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The best 13-inch laptop 2020: the top 13-inch laptops we've reviewed

best 13-inch laptop
Many of the best 13-inch laptops are powerful enough to make our best laptops or best Ultrabooks lists. (Image credit: Future)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best 13-inch laptops are the perfect combination of power, portability, and price. While their 15-inch counterparts may have more power, it’s these smaller portables that are the ideal size if you want to travel light while still having enough power to see you through your productivity workload.

Whether you’re a professional who needs a little more power or a student looking for the most affordable portables, you can't beat the best 13-inch laptops if a thinner and more portable form factor is your top priority. As the new MacBook Air (M1, 2020) has proven, a laptop can really be this small while also rocking a surprising level of performance worthy of light video editing and some gaming. There’s a reason that you’ll find more than a few of these portables on best business laptops, best Ultrabooks, or best laptops lists. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a specific brand like the best Acer laptops, want a particular form factor like a 2-in-1 laptop, or trying to choose between the best Windows laptops or the best Macs. You’ll find one of the best 13-inch laptops here to match your needs.

MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

1. MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

Best laptop for students with a flexible budget

Specifications
CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU
Graphics: Integrated 7-core – 8-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 16GB unified memory
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 2020 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. It’s not going to be the cheapest option for students, but for those who have a slightly bigger budget, this is the best student laptop to get.

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

HP Spectre x360 (2020)

(Image credit: HP)

2. 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 Windows laptops out there. Is it a wonder that this is one of our favorite laptops of 2020? 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)

Google Pixelbook Go

Google Pixelbook Go boasts many of its high-quality features, but without that steep price tag. (Image credit: Google)

3. Google Pixelbook Go

The best mainstream Chromebook

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core m3 – i7
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch Full HD – 13.3-inch 4K Ultra HD Molecular Display
Storage: 64GB – 256GB
Reasons to buy
+Amazing ‘Hush’ keyboard+Rare 1080p webcam
Reasons to avoid
-No biometric login

If you’ve long been admiring Google’s premium Chromebook but the price is holding you back, then you might want to consider the new Google Pixelbook Go instead. Freshly-baked by Google, this alternative to the manufacturer’s pricey Pixelbook boasts many of its high-quality features, but without that steep price tag – namely, an incredible battery life and that coveted keyboard. If your computing use is limited to sending and responding to emails, creating documents and excel sheets on Google Docs and Sheets, and streaming movies and videos after work, then this one’s a winner.

Read the full review: Google Pixelbook Go

MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

4. MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)

Apple’s little MacBook Pro gets a big refresh

Specifications
CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU
Graphics: Integrated 8-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 16GB unified memory
Screen: 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 LED-backlit Retina display
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Dimensions (H x W x D): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56 cm
Reasons to buy
+Huge battery life+Great performance+Can run iOS apps
Reasons to avoid
-Still lacks ports

The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) may not have gotten a massive design overhaul, but what it lacks in that department, it makes up for big time in performance and battery life. Thanks to Apple’s groundbreaking M1 chip, the new MacBook Pro 13-inch delivers excellent performance and exceptional battery life. Its performance is so impressive, in fact, that it can easily handle 4K - and even 8K - videos. If you’re looking for a powerful laptop that keeps things small and lightweight, this is the best 13-inch laptop money can buy.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)

Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

(Image credit: Dell)

5. Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

Dell does it again

Specifications
CPU: Up to 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7
Graphics: Up to Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: Up to 32GB 4267MHz LPDDR4x
Screen: 13.4" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 13.4" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display
Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe
Reasons to buy
+Stunning design+Gorgeous 16:10 display+Excellent battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Sound quality is just OK-Pricey

At this point, we doubt that the Dell XPS line can do anything wrong. Its yearly updates have consistently made it to our best laptops list, and they’re only getting better. The Dell XPS 13 (2020) is not only a gorgeous piece of kit. It also comes, as expected, with excellent performance, a stunning display and long battery life, alongside a few others. Much like its predecessor, it’s a pricey investment – but that is barely reason enough for us to discourage Ultrabook fans. This is among the best 13-inch laptops of 2020, and it’s worth every penny.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 (2020) 

Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13-inch)

Surface Book 2 will handle your daily workload effortlessly and in style. (Image credit: Microsoft)

6. Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch)

Bigger isn’t always better: a memoir

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel UHD 620 – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.5-inch, 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense display
Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Very good battery life+Powerful 
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive -Not as powerful as 15-inch model

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. Whether you’re a professional or a creative or even a student, the Surface Book 2 will handle your daily workload effortlessly and in style. What’s more, the dynamic fulcrum hinge is much improved this time around, complementing the robust quad-core processor. And, unlike many other 2-in-1 laptops, the keyboard is removable to make it much more manageable, as well as thinner, when in tablet mode.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2

Surface Laptop 2 is one of the best 13-inch laptops right now. (Image credit: Microsoft)

7. Surface Laptop 2

Faster. Better. Stronger.

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Improved power+New black color scheme
Reasons to avoid
-Still no Thunderbolt 3

The early Surface Laptop had our vote for one of the best 13-inch laptops, due to its stunning screen, competent internals and solid build quality. We are, therefore, happy to see its sequel, the Surface Laptop 2, doing everything better and taking some features to a new level. You won’t find any major changes, but the faster 8th-generation CPUs, 8GB of RAM and, most importantly, the removal of Windows 10 S all add up to making the Surface Laptop 2 one of the best 13-inch laptops right now.

Read the full review: Surface Laptop 2

Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019)

Razer has spruced up its Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook with the latest internal components without affecting its super-quiet operation. (Image credit: Razer)

8. Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019)

Lightweight Razer style, now in white

Specifications
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics – GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 13.3" FHD Matte w/ 4.9mm slim side bezel – 13.3" 4K Touch w/ 4.9mm slim side bezel
Storage: 512GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Top-notch build quality+Runs quietly+Battery life is solid 
Reasons to avoid
-Decidedly expensive-Limited storage space-Lacks a discrete GPU

The “world’s first gaming ultrabook” doesn't just talk the talk; it also walks the walk. Razer has spruced up its Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook with the latest internal components without affecting its super-quiet operation. Packed with a 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and better graphic options, 13-inch laptop delivers and much better than its predecessor. In fact, it might just be the best gaming experience we’ve ever had on integrated graphics with the Iris Plus configuration. Round that out with extremely quiet fans, low thermal power, extended battery life and that delightful Mercury White color, and we are sold. You will be too, if you can afford the price.

Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) 

Lenovo Yoga C940

Lenovo Yoga C930 has a few aces up its sleeve. (Image credit: Lenovo)

9. Lenovo Yoga C940

The Lenovo Yoga is back and it means business

Specifications
CPU: up to 10th-generation Intel Core i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
RAM: up to 16GB
Screen: 14” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, touchscreen, glossy, 400 nits –14" UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS, touchscreen, glossy, HDR 400, 500 nits
Storage: up to 2TB SSD PCIe
Reasons to buy
+Excellent design+Great performance+Comfy keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Battery life

With the Lenovo Yoga C940, the company continues with its tradition of making elegant and stunning Ultrabooks. And, don't be thrown off by its looks, there's plenty of power hiding inside. With a comfortable keyboard, stylus, TrueBlock Privacy Shutter and rotating soundbar, it's quite a feature rich machine as well. It's not perfect - that soundbar is a work in progress and the battery life could be better - but it's a great portable that can stand up to the competition.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga C940

ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325

(Image credit: Asus)

10. ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325

Light, durable and affordable workhorse

Specifications
CPU: 10th-gen Intel Core i3 – i7
Graphics: Intel UHD – Iris Plus Graphics
RAM: up to 32GB
Screen: 13.3-inch, LCD, FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9, IPS-level Panel, Anti-glare display, LED Backlit, 300nits – 13.3-inch, LCD, FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9, IPS-level Panel, Anti-glare display, LED Backlit, 450nits
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Camera: HD camera with IR function to support Windows Hello
Reasons to buy
+MIL-STD-810G durability+Outstanding external speakers+Great battery
Reasons to avoid
-Underpowered-Wired headphone usage requires included dongle

If you want a workhorse of a laptop that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, look no further than the ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325. It’s thin and light form as well as exceptional battery life puts it in the same league as the best Ultrabooks out there. Its MIL-STD-810G takes it a step further, making it a robust candidate for your in-the-field needs. Its affordable price tag does come with a few surprises – the biggest one being it’s a bit underpowered. However, you’re not doing anything intensive, it should have enough to see you through your daily demands.

Read the full review: ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325

Bill Thomas has also contributed to this article