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It’s no secret that laptops have officially surpassed desktops in terms of convenience and consumer preference. They’re technically wireless, easy to carry around and usually more cost-effective. Though lighter than bulky desktop computers, not all laptops are made equal. In fact, there are tons of customer-favorite options that aren’t portable at all.
For those looking for the best compact laptops that won’t be a hassle during travel and are easy to grab and go with one hand, we’ve rounded up our five best picks.
To make shopping a lot easier, we’ve separated them each into a defining category, so you know, right off the bat, which is suitable for your needs:
Best Overall: Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Laptop
Most Affordable: ASUS L210 Ultra-Thin Laptop
Best Basic Pick: HP Stream 11.6-Inch HD Laptop
Best 2-In-1 Pick: Microsoft Surface Go 3
Slimmest Option: Apple 2022 MacBook Air Laptop
If you’re looking for the best-of-the-best that’s going to last you for years to come, we recommend the newly released Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Laptop. Both its design and new Windows 11 interface are top-notch.
For those on a strict budget, the under-$200 ASUS L210 Ultra-Thin Laptop is a great choice. If you prioritize weight and razor-thin design over everything else, the customer-favorite Apple 2022 MacBook Air Laptop is a no-brainer.
Keep scrolling to check out what we love about each before choosing the right one for you.
1. Best Overall: Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Laptop, $1,355.40
It’s rare that you’ll find a PC that hits every mark, and somehow, the folks at Lenovo hit the ball out of the park with its new ThinkPad Z13 Laptop. With this new release, the brand completely redefined how the world sees the ThinkPad brand.
This powerhouse laptop is both lightweight and incredibly robust in its design. It feels hefty and high-quality but is light enough to carry easily with just one hand. It has a one-of-a-kind processor specifically optimized to deliver seamless audio and video performance, making it excellent for streaming, making video calls or even filming quick videos. Also, its vibrant 13.3-inch display is one of the crispest I’ve seen on any PC laptop.
It also is one of the most responsive laptops I’ve used to date — even surprisingly rivaling my MacBook Air — and maintains impressive battery life while using energy-sucking applications like Zoom and Teams.
Its powerful and substantial performance aside, I was first wowed by the new ThinkPad Z13‘s absolutely stunning design. In my opinion, it’s the most aesthetically pleasing of each laptop on this list. The model pictured above has a recycled black vegan leather and bronze aluminum body, giving it a luxe and super high-quality feel from the moment you touch it.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Laptop checks all the boxes and is, hands down, the best compact laptop on the market currently.
2. Most Affordable: ASUS L210 Ultra-Thin Laptop, $151.88 (Orig. $239.99)
This ASUS pick is one of the most popular options of the bunch. It’s both affordable and sleekly designed while remaining practical for everyday use. This one’s the ideal pick for students since it’s incredibly affordable and compact enough to tote from class to class, with its slim 11.6-inch HD display.
It’s packed with many ports, including dual USB-A ports, a USB-C port, a micro SD card slot and an HDMI out port. What’s arguably most impressive about this laptop is its 180-degree hinge design. This feature lets you lay it flat on a table without moving the entire machine.
It’s not the most powerful of the bunch, but it is one of the most lightweight, weighing only 2 pounds, and is perfectly capable of carrying out most necessary tasks like writing, editing and streaming.
Its battery life is also pretty impressive, lasting about 10 hours on a single charge.
3. Best Basic Pick: HP Stream 11.6-Inch HD Laptop, $195 (Orig. $219.99)
For those looking for a no-frills laptop with no bells and whistles and is just easy to use, the HP Stream 11.6-Inch HD Laptop is your best bet. It’s a step above a Chromebook, running more than twice the space as the best-selling HP Chromebook 11a, and is probably the most size-conscious of the bunch with its 11.6-inch HD display.
Since it’s a base-level laptop, it doesn’t have powerhouse features — this is an appealing selling point for some. It doesn’t have a lot of space to store files, but it does have a microSD card slot for you to supplement additional storage as you see fit.
It also gives you about nine hours of battery life on a single charge and maintains decent performance when streaming, editing photos, internet browsing and more. Also, you can’t go wrong with that price.
4. Best 2-In-1 Pick: Microsoft Surface Go 3, $399.99
Finding a laptop that gives you the best of both worlds (both laptop and tablet functionality and design) is pretty hard to find at an under-$1,000 price point, but Microsoft has done it.
The Surface Go 3 is incredibly compact and lightweight. Its 10.5-inch tablet screen is perfect for use on the go and, best of all, it’s compatible with Windows 11. Remember, though, that this is the entry-level Surface Go model with 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. To give it full laptop functionality, just pick up the trackpad and keyboard attachments separately.
Shoppers say this model maintains a steady, uninterrupted flow, even when multiple apps and content files are open. Though it doesn’t slow down easily, they recommend that the Microsoft Surface Go 3 be used for casual and light productivity work, video chatting and streaming.
5. Slimmest Option: Apple 2022 MacBook Air Laptop, $1,349 (Orig. $1,499)
Last up is the ever-popular and recently released Apple 2022 MacBook Air Laptop. It’s no secret that Apple has one of the most advanced graphics cards of any laptop on the market, and its 13.6-inch liquid retina display is unmatched.
While the Apple operating system and crisp picture quality certainly make this laptop a stunner, its thoughtful design sets it apart from the rest. This is, hands-down, the slimmest compact laptop of the bunch. Its strikingly thin design is almost too good to be true. It measures a staggering 1.13 centimeters thick, making it one of the thinnest laptops ever created.
It also weighs just 2.7 pounds, so it’s one of the lightest you’ll find anywhere. As with most of Apple’s recent tech releases, the Apple 2022 MacBook Air comes in four colors, with the deep Midnight color being a clear fan favorite.
Also, with two massive storage options available (256 GB or 512 GB), this is one of the best compact laptops for storing and viewing large files. Battery life isn’t an issue with this one, as it gives you up to 18 hours of use on a single charge.
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