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HP Dragonflytent mode

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Searching for the best HP laptops isn’t an easy task. HP has a ton of products and numerous configurations and customizations that make it hard to figure out what models you should be looking out for.

But there are some superb Elite, Spectre, Omen, Envy, and EliteBook laptops just to mention a few of the best brands from HP. To get a better handle on what’s good and what you need to know, we explain the branding and pick the best HP laptops you can buy right now.

HP branding explained

For the mainstream market, the Spectre brand represents HP’s top-of-the-line premium family for a premium price. The Envy family is a step-down, offering premium devices at an affordable price. From there you move into the Pavilion line for HP’s general audience followed by the no-brand HP Laptop series, Stream devices targeting kids, and Chromebooks rounding out the budget devices.

On the business end, the EliteBook 1000 “elite” series resides at the top of HP’s laptop list followed by the EliteBook 800 and EliteBook 700 models. The ProBook 600 series is the next step down for “pros” without sacrificing enterprise-grade security along with the ProBook 400 family, 200 Series, and Chromebooks for businesses on a budget. The ZBook brand is HP’s workstation-class laptop family, while the Omen range is for gaming in higher-performance devices focused on speed.

Now that you know what HP offers, let’s take a look at the best HP laptops you can currently buy.

The best HP laptops:

Editor’s note: We will update this list regularly as new HP laptops launch.

1. Spectre Folio 13 — ultra-thin laptop for personal use

spectre folio 13

Technically, this isn’t your standard ultra-thin clamshell laptop, but it’s the closest we could find without venturing too far into 2-in-1 and detachable territory. It sports a 100% genuine leather exterior complemented by a display you can pull forward over the keyboard, or flip over the back to use as a tablet. The Spectre Folio acts like any other clamshell laptop as well. Leather bound! That’s quite something.

The Spectre Folio 13 is based on a 13.3-inch IPS touch-enabled display with your choice of a 1,920 x 1,080 or 3,840 x 2,160 resolution. Backing this screen is an eighth-generation Core i5-8200Y or Core i7-8500Y processor, integrated graphics, and 8GB or 16GB of system memory. Storage ranges between 256GB and 2TB on a PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD.

For connectivity, the Spectre Folio 13 provides Wireless AC, Bluetooth 4.2, and optional 4G LTE. Ports consist of two Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps), one USB-C (5Gbps), and a 3.5mm audio combo jack. Powering this device is a 54.28Wh battery promising up to 19 hours, depending on the screen resolution.

The Spectre Folio 13 ships in Cognac Brown and Bordeaux Burgundy colors, weighs 3.28 pounds, and measures just 0.60 inches thick. 

In 2020, HP hasn’t yet shipped an updated Folio 13, but the current model is getting close to being under $1,000, and has dipped down to mid-$900s when on sale. Keep an eye on it.

2. Spectre x360 13t touch — 2-in-1 laptop for personal use (2020)

hp spectre x360 13t touch

The HP family has a number of 2-in-1 laptops, but the very latest Spectre x360 13t touch is probably the best you can get for personal use, and in 2020 it’s better than ever. This 13.3-inch laptop has been polished further, with its premium build intact, and it’s still relatively compact. From previous editions, there’s now a brand new processor in the quad-core Intel Core i7-1065G7, meaning WiFi 6. Plus there’s HP’s Tilt Pen, a decent smart stylus, now included in 2020.

The Spectre x360 13t touch gives you the option to choose between a Full HD WLED-backlit display and a 4K AMOLED display. Graphics have also been upgraded — all versions of the laptop come with Intel Iris Plus Graphics. For processors, you can choose the latest 10th gen i5 and i7 Intel chips. Your storage options, on the other hand, range from 256GB to a whopping 2TB. Security and privacy haven’t been neglected either — the Spectre x360 13t touch comes with a fingerprint reader, as well as mic mute key and web camera kill switch.

The laptop also sports numerous ports. You will find one USB Type-A port, a microSD card reader, two USB-C readers, and a display port. The power supply itself is also USB-C, which means the laptop supports fast charging. You can get 50% of your battery life back in just 30 minutes.

Does the Spectre x360 13t touch have any downsides? At 2.87 pounds, it hasn’t lost any weight, while the high-end finish means it’s not the cheapest. The lowest spec model now starts at $1.299.99, and high-end configurations will get to $1,899.99. But there are discounts on the Spectre x360 13t touch and it is one of the best HP laptops on the market. (One last note: there is a 15-inch model too, if you’re craving more screen, but it starts closer to $1,780.)

3. HP Envy x2 — detachable laptop for personal use

Front side photo of a HP Envy x2 with a detachable screen/tablet mode.

With a starting price of $899, this detachable PC features a 12.3-inch IPS screen with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. It’s served up in two flavors: one with a seventh-generation Core i5-7Y54 processor and one with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chip, both of which support 4G LTE connectivity. Otherwise, the specifications are mostly similar across the board.

The HP Envy x2 includes 4GB of system memory and 128GB of storage. Both have Wireless AC connectivity, though the Intel model provides Bluetooth 4.2 and the Qualcomm model offers the newer Bluetooth 5.0. You’ll also find one 3.5mm audio combo jack, one Nano SIM slot, and two USB-C ports (5Gbps) on the Intel model. The Qualcomm model has a similar port complement save for having only one USB-C connection instead of two.

Related: The best Android tablets

Finally, the Intel model has a 5MP camera on the front supporting face recognition and Windows Hello along with a 13MP camera on the back. The Qualcomm model has the same setup but without the face recognition component. Both ship with the HP Pen stylus.

The Intel model measures 0.31 inches thick and weighs up to 2.53 pounds. The Qualcomm model measures 0.27 inches thick and weighs up to 2.67 pounds. Both are getting a bit long in the tooth with HP not really chasing this format any longer. You can still buy a new one, but we’d recommend considering all your options. These include the new Surface Go 2 from Microsoft that is going to be more capable once you get above the $600 range, although it starts at just $399.99.

4. HP Envy 17t — traditional laptop for personal use

hp envy 17t

You’ll find a number of configurations of this traditional laptop, starting at $749.99. They’re based on a 17.3-inch IPS display with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, with the choice between a regular screen and a touchscreen still possible. In 2020, the refreshed HP Envy 17t has latest 10th generation Intel Core processors, with either NVIDIA GeForce MX330 graphics or AMD Ryzen Radeon Graphics, and WiFi 6 connectivity. The screen bezels are a little smaller too, which is a nice touch.

Most 2020 models of this laptop have lost the DVD writer, which makes sense. But you’ll now get 512GB SSD with 16GB DDR4-3200 SDRAM, plus NVIDIA GeForce MX330 (4GB) on board for some gaming and processing capability.

Other goodies thrown into this clamshell laptop include wired Ethernet connectivity, a full SD card reader, one USB-C port (10Gbps), three USB-A ports (5Gbps), a 3.5mm audio combo jack, and an HP Wide Vision HD camera. It’s powered by a 52Wh battery promising up to 11 hours of use.

The HP Envy 17t measures 0.76 inches thick and weighs 6.02 pounds, which is thankfully trimmed down. At 17-inches it has rare size, and packs your full number pad in an old school laptop format, and all said, it serves a purpose.

5. HP Laptop 17z — budget laptop for personal use

HP Laptop 17

Like the HP Envy 17, this HP-branded laptop relies on a 17.3-inch display, though HP locks the 1,920 x 1,080 resolution to IPS panels and the 1,600 x 900 resolution to SVA panels. From there, you will find two starting points: the 17t relying on Intel processors and the 17z using AMD-based chips.

For starters, the HP Laptop 17t offers Intel’s seventh-generation Core i7-7500U and its newer eighth-generation Core i7-8550U chip backed by integrated graphics or a discrete AMD Radeon 530 GPU. Memory capacity ranges from 8GB to 16GB while the storage options feature hard drives, SSDs, and a mixture of both. You’ll even find 16GB of Intel Optane memory to increase hard drive performance.

The HP Laptop 17z relies on four different AMD processors, three of which are first-generation Ryzen chips for mobile with integrated Vega graphics. You’ll find the same memory capacities, but storage options are different, like removing the Intel Optane memory and adding a stand-alone 256GB SSD. Whether you choose Team AMD or Team Intel, this laptop provides a DVD writer on both.

Related: The best Samsung laptops you can buy right now

The port options are identical, providing HDMI output, one 3.5mm audio combo jack, wired networking, one older USB-A port (480Mbps), two modern USB-A ports (5Gbps), and an SD card slot. Rounding out both packages is an HP TrueVision HD camera and a 41Wh battery promising up to seven hours using a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution.

Both models measure 0.96 inches thick, while the AMD configurations weigh 5.63 pounds and the Intel configurations weigh 5.41 pounds. Other budget laptops sold by HP include the HP Laptop 15t / 15z, the HP Laptop 14z, the HP Stream 14, and the HP Stream 11.

We’ve linked to the HP 17Z model here which starts at around $660 with shipping. It’s a very budget-friendly option that’s all about that big screen size. 

6. HP Chromebook x360 14 G1 — Chromebook for personal use

Chromebook x360 14 g1

Even in 2020, this guy is hard to beat. The HP Chromebook x360 14 G1 is slim and portable. It sports the same 360-hinge as the previous model, which allows you to fold the Chromebook into a notebook or use it as a tablet. One major difference is that the Chromebook x360 14 G1 comes with much thinner side bezels than predecessors.

It sports a 14-inch Full HD IPS display and is powered by an Intel Pentium 4415U processor with Intel HD Graphics. For RAM, you can choose between 8 and 16GB, while the storage is 64GB for both versions — plenty for a Chromebook. When it comes to ports, the HP Chromebook x360 14 G1 offers a headphone jack, two USB-C ports, and a microSD slot that supports SDHC and SDXC too. The graphics card is an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620. For the battery, HP went with a three-cell 60WHr battery which promises up to 13 hours of use on a single charge.

The Chromebook x360 14 G1 is a great everyday notebook that you can use on the go and one of the best laptops HP has to offer. It’s a little harder to get in 2020, is the main problem, and it remains pricey. We’ve found it on Amazon but stocks can come and go. Otherwise, HP have a range of other Chromebooks but mostly for school use.

7. Omen X 2S — premium gaming laptop

Omen X 2S

If you’re willing to pay a premium price for premium on-the-go gaming PC, this is the HP laptop for you. The latest Omen X 2S laptop has a variety of new features and is a total spec powerhouse. The biggest new addition is the second 6-inch 1080p touchscreen located above the keyboard. It allows you to display a number of useful apps like Discord, Spotify, and others, while gaming.

The main display is a 15.6-inch anti-glare IPS panel. You can choose between Full HD, 4K, and 4K 240Hz for the resolution. As expected from a gaming laptop, the other specs are quite impressive too. You can get the Omen X 2S with either 16, 24 or 32GB of RAM, while the storage ranges from 256GB to 2TB. The laptop is powered by Intel’s 9th gen processors — i7 and i9, as well as an Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics card. You can take your pick from the RTX 2080 and RTX 2070, both of which have dedicated 8GB GPU RAM.

The Omen x 2S also sports a number of ports, including an HMDI 2.0, one USB-C port, and three USB-A ports. The laptop even supports fast battery charging for its 72Wh cell. But of course, there are some downsides to this powerful machine. Like most gaming laptops, it’s on the heavier side at 5.24 lb. It’s also far from cheap with a starting price of $1,699.99 and if you go for the top specs in every department, it can reach more than $3,000, but given it’s a late-2019 model there are some discount emerging. Finally, we should also note that the keyboard layout is not ideal thanks to the addition of the touchscreen. So, if you don’t need it, the Omen 15 and 17 are your next best choices.

And, good news, the Omen 15 and 17 have just been updated with powerhouse 2020 specs! These are brand new and start at $1,000 or so, with either 10th-gen Intel Core processors (up to the Core i7 H-series) or AMD’s Ryzen 7 4800H, plus you can go as high as a 300Hz 1080p LCD or a 4K AMOLED screen. You’ll be able to get these within weeks, so stand by. They have been quite radically redesigned so do keep an eye out for the newest look.

hp omen 15

8. Pavilion Gaming 15t — budget gaming laptop

Pavilion Gaming 15tIf you’re not willing to pay the premium Omen-branded price, the Pavilion HP laptops are your next best bet. You will find two customizable versions of the laptop — one which offers a choice between an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 and an Nvidia 1660 Ti graphics card, and one which offers more choices. However, in regard to other specs they are pretty much identical. Both are based on a 15.6-inch IPS panel with a 1,920 x 1,080 or 3,840 x 2,160 screen resolution. The 1,920 x 1,080 panel provides an optional 144Hz refresh rate as well.

Overall, you’ll see 9th generation Intel Core i5-9300H and Core i7-9750H processors. System memory ranges between 8GB and 32GB using DDR4 sticks clocked at 2,666MHz while storage can be between 256GB and 512GB for solid-state drives, while the hard drives reach up to 1TB.

Related: 10 best cheap gaming laptops to buy in 2019

For ports, this Pavilion gaming laptop provides plenty of connectivity such as wired networking, HDMI output, a 3.5mm audio combo jack, one USB-C port (5Gbps), two USB-A ports (5Gbps), and an SD card reader. Completing the package is a Full HD camera with facial recognition, an HD camera without the IR component, Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.2 or 5.0 connectivity.

The Pavilion Gaming 15t measures an inch thick and weighs up to 5.18 pounds. It’s powered by a 52.5Wh battery and starts at either $749.99 or $639.99. It’s one of the best HP gaming laptops and one that won’t break the bank, especially with the launch of HP’s Pavilion Gaming 16,  its first 16-inch gaming laptop. It’s only available in Europe for now, but will probably make it to the US and deliver discounts on the Gaming 15t very soon? In any case, HP didn’t specify a release date.

9. HP Elite Dragonfly — all-in-one premium business laptop

HP Elite Dragonfly

If you are looking for an ultra-thin business laptop, look no further than the HP Elite Dragonfly. The newest addition to the Elite family, this laptop combines a stylish, premium design with great specs for productivity on-the-go. Better yet, it’s a 2-in-1 device with a 360-degree hinge.

Like most HP laptops, the Elite Dragonfly can be customized and there is a huge variety of possible configurations. Its 13.3-inch display can have a Full HD resolution or a 4K one, all with varying degrees of max brightness. RAM can be either 8 or 16GB, while storage ranges from 128GB to 2TB. The available processors are Intel’s 8th gen chips, ranging from the i3-8145U to the i7-8665U vPro and the graphics are powered by Intel UHD Graphics 620. As is often the case with business laptops, the HP Elite Dragonfly also comes with a Pro edition of Windows 10.

Related: Want an Apple laptop? Here are the best you can buy right now

Other great features include a variety of ports, including a headphone jack, a nano SIM slot, two USB-C connectors, and a USB 3.1 Gen 1 connector. Like many new HP laptops, there are a host of security and privacy features as well. The HP Elite Dragonfly also has a great battery life of up to 13 hours that frequent fliers will appreciate. It doesn’t come cheap, but it’s the best HP business laptop you can buy.

10. HP Elite x2 G4 — detachable business laptop

HP Elite x2 G4

If you prefer detachables rather than 2-in-1 devices, your best choice is the HP Elite x2 G4. There are three versions of the device — two with set specs dubbed Tablet with Keyboard and one dubbed a Notebook with customizable specifications. All of them are detachable devices despite their names. They are based on either a 12.3 or 13-inch touch display with a Full HD resolution or 3,000 x 2,000 on the customizable version of the laptop.

The HP Elite x2 G4 comes with 8 or 16GB of RAM, while internal storage ranges from 128GB to 2TB. The non-customizable models come with an 8th gen Intel Core i5-8265U or i5-8265U vPro, as well as Intel UHD Graphics 620. The customizable model, however, can be upgraded up to an i7-8665U vPro. You can even choose to add a fingerprint sensor.

In terms of connectivity, you will find a nano-SIM slot, 3 USB-C ports and a headphone jack on all models of the HP Elite x2 G4. Just like the Elite Dragonfly, you will find a number of enhanced security and privacy features. The Elite x2 G4 even has a shutter which blocks the view of both the front and back camera.

The HP Elite x2 G4 starts at $1,549 with better models offering useful upgrades that we’ve linked to here. It’s a versatile business laptop and one of the best HP has to offer.

11. EliteBook 850 G6 — traditional business laptop

Elitebook 850 G6Like the 2-in-1s and detachables, HP brands its EliteBook laptops by size: The 850 models with a 15.6-inch screen, the 840 models with a 14-inch screen, and the 830 models with a 13.3-inch screen. Here we chose the larger units in the trio, but naturally, you can go smaller for thinner, lighter, and cheaper solutions.

With a $1,595.80 starting price on HP’s website, the EliteBook 850 G6 features a 15.6-inch UWVA panel with a 1,920 x 1,080 or 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, and optional touch support and a number of brightness choices. It’s complemented by a 720p camera with an optional IR component for face recognition, and an optional fingerprint scanner, both of which are supported by Windows Hello.

You can configure this traditional laptop with three eighth-generation processors from the Core i5-8265U to the Core i7-8665U vPro, and an optional discrete Radeon RX 550X graphics chip. Memory spans from 4GB to a whopping 64GB, while storage relies on one of three SSD types ranging from 128GB to 2TB.

Other ingredients thrown onto the menu include one Thunderbolt 3 port, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, one HDMI port, wired networking, a 3.5mm audio combo jack, a nano-SIM card slot, Wireless AC and Bluetooth 5 connectivity. Powering this device is a 56Wh battery.

The EliteBook 850 measures 0.72 inches thick and its weight starts at 3.94lb.

Important note for mid-year buyers in 2020: HP will be shipping its seventh-generation EliteBook series by July and August, with 5G connectivity a big push for some of the nine new models. Top-tier will be the EliteBook x360 1030 G7 and EliteBook x360 1040 G7 range. Keep that in mind for the current EliteBook models.

12. HP Chromebook 14 G5 — Chromebook for business use

HP Chromebook 14 G5

If you’re wanting to escape Windows altogether, HP’s Chromebooks are a cheap solution as well. The Chromebook 14 is the largest HP has to offer for business based on a 14-inch display and Intel Celeron processors. You can choose from three set configurations starting at a mere $289, or customize the device on HP’s website to fit your needs starting at $357.84.

Configurations include a 14-inch SVA panel with a 1,366 x 768 resolution or an IPS panel with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. You can also choose between a regular and a touchscreen. Processors consist of the Celeron N3350 and the Celeron N3450, while system memory ranges from 4GB to 8GB and storage spans from 16GB to 64GB.

This Chromebook includes two USB-C ports (5Gbps), a 3.5mm audio combo jack, and a microSD card slot. You’ll also find Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, an HD webcam, and a 47Wh battery. HP’s Classroom Manager software is pre-installed as well.

This Chromebook measures 0.72 inches thick and weighs 3.39 pounds.

Other business-class Chromebooks include the HP Chromebook x360 14 G1 HP Chromebook 14A G5, and newer HP Chromebook 15 (model 15-de0010nr).

13. HP ZBook Studio G5 — workstation business laptop

HP ZBook Studio G5

Businesses wanting the power of a desktop workstation in a still-portable form factor may want to consider the ZBook Studio G5. You can purchase three set configurations starting at $1,499 or go with customizing the laptop for a starting price of $2,094.84 on HP’s website.

Overall, the ZBook Studio G5 provides a 15.6-inch display with a 1,920 x 1,080 or 3,840 x 2,160 resolution. Under the hood, the hardware list is extensive, spanning five mainstream eighth-generation Intel CPUs up to the Core i9-8950HK, and two eighth-generation Xeon E chips. For graphics, you can fall back on Intel’s integrated component or go for Nvidia’s discrete Quadro P1000 or P2000 graphics chips. These are serious powerhouses. They’re not really portable laptops, but desktop-like devices that can still be moved around easily.

System memory ranges from 8GB to 64GB, while the workstation packs up to three storage devices: two M.2 SSDs from 256GB to 2TB, and a 2.5-inch hard drive or SSD from 500GB to 2TB. These storage devices include self-encrypted models, drives based on the slower SATA connection, and speedier models using PCIe connections.

For ports, the workstation provides plenty of connectivity including an SD card reader, two USB-C ports (5Gbps), one HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio combo jack, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports (40Gbps). Security features include an optional fingerprint scanner and an IR camera.

Finally, this workstation relies on a 64Wh battery when using integrated graphics and a 95.6Wh battery with the Quadro GPU installed. It weighs 0.69 inches thick despite all the hardware packed inside and weighs around 4.54lb.

Other workstations include the HP ZBook Studio x360, the HP ZBook 17, the new ZBook Firefly 15 and ZBook Firefly 14 range shipping in August from $1,099, and the ZBook x2.

This concludes our latest broadcast of the best HP laptops you can buy right now. Keep tuning in for an updated list as newer models we’ve seen announced finally hit the streets.