The best thin and light laptops: top super portable notebooks

best thin and light laptop against a gray TechRadar background
(Image credit: Future)
Editor's Note: November 2022

The best thin and light laptops used to be exclusively premium items, but nowadays, you can get super-slender Ultrabooks, workstations, and even gaming laptops for a very compelling price. And while a lot of these are likely to see huge discounts for Black Friday, you can still find some great savings on excess inventory left over from back to school sales in August, so there's no reason to not pick up your next laptop now if you see one at a great price.

- John Loeffler, Computing Editor

Work while on the move smarter with the best thin and light laptops. If you often find yourself need to work while traveling or squeeze in some emails while commuting, you shouldn't be lugging around a heavy laptop. Invest in a notebook that's made for traveling instead.

Some laptop users might hesitate getting an thin and light notebook because they tend to be more expensive – the best Ultrabooks are proof – or underpowered because there isn't a lot of space for powerful components inside. That's no longer the case. 

Thanks to the advances manufacturers have made in components, thin and light laptops no longer have to compromise on power – many of them, in fact, are among the best laptops right now. And, nowadays, they're also much more affordable. That means that it's easier than ever to get a powerful ultra-thin laptop without blowing your budget.

We've tested many thin and light laptops on the market, including some of the best thin and light gaming laptops out there. So we'll help you find the best one for your needs. Here we've rounded up the best light and thin laptops that strike the perfect balance of speed, light weight, and sleek design.

The best thin and light laptops 2022

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best thin and light laptop MacBook Air (M2, 2022) against a white background

(Image credit: Apple)
The best thin and light laptop overall

Specifications

CPU: Apple M2 chip with 8-core CPU
Graphics: Integrated 9-core – 10-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 24GB unified memory
Screen: 13.6-inch (diagonal) 2560-by-1664 LED-backlit display with IPS technology
Storage: up to 2TB

Reasons to buy

+
Great new design
+
Very good performance
+
Long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Much more expensive than the previous model
-
New colors are a bit tame

Apple's thinnest and lightest MacBook is also the best thin and light laptop available today. The MacBook Air (M2, 2022) may be more of a consumer-level option, but it's also powerful in its own right – powerful enough to deliver on par single-core performance with the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) during our benchmark tests.

Its performance proved to be exceptional during our tests. It tackled 4K video editing  workflows quickly and in cool silence, thanks to its fanless design. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a massive difference between this and the new 13-inch entry, and this has the advantage of being thinner and lighter. 

Other improvements worth mentioning are its battery life of 16 hours, giving you a five-hour uptick from its predecessor, a larger screen, and a sleeker design. Yes, you are paying for those upgrades, as it's a little more expensive than its predecessor. But, many would agree that they are completely worth the price increase

Read our full MacBook Air (M2, 2022) review

best thin and light laptop MacBook Air (M1, 2020) against a white background

(Image credit: Apple)

2. MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

The best affordable thin and light laptop

Specifications

CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8‑core
Graphics: Integrated 7-core – 8-core
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 Retina display
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
macOS Big Sur is fast and responsive
+
Battery life is great
+
Silent in use

Reasons to avoid

-
Fanless design could impact performance

Apple topped last year off with a bang, rolling out their much-talked-about M1 silicon chip that’s so far been a real game-changer. And, the first laptop to receive it is the company’s thinnest and lightest, putting it on the list of the most exciting Apple laptops of recent years. With this new chip, the MacBook Air is better than ever, touting excellent performance alongside its brilliant battery life – without raising the price to keep it (fairly) affordable still. This is the best thin and light laptop for pretty much everyone.

Read the full review: MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

best thin and light laptop MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) against a white background

(Image credit: Apple)
Apple's thin and light laptop for professionals

Specifications

CPU: Apple M2 with 8-core CPU
Graphics: Integrated 10-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 24GB
Screen: 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 display with P3 and True Tone technology
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Dimensions (H x W x D): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56 cm

Reasons to buy

+
M2 chip is a brilliant performer
+
Excellent battery life
+
Almost silent in use

Reasons to avoid

-
No new design
-
Still only two Thunderbolt ports

The Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) may not have arrived with any new design updates, unlike the new Air M2, but there are still many reasons to upgrade, especially if you don't mind the old design so much. Plus, if you think the M1 version was already pretty impressive, this M2-powered model will blow you away.

It kicks things up a notch with more power and longer battery life. Our testing shows that it's achieved better performance in both single and multi-core CPU tests than its predecessor and Microsoft's offering, the Surface Laptop 4. It also lasted almost two hours longer than the M1 MacBook Pro 13-inch in our battery life test.

That makes it a much more capable multitasking machine that will last you longer in your day to day. If you want something thinner, you might want to go for our top choice, the MacBook Air M2. But, if you want a bit more power, especially in multi-core processes, this is the Apple laptop to get.

Read our in-depth MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) review

best thin and light laptop Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2020) against a white background

(Image credit: Dell)

4. Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2020)

One of the best Windows laptops around

Specifications

CPU: 10th Generation Intel Core i3 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus
RAM: up to 16GB 4267MHz LPDDR4x
Screen: 13.4-in. touch display
Storage: up to 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Great display
+
Fantastic battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

The Dell XPS line has been upping the ante in the world of portables since launching, and that hasn’t changed. It may now have penetrated the premium game, forcing its budget-conscious fans to look for cheaper alternatives, but that higher price tag hasn’t changed the fact that these are some of the best thin and light laptops in the world, with the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2020) touting more versatility thanks to its hybrid design. We love this laptop so much, we’d get it just for the pleasure of using it. But, if that price is holding you back, let us assure you: this is worth paying extra for.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2020)

best thin and light laptop HP Spectre x360 (2020) against a white background

(Image credit: HP)

5. HP Spectre x360 (2020)

HP’s flagship 2-in-1 gets a 2020 refresh

Specifications

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i7
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti with Max-Q design
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 15.6-inch, 3840 x 2160 pixels touch
Storage: 512 GB – 2TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish and high-quality finish
+
Great all-around performance
+
Built-in security features are useful

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life takes a hit
-
Can run hot at times

HP’s beloved and highly praised 2-in-1 is back with a vengeance, this time with more powerful components like the 10th-generation Intel Core processors and Intel Iris Plus graphics. Of course, that impeccable 2-in-1 design and pristine gem-cut chassis are back, as are its security features and Bang & Olufsen speakers. That killer combination makes it, now more than ever, one of the best HP laptops out there. Is it a wonder that this is one of our favorite thin and light laptops of 2021? If you care about aesthetics as much as you do performance and overall quality, this is the laptop for you.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 (2020)

best thin and light laptop Razer Blade Stealth 13 (Late 2020) against a white background

(Image credit: Razer)

6. Razer Blade Stealth 13 (Late 2020)

The gaming Ultrabook returns

Specifications

CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
RAM: Up to 16GB
Screen: 13.4" 60Hz Full HD – 13.3" 120Hz Full HD
Storage: Up to 512GB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek and quality design
+
Solid gaming performance
+
THX Spatial Audio

Reasons to avoid

-
Average battery life
-
Mediocre speakers

The world’s first gaming ultrabook is back with updated internals. Unlike most gaming laptops out there, this offering from Razer is incredibly thin – so thin, in fact, it’s thinner than a MacBook Pro 16-inch. While that forces it to sacrifice a bit of power, it still delivers a solid gaming performance that’s good enough if you want to play or game competitively while traveling or on the go. The fact that it offers a 1080p display with 120GHz refresh rate and four stereo speakers capable of delivering 7.1 surround sound using THX Spatial Audio helps as well.

Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth 13 (Late 2020)

best thin and light laptop LG Gram 17 (2020) against a white background

(Image credit: LG)

7. LG Gram 17 (2020)

Super lightweight with a big, beautiful display

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 17" WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS Display
Storage: 1TB M.2 SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful display
+
Long, long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Bad speakers
-
Less-than-par CPU performance

The award-winning LG Gram 17 is back, with the same innovative lightweight design on a 17-inch chassis. This time around, it comes with fresh new specs under the hood including Intel’s Ice Lake chip, alongside a few other amazing features like a beautiful display and incredibly long battery life. A very comfortable keyboard is also on offer, and this whole package makes it excellent for anyone that has to work on the go. The CPU performance and speakers could be much better, but as long as you’re not doing processor or graphics-intensive work, this one’s a winner if you’re looking for the best thin and light 17-inch laptop.

Read the full review: LG Gram 17 (2020)

Alternatively, check out our full LG Gram 16 (2022) laptop review (opens in new tab).


Matt was TechRadar's Managing Editor for Computing and Entertainment, looking after two of the best, and most exciting, channels on the site. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made. He's also a huge film and TV fan and Marvel geek, and his favorite recent film is Dune.

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