5 Best Desktop Replacement Laptops for 2020 Reviewed

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Are you tired of being stuck at your desk all day with your desktop? Wish to replace it with something more portable that offers the same reliability, performance, and speed? Then you are in the right place.

All you need is the best desktop replacement laptop. But wait, out of 100s of models and brands, how do you pick one? Don’t worry, we did the research and testing for you. Here are 5 desktop replacement laptops that offer the best bang for your buck.

The Best Desktop Replacement Laptops: A Summary

  1. MSI P65 Creator-1084
  2. Acer Predator Helios 300
  3. New Apple MacBook Air
  4. ASUS VivoBook 15
  5. Dell XPS 15
  6. Asus ZenBook 15
  7. Lenovo Flex 5
  8. MSI GL65 Leopard
  9. Acer Swift 3
  10. Acer Aspire 5

Best Desktop Replacement Laptop for 2020

MSI P65 Creator-1084 15.6" 4K UHD Display, Ultra-Thin and Light, RTX Studio Laptop, Intel Core i7-9750H, GeForce RTX 2060, 32GB DDR4, 1TB Teton Glacier SSD, Win10PRO, VR Ready
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7-9750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, 15.6" Full HD 144Hz Display, 3ms Response Time, 16GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, RGB Backlit Keyboard, PH315-52-710B
ASUS VivoBook 15 Thin and Light Laptop, 15.6” FHD, Intel Core i3-8145U CPU, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Windows 10 in S Mode, F512FA-AB34, Slate Gray
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray (Latest Model)
MSI P65 Creator-1084
Acer Predator Helios 300
ASUS VivoBook 15
New Apple Macbook Air
Suited For
Designers, Animators, Programmers
Gamers
Budget Buyers
iMac Users
Processor
i7-9750h (4.5GHz)
i7-9750H, 6-Core (4.5GHz)
i3-8145U (3.9 GHz)
Intel i5 (3.5GHz)
RAM
32GB
16GB
8GB
8GB
Graphics Card
GeForce RTX 2060
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
Intel UHD Graphics 620
Intel Iris Plus
Storage
1TB Teton Glacier SSD
512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
128GB SSD
512GB M.2 SSD
Display
4K UHD
15.6" Full-HD (144Hz)
15.6” Full-HD
13" Full-HD
Battery Life
4-5hrs
5-6hrs
Upto 4hrs
8-10hrs
MSI P65 Creator-1084 15.6" 4K UHD Display, Ultra-Thin and Light, RTX Studio Laptop, Intel Core i7-9750H, GeForce RTX 2060, 32GB DDR4, 1TB Teton Glacier SSD, Win10PRO, VR Ready
MSI P65 Creator-1084
Suited For
Designers, Animators, Programmers
Processor
i7-9750h (4.5GHz)
RAM
32GB
Graphics Card
GeForce RTX 2060
Storage
1TB Teton Glacier SSD
Display
4K UHD
Battery Life
4-5hrs
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7-9750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, 15.6" Full HD 144Hz Display, 3ms Response Time, 16GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, RGB Backlit Keyboard, PH315-52-710B
Acer Predator Helios 300
Suited For
Gamers
Processor
i7-9750H, 6-Core (4.5GHz)
RAM
16GB
Graphics Card
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
Storage
512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Display
15.6" Full-HD (144Hz)
Battery Life
5-6hrs
ASUS VivoBook 15 Thin and Light Laptop, 15.6” FHD, Intel Core i3-8145U CPU, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Windows 10 in S Mode, F512FA-AB34, Slate Gray
ASUS VivoBook 15
Suited For
Budget Buyers
Processor
i3-8145U (3.9 GHz)
RAM
8GB
Graphics Card
Intel UHD Graphics 620
Storage
128GB SSD
Display
15.6” Full-HD
Battery Life
Upto 4hrs
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray (Latest Model)
New Apple Macbook Air
Suited For
iMac Users
Processor
Intel i5 (3.5GHz)
RAM
8GB
Graphics Card
Intel Iris Plus
Storage
512GB M.2 SSD
Display
13" Full-HD
Battery Life
8-10hrs

The Best Desktop Replacement Laptops Review

1. Best Desktop Replacement Laptop: MSI P65 Creator-1084

Are you a professional programmer, graphics designer, video editor, or 3D animator? Then this MSI laptop is just what the doctor ordered and here’s why.

Sale
Best Desktop Replacement Laptop: MSI P65 Creator-1084
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Weight: 5lbs
  • Processor: 9th Gen, 6-core, i7-9750h
  • CPU Speed: Up to 4.5GHz
  • Graphics: GeForce RTX 2060 (6GB)
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Display: 15.6″ 4K
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro
  • Battery Life: 4-5hrs
  • LxWxH: 15.08 x 10.24 x 0.69 inches

It’s beastly features

In simple words, the P65 delivers raw power. This is thanks to its 9th Gen i7-9750H processor (clock speed of up to 4.5GHz) and its whopping 32GB RAM (it is like the Lamborghini of professional laptops).

Then there is also the 1TB Teton Glacier SSD. While it is a known fact that SSDs are more durable and faster than HDDs (your laptop will boot in mere seconds), there’s more to this SSD than meets the eye.

That is because the Optane memory understands your most frequently used apps and prioritizes them so they open up much faster (it is just a tad smarter)

And with 1TB of storage at your disposal, there is ample room for all your videos, photos, software, project files, and even a few games that you enjoy.

Does your desktop’s slow rendering speed result in project delays? You want your videos and animations to render ASAP and the 6GB dedicated GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card helps with just that. Not to forget, you can even play the latest gaming titles such as FIFA 20, God of War, and so on.

Also, so you do not miss even the tiniest of details when designing, the laptop has a large 15.6” Ultra-HD display. Plus, it comes with an anti-glare coating so those all-nighters do not result in red, tired eyes.

And since it has an ultra-thin 0.19″ bezel and wide-angle view, you and your partner can also enjoy a movie together without having to adjust the screen to get a clear view.

Furthermore, it also features a special Creative Center which gives you absolute control over the laptop performance since it allows you to adjust display color mode, sound effect, LED-backlit color, and more for greater productivity.

And irrespective of how long you run the laptop or how detailed your 3D project is the laptop remains cool as a cucumber with 3 whirlwind fans, 6 heat pipes, and multiple vents.

Considering all the power and speed the laptop delivers the 5-6 hour battery life is good and if you use it wisely, it will last you longer.

As for the portability,  carrying the laptop in a shoulder bag or your hands should be a breeze as it weighs around 4.5lbs and fits the ultra-thin category with just 0.7-inches of height.

Wait, there’s one more surprise in store.

With the laptop, you also get 3 months of Adobe Creative Cloud for free. Yes, you heard that right, it is free and since this is a limited period offer, you do not want to miss out on it.

Drawbacks

While the laptop can support gaming, you will need to spend on headphones as the speakers aren’t top-notch. And I am going to be picky here and say, it doesn’t have an RGB keyboard either.

The laptop also lacks USB-C charging and hence charging will take slightly longer than with other laptops and you will have to carry a big fat power adaptor everywhere which adds to the weight.

Some users on Amazon also reported the laptop heating up when you play graphics-intensive games for long hours. It didn’t for us during our testing so let us know in the comments below if it does or you.

Pros

  • The ideal laptop for programmers, 3D animators, graphic designers, and video editors
  • Deliver fast performance with i7 processor and 32GB RAM
  • 1TB SSD gives you both speed, durability and tons of space
  • The Teton Glacier SSD recognizes frequently used apps and opens them quicker
  • Ultra-HD display gives you eye-popping colors and brightness
  • The display has a wide-angle view and anti-glare coating
  • The Creative Center allows you to adjust the display, sound effects, etc. within minutes
  • You get 3 months of Adobe Creative Cloud for free
  • It has a decent 5-6 hour battery life

Cons

  • No RGB keyboard
  • Charges slowly as it does not support USB-C charging
  • Lacks quality speakers

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2. Best for Gaming: Acer Predator Helios 300

Whether you are a hardcore gamer who loves to stream their sessions live or a beginner, the Predator Helios is perfect (no wonder it is one of the best selling-gaming laptops). Here’s what makes it our top pick and a buyer’s favorite.

Best for Gaming: Acer Predator Helios 300
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Weight: 5.29lbs
  • Processor: 9th Gen, 6-core, i7-9750H
  • CPU Speed: Up to 4.5GHz
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (6GB)
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6″ Full-HD
  • OS: Windows 10 Home
  • Battery Life: 4hrs
  • Refresh Rate: 144Hz
  • LxWxH: 14.23 x 10.01 x 0.9 inches

Best Features

Where the MSI P65 lacks, the Predator Helios makes up. For example, it comes with RGB lit backlit. While technically this only makes gaming at night so much easier, its aesthetics value to a gamer is priceless. Plus, it has a bold, black body that is sure to catch anyone’s eye.

But design alone won’t cut it, right?. A gaming laptop also needs to deliver speed and power and the Helios 300 is primed for that.

With an i7-9750H, 6-Core Processor that has a clock speed of up To 4.5GHz and 16GB RAM, it allows you to run and stream all your favorite games, work with multiple tabs and watch movies, without any hassles.

But the stand out feature of this laptop is the display. Yup, with a 144Hz Display, that has a 3ms response time which means you will never have to worry about ghosting and blurring again giving you an edge over your competition.

This in tandem with the large 15.6” Full-HD screen and the dedicated 6GB GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card gives you crisp and clear pictures that make the experience immersive.

Talking about immersive, high octane gameplay, adding to that are excellent speakers. (no gaming headphones? No worries).

The SSD, once again, ensures your laptop will take only seconds to start and with 512GB of storage in the bank, there’s enough for all your games, software, profiles, saved data, etc.

With great power and speed comes a lot of heat. This is why the Helios is armed with the 4th Gen Aeroblade 3D Fan. These strategically placed fans and vents keep the laptop cool even if you happen to use it all day long.

Oh, and you get all the control over the fan speeds, keyboard lighting, game profiles, with just a touch of a button thanks to the PredatorSense feature.

And if you think you are getting high pings you can even prioritize bandwidth for your games using the Killer DoubleShot Pro.

Drawbacks

The biggest downside of the laptop is its battery life as it gives you about 4 hours with a single charge. Thankfully, the charging is quick so you do not have to worry about staying plugged-in for long.

Also, the laptop costs over $1000 but if you really want a gaming laptop, it is well worth every penny and will last you for years to come and even run the latest of gaming titles without any upgrades.

Pros

  • Specs are powerful enough to handle all the latest gaming titles like GTA, Witcher, Fortnite, etc.
  • The 144Hz, 3ms response time means almost no blurring/ ghosting
  • Comes with a 15.6″ Full HD display with 300nit Brightness for a crystal clear view
  • Adding to that and the speed is the 6GB dedicated GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card
  • Excellent speakers
  • 4th Gen Aeroblade 3D cooling system keeps laptop cool even with extreme use
  • PredatorSense gives you complete control over fan speed, keyboard lighting, etc.
  • Killer DoubleShot Pro allows you to adjust bandwidth for each program

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • Poor battery life

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3. Best iMac Replacement Laptop: New Apple MacBook Air

Want a portable solution to your iMac? Then the new Apple MacBook Air is an obvious choice. Here’s all you need to know about it.

Sale
Best iMac Replacement Laptop: New Apple MacBook Air
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Weight: 2.8lbs
  • Processor: 10th Gen, Quad-Core i5
  • CPU Speed: Up to 3.5GHz
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 13″ Full-HD
  • OS: macOS
  • Battery Life: 7-8hrs
  • LxWxH: 8.36 x 11.97 x 0.16 inches

Best Features

The MacBook Air is the ideal example of what a sleek, sexy yet power-packed laptop is supposed to be.

For starters, it has a 10th Gen i5 processor that clocks at 3.5GHz and an 8GB RAM so it can easily handle all the day to day tasks you have been using your iMac for while giving you great mobility (FYI, I have about 15 tabs open right now).

Yes, that is because the MacBook Air is one of the most compact and lightweight laptops you will come across as it weighs just 2.8lbs while its dimensions are 0.16–0.63 inch (H), 11.97 inches (W) 8.36 inches (D).

In simpler words, I have been able to use this laptop at airports, in the flights, trains, even the restroom seats, carried it on treks, etc. (yup, it is that freaking light and compact).

Further making this mobility possible is the long battery life. Even with a good amount of apps running the laptop lasts for 8-10 hours and charges in just a couple of hours (forgot the charger at home? No problem).

Even the speaker, microphone, and camera quality of the laptop are exceptional so you can video call your loved ones or have your meetings with ease.

There is also the 13-inch Full-HD retina display. The retina display not only captures colors and contrast amazingly well, making streaming movies a delight but is easy on the eyes as well.

The SSD as always is a boon in terms of both speed and durability while 512GB is pretty much all the storage you will need.

Unlike the previous versions, the laptop has a fingerprint scanner for easy unlocking. There are also 2 Thunderbolt ports giving you transfer speeds of 40GBPS for quick and easy file backup.

Apple has also upgraded to the Magic Keyboard which has a 1mm key travel making types easier as compared to the butterfly keyboard of the past. Plus, it is backlit so you can work/play even at night.

While the Intel Iris Plus Graphics card isn’t ideal for high-end gaming, it is a much-needed upgrade as it increases performance and speed by about 40%.

Drawbacks

As always, the MacBook is on the expensive side, and repairs will cost you the big bucks as well (though you won’t be needing them anytime soon). But if you’re looking for the best desktop replacement laptop you will have to be prepared to spend quite a bit.

Also, as I mentioned above, it isn’t ideal for gaming but then you have the Helios 300 for that.

Pros

  • Highly portable as it is both lightweight and compact
  • One of the very few laptops to have a 10th Gen i5 processor
  • It has a long 8-10 hour battery life
  • Microphone, speaker and camera quality make video calling a breeze
  • 13-inch Full-HD Retina Display reduces strain on eyes and delivers amazing picture quality
  • 512SSD gives the laptop both speed and excellent storage space
  • The Backlit Magic Keyboard makes typing easier and quicker anytime
  • With the Intel Iris Plus Graphics card, performance is boosted by 40% compared to previous models
  • Thunderbolt ports allow you to transfer large amounts of data within minutes
  • Fingerprint scanner for quick and easy unlocking

Cons

  • It will cost you over $1000
  • Not suited for high-end games due to an integrated graphics card
  • Repairs are expensive

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4. Budget Pick: ASUS VivoBook 15

Cannot afford laptops that cost $1000 or more? Well, what if you could get a good laptop for less than $500? Interested? Say hello to the ASUS VivoBook 15.

Budget Pick: ASUS VivoBook 15
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Weight: 3.75lbs
  • Processor: i3-8145U
  • CPU Speed: Up to 3.9GHz
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6″ Full-HD
  • OS: Windows 10 S
  • Battery Life: 4-5hrs
  • LxWxH: 14.1 x 9.1 x 0.75 inches

Best Features

Though a cheaper laptop, the VivoBook has features that will pleasantly surprise users. For example, it comes with a 15.6” Full-HD display that is perfect for watching movies. Not winning any beauty contest but compared to other laptops in this price range, it is pretty good.

But that’s not all. It also has an 88% screen to body ratio so you get maximum viewing area.

And to ensure the laptop boots in less than 10 seconds and programs open up just as fast, the laptop is installed with an SSD.

Furthermore, you also get an i3-8145U processor unlike the Pentium processor of the cheaper laptops along with an 8GB RAM giving it a performance boost.

So if your work revolves mainly around content writing, creating presentations, managing excel sheets, research work that requires multiple tabs then the specs are perfect.

And if you think 128GB isn’t ample storage for you, you can always upgrade it all by yourself. There is also the backlit keyboard making it easy for you to use the laptop in the low or no light

Also, does it happen often that you end up spilling coffee over your laptop? Put those worries to rest as the VivoBook 15 comes with 60-day accidental damage protection that also covers damage due to electrical surges and drops.

The laptop also fits the lightweight category as it weighs under 4lbs and is really compact as well giving you excellent mobility (will fit in your handbag). While lightweight and compact, the construction is solid and laptop by no means feels cheap.

Drawbacks

My biggest issue with the laptop was its battery life. Though not very powerful, the laptop needs to be charged every 4-5 hours.

Also, the speaker of the laptop is disappointing though if you have earphones/headphones, the camera is good enough to have fun video calls with friends or important meetings.

Of course, the laptop won’t support a lot of games but considering its low price, it is a great laptop that can be used when you need a break from your desk.

Pros

  • The ideal laptop for those on a tight budget as it costs less than $500
  • Comes with an i3-8145U processor and 8GB RAM
  • It has a Full-HD display with an 88% screen to body ratio
  • Comes with an SSD for more speed and durability
  • Boots in less than 10 seconds
  • Comes with 60-day damage protection against spills, power surges, and drops
  • Weighs just 3.7lbs and is very compact
  • It has a strong body and design feels premium
  • The 128GB SSD can be upgraded when needed

Cons

  • Not suited for gaming
  • Low battery life (just 4-5 hours)
  • Poor speakers
  • Low storage space but thankfully it can be upgraded

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5. Best Display: Dell XPS 15

Last but not least on the list of the best desktop replacement laptops is another top-notch laptop that goes toe to toe with the MSI Creator, the Dell XPS 15. Here’s why we rate it so highly.

Best Display: Dell XPS 15
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Weight: 5.5lbs
  • Processor: 9th Gen, 6-Core, i7-9750h
  • CPU Speed: Up to 4.5GHz
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 1650 (4GB)
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6″ 4K
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Battery Life: 5-6hrs
  • LxWxH: 9.27 x 14.06 x 0.66 inches

Best Features

Just like the MSI Creator the Dell XPS also features the 9th Gen i7-9750h 6-core processor that clocks at 4.5GHz.

Furthermore, both laptops feature a 15.6”, 4K UHD display, and the XPS also has an ultra-thin bezel (0.2-inches) with anti-glare and wide viewing angles for comfortable viewing.

The one advantage that the XPS has over here is the screen brightness. The 500nits brightness makes it a better choice for watching movies streaming videos.

It also has better speakers, a more stylish and bold black design plus, Dell’s customer support services trump MSI any day (though you won’t be needing that anytime soon with either laptop).

The XPS also features a USB-C charger and gives you better data transfer speeds. While the charger is smaller and charging is quicker, battery life is about the same i.e. 4-5 hours.

The laptop also gives users the chance to contribute to environmental conservation. Yup, 90% of the materials used in this bad boy can be recycled thus also winning it 2018 Best of Innovation Award.

So why did we put the MSI Creator above the Dell XPS 15?

Simply put, the MSI Creator offers greater speed and power compared to the XPS. Yup, the XPS has 16GB of RAM and a 4GB GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card compared to the 32GB RAM and 6GB dedicated GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card of the Creator.

But hey, we are talking about 16GB RAM and a 4GB Dedicated graphics card which means your new XPS can also be used for most games, 3D animation software, video editing, and graphic designing.

Plus, the MSI Creator laptop is priced slightly lesser than the Dell XPS 15.

But if you do not happen to like the white color of the Creator or prefer the Dell brand over others, the XPS is an excellent choice and does not leave much room for complaints.

And in case you do not want the hassle of upgrading the laptop’s RAM, GPU, storage as your work or gaming needs increases, the Creator is the laptop to go with. (either way, it is money well spent).

Pros

  • Comes with a USB-C charger and thus charges quickly
  • Gives you better data transfer speeds than the MSI Creator
  • The laptop is powerful enough for gaming, 3D animation, gaming, etc.
  • It also has a better design the MSI Creator
  • Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4 makes the screen damage resistant
  • It has a 15” 4k Display with wide viewing angles and anti-glare coating
  • 500nits brightness gives you some of the most vivid images you’d get in a laptops screen
  • Dell offers excellent customer support services
  • 90% of the materials used in making the laptop can be recycled
  • It has excellent speakers and an HD webcam
  • Comes with a 1TB SSD

Cons

  • Highly-priced
  • The 4-5 hour battery life is a bummer
  • Fan noise could be loud for some users when gaming for long hours

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Last Updated on August 3, 2020

My name is Eric Smith and I've been working within the tech space for over 10 years, both at one of the largest computer manufacturers (for which I have no affiliation with anymore) but also in the retail sector where I gained a lot of experience in helping people finding suitable tech products.

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