Top 13 Best Desktop Replacement Laptops
A lot of laptop brands have started making high-performance laptops. Despite that, there isn’t a single machine that can beat a PC when it comes to customization and performance. However, if PORTABILITY is essential for you, and you don’t mind sacrificing a bit on certain aspects, then there are so many laptops that can provide desktop-grade performance.
First and foremost, PERFORMANCE is what makes a laptop capable of replacing a desktop. For instance, it must not slow you down while rendering a 3D model, playing a game like PUBG, Fortnite, etc, or managing multiple tabs on Chrome or loading a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.
Just so you know, there isn’t a perfect desktop replacement laptop for everyone. An overclocked Ultrabook is enough for some people, while others need gaming-grade specs. At the same time, some people prefer bigger screens and full-sized keyboards. It also depends on who you are and what you use the laptop for.
Dell Alienware 17 R5
ASUS ZenBook Pro 15
New Apple MacBook Pro
Razer Blade 15
ASUS ROG Strix Scar II
Dell XPS 15
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
MSI GV72 8RE-007
HP Envy 17T
Lenovo Ideapad L340
Acer Aspire 5
ASUS VivoBook 15
Things To Consider When Getting a Desktop Replacement Laptop – The Checklist
Since you are looking for a desktop replacement laptop, here are a few factors you shall consider:
- Full SSD storage or Dual-storage options (For improved data transfer and booting.)
- Extensive connectivity options, including multiple USB ports, Thunderbolt 3 support, and HDMI.
- A desktop-class processor with higher clock speed and multi-core performance.
- A dedicated GPU (For hardcore gaming, watching movies in high-res, film editing, machine learning, or 3D modelling.)
- Sufficient RAM to multitask or to enable high-quality gaming results.
- A full-sized keyboard with impressive key travel and tactile feedback. (Reason: Helpful to writers, coders, not everyone would want to carry an external keyboard, everywhere they go.)
- Hardware upgradability, so that users can add more resources like RAM/Storage later.
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements For Desktop Replacement
Based on this understanding, we finalized the minimum and recommended system requirements.
As you can see, we have listed integrated graphics as the minimum requirement. It is because there are a lot of thin-and-light laptops that offer top-class performance. But due to obvious reasons such as pricing, weight, portability, etc, they cannot pack a dedicated graphics card.
Just so you know, a GPU isn’t just limited to 3D graphics & gaming, but can be helpful for other tasks too such as video acceleration. Most importantly, unless you are into gaming or use GPU intensive software such as, you are good with an Integrated Graphics card. Nevertheless, most devices in our list come with a reliable graphics processor and other important specs.
The Best Desktop Replacement Laptops
Most of us love desktop-level performance but value portability so much. For instance, if you are always on the move, you cannot think of getting a full PC. But what if you can’t compromise performance either? This is where desktop replacement laptops come in. A relatively bigger display with a 60Hz+ refresh rate, especially if you are into intense gaming. Here’s a list of the best-rated.
1. Best Replacement for Gamers: Dell Alienware 17 R5
The Dell Alienware 17 R5 is a wonderful option if you need a performance-focused desktop replacement laptop for gaming needs. Because it’s a flagship device from the Alienware lineup, you get to enjoy some gaming-centric features with this model.
This expensive gaming laptop uses an Intel Core i9-8950HK clocked at 2.9GHz as the main processor. This 6-core processor can reach up to 4.8GHz with Turbo Boost. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 OC Edition makes a great match to this overclocked processor, thanks to its 8GB of dedicated GDDRX5 VRAM.
Even if you use this device for content creation or something like Pro Tools, the 16GB of DDR4 RAM is enough for seamless performance. To bring the best of sufficient space and competitive transfer speeds, Dell has used a dual storage system: 512GB of SSD and 1TB of HDD.
The 17.3-inch Full HD display provides an immersive environment for not just games but also tools that need precise movement. The IPS WLED display has a maximum resolution of 1920×1080. It also offers the best-in-class sharpness you see on desktop-grade monitors. It would have been nice if the refresh rate was higher, but like we said, there’s no PERFECT machine for everyone.
The build of Alienware 17 R5 is pretty rugged and bulky. The body has a thickness of 1.2 inches and a total weight of 9.74 lbs, which is okay for a desktop replacement laptop. The model comes with heat-dissipation vents on the left, right, rear, and bottom sides, and this helps max out the performance.
This gaming beast comes with the same advanced connectivity you have seen on desktops. It has 3 USB Type C ports, 1 Thunderbolt 3 port, 2 USB Type-A ports, 1 full-sized HDMI port, and an Ethernet port. Since Ethernet and HDMI ports are on the back, you won’t have issues with cable management either.
The keyboard used on this model is quite the standard and provides a smooth typing experience. The built-in touchpad also favors precision. Coming to the audio, this new version of the 17 R5 packs an improved set of speakers that can help you with listening to music. Despite the performance, this gaming-centric laptop offers an average battery life of up to 6 hours.
- High-performance, overclocked processor
- WLED display with great viewing angles
- Expansive connectivity options
- Best-in-class battery life
- Plenty of gaming-centric features
- A bulky design
2. Best for 4K Display: ASUS ZenBook Pro 15
ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 is one of those portable laptops that offers desktop-class performance. Although it is not from a gaming-centric product lineup, you can use this device for moderate gaming. However, most use ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 for resource-intensive tasks like editing, rendering, and multitasking.
Just like the Alienware laptop we mentioned, this one is also using an 8th gen Intel Core i9-8950HK processor that can reach up to 4.8GHz. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1550Ti has 4GB of dedicated VRAM, which is not enough for gaming but ideal for software that takes advantage of GPU.
The same goes for the 16GB of DDR4 RAM that the machine comes with. Be it multitasking or an app taking up a lot of RAM; the ZenBook won’t let you down. ASUS has gone for 512GB of full SSD storage, which hits a sweet spot for most users.
Despite the lack of fancy refresh rates or response time, the 15.6-inch UHD 4K display performs well in the visual real estate department. The massive resolution of 3840×2160 becomes a visual treat thanks to those NanoEdge bezels ASUS has used and touch input.
As we said, this ZenBook is pretty sleek by any standards. The whole package has a minimum thickness of 0.7 inches, and a weight of 4.10lbs is also reasonable. Even so, ASUS has included a dual-fan cooling system and good connectivity options.
Its expansive connectivity makes ZenBook Pro 15 a laptop that you can easily extend. Arranged on both sides of the machine are 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB Type C ports, 2 USB Type-A ports, an HDMI port and a micro-SD card slot. This setup makes the model compete well with some gaming laptops out there.
The notebook packs a backlit keyboard with a decent key travel of 1.5mm, offering a comfortable experience in typing. ZenBook Pro also has the much appreciated Adaptive ScreenPad. This feature allows users to turn the trackpad into a secondary, touch-enabled screen.
If you are using the notebook for decent multitasking, it can provide a battery life of up to 6 hours.
- UHD 4K display with touch support
- Overclocked processor
- Gaming-grade graphics
- Lightweight and sleek design
- Expansive connectivity
- Quite expensive
- Heating issues
3. Best for Portability: New Apple MacBook Pro
Apple MacBook devices have been helping professionals to get rid of their desktops for a few years now. The latest version of Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch is no exception. You should consider this laptop if you want the power of macOS as well as top-end hardware in a sleek package.
This performance-friendly MacBook Pro is using an Intel Core i9-9980HK that has a clock speed of 2.3GHz. It can reach up to 4.8GHz with Turbo Boost, though. In addition to Intel integrated graphics, the device also has an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU with 4GB of GDDR6 VRAM.
The macOS is extremely good at RAM management, especially while running Apple-made apps like FCP. So, 16GB of DDR4 RAM would be more than sufficient for most people. Besides, 1TB of full SSD storage provides ample space for all your storage needs.
This machine is the only 16-inch laptop from Apple, and it comes with the much popular Retina Display. It’s not technically 4K, but the resolution of 3072 x 1920 provides a great level of sharpness and details. Last but not least, this slim notebook has even thinner bezels.
As we mentioned earlier, this MacBook Pro is a sleek package. With a thickness of 0.64 inches and a weight of 4.3 lbs, you cannot expect more in terms of portability. One problem is that Apple may be using some forms of thermal throttling to keep things under control.
As is the case with other MacBook devices, this 16” variant comes with 4 Thunderbolt 3 Type C ports. You have to use these ports for all needs of connectivity, including power, display, and accessories. In most cases, you will have to purchase an adaptor, dongle, or hub if you want to connect legacy devices.
One of the distinctive features in this machine is the same Magic Keyboard that you have seen with desktop devices. In addition to a key travel of 1mm, the keyboard also brings a dedicated Escape key and inverted-T arrow keys. As always, the Apple trackpad is just incredible.
Even with this performance-focused hardware inside, this device offers a battery life of up to 11 hours.
- Sleek and lightweight design
- Top-end, overclocked processor
- Full SSD storage
- Excellent battery life
- Desktop-grade keyboard
- Thermal throttling issues
- Requires an adaptor/hub
4. Best Portable Gaming Laptop: Razer Blade 15
Let’s just say you want to replace your gaming desktop with something that you can carry around, and you are ready to pay. Well, then, you should consider what Razer Blade 15 has to offer. This portable gaming laptop is also one of the best from Razer.
Because it’s an affordable laptop, after all, Razer has used an Intel Core i7-8750H as the CPU, and it can reach up to 4.1GHz with Turbo Boost. The device also packs NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070, one of the best GPUs you can get today, and the card comes with 8GB of dedicated VRAM.
Just as we have seen in other desktop replacement laptops, Blade 15 is also using the trusty duo of 16GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. 16GB is the right figure for even the most hardcore gamers out there, and the full SSD storage gives enough space without compromise on speed.
The display is the factor that makes this device a true gaming desktop replacement. The 15.6-inch IPS panel has a maximum resolution of 1920×1080 but comes with a refresh rate of 144Hz. Thanks to the brightness of the panel, you can enjoy an immersive, dynamic gaming experience despite the small size.
The Blade 15 is also one of the smallest gaming laptops you can buy. The laptop body has a thickness of 0.7 inches and weighs only 4.63lbs. The manufacturer has also included some of the best cooling mechanisms and fans in the package.
In addition to a dedicated power port and Kensington lock, the notebook packs 3 USB 3.1 Type-A ports and 1 Thunderbolt 3-enabled Type C port. While these help you connect all sorts of accessories and even e-GPUs, the full-sized HDMI port comes in handy when you want to extend the display.
Razer has used the popular Chroma keyboard and glass-based precision touchpad on this laptop. Both of the elements provide a desktop-like experience, and you can connect a variety of Razer accessories. There is also a Razer Synapse system that allows quality control and customizations.
Even with its desktop-like hardware, this gaming notebook provides a battery life of up to 6 hours.
- Sleek, lightweight design
- Sufficient dedicated graphics
- Performance-friendly hardware
- Extensive connectivity
- 144Hz Full HD screen
- Single-zone RGB Keyboard
- A bit expensive
5. Best 144Hz Screen Laptop: ASUS ROG Strix Scar II
ASUS ROG Strix Scar II is a superb choice if you need a desktop-grade gaming laptop with a high-performance screen. In addition to the 144Hz display panel, the device also packs extensive connectivity and gaming-centric features.
Just like almost every other gaming laptop in this price range, this ROG laptop is also using an Intel Core i7-8750H, which can clock up to 4.1GHz with Turbo Boost. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 with 8GB VRAM also does a commendable job in providing high-end graphics resources.
Once again, we were pleased to see the trusty combination of 16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD storage. So, even if you are planning to use some RAM-hungry apps, this machine won’t let you down. At the same time, 512GB is an impressive figure when you want to store more files and access them quickly.
The display is probably one of the best features in the package. The 15.6-inch Full HD IPS panel brings a 76% screen-to-body ratio, and the bezels provide an immersive gaming experience. In addition to the resolution of 1920×1080, the 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time makes things dynamic as they get.
At a thickness of 1 inch, Scar II is definitely more portable than the typical desktop-grade gaming laptops in the market. Even its weight of 5.29lbs is pretty reasonable when we consider the high-end graphics card and the higher-refresh screen inside.
The connectivity sector of this gaming machine does not compromise in any area. The panel consists of an HDMI port, 3 USB Type-A ports, 1 USB Type C port, an RJ45 port, a dedicated MicroSD reader, and a mini-DisplayPort. This is the right combination of versatility and choice.
The full-sized keyboard on the laptop has a gaming-optimized design. The features include illuminated WASD keys, a row of keys on the top, and fully-fledged RGB lighting options. The trackpad is comparatively smaller, but it gets the job done.
The battery backup is just up to 4 hours, which is a great place to start for most people.
- Performance-grade hardware
- Full HD display with 144Hz refresh rate
- Portable design
- Versatile connectivity options
- Good screen-to-body ratio
- Limited battery backup
6. Best Value for Money Laptop: Dell XPS 15
The XPS series from Dell are some of the most popular choices among working professionals. The Dell XPS 15 is no exception in that matter. As a device that packs so much performance into a sleek package, it can effectively replace a desktop device without making you spend that much.
Dell has used a 9th-generation Intel Core i7-9750H on this portable performance beast. This processor can go up to the clock rate of 4.5GHz on Turbo Boost, and this is enough for even the most CPU-hungry software. Also, you can trust the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB GDDR5 VRAM for optimal gaming experience as well. (We played Skyrim & Call of Duty, in our tests and it handled it so well!)
16GB of DDR4 RAM is the sweet spot when it comes to performance-friendly memory, and the XPS 15 follows that suite. On the storage side, however, there are no compromises. 1TB of PCIe SSD storage is a good figure for most professionals, college students, business owners, etc.
This XPS notebook is one of the very few to pack a 4K UHD display. The 15.6-inch 4K IPS panel comes with a resolution of 3840 x 2160. Just like other flagships from the company, this touchscreen display also offers a full brightness of 500 nits. Even if you are not gaming, you won’t miss the details.
This XPS 15 is also one of the lightest and portable desktop replacement laptops you can get. With a minimal thickness of 0.66 inches and a negligible weight of 4lbs, you can take this performance beast anywhere. And Dell has done an excellent job of managing thermal throttling and dissipation in general.
Coming to the case of connectivity, the notebook does not disappoint. Although not high in number, you get access to all the necessary ports like USB Type-A, USB Type-C, Full-sized HDMI, and even a battery indicator on the side. The device also ships with a built-in fingerprint reader and an improved webcam.
You get a not-so-fancy yet fully functional keyboard with this product. All keys are backlit, but you don’t have any control over how they light up. You may not have the best gaming experience with the keyboard, though. We think Dell could have done a better job here.
Finally, making some compromises on this front, the machine offers a battery backup of up to 4 hours.
- 4K UHD display
- Touchscreen support
- Lightweight and sleek design
- Rugged-quality build
- Standard connectivity
- Sub-par keyboard
- Normal audio
7. Good Desktop Replacement: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
Although a previous-generation product, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is one of the most affordable portable workstation you can buy today. It packs good performance you might need for development (making android apps or developing games on Unity), content creation, rendering, etc. You can also do light gaming with this desktop alternative.
An eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8750H is powering the performance sector of this laptop. This processor clocked at 2.2GHz, can turbo boost up to 4.1GHz, which is impressive. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti with 4GB VRAM isn’t exceptional for gaming but can improve the performance of apps that make use of GPU.
16GB of DDR4 RAM gets things right when it comes to multitasking or multiple Chrome windows with 10s of tabs. Also, 512GB of NVMe SSD storage offers some of the best read/write speeds in the domain. The no-bloatware OS ensures a fair amount of storage space as well.
Coming to display, The ThinkPad X1 fulfills the standard expectations. The 15.6-inch Full HD panel has a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080, and Lenovo has done a great job of keeping bezels at minimum. The LED-powered IPS panel is offering good viewing angles as well.
Compared to other devices in the list, this is not a bulky laptop. The device has an impressive thickness of 0.7 inches and a weight of 3.7lbs. Lenovo has achieved this without compromising build quality, and you can take it to some harsher environments as well.
Connectivity is an exciting aspect of this laptop. The device itself has only the standard connectivity solutions, including USB Type C and Thunderbolt. But you can connect a ThinkPad Dock for extended options and an even better desktop-grade experience. While on the go, though, this device won’t let you down.
This portable performance laptop packs one of the sturdiest keyboards we see on laptops. Besides providing good tactile feedback and comfortable typing angles, the keys look so good. Also, it is a backlit keyboard, but you will be missing customization options.
The laptop claims to offer a battery backup of up to 8 hours, but you should expect less with high-end apps.
- High-performance hardware
- Impressive-quality keyboard
- Advanced docking options
- Rugged build-quality
- Excellent display
- Not-so-great battery life
8. Best Thin & Light Laptop: MSI GV72 8RE-007
Many of us have entry-level gaming desktops, right? These devices offer a standard gaming experience when you have enabled low settings. MSI GV72 8RE-007 is an affordable laptop to replace that kind of gaming PCs you usually find.
As we go inside, the 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H does not disappoint. This processor can offer you relatively better performance than most Ultrabooks out there. As it comes to gaming performance, the GeForce GTX 1060 with 3GB VRAM is the essential element to get started with.
The entry-level gaming laptop keeps itself up to the standards when it comes to memory and storage. You’ve access to 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a dual-storage system of 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD. So, when it comes to storage, you have to choose between space and quick access.
Although not particularly a gaming-grade panel, the 17.3-inch Full HD panel is pretty great. The panel has a top resolution of 1920 x 1080 and comes with 72% of NTSC color gamut. The panel also offers impressive viewing angles and has a non-reflective coating.
Going in sync with other gaming laptops in the market, MSI GV72 8RE-007 looks heavy. While the thickness of 1.25 thickness is okay, a total weight of 5.95lbs makes this computer easier to carry around. Lenovo has managed to include Cooler Boost technology for thermal management, though.
Because it’s a gaming laptop, after all, you don’t have to worry about connectivity. The machine comes with several USB Type-A and Type-C ports and has dedicated HDMI and Ethernet ports. You also get a media card reader, arranged on the right side of the device.
MSI also slays the keyboard department by offering you a gaming-friendly key arrangement. Using the built-in software, you can have ultimate control over backlighting. It comes in handy that the machine does not heat much, thanks to the overpowered heat-zinc and fans.
Battery life is a let-down section of this device, as it barely offers a backup of up to 3 hours only.
- Affordable pricing
- Dual storage options
- Good non-reflective display
- Extensive connectivity
- Gaming-grade keyboard
- Terrible battery life
- Not suitable for high-end games
9. Best Desktop Replacement for Students: HP Envy 17T
Although a product from yesteryear, HP Envy 17T is a great desktop replacement laptop for students. HP has done an amazing job of combining lightweight design and multipurpose performance hardware. So, if you need a performance laptop that you can carry around, you should consider this.
This HP Ultrabook is using an Intel Core i7-8565U, which is clocked at a rather low speed of 1.8GHz. However, with Turbo Boost, the processor can reach 4.6GHz, which is suitable for power-hungry software. The NVIDIA GeForce MX150, with its 4GV dedicated VRAM, does a decent job with AAA games in low settings.
Coming to storage and memory, the laptop has kept itself up to the standards. 16GB of DDR4 RAM is more than enough for everyday tasks and some RAM-consuming apps out there. Similarly, 512GB of SSD storage can give you good transfer speeds and quick boot-up speeds.
Because we are looking at a desktop replacement for students, the 17.3-inch Full HD panel seems to be an amazing choice. The touch screen panel has a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080, and HP has done a great job at making the bezels as small as they can.
Although it’s called an Ultrabook, Envy 17T is not remarkably lightweight. It has a thickness of 1 inch and an overall weight of 6.63lbs. However, compared to the performance the device provides with even some high-end apps, we think a student has to make this choice.
Once again, we have a laptop with standard connectivity. This student-friendly performance beast boasts several ports, including USB Type-A, Type C, full-sized HDMI, and Ethernet. You also get a dedicated media reader, which is still a bliss if you’re into photography.
The first thing we liked about this keyboard is that it is full-sized and has a numeric pad. HP has materialized this dream without compromising key travel as well. As you can guess, the keyboard is backlit and provides a suitable environment for those all-nighter assignments.
HP claims that this device can keep itself running for up to 7 hours on a single charge.
- Sleek, premium design
- Performance-grade hardware
- High-quality keyboard
- Satisfactory connectivity
- Touchscreen display
- A bit bulky
10. Best for Photographers: LG Gram
As a photographer, the last thing you want in your bag is a bulky laptop. That doesn’t mean you can go for a low-performance device either. This is precisely the dilemma that LG Gram addresses, by becoming a reliable, performance-friendly laptop that weighs less than 3lbs.
This ultraportable machine is using a U-series Intel Core i7-8565U, which has a clock speed of 1.8GHz. It can reach up to 4.1GHz when you are dealing with CPU-intensive tasks, though. In an attempt to reduce weight as much as possible, LG has gone for integrated graphics from Intel, which is decent.
For multitasking and intense photo editing needs, the 16GB DDR4 RAM would be more than enough. Since it has a 512GB full-SSD storage, you don’t have to worry about transfer speeds, especially if you work with a lot of photographs at once.
The 17-inch LG Gram packs one of the best displays you can find on laptops under this budget. The WQXGA IPS panel has a resolution of 2560 x 1600, and it can provide you the sharpest visuals on any day. It does also have high brightness, allowing you to use the laptop in outdoor environments.
As you may have guessed, this is one of the thinnest laptops you can purchase. With a thickness of 0.7 inches and an incredible weight of 2.95lbs, photographers and students love this device. Its military-grade durability ensures that you can take this device everywhere with confidence.
Surprisingly enough, LG has included all the ports that one might need for day-to-day computing needs. There are 3 USB Type-A ports and 1 Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB Type-C port. These are in addition to the full-sized HDMI port and a micro-SD card reader.
The keyboard included in the LG Gram package is not disappointing either. You have a backlit keyboard that has good travel as well. Compared to other Windows laptops, the trackpad comes with precision tracking. The device has a dedicated fingerprint reader as well.
LG Gram claims a battery life of 19.5 hours. Even if it sounds unrealistic, you can expect an all-day battery.
- Incredibly light design
- Excellent W1XGA IPS display
- Standard connectivity
- Full SSD storage
- Amazing battery life
- Speakers could be better
11. Best Laptop under $900: Lenovo Ideapad L340
There are times when we need a powerful-enough laptop that can essentially replace your desktop. Now, if you don’t want to spend more than $900, you should consider the Lenovo Ideapad L340. It is technically a gaming laptop that packs impressive performance inside.
Going a step down the ladder, Lenovo has used an Intel Core i5-9300H on this device. This 2.4GHz processor is better than the eighth-generation predecessor when it comes to smooth. For dedicated graphics, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB VRAM is more than sufficient on any day.
Another strategy to reduce the price was in RAM allocation. The laptop comes with 8GB DDR4 RAM, which is enough for everyday desktop-level tasks. It won’t be enough for RAM-hungry rendering apps, though. It is good that the device has kept 512GB of full SSD storage onboard.
The display department of the device makes use of a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS panel. This panel, in addition to a top resolution of 1920 x 1080, provides commendable viewing angles and immersive viewing experience. There is even an Eye Care mode that reduces blue light emission from the screen.
Judging the design, you would find that this Lenovo laptop is your typical non-bulky gaming device. It has an impressive thickness of 0.94 inches and a total weight of 4.84lbs. Both of these factors give you a laptop that you can carry around easily.
Connectivity is another strong forte of this gaming-oriented machine. It comes with 2 USB Type-A ports and 1 USB Type C port. This works in addition to the HDMI and Ethernet ports that bring in some level of versatile usage. All these ports, along with the audio jack, are arranged on the left side of the device.
As we move on to consider the keyboard, this laptop retains its gaming-friendly tag. The keyboard is one of the best and comes with amazing backlighting options. It’s not complete RGB, but you will have a good time using the keyboard for long-term gaming sessions.
Lenovo claims that the battery would last for up to 9 months, but you should expect less with all gaming.
- Gaming-friendly hardware
- Portable design
- Professional-quality keyboard
- Excellent display
- Amazing battery life
- Only 8GB RAM
12. Affordable Desktop Replacement: Acer Aspire 5
If you are an aspiring professional who cannot spend too much money on a desktop-grade laptop, the Acer Aspire 5 is a nice option for your needs. This sleek-design laptop packs standard performance you get from a PC and some additional features in a sub-$1000 bundle.
Just like the other lower-end laptops we covered, Aspire 5 is also using an Intel Core i5 processor, but a 10th-generation. This variant, i5-10210U, can turbo boost up to 4.2GHz, which is impressive. Although not great for high-end gaming, the 2GB NVIDIA GeForce MX250 is a valuable addition.
Acer has done a good thing in the memory and storage departments, though. 8GB of DDR4 RAM is just about right for multitasking, but the impressive 512GB of full SD storage makes a lot of difference. You can use this machine for tasks like photo manipulation with ease.
As we move to the display compartment, the 15.6-inch Full HD panel shows satisfactory performance. The panel has a top resolution of 1920 x 1080, and the viewing angles are right. However, Acer could have tried reducing the top and bottom bezels a bit.
Despite the powerful hardware inside, the laptop is pretty sleek. It has a thickness of 0.71 inches and comes down to a total weight of 3.97lbs. The Ultrabook design also allows you to easily open and close the laptop, making it ergonomic as much as you want.
There is also an impressive set of connectivity options on board. You get a total of four USB ports, including Type C, Type-A 3.1, and Type-A 2.0. Besides, you have full-sized HDMI and Ethernet ports, which help you in connecting an external display.
Because it is an Ultrabook, you cannot expect any mechanical-like keyboard in the package. However, the in-built keyboard has backlit and offers a good typing experience overall. Despite the smaller size, it includes a dedicated number pad.
Acer Aspire estimates a battery life of up to 9 hours, which is excellent for on-the-go Pros.
- Affordable pricing
- Professional-friendly hardware
- Standard connectivity
- Backlit keyboard
- Ultra-portable design
- The screen could be better
13. Best Budget i3 Laptop: ASUS VivoBook 15
ASUS VivoBook 15 2020 variant is an excellent choice for students who need a minimal desktop replacement laptop. Compared to other devices, ASUS VivoBook 15 does not have high-end specifications or hardware but is still a worthy choice from ASUS.
The first thing you notice in the package is the underpowered Intel Core i3-8145U, which is still an upgrade if you were running a previous-generation Intel i5. The processor has a base clock speed of 2.1GHz with the ability to go up to 3.9GHz. As expected, the device uses Intel Integrated graphics.
This ultraportable laptop hits the sweet spot when it comes to memory allocation, though. 12GB of DDR4 RAM is more than enough for multi-window Chrome browsing and other multitasking needs. At the same time, 1TB of full SSD storage brings ultra-fast transfer speeds.
Just like other VivoBook devices in the market, this model also packs a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS panel. This panel comes with much smaller bezels that the immersive viewing angles are just excellent. Also, the resolution of 1920 x 1080 keeps the display stellar in terms of sharpness.
Being an ultraportable design, we don’t think the ASUS VivoBook needs another introduction. The device is 0.75 inches thick and weighs 3.5lbs. Both of these things contribute to how portable and flexible the laptop is for students and on-the-go professionals.
Despite its thin design, this VivoBook model accommodates almost all the ports you need. You get 1 USB 3.1 Type C port and 1 USB Type C A port. Besides, there is an HDMI port and a media card reader. The lack of Thunderbolt is one of the other methods to keep the pricing down.
Just like almost every Ultrabook in the market, this laptop also comes with a backlit keyboard. It is a normal-sized keyboard with good travel. ASUS VivoBook devices are also known for having good trackpads, but this one comes with a wireless mouse, anyway.
ASUS says the device would run for up to 8 hours on a single charge.
- Affordable pricing
- Ultra-thin design
- Excellent battery life
- Bezel-less Full HD display
- Full SSD storage
- Low-performance CPU
- Not suitable for gaming
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the best processor for a desktop replacement laptop?
Ideally, you should have an Intel Core i7 or i9 processors. But that’s not possible for every budget. So, unless you have budget constraints, you should stick to Intel Core i5 or better.
Are overclocked processors suitable for performance?
Yes, if you use applications that utilize a higher clock speed. However, overclocked processors come at the expense of battery life, and we won’t recommend this for casual users.
Can I expect the desktop-grade gaming performance from these devices?
Not always. Some of the features that contribute to the desktop-grade gaming experience are the cooling and desktop-made processor. Yet, laptops today can offer you competitive performance if not the same.
Which is the best brand for desktop replacement laptops?
It is challenging to choose a single brand because user requirements differ. For instance, if you are looking for budget-friendly Ultrabook devices, ASUS and Apple are some suitable options.
How much should I spend on a desktop replacement laptop?
You don’t have to spend as much as you would on a desktop, sure. Nevertheless, we recommend setting an adequate budget of $2000.
We hope we provided you a diverse-enough list of laptops that can replace your desktop. While some of the devices have desktop-grade performance and are mobile workstations, some others are not. You can use devices from the second category for making that portability upgrade.
As we said, we had set the sweet spot of $3000 and have added devices within that budget. There are some exceptions, of course, but you have to pay for that kind of performance. We also recommend that you consider your actual needs before finalizing the budget or brand.