All of the best 13-inch laptops on the market strive to hit a perfect balance between high performance and high portability. And, you can be sure that the biggest laptop manufacturers are constantly hard at work trying to achieve this balance. This is great because all of this competition has made companies like Dell, Apple, Asus and more come out with some extremely innovative and beautiful devices – laptops that not only can handle whatever your workload may be, but also do it on the move.
Windows isn’t the default choice the way it once was either. Apple continues to make Microsoft sweat with macOS, and even Google is knocking at its door by continuously innovating and improving on its Chromebook line, even to the point where these ‘budget’ laptops are competing with top of the line Windows and macOS laptops.
So, no matter what you need your laptop to do, no matter what operating system you are attached to, you can be sure that at least one of the best 13-inch laptops will cater to your precise needs. What’s more, you can rest assured that every single product we’ve listed here has been reviewed (and scored highly) by TechRadar – meaning that they have been put through our gamut of laptop tests for battery life, performance and more. These truly are the best of the best.
- Dell XPS 13
- Asus Zenbook Flip UX360
- HP Spectre x360
- Samsung Notebook 9
- Acer Aspire S 13
- 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
Dell has once again struck (rose) gold with the XPS 13, especially now that they feature 7th generation Intel Core CPUs. The beautiful design, lengthy battery life and even the SD card slot are still there, only now it’s souped up with improved internal components and a sleeker aesthetic reminiscent of the MacBook and HP Spectre lineups. What’s more, the full-size processor and 13.3-inch display are somehow packed (magic?) 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. 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+ (3,200x1,800) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD
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
3. 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 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
4. 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
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
5. 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
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
6. 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. 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
7. 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-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
8. 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
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
- Could the Surface Book 2 be the next 13-inch laptop to make our list?