The 4 Best Workstation Laptops - Winter 2023 Reviews

Gadget EDZE
Best Workstation Laptops

We've tested more than 95 laptops, and below are our recommendations for the best workstation laptops you can buy. You can also see our recommendations for the best laptops, the best business laptops, and the best video editing laptops.

  1. Best Workstation Laptop

    The best workstation laptop we've tested is the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M2, 2023). This premium model feels incredibly well-built and provides an amazing user experience with its color-accurate 120Hz Mini LED display, spacious keyboard, and large, haptic touchpad. Apple's M2 Pro/Max SoCs can easily handle demanding tasks like video editing and 3D graphics and are incredibly power-efficient, resulting in all-day battery life. You get tons of ports, Wi-Fi 6E, and a fingerprint sensor for quick logins. The only downside is that none of the components are user-replaceable. If you want a larger screen and don't mind paying more, get the M3 Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2023) instead. It has a larger 16-inch display, better speakers, and longer battery life.

    As you may already know, Apple has released new M3 MacBook Pros only nine months after the release of the M2 models. The M3 versions are identical to their predecessors design-wise, though there's a new Space Black color with a more smudge-resistant finish. The M3 chips have faster performance, up to 128GB memory, ray-tracing support, and more. We'll have full reviews of the 14- and 16-inch models soon. Apple no longer sells the M2 models on its website, so it's best to get an M3 model unless you can find the M2 on sale elsewhere or in Apple's refurbished section. See the M2 MacBook Pro on Amazon or Best Buy.

    Our recommendation for Windows users is the Dell XPS 15 (2023). It's also a premium laptop that provides a great user experience. It's available with Intel 13th Gen H-series CPUs and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 40-series GPUs, up to a Core i9-13900H and RTX 4070, respectively. Performance is excellent; the laptop just gets hot under load. It also has a bad 720p webcam and fewer ports. You can configure the laptop with a 3.5k, full DCI P3 OLED display, but unlike the MacBook Pro, it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Workstation Laptop

    If you find premium workstation laptops like the MSI WS76 (2021) too expensive, check out the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022), a 14-inch gaming laptop. It has a powerful 8-core AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, and you can choose between an AMD Radeon RX 6700S or 6800S GPU, both of which are fast enough for professional workloads. The GPU is the main difference between a gaming laptop like this and a true mobile workstation. Gaming GPUs aren't as well-optimized for professional workloads like CAD, so although this laptop can get the job done, it isn't quite as good as a model with a GPU specifically designed for such tasks.

    As for the user experience, this laptop has a great keyboard that isn't fatiguing over extended periods and a smooth and responsive touchpad. It also sports a 16:10 QHD display with full DCI P3 coverage, making it suitable for color-critical work like video editing. Unfortunately, although it has a wide port selection that includes USB-As, USB-Cs, and an HDMI port, its USB-C ports only support USB 3.2 Gen 2 data transfer speed, which is much slower than USB4 or Thunderbolt 4. Also, you can only get a maximum of 32GB of memory, which might not be enough for workloads with large data sets.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Workstation Laptop

    Our best budget workstation pick is the ASUS TUF Dash F15 (2022), a 15.6-inch gaming laptop. You can configure it with an Intel 12th Gen Core i5 or i7 CPU and various discrete NVIDIA GPUs, from an RTX 3050 to 3070. Memory and storage configuration max out at 16GB and 1TB, respectively, which isn't a lot, but these components are user-upgradeable. There's a QHD display option with full DCI P3 coverage so you can do your color work. You get a spacious and tactile keyboard, a large and responsive touchpad, and plenty of ports, including a full-size HDMI and a USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 port.

    Some configurations of this laptop are practically the same price as the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) we recommend above. So, which to get? There are a couple of things to consider. The ROG Zephyrus G14 provides a better overall user experience; it has a brighter display to combat glare, a longer battery life, and a fingerprint sensor for quick logins. It's also easier to carry around because it's a smaller device. However, the Dash F15 gives you Thunderbolt 4 support and better CPU performance. Another thing to consider is the applications you use, as some programs, like Adobe Premiere, tend to work better on Intel/NVIDIA systems.

    See our review

  4. Best Cheap Workstation Laptop

    The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) is a great option if you want something cheap. Like our budget pick, you can configure this laptop with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H or Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, and there are also various NVIDIA GPU options, from a GeForce GTX 1650 to an RTX 3060. You can only get up to 16GB of memory, but you can add more later as the modules are user-replaceable. It has a comfortable keyboard, a small but responsive touchpad, and a good 720p webcam. As for the display, it's only available with 1080p panels, and only the top-end option has full sRGB coverage, so you'll likely need an external monitor if you need to work at a higher resolution or in a wider color space like DCI P3 or Adobe RGB. Another tradeoff is the port selection, as the USB-A port transfers files at USB 3.2 Gen 1 speed (up to 5Gbps), and the USB-C transfers at USB 3.2 Gen 2 speed (up to 10Gbps).

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023): The Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023) is a good alternative to the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M2, 2023) if you want a laptop with more GPU processing power than the Dell XPS 15 (2023). Its RTX 4050, 4060, and 4070 GPUs run at a much higher TGP (Total Graphics Power) of 140W, resulting in better performance. However, it isn't as portable due to its bulkier design, and its battery lasts only around five hours of light use. Also, none of its display options have full DCI P3 coverage. See our review
  • Lenovo Slim Pro 7 14 (2023): The Lenovo Slim Pro 7 14 (2023) is a good alternative to the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022). It's more portable than the ASUS and doesn't get as hot or loud under load. However, you can only get 16GB of soldered RAM, and its RTX 3050 GPU doesn't perform as well as the ASUS' AMD Radeon RX 6700S and 6800S. See our review
  • Acer Swift 14 (2023): The Acer Swift 14 (2023) is a good alternative to the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) if you don't need a discrete GPU. Its Intel 13th Gen CPUs are faster than the ASUS' AMD Ryzen processor, and the laptop supports Thunderbolt 4. However, its display only has full sRGB coverage, and its keyboard and touchpad aren't as good as the G14's. See our review
  • HP Victus 15 (2022): The HP Victus 15 (2022) is a cheaper alternative to the ASUS TUF Dash F15 (2022). It's available with a more powerful Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, but you can only get up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, while the ASUS is available with an RTX 3060 and 3070. Also, the HP lacks Thunderbolt 4 support, and only the top-end display option has full sRGB coverage. See our review

Recent Updates

  1.  Nov 16, 2023: Minor text changes to provide information about the new M3 MacBook Pros and to add the Dell XPS 15 (2023) as a Windows alternative to the MacBook Pro.

  2.  Sep 15, 2023: Replaced the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021) with the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2023) because the M1 model is no longer available. Added the Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023) and the Lenovo Slim Pro 7 14 (2023) as Notable Mentions.

  3.  Jul 20, 2023: Replaced the MSI WS76 (2021) with the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021) because the MacBook Pro is more portable, has longer battery life, and provides a better user experience overall.

  4.  May 24, 2023: Verified that all picks are still valid and available. Added the HP Victus 15 (2022) and the Acer Swift 14 (2023) as Notable Mentions.

  5.  Mar 28, 2023: Minor text changes. Replaced the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021) with the ASUS TUF Dash F15 (2022) because the ASUS is available with faster Intel 12th Gen. CPUs and a 100% DCI P3 display option for video editing.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best workstation laptops to buy for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper laptop wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no laptops that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you prefer to make your own decision, here's the list of all of our laptop reviews, sorted by price from low to high. Keep in mind that most laptops are available in various configurations, and the table only shows the results of the model we tested, so it's best to see the full review for information about other variants.


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