When choosing a laptop, one of the most important features to consider is what kind of processor it has. A fast, efficient CPU will support you through intense gameplay, heavy multitasking, and hardcore media use. A slow CPU…not so much. Running a laptop with a CPU that isn’t powerful enough to match your demands can lead to slow-down, lag, freezing, and even crashes.
Today, the Intel i7 processors are at the top of their field. Laptops with i7 processors can perform faster, more efficiently, and under heavier use cases than their counterparts with lesser CPUs.
More processing power often means spending more money. Luckily, the Intel i7s aren’t exorbitantly priced; making these laptops perfect for college because of the bump in processing capabilities is well worth a reasonable extra cost.
How we chose the best i7 laptop
There are many laptops on the market with i7 processors, but that doesn’t mean that all such laptops are created equal. There are always a number of features to consider when choosing a laptop, and as important as an i7 CPU is, it isn’t the only factor to keep in mind. Five criteria stand out above the rest:
- Disk Space
We determined this final list by gathering user feedback and carefully analysing it to determine which features are most important to those who use an i7 processor.
The five best i7 laptops
Here’s a list of the five best i7 laptops;
The most important consideration when choosing the best i7 laptop
It’s hard to pinpoint the most important consideration for choosing your i7 laptop because there will be some variation from user to user depending on what your needs are. However, one consideration that will affect most users regardless of their use case is how much RAM the laptop has.
If you’ve forked out the money for an i7 CPU, it’s reasonable to assume that you plan to use it! Without sufficient RAM, even a great processor like the i7 won’t be enough to keep things moving at the speeds you want. A great processor and good RAM go hand in hand; if you don’t need a decent amount of RAM you’re probably not going to need an i7 processor in the first place.
Considering the needs of most i7 users, we recommend that you start out with at least 8GB of RAM. The higher your demands the more you’ll need.
Other considerations when choosing the best i7 laptop
Disk space is another important part of your i7 laptop. How much you need will depend on what you plan to use your device for. You’ll want to consider how much storage space you want, and also whether to get a SSD (solid state drive) or a cheaper HDD (hard disk drive). We recommend choosing a laptop with at least 1 TB HDD or 256 GB SSD.
When it comes to processing, graphics can be a whole new barrel of apples, particularly if you chose an i7 CPU to support gaming or graphic design. A good graphics card will contribute to the overall processing power of your laptop and is another item you may want to consider spending a little extra on.
GPUs can be either dedicated or integrated, meaning that they either have their own dedicated RAM or they rely on your system RAM to run. Although integrated graphics cards have come a long way, we recommend a good dedicated graphics card to get the most out of your laptop.
A good display is another feature listed as important by many users in the feedback we gathered. The more time that you plan to spend with your laptop, the more important display becomes. You want a display that will minimize the chances of headache or eyestrain and provide an exceptional viewing experience. We recommend that you go with at least a 13 inch or bigger but if you need a more compact laptop then go for the 11 inch display
At the very minimum, we recommend a Full HD display (1920 x 1080). IPS panels are also a good idea, particularly if color accuracy is important to you. You’ll also want to consider whether you want a screen that is more matte or more reflective.
Portability is an important consideration for any kind of laptop, and i7 laptops are no exception. Many users need their laptops to be mobile for professional reasons, while others prefer a more portable laptop for the sake of convenience. Either way, you’ll get the most out of your device if you can comfortably take it with you where you need to go.
Several factors contribute to a laptop’s portability, including size, weight, and battery life. You may need to sacrifice somewhat on any one of these for the sake of a larger screen or more hardware. We recommend looking for a good balance between the three to meet your personal needs.
The best i7 laptop
Our #1 pick for best i7 laptop is the Dell Inspiron i7559-7512GRY. The Dell Inspiron won out over the others on our list primarily because of its all-around excellence across each of our five criteria.
In addition to an i7 quad-core processor, the Inspiron comes with 16 GB of RAM, twice our minimum recommendation. This laptop also includes an excellent NVIDIA GTX 960M graphics processor with 4 GB of dedicated RAM.
The fantastic graphics on this laptop are further enhanced by a beautiful, high-quality display. The Inspiron comes with a display up to 3840 x 2160 UHD.
In terms of hard drive, this is a machine that brings the best of both worlds. It offers a full TB HDD with an additional 128 GB SSD for faster read-write speeds.
Clearly, the Dell Inspiron is a gem for processing power. However, the benefits of the laptop don’t stop there. It’s also highly portable at just an inch thick. The 15.6” display offers a good middle ground between portability and screen size. As with all laptops, the battery life will depend largely on how you use the machine, but with a 6-cell 74Whr battery, this device has you set to make the most of your time.
With this kind of hardware, the Dell Inspiron was an easy winner for our #1 spot. This laptop is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a fast, reliable laptop to meet their demands.
The four other i7 laptops we tested
Coming in at a close second is the MacBook Pro. This is another fantastic choice for those in the market for an i7 laptop.
Apple’s reputation for excellence is well earned, and it doesn’t disappoint here. The MacBook Pro boasts an i7 2.2 GHz CPU with a turbo boost of up to 3.7 GHz. 16 GB of RAM keep your laptop running efficiently, further enhancing your experience. This device comes with a 512 GB SSD to give you plenty of storage that moves quickly.
The Pro uses a dedicated AMD Radeon R9 M370X GPU with 2 GB of RAM. This isn’t quite as heavy as some of the NVIDIA GPUs found in gaming laptops, but performs well for most other uses.
The 15.4” screen on this device provides a brilliant Retina display at 2880 x 1800 pixels. It’s also one of the most highly portable machines on our list at just 0.71” slim and 4.5 pounds. Nine hours of average battery life makes the MacBook suitable for the most mobile users.
It was a close call between the Dell Inspiron and MacBook Pro. Ultimately, the MacBook Pro placed second because it had slightly less to offer in terms of graphics and display. However, this laptop still is a strong contender for top pick. We confidently give it a full recommendation as an excellent i7 laptop.
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Our third place pick is another strong machine that has a lot to offer. The ASUS Rog is a combination of great processing and beautiful visual display. Best known as a gaming laptop, this device will benefit any high-demands user.
The Rog runs on an i7-6700HQ CPU. Like our top 2 picks, this laptop has a solid 16 GB of RAM. A NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card with 4 GB dedicated RAM keeps graphics running smoothly. In terms of storage, the Rog offers a 1 TB HDD with a 128 GB SSD.
For those who prefer a less reflective screen, the Rog provides a Full HD, matte screen with IPS Panels for a great viewing experience.
Portability is slightly reduced in this laptop due to its impressive hardware. At 5.6 lbs, the Rog is on the heavier side for our list but quite light compared to many other top gaming laptops on the market. It’s also just 1.3” slim.
The Rog came in third due to its heavier weight and somewhat lower screen resolution in comparison to our top 2 picks. However, it’s still a powerful and efficient machine that’s well worth consideration when looking for an i7 laptop.
- Powerful 6th-generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz. 16GB RAM; 1TB 7200RPM +...
- 15.6 inches Matte IPS FHD display. 1920 by 1080 resolution. NVIDIA GeForce GTX...
- GameFirst III technology prioritizes the flow of the game data across your...
Fourth on our list is the ASUS ZenBook. The ZenBook is a great laptop for those who want a smaller machine for their heavy lifting. At 13.3 inches and just 3.2 pounds, this is the lightest device on our list. A battery life of up to seven hours adds to an already excellent portability profile.
This laptop’s i7 processor works smoothly in conjunction with 12 GB of RAM. This is less RAM than that found in other laptops on our list, but it’s still plenty for many high-needs uses and well above our 8GB minimum recommendation. Like the MacBook Pro, the ZenBook comes with a 512 GB SSD.
The ZenBook also comes with a NVIDIA GT940M GPU with 2 GB of dedicated RAM. The brilliant HD+ screen has a resolution of up to 3200 x 1800 pixels with IPS panels for improved display.
It placed fourth on our list due to having less RAM than our top three picks, but it was neck-and-neck on all other criteria. Ultimately, the ASUS ZenBook is a great choice for i7 laptop.
Last on our list is the Lenovo IdeaPad.
The IdeaPad is another strong contender with an i7 CPU. Like the ASUS ZenBook, the IdeaPad comes with 12 GB of RAM, more than enough to support an i7 processor through many use scenarios. A 1 TB HDD offers plenty of storage space for those who need it.
The GPU on this laptop is a NVIDIA GeForce 940MX dedicated graphics card with 4 GB of RAM. With an IPS Full HD display, the IdeaPad offers users a fantastic viewing experience.
In terms of portability, the 510 clocks in at 4.84 pounds. This 15.6” laptop has a battery life of around 5 hours, less than others on our list but still enough to be mobile.
The Lenovo IdeaPad placed last on our list because it couldn’t outperform the excellent overall processing power and portability of our other picks. However, it’s still a fast machine with plenty offer, especially in the graphics department. For those who need an i7 laptop but have budget constraints, the Lenovo IdeaPad is a great choice.
- Full HD IPS Display - When it comes to great looking displays, the Lenovo...
- The Latest and Fastest RAM - To meet the needs of present and future, DDR4...
- Harman Audio - Turn it up loud and enjoy. The Lenovo ideapad 510 comes with dual...
The bottom line
In the end, the Dell Inspiron came in as our #1 Top Pick for best i7 laptop because of its powerful combination of 16 GB RAM, fast hard drive, superior graphics, and excellent portability profile.
The Dell Inspiron certainly earned its spot as the winner, but the other four laptops on our list are also well worth consideration. Each offers a powerful combination of processing power, portability, and excellence in display. Which one is truly the best for your unique situation will depend on what you intend to use it for.
In the end, i7 processors are at the top of the field for good reason. They will support you through many different use cases and contribute to a better overall user experience as you work with your laptop. All of the laptops on our top 5 list bring great features to the table, and we stand by our recommendations for each of them.