The best 13 inch laptops: for combining portability with usability

The best 13 inch laptops: for combining portability with usability

13 inch laptops provide users with the best ratio of screen size to portability but it’s the inside stuff that really matters when it comes to choosing the best laptop for your needs. For general work and movie streaming, something like the 13-inch MacBook Air should provide the right amount of processing power for you to complete work tasks, run documents and watch your favourite Netflix series. But if your profession requires you to run weightier programmes such as InDesign, you may want to look at spending a bit more on something like the Microsoft Surface Book 2

The best all-rounder has to be the MacBook Air. It’s pretty powerful, very stylish, easy to use and it’s the most budget-friendly 13 inch laptop on our list (we’re rounding up the best, after all). 

When you’re looking for the best 13 inch laptop, make sure you take note of the processor (no less than the i5), screen res (if you’re planning on using it to view hi-res images/video),  RAM (the bigger the RAM, the speedier it will be) and how many GBs of storage it packs.

The best 13 inch laptop

1.13-inch MacBook Air

A good all-rounder with a pretty decent battery life

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB

13 hour battery life
128GB of storage

Featuring faster storage and one of the best battery lifes you can get, the MacBook Air has plenty to sing about, especially when you’re looking for a good work laptop. It boasts an i5 processor, 8GB of RAM for speedy booting and loading and graphics card which has been designed to provide impressive visuals for movie and series lovers. Add to that a pretty impressive 128GB of storage and you have the perfect all round laptop for working, browsing and streaming.  

Dell XPS 13

2. Dell XPS 13

Stay with the base model or gopro with the Dell XPS 13

CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB-16GB

Option to upgrade your model
All the ingredients for impressive performance

Whether you’re happy with an HD screen and an i5 processor or you wanna upgrade to a 4K screen and an i7 processor, when it comes to performance features, this laptop has it in droves (bear in mind that the upgraded version will set you back around £1700, though). The upgraded version boasts a massive 16GB of RAM and an incredible 512GB storage drive, so if you’re planning on running super complex spreadsheets, large files or weighty programmes, this is your machine.  

HP Spectre x360

3. HP Spectre x360

Laptop, tablet… or even a tent, this mutating laptop is the epitome of versatility

CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB

360 degree pivot control 
512 GB of storage

The HP Spectre x360 exists in a number of models and sizes but when it comes to the 13 inch range, this is probably the best one. It’s cheaper than the Dell because it doesn’t boast 16GB of RAM, but aside from that, the processor and storage amount are the same, making it a decent consideration if you’re looking to run programmes such as InDesign and Photoshop. Best of all is its ability to transform into a tablet or a tent (great for room viewing), and the machine also comes with a stylus in tow for the best drawing experience. 

Microsoft Surface Book 2

4. Microsoft Surface Book 2

Rivalling the HP Spectre when it comes to performance but with a detachable tablet screen instead

CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB

Detachable screen
Fanless - so no noise!

Whether they’re using the device as a laptop or a tablet or something in between, Microsoft have ensured excellent user experience with the promise of a lightning-fast display, UHD graphics card and a quad core processor. The 13.5 inch version of the Microsoft Surface Book is thinner and more lightweight than the 15 inch model, but thanks to its range of techy features, still delivers when it comes to running programmes such as InDesign. 

Samsung Notebook 9

5. Samsung Notebook 9

While it might be 0.3 inches bigger than we promised, it’s definitely worth the small compromise

CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB

Flips from tablet to laptop
Compatible with Samsung’s latest stylus technology

If you like the concept of the HP Spectre but not the price tag, then we have the alternative right here in the Samsung Notebook 9. As a tablet and laptop all in one, the Samsung Notebook provides ultimate convenience when it comes meeting the needs of different working styles. Whether you’re after a quiet fan or a decent screen resolution, Samsung have certainly gone to town when it comes to packing this laptop full of attractive specs… so much so that it was given TechRadar’s Editor’s Choice Award. 

Surface Laptop

6. Surface Laptop

Windows’ answer to the MacBook Air

CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB

Beautiful design
Good performance

If you’re planning on using this laptop as a PC on which to carry out generic work tasks and leisure activities, then the 4GB of RAM will be perfectly fine. For weightier programmes, you may want to to think about going for an upgrade to 8GB, or 16GB for super speedy processing, but that could set you back between £1500 and just over £2000, instead of the rather attractive RRP of £899. It’s design is super slim and sleek and will certainly turn heads when you’re out and about, and there’s no compromise on strength and durability, too.  

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