The 10 Best Travel Laptops

Updated October 18, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Travel Laptops
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 47 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Travelers who need to stay productive while on the go have different priorities for their computing options. Some require something lightweight, while others demand a long battery life, and still others insist on a durable housing to withstand the inevitable turmoil of the journey. The travel laptops on our list all have their strong points, so you can find the perfect one for you. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best travel laptop on Amazon.

10. Acer Switch One 10 Premium

If you're looking for something inexpensive and portable that is capable of providing you with a simple mobile office, the Acer Switch One 10 Premium is just enough machine to fit the bill. It doesn't boast the most RAM or the highest resolution, but it functions well.
  • storage expandable to 64gb
  • up to a 178-degree viewing angle
  • display is only 1280x800
Brand Acer
Model SW1-011
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Dell XPS 13

The ultra-portable Dell XPS 13 has an amazing full-HD Infinity-Edge, borderless display, and a long, 12-hour battery life. The trackpad, however, is very sensitive and can be difficult to get used to, so you may need to carry a mouse.
  • durable all-aluminum body
  • comes with no junkware installed
  • poorly placed camera
Brand Dell
Model XPS13
Weight 5.2 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Asus Chromebook C202SA-YS02

With its military-grade ruggedness, spill-resistant keyboard, and diminutive size and weight, the Asus Chromebook C202SA-YS02 was clearly intended for rough-and-tumble use out on the road, or for use by someone who's exceedingly clumsy.
  • gripping pads on the underside
  • up to 10 hours of battery life
  • won't support linux
Brand Asus
Model C202SA-YS02
Weight 4.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. HP EliteBook Folio G1

While the speed, storage, and display resolution on the HP EliteBook Folio G1 are all in the upper echelon of its category's price range, it's ultimately held back by the fact that, despite its flexibility, it doesn't have a touchscreen.
  • weighs barely over 2 lbs
  • anti-glare coating
  • lots of unused space around screen
Brand HP
Model w0s06ut
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Asus Zenbook UX310UA 13.3-Inch

The Asus Zenbook UX310UA 13.3-Inch may come in a subtle tone of Rubedo Gold, but its primary draws are internal rather than external. It boasts a 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U processor than can boost up to 3.1GHz in certain situations, as well as a 3-cell 48Wh battery.
  • expandable to 16gb of ram
  • anti-glare display
  • low-quality speakers
Brand Asus
Model UX305UA-AS51
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Apple MacBook Air

The compact Apple MacBook Air is designed for travel with a 13.3-inch screen. Its lithium polymer battery lasts up to 12 hours and offers thirty days of standby time. It even has a FaceTime HD camera for calling home while you are on the road.
  • led-backlit widescreen
  • multitouch trackpad
  • does not have retina display
Brand Apple
Weight 6.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. HP Spectre X2

The super-slim HP Spectre X2 features a pop-out support bar that allows you to set the display at nearly any angle depending on the task at hand. Its full HD 1080p WUXGA+ IPS touchscreen can also detach completely from the keyboard to act as a tablet device.
  • 4gb of system memory
  • weighs under three pounds
  • intel mobile cpu
Brand HP
Model P0B89UT#ABA
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro

The Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro features a 1.2GHz Intel Core M-5Y71 processor that allows it to outperform a significant majority of portable convertible options on the market. At just 2.7 lbs., it's also one of the lighter models available.
  • stereo speakers
  • up to 9 hours of battery life
  • qhd plus led display
Brand Lenovo
Model Yoga 3 Pro
Weight 5.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Microsoft Surface Pro 4

The updated Microsoft Surface Pro 4 packs a tremendous amount of quality into a small, lightweight package. It boasts 1TB of storage space as well as an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a battery that offers up to nine hours of video playback.
  • includes a surface pen
  • windows ink preinstalled
  • fast password-free sign-in
Brand Microsoft
Model SU4-00015
Weight 4.1 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Microsoft Surface Book

The Microsoft Surface Book goes from tablet to laptop in a snap with its removable performance base keyboard. It features a 13.5-inch PixelSense touchscreen display that has extremely high contrast and low glare, so you can work all day without straining your eyes.
  • facial recognition login
  • comes with windows 10 pro
  • cortana personal digital assistant
Brand Microsoft
Model 96D-00001
Weight 6.7 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

The Types Of Laptops Most Suited To Travel

Laptops come in many different shapes and sizes, from monstrous, 17-inch models that can fully replicate the desktop experience to tiny, 7-inch models that are essentially useless for productivity. When it comes to travel, three distinct types stand out as the best options: Ultrabooks, Chromebooks, and 2-in-1s.

Manufacturers design Ultrabookswith a focus on power and portability, two of the most essential needs for any traveling professional. Ultrabooks are slim and lightweight, and they have a high degree of processing power and an extremely long battery life. It is not uncommon to find Ultrabooks that allow for upwards of 10 hours of HD movie playback. To achieve such a compact and lightweight form, most manufacturers don't include a CD-ROM drive in their Ultrabooks. In order for a company to market their laptop as an Ultrabook, it must meet a set of stringent specifications set forth by Intel.

Chromebooks share some similarities with Ultrabooks, though the two are vastly different. Unlike Ultrabooks, Chromebooks don't have a high degree of processing power, though they do often share a portable form. Chromebooks are budget-friendly, long-battery laptops that are ideal for web browsing, movie viewing, and basic productivity, such as using a word processor. This makes them great travel laptops for consumers who just want to watch movies and keep abreast of happenings on social media. Another major difference worth noting about Chromebooks is that they use the streamlined Chrome OS. As with Ultrabooks, Chromebooks often sacrifice CD-ROMs for a more compact, easily portable form.

2-in-1s, sometimes referred to as convertibles or hybrids, are probably the most versatile laptops. These bridge the gap between traditional laptops and tablets. 2-in-1s come in two different styles: foldable and detachable. Foldable models have a screen that rotates all the way around until its back touches the back of the keyboard, in which configuration they look very much like tablets, albeit thicker and more cumbersome. Detachable models have a screen that completely detaches from the keyboard, making them practically identical to a tablet when detached. There is some overlap between 2-in-1s and the previous two styles, since 2-in-1s can also fall into the Chromebook or Ultrabook category.

What To Look For In A Travel Laptop

As with any laptop purchase, the right model for one user may not be the right choice for another. Every user will place different demands on their PC, hence they will need to look at different specifications. Despite this, there are two things that are important to every person looking for a travel laptop: battery life and size. These are the two most essential properties to consider when looking at the different models available. Once you have found a few different models that meet your needs for battery life and portability, you can begin to look at other features you may desire.

When it comes to portability, you must balance a compact form with your productivity needs. Carrying around a laptop in your backpack or briefcase with a small 10.1-inch screen sounds great in theory, but such a small screen can hinder productivity. For example, if you need to look at intricate schematics, a small screen can be very problematic. Smaller laptops also have smaller keyboards, which can result in slower typing and more typos. For the average user, a travel laptop with a 12- to 13-inch screen is generally the perfect size. These are large enough to allow for unimpeded productivity, yet small and lightweight enough for easy transport.

Finding a model with the a long battery life is often a balancing act between processing power and price. The more processing power a laptop has, the shorter the battery life will generally be, unless your are willing to pay a lot of money, in which case you can find a powerful laptop with an exceptionally long battery life. The goal is to find a travel laptop with an acceptable amount of processing power and a reasonable battery life. Just remember, most manufacturers' battery life claims are under ideal conditions, such as video playback only with no additional processes running. A laptop with a marketed battery life of 10 hours, will probably get six hours of real-life usage.

Helpful Tips To Extend Your Laptop's Battery Life

Buying a laptop with a long battery life is just the first step. There are many additional settings you can tweak to ensure you are making the most efficient use of the power you have. A laptop's screen is one of its biggest power draws, and keeping your screen set to maximum brightness all of the time is one of the surest ways to quickly drain your laptop's battery. Dimming your screen brightness to match your surroundings has a two-fold benefit. Not only doesn't it significantly increase your battery life, but it can also help reduce eye strain. Setting your PC to automatically turn off the display after a few minutes of inactivity will also help extend your battery life.

Turning off unnecessary hardware and software can result in significant battery life improvements, too. If you aren't currently using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, turn them off. You can do this individually in your computer's settings, or just click the airplane mode button, which will turn off both simultaneously. Closing any unused applications is also helpful. To make your life a little bit easier, adjust your laptop's startup settings so that only necessary applications launch when you turn on your device. This way you won't have to manually close every infrequently used program every time you start your computer.

Another easy tweak to improve your battery life is to adjust your power plan. Laptops generally come with three power plan levels: high performance, recommended, and power saver, but these can be further tweaked for total customization. For example, you can set your laptop to immediately enter battery saver mode once your battery level hits 90 percent, rather than the default setting of 10 or 15 percent. You can also adjust things like the maximum processor state and video playback settings when on battery, all of which can affect how long your laptop's battery lasts.

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Last updated on October 18, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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