How to painlessly replace your old Windows 7 laptop now that Microsoft is killing Win 7 support
Move on from Windows 7 with one of these excellent new laptops.
Joshua GoldmanManaging Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
ExpertiseLaptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and dronesCredentials
More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
But, in my own experience making the switch from Windows 7 to Windows 10, my laptop's performance became frustratingly slow. It was a low-end laptop to begin with and, although it met Win 10's system requirements, it just wasn't a great experience. I ended up turning that into a Chromebook for my kids and moving on to a laptop built for what Windows 10 offers.
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Acer knows how to put together a solid budget-friendly laptop, and the Aspire 5 is a fine example. A remarkable deal for simple tasks like email, word processing and the like, it's also thin and relatively light for a 15.6-inch laptop. It's available in a variety of configurations starting as low as $400, but can go up to $650 if you want . Our $530 version ably balances performance and affordability.
This is our go-to recommendation for those in search of a MacOS laptop for everyday basic use. The Air was updated earlier in the year with Apple's True Tone display, new processors and a $100 price drop. As Apple's most affordable laptop starting at $1,099, it's not exactly a bargain and you can get a lot more computer for your money if you go with Windows. Regardless, the Air remains one of the best laptops available for battery life, performance and design.
Though it's relatively thin and light, this 15.6-inch Chromebook is better suited for life around the house. The extra screen real estate not only makes it easier to get work done, but also makes it more enjoyable for entertainment. And if the full-HD display isn't enough for you, there are USB-C ports (one on each side) that support video out, so you can also connect an external display.
A lot has changed in the world of gaming laptops since Windows 7 was the OS of choice. They've gotten thin and lighter for sure, but they're also more powerful at lower prices, with good entry-level models available for $800 or less. The midrange G5 15 hits this mark with an excellent price-to-performance ratio, build quality and design. Dell's G-series gaming laptops are cheaper than those from its Alienware division, but still capable of playing the latest AAA titles.
A detachable two-in-one like Microsoft's Surface Pro takes advantage of Windows 10's ability to shift from a desktop to mobile operating system. It hits all the right notes, too, if you're looking for a do-it-all Windows tablet that doubles as a Windows laptop. These powerful laptops feature an eighth-gen Intel Core processor and long-lasting battery life. And because Microsoft released the updated Pro 7, the Surface Pro is available at lower prices, and you can find it bundled with its excellent keyboard and pen.
Watch this: Windows 10 now leads marketshare, Apple issues rare warning