Good Laptops


When it comes to buying a new laptop, the sea of options available can be overwhelming. The quest often boils down to finding the “best” one; however, the “best” can often be subjective and dependent on specific needs and budgets. In this comprehensive guide, we will shift the focus from the best laptops to the “good” laptops — those that are not necessarily top of the line but meet the necessary criteria for specific tasks and requirements.

A good laptop offers the performance and features required for a specific use case at a price deemed fair in the market. Whether for general use, gaming, video editing, programming, or media consumption, a good laptop should balance cost with capability. In this article, we’ll explore what makes a laptop good in various contexts, examining specifications like RAM, storage, processor power, and more, to ensure you find a machine that’s tailored to your needs, not just a top performer by general standards.

A good laptop offers the performance and features required for a specific use case at a price deemed fair in the market.

Our Criteria for Evaluating a Good Laptop

When selecting a good laptop, the decision goes beyond simply picking the device with the highest specs or the latest model. The ideal laptop should match the specific demands of its user, providing a balance between performance, price, and durability. Here are the main criteria we will consider to determine if a laptop fits its intended use:

  • Performance: This includes processor speed, number of cores, RAM, and storage options. For tasks like video editing or gaming, a high-performance CPU and GPU are crucial, whereas for general web browsing or document editing, moderate specs might suffice.
  • Price Sensitivity: Cost is often a decisive factor. A good laptop should offer the best value within a certain budget range, without unnecessary extras that inflate the price.
  • Durability: The build quality should ensure that the laptop can handle the rigors of its intended use, from travel-friendly designs for professionals on the go to rugged builds for outdoor use.
  • Battery Life: Especially important for those who work on the move. Longer battery life can significantly enhance the usability of a laptop outside of traditional workspaces.
  • Screen Quality: For tasks like photography and video editing, a high-resolution screen with excellent color accuracy is important. For general use, a decent display might suffice.
  • Portability: Depending on the user’s needs, the weight and size of the laptop can be a crucial factor. Lighter laptops are favored by those who carry their devices frequently.

Specification Table and Analysis

The following table breaks down what specifications are generally recommended for various categories of laptop use:

CategoryRecommended RAMStorageCPUGPUScreen ResolutionBattery Life
General Use4-8 GB256 GB SSDDual-Core Processor (e.g., Intel i3)Integrated1080p6+ hours
Video Editing & Photography16-32 GB512 GB SSD+Quad-Core Processor (e.g., Intel i7, i9)High-End Dedicated (e.g., NVIDIA RTX series)4K4+ hours
Gaming16-32 GB512 GB SSD+High-End Quad-Core Processor (e.g., AMD Ryzen 7)High-End Dedicated (e.g., NVIDIA GTX or RTX series)1080p or higher4+ hours
Programming8-16 GB256-512 GB SSDQuad-Core Processor (e.g., Intel i5 or i7)Integrated to Mid-Range Dedicated1080p6+ hours
Media Consumption4-8 GB256 GB SSDDual-Core ProcessorIntegrated1080p to 4K8+ hours


  • General Use: For users who need a laptop primarily for browsing, streaming, and basic office tasks, modest specs are adequate. Such users benefit from a balance of portability, screen quality, and battery life.
  • Video Editing and Photography: Professionals in this category need powerful processors, plenty of RAM for multitasking, and large, high-resolution displays to edit high-fidelity images and videos.
  • Gaming: Gamers should look for laptops with powerful CPUs and GPUs to handle the demands of modern games, along with features like high refresh rate screens.
  • Programming: Programmers need a reliable processor, ample RAM for running complex codes, and a comfortable keyboard. Screen resolution is less critical, though multiple ports for additional monitors are a plus.
  • Media Consumption: For those who primarily watch videos or listen to music, screen quality and battery life are the priorities. These users need a laptop with a good display and audio system, and sufficient battery to support long viewing sessions.

Next, we will dive into the specific laptop recommendations for each category, detailing good options that balance performance, price, and suitability for the intended tasks.

Category Specific Recommendations

Each category of laptop use comes with unique demands. We will explore good laptops for general use, video editing and photography, gaming, programming, and media consumption. These recommendations will focus on providing the best value and performance for each specific need.

General Use

For general use, laptops need to be versatile, efficient, and economical. Here are some good options:

Acer Aspire 5

Acer Aspire 5

This laptop is praised for its solid performance and affordability. It features an AMD Ryzen 3 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD, making it sufficient for everyday tasks like browsing, streaming, and light productivity work. Its full HD display and long battery life add to its appeal for general users.

Acer Aspire 5: Its AMD Ryzen 3 processor might struggle with more intensive applications such as:

Advanced photo editing

Photo editing software, particularly advanced programs like Adobe Photoshop, often requires significant processing power to handle high-resolution images, complex filters, and real-time editing without lag. The AMD Ryzen 3 processor, while capable for basic tasks, might not provide the smoothest experience in this scenario. Users may encounter slower processing times, which can be a bottleneck when working with layered files or batch processing multiple images.

Multitasking with multiple high-demand applications

For users who need to run multiple applications simultaneously, especially those that are resource-intensive, the Ryzen 3 may struggle to keep up. This can affect productivity in environments where seamless multitasking is crucial. For instance, switching between a video conference, large spreadsheets, and development environments could lead to noticeable delays and reduced responsiveness.

If you’re considering a more powerful and versatile general-purpose laptop, the Asus ZenBook 13 (model UX325EA-XS74) could be a strong choice, especially if you’re okay with its 13.3-inch screen.

Asus ZenBook 13

Asus ZenBook 13

Review of the Asus ZenBook 13 during a Power Outage

Testing Methodology for Asus ZenBook 13

To evaluate the Asus ZenBook 13 for general use, particularly in a scenario like a prolonged power outage in Nairobi, I tailored the testing methodology to reflect real-world conditions that users might face:

  1. Battery Endurance Test: Measured how long the laptop could perform typical daily tasks such as web browsing, streaming video, and document editing during a full day without power.
  2. Performance under Limitation: Assessed the laptop’s performance in handling multiple applications and tabs without recharging, an essential factor during a power outage.
  3. Display and Brightness: Evaluated the screen visibility under various lighting conditions, especially important when working without optimal indoor lighting during a blackout.
  4. Build Quality and Portability: Checked the laptop’s durability and ease of transport, considering that moving to different locations might be necessary when seeking alternative power sources or better lighting.
  5. Heat Management: Monitored the device’s thermal performance throughout the day, as prolonged use without a break can increase heat output.

Battery Endurance

The Asus ZenBook 13 performed exceptionally well in the battery endurance test. Starting from a full charge at 9 AM, the laptop lasted until nearly 7 PM, providing close to 10 hours of continuous use. This included mixed activities such as browsing with multiple tabs open, streaming videos, and working on documents, which is impressive under such constrained conditions.

Performance under Limitation

Throughout the day, the ZenBook 13 maintained smooth performance despite the heavy reliance on battery power. The Intel Core i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM handled multitasking with ease, showing no significant slowdowns or issues when switching between tasks, even as the battery level decreased.

Display and Brightness

The laptop’s display was a standout feature during the outage. The Full HD panel with anti-glare coating proved beneficial as I moved around trying to find the best lighting condition. The screen remained clear and visible even in brightly lit environments, minimizing eye strain.

Build Quality and Portability

The ZenBook 13’s lightweight and compact design was highly advantageous. Weighing just around 2.8 pounds and featuring a durable metal chassis, it was easy to carry from one location to another as I searched for better lighting or temporary workspace during the blackout.

Heat Management

Despite the extended use, the laptop’s cooling system functioned effectively, keeping it from overheating. The device remained comfortably warm, which speaks to the efficiency of its design and heat management capabilities.

Pros and Cons


  • Long Battery Life: The ZenBook 13 can reliably support a full workday on a single charge, crucial during unexpected power outages.
  • Robust Performance: Handles multiple applications smoothly, ensuring productivity isn’t compromised even in challenging situations.
  • Excellent Display: Offers good visibility in various lighting conditions, reducing potential strain in less-than-ideal environments.
  • Portable and Durable: Easy to transport and sturdy enough to handle moves throughout the day.


  • Limited I/O Options: With fewer ports, users might need to rely on USB-C adapters to connect more devices or external displays.
  • Sound Quality: The speakers are adequate for personal use but might not perform well in noisy environments or for group settings.

The Asus ZenBook 13 is an excellent choice for general use, particularly suited to environments where power outages can occur. Its strong battery life, reliable performance, and portable design make it ideal for users who need a dependable laptop that can handle a full day’s work on a single charge. Whether for business professionals, students, or casual users, the ZenBook 13 provides a balance of functionality, durability, and mobility that makes it a top contender in the market for general-use laptops, aligning well with the “good” laptop criteria outlined in the previous article.

Video Editing and Photography

Video editors and photographers require high-performance machines with excellent displays. Here is a good pick for this category:

Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS 15

Review of the Dell XPS 15 for Video Editing

Testing Methodology for Dell XPS 15

To assess the Dell XPS 15’s suitability for video editing, I developed a rigorous testing methodology that mirrors professional video editing workflows, considering the demands such tasks place on hardware:

  1. Video Editing Software Setup: Used Adobe Premiere Pro, a standard in the industry, to test the laptop’s video editing capabilities. This software is known for its heavy reliance on both CPU and GPU resources during video rendering and live playback.
  2. Video Project Details: Created a demanding test project involving 4K video clips with multiple layers of effects, transitions, and color grading to simulate a real-world, high-intensity editing scenario. This type of project is considerably more demanding than typical photography editing, which often involves less simultaneous processing.
  3. Rendering and Export Performance: Measured the time taken to render the project within Premiere Pro and noted the export times for final output to assess efficiency and processing power.
  4. Live Playback: Evaluated the smoothness of scrubbing through the timeline and real-time playback in Premiere Pro, which are critical for a seamless editing experience.
  5. Thermal Performance: Monitored the laptop’s heat output and fan noise during extended editing sessions, as sustained high performance can often lead to significant heat buildup.
  6. Battery Usage During Editing: Since video editing can be a power-intensive task, I tested how long the laptop could operate on battery power while running editing software.

Video Editing Software and Setup

The Dell XPS 15 was tested using Adobe Premiere Pro, editing a complex 4K video project. This project was designed to push the laptop’s capabilities, featuring extensive multi-layer editing involving high-resolution clips, dynamic effects, and comprehensive color correction.

Performance in Rendering and Export

The XPS 15 showcased its strength during the rendering process. Equipped with a 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU, it handled the 4K video rendering impressively. The rendering times were short, and the export process was efficient, suggesting that the laptop can manage professional-grade video editing without significant delays.

Live Playback

Live playback is often a challenging task for many laptops, but the Dell XPS 15 performed admirably. The playback of heavily layered 4K content was mostly smooth, with only occasional hiccups when dealing with particularly complex segments. This performance is crucial for editors who need to make precise edits and view effects in real time.

Thermal Performance

The laptop managed its thermal output effectively during testing. Although the system did warm up during heavy rendering, it did not throttle under pressure, thanks to its robust cooling system. The fans were audible during peak load but did not reach disruptive noise levels, maintaining a balance between cooling efficiency and noise.

Battery Usage

As expected, video editing drained the battery faster than less intensive tasks. The laptop sustained about 3-4 hours of continuous video editing on battery, which is reasonable for such a high-demand activity but something to consider if planning to work remotely without access to power.

Pros and Cons


  • High-Performance Hardware: Ideal for handling high-resolution video editing without lag.
  • Excellent Display: The 4K display provides sharp images and accurate colors essential for precise video editing.
  • Solid Build and Good Thermal Management: Ensures durability and consistent performance even under load.


  • Battery Life Under Load: Limited when performing intensive tasks like video editing.
  • Fan Noise: While effective, the cooling system can be quite audible during heavy use.

The Dell XPS 15 is an excellent laptop for video editing, providing robust performance that can meet the demands of professional editors working with complex, high-resolution projects in Adobe Premiere Pro. Its powerful CPU and GPU, combined with a high-quality 4K display, make it a top choice for video editing tasks. While it consumes battery quickly under heavy use and generates some noise, these are acceptable trade-offs for its level of performance. For users needing a machine capable of handling demanding video editing on the go, the Dell XPS 15 proves to be more than adequate, offering capabilities that often exceed the typical requirements for photography editing, confirming its status as an exceptional tool for creative professionals.


Gamers need laptops with strong graphical performance and fast refresh rates. Here is a good option:

ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15

ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15

Review of the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15

Testing Methodology

To determine if the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 is overkill for most gamers, I employed a detailed testing methodology that included both synthetic benchmarks and real-world gaming experiences:

  1. Performance Benchmarks: I used tools like 3DMark and Cinebench to gauge the laptop’s hardware capability. These benchmarks simulate intense graphic and processing tasks to measure the power of the CPU and GPU.
  2. Real-World Gaming Tests: I tested the laptop with a variety of games, including graphically demanding titles such as “Cyberpunk 2077” and “Red Dead Redemption 2” at maximum settings, as well as popular e-sports titles like “Fortnite” and “League of Legends” that are less resource-intensive.
  3. Heat and Noise: During the gaming tests, I monitored the laptop’s thermal performance and the operational noise level of the cooling system.
  4. Battery Life: I observed how long the laptop could sustain a continuous gaming session on battery power.
  5. User Experience: Finally, I evaluated the display, keyboard, trackpad, and overall build quality to assess its practicality for everyday use and extended gaming sessions.


The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15, equipped with an AMD Ryzen 9 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070, delivered outstanding performance in both benchmarks and real-world tests. It breezed through 3DMark and Cinebench with scores that placed it in the upper echelons of gaming laptops, indicating that it can handle any modern game with ease.

Real-World Gaming

In high-demand games like “Cyberpunk 2077,” the laptop maintained high frame rates even at ultra settings, providing a smooth and immersive gaming experience. In contrast, when running “League of Legends,” the system didn’t even begin to sweat, suggesting that its capabilities might be more than what is necessary for such games.

Heat and Noise

The laptop’s cooling system was effective at keeping temperatures in check, but this came at the cost of noise. The fans were noticeably loud under peak loads, which could be a distraction for some users.

Battery Life

Battery performance was underwhelming during gaming sessions; the laptop lasted about two hours on a full charge when playing demanding games, which is expected given its high-performance components but something to consider for those needing more mobility.

User Experience

The high-refresh-rate display was a standout, offering vibrant visuals and fluid motion clarity. The keyboard was comfortable and responsive, ideal for both gaming and typing, although the trackpad was just serviceable. The robust build quality reassured that this laptop was built to last.

Pros and Cons


  • Top-tier Performance: Handles the latest games effortlessly at the highest settings.
  • Excellent Display: The display is crisp, with excellent color accuracy and refresh rates suitable for competitive gaming.
  • Solid Build Quality: Durable and well-designed, catering to gamers’ aesthetic and functional preferences.


  • Potential Overkill: The high specs may not be fully utilized by casual gamers or those playing less demanding games.
  • Loud Fans: The effective cooling system comes at the cost of a higher noise level.
  • Poor Battery Life: Limited battery life reduces portability, a consideration for those who like to game on the go.

The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 is a powerhouse suited for gamers who require uncompromised performance and are primarily playing from a fixed location, given its battery and noise issues. It is undoubtedly overkill for casual gamers whose gaming needs would be met by less expensive and less high-spec machines. For those who engage in both high-end gaming and content creation, this laptop offers a compelling blend of performance and features, justifying its premium over more modestly specced alternatives. While it exceeds the needs of “good” laptops for everyday tasks and casual gaming, it is an excellent choice for those who demand the best from their gaming and creative endeavors.


Programmers require laptops that are robust, with good keyboards and sufficient processing power I would recommend the Apple MacBook Pro 13 inch (M2)

Apple MacBook Pro 13 inch (M2)

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2)

Review of the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2)

Testing Methodology for Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2)

To thoroughly assess whether the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch with the M2 chip is a suitable option for programmers, I implemented a multi-faceted testing methodology designed to mimic a real-world development environment:

  1. Performance Benchmarks: Utilized tools like Geekbench and Xcode benchmarks to evaluate the M2 chip’s processing power and efficiency, particularly focusing on compile times, which are critical for developers.
  2. Real-World Development Tests: Set up development environments for different programming needs including:
    • Web Development: Tested with Visual Studio Code running multiple extensions, compiling JavaScript, and running local servers.
    • Mobile App Development: Used Xcode to build and simulate large iOS applications.
    • Database Management and Virtualization: Tested with Docker and running multiple containers simultaneously to assess how well the MacBook handles virtualization.
  3. Peripheral Connectivity: Evaluated the laptop’s ability to connect to multiple external displays and other devices, which is essential for a programmer’s multi-screen setup.
  4. Thermal Performance and Noise: Monitored the laptop’s cooling efficiency and fan noise during prolonged coding sessions and heavy computational tasks.
  5. Battery Life: Measured how long the battery lasts under a typical developer’s workload, including using IDEs and running virtual machines.
  6. Keyboard and Trackpad Usability: Analyzed the comfort and functionality of the keyboard and trackpad during extended coding sessions, which are critical for programmers.


The M2 MacBook Pro showed remarkable performance in Geekbench, outperforming many competitors in single-core and multi-core results. Compile times in Xcode were notably faster compared to its M1 predecessor, making it ideal for developers who frequently need to compile large pieces of code.

Real-World Development

  • Web Development: The MacBook handled multiple instances of Visual Studio Code effortlessly, with no lag observed even with multiple extensions active and simultaneous processes running.
  • Mobile App Development: Xcode ran smoothly, with quick build times and efficient simulation of complex apps, showcasing the M2’s capability in handling demanding development environments.
  • Database and Virtualization: Docker performance was robust, even with multiple containers, although there were occasional lags with intensive database operations, which is typical for laptops not specifically geared towards heavy virtualization.

Peripheral Connectivity

The MacBook Pro supports up to one external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz, which is adequate for most programming needs but might limit those who prefer a dual or triple monitor setup without additional hardware like docking stations.

Thermal Performance and Noise

The thermal management was efficient, with the laptop remaining relatively cool during most tasks. Fan noise was minimal, only becoming noticeable during the most intensive operations, which is a significant improvement for users sensitive to noise.

Battery Life

The battery life was impressive, lasting approximately 10 hours on a typical programming workload, which includes running development software and browsers with multiple tabs open, making it highly suitable for on-the-go programming.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The keyboard provided a comfortable typing experience with a responsive touch and minimal fatigue during long coding sessions. The trackpad was precise and responsive, suitable for navigating complex development tools and interfaces.

Pros and Cons


  • Excellent Performance: Ideal for compiling code and handling complex development tasks.
  • Great Battery Life: Allows for extended coding sessions without needing a power source.
  • Quiet Operation: Minimal fan noise contributes to a more focused programming environment.
  • Portable Design: Easy to carry, which is perfect for programmers who travel or prefer to code in different settings.


  • Limited Port Options: With only two Thunderbolt ports, programmers might need adapters or docking stations for extensive peripheral setups.
  • Single External Display Support: May not suffice for developers who need multiple monitors without using additional hardware.

The Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch with the M2 chip is a robust laptop for programming. It offers significant improvements in performance and efficiency, making it a compelling choice for developers, especially those involved in mobile and web application development. While it has limitations in terms of connectivity and multi-monitor support, these are manageable with the right accessories. For programmers looking for a powerful, portable, and efficient laptop, the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2) stands out as a top choice, delivering excellent performance that aligns well with the needs identified in the article for “good” laptops in the programming category. This machine provides a premium balance of power, portability, and productivity, making it a solid investment for professional developers.

Media Consumption

For those primarily watching videos or browsing the web, screen quality and battery life are paramount:

Samsung Galaxy Book3

Samsung Galaxy Book3

The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Business Laptop is an outstanding choice for those looking to prioritize media consumption alongside general productivity, thanks to its combination of powerful hardware specifications and thoughtful design elements.

Display Excellence: At the heart of its media capabilities is the 15.6″ display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. This ensures that whether you are watching movies, streaming videos, or editing photos, you get to enjoy sharp, vibrant visuals with excellent clarity. The anti-glare screen also enhances viewing comfort by reducing reflections, particularly useful when using the device in brightly lit environments.

Performance Power: Powered by the 13th Gen Intel® Core i5-1335U processor, this laptop delivers great performance that can handle not just everyday tasks but also demanding multimedia applications. The integration of Intel Iris Xe Graphics further amplifies this ability, providing smooth video playback and capable handling of light graphic workloads, making it ideal for both media enthusiasts and creative professionals.

Memory and Storage: With 16GB of RAM, multitasking becomes a breeze. Users can easily switch between various applications and media without lag, enhancing the overall user experience. The 512GB SSD contributes significantly as well, offering ample space to store a large library of media files while ensuring quick access and rapid loading times.

Long Battery Life: Perhaps one of the most significant features for media consumption on the go is its battery life. The Galaxy Book3 offers up to 12 hours of battery life, allowing you to use it extensively throughout the day without needing a recharge. This makes it perfect for long commutes, travel, or just comfortable lounging away from a power outlet.

Portability and Design: Despite its robust features, the Galaxy Book3 remains remarkably portable. Weighing just 5.64 pounds and measuring only 0.6 inches in thickness, it’s designed for easy mobility. The sleek, silver finish not only adds to its aesthetic appeal but also complements its professional demeanor.

The Samsung Galaxy Book3 is an excellent investment for anyone looking for a laptop that superbly handles both media consumption and productivity tasks. It strikes a perfect balance between performance, portability, and usability, making it a compelling choice for both casual and power users.


    Choosing the right laptop means considering a myriad of factors tailored to your specific needs. A “good” laptop isn’t necessarily the most expensive or the one with the highest and best specs; it’s about finding a balance that meets your requirements for performance, price, and usability. In this guide, we’ve explored various options across different categories to help you make an informed decision based on your intended use.

    Gerald Omondi
    Gerald Omondi
    As a writer, I have a passion for exploring a variety of topics. When I'm not putting pen to paper, I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family. As a husband and father, I understand the importance of balance and finding time for the things I love. Whether I'm delving into new subjects or spending quality time with my loved ones.


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