Long-lasting laptops with durable build quality

The Best Laptops Under $1,000 of 2022

There's a laptop for just about every budget, whether you need an inexpensive Chromebook for browsing the web or a high-powered machine for video editing or gaming. But for some people, the sweet spot is about a grand or lower.

If you're looking for the best in terms of performance and portability, we'd recommend spending a little extra. Among the sub-$1,000 laptops, we fell in love with the new Apple MacBook Air M1 (available at Amazon for $799.00) for its 12-plus hour battery life, smooth and responsive trackpad, gorgeous Retina screen, and blazing fast performance that beats other laptops twice its price. If MacBooks aren't your style, you've got plenty of other options, and we're here to help you find the best one for you.

Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser The M1 MacBook Air is a revolutionary laptop thanks to its crazy-fast M1 processor and its staggering 12+ hour battery life.

Best Overall Apple MacBook Air (2020) With north of a dozen hours of battery life, a crazy-powerful M1 processor, and an incredibly smooth trackpad and keyboard, it should be no surprise that the MacBook Air M1 shoved our previous top laptop out of its spot. Compared to the mid-2020 MacBook Air, the M1 version is almost identical. The only changes are the switch from Intel to the Apple-made M1 processors and the total lack of fans. Apple claimed this new M1 chip would be so amazing that we’d want to ditch our old Intel Macs. They delivered, with the M1 processor packing 7,667 points in Geekbench 5, over 1,000 points higher than our third-highest laptop of 2020, the Dell XPS 15 7390 with a 9th gen Intel Core i9 processor. Basically, this $1,000 laptop performs better than most laptops twice its price. But it’s not all about performance. The most astonishing feature of the MacBook Air is its battery life. Our battery test always pulls fewer hours from the laptops than they claim to give, so we expected the claimed 15-hour battery life to turn into nine hours—instead, we got over a dozen hours. In short, it shattered the record for longest battery life we’ve seen from a laptop running Chrome (the previous record was nine hours and 44 minutes from the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3). We went days on end without charging this laptop. The MacBook Air M1 comes with the same aluminum chassis and Retina screen we loved in the earlier 2020 Intel MacBook Air, although we’d love to see a redesign for the MacBook Air’s next iteration (thinner bezels, perhaps?). This is one of the most surprising releases we’ve seen in years, and we can’t imagine anyone not falling in love with the M1 MacBook Air. Pros Jaw-dropping battery life

Incredible performance

Iconic build quality Cons Poor port selection $799.00 from Amazon

$799.99 from Best Buy

$890.00 from Walmart

$999.00 from Abt

Other Budget Laptops We Tested

HP Envy x360 15z Editor's Note June 28, 2022: We're currently evaluating the latest version of this laptop as the model we reviewed here appears to be no longer available. If you must get a laptop now we recommend checking out one of our other top picks. Fast, beautiful, and affordable, the 15-inch HP Envy x360 is a dream for those in need of a larger laptop that won't break the bank. We're usually wary of $500 laptops, but this one proves that you can get great laptops without making sacrifices. Inside its beautiful body, the 15-inch Envy packs an AMD Ryzen 5 processor that trades blows with laptops twice its price—perfect for photo editing, light gaming, and even a bit of video editing. What's even more impressive is that it can hit all the marks while still delivering almost seven hours of battery life. While it doesn't outdo the MacBook Air, it stands on par with the Air's competitors, like the HP Spectre 15 or the Dell XPS 15. It's undoubtedly the best 15-inch laptop in its price range, and we doubt we'll see a worthy contender for its crown anytime soon. Pros Excellent performance

A beautiful design

Sturdy 2-in-1 hinges Cons So-so battery life

Heavy Buy now at HP

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 Microsoft’s mainline Surface Laptop 4 packs just about everything you could need in a slim, portable machine. It has a beautiful high-resolution display with a 3:2 aspect ratio perfect for web browsing, a smooth and accurate trackpad, and a quiet backlit keyboard with 1.3mm of key travel—not quite as deep as we’d like, but good enough for typing longer documents. Plus, eight hours of battery life assures us that you can get through just about the whole workday on a single charge. You also get face recognition for near-instantaneous login, a touchscreen, a USB-C, and a USB-A port—which is awfully nice during this transition period between the two standards. Plus, you get a Windows installation free of manufacturer bloatware. It does still have Windows 10’s usual pre-installed games like Candy Crush and Farm Heroes, but at least those aren’t bothering me with notifications all the time (like the antivirus trials that come on oh-so-many laptops these days). We have quibbles with the Surface Laptop 4, but they’re small. The keyboard has just a bit of flex to it and Microsoft’s proprietary charger is more annoying to use than a standard USB-C charger would be. The charger does, however, have an extra USB port in the power brick, so you can charge your phone at the same time—a very nice touch. I also worry about the fabric keyboard discoloring over time—but these are minor nitpicks and, to their credit, Microsoft claims the fabric keyboard can be cleaned with soap and water once every month or two. We tested the Intel Core i7 model, which was one of the fastest laptops we’ve reviewed so far, but there is also an AMD Ryzen model available with even better performance and battery life. We only managed to squeeze eight hours of battery life from our unit, but many users claim they can get north of ten hours or more. This inconsistency holds it back from being the best Windows laptop we’ve tested, but it’s still a darn good laptop. Pros Beautiful stylus-enabled touchscreen

Incredible keyboard and trackpad

Strong performance Cons Configuration options are limited

Battery life shorter than advertised Buy now at Microsoft

Buy now at Amazon

$1,199.99 from Walmart

HP Spectre x360 13t Touch (13-aw0013dx) HP’s Spectre line merges performance with a premium design, featuring an all-aluminum build, a convertible touch screen, and great performance in an incredibly small package. Like the Dell XPS 13, the Spectre x360’s bezels are super thin, so you pack a 13-inch screen into a much smaller chassis. But despite that, the keyboard is big, backlit, and surprisingly deep for the laptop’s size. Two USB-C ports and one USB-A port make for a versatile port selection, battery life hits a clean seven hours and forty-five minutes, and you can log in quickly with facial recognition or a fingerprint scanner. Unfortunately, the Spectre had one big downside compared to its competitors: its trackpad is awfully small, making it hard to use comfortably. It’s a super sleek laptop, and it checks most of the right boxes, but its usability suffered enough that it doesn’t quite stack up to the other great models we tested. Pros Great design

Beautiful display

The keyboard is a dream Cons Starting price a little high Buy now at HP Store

Buy now at Amazon

$528.99 from Walmart

Dell Inspiron 3501 (2021) Finding a good budget laptop that can keep pace with the premium ultrabooks is no small feat. The Dell Inspiron 3501 accepts it with grace: it’s thin, lightweight, and powerful enough to run any productivity task without issue. While the Inspiron won’t win any beauty awards, the body feels rugged and does a great job of warding off fingerprints. The full-sized keyboard offers responsive keys that perfectly tow the line between soft and bouncy. Meanwhile, the decently large trackpad is smooth and has no issue picking up your finger’s movements. Unlike many of its budget peers, the Inspiron also manages to offer power without sacrificing battery life—it can go for almost eight hours before needing a recharge. Our Intel Core i5 model was a workhorse, performing the same (or better!) as laptops that cost hundreds of more dollars. Whether you need dozens of Chrome tabs at the ready or find yourself working with Photoshop several times a week, this laptop will perform reliably. The only issue we had with the Inspiron was its dim screen, which may not be bright enough for those who work outside traditional office spaces. It’s not the fanciest, but boy does it get the basics right, offering a comfortable experience that won’t cost a fortune. Pros Good performance

Comfortable keyboard and body

Sturdy and rugged Cons Dim screen

No outstanding features

Grainy webcam Buy now at Amazon

$489.00 from Walmart

Acer Aspire 5 (2021) The Aspire 5 packs a lot of value into a small price tag. With a sleeker profile and a midrange processor, the Aspire 5 is ready to take on basic productivity tasks at home, work, and school. While its build isn’t as nice as pricier laptops, it has almost as much power and is perfect for someone that needs something just for writing papers, making Cricut cutting machine designs, or checking emails. Should you take it with you to your office or a coffee shop, you can squeeze a little over six hours of battery life out of the Aspire 5 before you’ll need to run to a power outlet. Being such a low-priced laptop, the Aspire 5 had to make compromises to keep the budget so low. Its display is mediocre, with dull colors and brights that bloom the darks on-screen. Meanwhile, its mostly plastic chassis flexes under moderate pressure and may have trouble if you give it the rough treatment. The keyboard and trackpad are useable, although the keycaps have a gritty texture that’s off-putting. But, a surprising perk of the Aspire 5 is its large port selection, which includes USB-A, USB-C, Ethernet, and HDMI ports. Despite its flaws, it’s a machine that can keep kicking for a few years if you treat it well. With a free storage drive bay inside, you can upgrade your storage later too, an option that’s become less common across laptops currently. The Dell Inspiron still stands above the Aspire 5 for our best laptop under $500, but if you want to spend the lowest amount of money possible on a machine that’s still convenient enough to use all day, then the Aspire 5 is a great choice, provided you are okay with its shortcomings. Pros Thin and light body

Good productivity performance

HDMI and Ethernet ports Cons Flimsy plastic body

Mediocre screen

Troublesome bloatware $595.01 from Amazon

$410.00 from Walmart

$279.00 from Newegg

Asus Zenbook 14 (Q407IQ-BR5N4) Compared to the 2019 Zenbook 13, the AMD-based Zenbook 14 trades in its 8th gen Intel processors for markedly better performance and battery life while maintaining the Zenbook line’s admirable portability. We were a little disappointed to see the premium build quality go on the cheaper models, but this is still a good midrange buy with some of the best battery life and weight in its class. When you open the laptop, the comfortable keyboard stands out. It’s deep and easy to type on, and it’s not as cramped as the Zenbook 13’s keyboard. The extra inch makes a difference. This model’s trackpad isn’t the glassy glider from, say, a Macbook, but it’s nonetheless comfortable to use thanks to its width and its excellent fingertip detection. However, we were not impressed with the Zenbook 14’s screen. This matte 1080P panel gets darker than last gen’s glossy screen, but it’s also 70 nits dimmer at max brightness. Its colors are also a bit more washed out than those of the Zenbook 13’s display. One aspect where the Zenbook 14 far surpasses its predecessor is in performance, arguably the aspect that most affects your experience with a laptop. Its new Ryzen 5 4500U processor is blazing fast, crushing the old Intel Core i5-8500U in benchmarks, and its lower power consumption means the Zenbook 14 has a battery life of almost eight and a half hours. Overall, this is a great budget laptop for those in need of a powerful but uber-portable traveling companion. Pros Fantastic battery life

Solid performance

Decent keyboard Cons Display is somewhat dull Buy now at Amazon

$619.90 from Walmart

$569.99 from Newegg

How We Tested Budget Laptops

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar We test laptops for their processing capability, graphics, battery life, and screen brightness.

The Testers

I’m Whitson Gordon, and I’m a freelance tech writer charged with testing laptops here at Reviewed. I’ve been writing about tech professionally for almost 10 years, from building computers to setting up smart homes, and served as the editor-in-chief of Lifehacker and How-To Geek before freelancing for publications like the New York Times, PCMag, and Reviewed. This isn’t just my day job—it’s my calling. I’m obsessed with researching, testing, and finding the best possible gadget in a given category, so much so that my brother made it a central joke in his best man speech at my wedding.

I’m particularly picky about laptops, which need to achieve a delicate balance of processing power, battery life, portability, and build quality. If a keyboard, trackpad, and hinge aren’t going to stand the test of time, then the laptop isn’t worth buying. Thankfully, manufacturers have innovated a lot in recent years, finding new ways to stand out from the pack.

Hey there, I’m Adrien Ramirez, laptop staff writer here at Reviewed. I’ve been working professionally with tech and PCs for six years, from game development to reviewing and everything in between. Before I came to Reviewed, I had worked with Lifewire and the MIT Game Lab. I’m passionate about all things tech, although I especially enjoy working with PCs. When I’m not testing and evaluating laptops, I’m planning new keyboard and small form factor desktop builds, playing games in virtual reality, or nerding out about graphics cards.

The Tests

Here at Reviewed, we test laptops for their processing capability, graphics, battery life, and screen brightness. We use popular benchmarks like Geekbench and 3DMark to gauge how well the laptop multitasks, runs games, and more. We also test multiple platforms, from Windows laptops to Macs and Chromebooks alike.

To test battery life, we set up our laptops to continuously cycle through various websites at a brightness of 200 nits—which is around 60% for many of these mid-range models—until they run out of power, estimating how much work you can get done on a single charge. We also use each laptop for an extended period of time, rating each on factors like build quality, price, portability, and design.

What You Should Know About Budget Laptops

$1,000 is a lot of money, but it’s actually more midrange when it comes to laptops. At this price point, you’re getting good performance for most everyday tasks that won’t feel sluggish after a year or two of use, plus solid build quality and a few nice bells and whistles like facial recognition. Still, you’ll likely have to make some choices about what’s most important to you. You’ll need to consider:

Performance: The CPU, graphics chip, RAM, and storage inside your PC determine how well your computer can multitask, handle intensive tasks like gaming, and store all your files. The better the specs, the snappier the laptop will feel as you work.

Build Quality: Not only do you want a laptop that can take a beating (since you’ll probably be lugging it around with you), but you want one with a well-built keyboard and trackpad since they’re your primary form of interaction with the machine. A poor trackpad or finicky keyboard can really kill the experience.

Touch Screens, Portability, and Features: 2-in-1s have gained in popularity, but that touch screen and pen cost money to include. Similarly, cramming all those powerful components into a small, easy-to-carry package can often cost more than a larger laptop with fewer design constraints.

In addition, consider which operating system you need. Windows is still the dominant OS these days, and if you’re going to play games, edit photos and videos, or need certain software for work, you’ll probably stick with Microsoft’s offering. If you spend all your time on the web and want to save some money, though, a Chromebook may serve you well.

Between Netflix, Gmail, Google Docs, and even online photo editors like Pixlr, you can do almost anything in a browser, and many of those web apps even work offline for those rare occasions you don’t have Wi-Fi. Chromebooks have the advantage of being cheaper (since they don’t need as much processing power) and virtually virus- and bloatware-free (since they run Linux under the hood).

Display Size

From there, you’ll need to look a bit deeper at the form factor. You’ll usually find laptops in one of three main sizes, measured by the diagonal length of the display:

13 inches and under: These smaller laptops are great for carrying around, and more than suitable for light work like writing papers and browsing the web.

These smaller laptops are great for carrying around, and more than suitable for light work like writing papers and browsing the web. 15 inches: Mid-sized laptops are a bit less portable, and won’t necessarily work in space-constrained spaces like airplane seats. But the larger display is useful for photo editing and watching videos.

Mid-sized laptops are a bit less portable, and won’t necessarily work in space-constrained spaces like airplane seats. But the larger display is useful for photo editing and watching videos. 17 inches: This is very large, and only recommended if you are doing video editing or other intensive work that requires a lot of screen real estate—and you don’t mind lugging it around.

There can still be varying sizes within those categories—for example, the XPS 13’s smaller bezels make it much smaller than most 13-inch laptops—and sizes in between, like the 14-inch Lenovo Yoga C740. But in general, picking a size range you’re comfortable with can help narrow down the field.

You’ll also want to consider how many USB ports the laptop has, whether you need HDMI and Ethernet, and how comfortable the keyboard and trackpad are to use—this can vary quite a bit from model to model, and it’s important to get something responsive and durable.

Under the Hood

Finally, you’ll need to consider the guts: the processor, graphics chip, RAM, and storage that determine your laptop’s capabilities. For browsing the web and using office software, lower-power chips—like the Intel Core i3 processor—are adequate, though midrange chips like the i5 are ideal if you can get them. 4GB of RAM is usable in a Chromebook, though even web browsing can eat up RAM these days, so 8GB is recommended if you tend to open lots of tabs, use lots of browser extensions, and want a laptop that’ll last you well into the future—we wouldn’t advise 4GB for most Windows users these days.

If, on the other hand, you run more intense workloads—whether that means heavy photo and video editing or running the latest PC games—you’ll want something with a bit more “oomph.” Intel’s higher-end i7 processors will make those video encodes run noticeably faster, and a dedicated graphics card will ensure your games run smooth as butter (instead of choppy like a bad flipbook).

No matter who you are, we recommend erring on the side of more storage rather than less—people often underestimate how much space they’ll fill up with all their music, photos, and videos over time, and it’s a hassle to lug an external drive around. Storage can be expensive, though, so if you can’t afford a 256GB solid-state drive, consider buying a laptop with an SD card slot and using a high-capacity card for cheap, expandable storage. Keep in mind internal upgradeability, too: many modern laptops solder their components onto the motherboard, meaning you can’t swap in more RAM or a bigger storage drive down the line. So either buy a laptop that keeps its components separate or spend a bit more to buy the specs you’ll need in a couple of years—not just what you need right now.

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The Best Travel Laptops of 2023

As smartphones have become more powerful, many tasks once needing a computer can be done with the gadget in your pocket. For watching movies and doing a range of other things that need a larger screen, tablets are cheaper, lighter, and just as good.

Still, when it comes to getting proper work done, you just can’t beat a proper laptop. You’ll soon hit the limits of a mobile device, since Android and iOS are designed to do one thing at a time, using a touch interface. Most work tasks are not.

Many professional tools are limited or unavailable for mobile operating systems, and everything from writing to coding and editing photos or video footage is much faster and easier on a laptop than anything else.

We’ve been traveling with portable computers for over 15 years, from the tiniest netbook to the most powerful MacBook Pro, and know what works and what doesn’t. After checking out dozens of the latest models, of all shapes, sizes, and prices, we’re confident these are the best laptop options for travelers in 2023.

Whether you’re on a super-tight budget or have plenty to spend, work full-time from the road or just want something for an upcoming vacation, we’ve got you covered.

Note that we haven’t included Chromebooks in this list, as we view them as a separate and more limited type of device. They’re still appropriate for some travelers and digital nomads, however, so if you’d like recommendations for those as well, you can find them here.

Best Travel Laptop (Windows): Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED Weight: 2.4 pounds (1.1kg)

2.4 pounds (1.1kg) Battery Life: Up to 19 hours

Up to 19 hours Specs: AMD Ryzen 7 6800U, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 3 x USB C

AMD Ryzen 7 6800U, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 3 x USB C Display: 13.3″ 2880 x 1800 OLED screen

13.3″ 2880 x 1800 OLED screen Operating system: Windows 11 Pro

Sale Best Travel Laptop (Mac): Apple MacBook Air M2 Weight: 2.7 pounds (1.2 kg)

2.7 pounds (1.2 kg) Battery Life: Up to 18 hours

Up to 18 hours Specs: Apple M2, 8GB+ RAM, 256GB+ SSD, 2 x USB C

Apple M2, 8GB+ RAM, 256GB+ SSD, 2 x USB C Display: 13.6″ Retina 2560 x 1664 IPS screen

13.6″ Retina 2560 x 1664 IPS screen Operating system: macOS

Best on a Budget: HP Pavilion Aero 13 Weight: 3.3 pounds (1.5kg)

3.3 pounds (1.5kg) Battery Life: Up to 10 hours

Up to 10 hours Specs: AMD Ryzen 5 5600U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 2 x USB-A, 1 x USB C, 1 x HDMI

AMD Ryzen 5 5600U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 2 x USB-A, 1 x USB C, 1 x HDMI Display: 13.3″ FHD+ 1920 x 1200 IPS screen

13.3″ FHD+ 1920 x 1200 IPS screen Operating system: Windows 11 Home

Runner-Up, Best on a Budget: Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 14 Weight: 3.3 pounds (1.5kg)

3.3 pounds (1.5kg) Battery Life: Up to 12 hours

Up to 12 hours Specs: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 1 x USB C, 2 x USB-A

AMD Ryzen 5 5500U, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 1 x USB C, 2 x USB-A Display: 14″ FHD 1920 x 1080 touchscreen

14″ FHD 1920 x 1080 touchscreen Operating system: Windows 11 Home

Best 2-in-1 Laptop: HP Envy x360 13 Weight: 3.0 pounds (1.3kg)

3.0 pounds (1.3kg) Battery Life: Up to 16 hours

Up to 16 hours Specs: Intel i5-1230U, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 2 x USB C, 2 x USB-A, 1 x microSD slot

Intel i5-1230U, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 2 x USB C, 2 x USB-A, 1 x microSD slot Display: 13.3″ FHD 1920 x 1080 IPS touchscreen

13.3″ FHD 1920 x 1080 IPS touchscreen Operating system: Windows 11 Home

Sale Best Travel Gaming Laptop: Asus ROG Flow X13 Weight: 3.0 pounds (1.3kg)

3.0 pounds (1.3kg) Battery Life: Up to 12 hours

Up to 12 hours Specs: AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS, 8-32GB RAM, 512-1TB SSD, RTX 3050Ti GPU, 2 x USB C, 1 x USB-A, 1x HDMI

AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS, 8-32GB RAM, 512-1TB SSD, RTX 3050Ti GPU, 2 x USB C, 1 x USB-A, 1x HDMI Display: 13.6″ FHD+ 1920 x 1200 IPS touchscreen

13.6″ FHD+ 1920 x 1200 IPS touchscreen Operating system: Windows 11 Home

Best for Traveling Light: Microsoft Surface Go 3 Weight: 1.2 pounds, plus Type Cover

1.2 pounds, plus Type Cover Battery Life: Up to 11 hours

Up to 11 hours Specs: Intel Pentium Gold or Core i3, 4 or 8GB RAM, 64GB eMMC or 128GB SSD plus microSD slot, 1 x USB C

Intel Pentium Gold or Core i3, 4 or 8GB RAM, 64GB eMMC or 128GB SSD plus microSD slot, 1 x USB C Display: 10.5″ IPS 3000 x 2000 touchscreen

10.5″ IPS 3000 x 2000 touchscreen Operating system: Windows 11

Sale Best Windows Tablet: Microsoft Surface Pro 9 Weight: 1.9 pounds (879g) plus Type Cover

1.9 pounds (879g) plus Type Cover Battery Life: Up to 15 hours

Up to 15 hours Specs: Intel i5-1235U or i7-1255U, 8-32GB RAM, 128GB-1TB SSD, 2 x USB C

Intel i5-1235U or i7-1255U, 8-32GB RAM, 128GB-1TB SSD, 2 x USB C Display: 13″ IPS 2880 x 1920 120Hz touchscreen

13″ IPS 2880 x 1920 120Hz touchscreen Operating system: Windows 11 Home

What to Look For

While a great travel laptop is usually a good choice for most other things, not every great laptop is a good choice for traveling. Certain features become much more important on the road than in daily life, while others matter far less or not at all. Here’s what you need to consider.

Size and Weight

Size and weight play a role when choosing any kind of laptop, but when it comes to travel, they’re absolutely crucial.

No matter how good the performance is, if a laptop is too big or weighs too much, it’s going to be a problem on the road. Having a notebook that fits easily in your carry-on luggage is an absolute priority, especially if you’re backpacking or traveling light, but even if you’re not.

While a smaller screen diagonal (e.g. 13″ vs 15″) typically makes for a smaller device, keep an eye out for bezel-less models that reduce the overall dimensions without cutting down the size of the display.

Weight is a massive factor, too (pun intended!). Laptops can differ significantly in weight, with some gaming beasts tipping the scales at over six pounds. While these can match a desktop PC when it comes to performance, they’ll ruin your travel experience. Trust me, your shoulders, back, and carry-on baggage allowance will all thank you for choosing something lighter.

On the other side of the fence, some ultra-lightweight models get down as low as two pounds. You typically make sacrifices in terms of performance and cost to hit that, but if you’re really trying to reduce the weight of your carry-on or day bag, they’re likely worth considering.

For most people, however, aiming for somewhere around three pounds is the sweet spot. It’s OK to go a bit over, but not by a lot: don’t forget, you’ll need to carry your adapter, mouse, and other gear too.

Finally, even if it’s quite heavy, don’t be tempted to stow your laptop in your checked luggage when you’re flying. Not only do airlines and the relevant authorities strongly advise against it, there’s a high chance of damage or theft as well. Keep it in your carry-on!

Battery Life

When using our laptops at home, battery life just isn’t that important. Even when working at a cafe, sockets are typically easy to access these days, meaning you can just plug in as needed and never worry about running out of charge.

Traveling, well, that’s an entirely different story. Your laptop battery can be a literal lifesaver when traveling, and if not, it certainly makes long bus and train rides much more interesting. If you work from the road, it makes you more productive on travel days as well, which means more money in your pocket.

Sure, you can carry a portable laptop power bank if you want to (and many people do), but it’s yet another heavy, bulky, and expensive gadget to keep in your day bag. If at all possible, you’re just better off getting a laptop with great battery life to start with.

How long a single charge will last depends a lot on how you use your laptop, but the models we chose will all last at least 10 hours of light usage, with the best ones going close to double that. It may sound trivial, but a few extra hours of battery life really does make for fewer headaches when you’re on the road.

Build Quality and Reliability

When buying a laptop for home use, it’s the components inside that matter more than anything else. When choosing a model that will travel the world in your backpack, however, build quality suddenly becomes a significant factor.

While no laptop will handle being dropped off a cliff, there’s a big difference between cheap plastic cases and those made from aluminum or other metals. Remember, your computer will be pressed against who knows what in your backpack, and regularly bumped, knocked, and dropped no matter how careful you are.

You’re likely to use it in less-than-ideal conditions as well: heat, humidity, and dust are all laptop killers over time. In short, travel is hard on your electronics, laptops included, so anything that can handle a bit of bad weather and rough treatment will last noticeably longer on the road.

The laptops we recommend are from renowned manufacturers and are, in many cases, their flagship models. That means they have a good track record, often made from premium materials, and in general are far less likely to suddenly stop working when you’re thousands of miles from the nearest repair center.


Let’s face it, having an ultra-lightweight, super-thin, made-from-spider-webs-and-magic laptop is worthless if it lacks the horsepower to do what you need it to. Specifications are as important as with any other laptop – it’s just that travel-based versions need to tick some other boxes too.

The laptops below are powerful and will cover most work-related needs, such as designing, programming, and writing, as well as everyday use and even light gaming.

We have a gaming recommendation as well, but you’re still somewhat limited by size and weight: if you’re a hardcore gamer, you’ll need to compromise either performance or portability. True high-end gaming laptops are usually very big and heavy, and there’s not much you can do to change that.

For everyone else, here’s what to look for:

When it comes to CPU , the choice between Intel vs. AMD on a Windows laptop often comes down to personal preference. Right now, AMD chips provide better value and slightly longer battery life, but Intel still has the edge in performance. Apple uses its own M1 and M2 processors, so you don’t have a choice to make there.

Suggestion: Intel 12th-generation i5 or i7, Ryzen 5 or 7 6000 series

, the choice between Intel vs. AMD on a Windows laptop often comes down to personal preference. Right now, AMD chips provide better value and slightly longer battery life, but Intel still has the edge in performance. Apple uses its own M1 and M2 processors, so you don’t have a choice to make there. Suggestion: Intel 12th-generation i5 or i7, Ryzen 5 or 7 6000 series Today, most laptops have integrated graphics inside their CPU, which is a good solution for everything but high-end gaming. You don’t get to choose which one you want: it comes down to whether your laptop has an Intel, AMD. or Apple chipset.

inside their CPU, which is a good solution for everything but high-end gaming. You don’t get to choose which one you want: it comes down to whether your laptop has an Intel, AMD. or Apple chipset. 8GB of RAM is mandatory, but if you can, go above that, especially if you use resource-heavy programs for work. If the price difference isn’t much to go to 16GB, it’s worth the extra outlay.

is mandatory, but if you can, go above that, especially if you use resource-heavy programs for work. If the price difference isn’t much to go to 16GB, it’s worth the extra outlay. In terms of storage , solid-state drives (SSD) are more robust and give better performance than old-school hard drives, and are the standard in laptops nowadays.

How much space you need depends somewhat on your usage: if you rely on cloud services like Google Drive, you might be able to save a bit of money by going for a 128 GB version. Given how often internet is unreliable or unavailable on the road, however, we’d suggest 256 GB+, or a laptop that supports memory cards.

, solid-state drives (SSD) are more robust and give better performance than old-school hard drives, and are the standard in laptops nowadays. How much space you need depends somewhat on your usage: if you rely on cloud services like Google Drive, you might be able to save a bit of money by going for a 128 GB version. Given how often internet is unreliable or unavailable on the road, however, we’d suggest 256 GB+, or a laptop that supports memory cards. The display quality and resolution are important, too, although there are trade-offs to be made here. Higher resolution means you can fit more onto your screen, but text will be smaller and battery life will decrease. We’d suggest FHD (1920×1080) resolution or a little higher for most 13″ laptops: 4K is overkill on a display this size.

IPS displays are standard for most current laptops. OLED screens give higher image quality and color reproduction with lower battery consumption, but you’ll pay more for them. A matte, anti-glare screen coating is useful either way, since you’ll likely use your laptop outside at times.


No matter how good a laptop is, at its heart it’s still a fragile electronic device. Travel is hard on any electronics, so while you should always try to take good care of your machine, it’s not exactly unheard of for problems to occur.

Knowing you’re covered by a comprehensive support network if the worst happens gives some extra peace of mind. While warranties depend on the manufacturer or even the store you purchased your laptop from, some companies offer much better warranties than others.

Choosing widespread, ultra-popular brands will ensure that you’ll always be able to find an official dealer or at least an authorized service center for your model. That said, be sure to check whether your warranty is global in nature or restricted to certain regions, and how the repair process actually works.

If you’re changing cities or countries regularly, even the best warranty support in the world isn’t much use if your laptop has to be sent away for repair and takes weeks to get back.

Laptop Style

You’ve got three basic choices when it comes to choosing a laptop style: traditional (also known as clamshell), convertible 2-in-1 where the touchscreen can be folded backward, or a tablet with a detachable keyboard.

While we typically find that 13″ convertibles are really too big and heavy to use as a traditional tablet, they still have their uses for travel, especially in cramped situations like plane and bus seats.

Often you won’t have enough room to use a mouse, and even typing on the keyboard can be inconvenient. In those situations, having a laptop you can use as a tablet or in a “tent” shape is genuinely useful. We’ve done this to watch TV shows on many long-haul flights over the years!


While it’s obvious that you can’t buy something you can’t afford, purchasing a new laptop isn’t something you do every day. For most people, this isn’t a travel-specific purchase either: the machine you choose will serve you both on the road and at home.

There are so many other areas where you can (and even should) save, but laptops aren’t one of them. It’s worth stretching your budget as much as possible to ensure you will be happy with your purchase for years to come.

That’s especially true if you’re going to use it for work. The extra investment will pay itself off in no time in terms of better performance and extra reliability, something you’ll be only too aware of the first time you miss a deadline because of a broken laptop. Be value-conscious, but choose wisely!

Best Travel Laptop (Windows): Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED

For years, Asus forged its reputation on making good value, mid-range laptops. I traveled with a couple of them for years, and they were solid, if unremarkable, machines. More recently, however, the company branched out into higher-end machines as well, with unusual designs and strong performance.

They haven’t always hit the mark with those designs, but even so, Asus has been one of the more innovative manufacturers out there for quite a while. It’s felt like it’s only a matter of time before it produced a genuinely impressive premium laptop, and this year, it finally did.

The Zenbook S 13 OLED (model number UM5302, to differentiate from other versions with the same name) is the best travel laptop of the year, at least for those who prefer Windows to macOS. Small, stylish, and very light, yet fast and with impressive battery life, there’s nothing else quite like it right now.

Let’s start with the design. At just over a kilogram (2.4 pounds), it weighs less than even the lightweight MacBook Air, and looks great doing it. There’s a choice of four colors, from aqua and dark blue to more traditional beige and white variants. The darker versions are very stylish, albeit more likely to show greasy fingerprints.

Even more than the design, it’s the screen that stands out. While OLED panels have become somewhat common in high-end televisions and phones in recent years, they’re comparatively rare on laptops. That hasn’t stopped Asus including one here, though: it’s 13.3″ on the diagonal, with a 2880 x 1800 resolution.

OLEDs have their downsides (they’re more prone to burn-in, for starters) but they also provide richer colors and better battery life. I’d have preferred a higher peak brightness and a matte screen for outdoor use, but at least when you’re inside, everything from web pages to movies looks spectacular on this laptop.

Inside, Asus has opted for an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U chipset that provides plenty of performance while being quite miserly in terms of battery use. AMD chips have been in short supply this year, which is a shame: unless you need maximum speed, they’re better than the Intel equivalents for most travelers.

You can buy the S 13 with or without a touchscreen, either 8 or 16GB of RAM, and up to 1TB of storage space. That’s assuming you can actually find all of the variants, that is: the high-end version is most consistently in stock at the moment, with the others more hit and miss.

The machine doesn’t get hot even when pushed hard, and performs well enough for light gaming use as well as pretty much any general work task you’re likely to throw at it. If that work involves a lot of data entry, you’ll also be glad to see Asus’s virtual number pad making an appearance on the touchpad.

Like most ultra-portables, the speakers are fine without being exciting: connect headphones if you want to listen to music. Similarly with the webcam: it probably wouldn’t be my first choice for taking a job interview over Zoom, but you shouldn’t get any complaints about it from family members.

The combination of that AMD processor and OLED screen give the S 13 better battery life than almost all of its rivals. Like most laptops, the advertised 18 hours is more optimism than reality, but you should still easily get a full work day away from a power socket. Plug in for an hour, and you’re back to 65% charge.

Other than the glossy screen, there’s almost nothing not to like about this Zenbook for travel, and an awful lot of benefits. Of the hundreds of Windows machines on the market at the moment, if I was buying a new laptop to hit the road with today, this is the one I’d go for.

Pros Small and light without sacrificing power

Small and light without sacrificing power Attractive and well-made

Attractive and well-made Great battery life

Great battery life Impressive screen Cons No USB-A sockets

No USB-A sockets Webcam and speakers are only ok

Webcam and speakers are only ok No matte screen option

No matte screen option Gets expensive at higher specification levels

Best Travel Laptop (Mac): Apple MacBook Air M2

Years ago, Apple’s Macbook Air consistently made it to the top of our “best laptops for travel” list. It was small, light, and powerful enough to get real work done, in a market with few alternatives.

Things changed, though: Apple stopped updating the Air right when other companies started putting out lighter, faster, cheaper machines. At the same time, the MacBook Pro got slimmed down to the point where if you preferred the company’s ecosystem, it was clearly the model to buy.

For a long time, we confidently predicted Apple would kill the Air. After ignoring it for years, however, the company proved us wrong. Not only did it not stop selling that model, the Air finally starting getting significant updates again, and it’s now back to being a core part of the MacBook range.

Apple’s switch from using Intel chips to its own custom versions has paid big dividends in both speed and battery life. For most people, the Air is one of the best travel laptops out there, especially if they’re already part of the Apple ecosystem.

As usual with Apple gear it’s well-built and reliable. The Air comes in four colors and a couple of different versions: both have an M2 processor, but the more-expensive model has a slightly faster processor and upgrades the base storage from 256 to 512GB.

Both versions come with 8GB of RAM, and can be configured with up to 24GB of RAM and 2TB of storage. It weighs just 2.7 pounds (1.2 kg), and uses Apple’s gorgeous Retina True Tone screen. The display is crisp and vibrant, and adjusts white balance and brightness based on the ambient light for more natural colors.

The screen has got slightly larger with the M2 model (it’s now 13.6″ on the diagonal) and there’s been a minimal upgrade to the resolution as well. More usefully for travelers, the maximum brightness has been ramped up as well: you’ll now get up to 500 nits, making it viewable even in bright sunlight.

Speaking of useful upgrades, Apple has finally listened to the loud complaints about mediocre webcam quality on its laptops. There’s now a 1080p version which has double the resolution and low-light performance of its predecessor, bringing it up to somewhere near the standard of other premium laptops.

The laptop has two USB C Thunderbolt ports, and as with many other current laptops, these can double as charging sockets. Apple also revived the much-loved Magsafe charging socket from old-school MacBooks on this version of the Air, which easily detaches if the cable gets yanked by mistake.

Other than a headphone jack, though, there are no other connectors, so you’ll likely end up with various dongles and accessories in your bag. That’s a common story with many laptops in 2023, unfortunately, and the Air is no exception.

After years of problematic keyboards, Apple completely overhauled the design a couple of years ago, and has returned to being one of the best in the business. Likewise with the trackpad: it’s long been fantastic, and that trend continues here.

Battery life is rated at up to 18 hours of streaming, a couple of hours less than the equivalent MacBook Pro. In the real world, it’ll easily get you to the end of a long flight or work day unless you’re really pushing the machine hard, likely with plenty of juice to spare.

Overall, the latest MacBook Air simply gets almost everything right for travelers. It’s small and light, with great battery life and is plenty powerful enough for any work or leisure task you’re likely to want to do.

We don’t particularly love the notch at the top of the screen: it’s bad enough on a phone, never mind a productivity tool, and personally find it quite jarring. The only other limitation is a lack of ports, but that’s not unique to Apple.

You’re also paying a premium compared to most of the equivalent Windows machines. That’s hard to justify on the hardware alone, since high-end Windows laptops have got much better in that regard, but there are still benefits to owning Apple.

You’ll get much better integration with your iPhone or any other Apple gear you own, for example. There’s also the comfort of being able to walk into an Apple store or service agent around the world for support if you need it. Both of those things have real value.

In the past, we’ve always suggested that macOS-loving digital nomads should go for the power of the Macbook Pro instead. With the extra speed found in the latest version of the Air, however, we’re no longer making that distinction: the Macbook Air is our top pick for most Apple fans in 2023.

Pros Lightweight

Lightweight Fast

Fast Quality screen

Quality screen Good support and integration with other Apple gear Cons Expensive for what it is

Expensive for what it is Only 2 USB C sockets, no card reader or other ports

Best on a Budget: HP Pavilion Aero 13

If you’re tight for cash but still want a laptop appropriate for travel, there aren’t many good options. Machines tend to be big and heavy, with poor battery life and specifications, and are often made from cheap materials that don’t stand up well to life on the road.

One of the few to buck the trend is the HP Pavilion Aero 13, a super-lightweight machine that’s nonetheless powerful enough for most productivity tasks, and has a battery that lasts closer to a full work day than most in this category.

You’ve got a few different configuration options to choose from, but even the base model (which we’ve regularly seen for under $600) offers decent computing power. You’ll get an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, FHD display, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage, all pretty much our baseline recommendation right now.

Pay a bit more, and you can upgrade your pick of any of the components mentioned above. Even if you upgraded all of them, you’ll get change from $1000, and still have a machine that weighed under a kilogram (2.2 pounds).

At around 450 nits, the non-touch display is nice and bright (a definite rarity in budget laptops), and one that you’d be happy enough to use outside on a sunny day. Color coverage and accuracy is also better than most in this price bracket: kudos to HP for not skimping on the screen like so many others.

There’s a useful selection of ports built in, including a round barrel charger, a USB C port that can also be used for charging, two USB-A sockets, and an HDMI port for connecting to an external monitor. That’s more than you get on most lightweight laptops these days.

Battery life is really the only area where the Aero 13 feels like a budget device: the 43Wh battery inside is noticeably smaller than some of the competition, and means you’ll probably only get around six hours of general office-type work between charges.

On the upside, you can charge from either the barrel charger that it ships with or any decent USB C charger you have available, and can fast-charge from zero to 50% in about half an hour. I’d have liked a bigger battery here for sure, but I guess HP had to save money (and weight) somewhere.

Speaking of weight, it’s worth reiterating just how lightweight the Aero is. At just under 2.2 pounds, it’s the lightest 13″ machine on this list, which is remarkable given what it costs. Budget laptops normally tip the scales somewhere around a pound heavier than this.

Overall, the Aero 13 offers strong value for money and other than the battery life, makes few if any real compromises. If you need a lightweight machine to travel with that performs well and doesn’t cost a fortune, you could do an awful lot worse than this.

Pros Very good value for money

Very good value for money Useful port selection

Useful port selection Good screen

Good screen Extremely lightweight Cons Battery life could be longer

Runner-Up, Best on a Budget: Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 14

When it comes to a budget travel laptop, it’s a close race between the HP Pavilion Aero 13 above, and the Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 14. Depending on the current price, and exactly which features are important to you, the Lenovo can be a better option for some people.

The design of most budget machines is usually an afterthought at best, but that’s not the case here. The Ideapad Flex 5 14 is an attractive device that looks and feels far more expensive than it actually is.

Its specifications, too, are better than you’d expect. While many budget machines skimp on performance, you’ll get a snappy AMD Ryzen 5 5500 CPU, 256GB of storage, and an impressive 16GB of RAM that’s more than what comes by default in many laptops costing a lot more.

The integrated Vega 7 graphics card consumes some of that memory, but even so, this laptop is a solid performer that’s easily capable of handling most tasks you’ll throw at it.

The Flex 5 14 isn’t as thin as some of its more expensive competition, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The extra depth means there’s room for an inbuilt card reader, along with a USB C and two USB-A ports for connecting other accessories. Oddly there’s a round power socket on the side, but it ships with a USB-C charger.

The FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution is fine for a 14″ display, and there’s also an HDMI port for connecting to an external monitor if you’ve got one available. Because the screen folds backward to let you use it in “stand” or tablet mode, it’s a better option for watching shows on long flights than a standard laptop.

Weight and battery life are about what you’d expect from a budget travel laptop, at 3.3 pounds (1.5kg) and up to 12 hours respectively. The keyboard, so often the downfall of machines like these, is comfortable to type on, and the trackpad is better than most at this end of the market.

If graphic design is your thing, the Flex 14 is powerful enough to run many design tools, and ships with Lenovo’s Active Pen stylus for drawing or writing directly onto the touchscreen. That screen can be quite dim and reflective in sunlight, though, so you’ll likely end up using it mostly indoors.

Other than the screen brightness and a bit of extra weight to carry around, this is a 2-in-1 laptop with few compromises for travelers who need a machine that can handle a proper workload, but don’t want to blow their entire travel budget on it.

Pros Impressive performance for the money

Impressive performance for the money Plenty of ports

Plenty of ports 16GB of memory Cons Screen can be quite dim in bright light

Screen can be quite dim in bright light Somewhat heavy for a travel laptop

Best 2-in-1 Laptop: HP Envy x360 13

We’ve mentioned a couple of 2-in-1 devices already, but since they’re priced toward the lower end of the market, they come with compromises in specs or weight. If you’re after something better that still won’t break the bank, the best option right now is HP’s Envy x360 13.

This isn’t actually HP’s premium convertible (that’d be the Spectre x360), but the Envy x360 offers similar specs for less money, and we think it’s a better choice for most people. If there’s a sale on, or you’ve got the money for the luxury design of the Spectre, by all means buy it. If not, the Envy is where it’s at.

HP makes a few different versions of the Envy x360 13, so you’ve got plenty of choices about how you’d like to spend your money. Start with the base (bf0747nr) model and it’ll only cost you around $700 for a very capable machine. Drop a bit more, and you can get a powerhouse of a laptop for under $1000.

The starter machine still comes with 512GB of storage, plus 8GB of RAM and a pretty good 13.3″ FHD (1920×1080) IPS touchscreen. Play around with the options, and you can add extra memory, switch to a gorgeous 2.8K OLED display, upgrade the processor and storage, and more, all at a very reasonable price.

In any case, you’ll get a pair of USB-A ports (even one is a rarity these days), two USB C ports, and a microSD card slot. It’s a practical and useful selection, and many other manufacturers could learn something from HP’s approach here.

Weighing just under three pounds (1.3kg,) it’s not the lightest laptop you’ll find, but it’s good for a convertible and doesn’t feel particularly heavy in a carry-on bag. Max battery life is reasonable, at around 16 hours, and you’ll almost certainly get a full day’s work out of it unless you’re really pushing it hard.

If you do run out of juice, you won’t have to wait long before you’re up and running again. The 65W charger will get you back to 50% in around 45 minutes. A stylus is included in the box for those who plan to draw or write on the screen.

The keyboard is pretty good, which is far from a given on Windows laptops in this price range. Keystrokes are firm and responsive, and although it’s not the quietest keyboard in the world, it’s far from being the loudest.

It’d be nice if the backlighting automatically turned off automatically, since it makes it harder to see the silver keys in daylight, but that’s a pretty minor complaint. You can always turn it off yourself, temporarily or permanently, if it’s bothering you.

The Envy x360 13 is a fast, well-built machine, as good for binge-watching your favorite shows on a long flight as it is for working out of a café all day. It’s great value for money, with very few downsides. As a result, it’s our top 2-in-1 laptop pick for travelers in 2023.

Pros Great value

Great value Customizable for your needs and budget

Customizable for your needs and budget Equally good for work and play

Equally good for work and play Fast charging Cons Slightly heavier than some of the competition

Slightly heavier than some of the competition No ambient light sensor for keyboard backlight

Best Travel Gaming Laptop: Asus ROG Flow X13

As I mentioned up top, hardcore gaming on a travel-friendly laptop is always going to require some kind of sacrifice. Fitting a range of high-performance, heat-producing components into a small, thin laptop with decent battery life is challenging, and there’ll always be a compromise that gets made somewhere.

The machine with the fewest of those compromises at the moment is the Asus ROG Flow X13. This convertible laptop fits comfortably in a day bag and works well as a general-purpose work machine, yet lets you play most modern games at a decent framerate at medium or higher graphics quality.

In terms of size and weight, the X13 is very manageable, especially by the standards of gaming laptops that can easily weigh twice as much as a typical ultraportable. You’re looking at a fraction under three pounds and a 13.4″ screen diagonal: no more than some of the other non-gaming models we’ve mentioned.

Like most such laptops, you’ve got a number of different configurations to choose from. If you’re serious about gaming while you travel, it’s worth springing for one of the higher-end versions with a GTX 3050Ti graphics card and 16 or 32GB of RAM.

You’ve also got a choice of screen resolution, but that’s one area you can likely save a bit of money: the base FHD+ (1920 x 1200px) display is ideal for the power of the graphics card, gives better battery life than the upgraded version, and has a 120Hz refresh rate for smoother movement as well.

The base display is also plenty bright enough to use even outside or under strong lighting. Whichever model you go for, there’ll be a high-end AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor inside, and either a 512GB or 1TB SSD.

It’s a well-constructed machine, with metal where it matters and plastic where it doesn’t, and doesn’t have the wobble or flex you sometimes find with convertible laptops. The dark color scheme is a bit of a fingerprint magnet, but the X13 is hardly an outlier in that regard.

The typing experience is often a bit of an afterthought on gaming laptops, but that’s not the case here: the keyboard is quiet and comfortable to type on for long periods. The trackpad isn’t as good, relatively small and with somewhat noisy buttons, but chances are you’ll be using a gaming mouse anyway.

There’s a pair of USB C ports available (one on each side), along with a single USB-A socket and an HDMI port for connecting to an external monitor or television. That’s about what I’d expect for a machine of this size, and gives (just) enough flexibility for connecting peripherals when you’re plugged in.

That’s important, since like most gaming laptops, chances are you’ll be plugged in when you’re playing anything intensive. Battery life is fine when doing general productivity tasks, and should last a full work day. Fire up a high-end game, however, and you’ll be lucky to get an hour out of it.

On the upside, there’s a 100W charger in the box that’s more powerful than most, and will get you back to 50% in about half an hour.

Overall, this is one of the (very) rare gaming laptops that I’d actually be happy to travel with for extended periods. It has no significant compromises for work and entertainment use, can handle almost all of the games I’d want to play, and is small and light enough that it won’t infuriate me in my carry-on.

Pros Small and light for a gaming laptop

Small and light for a gaming laptop Solid construction

Solid construction Also works well as a general-purpose machine

Also works well as a general-purpose machine Easily handles light to moderate gaming Cons Gets expensive at higher specification levels

Best for Traveling Light: Microsoft Surface Go 3

At first glance, Microsoft’s Surface Go 3 is a bit of an odd machine. It’s a tablet computer with a 10.5″ screen that weighs a little over a pound, with a starting price under $400… yet it runs Windows 11.

The Pentium Gold processor inside the base model of the Go 3 won’t set any speed records, but you can still run most lightweight Windows apps and even play a few basic games without the machine becoming unusably slow.

That said, we’d recommend upgrading to the Core i3 model instead. The processor is dramatically faster, and since the upgrade comes with double the RAM and extra, faster storage as well, the end result is a much quicker machine.

The optional Type cover adds a keyboard and trackpad as well as protection, and it’s surprisingly enjoyable to type on. In reality it should be included in the base price, but it’s not.

Battery life is rated at up to 11 hours, and you’ll likely get around six or seven in the real world depending on what you’re doing. That battery life isn’t quite enough to get you all the way through a long-haul flight or full work day, but it’s getting close.

On the upside, because the Surface Go 3 can charge via either the Surface Connect or USB-C ports, you’ve always got the option of using a portable battery like this to power it (and all your other devices) back up again.

It’s an attractive, well-built machine, and the bright, colorful 1920×1280 display is dramatically better than you’d expect at this price point. Since storage is quite limited, the microSD slot is essential, since it’s the perfect place to dump photos, movies, and other stuff you want to access on the road.

The adjustable kickstand lets you change the angle of the Go to suit whatever you’re doing. It can sit fully upright when you’re typing, on an angle when you’re watching TV shows on the plane, or fold down entirely when you’re reading in bed.

Microsoft’s Surface Pen also works with the Go 3, making it a pretty good graphics tablet as well. It runs Windows 11S out of the box, which can only access apps from the Windows store, but there’s a free one-way upgrade to Windows 11 Home available.

While that $399 price point looks great in the marketing material, you’re likely to pay quite a bit more. The base model only comes with 4GB of RAM, a Pentium Gold processor, 64GB of sluggish storage, and no Type cover. Those specs aren’t enough to run heavyweight Windows apps, and you’ll need the keyboard and trackpad to do any real work.

The upgraded version has a much better processor, 8GB of RAM, and a faster, 128GB drive. It’s very much our pick for anyone who wants to do more than the bare minimum with this machine. Once you’ve done that and added the Type cover, the cost jumps to over $700.

That’s not unreasonable for a machine of this quality, but it’s still quite a bit more than that starting price. The cover adds an extra half-pound of weight as well, bringing it up to 1.7 pounds (770g) total.

There’s nothing else like it on the market, though, so it’s still easy enough to recommend. If you’re after an attractive, superlight machine that performs well as both an entertainment device and productivity tool, it’s definitely worth a look.

The Killer Digital Nomad Setup?

For digital nomads and other remote workers, the higher-end Surface Go 3 has another trick up its sleeve: an LTE-enabled model. Drop in a data SIM, and you’ve got a small, lightweight laptop that can get connected anywhere you’ve got cell service.

If you’re from the US, this is an ideal use for Google Fi’s international roaming. If not, a local SIM will do the job equally well; you might just need to switch to a different one when you change countries.

It can automatically switch to using cell data if there’s no alternative, and back to Wi-Fi when you get within in range. Sure, using LTE for hours drops the battery life a bit, but again, a decent power bank deals with that problem.

Throw all of this together, and for under $1000 including the cover and portable battery, you’ve got a tiny computing setup that lets you work all day from almost anywhere on the planet. Could this be the killer digital nomad rig?

For some people, quite possibly. If you’d prefer a larger screen or need a lot of processing power, you’ll need to look elsewhere. If most of your work is web-based or uses standard productivity tools, however, this option is seriously worth considering.

Pros Lightweight for what it offers

Lightweight for what it offers Quality screen

Quality screen MicroSD storage available

MicroSD storage available Optional LTE version Cons Recommended configuration a big price jump from base model

Recommended configuration a big price jump from base model Base model is too underpowered to be a true productivity machine

Base model is too underpowered to be a true productivity machine Battery not quite enough to get through a full work day

Best Windows Tablet: Microsoft Surface Pro 9

As good as Microsoft’s Surface Go (above) is, it has its limits for full-time use. The screen is a bit small, the battery life is a couple of hours too short, and the slow CPU is a problem whenever you fire up Photoshop or open several tabs in your browser.

If you want a tablet that’s a complete laptop replacement, you’ll need to step up to the Surface Pro 9. Running the latest processors and configurable with up to 32GB of RAM and a terabyte of storage, performance is the match of any other travel-sized Windows laptop.

It’s an attractive and well-made device, and you can even pick your favorite color scheme. The tablet itself is available in graphite, forest, sapphire, or platinum, while the cover comes in a range of colors and materials.

The 13″ screen is a sensible size for long work stints, with a 120Hz refresh rate that improves everything from scrolling to fast-moving images. At up to 15 hours, battery life should also be long enough to get you through a lengthy flight or all-day work session.

There haven’t been many changes from the previous version, and one of them (the loss of a headphone jack) is more of a downgrade than anything else. One thing that has changed is the splitting of the range in two: the standard Intel-based version, and the Qualcomm-based 5G model.

Unless you really need that cellular data support, the standard model is the way to go. It’s noticeably faster for most day-to-day activities, and cheaper than the 5G version as well. You do get better battery life from the latter, but for us, the consistent performance hit doesn’t make up for it.

The typing experience has always been good on Surface devices, and that’s true here as well. It’s better than on the Go, though, since the keyboard is closer to being full-size. The optional Surface Slim Pen 2 is also compatible if you’re a graphic artist or prefer to write rather then type.

Importantly, despite all of its high-end specifications, the Surface Pro remains lighter than almost any standard laptop. The tablet itself weighs just 1.9 pounds (879g), and adding the Type Cover brings it up to a total of 2.6 pounds (1.2kg).

The Surface Pro isn’t a cheap option, especially since the keyboard cover again isn’t included by default. Just like the Go, though, there’s nothing else out there with the same mix of weight and performance. Its few competitors have similar pricing, but just don’t perform as well in one area or another.

The i5 model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB is the best mix of cost and performance, and what we’d recommend for most travelers.

Pros Lightweight for a high-power machine

Lightweight for a high-power machine Quality screen

Quality screen Good battery life Cons Expensive when you add the accessories

Expensive when you add the accessories No headphone jack, USB-A socket, or microSD slot

Main image via StockSnap, XPS 13 image via Dell, all other images via Amazon.

Long-lasting laptops with durable build quality

How we do our research

Our ranking criteria

Things to consider when buying


The Resolution



Battery backup

HD webcam

Features comparison

Laptop Screen size GPU Product link HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec1024AX 15.6-inch NVIDIA GTX 1650 4GB Buy On Acer Nitro 5 AN515-56 15.6 inches/ 144Hz NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Buy On Asus VivoBook 15 15.6 inches Integrated intel UHD graphics Buy On 2022 Apple MacBook Air 13.6-inch NA Buy On Acer Nitro 5 Intel Core i5 15.6 inches NVIDIA GTX 1650 4GB Buy On

HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec1024AX The HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec1024AX laptop weighs 1.98 kg and is a good option if you are looking for a lightweight gaming laptop. It is powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor, which is paired with 8GB RAM and a 1TB HDD. Graphics duties are handled by the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB RAM. In addition, it comes with a 15.6-inch Full HD display. This HP gaming laptop is perfect for those who want a good gaming laptop in the affordable segment.

Pros Cons Backlit keyboard No fingerprint scanner Battery life

Acer Nitro 5 AN515-56 The Acer Nitro 5 AN515-56 gaming laptop is powered by the 11th generation Intel Core i5 processor coupled with 8GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. It weighs 2.2 kg and is equipped with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics. In addition, the laptop features a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display with a 144Hz refresh rate. If you're looking for a powerful laptop to play games on the go, the Acer Nitro 5 is a good option. This Acer gaming laptop is equipped with Acer Coolboost technology and a dual exhaust port design to keep the device cool while gaming.

Pros Cons Sound Heavy Display, 144Hz

Asus VivoBook 15 The Asus VivoBook 15 is equipped with a 15.6-inch Full HD display IPS anti-glare display and is powered by the Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor. This is paired with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD. It comes pre-installed with Windows 10 and is equipped with a fingerprint sensor. It is a lightweight device and weighs just 1.9kg, making it easier to carry around with you.

Pros Cons Value for money Sound Durable

2022 Apple MacBook Air MacBook Pro is a premium laptop manufactured by Apple that ensures high performance with its latest fast processing M2 chip. It is a sturdily built machine that can be used for all your professional needs. The retina display provides a natural viewing experience. The MacBook Pro comes with an 18-hour battery life that ensures you can work uninterrupted without worrying about the charge. The Apple MacBook Pro is a fine choice for content creators, gamers and professionals who are ready to pay the premium for a premium device.

Pros Cons Display Expensive Build quality

Acer Nitro 5 Intel Core i5 The Acer Nitro 5 AN515-55 gaming laptop is powered by the 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor coupled with 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD and a 1TB HDD. In addition, it is equipped with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650Ti graphics. The laptop features a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display with a 144Hz refresh rate. If you're looking for a powerful laptop to play games on the go, the Acer Nitro 5 is a good option. It is equipped with Acer Coolboost technology and a dual exhaust port design to keep the device cool while gaming.

Pros Cons Display Mediocre battery life Value for money Heavy

Laptops are an essential part of our life, be it working on an office project, coding, playing a game or attending an online course. The laptops have become very sleek and lightweight but many of them come with the robust and sturdy build quality, thanks to modern materials like alloys and carbon fibre.Most of these sturdy laptops can handle rough usage and take accidental drops and spills. Laptops with durable build quality are important if you are a multi-tasker or use your machine on the go. Durable build quality is important for those who travel as the chances of damage increase when you take your laptop with you outside.But choosing the right long-lasting laptop can be challenging, especially when you have to consider various aspects like the display quality, processor, graphics card, memory and thermal performance.To help you pick the best gaming laptop, we've compiled a list of some durable laptops, including our top picks from brands such as Acer, HP, Dell, and Asus.Over the year, we reviewed the number of laptops covering every aspect and use case. As a result, we consider laptops with only a 4+ rating; other than this, we consider design, audio and display quality, and overall performance relying on our expertise after testing hundreds of laptops.We also consider the device's aesthetics, ergonomics and features.With several screen sizes, processor options, and other elements buying a laptop gets harder. However, here are some essential factors to remember when buying a laptop.CPU and GPU are the most important parts of laptops, the better the CPU and GPU, the better the overall performance. Currently, laptops with 10th or 11th Gen processors will do the job.For the GPU, you can go for Nvidia GeForce GTX or RTX. The RTX 30-series can be your latest option. On the other hand, you can also look for laptops with AMD Radeon RX 5000M series as they are considered ideal for long-run use.Avoid displays lower than 1920 × 1080 resolution when buying a laptop. 3840 × 2160 resolution or 4K screens is something to consider as this will give you a decent visual experience.You'll spend endless hours pounding the keys on your laptop so consider laptops with a lighted keyboard, which will be helpful during long working hours. Also, a keyboard that has a comfortable layout with full-sized keys along with adequate travel on the downstroke will give a snappy response.If you want to enhance your experience then look for a backlit keyboard as they will be super-beneficial while working in low-light conditions.When buying a long-lasting laptop with a durable build quality then you need a minimum of 8GB of RAM. If you are a heavy user then you can go for 16GB of RAM. Meanwhile, if you are a gamer then look for a minimum 16Gb and beyond for a decent gaming experience.Before buying a gaming laptop, ensure that it offers enough battery backup for your needs. Look out for fast charging support, as it'll help you charge the laptop faster.A webcam with a high video resolution is a must in a laptop. The higher the resolution, the better will be the video quality while attending online classes or lectures.

Hunter Jones

Hunter Jones

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