Who are the biggest laptop brands and which ones are the best? In an ever growing landscape, it’s safe to say that laptops aren’t a monopoly and there are plenty of brands fighting for their share of the market. Not everyone can carry the name value of Apple, Dell or HP so it is always worth doing some research so you’re fully prepared before making a purchase.
Not everyone is looking to buy the best laptops possible and reputation might carry more weight to some people. This means that there is a major roadblock to overcome when buying a laptop, choosing which brand deserves your money. Some of the laptop brands that we will be looking at are household names, but there will also be a few that you’ve potentially never heard of but are actually the perfect choice, depending on your needs and budget. So, we at Gear Nuke have ranked all the major laptop brands and talk through their strengths and weaknesses to help you make a decision.
There is a reason that Apple sits as one of the biggest tech companies on the planet today. Apple’s MacBook products debuted back in 2006, it was a time when laptops had already started to break into households as a common item but were far from their peak. This allowed Apple to set up their product line and create a legacy that still reigns today.
MacBooks are high quality products that often have standard Windows laptops beaten for speed and performance despite running off mostly secretive hardware specifications. There’s no overly complicated product list for processors, graphics cards, or memory. You’re committing to buying a MacBook because it is an Apple product and their legacy shows that they’re on top for a reason.
Granted, Apple laptops are not for everyone. MacBooks can often price themselves out of running for most people despite the fact that they are proven to last well beyond the expected lifespan of a Windows alternative. MacBooks are also not ideal for gamers. Their non-specific graphical capabilities mixed in with how many developers actively don’t allow their products to run on the macOS software.
Dell is another huge brand in the laptop industry. While they also produce a number of desktop options, it’s their laptop brand that earns them such a high spot in this list. One of Dells biggest strengths, and this will bear true for one or two other brands on this list, is the diversity within the products.
It really doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for the most basic machine for web browsing and media playback or a fully kitted out gaming system, Dell can provide the goods and usually does so for a fair price. Alienware is the gaming subsidiary of Dell and was one of the first majorly notable names in the gaming industry. While they may not be the biggest or most notable brand anymore, something has to be said for a name that used to come with such notoriety and has managed to survive some huge technological changes over the last decade.
When it comes to business or creative needs, Dell has you covered there too. Their Inspiron, XPS, and Latitude brands cover just about all needs you could possibly have but for anything else, there is their Chromebook and Vostro range. For a single laptop brand to offer such diversity in one location is key to Dell’s ranking as one of the best laptops brands in the world today.
Like Dell, HP are another laptop brand that really have nailed their concepts and offer a ton of products to suit all needs. There are certain generations that still think of printers when it comes to HP but they’ve come a long way with their product range.
HP relies on the Omen brand for its gaming machines, Envy is its creator line-up, Pavilion is for everyday use and finally, the Dragonfly products are for business use. Again, there are other product line-ups available like Spectre, Victus and Chromebook.
The primary difference between Dell and HP that separates them for the purpose of this list is the simplicity of purchasing a product via the Dell website. With HP, the process of customizing and selecting a product is sometimes a little too complicated with far too many options thrown your way before you reach your final specifications and actually see how much your laptop will cost.
Despite this, when it comes down to the key factors that go into this list such as general quality of hardware and build quality, the two brands are hard to distinguish between.
Asus is a laptop brand that, in our eyes, excels when it comes to the premium quality products for creative and gaming needs. Despite this, their entire laptop portfolio is just as strong as that from HP and Dell, but could price a lot of people away from all of their products.
As an example, when we visited the Asus website and went to the ‘everyday use’ section, the first product was a $1,999 OLED Zenbook Pro. We’re keen to see powerful technology become part of everyday life more than anyone, but this is certainly overkill for something considered everyday use.
Cheaper, better suited products are of course available from Asus, and we appreciate that they take the focus off price somewhat and instead push the tech as a selling point. Asus also carries a brilliant Chromebook range which is very reasonably priced if you were only looking for something entry level. Asus, however, really shines when it comes to premium products like their ZenBook Pro, Republic of Gamers, and TUF gaming laptops. If budget isn’t an issue and you want some extra bang for your buck, invest in an Asus and you’ll get a top end product to see you through the next five years easily.
Starting out life as a leader in the Chinese market, Lenovo is still overlooked in Western markets in favor of more familiar brands. The IdeaPad and Yoga products are among their most well known sub-brands but they maintain at least six total dedicated product lines at any time.
Lenovo is known for being innovative and never swaying away from being the first to bring new tech to a mass market. The ThinkPad Yoga popularized the 360 degree hinge that is still being used today. Package this in with reasonable pricing across all of their purpose built laptops and you have the making of one of the best and most consistent laptop brands in the world. None of this should come as a surprise because Lenovo is, after all, the single largest laptop brand in the world thanks in no small part to their continued domination of the Chinese market.
Now for one of the hardest laptop brands to judge, Acer. While they are yet another diverse brand who offer products for every type of customer, their reputation can often sway into that of a budget brand, generally speaking.
Having owned and used many Acer products over the years, there is a little something missing when compared to the likes of Dell and HP when it comes to build quality and general performance. It could be that when the chips are down, Acer’s in-house tech just isn’t as powerful and their budget options feel exactly like you might expect when putting down less money for a laptop.
Despite the similar offering between Acer, Dell, and HP, it seems impossible for Acer to shake this connotation that they are the go-to for budget laptops and also produce a variety of Chromebooks too. Weirder still is that this is considered a negative when in fact it’s actually a pretty good label to have, but only if your capable of still marketing the premium products in the same way your competitors do.
7. Microsoft Surface
The Microsoft Surface laptop brand is extremely limited, hence it’s placement towards the bottom of this list but don’t let that take away from the quality of their products. Microsoft is a huge name in tech so you certainly expect a lot when buying a product from them and they deliver for the most part.
The biggest thing holding back the Surface products is that it feels like Microsoft are trying to replicate Apple in the sense that less is more. However, the formula isn’t quite perfected just yet and this means that in reality, Microsoft offers some really good products that are simply too limited in their appeal. The Pro or Go range are focused on portability and versatility in their use as either a laptop or tablet. If you’re after a laptop-first focus, the Surface Laptop range is an excellent choice.
These machines are super fast and great for professional use but also priced in a way that purchasing one for everyday use isn’t unreasonable. Microsoft looks set to continue investing in the Surface brand, unlike their doomed phone range, so it’s worth keeping an eye on what they might be releasing in the future.
MSI is another laptop brand that focuses the majority of their efforts on gaming but they do offer a full suite of products for multiple needs. In addition to their gaming laptops, they also boast some fantastic content creation and business laptops but nothing is labelled as general use.
It’s for this reason that they fall so far down the list because in the grand scheme of things, a brand limiting themselves to premium software has a much narrower appeal. Don’t mistake this for a reflection of their quality though, as they are considered one of the best gaming laptop manufacturers around today. If you do happen to be looking for such a product, the advantage that MSI offers is a multitude of options within the category. They can meet your needs for everything from Minecraft machines for entry level gamers or the elite $4,000+ machines that could see you all the way to 2030 thanks to their top level graphics cards.