The Best 13-Inch Laptops of 2019: Portable Notebooks for Any Budget
Updated on April 19: Lenovo is having a massive Easter sale on business laptops, including the ThinkPad X390 ($899) and 3rd-Gen X1 tablet ($392 off). Also, Apple users can find huge discounts on the 13-inch MacBook Pro ($400 off) at Best Buy.
13-inch laptops have boomed in popularity over the past few years, and for good reason. These devices offer the best balance between portability and productivity. Students can effortlessly carry 13-inch laptops around campus, and business professionals can slip these machines into briefcases when traveling. Additionally, these laptops' compact size makes them suitable 2-in-1s for customers who want tablet functionality.
We've compiled the best 13-inch laptops, however, if you're not sold on this screen size, check out our best overall laptops page or the best 15-inch laptops and best 17-inch laptops pages. If you're a student going off to college, then a 13-inch laptop is probably your best option. For more specific recommendations, see our best college laptops page, where you'll find the best notebook for your major. And if these laptops are too pricey, we've got you covered there too with our best laptops under $500 page.
After reviewing the best laptops on the market, the 13-inch Spectre x360 impressed us with its striking design, very long battery life and super comfortable keyboard. Another 2-in-1 worth putting on your radar is the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro, which has a premium aluminum design and good battery life. However, if you'd prefer to spend under $1,000, we recommend the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S, a sleek ultrabook with an elegant design and a vivid 13.3-inch, non-touch display. Need a durable laptop to bring to work? Check out our review of the ThinkPad L390 Yoga, a relatively affordable 2-in-1 business laptop.
Here are the best 13-inch laptops for every budget.
Best Overall: Dell XPS 13 (2019)
The Dell XPS 13 (starting at $899) isn't just the best 13-inch laptop; it's our favorite overall laptop (and has been for multiple years running). The 2019 refresh of Dell's ultimate Ultrabook keeps all the style, speed and portability of the previous edition and eliminates its only serious problem. That's right, the dreaded 'nosecam' — a webcam that sat in the bottom left corner of the display bezel, pointing right up your schnozz — is gone. Instead, Dell's found a way to set the webcam in the still-thin top bezel, a minor engineering miracle. Just make sure you get the model that's right for you: the 4K version we tested offers less than 8 hours of battery life, and the 1080p version should offer far more. At 2.69 pounds and 0.6 inches thick, the XPS 13 is a great choice for students or frequent travelers.
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i3/Core i5/ Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 4GB/8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 11.9 x 7.8 x 0.5 inches | Weight: 2.7 pounds
Best Apple Laptop: MacBook Air (2018)
The long-awaited (and much needed) update to the popular MacBook Air has arrived. The new model features a colorful 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 Retina display with bezels that are 50 percent thinner this year. Touch ID also makes an introduction to the new Butterfly keyboard. The Y-series CPU in the MacBook Air didn't blow us away in our testing, but its 9+ hours of battery life made up for it. Also, the newly designed chassis is 0.6 inches thick and weighs 2.75 pounds, making the new Air slightly smaller and lighter than the previous model.
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5-8210Y | GPU: Intel UHD 617 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel | Size: 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds
Best under $1,000: Asus ZenBook UX333FA
The Asus ZenBook UX333FA ticks all the right boxes. The laptop has an attractive aluminum design, fast performance thanks to its Core i5 CPU, and a clever touchpad with a built-in numpad. You get all of those perks for just $850, making the ZenBook UX333FA an excellent value when compared to other premium devices. If those reasons aren't enough, then the ZenBook's more than 11 hours of battery life should win you over.
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5 | GPU: Intel UHD 620/Nvidia GeForce MX150 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p | Size: 11.9 x 7.4 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 2.7 pounds
Best Ultrabook: Microsoft Surface Laptop 2
The sophomore release of Microsoft's traditional clamshell laptop is a hit. The $999 Surface Laptop 2 has a lot going for it, including a gorgeous 13.5-inch display, a slim and sexy design, and 9 hours of battery life. The machine also comes armed with the latest 8th Gen Intel Core CPUs, which provide a significant performance improvement when compared to last year's model. The comfortable soft-touch Alcantara deck returns this year, except now there is a swanky matte black color scheme to choose from, along with the Burgundy, Cobalt Blue and Platinum.
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/ Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512/1TB SSD | Display: 13.5-inch, 2256 x 1504-pixel | Size: 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.7 pounds
Best for Gaming: Razer Blade Stealth (2018)
The Razer Blade Stealth is the best laptop for gamers who want to play on the go. The Stealth has a sleek, unibody aluminum chassis that can be easily slipped into a backpack. Somehow, Razer found a way to pack a dedicated GPU into this 13-inch machine. While the optional GeForce MX150 GPU can't play the most demanding games, you shouldn't have any problems running most AAA titles on low graphics settings. Oh yeah, and this year's model has surprisingly long battery life, at more than 8 hours.
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U | GPU: Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU/Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB | Display: 13.3-inch 1080p or 4K | Size: 12 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.9 pounds
Best 2-in-1: HP Spectre x360 (2019)
HP's newest premium 2-in-1 is a knockout. With chamfered corners and faceted edges, the Spectre x360 looks as much like a jewel as it does a laptop. But there is a lot more to the Spectre x360 than its looks. The convertible lasts more than 12 hours on a charge and its 13.3-inch, 1080p display is extremely colorful. Furthermore, the Spectre x360's keyboard is supremely comfortable and its dual speakers output clear and loud audio.
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 12.2 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds
Best Chromebook: Acer Chromebook 13
A favorite in a flood of recently released premium Chromebooks, the $799 Acer Chromebook 13 is one of the fastest laptops running Google's Chrome OS. The aluminum notebook packs up to an Intel U-series Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. While the laptop's 13.5-inch display isn't particularly bright, it is sharp and vivid.
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i3/Core i5 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Display: 13.3-inch, 2256 x 1504-pixels | Size: 12.2 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 3.6 pounds
Best Performance: Apple MacBook Pro (2018)
If you prefer macOS to Windows 10, then there's only one 13-inch laptop you should consider: the Apple MacBook Pro (starting at $1,299). While this year's 13-inch MacBook Pro falls a bit short in the battery-life department, the laptop makes up for that weakness with unthinkably fast data-transfer speeds. Of course, on top of that, you get all the staples that make Apple products so compelling: a beautiful Retina display, Siri support and top-notch speakers. Also, those wary of last year's troublesome keyboard will appreciate the improvements in the new model.
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/ Core i7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB | Display: 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel | Size: 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3 pounds
Best Business: HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3 Review
Business professionals who want a powerful 13-inch laptop should consider the HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3. This sleek 2-in-1 combines a beautiful slim aluminum chassis with military strength durability. Add nearly 10 hours of battery life into the mix, and you've got yourself one heck of a travel machine.
A standout feature of the EliteBook x360 1030 G3 is the 1080p Sure View display, which reaches a remarkable 518 nits of brightness. Other things we like about the laptop include its comfortable keyboard and powerful speakers.
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/ Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: Up to 2TB | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 12 x 8.1 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds
Best Design: Lenovo IdeaPad 730S
At 0.5 inches thick and 2.4 pounds, the extremely sleek IdeaPad 730S is one of the thinnest and lightest 13-inch laptops we've reviewed. Along with a portable chassis, it has a vivid and detailed 13.3-inch, 1080p display, and strong performance thanks to its Core i5 CPU and fast 256GB SSD. Impressive audio quality and a surprisingly capable webcam make the IdeaPad 730S a steal at less than $1,000, despite sub-par battery life.
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB | Display Size: 13.3-inch, 1080p | Size: 12.1 x 8.3 x 0.5 inches | Weight: 2.4 pounds
Credit: Laptop Mag