Looking for a laptop that does everything you need, and maybe then some? Premium laptops aren’t just toys they’re tools to create, innovate and collaborate. The word “premium” implies plenty in both expectations and performance because they are supposed to be the best options when you’re looking for something specialized. These laptops are the best-in-class, built with the latest materials, screen technologies, internal components and supporting software to deliver high-end results.

The key is to understand your needs and how a premium Windows laptop could meet them. After all, you’re not just buying a product, you’re investing in a tool that will help you with whatever you endeavour to do. Can it get the job done? Does it have the necessary specs and upgrades to last for a while? Will it effectively run the apps or games you want to use? All valid questions when searching for the right machine, and here are some ways to clarify what might work best for you.

What makes a laptop premium

A premium laptop isn’t just about expense. There are Windows laptops available in a wide variety of configurations catering to a broad subset of users. PC manufacturers usually reserve their best components and parts for the premium category, which is why you’re more likely to see the fastest processors, robust graphics chips, vivid screens and sturdiest build materials on these types of laptops.

Even amongst premium models, there are different laptop categories to consider, like the contrasts between business and gaming laptops, for instance. Some may have touchscreens whereas others won’t. You could find certain models prioritize CPU performance, while others make some concessions to accommodate a thinner and lighter body. There may even be considerable differences in screen size or available ports, both of which will have implications on the kind of work you are looking to do.

Premium laptops usually offer the best configurations. That means CPU, the chipset that ultimately runs all the processes on the device, from the operating system to the applications you use on it. CPUs have cores that help a laptop deal with multiple tasks at once, kind of like how you can download a file while simultaneously checking email and working on a document. You may see numbers related to clock speed, which refers to how quickly the CPU can process data. Higher clock speeds generate more heat, which is why PC manufacturers usually put the most elaborate cooling systems in their most premium and gaming laptops.

The GPU is the graphics chipset that handles the visuals you see on the laptop, which is why a stronger graphics chip is your best bet for better performance when playing video games, editing video or working on graphics projects, like artwork and animation. Faster GPUs render graphics in less time, which is not only visually appealing for a game, but also a time-saver when working on media production, for example.

Advantages of investing in a premium laptop

A premium laptop is also more likely to run the latest Windows operating systems, like the current Windows 11 Pro or Home. They aren’t exclusive to premium models, but you’re far less likely to make compromises when using one. That also goes for third-party software and games with certain compatibility requirements. Generally speaking, the more premium the laptop, the more likely it will run the latest software with fewer issues.

Battery life may also vary widely from one model to another, or even one brand to another. It’s never been easier to find a laptop with an all-day battery. The numbers will vary because things like screen brightness and processing power affect the charge’s length. You should also get the best onboard connectivity, now that Wi-Fi 6 (and soon Wi-Fi 7) and Bluetooth 5 are common features.

Find the right premium laptop for you

The scenarios almost feel endless when looking at what laptops can do, and that also goes for the options. A top consideration for any laptop worth its weight in silicon is how well it handles a task. That’s where some nuances come into play, and a good example is whether the device can run multiple applications at the same time. This taxes memory (RAM) more than any other spec, though CPU power ultimately determines how efficiently the apps run their respective processes.

Options for content creators

That also matters if you plan to run intensive apps that draw both CPU power and memory. Photo and video editing apps are known for that, much like art and industrial design or engineering apps tend to be. That’s why a video content creator might seek the same kind of laptop an architect or 3D modeller would need. Strong graphics cards are necessary, just like a vivid screen with better colour and dynamic range does wonders for visualizing content.

Your lifestyle

If you’re not moving around much, or leaving the laptop mostly parked in one spot, a larger screen size and heavier weight could work. Perhaps not as much if you commute a lot or need to keep your laptop with you between locations or meetings, where durability and portability become important factors. Several contenders come to mind for either case, with the likes of Samsung, LG, HP, Asus, Lenovo and Dell all making laptops that fit the criteria.

Productivity features

It also applies regardless of whether you’re running a business, working in an office or a student at school. Then there are personal preferences, like whether you want a 16 or 17-inch screen versus a 13 or 14-inch. Does the laptop have a numeric pad if you need one? Is the trackpad spacious enough, or is the laptop more like a 2-in-1 that flips 360-degrees to work like a tablet. Maybe it even comes with a stylus pen, as is standard for some Samsung models, for instance.

You can check out the best in-class laptops available now to see if there’s a fit.

Premium laptop screens

Screen technology isn’t uniform across premium laptop models. LCDs are the most common panels, though you will also find some with OLED panels. These have an advantage in producing deeper blacks and a better contrast ratio, which is ideal when working with visual programs where details like that matter. They’ve also improved greatly in being more visible in bright conditions, like if you were to use it outside in the sun, for example.

Even among premium laptops, OLED models may come with an additional cost. These panels are more expensive to produce, but they also contribute to making premium laptops thinner and lighter, much like they’ve done with TVs as well. LCDs have also improved a great deal over the years, with some laptops boasting excellent brightness and sharp resolutions.

Touchscreens aren’t available in every laptop, but those with them give you the opportunity to interface in a different way. That could include making precise adjustments using a stylus or swiping across the display when necessary. If you work or study in a field where that kind of hybrid setup is useful, it won’t be hard to find a premium laptop delivering it.

Best in-class Windows laptops

Windows laptops come in wide varieties based on the type of experience you’re looking for, but when it comes to the premium models, you are getting a machine that should last you a while. Better build materials and cutting-edge technologies to enable cooler temperatures for improved battery life stand out even more when considering how light and portable many are by today’s standards. The good news is different manufacturers make premium laptops that check the right boxes.

Weight and portability

The industry has always faced the challenge of making laptops easier to take with you, which meant slimming and trimming them down as much as possible. Doing that also had to coincide with improved performance, battery life, and access to key ports. The best Windows laptops can strike an impressive balance between these factors, letting them make work and play easier each time you need to look something up or get it done. Other important design elements, like keyboards and trackpads, among others, have greatly improved in how responsive they feel.

Power and performance

The best Windows laptops get the most premium features. Simply put, the brands making them release their latest features with their best models, which might then trickle down to mid-range and more affordable laptops in subsequent years. The CPU is the lifeblood of a laptop because it is effectively the engine powering it. The faster the processor, the more efficient the processes. This is also true of memory, where more RAM often leads to more efficient use of multiple apps at one time. Or, the combination of CPU power and ample RAM can also enable heavier apps to run smoother on their own. This is why a heavier workload tends to feel lighter on a premium laptop with the right components inside.

Bigger picture

There is also the broader picture to consider, as in where or what you will connect the laptop with. Premium laptops are built to connect with larger monitors, often with built-in HDMI or Thunderbolt ports to easily interface with other screens. Whether it’s to mirror the laptop’s screen to the larger display, or use it as a second screen, Windows makes it simple to set up the configuration you want. In such a scenario, you could have the best of both worlds: a large monitor at the office and portable laptop to take with you everywhere else.

Best in-class gaming laptops

Gaming laptops are some of the most robust machines available, and that requires careful thought. You may have played long enough to know what to look for or what your favourite games require to run smoothly, but even if you have, there are always points to consider. The CPU and GPU configurations are arguably the most important, and it’s worth understanding how things like clock speed and the number of cores figure into overall performance. That’s why gamers will look for more power than they need to prepare for games that will come later. If one comes with more intense requirements, there’s a better chance a premium gaming laptop will be able to run it smoothly.

Graphics card

Nothing ruins a game more than dropping frame rates or lag and latency. And that goes for both single-player campaigns and multiplayer matches where every second counts. A sluggish CPU or slower graphics chip will struggle to keep a game running at optimal settings, which then forces you to make compromises within the game to at least get it working. That’s where superior graphics cards, like Nvidia GeForce RTX and AMD Radeon RX, could be real difference-makers. Screens not only need to be vibrant, but also fast, which is why 120Hz and 240Hz refresh rates are common specs for gaming laptops.

Storage

Not to mention ample internal storage to make sure you have space to run these games. Today’s games are considerably larger, some of which may may be over 100GB alone for the most popular titles, owing to the high-end graphics and production values they can bring to your screen. That’s a big reason why premium gaming laptops offer more storage by default, and is something to look for when scanning for a great rig to play with.

The latest tech

Part of what makes gaming so much fun today is the level of detail involved. It doesn’t matter if it’s an action-packed game or story-driven narrative title, the visuals have never been better. Newer technologies, like ray tracing for realistic light and shadow effects, have driven the splendour of these games to new visual heights. Ray tracing heralds a new era for graphics, particularly because developers are utilizing the technology to make games in various genres. However, they do need computing and graphics power to fully experience them, and that’s where a premium gaming laptop specializes most.

Premium gaming laptops are not only equipped to keep things running smoothly, they will also have the ports and connections to enable a bigger gaming setup. That could include connecting to peripherals like a controller, gaming mouse or headset, as well as a monitor to establish a more immersive experience. Then, when you need to take your game with you, just disconnect and bring the laptop along with you.

Some brands built real reputations for devices like these. Think of Dell’s Alienware, Asus’ ROG, Acer’s Predator, HP’s Omen and various models from MSI as the main examples. Not to mention the likes of Razer, Microsoft, Corsair, Turtle Beach, Logitech, Steelseries and others offer a wide variety of gaming accessories designed to work with the best gaming laptops.

If you’re looking for the best, you might want to check out the best in-class gaming laptops currently available.

Other key things to consider

There are plenty of options to consider when it comes to a premium laptop, no matter what you need it for. Even Apple’s Macs are worthwhile choices for getting things done. On the Windows side, however, abundant choices come down to the combination and price that suits what you have in mind. Specs don’t always tell the full story. For example, you may love how it looks on paper, but not like how the keyboard feels.

For that reason, go in to a store if you can and get a feel for how the device looks and feels. See if the screen delivers the visuals you’re used to. Check compatibility with the software or hardware accessories you want to use. A little homework goes a long way in matching yourself with the right premium laptop.

Check out the latest and greatest Windows premium laptops available.

Ted Kritsonis
Editor Cellular/Mobile Technology
I’m a fortunate man in being able to do the fun job of following and reporting on one of the most exciting industries in the world today. In my time covering consumer tech, I’ve written for a number of publications, including the Globe and Mail, Yahoo! Canada, CBC.ca, Canoe, Digital Trends, MobileSyrup, G4 Tech, PC World, Faze and AppStorm. I’ve also appeared on TV as a tech expert for Global, CTV and the Shopping Channel.

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