Best laptops of 2020 | CNN Underscored


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Buying a new laptop is both an exciting and potentially frustrating experience. Exciting, of course, because a powerful computer that allows you to communicate and work efficiently — and keep yourself entertained — is invaluable.

You may find yourself understandably frustrated, however, as you browse through dozens of different models, configurations, designs and brands. It’s our job to keep up on the latest trends in tech, and we’d be lying if we said we never felt overwhelmed by all of the options ourselves.

But it is our job, and we take it seriously. So for the last few months, we’ve been testing the latest and greatest laptops we could get our hands on, from Apple to Microsoft to Lenovo, and we’ve found some standout machines:

Apple’s MacBook Air barely — just barely — beat out the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13 as our top overall pick. The deciding factors came down to its design, strong battery life, display and *fixed* keyboard, and the value gained from seamless integration with Apple’s ecosystem of products and services. Granted, not everyone owns an iPhone and can take advantage of that entire suite, but even then, the MacBook’s reliability was enough to tip the scales in its favor.

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 13 is no slouch. It nearly matched the MacBook Air across the board, scoring high on performance and hardware while doing its best to keep up with software and ease of use. Instead of top honors, the Laptop 3 earned itself our best touch-screen title. When you combine its PixelSense display, Surface Pen integration and sleek design, it’s hard to complain too much when it comes to Microsoft’s hardware. Battery life was a couple of hours less than the MacBook Air and, ultimately, that factored into our final decision.

Apple’s top-of-the-line MacBook Pro laptop did not disappoint. It’s stacked with powerful internals, including a dedicated GPU that’s powerful enough to zip through video and photo editing. In fact, it earned top marks in our performance and battery life tests. The device, however, is much larger and heavier than the rest of the laptops we…