If you're looking to replace your desktop with a laptop it's likely because you are either trying to conserve space or you want to add portability to your PC.
Either way, you look there are a few key differences between desktops and laptops that we'll need to address to make sure you're still getting the power and upgradability that you get with a desktop.
Something you'll want to avoid is replacing your ~20-inch desktop screen with a tiny 11.6-inch notebook so we'll set 15.6 inches as a minimum in terms of screen size.
Most modern desktops come with at least half a terabyte of storage and gigabytes of RAM. If you make the switch to a laptop and don't have those extra gigabytes you will notice it and cloud storage payments can make the running costs of the laptop stack up.
If you're switching to get that extra portability you won't want something too bulky or cumbersome but you also don't want to sacrifice the power of a desktop, so a happy middle ground is the perfect place to be.
If you're moving away from a gaming PC, mid to high tier gaming performance is where you should be aiming, this is definitely possible with modern laptops. A problem with any gaming unit is heat displacement.
In a desktop tower, you have plenty of space for extra fans and adequate airflow. This is something you won't find in laptops because of their small form factor so an effective and innovative cooling system is a must.
The only issue with laptops is their lack of upgradability therefore we might need to find some creative ways to get around this limitation.
It's always a good idea to make sure you're getting the top specs from the start so you don't need to change your laptop every couple of years. On the note of longevity, a powerful battery can be handy but as you're used to being tethered to a desk, charging while using the laptop shouldn't be a problem.
In a rush?
Have you already sold your desktop and need to get back onto a PC quickly?
Not to worry, we've got our top pick right here and just a few reasons why this is our favorite.
Razer Blade Pro 17 Gaming Laptop 2020
This is the best all-around laptop that leaves nothing out. You could jump off the highest spec desktop straight onto this and not notice the difference.
- 10th gen Intel i7 Processor and NVIDIA 2080 Super.
- 17.3 inch 300Hz FHD Screen.
- Thunderbolt 3 connectivity for daisy chaining extra screens.
- Only 0.8 thick at its thickest when closed.
Best Desktop Replacement Laptops - Reviews
1. Razer Blade Pro 17 Gaming Laptop 2020
Our Number 1 pick does it all, this laptop excels at productivity, gaming, music, and video editing, and even media consumption. With the power of Intel's 10th gen i7 processor and NVIDIA's 2080 super GPU, there isn't much this laptop can't handle.
The 8-core processor makes standard productivity like answering emails and document editing a breeze. The extra cores allow the computer to allocate processing power to different programs almost effortlessly, making sure you can work on hundreds of different things at the same time.
This program allocation matched with the 16GB of included RAM takes the load off of the whole processor and makes sure it doesn't overheat.
The 2080 Super is NVIDIA's upgrade from the RTX 2080 and offers a 20% performance boost over its predecessor. This means that the laptop can handle the hardest to run games (yes it can run Crysis) including newer ray-tracing titles like Cyberpunk 2077.
With the 300Hz monitor you'll have an advantage in competitive games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive where you can expect frame rates in excess of 300FPS at 1080p.
The Blade Pro 17 comes with an innovative Razer-designed Vapor Chamber cooling system that utilizes dual vacuum sealed heat exchangers to keep the components at a usable temperature and your wrists rests comfortable to use even during gaming sessions.
This laptop also comes with some upgradability options. There are 2 RAM slots with upgrade options all the way up to 64GB and an extra M.2 SSD slot if the included 512GB SSD isn't enough.
Razer includes a full year of Razer care with this laptop meaning that you get a year of hardware repair coverage.
- 10th gen i7 Processor and 2080 Super to power through any task and intense games.
- 300Hz FHD screen offers an amazing gaming experience and smooth, seamless media consumption.
- Razer's custom Vapor Chamber cooling system keeps everything at a workable ambient temperature.
- Thunderbolt 3 allows you to output 4K video to another monitor.
- Razer care removes the worries of switching to a portable device.
- The low battery life of around 3 hours means you need to stay near an outlet.
Buy Here: Amazon
- New 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875H Processor: Turbo Boost of 5.1 GHz and up to 64GB RAM for powerful gaming and work performance
- Experience phenomenal performance with the latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 Series Super Graphics, featuring ray tracing technology that delivers a cinematic-quality rendering
- Game on with a thin bezel 300Hz FHD Display that provides silky-smooth performance and maximized screen size
- Custom Vapor Chamber Cooling System: Dual heat exchangers and custom fans to maximize heat dissipation and airflow
- Advanced Connectivity: Featuring USB 3. 2 Gen 2, 2. 5Gb Ethernet, UHS-III SD Card Reader, Wi-Fi 6 (802. 11ax), Windows Hello, and Thunderbolt 3
2. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
Microsoft's Surface Laptop 3 is an amazing laptop by itself and really supports a full switch from desktop to laptop form factor. If you're looking to go fully portable because the static desktop made you feel chained down, this is the best laptop for you.
As Microsoft is the manufacturer of this laptop you can guarantee a great all-around performance when it comes to software. The relationship between hardware and software in this laptop makes every action feel smoother and as though it flows easier.
The Surface Laptop 3 comes with an 11.5-hour battery life meaning that chained down lifestyle is no more, you'll barely have to worry about charging it that often.
This laptop is also great for the creative type. If your desktop workstation was centered around digital design then Microsoft has the Surface pen to offer, a 4096 pressure level touch pen that can replace your digital drawing tablet completely.
Microsoft has partnered with AMD to create a Surface Edition Ryzen 7 Processor that has been optimized to run seamlessly with the rest of its hardware.
The Ryzen 7 processor is extremely powerful but when that is paired with a specialized motherboard and 16GB of RAM this laptop becomes lightning fast.
For upgradability, Microsoft offers the Surface dock that fills the issue of fewer access ports on laptops.
The Surface Laptop 3 also looks amazing with its 15-inch screen specifically designed with a special resolution that suits the form factor that sits somewhere between QHD and UHD. You can also get the Surface Laptop 3 in 4 different colors to suit you.
- The Specially designed Ryzen 7 Processor makes this laptop a beast at productivity.
- An 11.5-hour battery can power hours of work.
- Alcantara wrist wrests and a beautifully designed keyboard make this a joy to type on.
- The thin and light form factor makes this 15-inch laptop ultra portable.
- 512GB SSD Storage with extra OneDrive storage included.
- No GPU so limited gaming capabilities.
Buy Here: Amazon Sale Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 - 15" Touch-Screen - AMD Ryzen 7 Surface Edition - 16GB Memory - 512GB Solid State Drive - Platinum (VFL-00001)
- Clean, elegant design - thin and light, at just 3. 4 pounds, Surface Laptop 3 15” is easy to carry.
- Complement your style with rich color and premium finishes.
- Improved speed and performance to do what you want, with the latest processors - Surface Laptop 3 with AMD Ryzen 7 Microsoft Surface Edition processor is the fastest in the 15” class.
- More ways to connect, with USB-C and USB-A ports for connecting to displays, docking stations and more, as well as accessory charging.
- All-day power on the go, with up to 11. 5 hours of battery life, plus standby time when you're away.
3. Eluktronics MAX-17 Covert Gamer Notebook PC
This brand new entry from Eluktronics marries style with performance in its ultra sleek unbranded uni-body. The MAX-17 offers a midpoint between a professional looking workhorse and a kitted out RGB gaming laptop without compromising on performance.
The MAX-17 comes equipped with a 10th gen i7 supported by 32GB of RAM and an NVIDIA 2080 Super, and we know from Razer's option how powerful this combo is.
This laptop comes with a 17.3-inch FHD 240Hz monitor so the high power components are not going to waste and they can push 240 frames out of this monitor. If you still wanted to power multiple monitors you can use the Thunderbolt 3 port to power up to a 4K screen.
The laptop also has an extra M.2 SSD slot for storage expansion and the capability to add more RAM so you have the options to increase these 2. With a 1TB SSD and 32GB of RAM already included you won't find yourself needing to upgrade anytime soon.
What sets this laptop apart from the others is 2 things: Its massive battery and the included extras. The battery in this monster can handle around 4 hours of solid gaming and around 9 hours of standard usage with some streaming.
That level of battery power is unheard of in gaming laptops. The extras that come included are a Covert 7.1 Surround sound gaming headset, a hive-65 gaming mouse and desk pad, and a 10 foot HDMI 2.0 cable for powering another display.
- Extremely powerful with the i7 and 2080 super.
- Looks extremely sleek and professional.
- The infrared camera allows you to use Windows Hello and login without typing or touching anything.
- The RGB panel and keyboard make this feel like a gaming laptop when plugged in.
- Included extras offer a great gaming experience.
- A huge battery allows for hours of usage.
- Eluktronics is a fairly unknown brand but with the CEO of the company contacting customers with issues themselves this may work in your favor.
Buy Here: Amazon Eluktronics MAX-17 Covert Gamer Notebook PC: Intel i7-10875H 8-Core NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super 240Hz Calibrated FHD IPS W10 Home 1TB NVMe SSD 32GB DDR4 RAM - World's Lightest 17.3" Gaming Laptop
- Magnesium Alloy Chassis - Lightest 17.3" gaming notebook in the world!
- 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10875H 8-Core 16-Thread Processor - Thermal compound upgraded with Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut liquid metal!
- 8GB GDDR6 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super Graphics (Max-Q | TDP: 90~115W with EluktroBoost Technology)
- 15.6" 240Hz Color Calibrated Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS-Type Display
- 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD + 32GB DDR4 Dual Channel RAM
4. HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 Laptop
The Spectre x360 offers a truly portable experience with a twist, it can be used as a 15.6-inch tablet when necessary. This laptop is great for the desktop user who likes to consume media.
With the keyboard folded behind the screen, you would get a completely unobstructed view of the beautiful 4K touchscreen that comes with the laptop.
The laptop is powered by an 8th gen i7 processor which while not as powerful as the newer 10th gen options can still hold its own in terms of productivity and media consumption.
You won't need any other entertainment system with this laptop. The four speakers and HP Audio Boost 2.0 system offer a true surround sound experience and solidify this laptop's place as a media consumption device.
HP has 16GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage so your boot speeds will be very low.
The battery life of this laptop is up to 7 hours so this will support the longest of binge sessions with no interruptions.
- 2-in-1 Laptop tablet design.
- 4K UHD screen offers a great viewing experience.
- The backlit keyboard offers easier typing in low light conditions.
- Included Stylus can be used when in tablet mode.
- A low storage option means cloud storage may need to be used.
Buy Here: Amazon HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 Laptop, 15.6" 4K UHD Touchscreen, Intel Core i7-8565U Processor up to 4.6GHz, 16GB DDR4 RAM. 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, HDMI, Backlit Keyboard, Wireless-AC, Bluetooth, Windows 10 Home
- 15.6" Ultra HD 4K Micro-edge IPS (3840 x 2160) Display
- 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U 1.80GHz Quad-Core Processor (8MB Intel Smart Cache, up to 4.60GHz), NVIDIA GeForce MX150 2GB
- 16GB high-bandwidth RAM to smoothly run multiple applications and browser tabs all at once; 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD allows to fast bootup and data transfer
- 2 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.1, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Combination Audio Jack, 1 x Micro SD Card Reader
- Built-in HD Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone, Bang & Olufsen Audio, HP Audio Boost 2.0 with Four Speakers, Backlit Keyboard, Wireless-AC, Bluetooth, Windows 10 Home 64-bit, 4.78 Pounds
5. ASUS ZenBook 15 Laptop
The final entry to our list comes from ASUS and offers a great feature for multitasking.
The ZenBook 15 is catered towards those desktop users who had a multi screen setup or ultrawide screen set up so that multitasking was always simpler.
ASUS's answer to that was the innovative 5.65-inch ScreenPad, a feature that turns your trackpad into a secondary display. This feature is great for anyone used to multitasking on multiple monitors with their desktop setup.
The main screen on the ZenBook 15 is a 15.6-inch 4K UHD that makes everything pop with its NanoEdge bezel. The laptop is powered by a 10th gen i7 and 16GB of RAM so it can easily handle most tasks.
ASUS has also included Amazon Alexa voice assistant to aid in productivity and also Windows Hello with an IR camera.
The ZenBook 15 also has an NVIDIA 1650 GPU built in so you can even do some moderate gaming on the laptop but not at 4K. This is all kept up by a 6 hour battery that will probably require you to have it plugged in when gaming.
- Slim professional looking form factor.
- ScreenPad multitasking screen technology.
- High quality aluminum build.
- Beautiful 4K UHD display.
- A smaller battery means you need to be near an outlet.
Buy Here: Amazon ASUS UX534FTC-AS77 ZenBook 15 Laptop, 15.6” UHD 4K NanoEdge Display, Intel Core i7-10510U, GeForce GTX 1650, 16GB, 512GB PCIe SSD, ScreenPad 2.0, Amazon Alexa Compatible, Windows 10, Icicle Silver
- 15.6 inch wide-view 4K UHD 4-way NanoEdge bezel display with 92% screen to body ratio
- Innovative ScreenPad: 5.65-inch interactive touchscreen trackpad that adapts to your needs for smarter control and multitasking
- Latest 10th generation Intel Core i7-10510U Quad Core Processor (8M Cache, up to 4.9 GHz) with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q discrete graphics
- Fast storage and memory featuring 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD and 16GB RAM
- Works with Amazon Alexa Voice Service that helps you with tasks, entertainment, general information, and more.
Best Desktop Replacement Laptops Buyer's Guide
We've gone through a large amount of what you should be looking for in a desktop replacement laptop at the top.
We've got a list of the minimum specs you'll want if you're looking for your own.
- Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 Processor.
- 15.6-inch screen 1080p IPS.
- 16GB of RAM.
- 512GB of SSD storage.
- If you had a gaming desktop then an NVIDIA 1650 GPU.
Ultimately you can replace a desktop with any laptop and visa versa but to truly keep the feeling of using a desktop you need to have the power, the screen, and the storage be at the higher end.