One of the most coveted features of laptops has always been portability. Lightweight laptops have also become powerful, thanks to improving build and design technologies with more compact heat management. It is possible to find high-end processors and dedicated graphics in feather-light devices that are lovely for travel.
Lightweight laptops – from 2 to 3 lbs – get especially sought after by students and modern professionals whose jobs entail considerable travel. But you can also find compact gaming machines and design platforms if you know where to look. Their prime advantage lies in facilitating a flexible, balanced life, simplifying tasks when you are away from your desk, and keeping you free to work from anywhere.
Best Lightweight Laptops 2023
We have consolidated the best portable laptops in the market in 2023, addressing different budgets and requirements. Both clamshells and convertibles enjoy popularity, although the latter has advantages in flexibility.
MacBook Air for lightweight wonder
There’s little competition to the glorious Apple 2023 MacBook Air, weighing 3.3 lbs and offering dependable performance and style. It runs on an M2 chip, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD. You can check out the 15.3″ version for an immersive viewing experience with 500 nits of brightness and P3-wide color.
Apple uses aluminum (100 percent recycled) for the chassis to reap advantages in weight and sleekness. These Macs can also deliver unplugged usage of up to 18 hours and seamless connectivity with other Apple devices.
Security can sometimes be a concern with portable devices – more so because their usage is away from a fixed workstation. Apple’s Touch ID addition can be a significant advantage here.
Dell XPS for ultra-high performance
Dell has some splendid offerings in its family to cater to high-performance requirements. When you get an XPS 13 Plus, for instance, you can experience the speeds of an Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB RAM in a lightweight laptop that weighs just 2.71 lbs and is 0.60″ thick. At around $1,499.00, this laptop manages to enthrall with two Thunderbolt 4 ports and 13 hours of battery backup.
Another win of this range is a dual-sensor camera that can separate infrared from RGB to facilitate video calling in low lighting.
HP Spectre Convertibles
Portability and 2-in-1 laptops frequently go hand in hand. The HP Spectre x360 14t is a fantastic choice for students and professionals who need reliable performance for everyday activities. This 3.01 lbs laptop runs on an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD. The convenient 360° form factor lets you travel and work smoothly, molding the device per your needs.
HP also offers an intelligent cam with a physical shutter and backlight adjustment. Many users seeking a portable laptop make numerous video calls during their workdays, and this dynamic camera can be a lifesaver. Another beneficial feature is the HP Palette, unifying devices for your convenience.
Microsoft Surface for style and convenience
Microsoft has a gorgeous lineup of Surface laptops for style and comfort seekers in their everyday. The 13.5″ Surface 5 offers Alcantara fabric – soft and lustrous – and color options to match your personality.
These touchscreen devices deliver long battery life (18 hours+) and features to enhance usability – like, a kickstand and a detachable keyboard. Performance-wise, too, you won’t be left wanting. Microsoft uses efficient Intel i5 CPUs, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos for immersive work experiences. What’s more, this 2.69 lbs laptop costs approximately $840. It makes a great portable laptop under $1,000.
You can choose a smaller form factor – a 12.4″ Microsoft Surface Go 2 – to raise the mobility. It is lighter (2.48 lbs) and boasts express charging for peace of mind while working outdoors. Security is another crucial consideration Microsoft has not overlooked. A fingerprint power button keeps your system safe and private.
LG Gram feather-light laptops
LG is an exciting brand to explore if you are open to experimentation. The LG Gram Style lineup has lightweight computers that bundle performance-heavy specs. For example, the 14″ LG Gram Style weighs just 2.2 pounds and has a super-light power adapter. It gets driven by an Intel Core i7, 32GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD. It even has a 2.8K OLED screen with Dolby Atmos, 100% DCI-P3 color, and two Thunderbolt 4 ports.
Durability is a focal point for LG; it adheres to MIL-STD-810H standards and hosts a 72Wh battery. On the flip side, it costs almost $1,800, so it might not fit the budget of a bargain seeker.
Acer Swift for affordable mobility
The Acer Swift series is a go-to for portability lovers. The 2.65 lbs Acer Swift 14, with an Intel i7 processor and 100% sRGB color, is a fine choice to balance performance, screen real estate, and travel-friendliness. At just under $1,400, you can enjoy the QHD camera (1440p, with intelligent features for video calls) and enhanced cooling with multiple cooling modes.
Acer is known for delivering connectivity and sustainability options, including Killer Wi-Fi 6E. These laptops also use Corning Gorilla Glass to protect the screen during travel.
Compact ASUS Zenbooks
Another affordable and promising brand to consider for lightweight laptops is ASUS. Its Zenbooks are particularly enticing, packed with performance on a budget. The Zenbook S 13 will cost you $1,400 for an Intel i7 processor, 32GB RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a vivid OLED 2.8K screen. It weighs 2.2 lbs and has a 0.46″ thickness – or should we say thinness?
Zenbooks use a 180-degree hinge to enhance your ease of sharing. They also offer splendid audio: Dolby Atmos, Harman Kardon certification, AI Noise suppression, you name it.
MSI Prestige for durable performance
While MSI is not known for affordability, its Prestige range can fulfill your needs for a compact but budget-friendly laptop. The MSI Prestige 13 weighs 2.18 lbs (0.67″ thickness). It has an Intel Core i7 processor, 32GB RAM, a 1TB SSD, and abundant ports. So, you can plug into Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, or the card reader. It will cost you $1,500, but the brand promise is unbeatable.
MSI relies on military-grade construction and has an almost 90% screen-to-body ratio for an engaging viewing experience. Security fallbacks like facial recognition, a fingerprint reader, and a webcam shutter keep your stuff confidential, never mind where you are.
What should you keep in mind when buying a lightweight laptop?
We recommend double-checking the connectivity options, like Thunderbolt 4 ports. A compact laptop shouldn’t compromise on UBS ports as the latter may be necessary for collaboration and data sharing. Long-lasting batteries and displays that are clear enough to work on outdoors are other prerogatives.
Some light machines also skimp on heat management – another thing you should be wary of. Laptops like the Acer Swift integrate several cooling modes to match the situation. It is safe to presume this problem will resolve as technology advances and heat dissipation becomes more efficient in cramped spaces.
Are portable laptops long-lasting?
Top brands integrate reliability features to up the service life of lightweight laptops. For instance, LG Gram machines usually get built per military durability standards. Microsoft Surface uses Alcantara fabric that is both attractive and protective for the components. Screen protection options like Corning Gorilla Glass are another handy feature to prevent damage.
When in doubt, it is safe to side with laptops from trusted families like HP and Dell, both of which have a keen focus on longevity
Which screen size is suitable for a thin and light laptop?
The most popular sizes are 13 and 14 inches, although you can also consider a 12″ model. Screens larger than that will affect the portability. An immersive screen-to-body ratio is helpful – close to 90% – to maximize real estate. Most portable laptops use an FHD or OLED resolution, but the choice will depend on your usage requirements.