The best Bluetooth keyboards for everything from tablets to PC gaming

Collage of the best bluetooth keyboards, including Logitech Combo Touch and Logitech G915 TKL 4x3

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Wireless keyboards eliminate desk clutter. But Bluetooth keyboards take that one step further, freeing up a USB port and even leaving the desk behind to control your tablet, phone, or even your smart TV. The ideal Bluetooth keyboard balances that wire-free portability with comfortable keys and a smooth typing experience all without breaking the bank.

While Bluetooth keyboards leave cords off the desk and support mobile devices, the lack of a cord can introduce a delay. Users that need the most speed – such as gamers – will end up spending significantly more to find a Bluetooth keyboard that doesn’t have noticeable input lag.

“Wireless keyboards do tend to be more popular for business professionals due to their ease of use and clean aesthetic, while more intensive users might favor other features and a lower price tag,” said Tom Gilmore, Technology Education Coordinator at Free Geek. “…if latency is of concern (like with gaming) then we suggest avoiding Bluetooth keyboards and to stick with wired, unless you go for the high-end wireless options.”

Because Bluetooth keyboards can be used for anything from writing a novel on a laptop to searching Netflix on a smart TV, we’ve researched options in several different categories. These best Bluetooth keyboard picks are based on a mix of expert guidance, reputable reviews, and hands-on experience from Business Insider team members. We’re currently testing out each option to narrow down our list.

Our testing suggests that these are the best Bluetooth keyboards:

Best Bluetooth keyboard overall

Logitech MX Keys Advanced Wireless Keyboard on a white background

Who’s it for: The Logitech MX Keys is a full-sized Bluetooth keyboard that’s versatile enough for many different uses and platforms, including both Windows and Mac.

The Logitech MX Keys is a full-sized Bluetooth keyboard that’s large enough for desk use, but thin enough to do some off-desk typing, too. When Insider writer Matt Smith tested the Logitech MX Keys earlier this year, he said that the keyboard is comfortable to use even if you don’t spend the extra $20 for the wrist pad.

The MX Keys uses scissor switches and low-profile keycaps  with finger-sized imprints for comfortable typing. The scissor switch is also quiet and responsive. With the body built from one piece of metal, the $100 keyboard also has a much nicer feel than cheaper options. You can use the keyboard with Bluetooth or a dedicated Wireless USB dongle. Backlighting that senses your fingers helps stretch the battery life, which Logitech says can hit 10 days.

Logitech offers options designed for either Windows or Mac, but the keyboard also works with iOS and Android. The keyboard can remember three devices, so you can easily switch back and forth between your laptop, tablet, and smartphone. While the full-sized keyboard isn’t going to tuck into a backpack easily, the thin design means it will easily jump from room to room in your home

MX Keys Advanced Wireless Illuminated Keyboard (button)
Best Bluetooth keyboard for gaming

The Logitech G915 Wireless keyboard on a white background

Who’s it for? With a fast wireless connection, the Logitech G915 TKL is ideal for gamers who can’t always depend on Bluetooth that want wire-free speed.

Gamers tend to choose the reliability and speed of a keyboard with a wired physical cord connection — but some wireless keyboards are gaining the speed needed for gaming. If you don’t mind trading a cable cord for a higher price tag, I prefer the G915 over other mechanical keyboards for the office because of the quieter typing, low profile keys, and longer battery life. (I tested the tactile white version, other options will have a louder click.) Along with a Bluetooth connection, the keyboard packs in Logitech’s proprietary Lightspeed wireless, which the company says delivers a 1 millisecond response speed.

The G915 TKL is a mechanical keyboard, but it doesn’t look like one at first glance. That’s because the keyboard uses low-profile keys. The keyboard has a great feel to it that’s a cross between the thin keys of my Macbook and the thicker ones profile of a typical mechanical. It also houses a scroll wheel, dedicated media keys, and a few other macro keys.

With a 40 hour battery life rating, I used the Logitech G915 TKL for several workdays without recharging. I even went on vacation with the keyboard in sleep mode, and it still had power two weeks later. While 40 hours isn’t a long battery life compared to membrane keyboards, mechanical keyboards are power hungry and others have even shorter use times before recharging. A battery life indicator is visible right from the top of the keyboard.

The low profile keys along with the Bluetooth and wireless technology make the G915 TKL a gaming keyboard that’s easier to transport and more responsive than most. The trade-off is that it’s pricier than many wired keyboards that are geared for gaming. Wired keyboards may still be more reliable.

G915 TKL Tenkeyless Lightspeed Wireless RGB (button)
Best mechanical Bluetooth keyboard

The Razer Pro Type keyboard on a white background

Who’s it for? The Razer Pro Type is a mechanical keyboard that’s designed to eliminate desktop cord clutter.

A mechanical keyboard designed for professionals rather than gaming, the Razer Pro Type is one of the few mechanical keyboards that offers built-in Bluetooth as well as 2.4GHz wireless. The wireless design eliminates desk clutter while the white and silver design feels more in tune with office aesthetics than the colorful backlighting of a gaming keyboard.  With white backlighting, the Razer Pro Type offers the cleaner look of a laptop keyboard but with all the feel of mechanical keys. While I preferred our top pick for Bluetooth gaming, the G915, for it’s low profile keys and longer battery life, the thicker keys of the Razer Pro Type feels more like a true mechanical keyboard.

The Razer Pro Type has a great, clicky feel — I’m using it as I write this article. The large keys are more tactile than most thin Bluetooth keyboard keys and produce a satisfying click with each press. The full-size keyboard still has the extra number pad, though the function row doubles as Windows media keys instead of dedicated macros.

While the Razer Pro Type looks and feels great, mechanical keyboards are power hungry. The keyboard’s battery life is only rated for 12 hours. The Logitech G915 TKL is a wireless and Bluetooth mechanical keyboard with up to 40 hours of use per charge, but it’s almost twice as much.  The G915 also has lower profile keys where the Pro Type  has the more traditional chunky keys of a mechanical keyboard. If you prefer the thicker keyboard or are on a more limited budget, the Pro Type is a safe choice. The Pro Type doesn’t come with a wrist pad, however, so that may add to the cost.

Pro Type Wireless Keyboard (button)
Best Bluetooth keyboard on a budget

Logitech K380

Who’s it for? Affordable and compact, the Logitech K380 is ideal for those who want a keyboard small enough to slip into a laptop bag without spending a fortune.

Getting a portable Bluetooth keyboard that works with multiple devices doesn’t have to be expensive. Retailing for about $40, the Logitech K380 is a compact keyboard that’s easy to bring along. Previously our pick for best Bluetooth keyboard overall, the keyboard also has a battery that will last for two years, though that’s in part because the keyboard doesn’t even offer backlighting.

The K380 can save up to three devices for easy pairing. The keyboard works with any operating system that supports external keyboards, allowing it to move from a laptop to a tablet and from a PC to an iPhone. Logitech says that the keyboard automatically remaps the keys when switching between operating systems.

The K380‘s thin profile and 60 percent design makes it easy to toss into a bag. The size may make the keyboard a little less comfortable for long stretches of typing, however. If portability isn’t important and you want something affordable to type on for eight hours a day, there may be better options.

K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard (button)
Best folding Bluetooth keyboard

The Arteck HB066 folding keyboard, folded in two different variations, on a white background

Who’s it for? The easy portability makes the Arteck folding keyboard ideal for on-the-go users that prioritize size.

Folding keyboards tend to have oddly shaped or sized keys in order to place the fold. That usually creates a lot of typos at first, however, which is why the folding keyboard that stands out most in my research is the Arteck HB066 Bluetooth Keyboard. The fold moves around the keys instead of moving the keys around the fold for an experience that’s closer to a traditional keyboard.

The Arteck HB066, also previously our pick for best Bluetooth keyboard overall, folds around two hinges. That makes it roughly the size of a smartphone when folded, yet it unfolds into a 60 percent size QWERTY keyboard. It’s also affordable, selling for under $30 on Amazon

Compatible with iOS, Android, Windows and Mac OS, the keyboard is ready for almost every device you own. While made from aluminum alloy, the HB066 lacks some of the extra buttons and features other folding keyboards have. But, the keyboard gets high marks for the unique fold that prevents oddly-sized keys. 

HB066 Bluetooth Keyboard (button)
Best Bluetooth keyboard for iPad

Logitech Combo Touch iPad case

Who’s it for? With a removable keyboard that never needs to recharge, the Logitech Combo Touch is a versatile iPad and iPad Pro keyboard.

The Logitech Combo Touch is, technically, not a Bluetooth keyboard. The iPad and iPad Pro keyboards instead use the smart connector on the iPad itself to both connect and draw power. That gives the Combo Touch almost all the benefits of a Bluetooth keyboard – but with none of the recharging. The low-profile keys are responsive and, while not as nice as my MacBook, still feel great. The Combo Touch is available in versions for the iPad, which I tested, as well as options for the iPad Pro and iPad Air.

The Combo Touch includes a case that can be used with or without the keyboard. The case protects the back and three sides of the iPad, which is one of the reasons I chose the Combo Touch over Apple’s own Magic Keyboard. The keyboard detaches magnetically. When the keyboard is detached, the iPad still has the kickstand and protective case. I love that you can quickly go from typing to reading by simply pulling the keyboard off.

The Logitech Combo Touch is my favorite iPad keyboard that I tested. However, if you want the most protection, the Combo touch still leaves a side exposed. The Zagg Pro Keys is a true Bluetooth keyboard that covers the back and all the sides, with a 6.6-foot drop rating. That extra protection covers the smart connector, however, so the Zagg Pro Keys requires recharging. I also prefered the Logitech’s kickstand design. That said, my iPad has been dropped accidentally with the Combo Touch on and it came away unscathed. If you want the best blend of protection and no-recharge convenience, the Logitech Combo Touch is a great choice.

Combo Touch (11-inch iPad Pro) (button)
What else we’re considering

We’re continuing to test a range of Bluetooth keyboards. Along with the keyboards above, we’re also testing the highly-reviewed keyboards below. We’ll update this post once we’ve finished full testing.

  • Logitech K830 Living Room Keyboard: This media keyboard has a touchpad built in so you can both navigate a smart TV and type without the tedious “typing” on a remote control. It has illuminated keys, which are helpful while you’re watching movies in the dark.
  • Logitech Ergo K860: This keyboard is both Bluetooth and ergonomic. The curved keyboard design is made to reduce stress on the wrists. This one could be a good option for cord-haters who have,or want to avoid wrist strain.
  • iClever BK08: This folding keyboard also builds in a touchpad, making it a keyboard and mouse in one. The keys are a little smaller as a result, though, which means the question mark and apostrophe need a Fn key pressed simultaneously, rather than just hitting one key. 
  • Zagg Pro Keys with trackpad: Similar to the Logitech Combo Touch, the Zagg Pro Keys with trackpad gives the iPad a Macbook-like treatment. If you want the most possible protection, the Zagg is the better option than the Logitech because all sides of the iPad are covered. It has a great feel and feels very durable. However, I prefered the Combo Touch because it doesn’t need to recharge. And, if you pull the keyboard off the Zagg, you also remove the kickstand. I prefer to have the kickstand still attached so I can read or watch movies without the keyboard. 
  • Zagg Pro Keys: The Zag Pro Keys is also available in a version without the touchpad. Selling for $100, this is a more affordable option that still offers protection. The keyboard feels great, but will need to be recharged. Removing the keyboard will also remove the kickstand, but not the protective case.
  • Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad: I used an earlier generation of the Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad. The keys feel great and the connection couldn’t be simpler. But, I cracked my last iPad screen when I dropped it in the Magic Keyboard. I prefer the way the Logitech Combo Touch and Zagg Pro Keys double as a protective case and a keyboard in one — and both are more affordable than the Magic Keyboard.

What to consider when choosing a Bluetooth keyboard

Bluetooth keyboards tend to have a wider variety of features than their corded counterparts. The connectivity means these keyboards aren’t just for desktops but can also control your smartphone, tablet, or even smart TV. What you plan to use the keyboard for will impact which one is the best for you.

Size: Do you want to take your Bluetooth keyboard anywhere or will the keyboard mainly stay on your desk or in your living room? Foldable keyboards and compact, 60 percent keyboards are made to easily tuck into a bag and go anywhere. But, they lack some keys and can be uncomfortable to type on long-term. If you don’t need the number pad, a tenkeyless or TKL keyboard is a happy medium, offering more comfort while still fitting into a backpack. TKLs also take up less space on a desk, letting you keep your mouse more easily within reach.

Type: Scissor switch keyboards are quieter, more affordable, and have a lower profile. Mechanical keyboards, on the other hand, can offer more tactile and auditory feedback that many regular typists love, plus they tend to have greater durability.

Ergonomics: The wrong type of keyboard can cause wrist strain with extended use. Dr. Kevin Weaver, a certified ergonomics expert by the Board of Certified Professional Ergonomists and the Oxford Institute and a Clinical Assistant Professor of physical therapy at New York University, suggests typists with larger hands choose a larger keyboard. A wrist pad, contoured keys, and softer scissor switches may also be more comfortable, he says.

Extra features: Many keyboards go beyond the typical QWERTY layout. Some offer media keys — particularly those for smart TVs — or other macros. Others have different shortcuts built in for gaming or more general tasks.

Working from home? Check out our other home office guides

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Your ultimate guide to college essentials in 2021 – laptops, bags, dorm gear, and more

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student working from home
  • College classes are set to resume online and in person later this month.
  • We collected all our back-to-school shopping guides in one place so you can easily shop supplies like laptops and backpacks.

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The 2021-2022 college season is just around the corner, with students likely to head back to campus or log on via their laptops around the third week of August. With that in mind, we’ve gathered together all of our relevant buying advice into one ultimate guide for stocking up on college gear.

We’ve revisited our investigation of whether an iPad alone can serve as your only computing device for college, overhauled our dorm room entertainment gear guide, and shared advice on how Windows 11 will affect students going into their first semester.

From classroom tech to student discounts to dorm room necessities, you’ll find all our best college supply stories below.

The best back-to-school discounts

female students exam hall shutterstock ESB Professional

The back-to-school shopping season is an ideal time to take advantage of big deals on tech products and services for college. Whether you’re in the market for a new computer, tablet, smartphone, or even a streaming subscription, there are plenty of discounts available. Some deals are even exclusive to students with proof of enrollment.

New MacBook Air (M1) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Mac Mini (2020) with M1 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)iPhone 11 Pro Max 256GB (Refurbished) (medium)Student Plan Monthly Subscription (medium)50-inch U6G 4K TV (medium)BlackWidow TE Chroma V2 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Hum Smart Electric Toothbrush Kit (medium, Preferred: Amazon)
The best laptops for college students

student working on laptop with textbooks

Every student in college needs a laptop these days to the point that it’s essential not just for assignments but also accessing a college’s administrative tools and services. With countless laptops to choose from, we’ve tested dozens to determine the best for a variety of needs and budgets.

You’ll want to consider your area of study as well before deciding on a laptop for college. Some course loads require more power or versatility than others. For instance, we wouldn’t recommend a Chromebook to an engineering student, nor would we recommend the highest-end MacBook for a political science student. Our guide linked above for the best college laptops goes in depth on this very subject.

Chromebook 15 (medium)Pixelbook Go (medium)New MacBook Air (M1) (medium)
The best bags, planners, and accessories for college

Person writing in planner using a ballpoint pen. Photo cropped to only show hand and planner.

There’s so much more to college than just which expensive logo adorns the lid of your laptop, like the bag to carry it in. We’ve rounded up our guides to the best bags, planners, and other accessories that you might find useful during your studies.

Jester Backpack (medium)Daily Planner (medium)Fusion (medium)
The best dorm room essentials

college dorm

Outside of tech gadgets and entertainment gear, no college dorm is complete without a few essential home and kitchen products. Compact fridges, microwaves, coffee makers, fans, lamps, cookware, and vacuums can all improve your college experience. We’ve also got recommendations for common household items and bedding, including sheets, hampers, hangers, and more. 

Countertop Microwave (medium)Coffee Plus 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker (medium)1.6 Cubic Foot Compact Refrigerator (medium)
The best TVs for dorm rooms

Hisense U6G 4K TV
The best cheap 4K TVs

As we see it, quality downtime is also an important factor in the college experience, and a certain degree of (healthy) escapism is helpful for avoiding burnout. Now that we’ve justified your hot new TV pickup, know that we’ve tested numerous televisions from all manufacturers and at all price points.

We would strongly recommend considering a budget 4K TV or even budget HDTV with a screen size no bigger than 50 inches for the college experience. You likely won’t have the space or time to make the potentially exorbitant cost of a bigger display worthwhile, so save that cash for post-college life.

3 Series HDTV (32-Inch) (medium)50-inch U6G 4K TV (medium)48-inch CX OLED 4K TV (medium)
The best smartphones for college students

iPhone purple

Whether you’re upgrading your phone to last for at least most of your college career or getting your first smartphone for the tools it offers every student, we’ve tested a phone that will fit into your needs and budget. You may also want to consider a refurbished phone, which can help you save some cash on flagship-level models.

iPhone 11 Pro Max 256GB (Refurbished) (medium)iPhone 12 (medium)iPhone SE (2020) (medium)Galaxy S21 (medium)Pixel 4a 5G (medium)
More back-to-school buying advice

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How to shop for the best laptop for school 2021

white laptop and black mortarboard graduation cap pattern on blue background

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  • Consider your budget and how you’re planning to use your device when buying a new school laptop.
  • Students should also look for education discounts and consider the resources available on campus.
  • It’s also important to consider whether a MacBook, Chromebook, or Windows PC is best for your needs.

As a college student, your laptop is your lifeline. Whether you’re working on a paper, watching movies in bed, or blasting music before a night out, your laptop is at the center of almost everything you do.

That’s why picking out the right one is so important. There’s a lot to consider when shopping for a laptop, but there are two key questions that will guide most of your decisions: What do you intend to use it for, and how much are you willing to spend?

There are many other factors, but those two questions should be at the center of your search. A student studying history or English, for example, will experience very different workloads than those pursuing a major in graphic design or video production.

Here’s a look at what to consider when buying a laptop for school.

Know what you’re getting for your money

dollar bills money

Budget is the biggest consideration when searching for a new laptop. The best laptops usually cost around $1,000 or more, but you can find worthwhile picks below that price point.

Laptops that cost around $1,000 will typically have the latest processors from Intel in the Core i5 or Core i7 line, which means they should offer fast performance and last for at least the typical four years of study. These laptops also usually have high-quality durable designs, 13-inch screens that have a resolution of at least 1080p, and enough memory and storage to handle most workloads. It’s good to think of $1,000 as a baseline price for a new laptop.

Laptops in the $300 to $600 range will typically come with less powerful processors and usually top out at 8GB of memory (RAM). Laptops closer to the $300 end of the spectrum or lower will probably run on an Intel Celeron or Pentium processor, meanwhile you’re likely to find Intel Core chips closer to the $600 range. Many devices in the price bracket will be Chromebooks, which are best for those who just need a laptop for getting online and using Google’s suite of apps like Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Sheets.

If you’re spending $2,000 or more on a laptop, you can expect to start seeing options for features like dedicated graphics, Intel Core i7 or Core i9 processors, larger screens with sharper resolutions, at least 512GB of solid-state storage, and at least 16GB of RAM. Most students won’t need to spend this much on a laptop unless they’re planning to use it for gaming in their spare time.

Learn about the tech resources available on campus first

Working on computer
Young food blogger entrepreneur writing blog post and working online on laptop from home office.

Even if you are planning to pursue a major that might require heavy-duty computing, most colleges have computer labs on campus and allow students to rent tech equipment. The facilities will vary depending on the campus, and schools known for specializing in certain fields like technology or design may have more advanced computer labs than others. 

Regardless, it’s a good idea to educate yourself about the resources available on-site before investing in your own computer. Make it a priority to see the computer labs during a campus visit, conduct some online research by browsing the college’s website, or even reach out to the admissions office for more information if you have questions. 

This will help you gain a better understanding of whether you’ll be using your personal computer for the majority of your classwork, or if you’ll be able to rely on the school’s resources for more demanding workloads.   

Look for student discounts before you buy.

College student graduation

Many laptop makers offer special deals and discounts for students, so be sure to browse their education programs before buying. 

  • Apple offers year-round education discounts that take $100-$200 off the price of a MacBook laptop depending on the model. As part of its special back-to-school promotion running through September 27, Apple is also throwing in a free pair of standard AirPods. 
  • Acer’s student discounts provide a 10% discount and free shipping for those who qualify. 
  • Dell also slashes 10% off the prices of select electronics for students in addition to offering other sales on laptops for the back-to-school season.
  • Lenovo offers a 5% discount, but that doesn’t apply to products that are on doorbuster or clearance sales. 

Check out our full guide to the best back-to-school discounts for more deals.

Decide whether a Mac, Windows PC, or Chromebook is best for you

Microsoft's Windows 11 software being shown on the screens of various laptops.
Microsoft’s Windows 11 update will better bridge the gap between laptops and tablets, an ambition it’s pursued for almost a decade.

Aside from budget, choosing the right operating system is the most important decision you’ll make when buying a new computer. For most people, this decision comes down to which software they’re most comfortable and familiar with. But each operating system offers certain benefits that are worth considering.

Windows

Windows is the most popular laptop operating system and offers the most flexibility. You can find Windows devices at almost any price range, unlike MacBooks which start at $899 for the newest MacBook Air with a student discount. Certain Windows laptops are also available in 2-in-1 designs with touchscreens that allow them to serve as both laptops and tablets. That could make Windows a better choice for those who plan to use their laptop for entertainment, too.

Mac

Apple’s macOS is the operating system that powers MacBook laptops. If you own an iPhone, you might feel most comfortable with macOS since Apple’s smartphone and laptop software share many apps and features. For example, iPhones and MacBooks each have apps like iMessage, Safari, Maps, Mail, and Calendar. Plus, you can pick up from wherever you left off in most of Apple’s apps when switching between iPhone and Mac through a feature called Handoff. 

Chrome OS

Chromebooks, on the other hand, run on Google’s Chrome OS. It’s a very simple operating system that’s designed around using web-based apps like Google’s Chrome browser, Google Docs, and Google Sheets. They’re best for those who just want an affordable laptop for getting online and performing basic tasks like notetaking, researching, and web browsing. If you don’t anticipate needing much software for your schoolwork other than Google’s web browser and word processor, a Chromebook might be the right choice for you.

Choose a laptop with the right specifications for your needs

MacBook Air red open

Next, you’ll want to think about factors like how much processor power you need and what size you’re looking for in a laptop. Here’s a rundown of the most important specifications you should consider during the shopping process.

Processor and memory

A laptop’s processor is the biggest factor in determining its performance. Most laptops run on Intel processors, but you’ll occasionally find some powered by AMD chips as well.

In general, it’s best to avoid buying a laptop with a processor that’s more than two generations old. That’s because you want to make sure your laptop remains fast and capable for at least four to five years. Investing in technology that’s several years old could result in you spending more money in the long run since you might have to replace it sooner than expected.

When it comes to memory, you’ll ideally want a machine with at least 8GB of RAM. The RAM often determines how good your computer is at juggling multiple tasks, such as opening dozens of tabs in a web browser, and buying a laptop without enough RAM could result in slower performance under heavy workloads.

In general, a laptop with an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM is plenty for most tasks. But an Intel Core i3 laptop will also suffice if your budget is a little tighter and you don’t anticipate that you’ll be using your laptop for much more than browsing the web and watching Netflix. It’s common to see Chromebooks with lower-end specs when it comes to the processor and RAM because they’re only meant for basic tasks like these. 

Display quality

Just like anything else, your laptop’s display quality and size depends on how you intend to use it. If you’re mostly using your laptop for writing papers, taking notes, and conducting research, you probably don’t need a super high-resolution screen. Many laptops come with a screen resolution of at least 1080p, which is all you really need for basic word processing and research. 

If you’re already planning to spend $1,000 or more on a laptop for other reasons, like the processing power, your laptop will probably have an even sharper display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 or 2,560 x 1,200. Touchscreens can also add to the price, so consider whether that’s a priority for you before buying. Some laptops come with the option to upgrade to a 4K display, but it’s usually more money than it’s worth, especially considering it can impact battery life. 

Size

Many laptops come with 13-inch screens, but you can also find larger models with 15-inch or 17-inch screens, and smaller-sized 11-inch laptops. Larger-sized models are more expensive and usually come with more powerful processors, while smaller-sized laptops are tailored for convenience and portability and are generally equipped to only handle the basics. 

Laptops with 13-inch screens fall right in the middle and usually offer the best combination of screen space and portability for most people. 

Consider how you plan to use your laptop before deciding which size is right for you. Is having a device that’s lightweight enough to squeeze in a small bag and carry around campus your main priority, or are you planning to primarily use your laptop at your dorm room desk?

Storage

Many laptops come with at least 128GB or 256GB of storage, except for Chromebooks since they rely on cloud storage. This should be enough storage for most people, but students working with large video files and photos might want to upgrade to a laptop with 512GB or more. 

Just remember that storage drives up the price, so it’s important to carefully consider how much you need. If you’re not sure how much storage to get, you can always opt for a laptop with 128GB or 256GB and purchase an external hard drive later if you need it. 

Our guides to the best laptops

Dell XPS 13 2

Still not sure where to start? Check out our laptop buying guides for our favorite picks.

The best laptops for college students

The best laptops overall

The best budget laptops

The best Chromebooks

The best MacBooks 

 

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Apple’s new Mac Mini is the perfect computer for just about anyone – it’s powerful and affordable

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The Apple Mac Mini with M1 chip in front of a colorful TV display
  • Apple’s M1 Mac Mini, the new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, represent a shift to Apple’s in-house processors.
  • If you thought this shift would result in slowdown or confusing software, it’s surprisingly simple.
  • Using the M1 Mac Mini is seamless, making it easy to forget that it’s using a new processor at all.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyMac Mini (2020) with M1 (small)

The Mac Mini often gets overlooked in Apple’s lineup, but it’s actually one of Apple’s most-loved computers, and for good reason. It’s the perfect computer for those that want an inexpensive desktop Mac, especially for those who like the idea of something compact, and who don’t mind using their own keyboard and mouse. That’s why I’ve used my 2018 Mac Mini as my daily computer since its release – and why I was very excited for Apple’s refresh of the computer this year.

But the new Mac Mini represents more than just a refresh. Alongside the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, the 2021 Mac Mini is one of the first Apple computers to run on Apple’s new, self-built ARM-based processors, the M1, instead of Intel processors. And, along with the new processor comes a whole set of challenges, both for Apple, and for the user who would have to deal with any shortcomings and confusion that might come from switching to an all-new processor architecture. Does the M1 Mac Mini overcome those challenges? I’ve been using it for a while now to find out.

Design and ports

You’d be forgiven for assuming that there’s no real difference between the new M1 Mac Mini and the last-generation 2018 Mac Mini. They look almost the same. The computers are the same size and shape, coming in 7.7 inches deep and wide, and 1.4 inches thick. The silver that the M1 Mac Mini comes in is also the same silver that you can get the previous-generation model in. Unfortunately, the M1 Mac Mini is not available in Space Gray, which is my preferred color choice.

Not everything is the same. Around the back of the M1 Mac Mini, you’ll get a slightly different selection of ports, though it’s still enough for the vast majority of users. The M1 Mac Mini offers an HDMI port, two USB-A ports, two USB 4 ports (USB-C), a headphone jack, and an ethernet port. I did miss having the extra two USB-C ports on offer by the Intel-based Mac Mini, but was quickly able to change my workflow to work fine with the fewer ports – and most people will be perfectly happy with what’s on offer here.

Generally speaking, the M1 Mac Mini keeps everything users knew and loved about the design of the Mac Mini. The computer is small and compact, and should sit right at home on any desk or table. The fact that it’s small means it should also fit in tight spaces, if that’s something that’s important to you.

Performance

More important than the design of the new Mac Mini, given the switch to a new type of processor, is performance. Thankfully, the M1 Mac Mini performs like a dream.

It’s important to briefly explain why this is such a big, important switch. The M1 chip is Apple’s first self-developed processor for computers, but it leverages the years of experience Apple has in building processors for the iPhone and iPad line. The M1 processor is built using the ARM architecture, while Intel’s processors are built on the x86 architecture. ARM processors are generally more power-efficient, which impacts performance, battery life on laptops, and so on. It’s all a little technical, but the gist of things is that the software and apps on a Mac have to be re-developed to be understood by the new type of processor.

Because it’s such a big switch, it would be easy to assume that M1-based computers don’t perform all that well. But Apple hit the ground running with its new computer chips, and the M1 Mac Mini is easily able to handle the vast majority of tasks that you can throw at it.

I threw a lot at it. There were times when I had a dozen or so apps open at once, including Safari, Reminders, Podcasts, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Word, and even Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro. That’s a heavy workload, and while the video editing I was doing in Final Cut Pro wasn’t necessarily as demanding as it could be if I was animating or using heavy effects, it’s safe to say that the M1 Mac Mini can hold its own.

Now, while the Mac Mini was an impressive performer, it wasn’t perfect. I was testing the base 8GB of RAM model, and as a result, on the heaviest work days, the computer could freeze up for a second or two every now and then. It was never catastrophic, but if you need something that can handle really heavy multitasking, you should upgrade the RAM.

Also, while it’s impressive, the M1 chip still isn’t a graphics powerhouse. I was able to do some relatively light video editing and image editing without issue, but if you’re a professional graphic designer or video editor, and plan on mostly using your Mac for those tasks, it’s probably worth waiting until Apple has cemented its graphics performance a little more.

But, for the vast majority of users, the computer will perform more than well enough. For productivity, it’s easily up to the task, even heavier productivity that might involve browsers, email, word processors, lots of spreadsheets, and more.

Software

To fully take advantage of everything new Macs can offer, apps should be rewritten by their developers – but until then, Apple’s Rosetta 2 software can translate apps written for Intel Macs with surprising success.

The result is that using the M1 Mac Mini is pretty much the same experience as using an Intel-based Mac Mini. More and more apps are being rewritten and built for Apple’s new processors, but even those that aren’t seem to work perfectly fine. Upon first trying to open an app written for Intel Macs, you’ll be prompted to download Rosetta 2, and the app may take a second or two to open the first time while Rosetta 2 translates it. But once open, those apps work as well as they do on Intel Macs.

It’s kind of amazing – and definitely surprising. Many, including myself, assumed there would be a transition period where it would make sense to steer clear from a new Mac for heavier use. But while there certainly is a transition period, it’s really happening behind the scenes – and won’t affect users much.

Software translation aside, the M1 Mac Mini runs the latest version of Apple’s MacOS, called Big Sur. Big Sur represents a relatively major design overhaul for MacOS, but long-time MacOS users will still be able to navigate it with ease. Most of the visual changes make MacOS look a little more like iOS or iPadOS, hinting at further convergence between Apple’s operating systems in the future. For now, MacOS is still relatively easy to use, and Apple offers excellent support articles online for the times you might have a question.

What makes it stand out

Performance and excellent software aside, the main thing that makes the M1 Mac Mini is its price. With a starting price of $699, the M1 Mac Mini is the cheapest Mac currently available. Considering the fact that it easily outperforms more expensive Windows computers, the M1 Mac Mini is quite a deal.

Cons to consider

While the M1 Mac Mini performs super well, I still would have liked for it to keep the wider range of ports available on the previous-generation Mac Mini. More ports is always better, and some users might find that they need a docking station or adapter to use all the accessories and external devices that they want to use.

The other downside to the Mac Mini is that it’s still not really a graphics powerhouse. It’s expected that Apple’s graphic processing tech will get a whole lot better over the next few years, but those that rely on graphics performance for their job should probably wait until that happens.

The bottom line

The M1 Mac Mini is really an incredible product. It sets a high bar for a first-generation product, and along with the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, proves that Apple is serious about building its own computing processors. This was never really in doubt, but whether or not Apple could actually deliver on a seamless experience was – and those doubts should now be answered.

Because of its excellent performance, the M1 Mac Mini is worth buying for anyone who wants a solid-performing computer that can handle most productivity tasks. Heavier users should upgrade the RAM to 16GB, and really heavy users, or those that need a graphics powerhouse, should probably wait a year or two – but everyone else will get serious use out of Apple’s compact desktop.

Pros: Compact design, excellent performance, seamless software transition

Cons: Not for heavy graphics use yet, could use more ports

Mac Mini (2020) with M1 (button)

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Microsoft and Apple’s newest updates show how the pandemic has fundamentally changed our relationship with computers

woman on conference call video chat computer
  • Apple and Microsoft’s new software updates bring big changes to their video calling apps.
  • Other new features hope to help us better manage work-life balance.
  • The updates are a sign the way people use their computers has fundamentally changed over the past year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The world may be opening up again, but remote work is here to stay for many people. That’s the sentiment that has seemingly shaped the new updates coming to Windows and Mac computers later this year.

Apple and Microsoft are both introducing new features that vastly improve conference calls and the way we manage work-life balance, updates that will come as the majority of American workers continued working remotely into 2021, according to Gallup.

Some of these new features are a response to remote work, but they’re also a sign the two biggest operating systems see a fundamental shift in how we’ll use computers to work and communicate.

Microsoft unveiled Windows 11 on Thursday, its first major Windows update in six years. The free update will bring a slew of aesthetic changes to Windows computers this holiday season, but tighter integration with its Teams video chat app is one of the biggest updates. With Windows 11, Teams will sit right in the task bar so that you can start a text chat, video call, or voice call without having to launch the app.

Apple also announced big changes coming to FaceTime during its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month. That includes some Zoom-like features, such as grid view for group calls and the ability to create links to join FaceTime conferences from any device, marking the first time Apple has expanded FaceTime beyond its own products.

The iPhone maker is also launching a new capability called SharePlay that lets you watch movies and TV shows in sync with someone else via a FaceTime call – a feature that surely would have been appreciated over the past year as many sought to co-watch shows with friends and family.

But videoconferencing is only one aspect of remote work; there’s also the actual work. Apple’s macOS Monterey update and Microsoft’s Windows 11 will both have new tools for helping us better separate our digital work lives from our personal matters. Windows 11, for example, will let you create separate zones called Desktops tailored to different themes like work, personal, or gaming.

Apple is launching a new Focus mode that makes it possible to block out notifications based on your activity across all devices. That means no Facebook notifications during the workday and no Slack alerts past 6 p.m. if you so choose. Such features could be particularly useful as American workers are grappling with burnout, particularly over the past year. A survey conducted by Insider and SurveyMonkey that polled 1,093 working Americans in late April found that about 60% of respondents felt at least somewhat burned out. Nearly half of the respondents who reported feeling a little burned out said this happened over the past few months.

The launches also come at a time when there’s a desire to continue working remotely even after the pandemic. A national survey conducted in April 2020 by GetAbstract found that 43% of respondents said they wanted to continue working remotely more often moving forward.

Still, the software updates are just the latest example of how tech companies are tailoring their products around longterm behavioral changes. New laptops that debuted at the annual CES show in January came packed with technologies meant to improve video calling and security, such as sophisticated microphones and sensors that could lock your device when you’re away.

It’s possible many of these features would have arrived to Windows and macOS whether there was a pandemic or not. But what is certain is that more than a year of remote work has changed the way we use computers in both a professional and personal capacity. Now, we’re getting a sense of which trends the big tech companies think are here to stay.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Microsoft’s first attempt at making laptops more like tablets was a disaster. Now it’s making up for that nearly a decade later with Windows 11.

Microsoft's Windows 11 software being shown on the screens of various laptops.
Microsoft’s Windows 11 update will better bridge the gap between laptops and tablets, an ambition it’s pursued for almost a decade.

  • Windows 11 is designed to make PCs work more consistently in both laptop and tablet mode.
  • It feels like what Microsoft tried and failed to achieve with Windows 8 in 2012.
  • Windows 11 was announced on Thursday and launches at the end of 2021.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Microsoft unveiled its vision to bridge the gap between laptops and tablets when it previewed Windows 8 back in 2011. But Windows 11, which the company revealed on Thursday and will launch this holiday season, is its most promising attempt at this ambition yet.

Based on Microsoft’s presentation, Windows 11 has the potential to make PCs work much better as tablets without sacrificing their functionality as laptops, finally bringing Microsoft’s decade-old vision to fruition.

To understand why this matters, it’s important to remember where Windows 8 went wrong. The update, which launched in 2012, was meant to make Windows feel more modern at a time when many believed tablets threatened to make laptops irrelevant.

It replaced the traditional desktop operating system – including the beloved Start button and menu – with touch-friendly tiles, a new Start screen, and support for new swiping gestures. The problem, however, was that the learning curve was too steep. Rather than introducing gradual changes to make Windows more mobile-friendly over time, it forced users to completely re-learn how to use a Windows computer all at once.

As a result, Windows 8 wasn’t very widely embraced, with adoption numbers that were even lower than Windows Vista. Some have even called it the worst Windows version of all time.

Microsoft remedied this in 2015 with Windows 10, which walked back its aggressive mobile-first strategy by bringing back the Start menu and making other changes that improved the desktop experience.

Windows 10 devices with touchscreens and flexible designs can already be used as tablets, but doing so doesn’t always feel as consistent or smooth as it should.

Microsoft is addressing these aspects and more with Windows 11, feels like it could finally strike the right balance between mobile and desktop that the company has been aiming for all along. It’s striving to achieve the opposite effect of Windows 8; rather than requiring you to get used to the software, the operating system should effortlessly adapt to your needs.

With Windows 11, the interface for laptop and tablet modes is essentially the same, unlike Windows 10. Bigger on-screen buttons should also make managing windows in tablet mode easier in Windows 11. The new touch keyboard is much smaller and has moved to the corner of the display so that it’s easier to type with one hand as we do on our phones.

Windows 11 will also have a new and more refined feed of widgets surfacing news and the weather that feels much more like the ones on our smartphones, similar to Apple’s Today view for the iPhone. The swipe gestures also match the ones you would use to navigate Windows 11 on a touchpad, bringing even more consistency between laptop and tablet mode.

If these changes aren’t enough to convince you that Microsoft is serious about making PCs more mobile-friendly, the company also announced that Android apps will work on Windows 11. Doing so will keep Microsoft competitive with Apple and Google, both of which have already brought mobile apps to their respective macOS and Chrome OS operating systems.

But above all else, Windows 11 feels like it’s coming at the right moment. Windows 8 was in some ways ahead of its time since it launched long before most people cared about having a laptop that could double as a tablet. People simply weren’t using computers in that way yet, so how could Microsoft possibly understand what people wanted from a hybrid operating system? That question has finally been answered in 2021, and it shows in Microsoft’s plans for Windows 11.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best laptop deals during Amazon Prime Day 2021, plus early discounts you can already shop

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

AMAZON PRIME DAY LAPTOP DEALS
Amazon Prime Day 2021 is expected to bring some major discounts on laptops from Apple, Microsoft, and many others.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Amazon Prime Day 2021 is fast approaching, and we’re already seeing significant deals on laptops. The annual shopping holiday will take place on June 21 and 22, making it a great opportunity to snag a new laptop, whether it’s for school, work, or even gaming.

Last year, we saw deals on laptops from Apple, Lenovo, and others as well as Google’s Pixelbook Go and Razer’s Blade 15 gaming laptop. It’s not Prime Day yet, but a couple of our top-rated laptops, like the M1 MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13, are already on sale ahead of the event.

See below for everything you need to know about shopping for a new laptop on Amazon Prime Day 2021. And learn more about how Insider Reviews vets deals and tests products.

Prime Monthly Subscription (small)

Best early Amazon Prime Day laptop deals

It’s not Prime Day just yet, but Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart are already offering a few notable discounts on laptops. For a general-purpose laptop, we recommend a notebook with an Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, at least 8GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB of storage.

Many of these laptops will have integrated graphics, which share memory with the CPU rather than having their own dedicated graphics processing unit (GPU). Dedicated graphics aren’t a must if you’re mostly using your laptop for tasks like word processing, managing spreadsheets, and browsing the web, but video editors and gamers will want a standalone GPU.

Chromebooks often come with less storage and memory and lower-end processors since they rely so heavily on the cloud.

XPS 13 Touch Laptop (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Surface Laptop 3 (15-inch, 128GB) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Surface Laptop Go (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

Top early Amazon Prime Day MacBook deals

Last Prime Day, we saw discounts on the early 2020 MacBook Air. This year, we’re hoping to see bigger discounts on the newer MacBook Air and Macbook Pro models that run on Apple’s more powerful M1 processor. The MacBook Air is our favorite MacBook since it shares many qualities with the MacBook Pro at a lower price.

The MacBook Pro is already on sale for $149 off on Amazon, while the M1-powered MacBook Air is available for $100 off with an automatic coupon at checkout.

MacBook Pro (M1, 13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)New MacBook Air (M1) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Get a similar deal from other competing sales:

Best early Amazon Prime Day Chromebook deals

Chromebooks are already known for their affordability, and they’re usually available for even less on Prime Day. Our favorite Chromebook, the Pixelbook Go, was available at a discount last year, as well as Chromebooks from HP and Lenovo. Those who just want a basic laptop for using the Internet and Google’s services should keep an eye out on Prime Day.

Chromebook Spin 713 (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Chromebook Flip C434 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Top early Amazon Prime Day gaming laptop deals

Gaming laptops are almost always more expensive than regular laptops, which is why you should always try to find them at a discount when possible. Our favorite gaming laptop, the Razer Blade 15, was on sale last Prime Day, alongside other gaming laptops from MSI and Asus. We’ll be looking out for similar deals this year.

Amazon is already touting deals on the Razer Blade 15 Advanced on its early deals page. But these discounts aren’t very significant and only amount to about $35 off the regular price, so we’d recommend waiting to see if better deals surface.

Area-51m (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Frequently asked questions

What day is Amazon Prime Day 2021?

Amazon Prime Day 2021 will take place on June 21 and June 22. Deals change throughout the day and span the gamut in terms of categories. We usually see Prime Day deals on everything from tech gadgets and electronics to home appliances, beauty, and apparel. Amazon says it will be offering more than 2 million deals this Prime Day.

Although Amazon Prime Day doesn’t officially start until June 21, the online retailer is already offering early deals on products across its tech, kitchen, home improvement, pets, and books categories among others. There are also early discounts on Amazon products and services such as Audible, Fire TVs, Amazon Music, and Prime Gaming.

Will there be another Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day is a two-day event that takes place on June 21 and June 22. Amazon hasn’t discussed any plans for future Prime Day events, but it’s held the shopping holiday every year since 2015. Prime Day usually takes place in July, with 2020 being the exception when it occurred in October.

Do I need to be a Prime member to get Prime Day deals?

Yes, to access Prime Day deals you must subscribe to Amazon Prime, which costs $119 per year or $13 a month. Not only does Prime allow for access to Prime Day deals and faster shipping, but it also comes with a bunch of other perks like Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Prime Music.

How to choose a laptop on Prime Day

The most important aspects to consider when shopping for a new laptop are the operating system (OS), the laptop’s specifications, and its size.

Apple device owners usually prefer MacBooks since they run on the macOS operating system, which integrates nicely with the iPhone and has an interface that’s similar to iOS. But those who want the most choice and versatility in a desktop operating system usually go with Windows. Chromebooks, meanwhile, are best for those who use Google services frequently and handle most of their tasks online.

The processor (CPU), memory (RAM), and internal storage are the most important specifications to pay attention to if you’re looking for a general purpose computer. But multimedia editors and gamers will want to make sure their laptop has enough graphics processing power, too.

And finally, size is important when choosing the right laptop. If portability is your main priority, you’ll want to look at laptops with a 13-inch screen. But if you’re planning to primarily keep your laptop in your home office and use it for watching movies when you’re not working, you will probably be happier with a 15 or 16-inch laptop.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best early Prime Day deals on laptops from Apple, Dell, and Lenovo available right now

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Amazon Prime Day 2020 Best Prime day Laptop Deals 2x1
There are a bunch of laptops from Dell, Microsoft, and Apple among others on sale ahead of Amazon Prime Day 2021.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Amazon Prime Day 2021 kicks off on Monday, and we’re already starting to see some early deals on laptops. The annual Amazon shopping holiday takes place from June 21 through June 22, and we expect to see even more laptop and Chromebook deals throughout the weekend and into the big event.

Although Prime Day is an Amazon shopping holiday, don’t forget to check out other retailers as well. Competitors like Target and Walmart are hosting their own shopping events at the same time, and we’re likely to see compelling discounts from other retailers like Best Buy as well.

And of course, you’ll need an Amazon Prime membership to get access to Amazon’s Prime Day deals. Learn more about how the Insider Reviews team vets deals and tests products.

Prime Monthly Subscription (small)

The best Amazon Prime Day deals on laptops right now

We typically see discounts on laptops across many categories on Prime Day, from MacBooks to gaming laptops, Chromebooks, and Windows devices. See below for the best laptop deals we’ve found so far on Amazon leading up to Prime Day.

The best Amazon deals on MacBook laptops happening now

Prime Day isn’t here just yet, but we’re already seeing some Amazon deals on MacBook laptops. The MacBook Air with M1, which happens to be our favorite Apple laptop, is currently available at a discount along with the M1-powered MacBook Pro. Both of these laptops offer impressive gains in performance and battery life compared to their Intel-equipped predecessors. We’re hoping to see deeper discounts as Prime Day gets closer.

New MacBook Air (M1) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)MacBook Pro with M1 Processor (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best Amazon deals on Windows laptops happening now

Windows laptops are best for those who want more flexibility than Apple’s Mac laptops have to offer. Windows devices come in various sizes and many of them have 2-in-1 designs that allow them to function as both laptops and tablets.

We are starting to see more discounts on Windows laptops now that Prime Day is almost here, and expect to see even more over the weekend. Amazon has also confirmed that this year’s Prime Day discounts will include deals on HP products as well as laptops, desktops, and monitors from brands like Acer, Asus, and LG.

Envy x360 2-in1 (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)XPS 13 Touch Laptop (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Surface Laptop Go (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Yoga 9i (14-Inch, 256GB) (medium, Preferred: Walmart)Surface Laptop 3 (15-inch, 128GB) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Flex 5 (14-inch 2-in-1 with AMD Ryzen 5) (medium)Gram (Intel 10th Gen Core i5, 8GB) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best Amazon deals on Chromebooks happening now

Chromebooks are best for those who just want an affordable, lightweight laptop for browsing the web and working in Google’s suite of apps.

They’re usually less expensive than Windows laptops since they come with limitations when working offline. That being said, Chromebooks have improved a lot in recent years and certain models now come with faster processors and the ability to install Android apps from the Google Play Store.

Learn more about how to decide whether a Chromebook is the right laptop for you.

Chromebook Flip C434 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best Amazon deals on gaming laptops happening now

Gaming laptops almost always cost more than standard laptops, which is why it’s important to look for discounts. Our favorite gaming laptop right now is the Razer Blade 15 Advanced, which offers noteworthy performance and battery life packed into a stunning design. Check out our guide to the best gaming laptops for more buying advice and tips on what to look when shopping.

Area-51m (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Legion 5 (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

What are the best laptops to buy in 2021?

Our favorite laptop is the Dell XPS 13, which strikes an excellent balance between fast performance and elegant design. It runs on Intel’s latest 11th-generation processors and features a vivid display with super-slim borders around the edges that enabled Dell to cram a 13-inch screen into what feels like an 11-inch laptop casing. The new model usually starts at $930.

The 2020 MacBook Air with M1 is our favorite Apple laptop. Apple’s M1 processor brings significantly faster speeds and longer battery life to Apple’s most portable laptop at a usual starting price of $1,000. We chose it over the M1-powered MacBook Pro because it’s cheaper and sleeker than the Pro while offering similar performance and configuration options.

If you’re looking for a Chromebook, the Google Pixelbook Go is your best bet. With a typical starting price of $649, it’s pricier than many Chromebooks and for good reason. It has a comfortable and quiet keyboard, long battery life, and a 1080p webcam – a rare find even on laptops twice the price.

Check out our full guide to the best laptops for more buying advice.

How to buy a laptop

When choosing a laptop, the most important factors to consider are how much you’re willing to spend, screen size, performance, and storage.

For a general use laptop, we’d recommend a notebook with an Intel Core i3 or Intel Core i5 processor and at least 8GB of RAM. If you’re primarily using your device for tasks like web browsing, word processing, managing spreadsheets, and watching videos, you don’t need a more powerful processor like an Intel Core i7.

Most of these laptops will have integrated graphics rather than standalone graphics processing units (GPU). That’s sufficient for general use laptops, but those looking for a gaming laptop for a video editing machine will want a more powerful GPU.

Chromebooks, on the other hand, are designed to primarily be used with an internet connection, so they often have less memory and storage than your typical Windows or Mac laptop.

The most common laptop size is 13 inches, but you can also find laptops in larger 15-inch sizes or more compact 11-inch sizes.

Check out our full guide for more advice on how to choose the right laptop.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best laptop deals we expect for Amazon Prime Day 2021 including some early discounts

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

AMAZON PRIME DAY LAPTOP DEALS

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Amazon Prime Day 2021 is right around the corner, and we’re expecting to see some significant deals on laptops. The annual shopping holiday will take place on June 21 and 22, making it a great opportunity to snag a new laptop, whether it’s for school, work, or even gaming.

Last year, we saw deals on laptops from Apple, Lenovo, and others as well as Google’s Pixelbook Go and Razer’s Blade 15 gaming laptop. We’re expecting to see a similar selection of deals across Chromebooks, MacBooks, and Windows laptops this year. See below for everything you need to know about shopping for a new laptop on Amazon Prime Day 2021.

Prime Monthly Subscription (small)

The best Amazon laptop deals right now

It’s not Prime Day just yet, but Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart are already offering a few notable discounts on laptops. For a general-purpose laptop, we recommend a notebook with an Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, at least 8GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB of storage.

Many of these laptops will have integrated graphics, which share memory with the CPU rather than having their own dedicated graphics processing unit (GPU). Dedicated graphics aren’t a must if you’re mostly using your laptop for tasks like word processing, managing spreadsheets, and browsing the web, but video editors and gamers will want a standalone GPU.

Chromebooks often come with less storage and memory and lower-end processors since they rely so heavily on the cloud.

The best Amazon deals on Apple MacBook laptops

Last Prime Day, we saw discounts on the early 2020 MacBook Air. This year, we’re hoping to see bigger discounts on the newer MacBook Air and Macbook Pro models that run on Apple’s more powerful M1 processor. The MacBook Air is our favorite MacBook since it shares many qualities with the MacBook Pro at a lower price.

The MacBook Pro is already on sale for $99 off on Amazon, while the M1-powered MacBook Air is available for $50 off.

MacBook Pro with M1 Processor (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)MacBook Air (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best Amazon deals on Windows laptops

Windows laptops are the most popular laptops, and we’re expecting to see several compelling deals on Amazon Prime Day. But it’s not just Amazon deals we’ll be looking out for – many retailers launch their own deals on the same days as well.

A highlight from last year’s Prime Day, for example, were the discounts available on the Dell XPS 13 through Dell’s own website. Amazon has also confirmed that this year’s Prime Day discounts will include deals on HP products as well as laptops, desktops, and monitors from brands like Acer, Asus, and LG. Here are a couple of worthwhile Windows laptop deals available on Amazon right now.

Yoga 9i (14-Inch, 256GB) (medium, Preferred: Walmart)Surface Laptop 3 (15-inch, 128GB) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Flex 5 (14-inch 2-in-1 with AMD Ryzen 5) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Gram (Intel 10th Gen Core i5, 8GB) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best Amazon deals on Chromebooks

Chromebooks are already known for their affordability, and they’re usually available for even less on Prime Day. Our favorite Chromebook, the Pixelbook Go, was available at a discount last year, as well as Chromebooks from HP and Lenovo. Those who just want a basic laptop for using the Internet and Google’s services should keep an eye out on Prime Day.

Chromebook Flip C434 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best deals on gaming laptops

Gaming laptops are almost always more expensive than regular laptops, which is why you should always try to find them at a discount when possible. Our favorite gaming laptop, the Razer Blade 15, was on sale last Prime Day, alongside other gaming laptops from MSI and Asus. We’ll be looking out for similar deals this year.

Amazon is already touting deals on the Razer Blade 15 Advanced on its early deals page. But these discounts aren’t very significant and only amount to about $35 off the regular price, so we’d recommend waiting to see if better deals surface.

Frequently asked questions

What day is Amazon Prime Day 2021?

Amazon Prime Day 2021 will take place on June 21 and June 22. Deals change throughout the day and span the gamut in terms of categories. We usually see Prime Day deals on everything from tech gadgets and electronics to home appliances, beauty, and apparel. Amazon says it will be offering more than 2 million deals this Prime Day.

Although Amazon Prime Day doesn’t officially start until June 21, the online retailer is already offering early deals on products across its tech, kitchen, home improvement, pets, and books categories among others. There are also early discounts on Amazon products and services such as Audible, Fire TVs, Amazon Music, and Prime Gaming.

Will there be another Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day is a two-day event that takes place on June 21 and June 22. Amazon hasn’t discussed any plans for future Prime Day events, but it’s held the shopping holiday every year since 2015. Prime Day usually takes place in July, with 2020 being the exception when it occurred in October.

Do I need to be a Prime member to get Prime Day deals?

Yes, to access Prime Day deals you must subscribe to Amazon Prime, which costs $119 per year or $12.99 per month. Not only does Prime allow for access to Prime Day deals and faster shipping, but it also comes with a bunch of other perks like Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Prime Music.

How to choose a laptop on Prime Day

The most important aspects to consider when shopping for a new laptop are the operating system (OS), the laptop’s specifications, and its size.

Apple device owners usually prefer MacBooks since they run on the macOS operating system, which integrates nicely with the iPhone and has an interface that’s similar to iOS. But those who want the most choice and versatility in a desktop operating system usually go with Windows. Chromebooks, meanwhile, are best for those who use Google services frequently and handle most of their tasks online.

The processor (CPU), memory (RAM), and internal storage are the most important specifications to pay attention to if you’re looking for a general purpose computer. But multimedia editors and gamers will want to make sure their laptop has enough graphics processing power, too.

And finally, size is important when choosing the right laptop. If portability is your main priority, you’ll want to look at laptops with a 13-inch screen. But if you’re planning to primarily keep your laptop in your home office and use it for watching movies when you’re not working, you will probably be happier with a 15 or 16-inch laptop.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best early Prime Day deals on laptops that are already going on

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Amazon Prime Day 2020 Best Prime day Laptop Deals 2x1

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Amazon Prime Day 2021 kicks off next week, and we’re expecting to see plenty of notable deals on laptops. The annual Amazon shopping holiday takes place from June 21 through June 22 this year, bringing discounts on everything from electronics to home decor, apparel, beauty products, pet supplies, and much more.

Although Prime Day is an Amazon shopping holiday, don’t forget to check out other retailers as well. Competitors like Target and Walmart are hosting their own shopping events at the same time, and we’re likely to see compelling discounts from other retailers like Best Buy as well.

And of course, you’ll need an Amazon Prime membership to get access to Amazon’s Prime Day deals.

Prime Monthly Subscription (small)

The best Amazon Prime Day deals on laptops right now

We typically see discounts on laptops across many categories on Prime Day, from MacBooks to gaming laptops, Chromebooks, and Windows devices. See below for the best laptop deals we’ve found so far on Amazon leading up to Prime Day.

The best Amazon deals on MacBook laptops happening now

Prime Day isn’t here just yet, but we’re already seeing some Amazon deals on MacBook laptops. The MacBook Air with M1, which happens to be our favorite Apple laptop, is currently available at a discount along with the M1-powered MacBook Pro. Both of these laptops offer impressive gains in performance and battery life compared to their Intel-equipped predecessors. We’re hoping to see deeper discounts as Prime Day gets closer.

New MacBook Air (M1) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)MacBook Pro with M1 Processor (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best Amazon deals on Windows laptops happening now

Windows laptops are best for those who want more flexibility than Apple’s Mac laptops have to offer. Windows devices come in various sizes and many of them have 2-in-1 designs that allow them to function as both laptops and tablets.

We’re not seeing too many deals on Windows laptops at the moment, but we’re expecting that more discounts will Surface as Prime Day gets closer.

Gram (Intel 10th Gen Core i5, 8GB) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best Amazon deals on Chromebooks happening now

Chromebooks are best for those who just want an affordable, lightweight laptop for browsing the web and working in Google’s suite of apps.

They’re usually less expensive than Windows laptops since they come with limitations when working offline. That being said, Chromebooks have improved a lot in recent years and certain models now come with faster processors and the ability to install Android apps from the Google Play Store.

Learn more about how to decide whether a Chromebook is the right laptop for you.

Chromebook Flip C434 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best Amazon deals on gaming laptops happening now

Gaming laptops almost always cost more than standard laptops, which is why it’s important to look for discounts. Our favorite gaming laptop right now is the Razer Blade 15 Advanced, which offers noteworthy performance and battery life packed into a stunning design. Check out our guide to the best gaming laptops for more buying advice and tips on what to look when shopping.

Area-51m (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

What are the best laptops to buy in 2021?

Our favorite laptop is the Dell XPS 13, which strikes an excellent balance between fast performance and elegant design. It runs on Intel’s latest 11th-generation processors and features a vivid display with super-slim borders around the edges that enabled Dell to cram a 13-inch screen into what feels like an 11-inch laptop casing. The new model usually starts at $930.

The 2020 MacBook Air with M1 is our favorite Apple laptop. Apple’s M1 processor brings significantly faster speeds and longer battery life to Apple’s most portable laptop at a usual starting price of $1,000. We chose it over the M1-powered MacBook Pro because it’s cheaper and sleeker than the Pro while offering similar performance and configuration options.

If you’re looking for a Chromebook, the Google Pixelbook Go is your best bet. With a typical starting price of $649, it’s pricier than many Chromebooks and for good reason. It has a comfortable and quiet keyboard, long battery life, and a 1080p webcam – a rare find even on laptops twice the price.

Check out our full guide to the best laptops for more buying advice.

How to buy a laptop

When choosing a laptop, the most important factors to consider are how much you’re willing to spend, screen size, performance, and storage.

For a general use laptop, we’d recommend a notebook with an Intel Core i3 or Intel Core i5 processor and at least 8GB of RAM. If you’re primarily using your device for tasks like web browsing, word processing, managing spreadsheets, and watching videos, you don’t need a more powerful processor like an Intel Core i7.

Most of these laptops will have integrated graphics rather than standalone graphics processing units (GPU). That’s sufficient for general use laptops, but those looking for a gaming laptop for a video editing machine will want a more powerful GPU.

Chromebooks, on the other hand, are designed to primarily be used with an internet connection, so they often have less memory and storage than your typical Windows or Mac laptop.

The most common laptop size is 13 inches, but you can also find laptops in larger 15-inch sizes or more compact 11-inch sizes.

Check out our full guide for more advice on how to choose the right laptop.

Read the original article on Business Insider