Back in the 1940s, when the first computer (ENIAC) was invented, it was a fantastically implausible idea ever to be able to carry a computer with you. Those machines weighed close to 27,000 Kg — a tad heavier, should we say, than the baggage you’re willing to tow along. But times have changed and how, and several excellent modern-day lightweight laptops or “ultrabooks” weigh as little as 3 pounds. That’s only as much as a pair of boots or a thick hardcover book!
Indeed, one of the greatest technological innovations since the invention of the first computer has been compact, path-breaking chip design. The capability to fit more – features, processors, the works – in less. The face of the computer marketplace has changed beyond recognition in the last decade. From once being dominated by hefty, stationery desktops that derived their power from their bulk, the market now abounds in robust but feather-light laptops, notebooks and tablets.
Leading laptop makers, from Microsoft and Apple to ASUS, Acer, LG, HP and Razer are increasingly committing themselves to mobility and agility. They are finding solutions to tenuous problems that once accompanied computer design, problems that could be solved only by bigger and heavier components. Now, laptops come with speedy response and efficient handling of day-to-day tasks, even when they are the size of your favorite novel.
Cloud computing and storage let you carry massive files minus the body ache. Displays are bright and beautiful, and docking stations allow you to expand horizons when you’re at home or in the office. Simply put, you have the potency of a full-sized beast of a computer in the niftiness of a laptop that can travel the world with you. To top it all, many of these innovative machines also look the part — utterly stylish and chic.
For the customers, the outcome of this shift in perspective has been delightful. As of 2019, there exist numerous choices for a mobile computing companion, and the price points, too, have considerably come down.
Why Lightweight Laptop?
Wait a minute, though. How important, really, are lightweight laptops? Does their utility extend beyond the contemporary fad to carry the world with oneself and stay forever connected to the “network”?
To answer that, one need only look at the swiftly changing dynamics in homes, workplaces and lifestyles. Offices now extend from one end of the globe to the other; people take up remote and freelancing positions that need them to be attuned, to be able to work from varied geographical terrain.
Traveling is an integral part of many jobs; the number of people mesmerized by wanderlust is also on the rise. In these fascinating times of collaboration and momentum, staying glued to a cubicle, working on a desktop that detests movement, is a severely limiting proposition.
Lightweight laptops offer the ease of portability and accessibility, often fitting into purses and being adaptable to multi-format use (say, tablet or notebook). To be able to commit to an on-the-go population, such laptops are designed with extra durability and a display undeterred by the elements.
They also have specially crafted features for glitch-free sharing and security. But their best quality is their very core: processing mettle and storage. Superior lightweight laptops succeed in a happy tradeoff wherein portability and power coexist.
The price range of ultrabooks is vast and alluring. As a smart consumer, though, it would serve you well to view the price tag with a pinch of salt and assess the purchase as a package. While some entry-level ultrabooks may be available for even under $500, getting a mid-range ($900 to $1250) or premium (above $1250) system will be lucrative in the long run.
The extra bucks go towards a more robust processor (say, an Intel eighth-generation Core over Celeron), a speedier SSD over eMMC storage, and a high-resolution full-HD, ultra-HD or 4k screen. If you seek a lightweight laptop for business or extensive travel, as opposed to using it only as a family-entertainment device, it is worthwhile going the extra mile.
Let’s look at the ten best lightweight laptops under 3 lbs that you can acquire in 2019, and what they each bring to the table.
Apple MacBook Air 13-inch Latest Model
True to its name, the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch is indeed as light as the wind—or almost, at 2.75lbs and 15.6mm (0.61”)—and as powerful as a gale. Driven by an eighth-gen Intel Core i5 processor that can be cranked up to 3.6GHz, 16GB RAM, and 1.5TB of storage, this laptop commendably runs multitasking operations, launches your favorite apps, and allows for abundant space to store your world.
Since it can run unplugged for 12 hours and offer fingerprint-based security (Touch ID), it can become a dependable everyday computer that travels well. It is priced under $1400.
On the display front, you will be awed by the Retina display that offers 48% more colors than you may have been used to. The imagery is sharp and bright, accentuated well by the stereo speakers, HD FaceTime camera, and three-microphone array. To connect to external displays, you can use the multipurpose USB Type-C port.
Part of the build-excellence of this laptop draws from its environment-friendly construction. This machine, built from 100% recycled aluminum, delivers 47% lower carbon emissions than the previous generation. So, when you get home a MacBook Air, you’re investing in an eco-friendly, guilt-free machine eager to see the world.
ASUS ZenBook Flip S Touchscreen Convertible Laptop
Whether you’re a professional, student, or a creative soul, the ASUS ZenBook Flip S turns out to be a competent choice. Weighing only 2.4lbs and measuring 10.9mm (0.42”), it is one of the lightest laptops in the marketplace.
Equipped with a 360-degree hinge that allows you to use it as both a tablet and a laptop, and fitted with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and 512GB of memory, this machine comfortably caters to day-to-day tasks without flinching. The battery backup is adequate at about 11 hours; it also charges up rapidly to 60% in only 49 minutes. This pick will set you back by around $1400.
For all its mobility, ASUS does not compromise with the display and graphics of this laptop. It has an FHD screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. It also supports wide-angle viewing up to 178-degree which is convenient for collaboration and sharing with peers and colleagues. Of course, you can plug in an external display through the USB Type-C port. Additionally, this computer offers full support for an ASUS stylus (with Windows Ink), so taking notes or doodling on the go is super convenient.
The ASUS ZenBook is light enough to be a keen daily companion but powerful enough to fuel everything you need—a winning combination if there ever was one.
ASUS ZenBook S UX391UA-XB74T Ultra-light Laptop Under 3 lbs
Best design: Premium aluminum, < 0.5 inch thickness, above-par cooling
Taking the world of lightweight laptops by storm is the ZenBook by ASUS, combining capability with mobility, device support with beauty, in a masterstroke. This 13.3” laptop starts at $1400. and boasts of a stunning, super-durable, 2.31 lbs design.
The laptop is built with aerospace-grade aluminum, and the metal finish is so sleek that the thickness of the laptop is even less than 0.5 inch. To counter heating – a necessary evil all mobile laptops must guard against — this ZenBook has a polymer fan made of liquid crystal and a heat pipe of a copper-based alloy.
The ASUS ZenBook S UX391UA-XB74T is energized by an eight-generation Intel Core i7-8550U processor. With 16GB RAM, 512GB storage (SSD) and Windows 10 Professional, the ZenBook provides unflinching support even for intensive tasks. Notably, the processor can be boosted up to 4.00GHz — talk about immense potential only getting better. The 50Whr battery lasts up to 9 hours, which should serve you well for the majority of the day. Especially handy is the fast-charge technology of the battery: you can charge up to 60 percent in only 49 minutes. Neat!
Another critical mandate that this ZenBook gets bang-on is ease of use. When you’re lugging along your laptop, aiming to work from even the most stifling airplane seats, you will love the ergonomic keyboard (backlit) that can be tilted as per your comfort. There’s also a fingerprint sensor to give you login with only one touch, using Windows Hello.
|Specs of ASUS ZenBook S UX391UA-XB74T|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8550U (up to 4.0 GHz)|
|Graphics||Integrated Intel’s HD Graphics|
|Display||14” UHD 4K 350nits|
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch Latest Model
Imagine the power of an eighth-gen Intel Core i5 processor (up to 4.5Ghz), up to 32GB RAM, 10-hour battery life, and as much as 2TB of memory space. Now, picture all that in a sleek, lightweight package that weighs only 3lbs and measures 14.9mm (0.58”), and that is the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch for you.
It is a stunning computer with a vivid Retina display and a handy “Touch Bar” that can customize itself according to your needs, responding to movements like taps and flicks. Note that this MacBook Pro comes with a somewhat hefty price tag of under $1800.
Apple has always invested in creating dazzling displays, and this remains unchanged even in this highly portable machine. This laptop supports Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 on a brilliant screen with True Tone technology, 500nits brightness, and 25% more colors than you’d find in sRGB. The result is a neat rendering of colors and details in varied ambient lighting. Supporting the superior display well is a rock-solid auditory system with high-fidelity audio.
Enhancing portability on this lightweight machine is a versatile USB Type-C port that not only supports high-speed data transfer (up to 40Gbps) but also allows you to plug into two 5K displays for larger-than-life presentation and collaboration.
This MacBook offers features that truly belie its feather-light weight, proving to be ideal everyday computing partner. It comfortably fulfills day-to-day tasks as well as grueling endeavors like multimedia editing and streaming.
Acer Swift 5 SF514-52T-50AQ Lightweight Laptop Under 3 Pound
Cheapest pick: under $1000
If you’re on a tight budget but want a sturdy, lightweight laptop, look no further than the Acer Swift 5 SF514-52T-50AQ, weighing only 2.14 lbs. This 14” member of the Acer family is driven by an eighth generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor, running at 3.4 GHz.
It has competent memory and storage configuration for its price range: 8GB LPDDR3 and 256GB SSD. This can more than suffice for everyday needs like taking notes, creating and sharing presentations or browsing pictures and videos. The Windows 10 Home operating system makes sharing convenient and secure.
The multimedia experience on this handy little device is likely to surpass your expectations. The 14” multi-touch widescreen supports a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and complies with In-Plane Switching. This renders accurate and meticulous images, even when viewed from sharp angles.
A slight flip side to the Acer Swift 5 SF514-52T-50AQ is its battery backup: only about 8 hours. However, this is likely to last for the majority of your workday.
An affordable price tag coupled with the quality assurance that comes with Acer makes this a great pick especially for students and young professionals.
|Specs of Acer Swift 5 SF514-52T-50AQ|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-8250U (up to 3.4 GHz)|
|Graphics||Intel HD 620|
|Display||IPS Multi-Touch 14″ Full-HD|
ASUS ZenBook 14 Ultra-Slim Laptop
If an immersive display is your top priority in a lightweight, everyday laptop, the ASUS ZenBook 14 will have you pleased. A good-looking computer with a screen-to-body-ratio of 92% and a full FHD resolution of 1920 x 1080, this laptop offers multimedia experiences that match those delivered by larger, desktop-grade machines.
With a weight of 2.6lbs and a thickness of 0.6”, this is also one of the sleekest ZenBooks in the market that blends ergonomics with high performance. It can be yours at a compelling price under $1200.
Even though the display is the hallmark of this machine, the configuration of the CPU is also topnotch. Inside you will find an Intel Core i7 processor (up to 4.6GHz), 16GB RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. This is adequate to support any computing activities you regularly need as well as some more demanding pursuits like wireless streaming. With the ErgoLift hinge that enhances cooling, the performance remains undisturbed and fluid for long hours. Note that the machine is fitted with ample ports to support on-the-go operation: a USB 3.1 Type-A port, an HDMI, a USB-C 3.1 port, and a microSD card reader, among others.
Get this laptop home if you covet a sturdy (MIL-STD-810G) machine that is both lightweight and high-performing.
Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition Thin & Light Laptop
As the demand for portability mounts, so does the desire to match displays and graphics with those of desktop-grade machines. The Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition is one of the first machines of its kind to promise a 3K touchscreen with a screen-to-body ratio of 91%, NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics, a screen resolution of 3000 x 2000, and a contrast ratio of 1500:1.
If these numbers conjure up the image of a bulky behemoth, you would be making an incorrect assumption. This Huawei laptop weighs only 2.93lbs and has a thickness of 0.57”. Coupled with Dolby ATMOS sound (2nd Gen), this is one of the most portable machines you will find today to offer a multimedia experience that can rival studio-grade quality.
If a brilliant display is a priority for this laptop, an able processing configuration is by no means unimportant. Fueled by an eighth-gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB of memory, and 12-hour battery life, it is a computing partner you can fall back on. To further boost ease of use, this laptop also provides a spill-proof keyboard, a one-touch power button, and a pop-up webcam for additional privacy.
Here’s a smart choice to add to your list to combine style, panache and portability with a powerhouse within.
ASUS ZenBook 13 UX331UN-WS51T Ultra-Slim Laptop
Best graphics: NVIDIA MX150
One of the essential things you need on-the-go is a gaming partner! God knows, work can become grueling and you have to immerse yourself in virtual reality or other A/V material.
This 13.3” full-HD laptop supports NVIDIA Geforce MX150 and an 80 percent screen-to-body ratio. This makes multimedia pursuits like watching videos or playing games highly enjoyable. Bonus: The sound system is Harman Kardon-Certified. It has an inbuilt potential to lower sound distortion and boost volume by up to 3.5XUX461. Talk about commitment to entertainment!
The 2.5 lbs ZenBook is fuelled by an eighth-generation Intel Core i5 processor that can be Turbo-boosted to 3.4 GHz. Add to that 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD and a battery back of 14 hours (!), and you’re ensured efficient response and processing strength even during demanding tasks. Like the ASUS ZenBook S UX391UA-XB74T (#1), this machine allows fast-charge — up to 60 percent in only 49 minutes.
Read full review: ASUS ZenBook 13 UX331UN-WS51T Ultra-Slim Laptop Review
You cannot help being awed by the stylish, sleek design of this laptop. The bezel display is nano-edge, and the frame is more compact than you’d expect in other 13” laptops. It also provides the familiarity of Windows 10, complete with Windows Ink, Cortana and Windows Hello.
|Specs of ASUS ZenBook 13 UX331UN-WS51T|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-8250U (up to 3.4 GHz)|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce MX150 2GB|
LG Gram 13Z980-A.AAS7U1 Thin and Light Laptop
Best battery backup: Up to 18 hours
If that battery backup statistic has you enthralled, prepare to be further delighted by this 13.3” laptop’s spate of exciting features. Priced under $1200, the LG Gram 13Z980-A.AAS7U1 is extraordinarily strong, constructed with premium metal alloy (nano carbon and magnesium) and complying with military-grade durability (MIL-STD-810). The 72Wh battery is structured to meet the MobileMark 2014 Standard, hence the unparalleled juice.
The physical resilience and low weight (2.13 lbs) of the LG Gram make it ideal for outdoorsy pursuits. It has a full High Definition, IPS display; a backlit keyboard; and a multi-touch touchpad to let you work in varying natural conditions. The A/V support of this laptop is commendable. It has an HD webcam and a DTS Headphone:X that enlivens surround sound (11.1-channel).
Thankfully, it ain’t all brawn and no brain. At the heart of the LG Gram is an eight-generation Intel Core i7 processor, supported by 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD, and a multitasking-friendly Windows 10 Home operating system. Of particular note is the USB Type-C port you can avail of with this laptop; the transfer speeds are super-fast.
|Specs of LG Gram 13Z980-A.AAS7U1|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8550U|
|Graphics||Intel UHD 620|
|Display||13.3-inch FHD IPS Touch|
Microsoft Surface Laptop 2
Incredibly easy to transition to full-purpose desktop
Here’s possibly the best option if you seek a lightweight laptop that can swiftly be converted to a full-purpose desktop, with only a docking station and some accessories. The Microsoft Surface laptop 2 can very conveniently be paired with a mouse, keyboard, printer and monitor and voila, what have you!
At under $1300, this 13.5” laptop is somewhat dear, but it has the configuration to justify its keep: an Intel Core i5 processor, 8B RAM, 256GB storage, and over 14.5 hours of battery backup. Since this 2.76-lbs-laptop is designed to run Windows 10 in S mode, you benefit from a secure, smooth performance. The apps are Microsoft-tested to be compatible and running at their optimum.
Talking about viewing experience on the Microsoft Surface, the PixelSense display is pleasant. The keyboard (covered with platinum, burgundy, and cobalt blue fabric) is especially glorious. This laptop is suitable for varied uses, thanks to the Surface Pen that lets you work with fantastic precision. There are as many as 4,096 pressure points on the screen, so you can rest assured your touch will be detected and responded to immediately.
Quite an impressive array of lightweight laptops, eh?
For enthusiasts of swift, on-the-go computing, 2019 is turning out to be a spectacular year. The marketplace is choc-a-bloc with lightweight laptops that can beautifully — and productively —partner with you for personal and professional endeavors.
The Acer Swift 5 SF514-52T-50AQ is a smart choice for students, with a cost-effective price point, stylish design and ample storage. The LG Gram 13Z980-A.AAS7U1 is a well-suited laptop for long, unplugged working hours. If you’re willing to go the extra mile (and spend a few extra bucks) on sheer beauty of display, then the latest MacBook Pro will be a brilliant purchase.
Additionally, its Thunderbolt 3 support and seamless operation across devices make it stand a class apart from many of its contemporaries. The ASUS ZenBook 13 UX331UN-WS51T is also a good pick if graphics quality is high on your priority list.
While choosing a lightweight laptop for your needs, you’d be well-advised to consider not only the price point and the dimensions, but also the capacity of the computer in terms of processing power, storage, security and resilience. When weighing your options, look for a device with superior display and graphics and better device support.
Lightweight laptops are in perfect contrast with the cold, distant computers of yore that were operated only by a select few and designed never to be uprooted. Ultra-portable-books are pulsating, eager to see the world, and built to be more buddy than baggage. Choose one that advocates a lifestyle similar to yours, and who can tell, perhaps the leanness of these mean machines will inspire us all to follow suit.