As the summer vacation season starts to wind down, students are gearing up to return to the classrooms and workers are preparing to head back to the office. Sales of all kinds of school supplies are in full swing at stores and online. This also makes it a perfect time to start the school year off with what can be considered the ultimate school/office supply — a new laptop.
Laptops aren’t just for writing term papers and emails or working on spreadsheets. Laptops now are great companions when it’s time to take a break from school and work to just listen to some music or watch a movie.
With that in mind, DXOMARK, which recently started evaluating laptops for video calling as well as music and video, has selected some newly tested laptops whose performances make them a good fit for specific needs. Read our insights into these laptops and then click on the name of the laptop to see the scientific data that support our selection.
Laptops that balance work and play
“Works hard, plays hard,” the saying goes. These days laptops must offer a comfortable experience both in and outside the classroom for students or both in and outside the work environment for professionals. Such devices deliver uncompromising, best-in-class audio, camera, and display performances in our two use cases — Video Call and Music & Video.
Laptops to consider :
Apple MacBook Pro 14” (2023)
The Apple MacBook Pro 14” (2023) is currently ranked first overall among all laptops evaluated to date, thanks to the excellent experience it delivers for both video calls and multimedia in all tested conditions. Its best-in-class camera has great detail, accurate exposure, and good skin-tone rendering; and its audio playback is superb for voice intelligibility and for providing an immersive playback experience. The HDR video watching experience was far ahead of other laptops. Whether camera, audio, or display, the MacBook Pro 14″ (2023) showed itself to be a top performer in all tested conditions.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 has the best overall performance for all tested Windows laptops, with consistently good results across both video call and multimedia use cases. Its camera has very good target exposure in nearly all situations, and its screen brightness and color rendering make it ideal for watching videos.
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 5G
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 5G performs well overall, but especially in video call, where it brings accurate face exposure even in challenging conditions and great voice intelligibility. Good readability and an immersive audio experience make it a good choice for SDR video playback.
Laptops that offer a strong remote meeting experience (home office/school)
These laptops give students what they need for an optimal remote learning experience, and give professionals at home or in the office what they need for a successful remote meeting experience: cameras that adjust to changing environments; good voice intelligibility (including good management of multiple voices talking at once); and good display brightness and readability.
Laptops to consider:
Microsoft Surface Pro 9
The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 provides one of the best Video Call experiences among Windows devices tested to date. Its camera maintains a good level of detail and its audio capture is good at filtering out background noise in most situations.
Asus Zenbook 14X OLED
The Asus Zenbook 14X OLED achieves a stand-out audio performance that makes it a good choice to use during video calls. It handles overlapping voice situations well and provides an immersive audio experience, with wide and precise spatial rendering.
The Acer Swift is one of the best devices for video calls, thanks to good target exposure on faces during calls, and to effective noise reduction and targeted microphone directionality that provide excellent voice intelligibility. It also manages overlapping voices very well.
Laptops that work hard but play harder
This scenario requires a laptop that is optimized for comfortably watching videos and listening to music. The display needs to be suitably bright in low light and dark conditions; have faithful color rendering; and provide a pleasant and immersive audio experience for both video and music.
Laptops to consider:
Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro 16″
The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro’s strong display and audio performances make it particularly well-adapted for watching videos. It has faithful color rendering and good brightness, and its audio has good dynamics and sharp attack even at loud volumes, making it ideal for movie playback.
Apple MacBook Air 13″ (2022)
The Apple MacBook Air 13″ (2022) is an all-round excellent performer in all use cases, including multimedia, where it provides very good and appropriately bright HDR video rendering, with good control of reflections. Its immersive and faithful tonal balance in audio playback for both music and video is enhanced by an impressively powerful bass.
Honor MagicBook View 14 (2022)
The Honor MagicBook View 14 (2022) provides a very good multimedia experience, particularly when watching videos, with a bright display that had very faithful colors and an excellent SDR reproduction and an audio playback that was good overall. For users planning to primarily consume media content on a laptop, then the MagicBook View 14 is a excellent choice not only for its display performance but also for its price.