Best 13-inch laptops: which is right for you?

The top 13" laptops on the market

Best 13 inch laptop

The 13-inch laptop has gone on leaps and bounds recently, thanks massively to Intel's Ultrabook specifications.

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.

1. MacBook Air 13-inch

Best 13 inch laptop

In a market becoming densely populated with slim-line laptops from a massive range of manufacturers, Apple still holds the trump card with the MacBook Air. It packs in cutting-edge technology from Intel, along with faster RAM and updated connection ports compared to its predecessor, offering a great experience. The keyboard is excellent (and backlit), the Multi-Touch trackpad works brilliantly, and it's as fast as you like.

Read our full MacBook Air 13-inch review

2. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga

Best 13 inch laptop

The IdeaPad Yoga is all about flexibility (hence the name), offering tablet and laptop all in one. As far as tablet experiences go, a 13-inch screen may seem like overkill, until you're holding it on your lap. And, practically speaking, we love that if you see something in the tablet or other non-laptop modes that merits a deeper dive, you can pull the keyboard out and get busy. Aside from Microsoft's own-brand Surface tablet, this is an ideal flagship device for Microsoft and Windows 8. As much as possible, it takes complete advantage of the Windows 8 environment, particularly the new UI. For now, it's hard to imagine anyone topping a device that can be favourably compared to other laptops as well as tablet convertibles.

Read our full Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga review

3. MacBook Pro with Retina display

Best 13 inch laptop

Apple's late 2012 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display isn't for everyone. Many will baulk at the price, and even those who are willing to pay it should ask themselves whether the small saving and slightly smaller size is enough to recommend the 13-inch Retina notebook over its more powerful 15-inch counterpart, but there's no denying its quality and attractiveness. The Retina screen takes notebook displays to new heights; its Ivy Bridge processors are very powerful; and the new form factor makes it the most portable 13-inch MacBook yet.

Read our full MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display review

4. Acer Aspire S7

Best 13 inch laptop

This touchscreen Ultrabook was one of the best we saw at IFA this year, thanks to its premium feel. The display is great, with multi-touch and a Full HD 1080p resolution, despite being among the thinnest laptops available. It's light, as well, so will be great for carrying around. When it comes to specs, it's no slouch either, including the latest Intel chips and an SSD for fast running.

Read our: Acer Aspire S7 review

5. Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A

Best 13 inch laptop

The Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A's screen is its big showpiece. It's not just the resolution, but the overall quality. Great colours, excellent viewing angles, good contrast ratio – at 13.3 inches, it's a 1080p masterpiece. Performance is just as speedy as you'd hope for the price, with Windows 7 picking up almost instantly from standby, and even booting barely giving you a wait. Really importantly, it's also comfortable and pleasant to use. The trackpad is good, the keyboard is great, and it's made really well.

Read our full Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A review

6. Toshiba Satellite Z930

Best 13 inch laptop

This Toshiba Satellite Z930 is a very accomplished Ultrabook – thin, light and powerful enough to handle a wide range of tasks simultaneously. As a work computer, the Toshiba Satellite Z930-10X benefits from the range of connections on offer, including Ethernet, HDMI and three USB ports. At 20mm thick and weighing only 1.1kg, you can easily carry the Toshiba Satellite Z930-10X from home to the office every day without any trouble. As a mobile workstation, it's an excellent purchase.