Ultrabooks Fulfill All Of Your Computing Needs Without The Added Bulk And Weight
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If you need a device that can travel well or is easy to move around, the best lightweight laptops are totable 2- to 4-pound ultrabooks with displays that range from 13 to 16 inches. While theyre usually much slimmer and smaller overall than the best 17-inch and larger laptops, most lightweight laptops are capable enough to tackle whatever tasks you throw their way without the burden of extra weight.
Most have enough processing power, RAM, and storage to complete routine multitasking for the typical workday, but specialized models can rival the power of brawnier laptops or desktops with heavy-duty processors, expandable internals, and vivid and large displays with advanced graphics and color rendering. These attributes are helpful for creative tasks such as photo or video editing and enjoyable gaming. Above-average battery life that extends beyond a workday is also a bonus, and some models dont require a recharge for 18 hours or longer. Other first-rate comforts include cellular connectivity, durable form factors, and biometrics for quick and secure access.;
Read on for our top picks of the best lightweight laptops.
The Best Lightweight Laptops You Can Buy Today
The Dell XPS 13 series has consistently wowed us here at T3, and the latest version of the laptop continues that trend it’s powerful, supremely well built, and compact, so just about everything you could possibly want in your search for the best lightweight laptop. This will in no way weigh you down.
With the latest 11th-gen Intel processors installed and up to 16GB of RAM installed, this is a portable computer that’s going to be able to handle everything that you want to throw at it. From late-night Netflix to early-morning report writing, you’ll find the Dell XPS 13 a capable and competent laptop.
It’s that 13.4-inch display with the super-thin bezels that really makes the XPS 13 stand out though: if you want to, you can go all the way up to a 4K resolution, but the 1,920 x 1,080 resolution models still look fantastic .
The battery life is a very respectable 10 hours as well, meaning that you can legitimately use it all day for study as well, even if there isn’t a power socket nearby.
To see how the Dell XPS 13 stacks up against another strong laptop choice, be sure to take a look at our Asus VivoBook S15 vs Dell XPS 13 comparison feature.
Mac fans should look no further than the M1 Apple MacBook Air for an ultraportable laptop in 2021.
That’s a minor quibble, though. The MacBook Air is a game changer and an absolutely superb lightweight laptop. To learn even more about this fantastic lightweight laptop check out T3’s full MacBook Air review.
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Hp Elitebook X360 1040 G7
The best HP business laptop
Reasons to avoid
HP’s EliteBook x360 1040 G7 is among the best business laptops money can buy. This stunning laptop has a gorgeous chassis that flaunts a flexible hinge, allowing the x360 1040 G7 to convert from a laptop into a tablet.
It’s one of a few rare notebooks that seemingly has no downsides. Along with that stylus chassis, you get a bright and vivid 14-inch display. But the EliteBook x360 1040 G7’s greatness doesn’t stop there. The laptop also has a surprisingly comfortable keyboard, fast performance and a host of security features, including an IR camera, a fingerprint sensor and MIL-SPEC-810 rated durability.;The 10th Gen Intel CPUs, while lacking graphical oomph, are powerful, and the battery lasts for longer than 11 hours on a charge.;
For these reasons, the EliteBook x360 1040 is the best HP laptop for business users.;
Reasons to avoid
The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 sports the world’s first QLED display, which means you’ll get to feast your eyes on a color-rich, super-bright screen — and you won’t have to sacrifice too much battery power to get it. In fact, when we tested the gorgeous royal-blue Flex 15 in our lab, the laptop gave us a whopping 15 hours of battery life. Ah, we no longer have to imagine a world where we can spend all day on our 2-in-1 without having to worry about battery life; Samsung’s made it possible.
See our full Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 review.
Components And Connectivity: What To Know
The good news is that you’ll have to accept fewer compromises with the budget laptops of today than you did in the past. Intel’s Celeron and Pentium processors have evolved to the point that they can support most of your web browsing and basic productivity needs without feeling sluggish. That said, the $400-to-$700 Windows laptop market is mostly populated by systems based on the much peppier Core i3, Core i5, Ryzen 3, and Ryzen 5 families of processors. Opt for these CPU lines if you need more than just the basics.
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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.
Best Laptop Under $500 For 2021
Here are some recommendations and buying advice so you can find the best budget-friendly laptop from Lenovo, Acer and others.
Parts-supply shortages and high demand for cheap;Windows and Chrome OS laptops spurred on by the pandemic have made it a bit more challenging to find the best laptop under $500. There are a lot of cheap laptops that are just not worth it, so we urge you to consult our picks to help you sort through the competition and not make rash decisions when you’re shopping. You’ll also find some straightforward buying advice based on our years of testing and review experience to help you understand just what to expect from a laptop priced under $500, as well as what to look for if you want to continue your budget laptop hunt on your own.
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How We Test Laptops
Laptop Mag has been testing and reviewing laptops for over two decades. We test over 150 different models per year, subjecting each system to a series of rigorous benchmarks that provides a complete picture of performance, battery life and usability.
Our expert reviewers also use each product to see how it looks and feels in everyday situations. Because we see so many different notebooks, we can compare each to its direct competitors and give you an idea of how it stacks up to the average laptop in its price band.
When we bring a laptop into our laboratory, our goal is to see how it would work if you brought it into your home or office. While we use a number of industry standard benchmarks such as Geekbench and 3DMark, we focus heavily on real-world tests that we have developed in-house.
To test endurance, the Laptop Mag Battery test surfs the web at 150 nits of brightness until the system runs out of juice. To judge pure processing power, we use a giant spreadsheet macro that matches 65,000 names with their addresses, a video transcoder that converts a 4K video to 1080p and the Geekbench 4 synthetic test. We measure graphics prowess with both 3DMark Ice Storm / Fire Strike and a series of actual game titles.
We use a colorimeter to measure screen brightness and color gamut while other instruments help us determine a laptop’s key travel and ambient heat. See this page on How We Test Laptops for more details on our benchmarking procedures.
Apple Macbook Pro Design
What more is there to say about this iconic design? Its a MacBook. Like its many predecessors before it, the entirety of the chassis is made of aluminum. While my review is colored Space Gray, its also available in Silver. The lid is bare except for the world famous glossy Apple logo.
The interior of the lid has more of that Space Gray aluminum that makes up the palm rest and keyboard deck. The majority of the palm rest is occupied by a huge touchpad. The keyboard sits in a slightly recessed deck flanked by a pair of slim speaker grilles.;
The MacBook Pro is a bit on the heavy side at 3 pounds. The Dell XPS 13 and 13-inch HP Spectre x360 is slightly lighter at 2.8 and 2.7 pounds, while the Asus ZenBook 13 s 11.9 x 8 x 0.5-inch frame proved to be the slimmest and lightest at 2.5 pounds.;
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Why You Should Go With A Small Laptop
Needless to say, its a good time to be a laptop user. With so many options these days, its never been easier to find the perfect laptop at the perfect price. Students looking for a budget laptop under $300 can find high-quality;Chromebooks and two-in-one convertibles, while designers and professionals can benefit from the latest generation of MacBook Air laptops. But while there are now more laptops brands and models to choose from, youll want to do a little research before settling on the right mini laptop. When reviewing the best small laptops, you need to consider price, expected lifespan, battery life and function.
When portability is a must, its important to choose a laptop thats both lightweight and reliable. Thats the beauty of the best small laptops the tiny footprint doesnt equate to poor performance. The 2020 MacBook Air can be configured to have up to 2TB of SSD storage, has all-day battery life, and is still one of the most lightweight laptops available. Even better, it only costs $1,000. Some of the more lightweight models like the Air or Dell XPS 13 are almost as light and slim as some tablets, but with the full functionality that a powerful laptop provides.
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Microsoft has very much spared no expense when it comes to the second edition of their 2-in-1 laptop-tablet. If you want vast sums of power in an ultraportable device, then youve come to the right place.
With a stunning screen display, powerful build-in graphics specs, and a lengthy battery life, there are few in the ultraportable market that can even come close to the power that the Surface Book 2 can offer.
However, all that juice does come at a very high price. If youre willing to spend big, its worth adding the stylus and/or mouse to your cart, too, for a phenomenal computing package.
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Which Laptops Last The Longest
Depending on what you buy and how you use it, a good laptop thats well cared for should last at least three to five years. A good ultrabook, a business laptop, or a MacBook will feel sturdier, last longer, and perform better than a cheap sub-$500 laptop with a mostly plastic frame and a basic processor. And a laptop that you primarily use around the house will last longer than one that you travel with frequently. Some business laptops or photo and video editing laptops are easier to upgrade with more memory and storage later to extend their useful life. A gaming laptop will feel outdated sooner than most other kinds of laptops, since new 3D games become more demanding at a faster rate than other apps.
Cpu Media And Storage Tests
Our first look at overall performance comes from the Windows-only PCMark performance suite developed by the benchmark specialists at UL . The PCMark 10 test we run simulates different real-world productivity and content-creation workflows. We use it to assess overall system performance for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheet jockeying, web browsing, and videoconferencing. The XPS 13 performs very well, though essentially the same as the similarly equipped ZenBook 13.
PCMark 8, meanwhile, has a storage subtest that we use to assess the speed of the system’s boot drive. Like PCMark 10, it yields a proprietary numeric score . Most recent laptops with SSDs perform roughly equally well in this test, which is the case here.
Next is Maxon’s CPU-crunching Cinebench R15 test, which is fully threaded to make use of all available processor cores and threads. Cinebench stresses the CPU rather than the GPU to render a complex image. The result is a proprietary score indicating a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. The hierarchy on this test is clear: the Ice Lake-based Surface Laptop 3 and Blade Stealth 13 are a rung below the Tiger Lake XPS 13 and ZenBook 13. The MacBook Pro’s Core i5 processor is an overachiever.
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Best Overall: Dell Xps 13 7390
Overall, we love the Dell XPS 13 as the best overall laptop on this list. The balance of power, design, and affordability all come together in a great product with an amazing keyboard. WE’re suckers for a great keyboard here, but even that is just the icing on an impressive cake.
If you want something more portable, then look to the Apple MacBook Air. This device packs a surprising amount of power in its ultraportable frame. With more and more developers making native ARM apps for Mac, the MacBook Air is only going to get better.
Can I Connect My Laptop To A Larger Screen Or Use Dual Screens
Typically, the answer is yes. Most laptops have some kind of video out capability. That will usually take the form of either an HDMI port or a USB Type-C port. You’ll want to check the specifications for an individual laptop before you buy, but that’s usually how it is done. Usually, the process is just connecting a cable from your laptop to the monitor, and then configuring the layout of your monitors. You can usually mirror content to both screens, extend your desktop across both screens, or close your laptop and just work on the external monitor.
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Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe 24 Pounds
The Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe is one of the lightest 14-inch laptops at just 2.4 pounds. However, its not the newest configuration on the block, still packing 8th-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors. Youll also find up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage on an M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD.
For connectivity, this laptop provides three USB-C ports, two of which include Thunderbolt 3. It packs a 14-inch display crammed into a 13-inch frame, which translates to an extremely thin chassis all-around although weve seen thinner bezels in other laptops. The 46WHr battery boasts up to 12 hours on a single charge.
This laptop ships with a multi-port adaptor to make it more compatible than some of its comparably-streamlined contemporaries.
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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A Sturdy Svelte Surface
First, a word about the Surface Laptop Go name, and where this laptop fits into the grand, confusing scheme of Microsoft’s Surface line.
The Surface Laptop Go is a new flavor of Surface. It’s not to be confused with the Surface Go , the Surface Pro , the Surface Book , or the various Surface Laptop 3 models. In brief, as its hybrid of a name implies, it’s a classic clamshell model like the Surface Laptops, but smaller and cheaper, like the Surface Go models.
The Surface Laptop Go is petite as modern laptops go, with a 12.4-inch display, but its physical design matches the rest of the Surface Laptop 3 family, which includes larger, pricier 13.5-inch and 15-inch versions. The design includes an aluminum display lid and a polycarbonate base, available in your choice of three colors: Ice Blue, Sandstone, and Platinum. The entire package feels sturdy, well-engineered, and fitting of a laptop that costs more than its $699 asking price.