Best laptops and desktops to give as holiday gifts in 2020


By now everyone is probably equipped for working from home or remote learning, but it’s also likely that some folks are pining for an upgrade from whatever system they’ve been slogging on to get by. Make someone’s everyday life — and gaming evenings — a little better with an upgrade from their slow or clunky old faithful. We’ve got holiday gift recommendations of laptops and desktops from brands like Dell, Apple, Acer, HP, Lenovo and more that are bound to brighten someone’s 2021.

Here are our initial picks, starting at the less onerous end of the price scale. We’ll be back regularly with updated recommendations, so check back. If you can’t wait, you can check out all of CNET’s laptop reviews and pick your own.  

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This is a 10-inch tablet running Chrome OS that’s bundled with a detachable keyboard and touchpad starting at less than $300. It’s a little small, but that makes it a great gift option for young kids.

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Dell’s G-series gaming laptops are cheaper than those from its Alienware division, but still capable of playing the latest AAA titles. There are three separate models — the G3, G5 and G7 — available in 15- and 17-inch sizes. The midrange G5 15 hits the mark with an excellent price-to-performance ratio, build quality and design. The newest versions start at $910, including a special-edition model with AMD’s impressive Ryzen 5 4600H processor.

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HP’s small 2-in-1 brings all the convenience of the convertible design without sacrificing usability. For your favorite workaholic, it offers features like an instant mic mute button join other privacy and security features like an IR camera and fingerprint reader and switch to disable its webcam. Plus, it’s available with 4G LTE wireless to let them work anywhere. 

Read our HP Spectre x360 13 (late 2019) review.

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This is our go-to recommendation for those in search of a MacOS laptop for everyday basic use. Apple dropped the entry price back down to $1,000 making its most affordable laptop a lot less painful on your wallet — for Apple. But it remains one of the best laptops available for battery life, performance and design. 

Read our Apple MacBook Air 2020 review.

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Regularly available for less than $750, this thin, three-pound convertible is a solid choice for anyone gifting a laptop for office or schoolwork. The all-metal chassis gives it a premium look and feel, and it has a comfortable keyboard and responsive, smooth precision touchpad. Plus, it has a long battery life to boot.

Read our Lenovo Yoga C740 (14-inch) review.