Microsoft Surface Book 3
BEST 2-IN-1 SMALL LAPTOP
Microsoft Surface Book laptops have always been solid overall computing devices, and the long-awaited Surface 3 is no lightweight. Released around the same time as the new Macbooks, Microsofts premium laptop packs plenty of power for multimedia editing with software like Photoshop and Premiere, all while providing up to 15.5 hours of battery life in low power mode . Plus, if you like using touchscreen tablets, you can detach the Surface Book screen from the keyboard and turn your laptop into the ultimate entertainment device. For anyone who prefers Windows to Mac OS, Microsoft has finally released a laptop to rival the MacBook Pro.
How To Choose An Ultrabook
The word “Ultrabook” officially refers to notebooks that meet Intel’s strict standards for weight, thickness and usability. These days, nonbusiness laptops rarely carry the chipmaker’s official Ultrabook label, but many people still use the term to describe super thin and light laptops of all kinds.
We’ve listed our favorite lightweight Ultrabooks on this page. If you’re shopping for one, consider the following:
- Three Pounds or Less: If you want a system that’s really easy on your arms, look for one that’s under this threshold.
- 9+ Hours of Battery Life: What good is a highly portable laptop if you need to re-charge it every few hours? Look for systems that lasted at least 9 hours on the Laptop Mag Battery Test.
- The Right Ports: Decide what ports you absolutely need, before you buy. Some Ultrabooks only have USB Type-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports, while others have a mix of both next-gen and legacy connectors.
- Touch or Non-Touch?: If you’re buying a 2-in-1, a touch screen comes standard. However, if you’re getting a clamshell laptop, touch may cost extra and could drain battery life.
Why Trust Spy When Buying A Laptop
The SPY team is always looking for the coolest tech gadgets to share with our readers, and we put a lot of time and research into all of our shopping guides. We take a lot of pride in covering the latest tech news and product launches, and already this year weve been hard at work testing and reviewing the best wearables, smartphones, smart home devices, TVs, speakers, headphones and video doorbells .
When it comes to buying a laptop, weve already done all the homework for you. From hunting down the best laptops for college students to comparing top-rated ultrabooks, we take our job very seriously. We want our readers to make a purchase knowing theyre getting the best possible value for their dollar. So if youre in the market for a new small laptop, were confident youll find the right product on this page. Most importantly, well never recommend a product to you that we wouldnt buy ourselves.
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Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
Because some people can make do with a cloud-based device, we decided to include one Chromebook in our guide to the best mini laptops. No surprise, a Samsung Chromebook is our top recommendation. The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 promises to offer big performance at a price that is anything but. Running on an Intel Celeron CPU may not sound impressive, but since Chrome OS requires less horsepower to run smoothly, an Intel Core i5 CPU is not as necessary. Combined with a form factor that comes in at 2.7 pounds and 0.55 inches, 4 GB of RAM and a highly desirable 13-inch 4K display, youre likely to find that this laptop will suit all your needs.
Preparing Os For Spi Display
For our laptop we can choose any display for Raspberry Pi that is up to 8.9cm in size. An HDMI based touch display is recommended as we are using a touch e-ink display for the keyboard panel, which is an SPI, and two SPI displays can cause conflict in communication. However, the SPI touch e-ink display used for keyboard uses only its touch function that is I2C based, so the SPI of other displays does not cause that much of a problem.
An SPI based display was used in the prototype because it had already been bought, but use of 8.9cm HDMI touch display is recommended instead. By using the HDMI display, you can skip the following steps and go straight to the keyboard preparation section.
To use the SPI display, we need to install the drivers and setup the SPI touch display. So, open the terminal and run the following command in Linux terminal to install the driver and setup the display for Raspberry Pi:
git clone https://github.com/goodtft/cd LCD-show/sudo ./LCD35-show
After installing the driver, connect the SPI display, as shown in Fig. 11, and solder the pins to Raspberry Pi as per Table 2.
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The Thinnest Gaming Laptop: Razer Blade Stealth 13
Most gaming laptops are relatively thick laptops because they have to fit in complex cooling systems that allow the CPU and GPU to run at full tilt for intense gaming sessions. Razer worked some magic with the Blade Stealth 13, managing to pack a real gaming laptop into a very diminutive chassis thats only 0.6 inches thick.
Inside, youll find a quad-core 10th-gen Intel Core i7 CPU to go with a legit Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Ti GPU that can manage modern titles at 1080p and reasonable graphics. And like some other gaming laptops, you get the option of a fast 120Hz display and RGB keyboard that supports 16.8 million colors and customizable lighting effects.
Hp Elite Dragonfly 218 Pounds
Like Lenovos laptop, HP jumped on the Intel Evo bandwagon with its latest Elite Dragonfly notebook. Youll see configurations spanning five 11th-generation Intel processors from the i3-1115G4 to the i7-1185G7 along with up to 32GB of RAM and up to 2TB of storage.
This laptop is a convertible 2-in-1, which means the screen and keyboard deck are connected by a 360-degree hinge, enabling clamshell, tent, stand, and tablet modes. The 13.3-inch screen can be configured with a Full HD or 4K resolution.
Connectivity consists of two USB-C ports with USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4, one USB-A port, one HDMI port, and an audio jack. Its powered by a 38WHr or 56WHr battery, depending on the configuration. Wireless options include Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, and cellular connectivity depending on the configuration.
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Which Is Better Macos Or Windows
For the money, though, you’re getting great hardware top to bottom, inside and out. Apple recently moved to using its own processors, which resulted in across-the-board performance improvements compared to older Intel-based models. But, the company’s most powerful laptop, the 16-inch MacBook Pro, still hasn’t been updated to Apple silicon.
But, again, that great hardware comes at a price. Also, you’re limited to just Apple laptops. With Windows and Chromebooks , you get an amazing variety of devices at a wide range of prices.
Software between the two is plentiful, so unless you need to run something that’s only available on one platform or the other, you should be fine to go with either. Gaming is definitely an advantage for a Windows laptop, though.
MacOS is also considered to be easier and safer to use than Windows, especially for people who want their computers to get out of the way so they can get things done. Over the years, though, Microsoft has done its best to follow suit and, with Windows 11 here, it’s trying to remove any barriers. Also, while Macs might have a reputation for being safer, with the popularity of the iPhone and iPad helping to drive Mac sales, they’ve become bigger targets for malware.
How Are Lightweight Laptops Tested
Testing lightweight laptops is very similar to most other forms of laptops. However, due to their slant toward portability, T3 ensures that traveling with and using a system while on the go is central to each review.
This lets us ascertain key things such as how good is a lightweight laptop’s battery, how robust is its chassis and keyboard, and how easy it is to slip into a bag. These are real-world important things that no amount of whizzy specs can compensate for if lacking, as they are fundamental to the lightweight laptop experience.
Those considerations aside, T3 first evaluates lightweight laptops in terms of their overall package, design and build quality. We want to know what the system comes with out of the box, and just how ergonomically and aesthetically pleasing it is. If a system has a poor trackpad or cheap feeling chassis, we’ll find out here.
Next, we consider the system in terms of specs and hardware, before proceeding to the benchmark the laptop to see what that translates as in terms of performance. We then actually use the lightweight laptop to see how that benchmark performance translates into real-world usage.
Finally, we then consider the system’s operating system, software and any extra unique features, such as biometric sign-in tech, touchscreen stylus support or built-in webcams and mics. Here we want to ascertain just how easy to use the system is, as well as if anything has been cheaped out on, to save money.
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What To Look For In A Lightweight Laptop
Screen size: Smaller 11-inch or 13-inch displays can be perfectly adequate for most tasks and more portable at 2 to 3 pounds . It is possible to find larger displays of 15 inches or more if you want or need a bigger screen. The trade off for a bigger screen is a bit more weight to tote around, but it could be worth it.
Battery life: Many lightweight laptops also tend to have solid battery performance. If you prefer spending less time recharging or searching for an available outlet while traveling, some models have extended capacities of 11 hours or more.
Processor and memory: Ultrabooks or light convertible laptops can typically handle any routine computing task you ask of them, but if you have special needs like photo editing, video editing, or gaming, youll want to look for more powerful processors and extra RAM that can support more involved software or demanding tasks.
How Much Ram Does A Laptop Need
RAM is an important specification to look for in a laptop. Youll want 4GB at the very least for a Windows laptop though wed actually recommend for many people to go for 8GB. That will ensure that the laptop runs well for years to come. Budget Chromebooks can get away with less RAM, such as 1GB or 2GB.
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The Thinnest Macbook: Apple Macbook Pro 13
MacBooks are generally thin, and there was a time when the MacBook Air was the thinnest laptop you could buy no Windows machine came close. Today, Windows laptops are thinner. And while the tapered MacBook Air is thinner at its thinnest point , its 0.63 at its thickest, while the MacBook Pro 13 is 0.59 inches across the board.
Not only is the MacBook Pro 13 thinner, but its also significantly more powerful. It packs in full-speed CPUs compared to the MacBook Airs low-powered processors, to go with more RAM, more storage, and generally more powerful components across the board. The Pros display is also better, with wider and more accurate colors and more brightness.
Read our in-depth Apple MacBook Pro 13 review
The Thinnest Budget Laptop: Acer Swift 3
You dont have to spend a lot of money to get a reasonably thin laptop. The Acer Swift 3 proves the point, giving you solid productivity performance with some optional gaming on the side thanks to an Nvidia MX350 GPU. If you dont want to game, then you can spend as little as $680 for a 10th-gen Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 14-inch IPS display.
Youll also enjoy a build quality thats good enough for the price, very good battery life, and a comfortable keyboard and touchpad. And best of all, youll fill up less of your backpack when you take the Swift 3 on the road.
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Best Laptop For 202: The 15 Laptops We Recommend
Top laptop picks across all categories, tested and reviewed by CNET editors.
Senior Editor / Reviews
Joshua Goldman is a senior editor for CNET Reviews, covering laptops and the occasional action cam or drone and related accessories. He has been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software since 2000.
Choosing a new laptop whether it’s for work, home or going back to school isn’t an easy decision but CNET’s best laptops for 2022 is a great place to start with our top picks across brands, operating systems, budgets and categories. Many of the models from 2021 are currently being updated for 2022 with the latest chips from Intel and AMD, and Apple has introduced its new M2 chips, too. That includes new versions of two of our favorites, the MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13.
At CNET, our laptop experts have collective decades of experience testing and reviewing laptops, covering everything from performance to price to battery life. This hand-curated list covers the best laptops across various sizes, styles and costs, including laptop computers running on Windows, MacOS and Chrome.
This best laptop list is updated periodically with new models we’ve tested and reviewed. If you need advice on whether a particular type of laptop or two-in-one is right for you, jump to our laptop FAQ at the bottom of the list.
Can You Really Get Work Done On A Tiny Laptop
I have a dream. Or a delusion? I’m not sure. Either way, there is a gadget I have sought for many years and am yet to find: A pocket-sized laptop that I can get real work done on. In my case, “real work” is mostly writing, basic image editing and — just to make things complicated — fairly heavyweight music production.
You can see the problem I have created for myself I’m asking for something with a keyboard big enough for fluid typing and the processing grunt to handle images and audio . Basically, a regular, decent-spec laptop. But there are multiple options in the small laptop space, so it can’t be totally unreasonable? The Pocket 2 from GPD , for example, clearly claims to offer both power and portability. Then there’s the 7-inch Peakago that mimics the Lenovo Yoga Book series in a much smaller form. These are just two examples I’ve tried recently, along with others in the past and, well, let’s just say the search continues.
You might know GPD for its gaming-focused portables. If you’re looking for a handheld device for PC gaming, it offers several options, often with buttons and a D-pad built-in. It’s logical, then, that the company figured it could strip out the gamepad and have a solution for mid-to-pro level users. And given that the product page for the Pocket 2 proudly states “Technology rivals the MacBook,” I was pretty optimistic. After all, I write on a MacBook every day and use one for music production in my spare time.
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Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon
SMALL AND POWERFUL
There is a lot of power packed into this mini laptop. For only weighing 2.4 pounds, its surprising how much oomph is included. At the base level, you can expect 8GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage, which is more than enough for school or work. But if you want to go really hard in the paint, it can be maxed out to 16GB and 1TB of storage. Plus theres plenty of connectivity to supply all of your peripherals. And not to mention, the black chassis just downright looks sleek, too.
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Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Nano
FOR THE OFFICE
In the unlikely event that you feel the 2.4 pounds is a little too heavy, consider the ThinkPad X1 Nano over the Carbon. Like the Carbon, it is scary powerful and incredibly light, only weighing in at 1.99 pounds. You get powerful internals 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage, plus a great-looking 2,160 x 1,350-pixel 13-inch display. This is a rare combination of size and power. If you are Team Lenovo, you cant go wrong with the Carbon or the Nano as a solid workplace laptop.
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 229 Pounds
Googles Chrome OS may be lightweight and somewhat different than Windows or MacOS, but one thing is certain: The overall designs of Chromebooks have come a long way since the initial units. Samsungs Galaxy Chromebook is a great example with a super-slim design, a colorful splash across the keyboard deck, and a slot for storing the included pen.
This Chromebook is also a convertible 2-in-1, supporting clamshell, tent, stand, and tablet modes. The AMOLED screen itself measures 13.3 inches across and sports a 4K resolution.
Under the hood, youll find a 10th-generation Core i5-10210U processor, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD, the latter of which is ideal if you plan to install Linux software. Other features include two USB-C ports, a card reader, a fingerprint reader, and a 49.2WHr battery boasting up to eight hours.
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