The best laptops you can buy in 2024

If you’re looking to buy a new laptop in Australia, these machines represent the cream of the crop.


ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED
Best laptop: ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED
Our Rating
4 out of 5 stars
4
Performance
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Design
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Display
5 out of 5 stars
5
Little changes that count for a lot

By looking beyond the glitz and glamour of its namesake, the new Zenbook 14 OLED takes strides where lesser laptops fumble.

Prices are accurate as of the publish date. We may earn money if you purchase something through one of these links. Click as many as you want.

Fergus Halliday
May 02, 2024
Icon Time To Read8 min read

While old-school laptops aren’t as versatile as more modern 2-in-1 PCs or as lightweight as tablets, they still hit a sweet spot for performance and portability that’s easy to like. If you grew up in the time before the iPad and iPhones, there’s something familiar and robust about the form factor itself. The fact that there’s a physical keyboard in the mix is a pro rather than a con.

While tablets and convertibles quickly went from novel to normal for many consumers, there are still plenty who prefer to stick with a more conventional portable computing form factor. It doesn’t hurt that the list of typical laptop compromises gets shorter and shorter each year.

These days, buying an ultrathin laptop doesn’t involve as big a sacrifice in performance, nor does buying a performance-focused laptop doesn’t involve settling as much when it comes to portability. For those who aren’t demanding power users, using a laptop as a replacement for your desktop is a much more viable course of action than it was previously.

Where tablets and convertibles are sometimes experimental, laptops are a known quantity. You know what you’re buying, and you know what you’re getting. Unfortunately, there are still an overwhelming number of options to choose from if you’re in the market for a new laptop.

For all that recent chip shortages have squeezed the tech supply chain to the breaking point, laptop buyers remain spoiled for choice. And as more and more businesses move towards working from home, it’s become vital to ensure you have the right tools for the job.

Other really good laptops in Australia

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.15
RRP
$1099
  • pro
    Display size: 12.4-inches
  • pro
    Resolution 1536 x 1024
  • pro
    Weight1.1kg
Apple Macbook Air (M3)
Apple MacBook Air M3
4 out of 5 stars
4
RRP
$1799
  • pro
    Display size: 13.6-inches
  • pro
    Resolution 2560 x 1664
  • pro
    Weight1.49kg
Zenbook Flip S13 OLED
ASUS Zenbook 14 Flip OLED
4 out of 5 stars
4
RRP
$1799
  • pro
    Display size: 14-inches
  • pro
    Resolution 2880 x 1800
  • pro
    Weight1.5kg
Apple MacBook Air (M1)
Apple M1 MacBook Air
4 out of 5 stars
4
RRP
$1499
  • pro
    Display size: 13-inches
  • pro
    Resolution 2560 × 1600
  • pro
    Weight1.29kg

What to look for in a laptop

Whether you're looking at a mainstream computer brand like Dell or a dedicated gaming brand like MSI, there's an immense number of decisions you'll need to make when purchasing a laptop. If you're not sure where to start, here are a few important features to consider when shopping for your next laptop.
Info Box
Screen size and type

Unlike upgradeable components like your GPU, RAM and storage, you're stuck with the display you buy when you purchase a laptop. Is it a comfortable size? Does it offer a wide-viewing angle?

Megaphone
Resolution & Refresh Rate

1080p (Full HD) is the bare minimum for resolution these days and most laptops worth their price aim for 1440p at least (QHD or QuadHD) but you can also opt for 4K if you're willing to spend a little extra.

A screen's refresh rate is the measurement of how frequently it changes. The higher the refresh rate, the better. Most conventional laptops offer 60Hz to 90Hz but fancier gaming laptops can offer 144Hz, 165Hz or even 240Hz screens.

Light Bulb
Future proofing

 There are no hard and fast rules here but as a general suggestion, you'll want to sure you're laptop has the legs to survive a few years of technology improvements in any way you can. You can overshoot on your desired specs, spending more on a machine that's more powerful than you currently need, or opt for a model or brand that has support for upgrades down the track.

Bullhorn
Ports

Like your screen, ports will impact your everyday experience with a laptop, particularly if you use it for work. While you can work around this with USB hubs and adapters, a laptop with fewer ports than you need can quickly become a headache.

Best of the best laptops

ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED
"Even if it's not quite as fashion-forward, long-lasting or geared around a GPU as some of the other options, the new ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED holds its own as a balanced slice of portable performance that feels as great to rely on in short bursts."
- Fergus Halliday
Gadgets Editor

If you’ve got the money to spend on a brand laptop, the ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED is one of the best ways you can spend it.

Although the name might suggest that ASUS have just traded out the LCD-LED screen on the existing Zenbook 14 and called it a day, the truth is anything but. A change in display tech is enough to make anything look new, but it's the swag of savvy improvements here that serve to make the Zenbook 14 OLED actually feel it.

By looking beyond the glitz and glamour of its namesake, the new Zenbook 14 OLED takes strides where lesser laptops fumble. As with many of its competitors, it’s powered by Intel’s finest crop of Core processors, Iris Xe graphics and a generous sum of PCIe SSD storage.

The ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED excels on every front that matters and manages to find a few edges of its own against the finest of its competition.

Model

ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED

Processor

Starts at Intel Core i5-1240P

Memory

Starts at 8GB RAM

Display

14-inch 2.8K, 90Hz, OLED

Storage

Starts at 256GB of SSD storage

Ports

2x USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 4), 1x USB Type-A 3.2, Combo audio jack, HDMI 2.1, Micro SD slot, HDMI-out

Battery

75Whr

Speakers

2 Speakers + Smart Amp

Webcam

Starts at 720p Windows Hello HD webcam

Weight

1.39kg

Dimensions

31.36 cm x 22.06 cm x 1.69 cm

 


Best cheap laptop

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2
Processor: Starts at 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7
Display: 12.4-inch PixelSense Display
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
Weight: Starts at 1.1g
Memory: 4GB
Battery: 41Whr
Storage: Starts at 128GB SSD storage

While there are plenty of options available for those who want to go even cheaper, Microsoft’s own Surface Laptop Go 2 is hard to beat as a budget-friendly option. It’s not difficult to find the limits of the humble hardware here, but there’s plenty to like about the simple aesthetics and decent battery life offered up by Microsoft's entry-level laptop.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 knits together a tighter 12.4-inch PixelSense display, an 11th-generation Intel Core processor and up to 256 GB of SSD storage. That being said, there aren’t that many ports and some might come away irked by the size and brightness of the display. If you can afford to spend a little bit more, it'll probably be worth that.

It’s probably not going to cut it was the last laptop you'll ever need to buy, but if you want something that can reliably handle the basics at an affordable price, it may be exactly what you’re after.

Model

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2

Processor

Starts at 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7

Graphics

Intel Iris Xe Graphics

Memory

Starts at 4GB RAM

Display

12.4-inch PixelSense Display

Storage

Starts at 128GB SSD storage

Ports

1 x USB-C, 1 x USB-A, 3.5 mm headphone jack, 1 x Surface Connect port

Speakers

Omnisonic Speakers with Dolby Audio

Webcam

720p HD (f/2.0)

Weight

1,127g

Dimensions

 

278.2mm x 206.2mm x 15.7mm

Best Mac laptop

Apple MacBook Air (M3)
"The 15-inch MacBook Air takes last year's MacBook Air refresh and makes it bigger. It's a simple yet excellent laptop that finally gives Apple a somewhat affordable large-screen MacBook."
-Alex Choros
Group Reviews Editor

Even if the  MacBook Pro sports a few extra ports and a larger screen, the latest MacBook Air remains the MacBook to beat. Keeping things as simple as possible, it’s the option that’s most likely to hit the sweet spot for most consumers.

Powered by Apple’s headlining-grabbing M3 processor, you get the latest version of the macOS operating system and hardware designed to get the most out of it. For those seeking a standout laptop that integrates effort with the rest of the Apple ecosystem, the new MacBook Air is built to deliver.

It’s all wrapped up in a familiar design and a price tag that, even for Apple, rarely feels all that egregious. If you’re the kind of person who can dance to Apple’s tune when it comes to what a modern laptop should look like, the new MacBook Air is the obvious way to go.

Model

Apple MacBook Air (M3)

Processor

Apple M3 Chip

Graphics

Apple M3 GPU

Memory

Starts at 8GB unified memory

Display

Retina display with True Tone

Storage

Starts at 256 GB of SSD storage

Ports

2x USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 3), combo audio jack

Battery

52.6Whr

Speakers

Wide stereo speakers with support for Dolby Atmos

Webcam

1080p FaceTime HD camera

Weight

1.49kg

Best 2-in-1 laptop

ASUS Zenbook Flip 14 OLED
ASUS Zenbook 14 Flip OLED
4 out of 5 stars
4
RRP
$1799
Processor: Starts at 13th Gen Intel Core i5-1340P
Display: Starts at 14-inch 2.8K OLED display
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
Weight: Starts at 1.5kg
Memory: Starts at 16GB RAM of LPDD5
Battery: 75Whr
Storage: Starts at 512GB of M.2 PCIe SSD storage

ASUS' ZenBook Flip range has always been a standout when it comes to flexible 2-in-1 laptops, and this OLED-laced update is no different. The Zenbook Flip 14 OLED brings together the power of Intel's 13th Gen Core processors, the flexibility of a hybrid form factor and the stylish looks of the Zenbook line.

It's easy to find laptops that bend the way this one does. It's hard to find one with an OLED screen. Even if you do, the chances of it delivering the performance as well are almost as slim as the form factor found here.

It's easy to wish for a version of this Zenbook that's cheaper or one that runs on an AMD chipset, but it's hard to deny the reality that this premium PC is one of the best and brightest 2-in-1 laptops you can buy right now.

ModelASUS Zenbook Flip 14 OLED
ProcessorStarts at 13th Gen Intel Core i5-1340P
GraphicsIntel Core Iris Xe integrated graphics
MemoryStarts at 16GB RAM of LPDDR5
DisplayStarts at 14-inch 2.8K OLED display
StorageStarts at 512GB of M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Storage
Ports2x USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 4), 1x USB Type-A, 1x combo audio jack, 1x HDMI 2.1,
Battery75Whr
Webcam1080p webcam
Weight1.5kg

Best student laptop

Apple MacBook Air (M1)
"Even if it lacks the extra grunt or screen estate found in the latest MacBook Pro, the new M1 MacBook Air is the right tool for most jobs most of the time.."
-Fergus Halliday
Gadgets Editor

While those who can afford the more recent MacBook Air should spring for it, cash-strapped students may be hard-pressed to find a better option than the 2020 version of Apple's iconic MacBook Air.

While this older model is synonymous with an older processor and a more traditional design, these details are hardly going to be dealbreakers when it comes to the demands of students. So long as you're not planning on any gaming, the M1 processor found inside the older MacBook Air still more than holds its own in 2024.

There’s a consistency and balance to the 2020 MacBook that's hard to find at price points that lean towards affordability. It's not quite as cheap as something like the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 or Acer's Swift X, but when you factor in Apple's own student discount and the reality that what's here is better equipped to go the distance than most of the alternatives, the pros of stretching your budget that little bit further begin to outweigh the cons.

The MacBook Air won’t cover all the bases, but it’ll probably do a great job at almost all of your computing essentials if you're a student looking for an easy solution to laptop confusion.

Model

Apple MacBook Air (M1)

Processor

Apple M1 Chip

Graphics

Apple M1 GPU

Memory

Starts at 8GB unified memory

Display

Retina display with True Tone

Storage

Starts at 256 GB of SSD storage

Ports

2x USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 3), combo audio jack

Battery

49Whr

Speakers

Wide stereo speakers with support for Dolby Atmos

Webcam

720p FaceTime HD camera

Weight

1.29kg

Best laptops compared:

How do the laptops on this page compare to every other one we've reviewed and recommended?
Product
Availability
Display size
Resolution
Weight
Rating
13.6-inches 2,560 x 1,6641.49kg
4 out of 5 stars
4
15.6-inches3840 x 21602.98kg
4 out of 5 stars
4
16-inches2560 x 16002.5kg
4 out of 5 stars
4
14-inches3024 x 19641.6kg
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
13.3-inches2880 x 18001.3kg
3.3 out of 5 stars
3.25
16-inches2560 x 16002.7kg
3.3 out of 5 stars
3.25
17-inches2560 x 19201.5kg
3.3 out of 5 stars
3.25
14-inches2560 x 1600 1.2kg
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
13.5-inches2256 x 15041.56kg
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
13-inches2880 X 1920878g
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
14-inches2880x18001.39kg
4 out of 5 stars
4
16-inches2560 x 16002.3kg
4 out of 5 stars
4
12.4-inches1536 x 10241.1kg
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.15
15.6-inches‎1920x10802.5kg
4 out of 5 stars
4
16-inches3840 x 24001.95kg
4 out of 5 stars
4
13.3-inches2880 x 18001.2kg
4 out of 5 stars
4
13-inches2560 × 16001.29kg
4 out of 5 stars
4
13.4-inches1920 x 12001.2kg
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
1.56-inches2560x14401.9kg
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Huawei MateBook D14Huawei Matebook D14 (2021)
14-inches1920 x 10801.38kg
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
12.4-inches1536 x 10241.1kg
4 out of 5 stars
4
14-inches3840 x 21601.3kg
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
icon-expertise

How we chose the best laptops

When it comes to picking and choosing the best laptops on the market, the easiest place to start is with the similarities that each brand brings to the table. This helps give us a basis for what the "meta" of laptops looks like at any given time.

The next phase in our analysis specifically looks into the details. Where do the different laptop designs brought to market by hardware manufacturers like Lenovo, Dell, HP and ASUS differ, and why? What additions or twists on the formula are novelty versus necessary? How much value do these niche features really provide end consumers?

We then weigh the findings of this process against the price expectations of the market segment attached to the category involved. While the overall category assumes you're a consumer who isn't looking to cut corners, neither does it act like your budget is unlimited. This helps us determine which laptops are providing the best bang for our buck and value for money.

Check out this article for for more information about how we review laptops like the ones on this page.

Laptop FAQs

Here are the most commonly asked questions about laptops

16GB is a good place to start when it comes to RAM, but it's not necessarily going to be the end of the road if your needs are more demanding. It's enough to get by, but it might not be enough for the future or for more performance-oriented users.

If your next laptop doesn't support upgrading your RAM later down the line, it's usually smart to overshoot and aim for 32GB of RAM instead.

Not all RAM is born equal. Size isn't everything. Speed also matters.

If you're looking to find out just how fast the RAM in your laptop is, the quickest way to do so is to identify the type of memory and then Google the standard expected speeds that it should offer. For example, LPDDR5 offers speeds of up to 6400Mbps while DDR4 memory can only rev up to 3200Mbps.

If you want to go one step further and determine whether the RAM in your laptop is delivering the speeds it should be capable of offering, then it might be worth putting the hardware to the test with a benchmarking tool like Novabench.

It's easy to spend too much or too little on your next laptop, but our take is that the best-value laptops tend to sit between $1600 and $2200 in terms of price. PCs that occupy this price point might not be able to outperform more expensive alternatives, but the bump up in quality over cheaper ones is well worth the cost involved.

Simply put, laptops of this price segment tend to sidestep all the compromises of going cheaper while getting most of the performance you'll get from spending more.

These days, there are three types of Intel Core processors found in laptops. The first is the humble Intel Core i5 processor, then there's the middle-of-the-range Intel Core i7 and the power user-oriented Intel Core i9.

If you're going purely by the numbers, the Intel Core i9 is going to provide the best results. However, it's also the most demanding in terms of thermal management. A laptop running an Intel Core i9 processor will be faster than one with an Intel Core i7 or Core i5, but it'll also run hotter.

If you're an everyday or more casual user, an Intel Core i5 is probably going to be fast enough for you. If you're more discerning or planning to play a lot of games, then the up-sell to an Intel Core i7 probably makes sense.

While there's no single component responsible when it comes to laptop speed, the part that usually takes the credit is the processor. If you want your next laptop to be a fast one, you'll want to make sure it has a good processor in it.

As with desktop PCs, the processor is only part of the picture, however. If your laptop lacks enough RAM or relies on a slower hard drive for file storage, that'll act as a bottleneck on the performance of the machine as a whole.

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for Reviews.org. He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.

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