Best i7 Laptop for 2020
- Crisp refresh rate and response time
- Optimized for use with virtual reality
- Sound powered by MAXXAudio
- Great performance when multitasking
- High quality Apple craftsmanship
- Super advanced Magic Keyboard
An Intel Core i7 processor hits the sweet spot for a lot of consumers. They offer just about the highest performance you could want for gaming and creative programs like the Adobe suite, but it can also boost your performance even if you’re just doing some significant multitasking. But while the central processor may be the brain of the computer, it’s not the only hardware at play.
For that reason, we’ve taken the time to identify the 10 best i7 laptops and provide you with quick and easy access to all the specs you need to know about regardless of what you plan on using your laptop for. Keep reading to learn more.
10 Best i7 Laptops for 2020
1. Acer Predator Helios 300 Laptop
The Acer Predator Helios is a gaming laptop from top to bottom. That's reflected in the sharp curves and matte finish of the laptop's exterior design, but it bears specs to match. This laptop uses the latest ninth generation version of the i7 chip, providing the best performance possible without taking a full step up to the i9, and it also features a respectable GTX 1660 Ti graphics card. This is a laptop built for people who want to squeeze as much performance out of their laptop as possible, a notion complemented by compatibility with PredatorSense tuning software.
Beyond that, you can expect all the usual suspects you'd look for in a gaming laptop. The video quality is pristine - with HD resolution and a high frame rate - and you also get a backlit keyboard for more accuracy in the dark. This laptop even offers relatively high-quality speakers for more immersive play.
- Crisp refresh rate and response time
- Optimized for use with virtual reality
- Sound powered by MAXXAudio
- Super efficient cooling system
- Below average battery life
2. Apple MacBook Pro
If you can afford the pay the entry fee, there are few laptops out here as good as the Apple MacBook , and that quality extends beyond the Intel i7 processor and into practically every component here. A half terabyte of storage packed into a solid state drive is some of the best performance you'll discover, and this laptop really makes the most of the six cores built in thanks to the 16 gigabytes of RAM packed inside.
But what's especially excellent about this laptop is how customizable it is. While we think the model we've outlined should work for most consumers, you have a lot of leverage to beef up those core specs more if you want to. Combine this with the quality performance of the iconic Apple mouse and track pad and you're left with a laptop with feels naturally underneath your fingers.
- Great performance when multitasking
- High quality Apple craftsmanship
- Super advanced Magic Keyboard
- Powerful six speaker sound system
- One of the more expensive laptops around
3. Lenovo Ideapad S340 FHD Laptop
If you've read the two laptop reviews above with a little bit of concern about how much you could end up spending, you'll be happy to know that a high quality model i7 laptop doesn't have to cost you over a thousand dollars.In fact, this Lenovo laptop is on the cutting edge of Intel's revolution with the presence of a brand new 10th generation chip built right in, and the improved performance that comes from that generational jump is definitely worth your consideration.
Apart from that, there's a good sense of balance in the specs here, and they do a decent job of making the most of the quad-core processor. This is an especially great laptop for workplace productivity, but it can serve as a suitable gaming laptop too, despite the fact that the monitor itself isn't exactly the brightest or more high resolution that we've encountered.
- Tons of different connectivity types
- Newest and best gen Intel i7 processor
- Smooth startup, loading, and performance
- Natural support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Below average viewing angle and brightness
4. Samsung Notebook 9 Pro Laptop
Samsung has taken one of most popular innovations in laptop design today - the tablet convertible - and adapted it for use with an Intel i7 processor. The end product is a converter that feels like a real business laptop and provides enough power to handle all of your productivity needs with aplomb. Whether you're looking to touch up a photo or simply manage multiple browser tabs at once, this is a nimble and versatile laptop that's up to the task.
And the tablet style support is more than just a cheap gimmick. The responsiveness of the screen is high (although not enough to offer the sort of precision you'd get with a Wacom tablet), and Samsung has included a quality pen to make navigation without a keyboard even easier. A great battery life of 12.5 hours and a solid but lightweight frame only further justify the value of this laptop as a portable productivity beast.
- Responsive screen with active pen
- High capacity solid state drive
- Comes packaged with free software
- Battery life of up to 12.5 hours
- Fingerprint reader can be hard to use
5. Dell Inspiron 15 5000
The Dell Inspiron 15 5000 doesn't do anything special, but that's not an insult. While this laptop doesn't offer much in the way of standout bells and whistles, it manages to get all the fundamentals right. This approach to putting the basics first results in a laptop that offers you more bang for your buck than plenty of other Intel Core i7 processor laptops. It may not be the best at any particular thing, but it's one of the best at providing balance across the board.
And given the thousand dollar tag, this laptop is a sturdy piece of machinery too. It's neither the lightest not the most durable we've encountered, but the build quality is generally pretty solid, and there's even a wrist rest built in to reduce pain from extended productivity sessions. Users also get easy access to much of the guts, so any performance deficiencies can usually be resolved with a painless upgrade.
- Dedicated graphics card for gaming
- Great sense of hardware balance
- Easy to customize internal specs
- MaxxAudio Pro Audio Processing
- Below average color and resolution
6. HP Pavilion FHD 1080P Laptop
Hewlett-Packard may not get the press it once did for its laptop designs, but that doesn't mean that they aren't still churning out solid models for the consumer masses. The storage choices here really do offer you the best of both worlds - featuring a 245 GB SSD for smoother loading and general performance along with a traditional hard drive with a full terabyte of additional space to work with. You shouldn't ever have to worry about running out of space with this best in class scale.
This is a laptop optimized to work with the Windows 10 Home operating system too. You should be able to run multiple applications at the same time without running the risk of slowdown, and that's thanks in part to the inclusion of a full 32 GB of RAM. The backlit screen offers some of the best color reproduction in this cost range and a panel that reads well even in the dark.
- Great color and brightness
- Comes with Windows 10 Home
- Huge amount of storage space
- A great choice for serious multitasking
- Makes use of an integrated GPU
7. Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The Microsoft Surface Pro has quickly developed into the standard bearer for what a good two in one laptop can accomplish, and that's a legacy that continues with the Pro 7 model. This laptop includes the latest, tenth gen Intel Core i7 processor built in along with some of the best touch screen performance available in an i7 model laptop. The 8GB RAM isn't the best we've seen, but it's not bad at all.
Microsoft wants you to bring this laptop with you everywhere, and they make a pretty convincing argument. This i7 laptop weighs less than two pounds in total, and it sports a sleek matte black or platinum finish that really highlight how sleek and slim it really is. The impressive 10.5 hours of battery life is equally impressive and rounds out the Pro's reputation as a laptop that can do anything and go anywhere without hassle. And support for both USB-A and USB-C connectivity options ensures easy syncingwith your other professional and personal devices.
- Includes USB-A and -C type ports
- A two in one with touchscreen
- 10.5 hours of battery life performance
- Available in platinum or matte black
- Doesn't come with a Surface pen
8. ASUS ROG Strix SCARIII Laptop
If one thing stands out the most about the ASUS RoG Strix, it's that it's currently available for about two thirds of its retail price. But even if you picked it up at its standard price, it would be well worth the value. This is a gaming laptop through and through, so the inclusion of a NVIDIA chip in the ASUS ROG instead of an integrated processor is one that shouldn't be surprising but is still a relief.
Equal attention has been paid to the keyboard on the ASUS ROG. Despite sporting a relatively lightweight and slender frame, this ASUS ROG laptop includes a full island style keyboard. Travel distance is perfect, and there's a nice sense of resistance when typing. If you want to add a little more aesthetic flair to your gaming experience, the RGB lighting customization options are relatively dense, but performance has clearly taken a priority over flashy features with this solid i7 laptop.
- One of the best keyboards for the price
- Dedicated NVIDIA graphics card
- Customizable RGB lighting options
- Two expandable storage bays
- Fan can run a little noisy
9. MSI GF75 FHD Laptop
MSI sees so much potential in the budget gaming laptop space that they've decided to devote an entire series of laptops to it. The GF series represents these lower price laptops, and one of the best in our opinion is the GF75. A price tag of about $1000 gets you a ninth generation hexa-core processor that matches well with a GTX 1050 Ti. It won't let you run the latest AAA games at the highest settings, but it will provide you with one of the best deals around.
The storage space here is through the roof. A hybrid drive speeds up your loading and boot up times, while the traditional hard drive includes a full terabyte for holding the latest and most massively oversized AAA games. The backlit keyboard offers anti-ghosting on every key, making sure that this laptop can keep pace with even the quickest of typists.
- Customizable backlit keyboard
- Includes both an SSD and HDD
- Anti-ghosting coverage for every key
- Comes with a 500 GB external HDD
- Below average audio performance
10. Alienware Gaming Laptop
Alienware is a name synonymous with some of the best gaming gear on the market, so gamers should pay attention to this laptop. It offers some of the best gaming performance around while holding on tightly to its lower mid-range price point. The graphical performance is the standout feature here. Alienware has cut no corners in the pursuit of quality gaming resolution in a laptop screen, and it really shows.
And then there's the design. Alienware has pulled out all the stops with this laptop. It's clearly a gaming laptop without being overly flamboyant, and it has a great sense of style without leaving in anything that's there for the mere sake of looking cool. The curved edges are a slick counterpoint to the sharp edges of gaming laptop models or the perfectly 90 degree angles of business laptop models, and the results will look great in just about any environment.
- Cool but no nonsense design
- Very strong graphical performance
- USB, HDMI, and Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Large and very spacious display
- Fan noise can be very loud
i7 Laptop Buyer’s Guide
If you’ve made it this far, you probably understand what a central processor is and recognize the sort of performance you can get out of an i7 processor. But that leaves you with a whole lot of potential questions regarding the other components of your laptop and how to navigate the different codes that distinguish one i7 processor from another.
We’re here to help with that. Above, you’ll find analysis and specs for the best laptop models that use an i7 processor. Below, we’ve included a wealth of advice to help you pick the best i7 laptop and answers to some of the questions we here most often from people looking to track down the best and latest i7 laptop for their needs. Whether you’re looking for professional or gaming laptops, you’ll figure out how to buy the best here.
Comparing the Core Processors
Do you really need an i7 processor? Your central processor in many ways determines how much value you can get out of the other specifications, and since this processor is one of the most expensive and hard to replace components when shopping for a laptop, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re getting when yo invest in an Intel Core i7 processor.
With each Core processor, Intel is targeting a specific audience. Among the Intel processors, the Intel Core i5 serves as the budget level core, while the i9 is designed for for the most serious of productivity tasks. The i7 provides a happy medium between the two. It’s more than capable of handling most gaming applications as well as resource heavy professions like engineering, architecture, or graphic design. For most customers, the i7 represents that sweet spot of exceeding your everyday demands without packing in power or features that you’ll never use.
Different Types of i7 Processors
Just because gaming laptops say they include an i7 processor doesn’t mean that they all incorporate the same processor. While an i7 designation will help you understand the rough capabilities of the processor, the model number can tell you significantly more. And while these numbers can seem confusing at first, you can learn how to get a grip on what all those numbers and letters mean without too much hassle.
All models consist of four numbers followed sometimes by letters. The first number refers to the generation of the processor. We’ll cover generation in more detail below. You can translate the three digits that follow as a single number. Long story short, the higher these numbers in their comparable generation, the more powerful the performance. When looking between an eighth or ninth generation chip, an older generation may actually offer the best performance if the numbers that follow are higher.
Finally, some models are followed by a letter. There are quite a few letters that you’ll find in an i7 laptop, but there are only three that appear on our list. If you want to buy another laptop with different letters, a quick search can produce the results you need.
- “U” designates a low power processor. These are pretty common in laptops because they don’t overheat as badly and often support a longer battery life, but their clock speeds aren’t as high. They’re oneo f the best laptop choices for people who use their laptop frequently and want to take it with them everywhere.
- “H” chips offer higher performance graphics. That makes this type of chip best suited for a gaming laptop, but it can also be valuable in a variety of professional design capacities. That said, they tend to require significantly more power, so you’ll want to make sure that your laptop design has the efficiency and cooling systems to keep the i7 processor from causing damage.
- While most i7 laptop models come with an integrated graphics card, the best integrated graphics cards are designated with a “G”. While they won’t compete with a beefy gaming laptop that packs in a discrete graphics card, they’re a distinct step up from the standard integrated card. Intel’s G chips are produced by respected manufacturer AMD, and the number following the “G” tells you which generation of graphics card is being used. This is an instance where a higher number will always be better.
The technology that powers your computer grows with every passing day, so there’s generally a new generation release of the i7 processor every few years. The latest generation will always offer the best performance, and as a general rule of thumb, you want to get a laptop with an i7 processor that’s within two generations of the latest. Usually the generational shift is iterative: while a newer generation will perform better than the prior one, the changes aren’t drastic, and you can usually save a great deal of money without losing much by buying the prior gen.
But things are a little different with the release of the 10th generation i7. It constitutes some pretty drastic changes well outside the norm for a single generation. A 10th gen processor is going to be far and away the best i7 laptop for gaming, and they also offer a significant boost in non-gaming programs. They also pack in support for larger amounts of memory and support for both Thunderbolt 3 and Wi-Fi 6 protocol.
If you want the latest and greatest and need to be future proofed for a while, tenth generation may be the way to go, but it’s not the be all and end all. An eighth or ninth generation laptop is still going to be one of the best around, and the performance boost offered in the tenth generation probably won’t be apparent to all but the most dedicated gamers and professionals. And the simple fact of the matter is that there will be an 11th, 12th, and 13th generation to follow.
The majority of laptop models with an i7 processor Intel are going to use a quad core (four core) processor, but Intel also produces versions of the i7 that use a hexa-core (six core) design. So how much does the number of cores matter? Quite a bit, at least theoretically. To understand exactly how important these cores are, you have to think of each core as essentially its own processor.
That means that if you have a quad-core processor and you’re looking to run four applications simultaneously, each one can have a processor dedicated to the job. The more cores you have packed into your laptop, the better your laptop will be at helping you multitask with a variety of different programs. And in addition to letting you run multiple applications at once, Intel processors with multiple cores can improve multitasking on singular and resource heavy applications like those for video editing by splitting up the primary tasks to their own threads.
It’s hard to argue how important processors are, but it’s reasonable to ask exactly how many processors you need. At this current stage in technology, the ability to cheaply produce multi-core processors outweighs the consumer need for it. For that reason, the people who need an i7 laptop with a hexa-core processor are going to be relatively small. It may offer the best performance. But for most consumers, the difference between best and second best isn’t going to be all that noticeable.
An Intel Corre i7 processor packs in four or sometimes six processors. A graphics processor can use thousands. Whenever any two dimensional or three dimensional image needs to be rendered on your computer screen, that’s accomplished by the GPU, and that requires the ability to process a truly massive amount of micro-sized tasks all at once. But how powerful your GPU needs to be depends on what you’ll be using your laptop for. The first question is whether you need a discrete GPU or if you’ll be fine with an integrated GPU.
- An integrated GPU is built into the same space as the CPU. That means it’s cheaper, but it has to share the memory of the CPU. With the central processor having to take priority over RAM usage, that means slower performance across the board. That said, the latest Intel Iris Plus integrated GPUs used with many Intel laptop models are easily the best integrated cards we’ve seen in a while.
- A discrete graphics card exists independently from the CPU and has its own dedicated RAM (known as VRAM or “virtual RAM”). That gives the CPU and GPU more freedom to work independently from one another, and most importantly gives the GPU a lot more fuel to work with. If you’re a gamer, you’re probably going to want a discrete graphics card, and they can also be useful for people who work in video or animation. If graphical performance really is a high priority for you, you should see how much VRAM is made available to your card.
The memory of a laptop isn’t fundamentally different from your own memory. Imagine that you’re trying to put together a mailing list for your wedding. Would you rather have the names and information written down for easy reading, or do you want to rely on the information repeated to you by voice? When a laptop is trying to perform tasks, the RAM is like a jot pad for the important information.
Memory serves as a connecting point for your hard drive and your CPU. Information that needs to be readily available will be stored in the RAM where it can be accessed by the CPU without having to reach all the way into the storage drive. A higher amount of RAM means information can be accessed quicker, and that can dramatically speed up everything from loading games to processing images to helping with multitasking.
If you’re going to be investing in an i7 laptop anyway, you’ll want to make sure that you have at least 8GB DDR4. 8GB DDR4 is a good starting point for multitasking, but it’s also not going to make the best of your Intel Core i7 processor. For a professional business machine, you should turn your eyes instead towards a laptop that packs in 16 or even 32 GB of RAM.
The best processor in the world isn’t going to have much of your hard drive, but it can definitely have an impact on your productivity and happiness. Storage capacity is simple. The more you have, the more space you have to hold your favorite games, software, and files. And the type of hard drive will determine how quickly you can access that information in some instances.
That’s where the difference between an SSD (solid state drive) and an HDD (traditional hard drive) play a part. The latter uses moving parts, while the former doesn’t. That means that an SSD is going to be both more resistant to damage and capable of loading the information you need faster. But you’ll also pay a lot more for an SSD, and you have a lower maximum capacity. You’ll often see a full terabyte hard drive for the same price as a 128GB SSD. Generally, the sweet spot between price and storage is a 256GB SSD.
How much of an impact will an SSD have on your performance? This is a situation that’s a little like cores – where the best isn’t always going to be close to necessary or even noticeable for the average consumer. Unless you’re doing some very serious multitasking, the RAM in your laptop should always be more than enough to handle storage access. That means that most programs won’t see a performance boost while being used, but an SSD can significantly improve the boot speed of your laptop and the speed at which it can load games and other software.
For some customers, the interface of the macOS operating system alone is worth an investment in a MacBook. If that’s the case, your search will be a lot easier. For those who prefer Windows, you’ll have a lot more options to choose from. But we don’t suggest that you make a decision with the operating system as a major factor. If you want Windows 10 Pro, it will be a whole lot easier to just get the computer you want and then upgrade to Pro. Any PC you buy should be able to run the latest version of Windows, and they can also be installed with Linux.
Settling on the best display size means finding the balance between the best portability and the best resolution. While manufacturers work hard to make every laptop as slim and lightweight as possible, the difference between a 15 inch and 17 inch screen is almost always going to be noticeable. A 15.6 inch screen is the standard for a laptop, with larger 17 inch models being targeted towards gaming and media streaming and smaller models often sporting two in one designs. Our best i7 laptops buy guide includes all three types of options.
But there are plenty of ways to perform the look of videos rather than just investing in a larger screen. Resolution is arguably more important than size, but it’s also pretty standardized in this price range. Full HD 1080 resolution is common across practically any computer, although any modern MacBook laptop will include a retina display that offers a higher resolution, and smaller screen laptops tend to offer lower resolutions, because they don’t have to pack as many megapixels into the smaller screen panel to achieve quality results.
You should also consider color reproduction when looking at a laptop you intend to use for watching movies or playing games. And if you work in a creative field that requires good color accuracy, this should be a top choice. A number of different manufacturers use different protocol like TruColor or HDR to provide a wider and richer color palette. A retina display is especially useful in this regard, and that’s one reason why the Apple MacBook Pro is such a popular choice among graphic designers and other visual creatives.
Keyboard and Track Pad
Laptops aren’t exactly known for their great keyboards or mice, and that’s just as true of the best i7 laptops as it is of other models. Most manufacturers don’t dig deep into the specs for their keyboards and mice either. Since they use a membrane design, there aren’t a whole lot of specs to flaunt, and what feels right can vary from user to user. But if you’re an avid gamer or you just find yourself typing a lot, you’ll definitely want to look for a keyboard design that feels good at your fingertips.
That said, you aren’t stuck with what the laptop offers. While replacing your own keyboard or track pad isn’t advised with a pre-built laptop, there are a ton of great portable mice and keyboards that should work with whatever laptop you buy. It’s not always an ideal option,but it can help you maximize the quality of features that matter to you.
If you spend most of the time at the office, trying to buy a laptop with a great battery life should be a factor. If you find yourself out and about a lot, it should be one of the top buy factors. A cheaper laptop may offer you little more than 5 hours of use, while a high end laptop can offer 15 hours or more on a single charge. Consider how long you tend to use your laptop in a given block of time when considering how much battery life is going to matter to you. Also bear in mind that the listed battery life is an average, and power heavy tasks can quickly reduce the time you get.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the Best Laptop with 16GB RAM?
The Apple MacBook Pro is a legend in the creative field for a reason. The specs are solid across the board, and Apple’s navigational interface is hard to beat even when taking into consideration the higher level of customization you’d find in a Windows or Linux laptop. It doesn’t come cheap, but it’s easily one of the best i7 laptops.
Is i5 Better Than i7?
Absolutely not. The i7 offers significantly better performance than an i5 processor, and that’s usually the case even when comparing these processors across various generations. If you want a serious business laptop or one that can play more serious AAA games, an Intel i7 processor is going to easily be one of your best options.
Which Core is Best in a Laptop?
The most powerful Core processor you can practically consider putting into a laptop is an i9, but that’s going to be necessary only for a tiny portion of the overall consumer market. Both office and gaming laptops can be expensive pieces of equipment, and and i9 processor will raise that price even more. For that reason, we have to identify the Intel Core i7 processor as the best processor for most laptop models.
What is the Best Intel i7 Processor?
The best i7 laptops will use the latest 10th generation processor. It’s a pretty significant jump in quality over the ninth generation, and it comes with a whole variety of cool bells and whistle features. But what qualifies as “best” for you depends on the strengths and sacrifices involved. Consider whether you want to prioritize power efficiency or performance and other important factors when picking out an Intel i7 processor model.
If you’re looking for the best i7 laptops, we think you have everything you need here. We suggest that you take the time to understand the model numbers of an Intel i7 processor then expand your search to consider each of the other specs and what’s required for your specific needs. And if you find yourself wanting something different, we have a whole library of guides featuring great laptop and desktop computer models.