Comparisons and tests of the best 2021 laptops by brand

    How to choose your laptop? Screen, chassis, autonomy, etc.

    The laptop is not dead! Tablets have failed to make laptops forget, quite the contrary. The latter have diversified: they have become hybrids, tactile with a detachable or reversible screen. On the other hand, with the arrival of ultraportables, gaming PCs or other chromebooks, it is sometimes difficult to make a choice.

    To simplify matters for you, we have chosen to evaluate the ranges offered to date by manufacturers and to compare the best models of laptops.

    How did we score?

    We have compiled all the tests and comparisons carried out by us or by other specialized sites and have determined the characteristics common to each configuration of the range: type and quality of the chassis, specific equipment, components, weight, etc. The synthesis of these data allowed us to assign an overall score for each range. If the latter is greater than or equal to 7/10, we have selected a configuration, which seems well balanced and offers a good performance / price ratio. 

    Classic or hybrid laptop?

    Novelty developed in recent years: the hybrid PC. It is divided into two categories and affects all ranges. Tactile in all cases, it can either offer a detachable panel, or have a hinge capable of rotating 360 ° and therefore also transforming into a tablet. Good solutions for those looking for these two devices in one. If use in tablet mode does not interest you, avoid hybrid models which at the same cost will have a less powerful configuration.

    Image 1: Comparisons and tests of the best 2021 laptops by brand

    Windows 10S, ChromeOS ou Windows 10 Home ?

    Contrary to what one might think, all PCs do not necessarily run Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro (For Apple machines, the question does not even arise!).

    In fact, you should know that machines sold for less than 400 or 450 euros work most of the time under Windows 10S or ChromeOS . These two operating systems don’t offer as much freedom as Windows 10 Home when it comes to installing apps. They force the user to visit their application store (Google Play Store for ChromeOS or Microsoft Store for Windows 10S) and choose from a catalog… more or less limited!

    For example, in Windows 10S, it is not possible to install (free) the GIMP graphics editing application from the publisher’s website. You have to go through the Microsoft store, where the application is payable …

    On the other hand, to surf the web, you must also use the Microsoft Edge browser because Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome can of course not be installed !

    The Apple case: macOS and Windows on the same machine?

    Note that at Apple, computers run under macOS, the home system. However, it is possible to install Windows in dual boot to have the choice between the two systems at startup. Please note, Apple has just launched its first Macs with its ARM chip, the Apple M1. This is no longer compatible with Windows. Parallel Desktop is already working on a version of its software to allow access to Windows on these new Macs.

    What screen size?

    Netbooks having had their day, we are done with 7 inch laptops. The bulk of sales are still the 14 and 15.6 inches, a comfortable diagonal, but not too imposing. 

    If the computer has to be moved often, a 13.3-inch or even 11.6-inch model is preferred. Smaller, they are also lighter. 

    Conversely, if the desired computer is intended to replace a desktop PC, a large model can be considered. We then turn to a 17.3-inch model.

    What definition?

    The definition is a second point to consider. The entry level is most often equipped with panels in 1366 x 768 pixels. We are already in High Definition (HD) , but not in Full HD . The latter has 1920 x 1080 pixels. It provides greater ease of use, allowing more items to be displayed on a desktop, for example, but also to enjoy films, series and video games in optimal quality. 

    Last step: Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels). Fashionable on televisions, it is still reserved for high-end PCs and is of little interest to ordinary people, given the small diagonal of the screens. Some machines – most often for gamers – use an LCD panel whose QHD (Quad HD) definition is between Full HD and 4K (2560 x 1440 pixels).

    Frame: plastic or aluminum?

    If this is a determining axis of choice for you, know that manufacturers are trying to make an effort on the appearance of their entry-level machines. There are now PCs under € 400 that look more and more like ultraportables, except that they do not share the same configurations and only offer a plastic shell. Aluminum, for its part, appears in the mid-range and spreads widely in the high-end.

    Power or autonomy?

    The laptop computer market has changed little on this point. A machine intended for video games, for example, always offers less autonomy than a professional ultraportable. In question, a peak power structured around a powerful processor and a dedicated graphics card, both energy intensive. 

    Conversely, an ultraportable is more measured, but if it is able to hold more than 10 hours away from a power outlet, it will not be able to run certain video games or be used for extensive photo / video editing. 

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