The Best 13-Inch Laptops of 2019: Portable Notebooks for Any Budget

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Updated on Feb 21: Amazon is selling the first-gen Microsoft Surface Laptop for $799 ($499 off) for a limited time. 

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.

Asus-ZenBook-13

Another benefit of choosing an Ultrabook is that you don't sacrifice performance. While the U-series chips that power these machines aren't quite as fast as H-series CPUs, 13-inch laptops can handle some of the most-demanding tasks, like photo and video editing. And while hard-core gamers may not be satisfied with integrated GPUs, 13-inch devices are fine for casual gaming.

Here are the best 13-inch laptops for every budget.  

News and Updates (February 2019)

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, i5, i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 4GB to 16GB | Storage: 128GB to 2TB SSD | Display Size: 13.3 inches  | Resolution: 1080p or 4K

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 Size: 13.3 inches | Resolution: 2560 x 1600

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 or Nvidia GeForce MX150 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Display Size: 13.3 inches | Resolution: 1080p 

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, i7 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB, 16GB | Storage: 128GB to 1TB SSD | Display Size: 13.5 inches | Resolution: 2256 x 1504

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 or Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB, 16GB | Storage:  256GB, 512GB | Display Size: 13.3 inches | Resolution: 1080p or 4K

Best 2-in-1: HP Spectre Folio

This leather-bonded laptop is so much more than just a fashion statement. The HP Spectre Folio is made of 100-genuine cowhide, making it the perfect companion to a designer bag for those fashion-forward users. But it's the laptop's innovative method for converting from a laptop into a tablet that really impressed us.

Key Specs

CPU: Intel Core i5-8200Y, i7-8500Y | GPU: Intel UHD 615 | RAM: 8GB, 16GB | Storage:  256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB | Display Size: 13.3 inches | Resolution: 1920 x 1080p

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 i3-8130U, Intel Core i5-8250U | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB | Storage:  32GB, 64GB | Display Size: 13.5 inches  | Resolution: 2256 x 1504-pixels

Best Performance: 13-Inch MacBook Pro (2018)

If you prefer macOS to Windows 10, then there's only one 13-inch laptop you should consider: the 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, i7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 | RAM: 8GB, 16GB | Storage: 256GB to 2TB SSD | Display Size: 13.3 inches | Resolution: 2560 x 1600

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, i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB, 16GB | Storage: Up to 2TB | Display Size: 13.3 inches | Resolution: 4K or 1080p

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, i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB, 16GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB SSD | Display Size: 13.3 inches  | Resolution: 1080p 

Credit: Laptop Mag