The Chicago Journal

8 Best laptops in 2020

Laptops have become more essential than ever for remote access to work, school, and web-based apps. Maximizing battery life becomes an even greater priority to make sure we remain connected to the rest of the world without interruption. These dozen laptops can keep you online and working longer when you need to be unplugged.

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Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1

A business convertible laptop with a number of features — and a price tag to match — the Latitude 7400’s most impressive spec has to be its battery life. While laptop review sites have varying methods of battery testing, top reviewers are getting at least 13 hours of juice from the system.

Though its eighth-generation Core processors options aren’t Intel’s latest, they’re still powerful Core i5 and i7 options. Step up from the base configuration, and you get 8GB or 16GB of RAM, 256GB or 512GB solid-state storage, a full 1,920×1,080 14-inch display, and a larger 60Whr battery that can maximizes battery life. Regardless of configuration, once you do reach the end of your charge, Dell claims the ExpressCharge feature provides an 80% recharge in a just an hour.

Acer Aspire 5

In a world of snazzy luxe notebooks and dirt-cheap laptops, it’s hard for a solid mainstream laptop to stand out. But that shouldn’t stop you from looking past Acer’s Aspire family, which offers all-around quality at a reasonable price While the Aspire 5 won’t stand out in most areas, long battery life is its calling card. In its review of the Aspire 5, our sister site CNET got over 8.5 hours of juice from its battery. 

That finding is close to the 9 hours Acer claims for the Aspire 5, and is noticeably higher than most sub-$500 laptops provide. You also get decent performance from Intel Core and AMD Ryzen processors, and Acer even throws in a full HD 15.6-inch screen to boot.

Acer Swift 1

Need a little more battery life and don’t mind a bit less performance than the Aspire 5? Acer has you covered with the Swift 1, a 2020 version of what we used to think of as the type of laptop that would sport good battery life: It’s pretty cheap and small, and won’t be confused with a $2,000 gaming laptop in the performance realm.  

Nonetheless, the Swift 1 is more than competent for basic tasks, which you can perform all day thanks to its battery life. CNET’s testing found that the laptop provided more than 9 hours of life between charges, close to the 10 hours that Acer claims for the Swift 1. It manages to hit that figure by using lower performance, but more efficient Intel Pentium and Celeron processors, though Acer does throw in a full HD 14-inch display even on the base configuration. 

Apple MacBook Pro

Just from its name along, the MacBook Air should have the best battery life of Apple’s laptops, right? Not anymore, as the latest MacBook Pro models have surpassed the svelte Air. One advantage of the MacBook Pro’s bigger size is that Apple can squeeze a bigger battery within it, and in the case of the 16-inch version, it’s much bigger: 100Whr compared to the 58Whr of the 13-inch edition. 

While you’re supposed to get an extra hour of battery life from the bigger MacBook Pro, it also has more room for top-notch components that can quickly erase that advantage. If you want a more consistent 10 hours of battery life, the smaller MacBook Pro might be the ticket if you’re set on an Apple laptop with the top battery life. 

Asus ExpertBook B9450

Asus isn’t the first name when you think of business laptops, but that might change with the ExpertBook B9450, which weights a mere 1.9 pounds and promises up to an astounding 24 hours of battery when it launches in the coming weeks.

To go up against the likes of the Lenovo ThinkPads of the world, a full day’s battery life definitely helps, as does its meeting of MIL-STD 810G durability standards. Other cool features include a LED number pad that’s built into the trackpad area of the keyboard and, like the Dell Latitiude 7400, a quick-charging mode that recharges the battery up to 60 percent in just 40 minutes. Designed around the principles of Intel’s Project Athena initiative, the ExpertBook B9450’s combination of top battery life and design savvy could make it a business laptop worth considering compared to the more traditional players in the market.

Google PixelBook Go

Google rolled out the Chromebook concept years ago around a cheap laptop with minimal specs that could offer excellent battery life using the efficient Chrome OS and cloud-based apps. While it’s succeeded wildly with that concept, its own forays into Chromebook systems has taken a different tact, emphasizing higher specs and a higher price tag.

Its Pixelbook Go costs more than many mainstream Windows laptops, thanks to specs like Intel Core processors, superior keyboard and a full HD 13.3-inch touchscreen display. It’s also one of the increasing number of Chromebooks that offers Google Play store integration for access to Android apps. In terms of battery hours, Google claims 12 hours between charges, but ZDNet’s own Matthew Miller says he’s been getting closer to 10 hours. He’s also been using it as his daily laptop, which should say something about the effectiveness of Google’s approach.

HP Spectre x360

HP really stepped it up with the latest version of its ultraportable business 2-in-1, which gets a processor boost, receives some significant cosmetic surgery, and still retains superior battery life.

Specifically, the newest Spectre x360 leaps from 8th-generation to 10th-gen Intel Core CPU options, significantly improving its performance. It also loses a lot of unnecessary bezel space, making it 13 percent smaller than it previously was. Even with those changes, the Spectre x360 still provided 10.5 hours of battery life in CNET’s testing, part of the reason it earned our sister site’s Editors’ Choice award.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

The ExpertBook B9450 is designed to compete against the likes of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, one of the leading ultraportable business laptops. It’s a tall order, as the ThinkPad is a staple of the corporate world, and Lenovo doesn’t rest on its laurels with the X1 Carbon, including solid battery life. 

There’s one important caveat to its battery duration, however: If you opt for the 4K display with 500 nits of brightness, battery life plunges. If you can live with the 1080p display for superior battery performance, you still get a 2.4 pound system with a carbon-fiber chassis that has passed a dozen different MIL-STD-810G durability tests. 

Opinions expressed by The Chicago Journal contributors are their own.