HP’s lightest laptop makes the Dell XPS 13 look expensive and underpowered — The $550 Pavilion Aero is the best value for money choice if you’re looking for a superlight notebook

HP Pavilion Aero 13 : $879.99$549.99 at HP DirectSave $330

HP Pavilion Aero 13 : $879.99 $549.99 at HP Direct
Save $330  The Aero 13 is almost 38% off at HP direct and you get a cracking piece of technology squeezed into an incredibly small package (that weighs just over two pounds): A six-core AMD CPU with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD plus a 16:10 FHD+ display. 

The HP Pavilion Aero Laptop is probably the best value-for-money light laptop on the market right now. If you’re looking for something you can carry around without much thought that also delivers reasonably good performance for a wide range of use cases, HP's lightest laptop (yes, it's even lighter than the HP Elite Dragonfly G4), is a really good option. Especially if you’re looking for a business laptop.

Like many great deals, it is the combination of unique features that make it worthy. In this case, a fingerprint scanner, a 6-core AMD CPU, and a 13.3-inch full HD IPS display with a 16:10 aspect ratio - all in a chassis that weighs less than 1kg. Arguably the best thing though is the price as at $549.99 you get a 38% saving. Not bad at all for one of the lightest laptops around.

The AMD Ryzen 5 7535U inside the HP Pavilion Aero 13 is a potent processor. Despite having only six cores, it is competitive with eight core rivals from Intel, according to popular benchmark firm Passmark. And, it really should be fast enough for most tasks. It has a 256GB SSD and 16GB of RAM (soldered) and that’s the minimum I’d recommend for everyday use. There’s plenty of ports and slots (five in all) including a dedicated power connector, which I much prefer. 

As for battery life, it reached more than 10 hours in tests published by our sister publications Laptomag and Tomsguide, which is not bad for a 43WHr model. The webcam is 720p with noise suppression and two microphones. Oh and did I mention that it uses a magnesium alloy for its chassis? The integrated GPU is also significantly faster than most of the onboard competition out there, especially in the thin and light category.

Unfortunately, its memory is not upgradable as it is soldered. You can’t add to it, either, which is a shame but understandable given the thin-and-light nature of the laptop. Business users may also wince at the lack of a backlit keyboard and camera shutter. There’s no microSD card reader and the Realtek-based Wi-Fi chip delivers average performance.

Note that almost all reviews online are for older models launched in 2021. TechRadar hasn’t reviewed this laptop but our peers have.

Tomsguide: The HP Pavilion Aero 13 is an easy choice for those that care about portability above all else… and performance…and a comfortable keyboard…and a nice display. Who am I kidding? The Aero 13 is a great all-around ultraportable. Well, except the fact that its deck is a bit small and that it doesn’t come with a microSD card slot.

Laptopmag: The Aero 13 is to laptops what Bumblebee is to film. Until that 2018 release, every Transformers movie was awful. Then seemingly out of nowhere, a spin-off arrives and makes you consider whether something could come of the franchise. I'm not saying Bumblebee was the height of cinema, and like that movie, the Aero 13 has its faults. But despite those drawbacks, you won't find a better laptop for around $700.

You get the standard one year warranty out of the box but can add a three-year pickup and return extended support warranty with accidental damage protection for $127.49 at the time of writing. You can also add tech support too (SmartFriend and Absolute Home + Office Standard).

Also consider

Dell XPS 13 laptop: $799$599 at Dell

Dell XPS 13 laptop: $799 $599 at Dell
It is not as light or as powerful as the Pavilion Aero but the XPS 13 has the pedigree of Dell's most enduring premium laptop range. The extra $100 gets you a bigger battery, a better wireless card, 12-month McAfee LiveSafe security software and Thunderbolt 4 ports (albeit just two of them).

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.