Best Laptops for Windows Mixed Reality of 2017

Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) is here, and it's brought us comfortable headsets and an overall great VR experience. There are actually two categories of WMR — regular and Ultra — that require different hardware to hit the corresponding performance checkmarks. To help you figure out just what laptop goes best with both types of WMR, we've rounded up some of the best Ultrabooks out there that also happen to have the ports needed to plug everything in.

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Windows Mixed Reality (regular)

Standard WMR tops out at about 60Hz (60 frames-per-second), and while it doesn't quite deliver as smooth of a picture, it doesn't require as powerful of a PC to run. We have here a good mix of laptops that can function as everyday productivity machines that are also able to hit standard WMR requirements.

Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13

The XPS 13 (starting at about $800) is a long-standing favorite, thanks to its slim design and near lack of bezel around the 13.3-inch display (1080p or 1800p). Get up to an eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD inside, and let integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 handle the WMR load.

While there's no DisplayPort or HDMI, the USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port, with the right adapter, will have no problem connecting your WMR headset.

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HP ENVY 17

HP ENVY 17

HP's refreshed ENVY line (about $1,400) comes with an eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8550U processor (CPU), 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card (GPU) with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. The 17.3-inch display, while not touch, does have a 4K resolution for a stunning picture.

For ports, you're looking at HDMI 1.4, USB-C 3.1, three USB-A 3.1, and Ethernet, plus there's an IR camera that handles quick logins through Windows Hello.

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Samsung Notebook 9

Samsung Notebook 9

Samsung's Notebook line of laptops is almost criminally underrated. With a 13.3-inch, 1080p display, an ultra-light chassis, and powerful hardware within, this is a great option for anyone who has the budget; a configuration ready for Windows Mixed Reality starts at about $900.

Inside is an Intel Core i5-7200U CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and Intel HD Graphics 620. The 256GB SSD has enough space for your needs, and two USB-A 3.0 ports and an HDMI port let you plug everything in. For a laptop that's almost unbelievably light, check out the Samsung Notebook 9.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

For the business-oriented out there, you're likely looking for something that will look good in meetings and also hold up to anything you throw at it, including WMR. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon from Lenovo is light and powerful, yet retains many of the features that are essential in a ThinkPad.

A configuration with an Intel Core i5-7200U CPU, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, a 256GB SSD, and Intel HD Graphics 620 starts at about $1,500. This is definitely on the high end of the spectrum when it comes to price, but the slim, convertible chassis holds all the ports needed for WMR, and having a reliable business partner in the real world is invaluable.

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HP Spectre x360

HP Spectre x360

HP's lineup of laptops seems to keep getting better, and if you like the look of the ENVY but prefer something convertible, have a look at the HP Spectre x360 (starting at about $1,300). Get up to an Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB PCIe SSD, and an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM, and bask in the 15.6-inch 4K display.

The convertible design and included pen allow you to use this laptop in many different ways, and it has all the ports you need to get a standard WMR experience set up.

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Windows Mixed Reality Ultra

WMR Ultra is meant to hit 90Hz for a smoother image and overall experience, but it does require a PC with a dedicated GPU. These laptops are on the edge of being decent gaming devices, but can still be used comfortably as everyday drivers.

Dell Inspiron 15 7577

Dell Inspiron 15 7577

For a relatively low price (starting at about $900), Dell's Inspiron 15 7577 has a lot to offer. It has the ports needed for a WMR Ultra setup, including HDMI 2.0, three USB-A 3.1, and USB-C Thunderbolt 3, and the 15.6-inch 1080p display (also available in 4K) is nothing to ignore when you aren't in a WMR headset.

Inside, get up to a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB hard-disk drive (HDD) coupled with a 512GB PCIe SSD, and a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM. For some serious power without a steep price, give these laptops a look.

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Acer Aspire 7

Acer Aspire 7

Acer's Aspire 7 (about $970) comes at you with all the ports needed for a WMR Ultra experience, including HDMI 2.0, USB-C Thunderbolt 3, and USB-A 3.0. The 15.6-inch display has a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, and while it isn't touch-enabled, delivers a great viewing experience when you aren't in WMR.

As for performance hardware, you're looking at a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM.

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Lenovo Yoga 720 15

Lenovo Yoga 720 15

The 15-inch version of Lenovo's Yoga 720 (starting at about $950) is one of our favorites from the past year, thanks to a beautiful convertible build and strong performance.

Get up to a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB PCIe SSD, and a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM. The 15.6-inch touch display is available in both 1080p and 4K, and while you'll need an adapter for the Thunderbolt 3 port, everything else should fall into place for a smooth WMR Ultra experience.

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Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS 15

The executive look of the Dell XPS 15 makes it a bit of a sleeper. Yes, they are a bit pricey, but inside is some great hardware and holding it all is a slick chassis. For about $1,200, you can get a seventh-generation Intel Core i5-7300HQ CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive, and an NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. You'll have no problem running WMR with this laptop.

Dell has done a great job of eliminating almost all of the bezel around the 15.6-inch, 1080p display, and the 97WHr battery keeps you running well into the day. This laptop will run standard WMR right out of the box with HDMI 1.4, but pick up a USB-C to HDMI adapter for full Ultra WMR.

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Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft Surface Book 2

If your budget has no limits, you might want to check out Microsoft's 13- and 15-inch Surface Book 2 (starting at about $1,500). Both sizes are available with dedicated GPUs, with the larger sporting up to an NVIDIA GTX 1060 with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM. Get also up to an eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 1TB SSD, all contained within the slim, modular body.

Ports include two USB-A 3.0 and USB-C, so you will need to grab the correct USB-C to HDMI adapter. Other than that, you're looking at an Ultra WMR experience powered by one of the nicest Ultrabooks on the market today.

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More resources

If you're more interested in a laptop that's strictly gaming with enough power for all VR systems, you're in luck. We have a bunch of options that should suit your needs. Also, be sure to check out these other links for way more information about Windows Mixed Reality.

Updated December 23, 2017: We've refreshed this list to ensure you're still getting the best laptops for Windows Mixed Reality.

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