At Pocket-lint, we test all the top laptops that are released throughout the year, whether they’re budget-friendly beauties or professional powerhouses. Now, we’re taking some time to celebrate the very best notebooks of 2023.
The 20th annual Pocket-lint Awards, sponsored by new EE, were held on 9 November 2023 – and included all the best devices across a wide range of products. In each category, we honed in on a shortlist of six nominees, each product having been reviewed by the Pocket-lint team in the last 12 months.
There were lots of fantastic options coming to the market in 2023, which meant picking an overall winner was no easy task. And while we were thoroughly impressed by several laptops this year, there can only be one winner.
Laptop of the Year: Apple MacBook Air 15 (M2, 2023)
Apple MacBook Air 15 (M2, 2023)
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The MacBook Air 15-inch is the laptop of our dreams, with ultimate portability, class-leading build quality, ample power and a lovely spacious display.
The Apple MacBook Air 15-inch brings a luxurious larger display to one of the most popular slim and lightweight notebooks in the world. It carries the same design as its predecessor, it’s just scaled up, and that’s fine by us, it looks stunning and feels premium throughout.
You get all the same benefits as the regular M2 MacBook Air, such as fantastic battery life, stellar performance and a superb Liquid Retina display. For all but the most demanding of users, the M2 chip will fly through your daily tasks without breaking a sweat, and it’ll do it for a long time, too. It’s able to last up to 18 hours on a charge.
If you want something that won’t weigh down your backpack, but is still powerful enough to get some serious work done, then the 15-inch MacBook Air is a brilliant option. The added screen space makes it a joy to use, and it’s priced quite competitively, too.
Highly commended: Apple MacBook Pro M2
Another close contender for the top spot was the Apple MacBook Pro M2. It’s another superbly built laptop from the design masters at Apple, and it has more power than most users will ever need. It’ll speed through creative workloads faster than most, and it will last a long time on a charge, with brilliant battery life relative to its performance.
This model has an even more impressive Liquid Retina XDR display with category-leading brightness and excellent accuracy. Sure, this laptop doesn’t come cheap, but it does plenty to justify its price tag.
The best of the rest
Acer Swift X 14
The Acer Swift X 14 is a content creation powerhouse, packing a 13th Intel Core i7 processor along with a dedicated Nvidia RTX 4050 GPU. This powerful hardware is paired with a truly impressive OLED display, with great colour accuracy and brilliant contrast.
The design isn’t going to turn any heads, but that’s the point, it’s sleek and professional, while still having enough power to render 4K videos – and it can happily handle a bit of gaming on the side, too. To top it all off, it’s reasonably priced, too.
Asus Zenbook 15 OLED
The Asus Zenbook 15 OLED is a lovely thin and light laptop with a gorgeous OLED display and plenty of horsepower for creative tasks. The model we tested comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 7735U, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD
This laptop impressed us with its sturdy build and lightweight chassis, which is even lighter than the MacBook Air, though you won’t get quite the same battery life. That’s simply because OLED screens draw a lot of power, but it’s a tradeoff that may be worthwhile, with a screen that looks this good.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 uses the same chassis and display as its predecessor, but that’s no issue when they look and feel as good as this. Simply put, the Surface Laptop 5 offers the best fit and finish of any Windows machine that we’ve tested, it’s luxurious through and through.
The fifth-generation model gets an upgrade to Intel’s 12th-Gen processors, and that means you can expect videos to render faster and the battery to last slightly longer. Crucially, it’s the first Surface Laptop to support Thunderbolt 4, so you can connect to a wide array of high-end accessories.
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro
The Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro is a large 16-inch notebook with an extremely slim and lightweight design. When you open it up, you’ll find a gorgeous 3K OLED panel, accompanied by the best speakers that we’ve ever heard on a Windows laptop.
If you like big trackpads, this is the model for you, housing one of the largest that we’ve ever seen. It also has a great keyboard and ample power for light creative tasks. It’s a solid machine on all fronts.
How the EE Pocket-lint Awards judging works
The winner for the Best Laptop category was decided by the Pocket-lint team, along with a panel of expert judges from publications across the industry. Following a rigorous scoring process, the Best Laptop winner for 2023 was announced at an in-person event on 9 November 2023, along with the winners from the other 20 categories.
A Product of the Year winner was also announced, chosen from the winners of the 21 categories.