The best PCs for Windows 10

These recent laptops, hybrids and desktops are ready for a day one upgrade to Windows 10, and should work without a hitch.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
4 min read
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Nearly every laptop, tablet, hybrid or desktop currently running Windows 8 or even Windows 7 will be eligible for a free upgrade to the new Windows 10 operating system sometime on or after July 29.

Consumers with the "home" version of their current OS will be able to download the mainstream Windows 10 Home version at no cost, for at least the first year after its launch date. Users of other versions of Windows (Professional, etc.) should be able to get comparable upgrades to one of the seven different flavors of Windows 10, but that may require some work from your company IT team if you're a professional/enterprise user.

From what we've heard from major PC makers, only a few, if any, PCs will start shipping on July 29 with Windows 10 preinstalled, so the fastest way to get the new OS may be to download and install it on your current computer.

We've done this on a wide variety of recent Windows 8 systems in the CNET Labs, using the easily available Insider preview build of Windows 10. For the most part, the experience has been trouble-free, and even our early benchmarking with this non-final version of Windows 10 has been roughly in line with Windows 8 (but we're waiting for the final build to see how Windows 10 really affects performance).

The computers profiled here represent a cross-section of systems that are perfect for a day one Windows 10 upgrade. All feature fourth-gen or fifth-gen Intel Core i-series processors, or lower-end Atom and Celeron processors, plus standard Intel integrated graphics.

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Toshiba Kirabook (2015)

The Kirabook is light, sturdy, well-built and powerful, with a brilliant higher-resolution display. It's a great example of a premium 13-inch laptop with better-than-HD resolution and a touchscreen to take advantage of the more minimalist tile-based pop-up menus in Windows 10.

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Lenovo Yoga 3 (14-inch, 2015)

Like past models, the Yoga 3 14 looks like a standard thin-and-light clamshell, but its two hinges allow you to rotate the screen 360 degrees back, turning it into a tablet. While Windows 8 was really built for tablet views, Windows 10 should work equally well in both clamshell and tablet modes on hybrids.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 3

It's still a leap to say this is a true laptop replacement for most people, but the Surface Pro 3 is the first Surface device one could get away with using as an all-day primary PC. As Microsoft's flagship computer, it's a great test case for Windows 10, especially as it includes a precision touchpad, required for some new Windows 10 gestures.

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Dell XPS 13 (2015)

Taking a cue from the past few generations of television design, the screen bezel, the outer border of glass and aluminum that surrounds the display, has been reduced to mere millimeters. Microsoft has been using this as an example of a high-quality, premium laptop that is a great match for Windows 10.

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Acer Revo One

The Revo is a great-looking, flexible small-design desktop that you won't need to hide behind a houseplant. Desktops, largely driven via keyboard and mouse, were always an awkward match for the Windows 8 tile interface, and the Revo feels more practical with Windows 10 installed on it.

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HP Stream 11

Even the smallest and least expensive laptops can get a boost from Windows 10. The new Edge Web browser and the easier access to settings and most-used apps makes this 11-inch budget PC a bit easier to use.

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Microsoft Surface 3

The smaller cousin of the flagship Surface Pro 3, the non-Pro version has a smaller display, and runs a lower-end Intel Atom processor. But as a Microsoft-designed hybrid, it's also going to work well with Windows 10, and makes use of the same clever keyboard cover technology we've liked so much in previous Surface systems.

If you own one of these PCs, or any other compatible system, the Windows 10 update will be available starting on July 29 (primarily for Windows Insider beta testers), and rolling out to other users over time. We'll be testing new laptops, hybrids and desktops, both with Windows 10 preinstalled and and with the Windows 10 upgrade, and reporting our performance findings. In the meantime, follow all our Windows 10 coverage here.