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Do you remember the old “Mac vs. PC” commercials that Apple used to run — you know the ones with the hip and cool Justin Long playing the Mac while the stuffy, buttoned-up John Hodgman took on the role of PC? Well, if you’re still letting your memory of those ads dictate your laptop preferences, we’ve got news for you. Those ads ran when Windows Vista was still the most popular operating system. Windows 10 has come a long way.

It’s not just the operating system that has gotten better. It’s the computers, too. While MacBooks still benefit from the Apple shine, PCs have caught up and then some. Now there is a Windows 10 laptop capable of doing just about anything. Whether it’s schoolwork, running a business, making art, or gaming, there is a Windows 10 laptop that can handle it. It’s just a matter of finding the one that is right for you.

Why should I choose a Windows 10 laptop instead of a MacBook?

Look, MacBooks have plenty of allure, and ever since Apple introduced the M1 chip, they have become impressive machines. The thing is, you don’t have to get a Mac in order to get a fully capable laptop. If you’re already familiar with the Apple ecosystem, the appeal of a MacBook is understandable. But if you aren’t tied to an iPhone already or are starting from scratch picking your devices, there’s no reason to tie yourself to macOS.

If it’s been a while since you’ve interacted with Windows, you’re in for a pleasant surprise when you get introduced to Windows 10. Microsoft has embraced a clean, intuitive user interface that won’t make you feel out of place if you’ve been a Windows loyalist for years or if you haven’t touched a PC since Windows 95.

While macOS has caught up in terms of compatibility, there are still some things that Apple’s operating system still can’t do — or at least can’t do as well as Windows. Far from the all-business appearance of old PCs, Windows 10 laptops are still better options for gamers, as more top titles are compatible with the operating system. The machines also tend to be more powerful, built with more RAM and processors that are made to handle intensive programs. Many even had dedicated graphics cards so you can enjoy incredible-looking gameplay even on the go.

There is also far more variety among Windows 10 laptops. That means more budget-friendly options, more high-end choices, and more overall flexibility to fit what you need in favor of Apple’s more one-size-fits-all approach. You’ll also find options for two-in-one laptops that convert to tablets and touchscreen displays, something that MacBooks can’t offer.

Can I use a Windows laptop for work or school?

Just because you see the Apple logo lit up on a classmate or co-worker’s computer doesn’t mean that you have to follow suit. Increasingly, Windows 10 laptops have become machines that are made to work, and not just in the boardroom.

Windows laptops can come with plenty of power for complex tasks, but they can also scale down to be perfect devices for notetaking and studying — though all that RAM will come in handy when you have tons of tabs open while you cram for an exam. The flexibility of some Windows laptops, with the ability to convert to a tablet, makes it easy to take notes and solve problems using a stylus on the touchscreen. If you feel like you retain information better when you write it down, this is an ideal solution since you can write your notes and have a digital record of them.

Of course, you almost certainly know the reputation of Windows machines being boring, made for running spreadsheets and other tasks reserved for people in cubicles. But you know what? Spreadsheets are handy, and having a computer that can handle your workload is essential. You won’t have any worries about running Excel, Word, or any of the Microsoft Office 365 programs on a Windows 10 laptop.

Are Windows laptops good for gaming and entertainment?

You better believe that Windows 10 is capable of doing much more than work. Some of these laptops are absolute workhorses, capable of running the latest games. If you care about things like frames per second, refresh rate, and latency, then there is a Windows 10 laptop out there that you can trust as you go into battle against your friends online.

More so than just gaming, Windows 10 laptops are entertainment machines. You’ll find options with incredible speakers built-in for your audio fix and 4K displays that let you watch movies the way they were meant to be seen. If you’re a media junky with a major library of favorites, you’ll likely love the fact that many Windows 10 laptops have lots of storage available. That means you can download movies and watch them on the go, a great option for travelers.

Will a Windows laptop fit into my budget?

Because of the incredible variety of Windows 10 laptops, you can almost certainly find one that will fit your budget. While most MacBooks are locked into steeper price points, Windows machines can scale down to a capable machine that won’t break the bank while still getting the job done or scale up to a total powerhouse that will give you more processing power than you’ll even know what to do with. There are plenty of Windows 10 laptops that are available for under $1,000, which provide options for students or people who are operating on a tighter budget.

So which Windows 10 laptop should I get?

Now that you know everything a Windows 10 laptop is capable of, you can feel comfortable picking the one that is right for you. To get you started, we’ve selected some of our favorites for different categories in 2021. Your next laptop might be waiting for you, just start scrolling.

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