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Do you need a powerful laptop replacement laptop for working on the go? Then you’re in the right place.
For a while now, new generation Laptops have been able to meet desktops blow-for-blow in performance and accessibility. With new mobile graphics cards hitting the market and one-year-old laptops dropping in prices, there has never been a better time to shop for a desktop replacement.
In a rush, then I recommend the Asus ROG Zephyrus Gaming Laptop. It has the raw power and performance of a premium desktop packed into the chassis of a modern Ultrabook. You get a current-gen processor and graphics card, plenty of RAM, storage, a great battery, and a killer screen— all with the option to upgrade.
It undercuts the main drawbacks of switching from a desktop, and so do the best desktop replacement Laptops in this review. With that said, we recognize that not every user is looking for a mobile workstation. Different people need different things, and each of the four laptops we chose caters to a different type of user. If you’re unsure of what you want from your computer, we also wrote a helpful guide highlighting essential parts of every excellent desktop replacement Pc.
15.6-inch QHD Screen with IPS, 100% color accurate screen
Ryzen 9 5900HS Processor
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Max-Q
16GB of RAM + 1TB of PCIe SSD
USB type A and C ports, 3.5mm combo audio jack, HDMI 2.0b, SD card reader, RJ45 Ethernet port
90 Wh battery
The Asus ROG Zephyrs Gaming Laptop makes the transition from desktop to portable Laptop seamless. Whether you’re consuming content on the 15.6-inch QHD screen or are working with the Ryzen 9 processor and the RTX 3070, you’ll appreciate the power of this machine.
You won’t lack Storage and RAM either. If the 16GB of RAM and the 1TB SSD were not enough, you could upgrade both using the second M.2 slot provided by Asus or replace both with an 8GB RAM stick.
You don’t sacrifice great audio or cooling either. The Zephyrus ships with a Hi-Res Dolby Atmos speaker system with 6 speakers and dual force-canceling Woofers. ROG keeps your Pc internals cool and dust-free with a proprietary self-cleaning module paired with dual Arc flow fans with 84 fans, liquid metal cooling, and 6 heat pipes.
The Zephyrus ships with an expansive 90Wh battery with Type-C fast charging technology so that you can actually take advantage of the many great features it comes with. Depending on your power settings, you can expect anywhere from 2hrs of battery life to 13 hours.
If your work sees you crunching numbers, juggling multiple apps like Microsoft Office or Zoom, and reading reports and spreadsheets, then a thin and light Ultrabook like the LG Gram 17 might be more up your alley. Spec’d with a 10th gen processor, a 90Whr battery, a big screen, and a crunchy number pad, you have everything you need from a great work desktop replacement.
2 USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, 2 USB-A, HDMI port, 3.5mm audio jack
For years now, the LG Gram has been the go-to laptop for professionals shopping for an ultra-slim performance notebook, and that’s for a good reason.
Packed within its 3-pound chassis is a wide 17-inch QHD screen that is great for multitasking and a 10th Gen intel i5 CPU that delivers great performance in video editing and other processor-heavy tasks. The 8GB of Ram and 512 SSD give you plenty of power and storage for work, and the fingerprint scanner means you’re never more than one click from logging into your computer.
The LG Gram can last up to 13hrs of streaming content with its 72 Wh battery, and on mild to medium load, it should easily last you over 8 hours of work. As an upgrade from the previous year, the 17-inch Gram features slightly larger Shift, Enter, and Backspace keys for better typing and work experience.
The LG Gram’s weight came at no compromise to its port selection. From a Thunderbolt 3 port to an HDMI and regular USB-C and A ports, you’ll be able to hook up to 2 additional monitors, a mouse, all-in-one printer, external storage, keyboard, etc. The Gram even comes with a USB-C to Ethernet port in case you want to use a LAN cable instead of its WiFi.
The Apple Macbook Pro 14 is Apple’s pro-grade workstation replacement laptop. It is marketed toward video editors, designers, animators, music producers, and photographers. And it was engineered from the ground up to provide the best mobile performance on any 14-inch Apple laptop.
M1 Pro and M1 Max chips
Liquid Retina Display with ProMotion Technology
17 hours of battery life
16GB RAM 512 SSD
3x Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, SD card slot, Magsafe 3, and a 3.5mm headphone jack
The Macbook Pro 14 is the most powerful Macbook Apple has ever released. It runs on their flagship Mi Pro and M1 Max chips that combine a 16-core GPU plus a 16-core Neural Engine to deliver up to four times the performance of previous generations of the MacBook Pro 14 inch. You’ll be blasting through processor and graphics-heavy tasks faster and with less power. The new-gen chips are built on Apple’s Silicon architecture, which means they are better optimized than any Intel chip they’ve used in the past.
Between the 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD, you won’t have issues multi-tasking or storing files either. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to upgrade your storage or RAM, but you can opt for better specs on checkout to future-proof your purchase.
The 14-inch Macbook Pro runs on the new Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion. It has a 1:000,000:1 contrast ratio, high-quality HDR support, and runs at a buttery-smooth 120Hz refresh rate in apps.
The new full HDMI Port guarantees that you can use any of your old Apple monitors, and the three Thunderbolt ports are great for charging, high-speed data transfer, and a host of other things.
The most exciting part of the new MacBook Pro is the battery life. It is the best it has ever been, providing professionals up to 13 hours of battery life on light work and close to three hours on heavy load.
The Acer Swift 3 is an excellent budget desktop replacement that proves that you don’t have to break the bank to get a superb mobile Pc.
AMD Ryzen 7 4700U with up to 4.1 GHz with Radeon Graphics
14-inch FHD IPS LED Display
Up to 11 hours of battery
Weighs 2.65 pounds
If you’re working on a smaller budget and are looking for a well-built, high-performance Ultrabook that can handle most light to medium-load tasks, then the Acer Swift is for you. The 4th Generation Ryzen processor and Radeon graphics guarantee you’re nearly bulletproof when multi-tasking, running the MS suite, and other powerful software.
The Swift 3 ships with a current-gen PCIe NVMe 512 SSD, so you won’t want storage space or transfer speed. However, the biggest draw for the Acer Aspire 5, by far, is its advertised battery life. With a low workload and light use, you can get up to 5 hours of severe use and 11 hrs if you only stream content.
The 14-inch FHD screen gives you plenty of screen real-estate for your various apps and tools and is also perfect for media consumption. As for ports and connectivity, the Acers Swift comes with WiFi 6, a fingerprint scanner, an HD webcam, an HDMI port, 1 USB type C port, and several USB 3 ports.
Factors to Consider when shopping for a Desktop replacement Laptop
Whether you’re planning to work exclusively from your Laptop or want a mobile workstation, you need a great desktop replacement laptop. What you want from your mobile desktop will be different depending on your work.
Photographers and video editors might want a color-accurate screen for working on the go, while bloggers and blue-collar workers might prefer a thin and light laptop with plenty of battery life.
These are the major features you should consider as you’re scanning through our list of the best desktop replacement Laptops.
This is a blanket term for the performance of the CPU, GPU, SSD, and Cooling system in cooperation. In simpler terms, how well does the laptop do when you put it to the test.
To determine this, look at the CPU, GPU, and SSD. The CPU should be at least a 9th generation Intel or a 4th Generation Ryzen chip. The GPU should be 2GB of dedicated graphics at a minimum, and only a 512 SSD will be adequate.
Ideally, you want 2 or more hours of power from your desktop replacement on a medium to heavy workload. The biggest advantage of a desktop replacement is remote access to high-performance hardware, and so you want your replacement to have a fairly large battery. The bigger and longer, the better.
Connectivity and I/0
Desktops computers are designed to provide you with complete access to peripherals, which means multiple monitors, mice, display tablets, game controllers, etc. The best desktop replacement laptops should come with tons of ports and I/Os that can cater to your various needs.
When shopping, keep an eye out for an HDMI or M.HDMI port if you want to hook up another display. Look for USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 if you want fast charge and quick data transfer. Bluetooth 5 and WiFi 6 are also vital.
A good desktop replacement laptop should be pretty mobile. You want your choice to be as light as possible with all of the specifications and features. Laptops with graphics cards, multiple storage slots, and powerful computers come out thicker and heavier because of their internals and cooling system. The MacBook Pro 14 and the ROG Zephyrus weigh nearly 5 pounds.
The reverse can be expected from ultrabooks with only CPUs. They will be considerably lighter (sometimes weighing under 3 pounds).
The Display of your Laptop is a huge deal if you’re a photographer, video editor, or any other professional who deals with color and visual media. Look for high color accuracy, contrast, resolution, and IPS technology when you’re shopping. However, note that any decent FHD screen can be calibrated after purchase to achieve better color accuracy.
There is a multitude of benefits to owning one of the best desktop replacement laptops. The increased mobility and incredible performance mean that you can be productive regardless of where you are, and a really powerful laptop can even serve as the centerpiece of your workspace.
Out of the four fantastic options we looked at, three caught our eyes as the best options for all sorts of buyers.