Laptops can vary in quality and capabilities, just like any desktop computer. While most people can get by using cheaper laptops that are mostly used for watching videos, listening to music, and surfing the internet, there are others who require more out of their computers.
Developers, media experts, and business professionals are just a few types of consumers who require more out of their laptops, often needing both high performance and expanded capabilities. There’s certainly a large market for such products, so it may be somewhat difficult when looking for the best high end laptops available.
The best consumer is an informed consumer, so before we get to our picks for the best high end laptops on the market, it’s important to first go over what a high end laptop can do for you, why you might need one, and all of the different aspects and factors involved with each laptop that makes it what it is in the first place.
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It is essential to recognize that not all computers are made equally -- not even close. While one laptop may look the same as another, and have the same operating system, screen size dimensions, and basic aesthetic, it’s what’s on the inside that actually counts.
If you are someone who casually uses a laptop for things like viewing your email, reading websites, and shopping, you most likely don’t need to drop a ton of cash on some fancy, ultra-powerful laptop with all the latest hardware and such. You are more than welcome to, obviously, but you can probably get by with a cheaper laptop computer.
However, if you’re someone who likes to watch movies on your computer, or perhaps play the latest gaming titles, you’re going to need a higher level of performance that you won’t find in more budget-minded laptops. Inferior laptops will not be able to handle the graphics, RAM requirements, and overall frame rates.
The same can be said for those that depend on their laptop for work. Video editors, photographers, programmers, and educators need a laptop that is dependable, and can easily handle running multiple softwares and browser windows at the same time, without experiencing any lag or delays.
These types of consumers also need versatility with their laptop, allowing it to run large programs, while also being able to connect to other monitors and devices that may be needed for work or meeting purposes.
Anyone can see the value in a powerful, incredibly capable laptop computer. You may simply desire a laptop that is fast at all times, regardless of what you’re doing with it. Maximum storage capacity and added features such as a touchscreen can be appreciated and utilized by most anyone as well.
The only real question is how much you’re willing to spend.
If you’re wondering what makes a laptop “high end” in the first place, we’ve got you covered. These 10 features and specs are the most important characteristics of any laptop, and fully determines if it’s high end, mid-range, or just a budget computer.
A computer’s main processor acts as the brain. All of its actions, tasks, and communications go through the processor, which regulates the computer’s activity and keeps everything functional and coherent.
A lot is asked of a processor, so it makes sense to have one that can easily handle the countless processes going on at once, keeping your computer running smoothly and without a hitch, while optimizing its features and hardware. Most high end laptops use an Intel processor -- more specifically, a 6th generation Core Series or above.
Screen resolution amounts dictate not only the quality of the images on your screen, but the size as well. In the past, many laptops had a mediocre resolution of 1366 x 768p, leaving you with grainy images, and not enough text displayed on the screen, making you have to scroll more.
Higher end laptops have HD resolutions that start at 1920 x 1080p, with some going higher than that, venturing into 4k territory. This lets you see images, videos, and movies as they were intended, and fits more text onto a screen. Also, they just look better in general.
You’re probably familiar with that “whirring” sound when you fire up your computer and anxiously await for it to wake up and get going. If you hear that sound, you have a hard disk drive, or HDD. These drives literally have a disc with data stored on it that spins at a high rate of speed when engaged.
Solid state drives (SSD) are basically better versions of a USB thumb drive. They can still store data, but they don’t require any moving parts. With an SSD, your computer can power on instantly and be ready to go, along with any programs or utilities. They also run cooler.
Graphic processing cards, or GPUs, are responsible for generating and dictating the quality of the graphics on your screen. The better the GPU, the smoother videos will run, and the higher the frame rate.
NVIDIA makes the GPUs for most high end laptops, ensuring a card that is powerful enough to smoothly run video for a movie, or the graphics of a video game. Lower tier laptops have smaller GPUs that cause the video to be jerky and grainy, or sometimes freeze up altogether.
Your laptop’s memory, or RAM, is solely responsible for how fast and efficient it can run, even when there are multiple programs running, or particular software that requires much of your RAM.
All computer tasks require a certain amount of RAM, and there’s only so much to go around. If you’ve ever experienced a computer lagging when you have too many programs open, or too many tabs open on a browser, this is due to most of its RAM being used at one time.
8GB of RAM is considered the starting point of a mid-range computer. Most high end laptops will have 16GB, along with some expanded memory capabilities as well. This is one of the most crucial factors to watch out for.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re going to be hauling around a lot of files on your laptop, you’re going to need the storage to handle it, especially if you do things like photo and video editing, as these files take up tons of space.
500GB of hard drive storage is pretty standard for most mid-range laptops, but 1TB of storage is found within most high end laptops. Some will split the storage amount up between an SSD and HDD, using the SDD as the default directory that hosts all of the computer’s essential files and software for faster booting and use.
All laptops come with wireless connectivity, but it’s the type of wireless signal that makes the difference these days. 802.11ac is the new wireless signal standard that not only offers speeds up to 10x faster than conventional wireless signals, but also allows you to be further away.
Every current high end laptop should have the ability to connect with 802.11ac.
The life of a laptop’s battery is one of the more overlooked aspects these days. If you travel a lot, you won’t always have the opportunity to plug in somewhere while you work. If you want to have more freedom when you are out and about, your battery life is a huge factor.
High end laptops have batteries that can sometimes last up to 10 hours off of one charge, and some go longer. This depends on not only the batter itself, but also the processor, as higher end processors can conduct data traffic in a way that reduces strain on your battery.
Anyone who doesn’t want to be bound by electrical outlets when using their laptop should pay close attention to battery life.
A common critique for lower-tier laptops is the fact that they can’t really connect to anything else other than the standard printer, mouse, or phone charger.
High end laptops come with a variety of ports and connections that allow you to connect your computer to things like other monitors, other laptops, intricate external hardware devices such as projectors and soundboards, or even just your own television.
High end laptops also have better ports in general, such as ultra-fast USB 3.0, or even Thunderbolt 3, which lets you charge a battery, transmit data, and connect to other monitors, all with the same cord type.
One of the best aspects of a desktop or tower computer is the fact that you can constantly upgrade certain components to keep the computer running fast and smooth, while adding support for future technologies and their requirements on a computer system.
Laptops often lack that luxury, as most everything inside seems to be soldered together, including RAM. Newer, higher end laptops are now designed for you to make your own upgrades as time goes on, whether it’s adding a few extra RAM cards in an available slot, or even installing a DVD drive if needed, rather than using an external one via USB.
These two laptops represent the very best when it comes to high end laptops, offering a potent mix of optimized hardware, blazing speeds, stunning graphics, and added features that help push them onto a level of their own.
MSI is known for making some of the best gaming laptops around, and the Titan is a perfect example as to why. This laptop is built for gaming, but that doesn’t mean you have to use it for just that. With it’s off the charts processing speed, RAM amount, and 2TB total storage, the Titan defines what the highest end laptop should do.
The 6th generation Intel processor serves as the heart of the computer, providing all of the directing needed in regards to its massive hardware capabilities. The Titan comes equipped with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX1080 card, which is one of the fastest and most powerful GPU’s you can get.
The result is the smoothest and most vibrant graphics you’ll see on a laptop. The Titan’s huge 18.4-inch screen with HD 1920 x 1080 resolution is the perfect setting in which to show off what the GPU can do.
As far as memory goes, you’ll never have to worry about a slow computer, even with nearly every program open and running at the same time. This is all thanks to a ridiculous 64GB of RAM, which can basically handle anything all at once.
An SSD further enhances the Titan’s speed, storing up to one full terabyte of data. In the event you fill that up, there’s an extra hard disc drive that offers an additional 1TB of storage.
Additional features include Thunderbolt 3 support, Steelseries Engine 3 that allows for highly customizable keyboard functions, and a powerful cooling system that manages the laptop’s temperature, always keeping it at a lower level for better performance. The Titan also comes VR-ready right out of the box.
If you’re willing to pay, the MSI Titan delivers in every single possible way, whether you’re a gamer, or simply want one of the most powerful laptops on the market.
The Razer Blade is another gaming laptop that can also easily double as a high end laptop suitable for any number of uses and applications. Like the name suggests, the Razer Blade also manages to pull all this off while being incredibly light and thin, making it even more portable.
The Intel 6th generation Core processor ties everything together, providing the perfect support to its NVIDIA GeForce GTX1060, which is only a step down from the GTX1080. This GPU gives the Razer Blade unparalleled graphic performance and frame rate for gaming, videos, and movies.
The slightly-smaller 14-inch IPS QHD screen may be an inch or two smaller than other laptop screen, but most won’t even notice. Unlike many gaming laptops, the screen is also a touchscreen, in addition to providing VR support, and the ability to choose full HD or QHD+.
16GB of RAM keeps programs and games running smoothly without any freezes or pauses. This cause is further enhanced with a PCIe SSD drive that’s available in 256GB to 1TB.
All of this power and capability is crammed into an aluminum chassis that is just over .70 inches thick, making it perhaps the thinnest laptop available with the power that it has. The Razer Blade even throws in Thunderbolt 3 support, as well as anti-ghosting keyboard settings.
Again, you may not be a gamer, but if you want a light, thin, inconspicuous laptop that has a crazy amount of power, the Razer Blade has got you covered.
These three products are high performance laptops in every sense, as they make use of high RAM amounts, GPUs with life-like frame rates, high storage amounts, and other features that place them on the highest tier of portable computing.
Microsoft’s Surface Book defines what a modern high end laptop can do. Engineered with powerful hardware, and integrated with plenty of convenient and innovative features, the Surface Book is capable of being your main work computer, or as the perfect office on the go.
As with most high end laptops in its class, the Surface Book boasts an Intel Core 6th generation processor that allows it to run smoothly and more efficiently. Its graphics are among the most vibrant, colorful, and seamless you’ll encounter on a laptop, and this is for two reasons.
The first is the Surface Book’s use of a NVIDIA GeForce GTX965M GPU. This complements the 13.5-inch touchscreen with an incredibly high resolution of 3000 x 2000. The Surface Book truly has one of the most stunning visual displays around.
8GB of RAM may be the only disappointing aspect of the Surface Book, but it’s still adequate. Microsoft opted for a 256GB SSD, giving the Surface Book a solid amount of storage, while also ensuring that it runs faster.
The Surface Book is perfect for a wide range of different work tasks, thanks to a wireless display adapter that can beam its visual signal to a nearby, compatible screen, and its surface dock, arc touch mouse, and included stylus pen.
The Surface Book has an impressive set of features that complements its powerful hardware perfectly. Add in a low weight of only 3.8 lbs, and you have one of the most versatile and convenient laptops on the market that offers a refreshing sense of ingenuity as well.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga is part laptop, part tablet, and part combination of the two at times. It can easily function as a normal laptop, but with a few twists and turns, you have yourself a tablet with its own stand as well. But that’s not to say the Thinkpad Yoga is gimmicky -- far from it. It holds its own in terms of hardware and performance as well.
The Thinkpad Yoga operates off of an Intel 6th generation i7 processor, and tops that off with 8GB of RAM. The RAM amount is a little low compared to many other laptops in this price range, but that’s the trade off you get for its size, and tablet abilities. Storage size is on the lower end at 256GB, but the drive itself is an SSD, giving the Thinkpad Yoga a good amount of speed.
The computer’s screen is a robust 12.5 inches, and operates off of its own integrated Intel GPU. The LED-lit, 1920 x 1080 screen is surprisingly fluid and colorful, and has a high frame rate as long as you avoid high-demand gaming. A stylus pen is included.
The Thinkpad Yoga is Bluetooth-compatible, and also works with 802.11ac wireless connections. If you want a laptop that is versatile enough to be a tablet as well, without compromising on features, speed, and overall performance, you’ll love the Thinkpad Yoga.
The ASUS Zenbook places a big emphasis on media features, making it a perfect laptop for anything involving sound, images, or video. The Zenbook is equipped to handle most any task with easy, combining fast speeds, one of the best displays around, and numerous modern connectivity features.
An Intel 6th generation SkyLake Quad Core processor helps run things, combining with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX960M that provides some of the most impressive frame rates you’ll see. Its colors are pre-calibrated, making it ready to go for work use right out of the box.
The screen is equally impressive. You get the basic 15.6-inch size, and a rich 3840 x 2160 resolution with 4K, making the Zenbook one of the better photo and video editing laptops currently available.
16GB of RAM keeps everything running quickly, even when running Adobe editing software such as Photoshop or Lightroom. You also get a decent amount of storage -- 512GB to be exact, and all via a PCie SSD.
The Zenbook has all the newest connections as well, which includes Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.0, HDMI, and Bluetooth 4.0. You even get ultra-fast 802.11ac wireless connection thrown in for good measure.
The ASUS Zenbook is a powerful workstation that can be used for just about anything, including gaming and movies. Its price is on the lower spectrum in terms of high end laptops, so it’s definitely one of the better deals out there.
Now you should have a better idea of the best high end laptops currently on the market, covering both ends of the price spectrum. Regardless of the product you go with, you are sure to get a higher level of performance and functionality when compared to the cheaper laptops available.
Have you used any of these yourself? Perhaps you have your own recommendations? Let us know in the comment section below!