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 excellent options offer the best hardware and software innovations in the smallest package, with design features for every preference.
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.
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.
Coated screen. 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 Macbook, 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.