Combining portability with performance are these world-class best 13-inch laptops 2022 for different needs and budgets.
Purchasing a best 13-inch laptop makes a lot of sense for anyone who frequently works on the go and needs a sleek, compact computer that gets the job done.
When you get a 13-inch laptop, travel is likely to be foremost on your mind. You should, accordingly, prioritize a lightweight chassis, sleek profile and overall adaptability to portable functionality.
Alongside, it is also vital not to overlook processing power, display, sound and connectivity.
Fortunately, many top brands have committed to building Ultrabooks that deliver all of this in winsome packages. In this article, we have highlighted the reigning 13” laptops in the marketplace today.
How much does size matter, really? When you consider power-packed lifestyles with oodles of travel, last-minute meetings, and the need to work from remote locations, it ends up mattering quite a lot.
With time, laptops have evolved in both size and function, managing to pack in a great deal more functionality in compact chassis.
Prominent computer manufacturers including Apple, Dell, HP, Microsoft, Razer, Acer and ASUS have started coming up with their offerings in this space.
So, is this another of those trends that doesn’t last an entire season or a more permanent, disruptive invention with tremendous potential for laptop users?
When you hear “13-inch laptops”, the first buzzword that rings in your ears is portability.
There is little doubt that these machines will be infinitely more portable than their 15” counterparts, this rendering themselves more useful for anyone who needs to undertake considerable travel.
This audience-group increasingly includes not only working professionals but also students, freelance writers, creative souls, and anyone struck with wanderlust. But as it turns out, 13” laptops also offer a myriad of benefits other than mobility.
For one, many of these laptops can function as convertibles, which is an added boost to functionality and save you the cost of splurging on a separate device for tablet-occasions.
How do you find the right 13-inch laptop for you? Well, we have prepared a ready list of the best 13 inch laptops 2022 that adapt to different needs and budgets.
Browse through, find the device that gets you ticking, and get ready for a mini powerhouse that fuels your day with sprightly energy!
- What You Can Expect in a 13-inch Laptop
- Our Picks: 7 Best 13-inch Laptops 2022
- The Many Delights of a 13 Inch Laptop
- 13-inch Laptop vs. 15-inch Laptop: Isn’t Bigger Better?
- Is a 13-inch Laptop Really Worth It?
- Best 13 Inch Laptop Brands
- The Long and Short of It
What You Can Expect in a 13-inch Laptop
So, how good exactly are the specs of a typical 13” machine? You can expect a lot of variability here, depending on the brand and the money you are willing to shell out. But before settling, ensure that your choice offers the following:
A 13” laptop might be compact, but it should not compromise on performance. Many brands provide notebooks with Intel Core i7 processors, up to 16GB RAM, and up to 512GB of SSD storage. Make your choice based on your usage patterns and requirements.
Display and graphics
Most 13” laptops continue to offer integrated graphics. This is usually ample for average tasks like browsing through photos or tuning in to a favorite film.
However, if you plan on gaming or performing CPU-draining tasks like multimedia editing, you should look for a dedicated GPU. Some 13” laptops like the Razer Blade Stealth do offer dedicated graphics.
As for the display, you should be able to find an FHD monitor with support for IPS and a wide color gamut. Ideally, look for a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080, which is suitable for most content. If you so wish, you can also find 13” machines with 4K OLED displays.
Finding a 13” laptop with fantastic sound can be a little tricky as many manufacturers skimp on this department to enhance the overall sleekness of the build.
However, you can look for technologies like Dolby Audio Premium and Waves Maxx Audio. The speakers in your laptop should be well-tuned and capable of delivering distortion-free output.
Build and portability
This is the USP of most 13” laptops. So, it makes sense to invest in one that is no heavier than 3lbs. Most laptops in this space are super thin too, measuring anything from 0.5–0.7”.
Since you are likely to be traveling a lot with your notebook, double check the resilience of the build. It is sensible to opt for an all-metallic construction built in adherence to durability standards. You can also scout for extra features intended to boost portability, such as glass protection for the monitor.
This is closely related to your laptop’s portability. You would want to be able to use your machine from anywhere without being stuck to a charging station.
Battery backup upwards of 8 hours is a good metric to look for. If unplugged usage matters a great deal to you, it is possible to find laptops that can last for 22 hours on a single charge.
Device support and connectivity
A handy 13” notebook should have a full assortment of USB ports. If a Type-C port is included, fantastic! It is super useful for rapid data transfer and quick charging.
Also, check for the availability of display ports and HDMI to permit you to connect external displays. Internet connectivity is another key consideration. Most laptops now offer compatibility with 802.11ac Wi-Fi as well as Ethernet/LAN.
Besides these essential features, the marketplace now also provides additional perks for demanding audiences.
For instance, you can find backlit keyboards that let you work even in low/natural lighting. If gaming is your priority, you can find keyboards with zone-based lighting.
Some 13” machines come with special webcams, IR cameras with facial recognition, security chips, and privacy screens for confidentiality.
Our Picks: 7 Best 13-inch Laptops 2022
Barring the above scenarios, best 13-inch laptops are an ideal choice when you are prioritizing portable performance for multiple needs, ranging from the academic to the corporate world.
Best 13-inch Laptop – Recommended Specs
|Processor||12th Gen Intel Core i7-1250U|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe Graphics / NVIDIA GTX|
|Memory||16GB DDR4 RAM|
|Storage||512GB NVMe SSD|
|Display||13.3″ Full HD (1920 x 1080)|
|Weight||Under 3 lbs.|
|Battery||Up to 18 Hours|
|OS||Windows 11 Home|
1. Apple MacBook Air M2 13-inch Laptop
Infused with the power of an Apple M2 chip 8-core CPU, a crystal-clear Retina display, and a sleek, lightweight (0.44”, 2.7lbs) body, the new Apple MacBook Air is a brilliant choice for students.
This 13.6” laptop, starting at a reasonably affordable $1,199, features a “magic” keyboard with a refined scissor mechanism. The comfortable 1mm key-travel distance ensures that your fingers don’t tire during those unending assignments.
Inside the processing chamber is 512GB of SSD storage and 8GB of RAM.
Easily one of the best features of this laptop is the display, featuring razor-sharp
text clarity, 48% more colors and True Tone technology for accurate viewing.
Complementing the visuals is an excellent sound department, delivering vivid audio with 25% more volume. It is also an immensely portable device, equipped with a Thunderbolt 3 port and lasting unplugged for up to 18 hours.
2. HP Spectre x360 13.5 2-in-1 Laptop
Compact and convertible design, does it get any better than that? With HP Spectre x360, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. It is a sleek device with all the latest specifications and functionalities that contribute to its rising popularity. The traditional clamshell laptop features a compact but very durable design.
When it comes to the processing power, the Spectra x360 is powered by the latest 12th Gen. Intel Core processor that supports speedy productivity and paves the way for all the creativity. The compact 13.5” FHD touchscreen display features 90.11% screen to body ratio for an expansive and stunning visual experience.
But, the model stands out in terms of the storage and RAM configuration, especially with up to 2TB SSD storage and up to 32GB RAM configuration in the model. All of this combines to deliver top-notch performance without any buffer. The integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics average and nothing too giving, especially if you deal with intensive workflow like 4K video editing, 3D rendering, etc.
Reasons to buy
- Latest Intel processor
- Responsive multitasking experience
- Touchscreen display
- Durable and portable design
- Optimal I/O ports
Reasons to avoid
- Lacks a good graphics processor
- Battery life is average
3. Dell XPS 13 9315 13-inch Laptop
Looking for a compact, colorful but powerful laptop to get you through your daily work routine? The Dell XPS 13 9315 caters to all of those needs with the vibrant design and 15W powerful processors. The model is a cheaper alternative to some of its mainstream XPS models, making it a lot more accessible to a wider audience range.
Despite the smaller size, Dell has managed to squeeze in the Windows Hello face recognition that adds an additional layer or security. With the 13.4” FHD display with 16:10 aspect ratio and tiny bezels, the model is one of a kind and offers a crisper visual and Dolby Vision support.
As for the construction, the XPS 13 9315 is designed with an aluminum body, which adds to the durability and stability of the model. The model is powered by the latest 12th Gen. Intel Core processor and Intel Iris Xe graphics that revolutionizes the overall performance.
Coming to the storage features, Dell has integrated the model with up to 1TB SSD storage and 16GB RAM configuration for the best multitasking experience.
Reasons to buy
- Responsive and powerful processor
- Accessible price point
- Backed with Windows Hello face recognition
- Responsive touchpad
- Compact design
Reasons to avoid
- Battery life is subpar
- Graphics performance is average
4. HP Pavilion Aero 13-inch Laptop
The HP Pavilion Aero is another worthy yet compact 13-inch laptop that you can consider buying. The superlight design of the model is what makes it a bestseller from the brand. Besides the affordability, HP has also kept a mid-range price point, making it a versatile companion for almost every user around the corner.
The Pavilion Aero is powered by the latest AMD Ryzen 5 processor with Radeon graphics. So, if you are prioritizing responsive performance without any buffering, the processor set-up should be enough to take care of that for you.
HP also stands out with their compact yet stunning 13.3” diagonal WUXGA display, making it one of the absolute best options that you can consider looking into. No longer will you have to compromise on the visuals or the color reproduction from the laptop’s display.
It is made with ocean-bound plastics but the model does fall short on the durability factor. However, the model is lightweight, so portability won’t be an issue at all. You won’t have to compromise on the storage and RAM configuration as it is integrated with 512GB SSD storage and 16GB RAM.
Reasons to buy
- Super lightweight design
- Latest AMD processor
- Narrow bezel display
- Responsive RAM configuration
- Affordable price point
Reasons to avoid
- Not the most durable construction
- Port selection isn’t optimal
5. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 (Best Design)
Picture this: bodyweight of 2.76lbs, a thickness of 0.57”, and a battery backup of 19 hours.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 manages all of that while also delivering fantastic performance and ease of use.
Driving this computer is an 11th gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and up to a 512GB SSD. The 10 point multi-touch screen offers a resolution of 2256 x 1504.
How about the display and sound? Well, Microsoft offers Intel Iris Xe graphics, which does a pleasant job of rendering varied formats of content. But the omnisonic speakers tuned with Dolby Audio Premium truly steal the show, delivering undistorted and vivid sound.
This Surface laptop is well-connected too, complete with an HD camera compatible with Windows Hello, USB ports (including a Type-C one), a Surface Connect port, and compatibility with Wi-Fi 6.
You can stay attuned with your peers and colleagues as well as devices and peripherals on the go.
Design-wise too, Microsoft has ascertained that your comfort takes centre stage, with thoughtful nuances like a larger glass trackpad, optimization for Office 365, and strong glass protection for the display.
6. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch M2 Chip
When it comes to multimedia editing, Apple continues to retain its edge.
Fuelling the processing chamber is an new Apple M2 chip 8-core CPU, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD SSD. This can comfortably run applications such as Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Photoshop.
The stellar display has always been a stand-out feature of Apple laptops. Here too, you should prepare to be mesmerized by the 500 nits brightness and the wide color gamut that has 25% more colors than sRGB.
Apple has also ensured flexibility of use with the new Touch Bar that replaces the function keys. You can use intuitive gestures like taps and flicks to get your work done in real time.
If you tend to work in collaborative environments, the Apple T2 Security Chip and the fingerprint reader will keep you reassured of privacy.
Interestingly, this laptop, for all its devotion to performance, is tremendously sleek at 3.0lbs and 15.6mm. You can slide it into a backpack and carry it around to meetings or travels.
7. ASUS VivoBook 13 Slate OLED 2-in-1 Laptop
ASUS is consistently diversifying their portfolio of portable and compatible laptops and the VivoBook 13 Slate deserves a place in the list.
Besides the sleek and modern functionalities, the is everything that you’d likely need in a 2-in-1 laptop, in terms of a companion that you can carry on the go.
Ideal for work, calls, chilling and creative work, the device is powered by the Intel Pentium N6000 quad-core processor for optimal user experience like no other. Also, if you are a content creator or editor, the laptop comes with 1-month Adobe Creative Cloud subscription with the purchase.
Designed with the 13.3” Pantone-validated display panel with DCI-P3 color gamut and 100% glossy display with 93% screen to body ratio for optimal visual experience. The fingerprint sensor allows users to ensure a secure login experience every time they switch on the laptop.
Thanks to the detachable keyboard, users can use the laptop as a tablet when they don’t have the capacity to type everything out. It is integrated with 256GB SSD storage and 8GB RAM and runs on the latest Windows 11 Home OS.
- Modern and lightweight design
- HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass design
- Backed with ASUS AI noise-cancelling technology
- Features dual-camera design
- Supports fingerprint sensor
- Battery life is subpar
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- 10 Best Laptops for College Students
The Many Delights of a 13 Inch Laptop
Here’s what you can expect when you bring home a 13-incher:
Portability: Duh, you already knew that, didn’t you? But even so, the portability that comes with a 13-inch laptop can be surprisingly uplifting. It strikes just the right balance between a too-large 15” laptop and a too-small 11 Inch or 12 Inch laptop.
- Superior performance: Despite their compact build, most 13-inch laptops are high on performance. You can easily find a model with an Intel i5 or i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, 2TB of storage space, and battery backup ranging from 10 to 21 hours. Additionally, you can also avail of crystal-clear displays and features like RGB lighting, ergonomic keyboards and multiple usage modes.
- Flexibility of use: Thanks to their focus on compact performance, 13-inch laptops adapt well to different needs. For instance, they offer students the convenience they need to multitask on documents, decks, and internet-browsing. They also suit working professionals with adequate options for collaboration, sharing and connectivity.
- Tablet-friendly form: Since many 13-inch machines can be used as tablets, you stand to benefit from the extra mobility. It becomes easy to get the job done during travel, in cramped spaces, and on occasions when a full-purpose laptop is ruled out.
- Future readiness: As is true of latest technologies, 13-inch laptops usually come with contemporary parts/innards, features that take full advantage of the newest breakthroughs (read superior cooling), and the guarantee of being usable several years down the line. This makes them pragmatic choices despite the somewhat steep price tags ($830 to $2000 and above) that most of them come with.
13-inch Laptop vs. 15-inch Laptop: Isn’t Bigger Better?
So, granted, a 13” laptop holds promise. But how does it compare to a 15” laptop that offers much more space for dazzle as well as function? Is portability the prime reason to go for the smaller 13-inch computer? When should you opt for the larger cousin? Let’s find out.
- For gaming enthusiasts: A quality gaming experience warrants a high-end GPU that can support top-class graphics and frame rates. It is unlikely for 13-inch laptops to support the best GPUs available in the marketplace today (read NVIDIA RTX). If a gaming machine is what you are looking for, you are likely to be better off with a 15-incher. (The one exception to this comes later in the article.)
- For USB aficionados: Do you usually need a lot of USB ports to get going? Some professions demand constant plugging in to USB devices, memory cards, HDMI cables, the works. If you are in one of these fascinating professions, you will find a 15” laptop better suited to your lifestyle. Since 13” laptops are built to be compact and portable, many of them compromise on the external plug-ins on either side.
- For display dazzle: While many 13” laptops now come with spectacular displays, it continues to be the realm of 15” machines. It is still dicey to find a quality 13” laptop with a 4K, touch display, although this is easily available for 15-inch versions.
Is a 13-inch Laptop Really Worth It?
When laptops were first introduced, their mobility was unbelievable. How could you package all that performance in a computer you could carry in a rucksack? But, with time, laptops have not only become even more portable, but also more powerful.
You can now find 13” laptops that are astonishingly compact and perfect for busy, modern lifestyles. But their travel-friendliness notwithstanding, how functional can they be? Short answer: a great deal!
Not surprisingly, 13” laptops are best suited to hectic lifestyles that involve a lot of travel and running around. You can comfortably lug them along without developing a backache.
You can also work on them in various settings, including a rickety bus, a cramped seat on a flight, and a crowded café. Manufacturers, cognizant of these usage patterns, design these laptops to be well-suited for travel.
Most notebooks boast of reasonably long battery life, an array of connectivity options, a lightweight build, and ergonomic design.
It is easy to be misled into expecting that since 13” computers are so sleek they are likely to be low on performance. But a quick survey of the market will tell you that this is far from the truth.
From Intel Core i7 processors and NVIDIA GTX cards to SSD storage, 13” laptops do not leave you wanting for performance. On the display front too, it is possible to find even 4K OLED displays, although FHD screens are more common.
Do note, however, that the screen real estate is obviously lower than that in a 15” or a 17” laptop. To counter this, some companies use a narrow bezel design that helps expand the screen-to-body ratio.
In some models, this ratio is as high as 95%! This proves quite ample even for the discerning user who values the visuals and the aesthetics in their laptop.
The bottom line is that 13” laptops are definitely worth your consideration if you require a travel-friendly, high-performing companion. Yes, the screen and the keyboard might be more cramped than in a 15” version.
The end experience might not be as enthralling for gamers and creative professionals who simply warrant a larger screen. But if you are willing to ignore these shortcomings, you can get huge bang for your buck.
Best 13 Inch Laptop Brands
Let’s take a quick look at the leading brands in this space.
Over time, Apple has worked hard to retain its distinctive edge in the world of design and multimedia. Even in the 13” space, Apple continues to be one of the best picks for multimedia editing/generation.
These laptops provide a stellar screen (often, with a Retina display), efficient performance, and tons of storage space.
Apple has been experimenting with innovations in keyboard design as well as features to improve the ease of use. In line with this, you can find keyboards with the butterfly mechanism and the Touch ID for more intuitive interaction with your laptop.
If portability and flexible design are your priorities, then a 13” ASUS laptop can fit right in. You can consider a ZenBook for a winning balance of power, functionality and style.
Some notebooks in this space come with nifty features like ergonomic hinges and long battery backup. ASUS laptops also tend to be cost-effective, making them a worthy choice for anyone watching their budget closely.
Dell can give you one of the finest in this space—powerhouses to reckon with. You can expect great performance (of the Intel Core i7 league), good battery backup, and excellent graphics and sound.
The latter receives generous aid from Dell Cinema in several 13” models. Dell is high on innovation too, and keeps infusing its products with industry-leading features.
For instance, you can find special webcams with noise reduction and improved visuals. The overall build of these laptops is both portable and durable, besides being green.
A brand that has long been known for its dependability, HP continues to hold on to its core values. In the 13” space, you can expect HP laptops to provide competent performance, terrific battery backup (sometimes more than 20 hours!), and a portable build.
HP is also committed to facilitating work in shared environments. To this end, it provides a generous dash of privacy-enhancing features like webcam kill switches and privacy screens.
The Surface series is a fine pick for a 13” laptop, especially if you covet tremendous design. Microsoft has created a sparkling line-up with Surface; these notebooks are portable, high on performance, and look downright glorious.
You can find thoughtful features to simplify your daily life, such as larger trackpads, interactive touchscreens, and complete connectivity options.
Ever since gaming has become a passion—and one that attracts new audiences every day—more and more manufacturers have jumped onto the train. If it is a 13” gaming laptop that you have set your heart on, Razer has great choices.
The company has worked hard to make gaming possible on such a compact form factor. These notebooks offer a hardworking processor, dedicated graphics co-processors (such as NVIDIA GTX), and backlit keyboards. You won’t feel shortchanged on the display either, as most of these machines have a narrow bezel design to realize engaging content.
Other laptop brands you can explore include Lenovo, Acer and MSI. The final choice should be less a function of favoring a specific brand and more dependent on what suits your lifestyle and requirements.
The Long and Short of It
Have you managed to arrive at a decision regarding your purchase of a 13-inch laptop? We tried to present a complete panorama of some of the best options in the marketplace, catering to multiple budgets, requirements, and focus areas.
If you are looking for an all-rounder that marries wins in size with magnificent performance and display, consider going all-out with the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4, the latest Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch or the Dell XPS 13.
Budget-watchers can delight in the HP Spectre x360 or the ASUS Vivobook Slate—both of them satisfactory in performance without drilling a hole in your pocket.
If your needs are more specialized, say, a long battery life (Apple MacBook Air), competitive gaming (Razer MacBook Pro), or a flip-based display (ASUS VivoBook Slate), you can take your pick from the assortment accordingly.
It may be early days yet, but it seems that 13-inch laptops are here to stay. They have managed to capture an optimal spot between their mightier and tinier cousins, emerging powerful and versatile in their own right.