Microsoft’s support for Windows 7 is officially over, so if you’re still running a PC on it, you’re doing it at your own risk. You can upgrade to Windows 10 and, if you’re currently running a licensed and activated copy of Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 Home or Pro, here’s how to do it for free.
But, in my own experience making the switch from Windows 7 to Windows 10, my laptop’s performance became frustratingly slow. It was a low-end laptop to begin with and, although it met Win 10’s system requirements, it just wasn’t a great experience. I ended up turning that into a Chromebook for my kids and moving on to a laptop built for what Windows 10 offers.
The end of Windows 7 support is as good a time as any to make the jump to Microsoft’s current OS, Windows 10. But if you’re not sure where to start right now, here are five picks to help steer you on your search. You can also head straight to our list of best laptops and desktops. Plus, here are our best gaming laptops, 15-inch laptops and two-in-ones, as well as the best choices for college students, creatives and MacBook Pro alternatives. And, if you just want pure power or battery life, our rankings of battery life and performance are for you.
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Acer Aspire 5 (2019)
Acer knows how to put together a solid budget-friendly laptop, and the Aspire 5 is a fine example. A remarkable deal for simple tasks like email, word processing and the like, it’s also thin and relatively light for a 15.6-inch laptop. It’s available in a variety of configurations starting as low as $400, but can go up to $650 if you want entry-level discrete graphics for basic gaming and content creation. Our $530 version ably balances performance and affordability. Read our Acer Aspire 5 (2019) review.
Dell G5 15 5590
A lot has changed in the world of gaming laptops since Windows 7 was the OS of choice. They’ve gotten thinner and lighter for sure, but they’re also more powerful at lower prices, with good entry-level models available for $800 or less. The midrange G5 15 hits this mark with an excellent price-to-performance ratio, build quality and design. Dell’s G-series gaming laptops are cheaper than those from its Alienware division, but still capable of playing the latest AAA games. Read our Dell G5 15 5590 review.
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While the ZDNet report says, “Microsoft also won’t be enabling third-party dual-screen Windows devices to ship with 10X” this year, it doesn’t appear to rule out the release of the Surface Duo, Microsoft’s dual-screen Android phone, which was announced at the same Surface launch event in October.