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The best thin and light laptops

Included in this guide:

The best thin and light laptops
(Image credit: Picjumbo / Pexels)

The best light and thin laptops will make a world of difference if you work on the move. Many of today’s best laptops are not only slender enough to slip neatly into a bag or a briefcase, taking up no more space than a magazine, but also so light they won’t make much a difference in weight.

What’s more, thanks to the advances manufacturers have made in components, the best light and thin laptops won’t compromise on power either. They are powerful enough to handle any tasks, even demanding ones like video rendering, editing huge raw photo files, and even gaming. In fact, there are quite a few thin and light gaming laptops out there.

That’s on top of their generous allocation of storage, so you don't need to worry about uploading your files to the cloud. You can keep all your work on your computer, ready to access even when you don't have an internet connection.

Here we've rounded up the best light and thin laptops that strike the perfect balance of speed, light weight, and sleek design. No matter your choice, it will transform the way you work forever.

MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

1. MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

The best Apple laptop

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)

MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

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

Apple’s little MacBook Pro gets a big refresh

CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8‑core
Graphics: Integrated 8-core
RAM: 8GB – 16GB unified memory
Screen: 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 LED-backlit Retina display
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
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 thin and light laptop money can buy.

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

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2020)

(Image credit: Dell)

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

One of the best Windows laptops around

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

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)

HP Spectre x360 (2020)

(Image credit: HP)

4. HP Spectre x360 (2020)

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

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)

Razer Blade Stealth 13 (Late 2020)

(Image credit: Razer)

5. Razer Blade Stealth 13 (Late 2020)

The gaming Ultrabook returns

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)

LG Gram 17 (2020)

(Image credit: LG)

6. LG Gram 17 (2020)

Super lightweight with a big, beautiful display

CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus
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)

Cat Ellis

Cat (@CatEllisBristol) is the fitness and wellbeing editor at TechRadar. She's been a technology journalist for 11 years, and cut her teeth on magazines including PC Plus and PC Format before joining TechRadar. She's a trained run leader, and enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the pavement. If you have a story about fitness trackers, treadmills, running shoes, e-bikes, or any other fitness tech, drop her a line.