These days, you can’t really get by without one of the best laptops, they’re important for so many reasons. But, there’s only one real reason to choose one of the best 13-inch laptops: they’re the perfect size. 15-inch laptops are too large, while anything less than 12-inches will leave you squinting. The best 13-inch laptops, then, hit the sweet spot – they’re perfect for getting your work done, and watching online videos at the end of the day.
We still love the Dell XPS 13, but it’s not the only choice out there. We would totally understand if you prefer the new MacBook Air, or even the Huawei MateBook 13. Sure, the XPS is beautiful, but the other options are more than valid, too. The best 13-inch laptops all excel in different ways.
Still, the best 13-inch laptop for you will ultimately depend on your individual needs. Do you just want a normal laptop, without any fancy bells and whistles? Or, do you want a 2-in-1 laptop that can morph into one of the best Windows tablets? Or maybe you want to skip Windows 10 entirely, and opt for one of the best Macs, backed up by macOS Mojave. No matter what your needs are, you’ll find a great laptop here, there are so many choices.
1. Huawei MateBook 13
Coming for the throne
CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620; Nvidia GeForce MX150 (optional) | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch QHD (2,560 x 1,440) | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
It’s not often that we run into a 13-inch laptops that hits all the right boxes, without having to compromise on anything. And, the Huawei MateBook 13 does exactly that. Packed with the latest Intel Whiskey Lake processors and Nvidia MX150 graphics in a chassis that really should be too small to handle them, the Huawei MateBook 13 is a powerhouse that will fit in any travel bag. And, it’s affordable – what more could you ask for?
Read the full review: Huawei MateBook 13
2. Dell XPS 13
Best-in-class like you’ve never seen it before
CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 4K (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
The Dell XPS 13, while its changes over last year’s model are subtle, is still one of the best 13-inch laptops. On the high end, the 4K display offers a sharper picture across the board. But, even if you can’t afford the top end model, the gorgeous design, lengthy battery life and SD card slot aren’t going anywhere – plus, you’ve got a quad-core processor no matter what poison you pick. It’s going to be one of the best 13-inch laptops, no matter which configuration you go for.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
3. HP Spectre x360
Working in style
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch full HD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) touchscreen | Storage: 256GB – 2TB PCIe SSD
Among other laptops in this list, namely the Surface Book 2 and Dell XPS 13, saying a laptop is beautiful might seem a little cliche. But, look at the HP Spectre x360, and you’ll see why we can’t stop staring at it. This beautiful 13-inch laptop is packed with the latest Intel hardware, so you know it can get your work done. And, the gem-cut build means it’ll get your work done in style. Plus, it can flip around into a tablet mode – it really is one of the best 13-inch laptops out there.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360
4. Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch)
Bigger isn’t always better: a memoir
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD 620 – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense display | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
While the 13-inch version isn’t the most powerful Surface Book 2, it still makes for one of the best 13-inch laptops on the market. No matter if you’re a professional or a creative, the Surface Book 2 will dominate your workloads in style. What’s more, the dynamic fulcrum hinge is even better this time around, which only complements the robust quad-core processor. Plus, unlike many other 2-in-1 laptops, the keyboard is removable, which makes it much more manageable when you need to use it in tablet mode.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 2
5. Razer Blade Stealth
Fancy an Ultrabook for more than just gamers
CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620; Nvidia GeForce MX150 (optional) | RAM: 8-16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD - 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) touchscreen | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
You may be expecting a gaming laptop, especially given Razer’s reputation, but the Razer Blade Stealth is one of the best 13-inch laptops you can buy today. It’s thin, light, and packed with the latest Ultrabook-class hardware – including dedicated MX150 graphics. The 8th-generation Intel Whiskey Lake Processor makes this laptop a force to be reckoned with. And, while it’s certainly expensive, the sheer style and build quality might be worth it.
Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth
6. Asus ZenBook 13
Thin. Blue. Beautiful.
CPU: Intel Core i5-8250U | Graphics: Intel UHD 620; Nvidia GeForce MX150 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) wide view touch display | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD
If you’re looking for a thin, svelte and fast 13-inch laptop to haul around with you, and you don’t mind giving up some premium features, you’ll fall in love with the Asus ZenBook 13. Coming in at just half an inch thick and weighing just 2.5 pounds, this is the perfect laptop to carry when traveling. And, don’t think you have to give up on power with all this portability, either. The Asus ZenBook 13 features quad-core Intel processors, 8GB of RAM and a fast SSD. The only thing you’re missing here is USB-C, and while it’s a nice feature to have, it’s easy to look past in a laptop this stylish.
Read the full review: Asus Zenbook 13
7. Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
Different, but not forgotten
CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED with touch panel | Storage: 256GB SSD
No one likes change, we get it. Still, the 15.6-inch frame of the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin we once knew will soon be erased from our memories forever, but the new 13.3-inch model doesn’t seem like an awful upgrade. It’s bounced two generations into the future in terms of processing power, and even though there are no discrete graphics – we’re happy to see a keyboard that can compete with some of the heavy hitters. It’s not going to blow your mind, yet as far as hybrid notebooks go, this one ain’t too shabby (plus it’s cheaper than a weaker MacBook Pro).
Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the HP Spectre x360
8. Surface Laptop 2
Faster. Better. Stronger.
CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 2,256 x 1,504 PixelSense display | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD
The original Surface Laptop was already one of the best 13-inch laptops – it had a gorgeous screen, competent internals and fantastic build quality. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that the sequel, the Surface Laptop 2, does everything better. YOu won’t find any radical changes, but the speedy 8th-generation CPUs, 8GB of RAM and, most importantly, the removal of Windows 10 S, all add up to make the Surface Laptop 2 one of the best 13-inch laptops out there.
Read the full review: Surface Laptop 2
9. Lenovo Yoga 920
Versatile with a generous helping of elegance
CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.9-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
As time goes on, 2-in-1 laptops are becoming more popular, and their manufacturers are improving them at a rapid pace. This is especially true for Lenovo – it’s been creating drop-dead beautiful convertibles for years, much like the Lenovo Yoga 920. This 13-inch laptop brings Thunderbolt 3 to the table, an improved webcam – and most importantly – an 8th-generation Intel Kaby Lake Refresh processor with every configuration. The fans get loud, but the Lenovo Yoga 920 is certainly among the best 13-inch laptops on the market.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 920
10. MacBook Pro (13-inch; mid-2018)
Powerful. Elegant. Expensive
CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 | RAM: 8GB - 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 Retina display | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
The MacBook Pro 2018 feels like the final form of Apple’s pro series laptop since its 2016 redesign. It keeps the thin and light design, but brings a wealth of improvements, both to the hardware within and, more importantly, Apple has vastly improved the Butterfly keyboard – making it quieter and more reliable. So, you no longer have to worry about it breaking cause a piece of dust appeared under the spacebar. So, if you need an ultra-portable workhorse running macOS Mojave and you can justify the cost, the 2018 MacBook Pro won’t let you down. Keep in mind, though, the model without the Touch Bar is still running last year’s hardware.
Read the full review: MacBook Pro (13-inch Mid-2018)
- Want more choices? Check out our list of the best laptop 2019
Bill Thomas, Joe Osborne and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article