With back to school around the corner and working from home sticking around, laptops are a hot ticket item. With so many options on store shelves, and countless specs and features to look out for, it can be challenging to nail down the best laptop to meet your needs. We at CGMagazine get to check out a lot of laptops, from gaming powerhouses, to thin and Ultrabooks that add very little weight to our bag. To this end, we have given all the latest laptops a look and broken down the best laptops for fall 2021.
There is a lot to consider when looking for a new laptop, from the specs and features to the display and how well it powers through tasks. Especially with the potential of travel and back to classroom learning on the horizon, we need to consider the size of the laptop and how great the battery is.
From the best gaming laptops that can play the latest and greatest titles while on the go, to some of the best for writing and schoolwork, there is something for everyone on every budget. With Back to School starting back up, there are some good deals to make finding the perfect laptop cheaper than ever.
Here are our choices for CGM Recommends: Best Laptops Fall 2021
There was a time when the term “Chromebook” brought up thoughts of low-end plastic computers built for kids. That is now long in the past, and Acer is showing just how premium a Chromebook can be with their latest Acer Chromebook Spin 514. With a metal chassis, great trackpad, and amazing keyboard, this is one of the best Chromebooks we have tested to date. Combine that with a fantastic AMD Ryzen CPU that features Radeon Graphics, and you have yourself a very capable, impressive machine that also happens to be one of the easiest to use laptops on the market.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 delivers on most fronts. It is a solid build with a crisp screen that feels positively speedy to use. While this is one of the first Ryzen based Chromebooks we have tested, everything felt very smooth, and the already fast ChromeOS felt even better in this laptop. The battery was excellent, delivering more than enough for a day of work or class, and the 2-in-1 design made the Spin 514 a great choice for all my entertainment needs. Without question Acer has built one of the best Chromebooks you can buy in 2021, and it makes for a great choice this fall for back to school, or just to enjoy while at home.
With the return to class on the horizon, a need for a new 11th Gen Intel laptop that can do everything from work to minor gaming has never been needed more, and this is exactly where the new Galaxy Book Pro 360 comes into the picture. The ultra-portable laptop brings with it a great battery, fast performance, and a design that will make even Apple fans envious. After testing it for the better part of two weeks, the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 delivers one of the best business and light entertainment experiences you can find, especially in the svelte form factor, and definitely if you already are a part of the Galaxy ecosystem.
Samsung has built this to to work flawlessly with other Samsung products, so if you are already a fan of the Galaxy range of devices, the Pro 360 is a no-brainer. It delivers one of the best thin and light experiences we have seen in a long while. The design is stunning, and the AMOLED screen is one of the best I have used. With the integration of Samsung apps, it easily slots into a mobile workflow that few laptops can beat. If you are not a fan of Galaxy devices, don’t worry though, there is enough to love in the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 to make any mobile PC buyer happy. Samsung has hit it out of the park with this laptop, and it is an ideal choice for anyone looking to upgrade this fall.
It is hard to pick the best new gaming laptop, from going to school to updating our old devices, there is so much to look at on the market. To that end, we have recently spent some quality time with Razer’s newest model of gaming focused, lightweight Ultrabooks, the Razer Blade Stealth 13.
If an extremely mobile gaming laptop is something important to you, then this is a great option. It packs plenty of power into a tight, attractive box. Featuring an Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics, this laptop will run anything you need—and fast. Combined with a 120 Hz full HD display, the Razer Blade Stealth 13 is great for gaming on the go.
It can be pretty easy as a gamer to forget that there are things one might use a laptop for other than gaming. While a costly gaming rig is going to draw out all the requisite awe that onlookers can muster, it can be overkill when you’re not trying to push some poor graphics card to the absolute limits. Luckily, the fine purveyors of colourful gaming technology over at Razer have the Razer Book 13, an ultra-light, ultra-portable laptop for your everyday computing needs.
The specs for the laptop include an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 256GB of storage, and a touch display just for some added flair. And of course, Razer wouldn’t be Razer without per-key RGB powered by Razer Chroma. With a Full HD 13.4” display, the Razer Book 13 is a great choice for a day-to-day laptop.
With the fall season now here, and back to school on everyone’s minds, a new Chromebook could be the perfect choice to start the new semester. The Asus Chromebook Flip C436 is a great proposition, boasting impressive specs in a stylish, premium looking design. This laptop boasts a 14” FHD display, and the full flip flexibility of a 360 ErgoLift hinge that—paired with its responsive touchscreen—allows full laptop-to-tablet functionality.
The Flip C436 is under 3lbs making it easy to pack up and go. Chromebooks are ultimately an affordable choice compared to gaming laptops, so if you aren’t a gamer, and have been in the market for a laptop—or tablet—the Asus Chromebook Flip C436 might be the device for you
The MSI Ge76 Raider is a monster of a machine, and therefore aptly ships with an equally beefy battery, which from our real-time usage test lasted an impressive five and half hours with some light gaming and video streaming. Looking at some benchmarks for both standard titles and games that feature raytracing and DLSS support, the Ge76 boasted some impressive, if not unsurprising, numbers, given its high-end specs up on offer.
The MSI GE76 Raider is a robust and fully featured laptop with an 11th Gen Intel Core i9 processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics. It can easily handle heavy work and gaming sessions, making the MSI GE76 Raider an ideal desktop replacement or, at the very least, a dedicated gaming machine with portability in mind.
One of the best features from the MSI Stealth 15M gaming laptop comes from lifting it with one hand. MSI managed to create an Ultrabook that wasn’t one. They preserved what made their Stealth laptops special by adding more gaming power instead of size.
They also managed to give users a gaming laptop that didn’t look like one. MSI clearly understands how to reach 100 frames per second in games with half the size of a regular gaming device. They’ve also packed an upgraded RTX 3060 with 6GB VRAM and 11th Gen i7 for extra measure. This sets the MSI Stealth 15M apart from larger equals. Gamers benefit from an optimal experience but win even more with a low profile look and paper light build.
MSI has given the Stealth 15M a consistently mature design which shows its best gaming qualities within. The i7 and 3060 combo are an absolute force of nature for running high-fidelity games anywhere. This comes with a bittersweet choice of performance over graphics. But those who don’t mind keeping the RTX off will have the best value from the MSI Stealth 15M. We appreciate MSI’s magic with jamming a 2021 gaming RIG into an Ultrabook. More importantly, MSI jumps one step ahead of the curve by making the gaming laptop more portable as it should be.
Sometimes you need a powerhouse to crunch through all your work or gaming tasks. It is great to have a laptop that is thin and lightweight, but what happens when you have some serious no compromise online gaming to do and need the speed and performance that will ensure the win. This is where the Acer Predator Helios 300 comes into the picture. A mid-high end gaming laptop that boasts some impressive specs and a bold design that will deliver even if it is not as svelte as some of the competition.
Be it for back to school or just to play the latest and greatest games at 1080P, the Predator Helios 300 has to specs to get the job done. It is not as expensive as other gaming models, while still delivering a solid build, good keyboard, and some great value in the overall package.
While not the smallest of the bunch, if you want flexibility, room to upgrade storage, and a stunning 240Hz monitor, with an impressive Nvidia RTX 3080 powering the visuals, it is hard to beat what the Predator Helios 300 has on offer. Just ensure you are not hauling it to and from class, the 5lbs will start to feel very heavy after a long day.
This is the laptop to beat if you’re looking for something lightweight and portable. At just 2.44lbs, the Surface Laptop Go is a breeze to take to and from work or class. It features Windows Hello sign in, so your files are safe if you misplace your device, and you can even use the handy fingerprint sensor to unlock it if you so choose.
With the PixelSense touchscreen display, this will be the perfect partner for writing up papers or binge-watching Netflix in bed. Though it may not be a gamer’s laptop, the Surface Laptop Go is certainly great for work and browsing.
This Surface Book is the most powerful one yet, more than 50% faster than the Surface Book 2 13.5 inch. It features quad-core powered 1-th Gen Intel Core processors and an NVIDIA GTX GeForce GPU. This laptop can go from day to night with the click of a button, allowing the screen to detach from the keyboard to become a tablet when you want to lounge and watch the latest series on Netflix.
The brushed metal style and sharp screen look just as good as it performs. With 15.5 hours of battery life, you won’t be disappointed. The Surface Book 3 is an excellent companion for class, work or light gaming.
This 14” gaming laptop comes packed with power. With an AMD Ryzen™ 9 5900HX processor and up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU the Razer Blade 14 is hard to beat, but it comes at a price. This laptop features liquid vapor cooling, and 88 fan blades to keep things running smoothly, and it is the smallest 14” gaming laptop on the market at 16.8 mm thick.
The Razer Blade 14 brings all the ports you could need and a 1 TB NVMe SSD that is upgradeable should you need more space in the future. This thing is fast, small, and functional. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better 14” gaming laptop on the market.