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The Top Laptops for Business


Two of our picks for best business laptop next to a small notebook, pen, screwdriver and a couple of laptop replacement parts.
Photo: Dave Gershgorn

You don’t have to run a business to benefit from a business laptop. They’re easier to repair and upgrade than other laptops, and they’re built with sturdy materials that hold up well to travel and frequent use. We’ve tested dozens of business laptops over the years, and the HP EliteBook 840 G9 is the best option for most people: It has plenty of ports, it offers all-day battery life, and it comes with a comfortable, reliable keyboard and trackpad. But if you don’t care about being able to upgrade or fix your laptop yourself, a good ultrabook is usually cheaper.

Everything we recommend

VIDEO: Top 5 - Best Business Laptop (2023)
The 5 Best

Our pick

The EliteBook 840 G9 is a slimmer, portable business laptop for those who don’t need an Ethernet port.

Buying Options

VIDEO: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon - The Best Business Laptop of 2023?
Matthew Moniz

Runner-up

The Latitude 5430 is a great all-purpose laptop that features a wide range of ports and an easily repairable design.

Buying Options

VIDEO: Top 5 BEST Business Laptops of [2023]
Top 5 Picks

Upgrade pick

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is a sleeker and more upgradable business laptop that’s still very repairable.

Buying Options

VIDEO: The Top 10 Laptops of 2023!
Just Josh

Also great

Framework makes it easy to repair and upgrade your laptop by selling easy DIY upgrade kits and swappable ports.

Buying Options

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Just Josh

Our pick

The EliteBook 840 G9 is a slimmer, portable business laptop for those who don’t need an Ethernet port.

Buying Options

VIDEO: Best Laptop For Business in 2023 (Top 5 Picks For Any Budget)
10BestOnes
Processor:Intel Core i5-1240PStorage:256 GB SSD
Graphics:Intel XeScreen:1080p IPS
Memory:16 GBWeight:2.9 pounds
Tested battery life:10 hours

The HP EliteBook 840 G9 is a slim, light, and repairable business laptop that still manages to pack a large screen that’s great for productivity, a powerful processor, and a nice selection of USB-A and USB-C ports. HP has also updated this design to include a new 16:10 display that gives more screen space to work, upgraded its webcam for better video calls, and reworked the keyboard to be less prone to typos. It also has a 10-hour battery life. These quality-of-life upgrades have boosted the EliteBook 840 G9 back up to our top pick.

Note: The model linked above has 16 GB of RAM, more than the minimum 8 GB we suggest, but is currently less expensive than our sold-out 8 GB recommendation.

Runner-up

The Latitude 5430 is a great all-purpose laptop that features a wide range of ports and an easily repairable design.

Buying Options

VIDEO: Best Business Laptops 2023 [don’t buy one before watching this]
Valid Consumer
Processor:Intel Core i5-1235UStorage:256 GB SSD
Graphics:Intel XeScreen:1080p IPS
Memory:8 GBWeight:3.03 pounds
Tested battery life:9 hours

The Dell Latitude 5430 includes everything we like to see in a business laptop. It performs well at basic tasks from browsing the web to building Excel pivot tables, it has a wide range of ports, and it lasts more than an entire workday on its battery. The 14-inch 1080p screen looks nice enough to work on all day, and we liked using the laptop’s keyboard and trackpad. It’s also easy to repair and upgrade, so you can use it for years and years to come, even if parts fail or break. If you’re on the go, the Latitude 5430 isn’t too big or bulky, so it’s easy to slide into a backpack. However, a number of updates to the slimmer, more powerful, and longer-lasting HP EliteBook 840 G9 inched it over the Latitude for our top pick.

Upgrade pick

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is a sleeker and more upgradable business laptop that’s still very repairable.

Buying Options

VIDEO: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano - The BEST Light Business Laptop?
Matthew Moniz

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 has a great screen, fast processor options, nice keyboard, and a long 13-hour battery life that makes it the best of all worlds for a Windows laptop. It costs about $200 more than our top pick, and upgrades to the screen could make it pricier, but Lenovo’s top-quality hardware and reliability are hard to beat. Aside from the laptop’s processor and RAM, most other components are easy to repair.

Also great

Framework makes it easy to repair and upgrade your laptop by selling easy DIY upgrade kits and swappable ports.

Buying Options

VIDEO: The BEST Laptops of 2023!
Matthew Moniz

The Framework Laptop 13 is the most repairable option in this guide, because Framework itself is built around creating laptops that can be easily upgraded and repaired. The Framework Laptop 13 is fast and has a great processor and screen, and it’s similar in build quality to laptops from major manufacturers. It does have some potential pitfalls, such as battery life that’s shorter than what you can get from its competitors, not to mention the fact that Framework is an independent company going up against established laptop brands. If Framework goes under and parts are no longer available, your laptop isn’t nearly as upgradable or repairable anymore.

The research

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GadgetByte

    Dave Gershgorn has reviewed and covered technology since 2015 at publications such as Popular Science, Quartz, Medium, and now Wirecutter. He has also built, repaired, and largely avoided frying his own computers since 2006. As a senior staff writer for Wirecutter, he tests laptops, monitors, and tablets.

    A stack of laptops that we tested to find the best business laptop, shown on a desk with pens and headphones.
    Photo: Michael Hession

    Most people looking for a Windows laptop are best served by a thin and light ultrabook. An ultrabook with at least 16 GB of memory and a 512 GB solid-state drive is enough for a computer to last for a few years. Ultrabooks are also thinner, lighter, and cheaper than most business laptops but still capable of delivering solid performance and strong battery life. But those systems are difficult to open, repair, and upgrade. Generally, an ultrabook’s memory is permanently affixed to the motherboard, limiting the laptop’s future usefulness if you didn’t pay for extra memory you didn’t need at the time. Other parts, such as the battery, may be held in with glue or difficult to access without tearing the entire laptop apart. And unlike business laptops, which typically include ports for docking at a desk or connecting to a projector for presentations, ultrabooks often have a limited port selection, necessitating the use of a hub or dongle if you use external monitors or other accessories.

    That’s what makes business laptops appealing, even if you’re buying a laptop for yourself and not for an actual business. To appeal to corporate IT departments, many of these laptops have memory, SSDs, and batteries that you can easily replace and usually access using nothing but a Phillips-head screwdriver. Typically you can also replace other parts that commonly wear out over time, such as the keyboard and the hinge.

    Business laptops also come with lots of ports to minimize the number of dongles and adapters necessary to use thumb drives and conference-room projectors. Most of these laptops include at least one USB-C or Thunderbolt 4 port, but they also include multiple USB-A ports, microSD card readers, full-size HDMI ports, and sometimes Ethernet ports, which most other laptops gave up years ago.

    Business laptops are primarily marketed to, well, businesses, which buy them in bulk at discounted rates. This makes them more expensive to buy individually than a regular laptop with similar specs. Almost every feature you could want in a nice, modern laptop—a solid-state drive, 8 GB or more of RAM, a 1080p IPS screen or touchscreen, a fingerprint sensor, or even a backlit keyboard—adds a bit more to the price than it does to an ultrabook marketed toward everyday shoppers.

    A stack of laptops that were tested for our best business laptops guide, next to a screwdriver and some replacement parts.
    Photo: Dave Gershgorn

    Shopping for a business laptop is different from buying an ultrabook, but the most important things to look for aren’t all that different:

    • Performance: A good laptop for most people needs to have at least 8 GB of memory, a 256 GB or larger SSD, and a 12th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor or a 4000- or 5000-series AMD Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 processor. If you need a faster processor or a dedicated GPU for gaming, photo and video editing, or other work, check out our gaming laptop and pro laptop guides.
    • A great keyboard: Business laptops are the quintessential document and spreadsheet devices, so their keys and keyboard layouts should be comfortable to use over long periods. We strongly prefer a backlight.
    • A great trackpad or pointing device: Though business laptops should be sturdy, most wouldn’t be able to survive anyone throwing them at a wall because of trackpad frustrations. We prefer Microsoft Precision Touchpads because they’re accurate and compatible with Windows 11’s multitouch trackpad gestures.
    • A 14-inch IPS screen: We prefer 14-inch business laptops because they’re more pleasant for editing large documents or spreadsheets than 13-inch laptops, yet they’re still smaller and lighter than 15-inch laptops. Most business laptops have 1080p screens that keep text and images sharp, with lots of room to fit more information, and use IPS panels (rather than TN panels) to improve color accuracy and viewing angles; a handful have taller screens with a 1920×1280 resolution, which are just as sharp but provide more vertical pixels. Higher-resolution, 4K screens are sometimes available on these laptops, but such screens eat into battery life without adding much functional benefit for most people.
    • A wide range of ports: We prefer systems with a mix of old and new ports for maximum flexibility. Every laptop we’ve considered for this guide offers at least one USB-C port (which you can use to link external monitors, charge the laptop, and connect USB-C accessories), a USB-A port, and an HDMI port; not every system we’ve tested has an included SD or microSD card reader or an Ethernet jack, but we definitely prefer to have those. Thunderbolt 4 is optional, as are additional display outputs like DisplayPort or VGA.
    • Good battery life: We prefer at least eight hours of battery life—enough for a full 9-to-5 day or a coast-to-coast flight plus time spent waiting at the airport. Even business laptops no longer include swappable external batteries.
    • Reasonable size and weight: Business laptops are usually larger and heavier than ultrabooks, partly because they’re built to be sturdier and partly because components such as removable memory take up more space than non-upgradable parts. But every laptop we’ve tested for this guide weighs less than 4 pounds, and most models weigh less than 3.5 pounds.
    • Upgradable, repairable: Although we have considered a few thin and light ultrabook-esque laptops, the majority of models we’ve looked at for this guide are designed to be opened and serviced easily. The laptop should allow you to get at the SSD bay or slot, as well as the battery, with minimal effort; and access to at least one RAM slot and the Wi-Fi card is a plus. And the laptop should let you replace the keyboard and other parts without forcing you to take the entire thing apart or to replace a bunch of other, unrelated components.
    • A competitive (if not low) price: Business laptops are typically more expensive than budget ultrabooks or cheap laptops. Their prices fluctuate widely depending on discounts and coupon codes, but in general you should expect to spend between $1,100 and $1,500 for a good business laptop and between $1,600 and $2,000 for an outstanding one. (Those prices have crept even higher in recent years as chips have become more scarce due to supply chain issues.) Because most are designed to be upgraded, you can sometimes save money on memory and storage upgrades if you’re willing to do them yourself. And by being easier to upgrade and repair, a business laptop can give you better long-term value despite costing more up front.
    • A fingerprint reader or IR camera for speedier logins: Most business laptops offer a fingerprint reader for a nominal fee, and some offer infrared cameras that can scan your face instead. Technology improvements and Windows 11’s Windows Hello feature make logging in with your finger or face more reliable and predictable than it used to be.

    The models we considered in our latest round of tests all came from Dell, HP, and Lenovo because those are the only PC makers dedicated to building and maintaining a range of computers specifically for businesses. But we have researched and tested models from Acer, Asus, Fujitsu, and Toshiba in the past.

    We tested each laptop for at least two days of ordinary work—namely, loading up and switching among a couple dozen browser tabs, using Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Slack constantly, and playing music and video. This gave us a feel for each laptop’s keyboard, trackpad, screen, and general performance on common work tasks.

    To test the batteries, we used a Spyder5Pro colorimeter to set each laptop’s screen backlight to 150 nits (or candelas per square meter, cd/m2) and ran a web-browsing battery test that cycled through web pages, email, Google Docs, and video. We ran the test twice on each laptop and averaged the results.

    We also removed the bottom panel from each laptop and noted how many screws (and other things, if applicable) we would need to remove to access the memory, storage, and internal battery for repair or replacement. Replacing major components in a business laptop should be easier than it is for a regular ultrabook, but replacing a screen, motherboard, or keyboard yourself can still void the warranty, so we didn’t test this firsthand.

    Our pick for best business laptop overall, the HP EliteBook 840 G9.
    Photo: Dave Gershgorn

    Our pick

    The EliteBook 840 G9 is a slimmer, portable business laptop for those who don’t need an Ethernet port.

    Buying Options

    VIDEO: Top 10 Best Laptops for 2024
    Techno Trailblazer
    Processor:Intel Core i5-1240PStorage:256 GB SSD
    Graphics:Intel XeScreen:1080p IPS
    Memory:16 GBWeight:2.9 pounds
    Tested battery life:10 hours

    If you’re looking for a slim business laptop that is fast and repairable and can last an entire workday, we recommend the HP EliteBook 840 G9. It’s a successor to the EliteBook 840 G7, which we previously recommended as our top pick, and we’re happy to see that HP has made some improvements to the webcam, display, and battery life that make it a top pick once again.

    The EliteBook 840 G9 has been extensively updated compared with its predecessor, adding a new case design, 12th-generation Intel processors, a new 5-megapixel webcam, and a noticeably larger 16:10 display. It still has two USB-A and two USB-C ports, as well as an HDMI port, a headphone jack, and a SIM card tray. It’s important to note that HP has also dropped the dedicated charging port. The laptop now charges via USB-C. If you specifically need an Ethernet port, we recommend checking out our runner-up pick, the Dell Latitude 5430.

    The 12th-generation Intel processor we recommend for this EliteBook 840 is an i5-1240P, which is a bit more powerful than the processors we typically recommend. It performed well in all our tests and is more than quick enough for office-related tasks. We noticed the laptop’s fans would kick on during very lightweight tasks after we turned the computer’s power mode to “Best Performance” in the System Settings, but the “Balanced” mode gave us quieter, more normal fan behavior.

    We’ve found these P-series processors (denoted by the letter after the processor number) take about an hour off the battery life of a laptop, since they consume more power to operate. This luckily isn’t the case for the EliteBook 840, which in our battery test lasted nearly an hour longer than the Dell Latitude 5430 with a lower-power chip. Our test, which includes automated web browsing and watching videos on YouTube, found that the EliteBook had an average battery life of about 10 hours.

    Oddly, HP does sell a version of the EliteBook 840 G9 with the lower-power i5-1235U, which we typically recommend for laptops of this generation, but charges about $500 more for it.

    The EliteBook 840 G9 no longer has a dedicated charging port; it now charges by USB-C. Photo: Dave Gershgorn

    All of this work looked nice on the 14-inch 1080p display. HP has changed the display of the G9 slightly in this version of the laptop, upgrading it to a 16:10 aspect ratio with a 1920×1200 resolution. (The previous version of the laptop had a slightly shorter 16:9 display with a 1920×1080 resolution.) The configuration we recommend has a screen brightness of 250 nits, which is just bright enough to be comfortable for working in a brightly lit room, but the screen can also be upgraded to a 400-nit option if your workspace is in direct sunlight or you have some kind of special, very bright, situational use case.

    We like this generation of HP’s keyboard and trackpad much more than we did previously, as they’ve dropped the pointing nib and trackpad buttons. HP also changed the placement of the Home, Page Up/Down, and End buttons from the right side of the keyboard, which were previously easy to accidentally hit. The Home and End buttons have been removed, and the Page Up/Down buttons are next to the Up directional key. This makes the keyboard feel more spacious and less likely to contribute to typing mishaps.

    The right side of the HP EliteBook 840 G9 laptop, where the headphone jack, micro sd slot and one USB-A port are located.
    The right side of the EliteBook 840 G9 houses the headphone jack, micro SD slot, and a USB-A port. Photo: Dave Gershgorn

    This laptop’s webcam has been updated to a 5-megapixel lens, which has boosted the quality dramatically from the last generation of this laptop. We tested it in the Windows Camera app and a Zoom call, and the webcam is sharper, has better contrast, and performs better in bright and dark situations than the Dell Latitude 5430. It’s perfectly functional for video calls and also has a privacy shutter for you to cover the webcam when you aren’t using it.

    The EliteBook 840 fared well on our battery tests, lasting 10 hours on average while we browsed the web and watched YouTube videos. That’s still enough battery power for a full day’s work, and you can easily replace the laptop’s battery when it wears out after hundreds of charging cycles.

    Speaking of repairability, the EliteBook line is almost entirely repairable, except for the processor and motherboard itself. Phillips-head screws hold the laptop’s bottom panel, and once you’ve removed the panel, the storage, memory, battery, speakers, wireless card, fan, and display hinges are all easily accessible. HP also provides a thorough maintenance and service guide.

    Flaws but not dealbreakers

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    Tech Gear Talk

    We’d like to see more customization options for the computer’s display. The 1080p screen is just fine, but the option to add a higher-resolution display could make this laptop more appealing. (This is a feature of our upgrade pick, the .)

    A business laptop isn’t the best laptop for most people, and such a machine is worth the investment only if you specifically prefer extra ports or repairability. If you don’t consider those features to be must-haves, you’d likely be better served by a basic MacBook or ultrabook.

    Our pick for best business laptop with lots of ports, longer battery life and great repairability, the Dell Latitude 5430.
    Photo: Dave Gershgorn

    Runner-up

    The Latitude 5430 is a great all-purpose laptop that features a wide range of ports and an easily repairable design.

    Buying Options

    VIDEO: Watch this BEFORE You Buy a Laptop!
    The Mysterious Tech
    Processor:Intel Core i5-1235UStorage:256 GB SSD
    Graphics:Intel XeScreen:1080p IPS
    Memory:8 GBWeight:3.03 pounds
    Tested battery life:12 hours

    The Dell Latitude 5430 is a flexible business laptop for anyone who needs both USB-A and USB-C ports, wants long battery life, and values repairability over sleekness or weight. Business laptops are generally built to work in as many situations as possible, offering a wide range of ports and providing plenty of options to customize the speed and additional features such as NFC, SmartCard compatibility, and a fingerprint reader. The Latitude 5430 offers all of those options and comes with ports that many other manufacturers’ systems have stopped including, such as Ethernet and microSD.

    The Latitude 5430’s keyboard is spacious and feels nice to type on, and it has a full row of function keys. Dell designed the keyboard to prioritize the space between keys rather than the size of each key, so it’s harder to accidentally press two keys at once. The function keys are unobtrusive and useful, featuring the usual buttons to control the volume, screen brightness, and keyboard backlight. There’s also a button to mute your microphone, and the button has its own small light to indicate whether you’re muted. Unlike on many other laptops, you can repair the keyboard in the event of an accidental spill or malfunctioning keys.

    But the Latitude 5430 really shines in its variety of ports. On the left side of the laptop are two USB-C ports that both support the latest Thunderbolt 4 standard, which means they can power two 4K displays. On the right side you’ll find a microSD card slot, a headphone jack, two USB-A ports, an HDMI port, and an Ethernet port. The full-size SIM card slot on the back of the laptop is functional only if you add the optional mobile-broadband card. The optional SmartCard reader is situated on the left side of the laptop.

    The right side of the Dell Latitude 5430, with ports for USB-A, HDMI, Ethernet and micro SDs as well as a headphone jack.
    The Latitude 5430 has an impressive number of ports, though we wish their placement was different. Photo: Dave Gershgorn

    The placement of ports is a bit homogeneous, with the USB-C ports on the left side of the machine and the USB-A ports on the right. We would have liked one port of each type on each side, just for some flexibility to accommodate how some people might use the laptop. The Latitude 5430 also has a slim Ethernet port that expands on a small hinge to fit the cable connector. Adding a hinge saves space on the machine but introduces another part that can wear out and break over time.

    We didn’t find any major fault with the basic 14-inch 1080p screen included with the laptop. In our tests it was bright enough for daily use but a bit hard to see well in direct sunlight. Colors looked a little muted on the Latitude 5430’s display, but the effect was not noticeable in general web browsing and office work.

    The Latitude 5430’s webcam is still great, but not as good as HP’s new 5-megapixel webcam in the EliteBook 840 G9. The Latitude still has a sharp image and adjusts its exposure accurately in bright and dark situations. We tested the camera in Windows’s Camera application and during a Zoom web call, and the Latitude 5430 fared well in both tests. It also has a privacy shutter to physically block your webcam when you’re not in a call.

    Dell’s laptop fared well on our battery tests, too, with a nine-hour battery life on average. This is a little shorter than the previous generation, but performance benchmarks showed that this generation has more powerful processors, so there’s a bit of a trade-off. Our battery test, which we run on all laptops we evaluate, uses a custom Chrome extension to simulate browsing the web and watching YouTube videos, so the result should be a pretty close indicator for a day of office work.

    A top-down view of the keyboard and trackpad on the Dell Latitude 5430 laptop.
    The Latitude 5430’s keyboard, which feels both spacious and thoughtfully laid out, is also repairable. Photo: Dave Gershgorn

    It’s easy to access all the components of the Latitude 5430 if you ever need to repair or upgrade the machine. The back cover is held on with standard Phillips-head screws and internal plastic clips, which are easy to unscrew and unsnap. You can easily replace the laptop’s memory, storage, battery, fan, wireless card, speakers, and display. If you’re more experienced with repairs or if you work in IT, you can repair or replace nearly any component of the machine. For instance, even the power button is its own module that you can swap out if you remove nearly all the internal components, including the battery, motherboard, and inner frame. This level of repairability is unrivaled in comparison against ultrabooks or MacBooks and not seen on most other laptops available. Dell publishes a nice service manual to make repairs easier.

    The Latitude 5430 isn’t the lightest or slimmest laptop we’ve tested, but it comes within an ounce and a few tenths of an inch. It weighs 3 pounds and measures ¾-inch tall, so it easily slips into a backpack and doesn’t feel like some large piece of archaic tech you’re lugging around. Its plastic casing also feels nice to the touch and doesn’t have any sharp edges or notable downsides. If you consider a laptop’s weight and slim design to be more important than anything else you’ve read about the Latitude 5430 so far, we recommend checking out our guide to the best ultrabooks.

    Our pick for best business laptop that features great performance and a wider display, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10.
    Photo: Dave Gershgorn

    Upgrade pick

    The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is a sleeker and more upgradable business laptop that’s still very repairable.

    Buying Options

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    Just Josh

    The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is a fantastic business laptop that’s powerful, has a nice selection of ports, lasts nearly two full work days on battery, and is still slim enough to slip into a backpack or shoulder bag. We also like its 16:10 display, which means a slightly higher resolution and more space for multitasking, as well as its great ventilation and cooling that results in increased performance.

    Business laptops are customizable above all, and the X1 Carbon Gen 10 can be outfitted with the processor and RAM to fit your needs. We tested and recommend for most people the i5-1235U processor, which we find is a nice blend of performance and battery life. Higher powered P-series processors, denoted by a P rather than a U at the end of the numbers, are also available in the X1 Carbon, but generally take about an hour off our battery life tests. The X1 Carbon display can also be upgraded to a 4K option with Dolby Vision HDR, making it a great laptop for watching movies and other video as well.

    The X1 Carbon weighs only about 2.5 pounds and feels light without feeling flimsy. The display and case are sturdy, and there’s no screen wobble while typing. The keyboard is one of the reasons why this is an upgrade pick. It feels great to type on—much better than the competition—and still has the classic Lenovo pointer nib in the middle if you’re into that kind of thing.

    The X1 Carbon’s ports are notably fast and updated to the latest standards. Photo: Dave Gershgorn

    Let’s talk ports. Normally, we’d just list them off like ingredients on a candy bar wrapper, but the detailed specs are relevant to a business audience. Like our other business laptop picks, there are both USB-A and USB-C ports on the X1 Carbon Gen 10. The two USB-C ports are both Thunderbolt 4 compatible, meaning they can each run two 4K monitors at 60 Hz and transfer 5 gigabytes of data per second. The USB-A ports are USB 3.2 Gen 1, and can transfer 625 megabytes per second. The X1 Carbon also has an HDMI 2.0b port, which is one of the latest versions of the HDMI standard and more than most people will ever need, and a headphone jack.

    The X1 Carbon is back as an upgrade pick in this guide after a brief hiatus, as we re-evaluated the landscape of new business laptops that are more repairable, offer high performance, and have generous port selection. Unlike the top picks in this guide, you cannot replace the RAM of the X1 Carbon Gen 10, as it’s soldered onto the motherboard of the laptop. We’re adding it back because high-end laptops have almost exclusively moved to soldered RAM, which is a disappointing movement in the marketplace, but we’d still like to recommend a higher-end option for those who wanted one from this guide.

    Many parts of the X1 Carbon are easily repaired, including the speakers, fan, battery, wireless card, heatsink, and display. The SSD can also easily be swapped, and there’s an extra slot to add another M.2 NVMe drive. This is about as repairable as you’ll get from a higher-end laptop in 2022, and Lenovo has a comprehensive repair manual available for this machine.

    The Framework Laptop 13 open to a pink blue and purple abstract desktop.
    Photo: Connie Park

    Also great

    Framework makes it easy to repair and upgrade your laptop by selling easy DIY upgrade kits and swappable ports.

    Buying Options

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    Arthur Winer

    The Framework Laptop 13 is simply the most repairable laptop option available. Every part of this laptop is easily maintained and repaired, and Framework’s website makes it simple to buy parts. If you want to upgrade your laptop to the next generation of processors, you can keep the same laptop chassis and all internal parts, and just swap in a new motherboard with the processor.

    For most people, we recommend the base configuration, which costs $1,050 and comes with a 13th-generation Intel Core i5-1340P processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of storage. Of course, all of that is upgradable, as well. However, Framework sells only P-series Intel processors, which we have found to be more power-hungry than the U-series line. As a result, the Framework machine’s battery life is shorter than what you can get from the competition.

    The laptop’s matte display has a 2256×1504 resolution and a 3:2 aspect ratio. This resolution, which can also be called 2K or QHD, is actually the highest-resolution screen that comes in the base configuration of any laptop we recommend in this guide.

    The Framework Laptop 13 comes with your choice of four ports, which Framework calls “expansion cards.” You have a decent collection to choose from, including your classic USB-A, USB-C, and HDMI, but also Ethernet and SD card, or extra storage if you don’t need the connectivity. You can also add some extra ports to toss in your backpack, which is basically the same thing as needing a dongle.

    The fit and finish of the Framework Laptop 13 is comparable to that of laptops from more established brands, but it isn’t made of premium materials, such as the carbon fiber you can find in the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon or the milled aluminum of a MacBook. The screen feels a bit flimsy but not enough that we wouldn’t recommend the whole laptop.

    The most important factor when considering the Framework Laptop 13, however, is that Framework is a relatively new company. It has a good track record of bringing new products to market, selling parts for its machines, and upgrading its laptops over time, but if the company were to go under, the pipeline for new parts and upgrades would dry up. Framework’s success won’t hinge on whether its products are well built or reliable, because from what we and other tech reviewers can tell, they definitely are. What matters is whether shoppers value a truly repairable and upgradable laptop option.

    For our latest round of testing, we skipped laptops that had either Intel processors older than the 12th generation or AMD Ryzen 3000-series processors. The Intel processors run fine but are a bit outdated, and those laptop models may go out of stock or disappear. The Ryzen 3000 laptops we’ve tested in the past have exhibited worse processor performance and battery life than those with 8th- or 10th-generation Intel processors or Ryzen 4000 processors, so they should be avoided.

    Many manufacturers are also starting to solder RAM onto their laptops’ motherboards, both to save on costs and to make slimmer devices. The latest, fastest memory technology, called LPDDR5 RAM, is typically soldered onto the motherboard. The technique limits the repairability of these machines, and we’ve excluded many laptop lines from consideration for our top pick based on that factor, including the Lenovo ThinkPad E Series and ThinkPad T Series.

    The Dell Latitude 9430 has all the similar pros and cons to its lower-cost Latitude 5430 sibling. It has a great port selection and nice battery life, but it’s heavy and a bit chunkier than competitors. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon simply outclassed the Latitude 9430 by offering similar ports, better performance, and two and a half hours longer battery life.

    The HP Elite DragonFly G3 is a similar story, in that it’s an amped-up version of the EliteBook G9 we tested with similar strengths and weaknesses. It’s a lightweight business laptop, especially good for those who do business travel, but the X1 Carbon did better in our performance tests and has more USB ports. It’s also generally more expensive than the X1 Carbon, but if you can find it on sale for a comparable price and you want to prioritize slimness and weight over performance, then it’s still a great laptop.

    Apple’s 13-inch, 14-inch, and 16-inch MacBooks Pro are intended for professionals—“pro” is right in the name, after all. We have a guide to MacBooks if you prefer macOS to Windows, but the laptops currently don’t meet most of our upgradability and repairability criteria for a good business laptop. They’re difficult to repair and (usually) impossible to upgrade, and they include just a handful of identical ports, necessitating a pile of dongles. The MacBook Pro models are light, their screens are fantastic, their keyboards and trackpads are good, and Apple’s support is usually responsive and helpful, but these laptops don’t meet our requirements for this particular guide.

    We also tested the Lenovo L14 (AMD), one of the few laptops Lenovo still makes without soldered RAM. However, it had shorter battery life and a dimmer display than the competition. Its port layout was also less convenient than that of the Dell Latitude 5420 and HP EliteBook 840 G8, and it had the worst webcam by far. It still worked fine for daily use, and we like Lenovo’s keyboard and trackpad, but other models offer better performance for the money.

    This article was edited by Signe Brewster and Caitlin McGarry.

    Meet your guide

    Dave Gershgorn is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter. He’s been covering consumer and enterprise technology since 2015, and he just can’t stop buying computers. If this weren’t his job, it would likely be a problem.

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    Sources


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