Best-Rated Laptops

Canstar Blue’s review of laptop computers has compared Apple, HP, Alienware, Dell, ASUS and Lenovo on their performance & reliability, design, user-friendliness, battery life, size & weight, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction.

See our Ratings Methodology.

Best laptop 2021

Most Satisfied Customers | Apple

In Canstar Blue’s latest laptop review, Aussies rated Apple the best pick of the bunch for the second year in a row. It achieved five stars for performance and reliability, battery life, user friendliness, size and weight, appearance and design, customer service and overall satisfaction.

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Top pick: Apple rated best in laptop computer ratings for 2nd year in a row

Laptops are convenient and compact, thus making them an ideal choice for professionals, students and just about anyone else who needs to stay connected wherever they go, even if it’s just to the bedroom to hook up Netflix to the big screen. Portable PCs may be small in size, but buying one is a big decision requiring plenty of consideration. In fact, 46% of Aussies we surveyed researched their computers before buying it.

To help you find the best laptop for your needs and budget, Canstar Blue surveyed nearly 900 Australian consumers for their feedback on the laptop(s) they bought and used in the last three years. Respondents scored their respective brand(s) on performance and reliability, battery life, user-friendliness, appearance and design, size and weight, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction. Those that received the minimum survey sample size of 30 responses are rated and compared above.

Tech giant Apple doubled down and was rated best for laptops in our customer satisfaction ratings for the second year in a row. It achieved five-star reviews in six out of seven categories ─ including overall satisfaction!

Best Laptop Computers

Apple laptop

Here are the best brands of laptop computers, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s latest review:

  1. Apple
  2. HP
  3. Alienware
  4. Dell
  5. ASUS
  6. Lenovo

Apple achieved a sweet victory after receiving the only five-star review for overall satisfaction, while most other brands landed on four stars. The only exception was Lenovo, which ended on three stars for overall satisfaction.

HP, Alienware, and Dell were the only brands that managed to get an edge over Apple, achieving full marks for value for money. HP and Alienware additionally saw five stars for user-friendliness and size and weight, with Alienware also earning a five-star review for battery life.

Top Laptop Brands

Apple

Apple laptops review

Apple needs no introduction. It’s arguably THE leading tech brand, with over 500 flagship stores worldwide. Apple is the brain behind some of our favourite electronic gadgets including iPhones, iPads, AirPods, MacBooks, iMacs, and so on. The brand offers an extensive range of laptops, priced variably from $1,499 for a 13-inch MacBook Air, up to $4,099 for a 16-inch MacBook Pro.

If you’re looking for a good mid-range option, the 13-inch MacBook Pro (pictured) is a portable powerhouse, featuring a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, 512GB of SSD storage, four Thunderbolt 3 ports as well as a magic keyboard, touch bar and touch ID. For users who need a fair bit of space, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is stated to have a whopping 8TB of SSD storage.

Here are some other models from Apple’s laptop computer range:

  • Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1 Chip With 8-Core CPU & GPU, 256GB Storage): $1,499 RRP*
  • Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (M1 Chip With 8-Core CPU & GPU, 512GB storage): $1,899 RRP*
  • Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro (2.3Ghz 8-Core Processor, 1TB storage): $4,099 RRP*

Consumers rated Apple five stars for performance and reliability, appearance and design, user-friendliness, battery life, size and weight, customer service and overall satisfaction. It got three stars for value for money.

HP

HP laptops review

HP, which is short for the Hewlett-Packard company, is a leading brand of home electronics, spanning across printers, desktops, laptops and more. The brand is widely available in most electronics stores including JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman. HP offers everyday devices (i.e. tablets), 2-in-1 laptops and gaming laptops at a wide range of price points, ranging from $399, up to $4,999.

For a laptop with the portability of a tablet in one compact footprint and a cut-price, one option to consider is the HP Pavilion x360 14-inch 2-in-1 Laptop for $1,499. This model (pictured) comes with 8GB DDR4-3200 MHz RAM. Other features include edge-to-edge glass, 11th Generation Intel Core i5 processor, and multi-touch capabilities.

Here are some other models from HP’s laptop computer range:

  • HP Chromebook 14b-na0001TU: $799 RRP*
  • HP 14-inch Spectre x360 Convertible: $3,699 RRP*
  • HP EliteBook 850 G8 Notebook PC: $2,060 RRP*

HP achieved five stars for user-friendliness, size and weight and value for money. It got four stars overall and most of the remaining categories. The only exception was customer service, where it got three stars.

Alienware

Alienware laptops review

Alienware is a computer hardware subsidiary of Dell, with its product range dedicated entirely to gaming computers which can be identified by their alien-themed designs. Pricing starts from $2,699 and maxes out at just under $7,500 for high-performing models with a larger display. The latest generation of Alienware laptops is said to come with improved surface coating engineered to reduce fingerprint smearing and other typical stains.

As a whole, Alienware gaming laptops feature more RAM compared to non-gaming laptops from other brands, with the entire range offering between 16GB and 32GB or more worth of space, depending on the model. You can also expect larger displays, with many products containing at least a 15.6-inch display.

Here are some other models from Alienware’s laptop computer range:

  • Alienware M15 R6 Gaming Laptop: $2,798.99 RRP*
  • Alienware M17 R4 Gaming Laptop: $4,799 RRP*
  • Alienware X17 Gaming Laptop: $6,598.99 RRP*

Alienware received full marks for battery life, user-friendliness, size and weight and value for money. It ended on four stars for overall satisfaction and in the remaining categories.

Dell

Dell laptops review

Dell is another well-known computer technology brand that offers a decent selection of desktops, laptops, PC accessories, printers, toners and more. A great advantage of Dell is that it often has special deals and limited-time offers available on certain computers, including 2-in-1 and gaming laptops. This is a great option for school kids, so keep it in mind when shopping around.

A budget-friendly model to check out is the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Laptop for $849 (pictured). It comes with a 10th Gen Intel Core (i5-1035G1) processor, 8GB of memory, a HD or FHD anti-glare display, smartphone integration with iOS or Android and more.

Here are some other models from Dell’s laptop computer range:

  • Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Laptop: $849 RRP*
  • Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 Laptop: $1,448.98 RRP*
  • Dell XPS 13 Laptop: $1,598.98 RRP*

Dell was one of the best in terms of value for money, scoring five stars. It also achieved four stars for battery life, user-friendliness, customer service and overall satisfaction. Dell got three stars everywhere else.

ASUS

ASUS laptops review

ASUS is another big player in the PC market, offering a large range of affordable notebooks, gaming laptops, desktops, displays, motherboards and more. The brand’s laptop range is divided by series, including the ZenBook series, VivoBook series and Chromebook range to name a few. These check out from just $289 for a Chromebook and go up to $2,899 for the ASUS ZenBook Duo 14.

If you’re after a budget-friendly option that will cater to all your work and entertainment needs, then the ASUS VivoBook Flip 14-inch 2-in-1 Device ($799 RRP*) might be worth considering (pictured). It comes equipped with a fingerprint sensor, 360° metal hinge, 14-inch Full HD display, NanoEdge Bezel, Intel Core i7 processor, stylus support and a fast-charging function that can supposedly charge up to 60% within 49 minutes.

Here are some other models from the ASUS laptop computer range:

  • ASUS TP401MA Notebook: $699 RRP*
  • ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 Laptop (8GB-256GB SSD): $1,199 RRP*
  • ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 Laptop (16GB-512GB SSD): $1,699 RRP*

ASUS maintained a solid four-star review in the majority of factors, such as performance and reliability, value for money and overall satisfaction. It got three stars for battery life and customer service.

Lenovo

Lenovo laptops review

Lenovo is one of the world’s largest PC vendors and smartphone companies. The brand offers a wide range of laptops, from basic family models to high-performance gaming laptops and stylish multimode devices with smart designs. Plus, the range offers options to fit any budget, with prices starting from under $500 and reaching upwards of $3,000.

If you enjoy the advantages of both a laptop and tablet, Lenovo offers a few two-in-one devices from its Yoga, IdeaPad and ThinkPad collections. The 11-inch IdeaPad Flex 3 ($699 RRP*) is one of the most affordable options and can be folded into a tablet or converted into a ‘tent’ to help make the Netflix binge experience a bit more comfortable. It’s also designed to provide a two-hour runtime with a single 15-minute charge.

Here are some other models from Lenovo’s laptop computer range:

  • Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 2-in-1 Chromebook (10-inch): $499 RRP*
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen 2 (14-inch): $1,566.55 RRP*
  • Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 6 (16-inch): $3,699 RRP*

Lenovo rounded up the scores on four stars for user-friendliness, size and weight and value for money, and got three stars for overall satisfaction and everywhere else.

Which laptop should you buy?

Canstar Blue’s latest laptop review found HP, Alienware and Dell to be the go-to brands when it comes to bang for buck. HP and Alienware laptops also proved to be top performers for user-friendliness and size and weight, which can be useful if you’re shopping for an easy-to-use laptop that needs to be constantly carried between home and work or school. Then there’s Apple ─ an all-rounder that continuously attracts users for not just its reputation but also its iconic designs. Apple laptops are boasted for being feature-packed and for having a longer battery life, among other things.

So, what should you look out for when choosing a laptop? Here’s what consumers considered to be the most important factors when deciding which model to buy:

  • Price: 31%
  • Specifications (i.e. hard drive size, RAM, etc.): 23%
  • Brand name: 14%
  • Ease of use: 12%
  • Size and appearance: 7%
  • Compatibility with other devices: 6%
  • Special features (e. touch display, foldable, etc.): 6%

Our survey revealed respondents use their laptops for an average of five hours each day, suggesting it’s well worth investing time in finding the right model for your needs. In terms of price, we found Aussies spend on average $1,364 on a new laptop. This is roughly the cost of a mid-range option. You should keep this figure in mind for reference when shopping.

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.

Compare Desktop Computers

*Prices are taken from respective retailers and Bing Lee, correct as of September 2021.

Picture credits: GaudiLab, Shutterstock.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

Canstar Blue surveyed more than 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a new computer (laptop) in the last three years (note: this does not include tablets, but may include 2-in-1 style laptops which convert into a tablet) – in this case, 886 people.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

Here is the previous winner of Canstar Blue’s laptop review:

  • 2020: Apple

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