Can you believe it's already the end of 2023? As we wrap up this year, it's a great time to look back at some of the best laptops that were released. Whether you're a student, professional, creator, or gamer, there were plenty of amazing options to pick from.
In this review, we'll go over my top picks for both productivity and gaming laptops. I'll tell you what I love about each one, so you can decide if it's something you should consider buying.
Top Laptop Picks for Productivity
The MacBook Air with M2 Chip (15-inch model) is hands down one of the best productivity laptops this year. The larger 15-inch display provides gorgeous visuals and ample screen real estate. The battery life is excellent, thanks to an even bigger battery inside. Performance is blazing fast too with the M2 chip. I'd suggest upgrading the RAM and SSD for future-proofing, but even the base model handles daily tasks like a pro. If you want a super slim and powerful MacBook for getting work done, the 15-inch Air is a slam dunk.
If you prefer Windows, Lenovo's Slim 9i Pro is a thing of beauty. It comes in both 14 and 16-inch sizes, with a clean, minimalist design. The display is sharp and vibrant, with up to a 165Hz refresh rate. Performance is snappy, thanks to 12th Gen Intel chips and NVMe SSDs. The keyboard and trackpad are a pleasure to use. And it has a great selection of ports, unlike some slim laptops. For those seeking a premium Windows ultrabook, the Slim 9i Pro checks all the boxes.
For those who need raw power for intensive creative work, the new MacBook Pros with M3 Pro or M3 Max chips are my top recommendation. The battery life is just bonkers – you can push these machines to their limits and still get an all-day battery. The displays are stunning, with great colour accuracy and resolution. And the performance, well it's on another level thanks to the M3 Pro and M3 Max chips. Video editors, 3D animators, developers – these chips chew through those tasks with ease. The only downside is the premium pricing. But for professionals, the investment is well worth it.
Best Value Laptop Pick
You don't need to spend a fortune to get a great laptop these days. The Asus Zenbook 14x OLED offers excellent value at just $999. You get a beautiful 14-inch OLED display, an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, and Nvidia's RTX 3050 GPU. That's enough power for productivity apps, content creation, and even some light gaming. The build quality punches way above its price tag too. If you're a student looking for excellent value, the Zenbook 14x OLED is a fantastic choice.
Top Gaming Laptops of 2023
The ROG Zephyrus G14 is the best portable gaming laptop this year. Weighing just 3.5 lbs, it's hard to believe this machine packs up to an RTX 4090 GPU and Ryzen 9 CPU. The 14-inch Nebula HDR display provides vibrant colours and crisp visuals. Battery life is surprisingly good for a gaming laptop too. If you want serious power in a super slim package, look no further than the Zephyrus G14.
For a premium 16-inch gaming laptop, Lenovo's Legion Slim 7 combines speedy performance with a thin, sleek design. It comes in 16-inch Intel and AMD versions – both are fantastic options. You get buttery smooth frame rates on the gorgeous 16:10 QHD display. The aluminum chassis looks and feels premium. And you can configure it with up to an RTX 4070 GPU and Core i9 processor, while still enjoying 5+ hours of battery life. For big-screen gaming, the Legion Slim 7 is easily my top recommendation.
If you want maximum gaming performance, Asus's ROG Scar 17x is an absolute monster. It's the first laptop with a desktop-class Ryzen 7950X3D processor, paired with the flagship RTX 4090 GPU. This much power does come with tradeoffs like size and battery life. But if your priority is maxing out performance, the Scar 17x dominates. It chews through 4K gaming and other intensive tasks with ease. Just be prepared to stay near an outlet.
For a premium gaming laptop, Razer's Blade 18 steps it up with clean lines, durable metal chassis, and that iconic matte black finish. It packs a punch too with 13th Gen Intel CPUs and up to an RTX 4090 GPU. Performance, display quality, and the keyboard/trackpad experience are top-notch. My only gripe is the sky-high pricing, but Razer has always commanded a premium for its superb craftsmanship.
Most Innovative Laptop Concept
The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i deserves applause for reinventing the laptop experience. It has two 13.3″ OLED touch displays that can be positioned in different modes. You can type on a virtual keyboard and scribble notes with the included pen. Or attach the physical keyboard for a more traditional experience. It's a highly versatile 2-in-1 perfect for artists, students, and anyone who wants a futuristic device. While not the most powerful, the Yoga Book 9i wins points for innovation.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there were a ton of great laptop options in 2023 across different budgets and use cases. I hope breaking down my top picks for productivity, gaming, and innovation helps you narrow down your search. Let me know if you have any other questions!