The best 13-inch laptop 2018: the top 13-inch laptops we've reviewed

You may have been convinced that bigger is always better, but we’re here to contend that isn’t necessarily the case – hear us out. The best 13-inch laptop on the market neatly crams all of the best specs into a delightfully compact chassis to make you forget that all of your work is being done on a minuscule display. Better yet, 13 inches beats 12 inches every time, guaranteed. It’s big enough that you won’t be shuffling for an external monitor, to say the least.

Now, while this list is going to cover a great number of 13-inch laptops, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they all set out to do the same things. For instance, some are simple and conventional notebooks with premium features, like Ultrabooks. Others take on multiple forms, such as the 2-in-1 laptops featured below, which can all double as both laptops and tablets depending on what you’re using them for that day.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter what type of person you are or what kind of things you need to do with your laptop – you can count on the best 13-inch laptops to get you through whatever task lies ahead of you. With this list, we will show you some of the best laptops that we have reviewed over the last year or so, and have ranked them in order of awesomeness. 

1. Dell XPS 13

Best-in-class like you’ve never seen it before

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i3 – quad-core Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD

Incredible performance
Amazing battery life
Webcam orientation still a bother
Poor speaker placement

Not a lot has changed year over year, but the refinements made to the Dell XPS 13 this year are definitely noticeable. On the high end, the XPS 13 now offers up to 1TB of storage, letting you download more movies than you can watch. Don’t let this apparent lack of innovation distract you, however – the beautiful design, lengthy battery life and even the SD card slot are still there – but now it’s got beefier internals that put it head-to-head with the MacBooks and HP Spectres of the world. Better yet, the full-size processor and 13.3-inch display are still packed 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. Razer Blade Stealth

Fancy an Ultrabook for more than just gamers

CPU: Dual-core – quad-core Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) LED-backlit IGZO touchscreen | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Larger, brighter display
Subtler aesthetics on gunmetal version
Shorter and shorter battery life
No 4K display option in sight

You wouldn’t expect a laptop made by one of the biggest names in PC gaming to be thinner and lighter than a MacBook Pro, and yet here we are. The Razer Blade Stealth – in its all-new gunmetal finish – boasts not only a gorgeous and practical aesthetic, what with its 400-nit display brightness and full-size USB 3.0 ports, but it also has a few tricks up its sleeves to make it perform faster. At long last, the 8th-generation Intel Kaby Lake Refresh have made it into the newly 13.3-inch version of the Razer Blade Stealth. Though it received a ding on the battery life, an Ultrabook this fast is worth a 16-minute shorter use time on a single charge.

Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth

Best 13 inch laptop

3. Asus ZenBook Flip UX360

An affordable 2-in-1 laptop

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core M3 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 – 620 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD

Thin and light
All-day battery life
Lacking multitasking performance
Sacrifices to build quality

There’s a new entry to Asus’s Zenbook lineup with the UX360, featuring a lot of the same specs as its predecessor but with the flexibility of a 2-in-1 laptop. While the ability to bend over backwards may diminish the build quality somewhat, it allows for new levels of functionality for computer consumers who want a laptop and tablet all in one. Thanks to an all-day battery, the Zenbook Flip UX360 really can go with you for everything you do. And, with a wide variety of internal customization, you can deck out the Zenbook Flip UX360 for your own personal needs, saving you some cash or boosting its performance. 

Read the full review: Asus Zenbook Flip UX360

4. 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

Ultra-thin and light styling
Long-lasting and quick-charging battery
Lacks SD card reader
Especially thick bottom bezel

The HP Spectre x360 is the laptop that you show to your parents. It’s beautifully well-crafted, featuring a chrome design that makes it every bit as cutting-edge on the outside as on the inside. With the option between a 7th-generation i5 or i7 Ultrabook-class CPU and a 1080p or 4K Display, HP allows for plenty of room for customization. It’s not underpowered, nor does its battery life suffer from overcompensation. In fact, in our own movie test, the HP Spectre x360 lasted a surprising 8 hours and 45 minutes. The only real catch is that, like a lot of its competitors, the Spectre x360 also lacks an SD card slot, opting instead for a pair of USB Type-C ports. 

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360

Best 13 inch laptop

5. Samsung Notebook 9

Great performance on the cheap

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED anti-reflective display | Storage: 256GB SSD

Thin, smart styling
Competitively priced
Micro-sized video ports
Short battery life

Samsung may not have made much of a dent in the laptop scene with much more than its Tab Pro S convertible, but Samsung's follow-up to the 2012 Series 9 notebook doesn’t just feature impressive specs – it’s got a competitive price as well. Marketed as an Ultrabook, it's certainly disheartening to know the battery life lasts only five hours, but given its sleek and sexy design, it almost doesn't matter. What's more, with the Samsung Notebook 9, you won't have to deal with the bloatware that makes many other Microsoft the target of angry forum posts. 

Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9

  • This product is only available in the US as of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Lenovo Yoga 720.

6. Surface Laptop

Microsoft’s most direct shot at the MacBook yet

CPU: 7th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Iris Plus Graphics 640 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 2,256 x 1,504 PixelSense display | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD

Gorgeous design
Well built
Windows 10 S is limited
No USB-C

The Surface Laptop is Microsoft’s first stab at a 'traditional' laptop, if you can even call it that knowing full well that its PixelSense touchscreen and Alcantara keyboard are anything but conventional. Featuring a full stack of U-series 7th generation Intel Core i processors, the Surface Laptop beats out Apple’s 12-inch MacBook any day of the week, and for a lower starting price at that. Despite the ports and operating system being limited, the Surface Laptop is appealing for its laudable design, beautifully vivid screen and impressive performance.

 Read the full review: Surface Laptop

7. 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

Substantially larger screen
Rocking speakers
Heats up (and gets loud) fast
Disappointing battery life

The Lenovo Yoga 910 is all about second chances. It throws away many of the signature design traits of the previous model, the Yoga 900, in favor of a more pristine outward appearance and a heavy duty Intel Core i7 processor as well as the option of a 4K display. Lenovo also managed to squeeze a larger, nearly 14-inch screen into the same 13-inch chassis of the Yoga 900 without compromise. Not to mention, 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

Best 13 inch laptop

8. 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

Fantastic battery life
802.11ac Wi-Fi
No Retina screen
Not easily upgradeable

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.

Read the full review: 13-inch MacBook Air

best 13 inch laptop

9. 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

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

Faster processor
Superb battery life
Force Touch underdeveloped
Unchanged design

The latest iteration of Apple’s seminal MacBook Pro series is here, and as you would expect it makes a number of notable improvements over last year’s offering. While it might not exactly feature the strongest battery life in the game (scoring under an hour less than last year’s offering), it does offer increased performance by way of a new CPU and faster RAM. Add that to Apple’s continued dedication to simplicity and beautiful design and you have a laptop that is sleek, portable and reliable.  

Read the full review: Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2017)

Joe Osborne and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article