Excellent ultra-thin laptops for working on the go

Your life’s work, in your backpack.

guy working on a laptop
Dependable without being bulky.Bench Accounting via Unsplash

With the rise of freelancing, side hustles, and streaming entertainment, having a good laptop is essential to both work and play. When your smartphone’s screen size and iPad’s app choice just don’t cut it, a zippy laptop with a lot of storage and minimal bulk is ideal. These four excellent options offer the best hardware and software innovations in the smallest package, with design features for every preference.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Is it a tabtop or a laplet?Amazon

At just 1.74 pounds, the 12.3-inch Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is the lightest of our recommendations, yet still offers up to 256GB of storage and 16GB of RAM. It’s basically a hybrid of a tablet and a laptop, offering the best of both worlds depending on how you set it up. Purchase a keyboard and it functions like a laptop, or use the touchscreen to bring up a digital keyboard like your other smart devices. Add a digital pen and the Surface Pro 7 becomes a portable sketching and note-taking device. USB-A and USB-C ports give you more flexibility in choosing accessories, and a 10.5 hour battery life keeps you charged as you meet your deadlines. The keyboard and pen are sold separately.

Asus ZenBook 13

Asus ZenBook 13

Affordable workhorse.Amazon

If you’re looking for a well-priced laptop that can withstand long hours on the job and the daily commute, the Asus ZenBook 13 delivers. The 13-inch design meets military grade standards for durability, yet still weighs just 2.6 pounds. This model contains an 8th generation Intel Core i7-8565u processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, making it highly competitive with other top laptops. An innovative hinge on the screen allows your keyboard to tilt to a more ergonomic position when open, so you are typing at a slight angle. The numeric touchpad makes it a great choice for scientists or mathematicians when data entry is a significant part of assigned tasks.

Apple MacBook Air

Apple MacBook Air

Good to the core.Amazon

Apple devotees looking to decide between a 13-inch MacBook Air and a 13-inch MacBook Pro may be surprised that the Air has advantages over its more expensive counterpart beyond price. The MacBook Air also has a longer battery life (up to 12 hours vs. up to 10 hours) and is about a quarter pound lighter, making it easier to travel with and coffee-shop friendly when seats are plentiful but outlets are not.

For the average person who isn’t testing the limits of their computer’s processing speed or archiving giant image files on their hard drive, the 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and 256GB of storage is sufficient. Both the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro will accommodate an additional 8GB of RAM for a total of 16GB, so you aren’t losing memory capacity by choosing the more affordable option.

Huawei Matebook 13 Signature Edition

Huawei Matebook 13 Signature Edition

Sensitive touchscreen.Amazon

An excellent screen-to-body ratio of 88 percent makes the display on this 13-inch laptop feel more expansive. Approximately the size of an letter-sized sheet of paper (11.26-inches long x 8.31-inches wide x .59-inches high), its weight is comparable to a MacBook Air at about 2.86 pounds, without the higher sticker price. Unlike a previous version of the Matebook, the camera on this model is in a much better position—in the center above the display screen. The touchscreen is sensitive and has a coating to prevent fingerprints, too.