Core i5 vs Core i7 Laptops: Which Offers the Best Bang for Your Buck

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Intel processors are still the more popular chips on laptops. The two that are brand and user favorites are their Core i5 and Core i7 processors. They are fast and offer superior performance compared to the rest of Intel’s mobile processor line.

If you are buying a laptop specifically for work, you want a machine that is going to readily respond to your commands. Both the Core i5 and Core i7 chips are going to give you exactly that. These chips will also provide you with impressive gaming performance allowing you to do work and game on a single device.

These processors are definitely the top of Intel’s line and are going to provide you with fast and reliable performance, so you will be able to use it for just about any task you can think of. Let’s take a look at these two processor families and see which one is suited for your needs. Let’s also take a look at some of the best laptops powered by these processors you can get.

Intel Core i5 vs Core i7 on Laptops

Mobile processors are different from their desktop counterparts. It’s not exactly a one-to-one correlation where core counts on desktop chips are preserved on their mobile versions. What’s still true, though, is that Core i7 processors are still more powerful than Core i5 ones. They usually come with more cores and threads and have higher clock speeds, especially their boosts.

Intel Core i5 Mobile Processors

Core i5-
8265U
Core i5-
8257U
Core i5-
9300H
Core i5-
10210U
Core i5-
10310U
Fabrication
Architecture
14nm++14nm++14nm++14nm++14nm++
Cores4 Cores4 Cores4 Cores4 Cores4 Cores
Threads8 Threads8 Threads8 Threads8 Threads8 Threads
Base Clock1.6 GHz1.4 GHz2.4 GHz1.6 GHz1.7 GHz
Boost Clock3.9 GHz3.9 GHz4.1 GHz4.2 GHz4.4 GHz
L3 Cache6 MB Total6 MB Total8 MB Total6 MB Total6 MB Total
OverclockingNONONONONO
GPUUHD 620Iris Graphics
645
UHD 620UHD 620UHD 620
GPU Clock
Rate
1.10 GHz1.05 GHz1.05 GHz1.10 GHz1.15 GHz
PCIe SupportPCIe 3.0PCIe 3.0PCIe 3.0PCIe 3.0PCIe 3.0
Max Memory
Size
Up to 64 GBUp to 64 GBUp to 128 GBUp to 64 GBUp to 64 GB
Memory
Support
DDR4-2400
Dual Channel
DDR4-2400
Dual Channel
DDR4-2666
Dual Channel
DDR4-2666
Dual Channel
DDR4-2666
Dual Channel
CPU Power
(TDP)
15 W15 W35 W15 W15 W

Intel Core i7 Mobile Processors

Core i7-
8650U
Core i7-
8565U
Core i7-
9750H
Core i7-
10710U
Core i7-
10810U
Fabrication
Architecture
14nm++14nm++14nm++14nm++14nm++
Cores4 Cores4 Cores6 Cores6 Cores6 Cores
Threads8 Threads8 Threads12 Threads12 Threads12 Threads
Base Clock1.9 GHz1.8 GHz2.6 GHz1.1 GHz1.1 GHz
Boost Clock4.2 GHz4.6 GHz4.5 GHz4.7 GHz4.7 GHz
L3 Cache8 MB Total8 MB Total12 MB Total12 MB Total12 MB Total
OverclockingNONONONONO
GPUUHD 620UHD 620UHD 630UHD 620UHD 620
GPU Clock
Rate
1.15 GHz1.15 GHz1.15 GHz1.15 GHz1.15 GHz
PCIe SupportPCIe 3.0PCIe 3.0PCIe 3.0PCIe 3.0PCIe 3.0
Max Memory
Size
Up to 64 GBUp to 64 GBUp to 128 GBUp to 128 GBUp to 128 GB
Memory
Support
DDR4-2400
Dual Channel
DDR4-2400
Dual Channel
DDR4-2666
Dual Channel
DDR4-2666
Dual Channel
DDR4-2666
Dual Channel
CPU Power
(TDP)
15 W15 W45 W15 W15 W

Best Intel Core i5 Laptops

DELL XPS 13

DELL XPS 13

Retail Price: $1,049

The Dell XPS 13 2020 is one of the more attractive laptops in the market. Packed with the latest hardware offering you superior performance, bright display, and ultra-portable design. It is one of Dell’s most iconic designs, and not a lot has changed over the years. There are a few key upgrades that make this a true 2020 model compared with its previous iterations.

At first glance, you will know that you are looking at one of Dell’s XPS 13s. As soon as you open it up, you will notice very minimal bezels on the sides of the display. The carbon-fiber palm rest is also back in this version, giving you added comfort as you work on it. One of the most noticeable differences, though, is the webcam is now on top of the display rather than on the bottom.

Hardware

This version of Dell’s XPS 13 comes with a different line of ports on each side. There are no USB Type-A ports on the entire device. Instead, they replaced it with the smaller Type-C. There are still quite a few accessories that rely on the bigger Type-A jack, so they included an adapter so you can plug them in. You will also find a microSD card reader and a 3.5mm headphone jack to round out the list of ports you have available.

The XPS 13 is known for its portability, and weighing only at 2.7 pounds, it surely is. It is small, easy to carry, and lighter than other ultrabooks in the market, making this an excellent device if you are always on the go.

The Dell XPS 13 is also known for its bright displays, and the 2020 version delivers. The Full HD 1080p panel on this device is excellent, allowing you to enjoy your favorite movies. Color accuracy is also impressive, letting you do some design-intensive productivity tasks.

The keyboard is not the most impressive, but it does the job. It remains comfortable to type in even for long periods. The touchpad, even though it’s a bit smaller than other similar laptops, is excellent. It performs smoothly and quickly detects different gestures that make your life a lot easier when navigating the system.

Battery Life

Ultrabooks are known for their remarkable battery life, and the XPS 13 is no different. It comes with a 52 Wh pack that is capable of providing you a full day’s worth of work done without having to charge. Coupled with Intel’s latest 10th generation chips, you get efficient performance that will last you the entire day. This workflow includes browsing the web, streaming video, and Wi-Fi. It also helps that this version of the laptop comes with a Full HD 1080p display rather than a 4K extending its battery life.

Performance

This configuration of the XPS 13 comes with Intel’s latest 10th generation Core i5 mobile processor, the i5-10210U. It is an upper mid-range processor that has four computing cores and eight threads, giving you adequate performance on everyday tasks.

It is going to offer a smooth user experience when it comes to usual productivity tasks like browser, spreadsheet, and word processing. So, if you are not much of a power user, you will barely notice a difference between this CPU over other more powerful variants like the Core i7s.

The Core i5-10210U is also a decent chip to use for more resource-intensive tasks like video and photo editing. Do not expect it to be lightning fast as it will be a bit slower, especially when you are rendering. For gaming, however, with the built-in Intel UHD graphics, you can certainly play some light games. More graphics-intensive games can also be accommodated as long as you are prepared to lower your detail settings.

Overall, the new XPS 13 from Dell continues as one of their flagship devices. The new Core i5 processors give it the performance bump that it needs while being incredibly efficient. The design is sleek, slim, and portable, just what you expect from an ultrabook.

Dell XPS 13 Specs
Processor1.6 GHz 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10210U
Memory8 GB
Screen Size13.3” InfinityEdge Touchscreen
ResolutionFull HD 1920 x 1080
Storage256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home

APPLE MACBOOK PRO

APPLE MACBOOK PRO

Retail Price: $1,499

The MacBook Pro is an excellent middle ground for those who are looking for an Apple device but do not want to shell out a lot for the higher-end version. This model, in particular, comes with the bells and whistles of the more expensive ones, but at a reasonable price. Now, you will not have to contend on getting an entry-level one, which comes with slower hardware and does not have the TouchBar. At least, with this line of MacBooks, your concern will be about processor speed, storage capacity, memory, and price.

Hardware

The first thing that you are going to notice with this MacBook Pro is the TouchBar. It is a small touchscreen strip above your keyboard that replaces the function keys. Apart from that, the options also change depending on what app you are using on your Mac. So, for example, in Safari, you will be able to see your open tabs on the TouchBar, allowing you to quickly switch between them by simply tapping. Others, such as Mail and other third-party apps, also get third-party support, making it a useful way to make your way around your system.

If you are concerned with security, the MacBook Pro has got you covered. At the far end of the TouchBar is the Touch ID sensor that allows you to store your fingerprints so you can unlock the device just by tapping on it. It is pretty much similar technology used on iPhones and iPads, so you should be comfortable using them.

It is also great to know that the Touch ID is managed by their T2 chip, which handles all of the security features of the MacBook Pro. From your fingerprint data to disk encryption, the entire security system is separate from the main processor to avoid backdoor issues.

If there is a knock on this generation of MacBook Pros, it is the keyboard. They use a butterfly switch, which has a silicon membrane that helps keep the dust out. However, typing on them gets uncomfortable really quick, and they get a bit too loud. Although reliability has significantly improved over previous generations, improvements can certainly be made.

Battery Life

This model of the MacBook Pro comes with a 58 Wh battery, which is capable of providing you a good ten hours of use. It includes web browsing, movie playback, and light productivity tasks. You should be able to do the right amount of work with this device. It can surely handle workflows that are a bit resource-intensive, but it will still be able to offer you a good amount of runtime. So, if you are using this device for work, it will surely last you the entire workday without plugging it in.

Performance

This particular MacBook Pro model comes with Intel’s Core i5-8257U, which is not the latest generation. However, Apple seems to have a good understanding of these processors that they can squeeze every last bit of performance from it and optimizing it for their apps. It is still a significant performance upgrade from their previous generation laptops.

The category where the computer and the chip shines is in multi-core performance. The fact that it has four cores and eight threads, this MacBook Pro can rip through resource-intensive apps quickly. Over the previous generation Core i5 MacBook Pros, it nearly doubles its performance thanks to the added muscle.

The new generation chip is undoubtedly a clear upgrade from previous hardware Apple uses on their laptops. Productivity apps should be no problem, giving you optimum performance at increased efficiency.

Overall, even though this can be considered an entry-level MacBook Pro since there are higher-end versions with better hardware, it does not feel like you made some compromises in terms of price and hardware. The Core i5 chip provides the power that will fuel your day, whether it is for work or entertainment.

Apple Macbook Pro Specs
Processor1.4 GHz 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8257U
Memory8 GB
Screen Size13.3” LED-backlit IPS Display
ResolutionFull HD 2560 x 1600
Storage256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Operating SystemmacOS Catalina

ASUS ZENBOOK 13

ASUS ZENBOOK 13

Retail Price: $999

If there is a laptop that can contend with Dell’s XPS 13, it is the Asus ZenBook 13. Admittedly, it does lack a bit of the aesthetics of its competitor, it certainly makes up for it in performance, portability, and price. The components that Asus has crammed into this tight frame is impressive, from the 8th generation Intel Core i5 chip to the 512 GB in solid-state storage.

One thing is for sure, the ZenBook 13 will not strike you as a premium laptop, but as soon as you get your hands on it, you will quickly realize that it is. It is thin, lightweight, and ultra-portable, allowing you to carry it around and use it for work or play.

Hardware

The ZenBook 13 is still a well-built machine. It is reliable and does come with that workman-like feel, so you know that it can handle the daily stress of work. As an Ultrabook, it does have some limitations when it comes to its array of ports on the side. However, it has everything you need like two USB-A ports, one 2.0, and another that is 3.1. It also has a USB-C 3.1 port that you can use to connect your smartphone or even charge up the device. There is also an HDMI port and a combo 3.5mm headphone jack allowing you to listen in private.

A Thunderbolt 3 port is noticeable absent, where it will surely add a lot of value to users who use it. Although, it is not really a must-have since most other laptops in this price range often do not include it in their package.

The keyboard is impressive, comes with good travel making it comfortable to type in. Even with the thin profile, they have managed to put an excellent keyboard that feels great and could equal more premium options like the XPS 13.

The touchpad is decent, its only knock is that it probably does not give you enough room. However, other similarly sized devices do give you a wider trackpad for more comfortable use. It does have a secret where you will be able to activate a virtual numpad on the trackpad so you can type in numbers quickly.

The 13.3-inch display of the ZenBook 13 is impressive. Objects on the screen look great and allow you to enjoy vibrant colors so you can watch your favorite movie on it. Doing a bit of creative work should not pose much of a problem since it is also color accurate.

Battery Life

As with most Ultrabooks at this price range, the battery is an essential component. The ZenBook 13 comes with a 50 Wh pack, that is a bit small, but if you look at the efficient components, it is capable of lasting up to 13 hours. This workflow includes browsing the web, watching videos, and doing some light work with the Wi-Fi on. It easily beats out other competitors in its class like the MacBook Pro and the Dell XPS 13.

You should be able to use this without any problem for work since you will not need to plug it in. It is also a handy travel companion since you should be able to enjoy using it on long trips.

Performance

The ZenBook 13 is packed with Intel’s 8th generation Core i5-8265U processor, which is a midrange powerhouse that is perfect for thin and light systems. It is a quad-core chip with eight threads giving you the power to handle all of your daily tasks with ease. It has a maximum clock speed of 3.9 GHz, which is impressive as it will be able to give you that boost for resource-intensive workflows.

It is an excellent laptop to have for work that requires some speed to provide you with a smooth experience. The chip can also handle some light graphics and video editing work and should be enough to help you produce quick and short content. However, if you are a power user, then you will have to find one with a discrete graphics card to improve your workflow.

The built-in UHD 620 graphics are decent, and since it is not a discrete card, you will not be able to use it to play the latest games. Although the i5-8265U should handle most games, the bottleneck is in the graphics department, where you will only be able to play older titles at lower settings.

However, if you are mostly browsing the web and doing light work, this is an excellent laptop to have that is a bit more affordable than its equals like the MacBook Pro and the Dell XPS 13. It is not the most aesthetic in terms of look, but it surely has all the hardware you need to give you the premium experience you are looking for in a thin and light laptop.

Asus ZenBook 13 Specs
Processor1.6 GHz 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8265U
Memory8 GB DDR3
Screen Size13.3” 4-Way NanoEdge Display
ResolutionFull HD 1920 x 1080
Storage512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home

DELL G5 15 5590

DELL G5 15 5590

Retail Price: $999

Apart from thin and light Ultrabooks, there is also another segment that enjoys the use of Intel’s Core i5 processors, and that’s gaming laptops. One notable model that takes full advantage of the power and efficiency of these midrange chips is Dell’s G5 15 gaming machine. It is undoubtedly a lot heftier, but it does pack a bit more power with Intel’s Core i5-9300H, which is a high-performance chip for gaming laptops.

Hardware

Compared with other gaming machines, the G5 15 5590 does not scream fancy. Everything is muted, but the mix of plastic and metal surely makes it look and feel robust. Even though it is larger than thin and light machines, it does give you a sense that it is portable and easy to carry around.

With a larger chassis, you certainly get a few more ports than the Ultrabooks. The G5 15 5590 comes with three USB-A, a USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, and LAN ports. It pretty much has got you covered when it comes to connectivity. It also helps the design that most of these ports are found at the rear of the device, minimizing clutter.

As a gaming laptop, you want one with an impressive display, and the G5 15 5590 certainly delivers. It’s 15.6-inch, Full HD 1080p display is sharp, bright, and vivid, making it an excellent one to enjoy playing your favorite games. The detail is also remarkable that it is not only great for gaming but also watching your favorite movie or doing some graphics and video editing work.

The G5 15 5590 comes with a keyboard that is extremely comfortable to use, which is understandable, allowing you to game on it for hours. Since the chassis is a lot bigger, there is space to squeeze in a full-sized numpad. The keys are tactile with a good amount of travel distance, giving you the feedback that you are looking for as you play your favorite game.

The position of the touchpad is a bit offset in terms of the chassis, so using it might take a bit of getting used to. Its performance, though, is excellent, allowing you to make different gestures for quick navigation. It is smooth and should remind you of how touchpads on the XPS 13 feel.

Battery Life

The big difference between big and beefy laptops, such as the G5 15 5590, and thin and light Ultrabooks is battery life. With the added hardware and power that gaming laptops carry, they consume more energy, so even with a 60 Wh pack, you are only limited to a few hours. In the case of this particular machine, browsing and video playback with the Wi-Fi turned on will last you about 6 hours.

Gaming, though, will only last you a bit over an hour since they are usually more resource-intensive. Still, these are impressive numbers as most gaming laptops will have a hard time running on batteries after three hours.

Performance

The G5 15 5590, at its core, has an Intel 9th generation Core i5-9300H. This is their high-performance processors for mobile devices, hence the “H” designation. It does have enough power to run just about anything you can think of, after all, it is a 4-core, 8-thread beast on a small machine. You can definitely do some multitasking, although it may perform a bit slow when it comes to more intensive operations like video rendering and encoding. It will be able to handle it, but it will be noticeably slow.

The hybrid drive can also be a let-down since you only get 128 GB of solid-state storage, and that’s just enough for your most essential boot files. If you are the type that transfers large files to an external device, then this is probably not the laptop for you.

The G5 15 5590 is after all a gaming device, and this is the category where it excels. The i5-9300H can undoubtedly handle the latest games with ease, but paired with an Nvidia GTX 1650, it will surely give you an excellent experience. The laptop is capable of pushing out the frames above 60 per second for a much smoother gaming session.

Overall, the Dell G5 15 5590 is an excellent midrange laptop for gamers. You can take full advantage of this machine if you are into esports titles rather than Triple-A games that are more graphics-intensive. It is also very reasonably priced for a laptop with these specs as it consistently delivers a solid performance.

Dell G5 15 5590 Specs
Processor2.4 GHz 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H
Memory8 GB DDR3
Screen Size15.6” Display
ResolutionFull HD 1920 x 1080
Storage128 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD
GraphicsNvidia GTX 1650
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home

Best Intel Core i7 Laptops

MICROSOFT SURFACE BOOK 2

MICROSOFT SURFACE BOOK 2

Retail Price: $1,999

When you think of Microsoft’s Surface Book line of devices, speed and performance is not the first thing that comes into your mind. You will think about portability and its 2-in-1 design, but power is likely not at the top of your list. However, the latest line of these devices marries both of these to give you a more complete experience.

It is essentially two devices in one since you will be able to use it as a tablet or a traditional laptop. It gives you a good amount of versatility so you can either separate the display from the base and watch your favorite movies in bed or use it for work as a laptop.

Hardware

The Surface Book 2 is a thin and light laptop that can be separated, allowing you to use it as a tablet. The hardware that makes this possible is the Fulcrum hinge that controls the connectivity between the keyboard base and the tablet display. It does make the entire device larger than most 13-inch laptops, but the versatility you get from it certainly makes it all worth it.

As for the keyboard base, it is surprisingly comfortable to use with excellent feedback allowing you to be confident that every keystroke you make has registered. The trackpad is a bit small, though, compared to similar devices. Still, it does the job, and the display is of the touchscreen variety, giving you an alternative in terms of input.

The Surface Book 2 does come with your usual suspects of ports from USB-A 3.0 to a USB-C 3.1. You can also find an SD card reader and a Surface Connect port for power and connectivity to the Surface Dock, if ever you get one.

Surface devices usually come with an excellent display, and the Surface Book 2 surely has one. One thing that you will instantly notice with the screen is that its aspect ratio is quite off. It comes with a 3,000 x 2,000-pixel panel giving you added real estate for your productivity tasks. You will experience some letterboxing when you watch videos or movies, but it should not bother you that much.

In terms of quality, the display on the Surface Book 2 is as impressive as other premium devices. Color accuracy is decent, so you can surely do a bit of creative work on it. However, if you are a creative professional, you may want to look at a more suited device for your work. As a work laptop, though, that involves browsing the web and typing, it is certainly more than enough.

Battery Life

The Surface Book 2 does come with the right amount of performance, and it does need something to power all of its components, including the discrete graphics card. It comes with a 70 Wh battery that’s divided between the two parts of the device, allowing you to use it in different configurations.

It is capable of lasting you up to 10 hours on normal loads, including browsing the web and working on basic productivity applications. Pushing it a bit will shorten it a just a bit, but it can certainly last you an entire workday without plugging it in.

Performance

Powered by Intel’s 8th generation high-end quad-core chips, the Surface Book 2 is capable of doing resource-intensive tasks without much of a problem. The Core i7-8650U that it comes with is one of the fastest mobile processors on the market, giving you a lot of headroom with everything that you put it through.

The Surface Book 2 is a quick and highly-capable device that allows you to do higher-end productivity like image and video editing. With the help of its built-in Nvidia GTX 1050, you can even do some decent rendering work.

Even though it’s a relatively small and lightweight device, the Surface Book 2 is capable of playing a few games. You might not be able to play the latest games at the highest graphics settings, but compromising just a bit can get you decent frame rates. Although esports titles and games that are not that intensive should not be a problem to play on the Surface Book 2.

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is an excellent productivity machine. It’s even a decent entry-level gaming laptop if you look at its specs carefully. Battery life is impressive at usual loads and does come with some extra grunt to deal with more intensive workflows like video editing, rendering, and encoding.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 Specs
Processor1.9 GHz 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U
Memory8 GB LPDDR3
Screen Size13.5” PixelSense Display
ResolutionFull HD 3000 x 2000
Storage256 GB SSD
GraphicsNvidia GTX 1050
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro

HP ENVY 13

HP ENVY 13

Retail Price: $1,259

HP’s Envy line of laptops is one of the more affordable alternatives to their more premium Spectre Ultrabooks. Even though it is not their top-of-the-line models, some premium features have definitely trickled down like the slim chassis, bright 4K display, and internal components with some muscle.

It does have all the features that you are looking for in a premium Ultrabook-type device. The main difference between this and other similar models is the price since the Envy 13 is a lot more affordable.

Hardware

The first thing that stands out the minute you see the HP Envy 13 is its slim profile. It comes with a sleek frame that easily fits in the thin and light category allowing you to stow it in your backpack. As soon as you flip open the lid, you will be treated to a finish similar to that of their Spectre line of ultrabooks. The bezels are slim, although not as thin as other brands, for a reasonably-priced machine, it is certainly enough.

The sleek and compact design means that you do not get all the ports that you expect from a laptop, but you do get the essential ones like two USB 3.1 Type-A and a USB-C on the sides. There is also a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microSD card reader, and the barrel plug for the power adapter. HP did not include a Thunderbolt 3 port on the Envy 13, making this part the compromise allowing them to offer this device at a more affordable price.

Similar to other thin and light laptops, the Envy 13’s display surely checks a lot of boxes. For one, it comes with a 4K resolution giving you added detail whenever you are watching your favorite movie or editing videos for work. Its IPS technology gives it solid viewing angles allowing you to not lose brightness and color accuracy quickly.

The full-sized keyboard is exceptionally comfortable to use, allowing you to type for hours without feeling fatigued. It is also quiet, so you do not disturb anyone at work. The trackpad is larger than expected and can become a problem since you can easily touch it with the palm of your hand. It is sensitive and smooth to use, giving you a decent experience, primarily when you use it for work.

Battery Life

Since this configuration uses a 4K display, it does consume quite a bit of power. It’s 53 Wh battery is only capable of powering the Envy 13 for up to 6 hours. For a slim and light laptop with a 4K display, it is certainly enough. However, you will need to carry around its power brick wherever you go since it might run out of juice at any time of the day. Still, you can enjoy an unplugged performance like watching your favorite movie on a long flight or quickly writing something up as you wait at an airport lounge for a couple of hours.

The laptop does come with a battery saver mode that allows you to exceed its 6-hour performance mark with ease. Video playback, for one, is friendly on the batteries, even productivity tasks with Wi-Fi turned on will give you extended operation.

Performance

The Envy 13, even though it’s considered a thin and light laptop, does come with some grunt. Powered by Intel’s 8th generation Core i7-8565U paired with Nvidia’s GeForce MX250 discrete graphics card. This duo gives the laptop a significant performance boost compared to other similar devices in its class.

The four cores of the Core i7-8565U will easily keep you with your different workflows. You can be sure that your performance demands will be met with ease. With the capability to boost up to 4.6 GHz whenever needed, productivity apps will definitely feel snappy and load a lot quicker.

The processor that the Envy 13 comes with is energy efficient, so it does not produce a lot of excess heat, keeping the device cool at all times, so you do not experience any type of performance dip. Although it does not come with the fastest chip for mobile devices, you can surely feel the balance of performance and portability, allowing HP to create a slim laptop that is capable of running just about any work-related app.

The HP Envy 13 is definitely a quality laptop that you can consider as a work or school device. It is slim and is capable of providing you consistent, reliable performance every day. Battery life is decent, but the 4K display is undoubtedly a winner for a laptop that is affordably-priced as this one.

HP Envy 13 Specs
Processor1.8 GHz 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U
Memory16 GB DDR4
Screen Size13.3” IPS Micro-edge Display
Resolution4K 3840 x 2160
Storage512 GB SSD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce MX250
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home

ASUS ZENBOOK PRO DUO

ASUS ZENBOOK PRO DUO

Retail Price: $2,399

The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is not like any laptop you’ve seen before. It’s a multitasker’s dream with two 4K displays with the firepower to allow you to work on your creative projects without worrying about performance. The two displays are not positioned in a way that you would expect since the second one is situated right above the keyboard, giving you some additional control surfaces since it’s a touchscreen.

The design choice of the ZenBook Pro Duo is perfect for those who are always editing videos since the secondary screen can act as your timeline display, allowing you to make quick changes just by tapping on it. You can think of it as a Touch Bar on steroids as it is significantly larger and comes with a lot more functions.

Hardware

Laptop designs have pretty much stayed the same over the years, and the ZenBook Pro Duo has clearly changed the game. It is not your usual thin and light device as it does come with a lot of power that will enable you to do some resource-intensive work quite easily. The main reason why it is a bit beefy compared to other laptops apart from the power-packed components is the secondary 4K display.

The first time you open it and see the layout, you will instantly notice that it’s not your usual laptop. Of course, there’s that large display above your keyboard pushing it to the bottom edge of the chassis. It also means that the touchpad needs to be moved, and it is conveniently positioned at the right side of the keyboard where a numpad should be. The layout takes quite a while getting used to, but the additional screen does help when it comes to navigating your different apps.

As a productivity beast, it does not have the port selection that you expect from a big and beefy laptop, this is partly due to the screen taking quite a bit of space. However, you do get a fair amount of ports that you expect like two USB 3.1 Type-A and a USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 so you can connect some of your input devices. You also get a full-sized HDMI if you want to connect a larger monitor to work on. It does not have an Ethernet port or a microSD card slot, which is a bit of a compromise given its size.

Dual 4K Screens

The ZenBook Pro Duo comes with a dual-screen setup, and it is definitely one of its main selling points. The main screen is a 4K panel with your usual resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. The colors are vibrant and accurate and are certainly enough for most creative workflows. The quality of the top display is impressive, and it would be hard to find a device that comes with a better screen.

The Screenpad Plus or the other display acts as a second monitor where you will be able to drag and drop applications from the top screen. It also is 4K with a 3,840 x 1,100 pixel resolution. If you’re not used to it yet, it can feel a bit cramped, but it’s not meant to be used as your primary screen anyway. As a second screen, you can certainly use it to keep an eye on other apps freeing up your main display for work.

One of the features of the Screenpad Plus is that it’s a touchscreen. You will be able to use your fingers to move apps around or the Asus Pen stylus for navigation. It is essentially a drawing tablet if you use it this way, making the ZenBook Pro Duo an excellent device for digital artists.

The Screenpad Plus is certainly an interesting addition to the ZenBook Pro Duo. It is more than a secondary monitor, all thanks to its touchscreen features allowing you to interact with it using your fingers or the stylus.

Battery Life

One 4K display is bad enough for your battery, what more two. Both panels are absolutely stunning, but they do not do the ZenBook Pro Duo’s batteries any favor. It also comes with a powerful RTX 2060 discrete graphics card from Nvidia, making it use up power quickly. However, you can still get a decent four hours of light productivity with the Wi-Fi on. Web surfing should not pose much of a problem with the batteries, but don’t expect it to last an entire workday without charging.

Performance

This is the category where the ZenBook Pro Duo shines. Packed with the latest Intel 9th generation mobile performance chip, the Core i7-9750H, it is capable of running resource-intensive apps like video editing software without breaking a sweat. You can also multitask and run a few more apps before suffering from performance dips.

It also comes with Nvidia’s latest RTX 2060 graphics card that not only makes it a monster productivity device, but also a gaming laptop that you can play the latest games at high frame rates with the best detail quality. If you are the creative type and love playing the latest Triple-A games, this is the laptop for you.

The ZenBook Pro Duo is definitely a speedy laptop that is capable of handling most of the tasks you can throw at it. Whenever you are gaming, you might need to lower the resolution down a notch since the RTX 2060 isn’t really designed for 4K gaming. Still, the quality is there, and you are going to have incredible gaming experience.

Overall, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is a different beast. The design is slightly unconventional, but it certainly has a niche where it can nicely slide right into. The second monitor on a laptop, even though it’s a bit small, is definitely welcome. The awkward layout can take some time getting used to, but if your workflow checks all the boxes for this laptop, you’ll adjust in no time.

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo Specs
Processor2.6 GHz 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H
Memory16 GB DDR4
Screen Size15.6” NanoEdge Bezel Touch Display
Resolution4K 3840 x 2160
Storage1 TB PCIe NVMe SSD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce RTX 2060
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro

ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR III GAMING LAPTOP

ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR III GAMING LAPTOP

Retail Price: $2,199

If we’re talking about devices powered by Core i7 processors, gaming laptops will surely make that list. One of the most impressive ones is the Asus ROG Strix Scar III boasting impressive overall performance with a buttery smooth display and excellent battery life that’s perfect for both gaming and intensive productivity apps.

Hardware

The chassis is a sturdy brushed aluminum and is quite thick. This is understandable as a gaming laptop since its components do produce significantly more heat than its thin and light counterparts. One of the first things that you’ll notice right off the bat is the RGB light strip around the chassis.

Flipping it open will reveal a carbon-fiber deck similar to Dell’s XPS laptops providing you a soft and comfortable place to rest your hands as you use it. The keyboard is full-sized with a line of dedicated media keys above it. As a 15-inch laptop, you will notice that it does not come with a built-in numpad but instead is hidden in the touchpad is one of Asus’ latest innovations. This gives you a much larger keyboard that’s comfortable to type in and game.

As a beefy gaming laptop, it does come with a good number of ports. On the left side, you have three USB 3.1 Type-A ports where you will be able to attach your gaming peripherals such as a mouse, headset, or an external gaming keyboard. There is also a 3.5mm headphone jack if you prefer your audio devices connected that way. The rear of the device also features some real estate for a couple of ports, mainly an HDMI, a USB-C DisplayPort, and an Ethernet port.

The Scar III’s display is also built for gaming as it comes with a 240 Hz refresh rate with a 3ms response time allowing you for the best performance. These specs also make using it buttery smooth, especially if you are simply doing some light work or browsing the web. It is also reasonably accurate in terms of color, so you should be able to use it for some creative work like graphics and video editing.

As with most gaming-themed devices, the Scar III comes with an RGB keyboard that you can customize with the built-in app. Apart from the vast array of colors that you can set it to, it is clicky and comfortable to type and game in. The carbon fiber palm rest also adds to the comfort allowing you to type or game for more extended periods.

Battery Life

Gaming laptops do not usually have impressive battery life. Still, the Scar III does come with a good power pack that is capable of lasting up to 6 hours. Of course, this isn’t on gaming mode, but still for light work, watching videos, or surfing the web, this is certainly more than enough. Don’t expect it to run for hours unplugged when playing your favorite game, which is usually how it is with gaming laptops.

Performance

As a gaming laptop, the Scar III requires quite a bit of power, so you will be able to fully enjoy all of its features. What makes it possible for this machine is Intel’s 9th generation Core i7-9750H, a high-performance processor that could easily pass off as a desktop-grade chip. It’s fast and snappy, giving it that boost to allow you to play your favorite games at high frame rates.

The laptop also comes with Nvidia’s RTX 2070 that enables you to play the latest games with the best detail at high frame rates for smooth performance. If you’re playing esports titles, you should be able to hit more than 120 fps allowing you to extract every ounce of performance, so you always remain competitive.

The Asus ROG Strix Scar III is undoubtedly an impressive gaming laptop that offers excellent performance. Coupled with the 240 Hz display and long battery life, it allows you to enjoy your favorite game and be competitive. It is surely thicker than your thin and lights, but it does need that extra heft, so it dissipates the heat it produces effectively as you game. It is definitely one of the best gaming laptops that you can get.

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo Specs
Processor2.6 GHz 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H
Memory32 GB DDR4
Screen Size15.6” 240 Hz IPS Gaming Display
ResolutionFull HD 1920 x 1080
Storage1 TB NVMe SSD + 1 TB HDD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce RTX 2070
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home

Which One Should You Get?

The answer to this question really depends on how you want to use your laptop. Both the Core i5 and i7 processors are excellent chips allowing you to do just about any type of work. The main difference is that the Core i7 usually comes with more cores and higher clock speeds and is significantly better for resource-intensive workflows like content creation and creatives.

Price Difference

There is also a significant price difference between these two types of processors. The Core i5 is generally more affordable since it is more of a mainstream chip that should be enough for light productivity and entertainment. So, if you’re looking for a laptop for work and some video viewing, then a Core i5 should be perfect for you.

The Core i7, on the other hand, is for more intensive apps. Having it on your laptop also makes it snappier and more responsive to lighter workflows. They are also capable of doing more intensive apps like video rendering and encoding since they usually have more processing cores and threads, allowing them to finish these tasks significantly faster.

Battery Life

The mobile versions of the Core i5 and i7 processors are incredibly efficient. Put these chips on a laptop with the right configuration, they can easily hit 9 or 10 hours of use before the need to plug them in. However, there are cases where the Core i5 is marginally better in terms of battery life, but any of these should last you the entire workday without the need to plug in.

These two chips also come with high-performance versions that are for gaming and should last you a good six hours of use. These chips are more powerful and are capable of providing lots of power so you can play your favorite games on them without a problem.

Overall Performance

Choosing the right processor really depends on how you want to use your laptop. If you are a power user and are looking to play games on it and do some creative work like video and 3D rendering, then you should get a machine with a Core i7 processor and a decent discrete graphics card.

However, if you’re the type who wants to use your laptop as more of a productivity and entertainment device, which does not require a lot of power, then a Core i5 should be enough. For the most part, the integrated graphics should be enough for your needs.

Wrap Up

Both the Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors are certainly enough for most of your needs. They can easily support gaming or light productivity tasks. The main difference between them is if you want a much snappier machine or one that’s going to significantly cut down on your render times.

Surely the Core i5 will offer you the best bang for your buck, but some users will need the full power of a Core i7 processor to streamline their varied and intensive workflows. The bottom line is that you can never go wrong with laptops that use any of these two chips as they are going to be fast and should not leave you hanging in terms of performance.

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