laptop with a removable battery
The best laptops with removable batteries aren’t always easy to find. Whereas just a few years ago there were plenty of options from manufacturers like Lenovo and Dell, most have been phased out with generational refreshes. Why? Portable power banks have become much more powerful and affordable, plus they can work across devices for extra versatility. Take a look at the laptops we like that still have a swappable battery, as well as what you need to know about charging your laptop with a power bank.
Best overall: Panasonic Toughbook 55 MK2
Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central
One of the removable batteries comes standard (there is no internal permanent battery), while the other takes up one of three modular bays. The other two bays can be filled with xPAKs, Panasonic’s expansion hardware. You can add ports, extra security measures (like a fingerprint reader), storage, disk drive, or even a GPU. If you get a model with two battery packs running at once, you can expect about 25 hours of battery life.
The Toughbook is undeniably rugged, with MIL-STD-810H and IP53 certification. A handle makes it easier to carry, ports are covered, and there’s an aluminum chassis protecting internal components. You can now get either 11th Gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors (CPU), Intel Iris Xe graphics, up to 2TB of M.2 SSD storage, and 32GB of RAM. Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6 are standard now, and you can add optional 4G LTE.
The display is available in HD and FHD touch, plus there’s a siloed pen available for inking on the latter model. This isn’t a cheap PC, but it’s no doubt what you want if you’re working mostly from the field.
- 3 modular bays including removable SSD, bigger GPU
- Loud 92dB speakers
- Over 25 hours battery life
- Outstanding rugged design
- Optional 4G LTE
- 16:10 display would be better
Best gaming: Gigabyte G5 KC
The Gigabyte G5 isn’t the thinnest or lightest gaming laptop, but it does bring a lot of power at a modest price. You can get either a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10500H or i7-10870H CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3060 Laptop GPU, and tons of storage and RAM to fit your needs. Inside are two M.2 slots, as well as a bay for a SATA drive.
The 15.6-inch 1080p display comes with either a 144Hz or 240Hz refresh rate, as well as an IPS panel and matte finish. This will keep up with the performance hardware to make your games look smooth. There are tons of ports for connecting PC gaming accessories, and Wi-Fi 6 will keep you connected.
- Removable 49Wh battery
- NVIDIA RTX 3060 Laptop GPU
- Tons of ports
- High-refresh FHD display
- Dual M.2 slots, SATA SSD
- Battery life is underwhelming
- Fairly thick design
Laptops with removable and replaceable batteries are far less common than they were just a few years ago. Sure, you can still open up a laptop and remove all the connections and screws to swap it out, but that’s not the focus here. Many laptops used to have easy-swap designs that allowed you to quickly change the dead battery for a charged battery in situations where an AC outlet wasn’t available. Even Lenovo’s ThinkPad lineup has recently moved away from the Power Bridge system which allowed for hot-swaps on the go.
Laptops are getting thinner, and the space needed for the quick-swap design isn’t always aesthetically pleasing. Some manufacturers are pointing customers toward external power banks, which have come a long way in the last few years in terms of capacity and price. You can now pick up a power bank that will work across plenty of devices instead of just a proprietary battery that only works in one device. Our collection of the best laptop power and charging accessories has a bunch of options that might fit your need.
Rugged laptops are some of the only PCs left with removable batteries, and in that vein the Panasonic Toughbook 55 MK2 is our top pick. If you need a laptop with modern performance hardware (including 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs), Thunderbolt 4, siloed pen for inking, tons of security, optional 4G LTE, and a hot-swappable battery, it’s certainly not going to let you down. This is the PC you want to take with you into the field if you’d rather not worry about it holding up under pressure.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, accessory coverage, and the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
Daniel Rubino is the executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.
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