The Finest 13-Inch Laptops for 2021

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For those who’re in search of a stability between functionality and bulkiness, a 13-inch laptop computer is a perfect choice. That mentioned, not all 13-inch laptops are created equal. From our view, the Dell XPS 13 is the perfect 13-inch laptop computer obtainable right now, however there are many different choices relying on the options you need and the value you’re prepared to pay. 

Many of the high 13-inch laptops are centered on balancing energy and portability, however you’ll find all the things from price range notebooks to high-end gaming rigs with a 13-inch show. Listed here are the laptops you need to be taking a look at.

The very best 13-inch laptops at a look:

The very best 13-inch laptop computer: Dell XPS 13

Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

What we considered the Dell XPS 13:

It’s onerous to not sound like full sycophants when speaking about how a lot we love the XPS 13. It’s been our favourite laptop computer for the previous 5 years, and the most recent model is best than ever. Dell had already completed what we’ve been begging it to do for years and moved the webcam again as much as the highest of the display screen the place it belongs, and there’s so little else to complain about that it’s onerous to not gush.

As with the XPS 13s that got here earlier than, this model is light-weight (underneath 3 kilos), moveable, and exceedingly enticing. Base specs begin with an Eleventh-generation Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of PCIe NVMe solid-state drive storage. Ports embrace two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C (together with DisplayPort and energy supply compatibility), and the laptop computer comes with a USB-C to USB-A adapter to assist handle a few of your older equipment. Costlier choices have a touchscreen and enhance the processor, however in any other case, specs keep comparatively the identical.

Don’t count on to play the most recent and best video games at excessive body charges — that’s not likely what this laptop computer is for, although. No laptop computer is ideal, however the Dell XPS 13 is as shut as we’ve seen but, appropriate for all kinds of duties and extremely able to dealing with all of them.

Learn our full Dell XPS 13 evaluation

The very best 13-inch laptop computer for college students: Apple MacBook Air M1

Macbook Air M1
Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

What we considered the Apple MacBook Air M1:

The MacBook Air M1 is the right laptop computer for college students. It’s light-weight, tremendous highly effective, and stacked with the quality-of-life options that Macs are recognized for. From distinctive battery life to a big touchpad and the most effective laptop computer keyboards, the MacBook Air comes with all the things college students must succeed. It’s low-cost, too, at the least by Apple requirements. It’s additionally fully silent.

The most recent MacBook Air options Apple’s new M1 chip that brings collectively CPU and GPU cores with system RAM. Over the Intel processors that proceeded it, M1 is constructed on a extra power-efficient structure. It’s so power-efficient, in truth, that the MacBook Air doesn’t even want a fan. It stays cool just by passing warmth by means of the aluminum physique, so you’ll be able to preserve working with out distracting anybody.

For portability, the MacBook Air M1 is 0.63 inches thick at its thickest level, and it solely weighs 2.8 kilos. The port choice isn’t nice with simply two Thunderbolt ports, however you’ll be able to simply increase the choice with a Thunderbolt 3 dock.

The MacBook Air M1 is a significantly spectacular laptop computer, not only for college students, however for anybody in search of a extremely moveable, very highly effective machine. In some methods, it’s even higher than the MacBook Professional.

Learn our Apple MacBook Air M1 evaluation

The very best 13-inch gaming laptop computer: Razer Blade Stealth (2020)

What we considered the Razer Blade Stealth (2020):

The most recent model of the Stealth means enterprise and is able to mix the portability of a 13-inch machine with the inner functionality to deal with demanding video games with out blowing up in your face. It’s wonderful to see this mannequin embrace each an Intel quad-core Tenth-gen Core i7-1065G7 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GRX 1650 Ti Max GPU alongside 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. Razer additionally gives a mannequin with a more recent Core i7-1165G7 however an identical specs in any other case. The RGB keyboard is simply icing on the cake for players.

Connections embrace USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, and USB-A. Notice that this mannequin can max out with a 4K 60Hz touchscreen, however that’s not likely mandatory except you intend on doing quite a lot of content material creation. If you wish to play competitively, there’s a construct choice for 1080p decision and a 120Hz refresh price that could be extra your model.

The Razer Blade Stealth is an attractive laptop computer, and it has sufficient grunt to play all trendy video games at affordable body charges, so long as you retain the graphical element underneath management. Bigger Razer laptops do outshine its gaming capacity, and different laptops on this checklist will stomp throughout its battery life, however for a laptop computer that performs properly out and in of video games and appears good doing it, that is our favourite within the 13-inch area.

Learn our evaluation of an earlier Razer Blade Stealth

The very best 13-inch laptop computer underneath $500: Acer Chromebook R13

What we considered the Acer Chromebook R13:

If you would like as a lot as you may get for $500, we propose the 2018 Chromebook R13. It’s a versatile 2-in-1 that also has sufficient efficiency on your on a regular basis duties. This may be notably onerous to seek out on this worth vary, the place the mixture of decrease specs and older elements can imply energy or velocity points for the unwary. However Acer has managed to construct the R13 for efficiency, and the snappy Chrome OS loading helps be certain there are not any annoying wait instances as you’re employed.

For this mannequin, you get a Mediate MT8173C quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of SSD storage. Whereas that storage might seem to be it’s a bit of low, Chromebooks are likely to function with a give attention to cloud storage and working apps from the cloud to scale back the storage wanted by yourself laptop computer — and you’ll all the time buy an exterior storage drive.

Battery life is rated for as much as 12 hours, and connections embrace ISB-A 3.1 and USB-C plus DisplayPort compatibility. If affordability is your major purpose, the Acer Chromebook R13 is a fairly nice bundle for the value.

The very best light-weight 13-inch laptop computer: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano

What we considered the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano:

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano is an excellent mild laptop computer that also packs a ton of energy. The non-touch mannequin weighs only one.99 kilos, and the contact mannequin is just barely heavier at 2.14 kilos. That’s even lighter than the latest LG Gram, which has lengthy claimed the ultra-portable throne with its 2.2-pound weight. The ThinkPad X1 Nano is constructed like different ThinkPads, too, sporting a carbon-fiber hybrid materials that’s as sturdy as laptops that weigh twice as a lot.

The high-end configuration comes with an Intel Core i7-1180G7, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. If portability is extra vital than energy, you can too configure the ThinkPad X1 Nano with an i5-1130G7, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Whatever the configuration, the machines comes with a 16:10 2K show (2,160 x 1,350) with a peak brightness of 450 nits and assist for Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR.

The non-traditional decision results in higher battery life total, beating 4K shows just like the one within the Spectre x360. Regardless of stiff competitors from Dell, HP, and LG, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano is a showstopper. It maintains the ThinkPad aptitude Lenovo is thought for whereas reducing the burden considerably, all with out sacrificing efficiency or battery life.

Learn our Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano evaluation

The very best 13-inch Chromebook: Google Pixelbook Go

Google Pixelbook Go portability
Riley Younger / Digital Traits

What we considered the Google Pixelbook Go:

Though there are a ton of Chromebooks in the marketplace, there’s actually just one choice for the perfect efficiency, construct high quality, and design. The Google Pixelbook Go comes straight from the supply, and it’s constructed from the bottom as much as let the Chrome OS platform shine. You may decide up an affordable configuration with an Intel Core m3 processor and 8GB of RAM, however Google additionally gives a configuration with a 4K show, a Core i7, and 16GB of RAM.

Exterior of uncooked energy, the Pixelbook Go has a couple of design components that assist it stand out within the crowded Chromebook market. The underside, for instance, is textured so it doesn’t slide away when sitting in your lap, and the stereo audio system are close to the important thing mattress, providing clear audio throughout films, video games, and music. It’s extremely moveable, too, measuring simply 0.5 inches thick and weighing 2.3 kilos.

Moreover, the Google Pixelbook Go is rated for 12 hours of battery life and comes with two USB-C ports. Most Chromebooks are designed with a price range in thoughts. The Pixelbook Go is designed from the opposite path, matching options with parts to create a Chromebook that lets the light-weight working system shine.

Learn our Google Pixelbook Go evaluation

The very best for Apple customers: Apple MacBook Professional 13 M1

What we considered the Apple MacBook Professional M1 13:

Identical to the MacBook Air, the most recent MacBook Professional is predicated on Apple’s M1 chip. It’s an identical to the chip contained in the MacBook Air, sporting eight CPU cores and 8GB of unified reminiscence. Over the Air, although, the Professional 13 mannequin comes with eight GPU cores; the Air comes with seven. The additional core doesn’t make an enormous distinction, however mixed with lively cooling, it pushes the Professional 13 barely forward of the Air. Plus, the most recent MacBook Professional M1 is $500 cheaper than its Intel counterpart.

The MacBook Professional has lively cooling, however you gained’t discover it. The fan by no means spun up in our testing, even when working video games like Fortnite. And sure, the M1 can run video games like Fortnite. Regardless of being cool and power-efficient, the M1 chip is highly effective sufficient for gaming and productiveness. That is nonetheless a MacBook Professional, in any case.

Like earlier fashions, the M1 variation nonetheless comes with a wonderful Retina show, a top-notch keyboard, and clear on-board audio system. The up to date mannequin is best in quite a few methods, too, sporting almost twice the battery lifetime of the Intel fashions that preceded it.

The MacBook Professional M1 is a breakthrough machine for Apple, bringing worth and efficiency extra in-line with the remainder of the market with out sacrificing all of the issues that make Apple laptops particular.

Learn our Apple MacBook Professional 13 M1 evaluation 

The very best 13-inch 2-in-1: HP Spectre x360

hp spectre
Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

What we considered the HP Spectre x360: 

The Dell XPS 13 has remained our favourite laptop computer for quite a few years, however there has all the time been a detailed second: The HP Spectre x360. Just like the XPS 13, it’s a skinny and light-weight machine packing the most recent parts. That features an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor with Iris Xe graphics, 256GB of SSD storage, and 16GB of RAM.

For the show, HP has a couple of completely different choices. The complete HD touchscreen on the bottom mannequin is nice, providing skinny bezels and a peak brightness of 400 nits. Nevertheless, HP additionally gives a full HD OLED show for deeper distinction or a 4K OLED, each of which even have a peak brightness of 400 nits. Each of the OLED choices assist contact, too.

Though the HP Spectre x360 performs second fiddle to the XPS 13 in a couple of areas — specifically battery life — it’s nonetheless a exceptional 2-in-1. The 13-inch mannequin we’re recommending is nice, however HP additionally has a new 14-inch mannequin. It’s not a lot bigger total, however the 3:2 display screen facet ratio gives a bit of additional display screen actual property.

Learn our evaluation of the HP Spectre x360 13

Analysis and shopping for ideas

Does laptop computer display screen measurement matter?

Sure, it positively does. The change in measurement could make issues like working in purposes facet by facet way more fluid. The general measurement of the laptop computer additionally makes a distinction in portability. Sliding a 15-inch laptop computer right into a backpack isn’t all the time potential, and neither is attempting to make use of it in cramped places like a small espresso store desk or on an airplane.

Maybe extra importantly, although, there are vital variations in configuration choices between 13-inch and 15-inch laptops. Take the Dell XPS 13 and XPS 15, for instance. The XPS 13 maxes out at a four-core processor with built-in graphics, whereas the XPS 15 can now embrace as much as an eight-core processor with a discrete GTX 1650 graphics card. The additional area within the chassis permits for these extra highly effective parts, that means they’ll present a major increase in efficiency.

What is an effective display screen decision for a 13-inch laptop computer?

Most 13-inch laptops are supplied in two decision choices: 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) and 4K (3,840 x 2,160). The 4K choices are sometimes considerably dearer and lose a few hours in battery life. For most individuals, the 1080p configurations might be lots sharp, particularly on a display screen this measurement. Chances are you’ll need to soar as much as 4K, nevertheless, for the broader shade gamut that always comes with it. Modifying photographs in 4K with higher colours is right.

Your decision choices change for laptops with taller screens. The MacBook Professional, for instance, has a sharper 13-inch display screen with a 16:10 facet ratio, leading to a 2,560 x 1,660 display screen decision. In the meantime, the Floor Laptop computer 2 has a good sharper 3:2, 13-inch display screen with a 3,000 x 2,000 decision.

Which is the perfect laptop computer model?

Selecting the perfect laptop computer model comes all the way down to a mixture of which firm designs the perfect merchandise and supplies the perfect service. Dell suits the usual for each of those, having constructed the perfect laptop computer you should purchase proper now. HP and Lenovo are shut behind, providing good laptop computer designs and related customer support.

On a unique tier is Apple, which builds the sturdiest laptops you should purchase. Additionally they supply a high-caliber customer support expertise that entails an precise brick-and-mortar retailer (when you’ve got one in your space). That score has lowered a bit with its latest keyboard kerfuffle, the place reliability has develop into a critical subject. However even there, Apple finally fessed up and began changing the laptops altogether.

Is a 13-inch laptop computer too small for gaming?

A 13-inch laptop computer might not appear as visually immersive as a bigger display screen can, but when your GPU can assist your favourite recreation, then a 13-inch laptop computer would show to be a wonderful gaming machine. Whereas your situational consciousness is undoubtedly improved with larger shows, the display screen might not absolutely assist the sport. It could be finest when you double-checked your bigger laptop computer’s specs; The processor, RAM, SSD, and GPU all want to have the ability to assist the parameters required on your recreation comfortably.

How do I do know what measurement my laptop computer is?

To shortly measure your display screen, seize your ruler, measuring tape, or different measuring instruments and maintain it diagonally throughout your display screen. The machine ought to stretch from a high nook to the alternative backside nook. Make sure to not embrace the borders of your display screen in your measurements. For those who don’t have any software to measure the display screen bodily, strive trying to find your laptop computer make and mannequin quantity on-line. 

For those who choose any of those computer systems, remember to reap the benefits of Black Friday laptop computer offers to get a wonderful worth on your laptop computer.

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