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Laptop buying guide

When it comes to power and speed, Windows laptops give you performance on the go. From i7 convertible laptops to gaming laptops and 2-in-1s, find the best device for your digital life.

Preparing for a new Windows laptop

Buying a new device is exciting, but the process of transferring all your settings and data can feel overwhelming. We understand the challenges that come with changing laptops, so we’ve simplified the process with these tools and resources.

Which laptop fits my needs?

Windows laptops are available with a range of features and capabilities. Find the right laptop for your needs – whether that’s for school, work, gaming or basic daily use.

Find your new Windows PC

Use our Help Me Choose tool and get advice on the perfect laptop for you by answering a few simple questions.
Two people with laptops having a conversation

Why choose a Windows laptop?

Write, design, start a business, finish a game. Your beautiful mind has a lot going on. Your great ideas need to be seen by the world. Windows 11 can help make that happen. So, whether you’re looking for inspiration, organisation, or just some relaxation, Windows 11 provides the power and multitasking tools that can help you get more done in less time.

Mac® vs. Windows laptops

Tools worthy of your talents

Creativity apps for effortless expression, Microsoft Phone Link to access your phone from your PC, and snap layouts to keep it all neat on screen – Windows 11 has what you need to get it done with style and speed.

  • Snap can get your whole project on one screen
  • Phone Link lets you use your iPhone® or Android™ phone from your PC – no need to divide your attention between two devices 1
  • Creativity apps like Photos app and Clipchamp give you more ways to express yourself
  • Balance work with PC gaming

Every action, more reaction

Easy set-up makes transferring files and preferences simple, so you can start strong. Touchscreen 2 , digital pen 3 and voice access 4 ensure you keep that momentum going by giving you more ways to work your way.

  • Easy set-up brings your preferences over from a previous PC
  • Touch, pen and voice allow for more flexibility when creating

Keep your projects protected

You put a lot of time and passion into your work. That’s why Windows 11 comes with the advanced security you need to help keep those files out of peril. 5

  • Windows Security helps protect the files you work on with advanced antivirus, malware protection, and more
  • Windows Hello enables harder-to-hack biometric security that doesn’t rely on passwords
  • Microsoft Defender app with a Microsoft 365 Family or Personal subscription 6 provides identity theft protection 7 alongside your built-in malware detection, and extends it to other devices like your phone
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Price and budget

Determining a budget to buy a laptop can be a challenging task. Consider factors such as performance, brand and intended use to find a device in the appropriate price range for your needs.
Two people looking at a laptop together

Tips to save on laptops

  • Install Microsoft Edge Shopping extensions for coupons, discounts and cash-back offers on your purchases.
  • If you’re a primary, secondary or higher education student, parent or faculty member, purchase a Windows laptop through the Microsoft Education Store to get a student discount of up to 10% off selected products, including Surface devices.

Laptop hardware considerations

Display, central processing unit (CPU), internal storage capabilities, RAM and battery life are all important hardware factors when deciding on a laptop.

Choosing your laptop display

Display features impact image quality, colour accuracy and brightness levels of a laptop screen. Screen size, resolution, refresh rate and touchscreen capabilities are all factors to consider when comparing laptop display features.


Resolution refers to the number of pixels a laptop screen contains. Higher resolutions allow for sharper, more detailed images. Here is the range of resolutions:

  • HD (1366 x 768)
  • HD+ (1600 x 900)
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080 or 1920 x 1200)
  • QHD (2560 x 1440) or QHD+ (3200 x 1800)
  • 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 or 3840 x 2560)
Sunset on a beach with several image resolution examples

Refresh rate

Refresh rate refers to the number of times per second a laptop screen refreshes its image. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother and more fluid your games and animations appear. Here is the range of refresh rates:

  • 60 Hz
  • 120 Hz
  • 144 Hz
  • 165 Hz
  • 240 Hz
Person holding a gaming controller with laptop in the background


  • Touchscreen laptops allow users to interact with the screen using their fingers or a digital pen.
  • The benefits of touchscreen laptops include greater ease of use, flexibility, and accessibility for users with limited mobility.
Person pointing to a touchscreen computer
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What laptop CPU should you buy?

A laptop’s CPU is an essential hardware component that is responsible for executing instructions and controlling overall operation.
  • Known for high performance, reliability and stability.

  • High connectivity speeds 10 , large caches and advanced instruction sets allow laptops to process data quickly and efficiently.

  • Designed for multitasking and running multiple apps at once without impacting performance.

  • Intelligent collaboration features support Microsoft Teams, Zoom and more with minimal impact on battery life.

  • i9, i7, i5, i3 or Pentium CPU available.

  • Known for excellent performance, with high core counts, clock speeds, resolution and refresh rates.

  • Ideal for data-intensive tasks like rendering and multitasking with Windows 11 tools like Snap layouts.

  • Smart power management features provide incredible efficiency for cool, quiet performance and long-lasting battery life that won’t interrupt gaming.

  • A great option for budget-conscious buyers.

  • Ryzen 9, Ryzen 7, Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 3 CPUs available.

Selecting a laptop’s internal storage drive

The internal storage drive stores all the data, files and programs on a laptop, including the operating system, applications, documents, photos and videos.
Hard disk drives (HDD) Solid state drives (SSD)

How much RAM do you need?

The amount of random-access memory (RAM) you need will depend on how you use your laptop. Basic tasks like email and web browsing only require 8 GB of RAM, whereas performing intensive tasks and using large files may require up to 32 GB of RAM.
Intended use Recommended capacity

  • Internet browsing
  • Email
  • Word processing
  • Streaming

8 GB

  • Video editing
  • Graphic design
  • 3D modelling
  • General gaming

16 GB

  • Playing games in focused sessions
  • Broadcasting gameplay
  • Running virtual machines
  • Heavy multitasking

32 GB+

Types of RAM

RAM is what helps your computer work faster by keeping the information you use the most easily accessible. The more RAM a computer has, the more data it can access quickly, which can improve the computer’s performance.
  • Lower maximum data transfer rate

  • Higher power consumption and heat generation

  • Higher maximum data transfer rate

  • Operates at efficient voltage (1.2V)

  • Newest generation of RAM

  • Highest maximum data transfer rate

  • Operates at lower voltage (1.1V)

Which battery is best for you?

Choosing the right laptop battery for your needs depends on personal preferences and how you intend to use your device.
30-69 Watt Hours (Whr)
70-99.9 Watt Hours (Whr)
  • Lightweight
  • Less expensive
  • General computer use

  • Higher capacity
  • Holds more charge for longer battery life
  • Ideal for gaming and video editing

Frequently asked questions

  • Although battery life varies significantly with settings, usage and other factors, your laptop battery should last for eight-plus hours of video playback on average.
  • Battery life varies significantly with settings, usage and other factors, but your laptop battery should last for eight-plus hours of video playback time. Depending on your device, you can customise your laptop’s settings to save battery life with options like low power mode.
  • Use Energy recommendations to set different power and display settings. Learn how to properly care for the battery on your Windows laptop.

Form factors and functionality

Detachable keyboard, surround sound speakers, anti-glare display, and more. Learn about all the form factors available that feature Windows 11 to find the right fit for your everyday.

2-in-1 laptop features

There are several form factors to choose from when you’re considering a 2-in-1 laptop. Get to know the highlights of each option.

Audio and microphone

Get the most out of your gaming, streaming and video calls with the best built-in audio and microphone technology. All Windows 11 laptops come with high-quality microphones and speakers. If you’re mostly using your laptop for entertainment, like streaming or gaming, look for Windows 11 laptops with premium surround sound speakers like Dolby® Atmos™.

Functionality factor

To function at your highest level, you need a computer with the right functionality features. Choose from these features in Windows 11 laptops.
Port illustration

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity illustration

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
Monitor illustration

Display options
  • HDMI: High Definition Multimedia Interface, most commonly used for transferring audio and visual information from one device to another.

  • USB Type-A: What comes to mind most readily when people think about USB ports.

  • USB-C®: An upgrade from USB-A ports and features more power and quicker data transfer.

  • USB-C® with USB 4.0/ Thunderbolt™ 4: An oval-shaped port that can support data transfers from Thunderbolt™ 4 and USB-C® cables.

  • MicroSD card reader: Allows your device to read data stored on MicroSD cards, which are used to expand the storage on smartphones, cameras and gaming devices.

  • Nano SIM: Nano SIM cards are most commonly used in smartphones but can also be used to help your device connect to Wi-Fi.

  • Wi-Fi 6 technology: Creates a faster connection from your device to your router.

  • WPA3 compatible: A series of security protocols for safer online activity.

  • LCD: Flat panel displays with fluorescent backlights.

  • LED: Flat panel displays with LED backlights.

  • IPS: In-plane switching displays are characterised as having the best colour and viewing angles.

  • Anti-Glare: Allows you to use your device in bright light settings without a noticeable reflection.

  • Infinity-Edge: A nearly borderless display that maximises screen space.

  • OLED: Capable of displaying over 60 times more colours than most LCD displays.

Alternate form factors

If you realise that a laptop isn’t right for you, explore alternative options for your everyday computing needs. From desktops to all-in-one devices, we'll help you find your perfect fit.

Find the laptop perfect for you

Windows laptops offer users a range of choices when it comes to price, performance and features. From hardware considerations to accessory compatibility, exploring your options for a new laptop should be exciting. Whether you’re a student, professional, gamer, or someone looking for a basic laptop for daily use, you can find the right laptop for your digital life.
  • Screens simulated. Features and app availability may vary by region.
  • Trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
  • [1] Phone Link experience comes pre-installed on your PC with Windows 10 (running Windows 10, May 2019 Update at the least) or Windows 11. To experience the full functionality, Android phones must be running Android 7.0 or later. Phone Link for iOS requires iPhone with iOS 14 or higher, Windows 11 device, Bluetooth connection and the latest version of the Phone Link app. Not available for iPad (iPadOS) or MacOS. Device compatibility may vary. Regional restrictions may apply.
  • [2] Requires a PC with touchscreen capability.
  • [3] Pen-capable tablet or PC required. Pen accessory may be sold separately.
  • [4] Hardware dependent. Requires Windows PC with microphone capability.
  • [5] For supported devices with latest security updates installed.
  • [6] Subscription sold separately.
  • [7] Available in United States only.
  • [10] Versus standard Wi-Fi. Subject to router requirements and available signal. Details at Intel Product Performance.

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