Trade shows in 2020 have been unique. A few companies have adopted hybrid approaches to their launches, while others have gone fully virtual. Either way, the pandemic environment hasn’t slowed down the exciting announcements one bit. From folding displays to hot new internals, there are a lot of new laptops to look forward to. Here are the best new laptops that we’re excited to see.
Most of these machines are hot off the presses, so you won’t be able to pick them up quite yet. We’ve grabbed our favorites from IFA 2020, a CES darling that’s finally up for preorder, and even more. Most of our picks are Windows machines, but we can’t forget that Apple is making the much-hyped move from Intel to ARM later this year. Ready to learn more? Let’s get to it.
The best new laptops:
Editor’s note: We’ll be sure to add more new laptops to the list as they launch.
MSI Summit series
The Summit family comprises four models: Summit E15, Summit E14, Summit B15, and Summit B14. The E series is the more premium tier, with the MSI Summit E15 standing at the top of the pack. While we officially recognize the E15 as the very best model, all four look promising with features like a TPM security chip, an IR webcam for facial recognition, fingerprint readers, Thunderbolt 4 support, Intel 11th gen processors, and more. Another unique feature is the new AI noise cancellation function, designed to eliminate background noise during video conferencing.
The exact specs depend on the model you get, but the E series tops out with features including 4K UHD displays, PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSDs, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650Ti graphics. The B series isn’t as impressive with FHD and Intel Iris Xe graphics, but if you’re a professional that isn’t doing more intensive tasks (like 3D editing, photo editing, etc) this is more than good enough to get the job done.
Acer Spin 7
ARM-based Windows machines are far from a dominant force in the PC market but Qualcomm continues to further push what an ARM-based Windows laptop can do and the new Acer Spin 7 packs the latest fruits of this effort, the 2nd gen Snapdragon 8cx.
The latest Spin appears similar to its predecessor, but the improved ARM processor brings benefits like 5G (sub-6 GHz and mmWave) and multi-day battery life. Other specs include a 14-inch 1080p IPS touch display, a Wacom pen, and a 360-degree hinge that lets you use it as a tablet, or to use it for a better movie-watching experience in kickstand mode.
While many x86 based laptops can easily offer a full work day’s battery life, the ability to last beyond a day could be beneficial to business professionals that regularly travel. It’s also nice to see Qualcomm continue to raise the performance bar with its ARM chips, and the same goes for the latest Snapdragon onboard here.
Asus Zenbook Flip S
The Asus Zenbook Flip S hasn’t seen an updated model since 2017. Until now, that is. The new Asus Zenbook Flip S UX371 is back with a new Intel 11th gen processor and is officially certified to conform with the Intel EVO standard.
The other biggest standout on the spec sheet is the lovely 13-inch 4K UHD OLED display with HDR 500 certification. Other specs include support or SSDs up to 1TB and configurations with 16GB RAM, two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, 1 USB Type-A port, and an HDMI port. The 360-degree hinge design makes this a great laptop for productivity with the ability to work as a standard laptop, a tablet, or even a kickstand more for watch movies and other media.
The Asus Zenbook Flip S isn’t a massive upgrade in terms of aesthetics, but it has a lot going for it under the hood. The original Flip S was a brilliant device, so it’s nice to see Asus hasn’t abandoned the product line.
Lenovo Yoga 9i
Looking for something super slim and with a minimalist aesthetic designed with productivity in mind? That’s what you get with the new Yoga 9i series, which consists of the Yoga 9i 14 and 15 convertible laptops, alongside a clamshell model called the Lenovo Slim 9i.
The Yoga Slim 9i is the thinnest and lightest of the pack at .54-inches thick and weighing 2.77 pounds. The other two weigh a bit more and add a little bulk, but are still very thin. Despite compact designs and weight, the Yoga 9i should be very durable thanks to their aluminum-chassis. The design is also further elevated by a leather cover over the lid in several configurations. The leather models will also include an edge-to-edge glass palm rest.
See also: The best laptops for students
Looking good and staying light are two important aspects of the Yoga 9i series, but there is also a ton of power under the hood. Both the Lenovo Yoga 9i and Slim 9i support Intel Tiger Lake processors and the new Thunderbolt 4 USB-C connection. The Yoga 9i 15 sticks to a 10th gen processor, up to the Core i9 HK series, has two Thunderbolt 3 ports and has a dedicated GPU up to the Nvidia GTX 1650Ti.
If you’re looking for slick productivity machines that could also be perfect for creatives and those looking to play more casual gaming, the Yoga 9i is shaping up to be a series worthy of consideration.
Legion Slim 7i
Gigantic bulky gaming laptops are no longer the only option for PC gamers. In 2020 we’ve seen several relatively thin and light gaming machines that still pack plenty of power (I own one, the ROG Zephyrus G14). Lenovo is now getting into this emerging gaming PC category with its own slim and light machine, the Legion Slim 7i.
As the Slim moniker would suggest, the Legion Slim 7i is pretty thin at 18mm and with a weight of just 3.9 pounds. While this isn’t exactly ultrabook tiny, it’s extremely impressive for a gaming machine with its own dedicated GPU — with Lenovo offering up to a GTX 2060 Max-Q. The display is a 15.6-inch FHD 60Hz display at the base level, with upgradeable configurations that bump the refresh rate to 144Hz or even a 4K option with a 60Hz refresh rate. Other specs include up to an Intel Core i9-10980HK, up to 32GB RAM, up to a 4K and 2TB of NVMe M2. storage. The base model isn’t as impressive as the topped-out configuration, but you still will get an Intel Core i5-10300H and NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti.
If you’re a gamer that also is looking for a productivity machine or just something easy to take with you on your travels, the Legion Slim 7i could be a suitable match. We’re also happy to see more gaming machines offering up slightly more muted designs and less bulky packages, as not everyone is looking for a 10-pound monster laptop.
MSI Stealth 15M
Lenovo isn’t the only one to show off a new thin-and-light gaming laptop at IFA. The MSI Stealth 15M packs a ton of performance into a device with a thickness of just 16mm and a weight of 3.92 pounds.
The Stealth 15M is practically an ultrabook and yet still offers groundbreaking specs like 11th-gen Intel Core processors, Thunderbolt 4 support, and a GPU up to the RTX 2060 (or a GTX 1660 Ti on the base model). The display is a 15.6.inch FHD IPS with a 144Hz refresh rate. There’s no mention of QHD or 4K models. Many portable gamers are perfectly okay with 1080p, but it’s something worth considering if you are looking for a more impressive display resolution.
Further reading: The best MSI laptops you can buy right now
We actually dubbed this the best gaming laptop of IFA 2020 in our official awards, thanks to a combination of great specs, thin and light design, and because it’s truly hard to go wrong buying an MSI gaming computer.
Honor Magicbook Pro
Honor isn’t exactly a household name for laptops, but don’t let that fool you — Huawei and Honor make great-looking machines that are essentially Windows versions of MacBooks if we’re being honest. The new Magicbook Pro continues the legacy of offering a beautiful design that takes some obvious inspiration from Apple while adding some of its own standout features including a full view 16.1-inch display with a screen to body ratio of 90-percent.
The Magicbook Pro has tons of screen real estate in a tiny package that weighs just 1.7 kilograms, but there’s plenty of power here too. The Magicbook Pro offers the latest gen AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor and integrated Radeon graphics. Other key specs include a 512GB PCIe NVMe SDD, 16GB DDR dual-channel RAM, an HDMI 2.0 port, 3 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a single USB Type-C port, and an audio jack.
The Honor Magicbook Pro stands out if you’re looking for something that’s beautiful, thin, light, and packs plenty of punch for productivity.
Dell XPS 13 – Tiger Lake
Dell’s latest XPS 13 is more of a fall refresh than a true redesign. Each of Dell’s XPS 13, XPS 13 2-in-1, and XPS 13 Developer Edition is set to be released on September 30 with Intel’s new 11th-generation Core processors, dubbed the Tiger Lake series. Of course, most of the other hardware remains exactly the same, so you can expect tiny bezels and almost no weight to the machine.
Further reading: The best Dell laptops to buy
You’ll be able to configure your new XPS to your perfect specifications. The keyboard and trackpad are each slightly larger, and Dell claims that its new flagship can manage 18 hours of battery life. As for memory and storage, you can expect Dell to offer in the neighborhood of 16GB and 1TB respectively.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
Unlike a number of other new laptops that you’ll have to wait for, you can actually buy the ThinkPad X1 Fold right now. That is, as long as you’re willing to shell out for the $2,499 base price. You’ll only get an Intel Core i5 processor for your hefty stack of dollars, but the folding display is the obvious draw of Lenovo’s newest beast.
The X1 Fold stars a 13.3-inch 2K touchscreen display backed up by 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. When you close your X1 Fold, you may not even recognize it as a computer — the luxurious leather cover is more akin to a sketchbook. You can either flatten the display into a tablet, fold it into a laptop as seen above, or use the leather cover as a stand with the detached keyboard.
While you’ll stand out as an early adopter of Lenovo’s latest and greatest, the ThinkPad X1 Fold is extremely expensive. If you have the money, get ready to turn some heads.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano
If you’re not sold on the ThinkPad X1 Fold, the X1 Nano may be more your speed. It’s not only significantly more affordable, but it’s also the lightest machine in Lenovo’s business-ready line. The X1 Nano adopts a familiar clamshell layout, and it weighs in at less than one kilogram.
Inside of that featherweight shell, you’ll find a brand-new 11th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Intel Iris X graphics, and speedy new Thunderbolt 4 ports. The freedom to carry your ThinkPad anywhere isn’t the only draw, you can also grab the X1 Nano running either Windows 10 or Linux, and you can grab a 5G-connected version too.
Lenovo’s new ThinkPad X1 Nano is also the first to adopt a suite of new security options. Your options range from voice recognition to a human presence sensor and the ever-familiar fingerprint reader. Finally, Lenovo’s business machine packs four speakers and a 360-degree microphone setup for all of the Zoom meetings you can imagine.
Acer Swift 5
Acer’s new Swift 5 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does show how a few changes can take a laptop to the next level. It’s designed for professionals and those on the go — weighing in at around one kilogram, and measuring in at just 14.95mm thin. The Swift 5 comes in beautiful new Sea Green and Safari Gold finishes which should set you apart in the boardroom or the classroom.
The chassis isn’t the only brilliant design feature on the Swift 5, the 14-inch IPS touchscreen achieves a 90% screen-to-body ratio with tiny bezels on all four sides. Of course, it’s not just a pretty face either, you’ll find a brand-new 11th-generation Intel Core processor under the hood. You can also opt for up to 1TB of SSD space, Nvidia GeForce MX350 graphics, and dual heat pipes to stay cool under pressure.
As a business laptop, you can expect the new Swift 5 to pack the fastest connectivity options around. It supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 in addition to USB-C, Thunderbolt 4, and USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, along with an HDMI port. We don’t yet know when the newest Acer Swift 5 will go on sale — the website still lists the previous 10th-generation hardware.
Huawei MateBook 14
Huawei’s new MateBook 14 and MateBook X Pro launched at HDC 2020, so they may not have received the same fanfare as other new laptops. Both laptops offer premium hardware and speedy software, so they’re certainly worth a look. Our own Ryan-Thomas Shaw got his hands on Huawei’s latest machine, and you can read his thoughts below.
Further reading: Huawei MateBook 14 review
He found a lot to love about Huawei’s new machine from the keyboard to the bright display with slim bezels. Better yet, Huawei hasn’t yet followed the competition in shedding ports to save space. Inside the sleek metal body, Huawei will let you choose either a 10th-gen Intel Core or AMD Ryzen 5 processor with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. It’s a solid pick if you plan to work from home, as the MateBook 14 features a pair of microphones and a 720p HD camera.
Overall, Huawei’s latest laptops are great picks, but you may have trouble tracking one down if you live in the United States. You will most likely have to track down a third-party source if you want to give the brand new MateBooks a shot.
Apple’s M1 MacBooks
The new M1 chip is here, and it’s changing the MacBook realm for good. Apple jammed its latest silicon into both the 13-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch Pro, yet the rest of the design remains largely unchanged. You can dive into the same variety of finishes you’d expect from Apple, but all of the improvements are nestled away inside the machine.
Apple’s powerful M1 chip packs eight cores, yet sips battery to achieve upwards of 15 hours on a single charge. You can also grab a seven core or eight-core GPU for even more speed. The MacBook Air is fanless, so you can take advantage of all of that power in silence. The MacBook Pro is slightly different in that it does rely on a fan, but it also manages two extra hours of battery life in the larger footprint. Both models are ready for anything with the Magic Keyboard as well as Apple’s signature Retina Display.
Check them both out below: