The best web browsing laptops of 2018

Web browser on laptop

Thanks to cloud services like Google Docs and Microsoft Office Online, more and more of our everyday computing is happening in a web browser. That means when you're looking for a new laptop, you no longer need to look for the biggest possible hard drive or the most powerful processor. Instead, you can prioritise weight, size and price.

Here we've picked out a range of the very best laptops for browsing the web - whether you want to keep track of your emails when you're away from the office, stream movies to watch on the train, or get on with important work using a cloud-based office suite.

All the devices we've chosen are thin and light, and many can also be converted between laptop and tablet modes by detaching or folding over the keyboard, giving you more ways to browse the web – wherever you are.

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Asus Chromebook Flip

1. Asus Chromebook Flip

The perfect hybrid laptop for web-browsing on the move

CPU: Intel Pentium 4405Y – Intel Core m3-6Y30 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED backlit anti-glare | Storage: 32GB – 64GB eMMC

Smart ultrabook-style design
Great performance
Well built and lightweight
Doesn't have the best speakers

Chromebooks (which run Google's ChromeOS rather than Windows or macOS) are built around the web browser, and are a perfect choice if most of your work and play happens online. The Asus Chromebook Flip is a perfect example of the type: powerful, well designed, lightweight, and costing only a fraction of what you'd pay for a top-end Windows laptop. 

The Chromebook Flip switches between laptop and tablet modes in seconds thanks to a 360-degree hinge that feels sturdy, but doesn't add unnecessary bulk to its sleek chassis. At first glance, you could easily mistake it for a high-end ultrabook

It doesn't just look great, either – its keyboard is responsive and pleasant to use, and the built-in stylus makes browsing in tablet mode effortless. 

It doesn't offer quite such swift performance as Google's own Pixelbook, but it's not far behind and is half the price. You won't find a better laptop for web browsing.

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Lenovo Yoga 920

2. Lenovo Yoga 920

Flexible in more ways than one, and perfect for web browsing

CPU: Intel Core i7-855OU | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.9-inch 1920 x 1080 - 13.9-inch 3840 x 2160 | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Superb build quality
Great looking screen
Excellent performance
Pricier than a Chromebook

The Lenovo Yoga 920 is another convertible device – this time running the full version of Windows 10.

Like the Asus Chromebook Flip, the Yoga 920 switches between tablet and laptop modes with the bend of a hinge, and is a joy to use either way. It also lets you run any PC software you want, including any web browser (Chromebooks only support Google Chrome).

Windows 10 adapts seamlessly when you switch between laptop and tablet modes, so you can easily keep browsing the web in either configuration.

The Yoga 920 has much more graphical grunt too, making a great choice if you're planning to stream HD video in your browser once your work's done. It's a superb device all-round, and one of the best laptops of 2018 for any purpose.

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Microsoft Surface Go

3. Microsoft Surface Go

A pocket-sized hybrid laptop with a premium edge

CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y (dual-core, 2MB cache) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 10-inch, 1,800 x 1,200 (217 ppi; 3:2 aspect ratio) PixelSense touch display | Storage: 128GB SSD

Stunning design
Excellent speakers
Bright, sharp display
Type Cover not included

The latest entry in Microsoft's Surface line is a stunning little hybrid laptop that's small enough to slip into a bag for a spot of surfing anywhere. 

The Surface Go comes with Windows 10 installed in S Mode. This gives you a more streamlined experience optimized for smaller screens, and works perfectly if you'll mostly be working and playing in a browser. It also handles Microsoft's Office suite with ease if you sometimes prefer to take your documents offline.

Despite its diminutive size, the Surface Go's 10-inch screen is bright and clear, and it offers impressive graphics performance. Even its sound is surprisingly clear and bright for such a small device.

The downside is that Microsoft is rather stingy with the accessories. You'll need to buy the Type Cover separately to use the Surface Go in laptop mode, and there's no stylus in the box either.

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Acer Switch 3

4. Acer Switch 3

Powerful and modestly priced for browsing on a budget

CPU: 1.10GHz Intel Pentium Quad Core N4200 - Intel Core i3 7100U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.2-inch, 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD touchscreen | Storage: 64GB - 128GB eMMC

Affordably priced
Solidly built
Fast performance
Hinged stand is fiddly

The Acer Switch 3 is a budget laptop, but you wouldn't know it from looking at its specifications. This is a surprisingly powerful device, and will handle all your browser tabs with ease.

Like the Microsoft Surface Go, the Acer Switch 3 converts between laptop and tablet modes by way of a fabric-covered keyboard that attaches to the display magnetically. Unlike Microsoft, Acer has chosen to include the keyboard in the cost of the device, making it a more tempting prospect. Its hinged stand can be a bit fiddly to adjust, but 

The Acer Switch 3 is rather plain looking, but it's robust and well built – an important consideration if you're looking for a travelling companion to slide into a backpack on regular journeys.

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Google Pixelbook

5. Google Pixelbook

Get the best browsing experience with Google's own laptop

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8 – 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, QHD (2,400 x 1,600) touchscreen | Storage: 128GB – 512GB

Stunning design
Generous specifications
Excellent keyboard and trackpad
Stylus sold separately

The Pixelbook is Google's answer to the Macbook Pro – a premium device designed to show off ChromeOS at its best. Everything about this laptop is built to the highest standard, from its well-spaced backlit keyboard to its bright, accurate display.

Like all Chromebooks, the Pixelbook is built with the browser in mind, and its generous allocation of RAM means it'll be able to keep all your tabs running without breaking a sweat.

It's a pity that, like Microsoft, Google hasn't bundled a stylus with its top-end laptop. The Pixelbook Pen, sold separately, adds a new dimension to your web browser, letting you draw and annotate on the screen, and send parts of pages to Google Assistant for analysis.

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