allow them to get issues carried out. Through the years, although, Microsoft has carried out its finest to comply with go well with and, with Home windows 11 right here, it is making an attempt to take away any boundaries. Additionally, whereas Macs may need a popularity for being safer, with the recognition of the iPhone and iPad serving to to drive Mac gross sales, they’ve grow to be greater targets for malware.

What dimension display do I would like? Do I would like a 4K display?

One of many causes I like 14-inch greater than 15-inch shows is as a result of they strike a significantly better steadiness amongst value, dimension and efficiency whereas sacrificing solely about 0.6 inches (15.2mm) horizontally and 0.8 inches (20mm) vertically of display actual property (though you lose extra like 2 inches (50mm) horizontally if the comparability is between a 16:9 facet ratio display and three:2).

Decision, the variety of vertical x horizontal pixels that comprise the picture, is inextricable from display dimension once you’re selecting a display. What you actually need to optimize is pixel density, the variety of pixels per inch the display can show, or its reciprocal, pixel pitch. These decide how sharp the display seems to be (although there are another components), in addition to how large components of the interface, reminiscent of icons and textual content, can seem. 

You possibly can simply calculate the pixel density of any display at DPI Calculator. However my rule of thumb for laptop computer screens within the 14- and 15-inch dimension class: FHD is ok, QHD is healthier and 4K is normally overkill.

Learn extra about display dimension and pixel density.

Can I get a Chromebook as a substitute of a Home windows laptop computer?

Loads might be carried out fully on the net today, although you should use Chromebooks offline in some circumstances. Take inventory of every part you do each day, and chances are you’ll discover there’s nothing you may’t accomplish with Chrome at its most elementary degree. 

That stated, a Home windows laptop computer or MacBook can run the Chrome browser in addition to different software program supported by these working methods. Even if you happen to do not instantly want a selected piece of software program, it is good to have the choice. Plus, if you happen to’re looking for a Chromebook for distant studying with Google Classroom, a Mac or Home windows PC will work as effectively. 

Chromebooks are usually not natively appropriate with Home windows or Mac software program, although present fashions can run Android apps and there are additionally net apps which are accessible by way of Google’s Chrome Net Retailer. You possibly can’t set up the total Workplace software program on a Chromebook, however Microsoft makes each web-based and Android variations accessible within the Chrome and Google Play shops, respectively. However usually talking, if you happen to want or need a particular Home windows or Mac utility — and there is no appropriate net or Android app substitute and you do not need to use VMware — do not get a Chromebook.

Additionally, if you happen to want superior photo- and video-editing capabilities, you will need a Home windows, Mac or Linux laptop computer. Primary photograph and video modifying is ok, however Chromebooks usually do not provide the graphics efficiency you want for demanding duties or, once more, the choice to put in Home windows or Mac software program and video games.

Laptop computer vs. Chromebook: How to decide on what’s best for you.

Can I take advantage of a hub to compensate for inadequate connections?

Sure and no. For probably the most half, USB-C hubs ship seamless enlargement in circumstances once you’ve traded off USB, Ethernet and show ports for the additional millimeter it may well shave off a laptop computer’s thickness. However you may’t assume you will not have any issues, particularly on the subject of 4K screens, webcams, gaming peripherals or the variety of units related to it. The rest delicate to the standard and energy of the sign might trigger an issue. Or you’ll have to spend so much for a Thunderbolt hub as a substitute of USB-C to make sure adequate energy and bandwidth in your specific wants — that may value upwards of $300.

Take a look at our roundup of the most effective USB-C hubs for 2023.

The assessment course of for laptops, desktops, tablets and different computer-like units consists of two components: efficiency testing beneath managed circumstances within the CNET Labs and in depth hands-on use by our professional reviewers. This consists of evaluating a tool’s aesthetics, ergonomics and options. A ultimate assessment verdict is a mixture of each these goal and subjective judgments. 

The record of benchmarking software program we use adjustments over time because the units we check evolve. An important core checks we’re at present working on each appropriate pc embody: Primate Labs Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23, PCMark 10 and 3DMark Hearth Strike Extremely. 

A extra detailed description of every benchmark and the way we use it may be present in our How We Check Computer systems web page. 

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