Thirteen inches, it’s possibly the perfect size for a laptop screen. Not too big nor too small, the best 13-inch laptop will sidestep the flimsiness and squint-inducing terror of a smaller netbook, and without the gargantuan form factor of bigger offerings.
They’re not all Windows laptops either; Apple fans will rejoice at the fact that the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air continue to stun in 13-inch flavours. Whatever the case, you ought to find a notebook that – at the very least – incites interest. Whether it’s a 2-in-1 or a traditional clamshell you’re after, we’ve encapsulated the spice of life in our list of the very best 13-inch laptops.
For a broader view, take a gander at the best laptops in the world today, and if it’s thin and light you’re after, you can also find the best Ultrabook from TechRadar. But, whatever you do, be sure to read on to find our favourite 13-inch picks of the past few months in no particular order.
Best 13-inch laptops:
- Dell XPS 13
- HP Spectre x360
- Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 CA
- Lenovo Yoga 910
- 13-inch MacBook Air
- 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display
1. Dell XPS 13
If it ain’t broke, make it handsome
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i3 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD
With 7th-generation Intel Core processors, Dell has struck (rose) gold with the XPS 13. The lush design, lengthy battery life and even the SD card slot are still intact, but now it’s souped up with improved internal specs and sleeker appearances reminiscent of the MacBook and HP Spectre lineups. What’s more, the full-sized processor and 13.3-inch display are crammed into an 11-inch frame made possible by Dell’s own nearly bezel-less InfinityEdge display technology.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
2. HP Spectre x360
HP’s flagship 2-in-1 goes ultra-thin with style
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i3 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Nvidia GeForce 940MX 2GB | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IPS UWVA LED-backlit multi-touch display | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
The HP Spectre x360 is the one you introduce to your parents. It’s strikingly well-crafted, boasting a silvery design that makes it every bit as cutting-edge on the outside as it is within. Given the choice between a 7th-generation i5 or i7 Ultrabook-class processor and a 1080p or 4K screen, HP has gives plenty of room for customisation. It’s not underpowered, nor does its battery life suffer from overcompensation. In fact, in our own video loop test, the HP Spectre x360 lasted a whole 8 hours and 45 minutes. The only real catch is that like a lot of its competitors, the Spectre x360 lacks an SD card slot, opting instead for a pair of USB Type-C ports.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360
3. Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 CA
A budget-friendly, thin-and-light powerhouse
CPU: Intel Core M6Y30 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD
Asus extended its ZenBook lineup in September 2016 with its UX360 CA. Though it carries similar features as its predecessors, its 2-in1 flexibility is what makes it stand out. The laptop is powered by a sixth-generation Intel Core M6Y30 processor and 4GB RAM. It's also available with 8GB RAM in the international market, but Indian customers have to satisfy themselves with a 4GB variant.
The laptop’s capabilities of bending backwards allow users to experience both laptop and tablet form factors.
4. Lenovo Yoga 910
Versatile with a generous helping of elegance
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.9-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IPS multi-touch | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
The Lenovo Yoga 910 is all about second chances. The company reimagined the design with this one, opting in favour of a more pristine outward appearance and a heavy duty Intel Core i7 processor, as well as a 4K display. Lenovo also managed to squeeze a larger, nearly 14-inch screen into the 13-inch chassis of the Yoga 900. And even with the implementation of USB-C ports, the Lenovo Yoga 910 doesn’t completely neglect USB Type-A, dragging the precious connection standard of the past along with it.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 910
5. 13-inch MacBook Air
The best battery life in a 13-inch laptop
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, LED HD (1,440 x 900) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD
In a market densely populated with slim laptops, 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.
Read the full review: 13-inch MacBook Air
6. 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
The smallest MacBook Pro is a force of nature
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 – 650 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch IPS, 2,560 x 1,600 pixels | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Though it may not have the 12-inch MacBook's slick design, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina features Apple's Force Touch track pad that uses different levels of sensitivity instead of mechanical buttons. Even without the fancy Touch Bar, the MacBook Pro exceeds expectations with two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, quieter fans, louder speakers and exceeding 7 hours of battery life in our anecdotal testing. Despite a controversial keyboard mechanism, the MacBook Pro is thinner, lighter and ready to travel.
Read the full review: Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016)
7. Samsung Notebook 9
CPU: Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel Integrated | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 256GB SSD
The Samsung Notebook 9 comes with a sixth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and an internal storage of 256GB. Weighing 839g, it is one of the lightest notebooks in its category. With its 180 degree reclining screen, it allows users to share their work easily with others. The laptop features good specs no doubt, but its average battery life may disappoint some users.
Launched in January 2016, the Samsung Notebook 9 has been revamped from time to time. Recently, the company launched a new variant with an eighth-generation Intel Core i7 processor, which will be available in select countries.
Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9