The 8 best 13-inch laptops of 2017
If there is one thing that every laptop aims to achieve, it’s a perfect balance of high performance and high portability. And it’s this ideal balance that makes the best 13-inch laptops such great devices. Manufacturers know this, and they’re continuously releasing new products that push further towards this goal, delivering computers that can not only travel wherever you do, but can keep up with your workload, no matter what it is.
There are so many great 13-inch laptops backed both by macOS and Windows 10. Chromebooks offer some great budget options, and there are plenty of cheap laptops out there for anyone looking to save some money. You don’t have to buy a MacBook to get a great experience.
AMD’s new mobile Ryzen CPUs are on the way, and they could bring a lot of changes to the 13-inch laptop market.
Without further ado, whether you want a super-premium MacBook with all the bells and whistles, or something a bit more frugal and utilitarian, you’ll find something great in our list of the best
- Dell XPS 13
- Asus Zenbook Flip UX360
- HP Spectre x360
- Samsung Notebook 9
- Acer Aspire S 13
- Lenovo Yoga 910
- 13-inch MacBook Air
- 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display
1. Dell XPS 13
If it ain’t broke, make it handsome
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i3 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD
Dell has once again struck (rose) gold with the XPS 13, especially now that they feature 7th generation Intel Core CPUs. The beautiful design, lengthy battery life and even the SD card slot are still there, only now it’s souped up with improved internal components and a sleeker aesthetic reminiscent of the MacBook and HP Spectre lineups. What’s more, the full-size processor and 13.3-inch display are somehow packed (magic?) into an 11-inch frame made possible by Dell’s own nearly bezel-less InfinityEdge display technology.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
2. Asus ZenBook Flip UX360
An affordable 2-in-1 laptop
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core M3 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 – 620 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200×1,800) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD
There’s a new entry to Asus’s Zenbook lineup with the UX360, featuring a lot of the same specs as its predecessor but with the flexibility of a 2-in-1 laptop. While the ability to bend over backwards may diminish the build quality somewhat, it allows for new levels of functionality for computer consumers who want a laptop and tablet all in one. Thanks to an all-day battery, the Zenbook Flip UX360 really can go with you for everything you do. And, with a wide variety of internal customization, you can deck out the Zenbook Flip UX360 for your own personal needs, saving you some cash or boosting its performance.
Read the full review: Asus Zenbook Flip UX360
3. HP Spectre x360
HP’s flagship 2-in-1 goes ultra-thin with style
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i3 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Nvidia GeForce 940MX 2GB | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IPS UWVA LED-backlit multi-touch display | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
The HP Spectre x360 is the one you bring home to your parents. It’s stunningly well-crafted, featuring a silvery design that makes it every bit as cutting-edge on the outside as it is within. Given the option between a 7th-generation i5 or i7 Ultrabook-class processor and a 1080p or 4K screen, HP allows for plenty of room for customization. It’s not underpowered, nor does its battery life suffer from overcompensation. In fact, in our own movie test, the HP Spectre x360 lasted a whole 8 hours and 45 minutes. The only real caveat is that, like a lot of its competitors, the Spectre x360 also lacks an SD card slot, opting instead for a pair of USB Type-C ports.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360
4. Samsung Notebook 9
Great performance on the cheap
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED anti-reflective display | Storage: 256GB SSD
Though it’s failed to make a dent in the laptop space with much more than its Tab Pro S convertible, Samsung’s follow-up to the 2012 Series 9 notebook boasts not only capable specs, but a competitive price as well. Marketed as an Ultrabook, it’s certainly disheartening to know the battery life lasts only five hours, but given its sleek and sexy design, it almost doesn’t matter. What’s more, with the Samsung Notebook 9, you won’t have to deal with bloatware made infamous by many of the other Microsoft OEMs.
Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9
5. Surface Laptop
Microsoft’s most direct shot at the MacBook yet
CPU: 7th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Iris Plus Graphics 640 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 2,256 x 1,504 PixelSense display | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD
The Surface Laptop is Microsoft’s first stab at a ‘traditional’ laptop, if you can even call it that knowing full well that its PixelSense touchscreen and Alcantara keyboard are anything but conventional. Featuring a full stack of U-series 7th generation Intel Core i processors, the Surface Laptop beats out Apple’s 12-inch MacBook any day of the week, and for a lower starting price at that. Despite the ports and operating system being limited, the Surface Laptop is appealing for its laudable design, beautifully vivid screen and impressive performance.
Read the full review: Surface Laptop
6. Lenovo Yoga 910
Versatile with a generous helping of elegance
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.9-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IPS multi-touch | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
The Lenovo Yoga 910 is all about second chances. It throws away many of the signature design traits of the previous model, the Yoga 900, in favor of a more pristine outward appearance and a heavy duty Intel Core i7 processor as well as the option of a 4K display. Lenovo also managed to squeeze a larger, nearly 14-inch screen into the same 13-inch chassis of the Yoga 900 without compromise. Not to mention, even with the implementation of USB-C ports, the Lenovo Yoga 910 doesn’t completely neglect USB Type-A, dragging the precious connection standard of the past along with it.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 910
7. 13-inch MacBook Air
The best battery life in a 13-inch laptop
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, LED HD (1,440 x 900) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD
In a market densely populated with slim-line laptops from a massive range of manufacturers, Apple’s MacBook Air fights on admirably – though it started showing its age on the outside a long time ago. It has Intel’s fifth-generation Core-series processors rather than the newest Skylake variants, but it’s still a capable machine; even more so since Apple made 8GB of RAM standard across the line.
Read the full review: 13-inch MacBook Air
8. 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 – 650 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch IPS, 2,560 x 1,600 pixels | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
The latest iteration of Apple’s seminal MacBook Pro series is here, and as you would expect it makes a number of notable improvements over last year’s offering. While it might not exactly feature the strongest battery life in the game (scoring under an hour less than last year’s offering), it does offer increased performance by way of a new CPU and faster RAM. Add that to Apple’s continued dedication to simplicity and beautiful design and you have a laptop that is sleek, portable and reliable.
Read the full review: Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2017)
Joe Osborne and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article
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