12 Best Desktop Replacement Laptops in 2018
Aside from its lack of mobility, there are several other key factors that separate desktops from laptops. Desktop PCs are beefier by nature and can be upgraded, which make them a great fit for folks looking to future proof. You also often get to choose a display with a desktop unit or even link displays together.
With laptops, you are generally stuck with what you get under the hood, and you have to choose the right sized display the first time around as it isn’t going anywhere either. High-tech peripherals and accessories like VR headsets are also something you may miss out on along with the mechanical keyboard. Needless to say, if you want to make the jump, finding the best desktop replacement laptop can be an absolute nightmare.
We have put together a guide to make your buying decision easier and will focus on a few areas you will want to consider when shopping for your new laptop. Without further ado, here are our top 12 picks.
Top 12 Desktop Replacement Laptops Ultimate Table
Going from the desk to your lap can be a painful experience if you don’t consider a few things before purchasing your new laptop.
Display Size & Resolution
One of the biggest adjustments you may have to make when going from desktop to laptop would be the display.
- Size – While there is no real set standard anymore in the desktop world, 21-inches is a popular size, and you can go considerably larger without breaking the bank. While you can find some larger laptops on the market, most are going to be in the 11-inch to 15-inch range. That’s considerably smaller than 21-inches, which means you will have to adjust and resolution will play a large part in that.
- Resolution – With resolution things are a bit more standard beginning with 1,920 x 1,080 which is commonly referred to as FHD or Full High Definition; this is the resolution of most TV modern HD TV sets and smartphones. The next step up would be QHD at around 2,560 x 1,440 and then 4K resolution which is considered 3,840 x 2,160. It is also referred to as UHD which stands for Ultra HD.
As rule of thumb, the more pixels, the better as a higher resolution is never a bad thing. All of our picks are in the 17-inch range, and most of those models will vary between FHD and UHD. In other words, you shouldn’t notice a drastic change in regards to the clarity.
As mentioned, desktop computers are modular by nature. That means they can be upgraded so you can add more memory if your machine gets sluggish, swap out the graphics card or put in a larger hard drive. While there are a few things that can be tricky to deal with, for the most part, it is just cables and screws. In other words, anyone can fix his or her desktop machine with some YouTube knowledge.
If you want to upgrade your laptop, you are going to have to take it into a specialized shop if it can actually be upgraded at all. A rare few will allow you to expand through slots or bays, but more often than not you have to live with what is under the hood.
While all the laptops on our list may be of a particular size and powerful, they do vary wildly when it comes to extras. With hard drives, you are going to see a nice mix of solid state drives which are faster and the classic hard disk drive or HDD. That said, hybrid hard drives have become increasingly popular as they offer up the best of both worlds, so we have included a few of those as well.
Trackpads are standard but will vary in sensitivity as will the number of function buttons. Most of these models will also have USB 3.0 ports standard along with 2.0 ports while some opt for Lightning connectors and USB Type-C ports. If you aren’t sure what you need, take a look at the gadgets you plan on using with your new laptop and how they connect; this would include any mice, monitors or other peripherals you may want to carry over from your desktop
Top 5 Best Desktop Replacement Laptop Reviews
Each year manufacturers roll out new models, and the Dell Inspiron Signature Laptop is an early favorite this year among consumers. Its price has something to do with that as it is very affordable, but still a lock for the top spot on our best desktop replacement laptop list. You do not have to sacrifice anything on this model as it has all the bells & whistles you would expect from a top-tier laptop.
Dell’s Signature laptop has a touchscreen and a Full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. That means you likely won’t notice a difference from your desktop machine and you get the advantages of a large 17.3-inch touchscreen with 10-finger support as well. Want to ensure your PC can doesn’t need to be replaced in a few years? Not a problem with this one considering you will get 16GB of RAM out of the box and the Intel Core i7 processor. The graphics will pop as well thanks to the discrete AMD Radeon R5 M335 graphics card and 4GB of VRAM.
As mentioned, this laptop is not lacking in any department, so there is a backlit keyboard, Waves Maxx Audio Pro, and a Gigabit Wi-Fi connection for gaming. You are going to have to be a serious media nut to fill up the hard drive on this laptop as it has a whopping 2TB HDD under the hood and an optical drive. Throw in 64-bit Windows 10, and you have yourself a mean media machine that may make you wonder why you bothered with a desktop at all.
It is a rarity to have a “best of” computer list that does not involve Apple the Mac OS. That means all our tops picks are Windows-based machines including this fine laptop from HP that is simply dubbed a Premium Flagship Laptop. It almost lives up to its namesake.
The HP HD+ laptop sports a large 17.3-inch display with a resolution of 1,600 x 900 and is powered by the 7th gen Intel Core i7-7500U. In other words, it’s going to be nimble and the 8GB of RAM under the hood ensures you can run almost any program on this one with ease. It will be able to handle gaming, just don’t expect miracles from the graphics as it only has an Intel HD Graphics 620 chip.
Despite having a large 1TB hard drive under the hood, HP has kept this laptop thin at only an 1” although it is fairly heavy weighing in at over 5 ½ lbs. Connectivity options include the usual suspects like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth along with x2 USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port. Other features worth noting include an HDMI port, a SuperMulti DVD/CD burner, stereo speakers and Windows 10.
HP is a well-known brand, and this upgraded beast has been given the royal treatment by the folks at Computer Upgrade King. That means it is available in several different configurations, but each will have that same sleek style.
For the purposes of our best desktop replacement laptop list, we chose this model which sports the quad-core Intel i7-7700HQ processor with 6MB of cache and a clock speed between 2.8GHz and 3.8GHz at its peak. That makes it one of the fastest machines to make the cut when you factor in 16GB of DDR4-2400 RAM. Yes, it is built for gaming but has more than enough horses to handle high-end 3D modeling programs or any professional applications you may need at home or in the office.
If you are fearful of the dreaded “cloud,” you will love the Omen considering it comes with a 1TB hard drive and a 512GB NVMe solid state drive. It will load fast and whatever you decide to watch or do on the large 17.3” display will look amazing thanks to the 4K UHD display.
Dell’s second laptop to make our Top 5 is the Inspiron 5000 series flagship model. Whenever we hear that term being thrown about, we expect something special, and this one does not let us down. It is one of the more affordable desktop replacements in the laptop world and still has plenty of horsepower under the hood with an Intel Core i5-6200U and 8GB of DDR3L RAM.
In regards to the design, the Inspiron 5000 has a clean look with a thin body measuring a little over an inch thick. There is a 17.3-inch panel to help make the transition easy although the resolution isn’t quite up to those flagship standards at 1,600 x 900. It is backlit, however, so it will be bright whether you decide to game, browse or fire up the 720p webcam for a bit of chatting online.
The 5000 come with a 1TB HDD and an optical drive to handle all your media needs. The 4-cell 40WHr battery is rated at 5 hours with normal usage, and it will run Windows 7 out of the box although you will get an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.
If you haven’t already noticed, gaming laptops are a great fit for other uses besides playing Warcraft till the wee hours of the morning. They are powerful machines, which make them a great fit for a desktop replacement. The Acer Predator laptop will draw stares from your family and friends and can smoke plenty of desktops when it comes to sheer power.
The model we chose comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and the peppy Intel Core i7-6700HQ clocked at 2.6GHz. It can hit speeds up to 3.5GHz and run any game or program you have on hand. If it’s the former, it will look amazing as there is a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 under the hood with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM. Other features to keep in mind include a hybrid hard drive with a 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD, Windows 10 Home, and a 17.3” IPS widescreen display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080.
The Predator is available in several different configurations is you want more RAM, less power or even a UHD display.