5 best 13-inch laptops: top systems that balance portabilty and power

Where portability meets power

Best 13 inch laptop

In many ways, a 13-inch laptop is the perfect size for a portable PC; they're not as fiddly and squint-inducing as netbooks, but not as heavy and awkward as a full-on notebook.

And there are plenty of PC and Mac options available, too.

For a broader view, look at our best laptops in the world today. But whatever you do, read on to find our favourite 13-inchers of the past few months in no particular order.

Best 13 inch laptop

1. Dell XPS 13

A revolution in laptop design

Fortunately for us, the XPS 13 isn't all beauty and no brains. This laptop features the horsepower to make work and play enjoyable, and it has just enough battery life to never leave you in a lurch. Regardless of whether you choose to upgrade to the touchscreen quad HD+ version, or if you stand pat with the full HD model, the Dell XPS 13 will provide you with a delightful experience for years to come.

Read: Dell XPS 13 review

2. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display (early 2015)

Best 13 inch laptop

The smallest MacBook Pro is a force of nature

Though it may not have the 12-inch MacBook's slick design, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina features Apple's Force Touch Trackpad that uses different levels of sensitivity instead of mechanical buttons to make clicks. Solid Apple build quality, a great display and decent levels of performance across the board make the new MacBook Pro with Retina one of the safest bets on a 13-inch laptop today.

Read: MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display (early 2015) review

Best 13 inch laptop

3. Lenovo Yoga 900

Lenovo's flagship Ultrabook bends to your will

Lenovo practically invented the convertible laptop with its Yoga product line, and the Yoga 900 bears the fruits of its labors throughout the years. Equally as sleek as the Yoga 900 yet packing the power of Intel's Core-series processors, it piles brains, beauty and brawn into one delightful package.

Read: Lenovo Yoga 900

Best 13 inch laptop

4. Asus ZenBook UX305

A truly excellent ultrabook at a very agreeable price point

The ZenBook UX305 is a well-built, fully metal machine that's thin, light and attractive. Now available with Intel's full-fat Core i-series processors in addition to the usual Core M chips, the UX305's astonishing value makes it hard to ignore. Updated with a gorgeous QHD+ display, it stands out as a shining example of a computer that offers power and portability in a small package that doesn't break the bank.

Read: Asus ZenBook UX305 review

Best 13 inch laptop

5. MacBook Air 13-inch

The best battery life in a 13-inch laptop

In a market densely populated with slim-line laptops from a massive range of manufacturers, Apple's MacBook Air fights on admirably - though it started showing its age on the outside a long time ago. It has Intel's fifth-generation Core-series processors rather than the newest Skylake variants, but it's still a capable machine; even more so since Apple made 8GB of RAM standard across the line. If you don't like the look of its lowly 1,440 x 900 pixel-resolution display, there's always the 12-inch MacBook - and new MacBook Air models are expected to launch this summer.

Read: MacBook Air 13-inch review

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