Best lightweight laptops

Good Housekeeping

Somewhere between a full-size laptop and a trim little tablet, you'll find this category of powerful, lightweight computers. Just in time for going back to school, we tested eight ultrabooks, including Apple's MacBook Air, to pick the perfect study partners.


Photo by Marko Metzinger/Studio D

Photo by Marko Metzinger/Studio D

Best Overall: Dell XPS 13
$1,000 (starting) to $1,500 (as tested)

PROS: Not only was this stylish, compact Dell ranked highest by testers, but it was also our top lab performer for its long battery life (over 5 hours), high-definition video quality, boot-up and program start-up times, and ergonomically designed keyboard.

CONS: Its lightness makes it prone to tipping off your lap; the Dell has just two USB ports and no SD card slot; and the touchpad occasionally misinterpreted hand gestures.

Sleekest Design : Apple MacBook Air Ultrabook

(Photo courtesy of Apple)

Sleekest Design : Apple MacBook Air Ultrabook
$1,000 (starting) to $1,600 ($1,300 as tested)

PROS: All the allure of Apple's operating system and aesthetic for about the same price as a PC. Our engineers deemed it slimmest overall.

 

Highlights: a smoothly operating trackpad; a backlit keyboard; speedy start-up; impressive battery life (almost 5 hours); great screen quality.

CONS: Has just two USB ports and an SD card slot. Audio was subpar, and video was choppy: For heavy multimedia use, consider the more powerful MacBook Pro.

 

(See also: Best dorm-room appliances)

(Photo courtesy of Lenovo)

(Photo courtesy of Lenovo)

Runner-Up : Lenovo IdeaPad U300s Ultrabook
$1,199 (starting) $1,499 (as tested)

PROS: For a great balance of power and usability, look to the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s. This laptop outdid much of the competition when it came to ease of use, thanks to its comfortable keyboard, slim profile, and helpful manual and tech support. It also boasts quick startup times, good performance, and excellent battery life, all in a slim, sub-3-pound package.

CONS: If you have lots of extras like an external keyboard and mouse, you'll find this ultrabook's connectivity options fairly limited.

(Photo courtesy of Toshiba)

(Photo courtesy of Toshiba)

Most Portable: Toshiba Z835
$849 (as tested) to $1,429

PROS: The thinnest and lightest of the PCs is also among the least expensive. Testers praised the touchpad's rare left and right mouse buttons and the three USB ports, SD card slot, and great video graphics. One of the quickest start-up speeds and an average battery life (3.7 hours) make it a wise buy.

CONS: With a maximum 128GB of memory, it may eventually require an external drive. We didn't love its keyboard design, thin-sounding audio, or slightly flimsy feel.


(Photo courtesy of HP)

(Photo courtesy of HP)

Fantastic Features : HP Envy Spectre Ultrabook
$1,399

PROS:For more taxing tasks like video streaming and photo editing, the capable HP Envy Spectre is a great pick. It was among the most expensive ultrabooks in our test, but this stylish system, boasts excellent graphics and a great performance score, plus a brilliant high-resolution screen.

CONS: The system may be light, but its bulky charger will likely weigh you down. We found the multi-gesture trackpad glitchy in our tests.






More from Good Housekeeping:

70+ Bedroom Decorating Ideas

The Top 5 Haircuts of All Time

10 Ways to Build Your Sexual Confidence

Easy Treatments for Sun Damaged Skin

 

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Kendall Jenner’s See-through Top Leaves Photographers Seeing Stars

      Kendall Jenner dazzled the crowd in a black and white plaid gown as she walked the runway for Givenchy’s fall/winter 2017-2018 collection at Paris Fashion Week on Friday. But it was on the streets of the City of Light on Saturday where the 21-year-old supermodel really left photographers seeing stars.

      People
    • After Being Stared Down by a Couple in Cracker Barrel, This Dad Received a Note About Parenting

      When Kevon Smith Sr. sat down for breakfast at Cracker Barrel with his son Kevon Jr. in Willoughby, OH, he had no idea he was going to make headlines just for being a good dad. Kevon noticed a couple staring and smiling at him and his 3-month-old son, and although he was confused, he just went on with the meal. "I noticed this older couple over in the corner," he said. "They kept smiling at me and I was looking at my son like, 'What is going on?'" But when Kevon left the restaurant, it all made sense, as he saw a note on his car from the couple praising his parenting along with cash to cover his breakfast. "Today your meal is on my wife and me," it read. "Enjoy that baby as long as God intends.

      PopSugar q
    • The Latest: Former CIA chief says Trump should 'be ashamed'

      WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EST):

      Associated Press
    • Ivanka Trump Has a Princess Moment in Carolina Herrera at Inaugural Balls

      For inauguration events, Ivanka Trump wore three Oscar de la Renta ensembles. But for the grand finale, the first daughter switched things up and opted for a piece from Carolina Herrera.

      Yahoo Style
    • Punter Pat McAfee Fired Off A Tweetstorm About The Colts GM Right After He Was Fired

      The Indianapolis Colts fired GM Ryan Grigson on Saturday. It seemed like a move that needed to happen, as Indy’s on-field performance over the last few years has declined while rumblings of a rift between Grigson and Chuck Pagano have been out there for a while. McAfee has been in Indianapolis since 2009, so he’s seen the inner workings of this organization before and during the Grigson years.

      UPROXX
    • Barron Trump plays peekaboo with nephew while his father signs first presidential documents

      President Trump's 10-year-old son, Barron, played peekaboo with his nephew, Theodore, while his father was signing his first official documents as president.

      Yahoo News Video
    • Sick of robocalls? Here's how to stop them on your home phone and smartphone

      Robocalls continue to plague homeowners — especially senior citizens at home all day with a traditional land line — and the volume is worse than ever. American consumers and businesses received an estimated 29.3 billion in unwanted telemarketing calls in 2016, based on the YouMail Robocall Index released this week. Texas received the most statewide robocalls in the U.S. for the seventh consecutive month, with 283.1 million calls received in December, according to the index. The 817 area code ranked 9th in the nation in robocall volume with 22.6 million calls. Dallas and Houston made the Top 10 among cities. At the same time, the number of robocall complaints to the Federal Trade Commission increased

      Miami Herald q
    • The Trump White House Is Focusing on the Real Issues, Like How No One Attended His Inauguration

      The Trump propaganda machine is already lying to the American people. So Donald Trump's Inauguration came and went and no one was that excited about it. Sure, some people did show up, but it was an incredibly disappointment when compared to Barack Obama's 2009 inaugural. But don't take my word for it. Here are some photos via The New York Times. The juxtaposition is pretty stark. I mean there's just no question that Obama's crowd dwarfed Trump's, and the media reported as much. But, I'm sure our next President is too busy worrying about running the most powerful country in the world to focus on such a petty— OF COURSE HE ISN'T. No, on Saturday Donald Trump sent press secretary Sean Spicer out

      GQ q
    • Bella Hadid Wears Totally Sheer Shirt Without a Bra -- See the Daring Pic!

      The 20-year-old model was spotted out in Paris on Friday.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Trump's Press Secretary Falsely Claims: 'Largest Audience Ever to Witness an Inauguration, Period'

      In his first official White House briefing, Sean Spicer blasted journalists for “deliberately false reporting,” and made categorical claims about crowd-size at odds with the available evidence.

      The Atlantic q
    • Here's what Trump's executive order really means for Obamacare

      In one of his first official actions, President Trump signed an executive order late Friday that directed federal agencies to use their authority to relieve individual Americans, businesses, state governments and others from “burdens” placed on them by the Affordable Care Act. The Trump administration and its Republican allies in Congress billed the order as a first step in their push to repeal Obamacare. So, does this mean the new president has scrapped the 2010 healthcare law “on Day One,” as he once promised he would do? Or is this just more talk from the new president? As with everything about Obamacare, it’s complicated. Here’s what Trump’s order did, and what it didn’t do. Has Obamacare

      Los Angeles Times q
    • Julie Bowen Faces Criticism for Joking About Barron Trump During Inauguration

      Julie Bowen has come under fire for her comments about Barron Trump. Julie Bowen made Donald Trump’s inauguration more fun to watch, but not everyone appreciated her witty banter. The Modern Family star, who often details the funny antics of her own three sons, posted a few Instagram photos during the ceremony focusing on Barron Trump, the 10-year-old son of the new president and his wife, Melania.

      Yahoo Celebrity
    • Michelle Obama was given a gift and didn’t know what to do with it and we’re like “girl, same”

      If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a gift, you know it can sometimes be kind of awkward. Don’t get us…

      Hello Giggles
    • DeMarcus Cousins irate after Kings lose to Bulls on phantom foul call

      DeMarcus Cousins was called for a foul with 14.8 seconds to go against the Bulls with the game tied. While it doesn’t look like Cousins touched him, Wade missed the dunk and it’s likely the referee assumed there was contact. Wade made 1-of-2 free throws which ultimately put the Bulls ahead for good.

      SB Nation q
    • The Fried Chicken Everyone Is Talking About In Your State (52 photos)

      With help from our friends at Foursquare , we found the best-rated fried chicken spots across America. Did we get your state right? From Delish

      Delish
    • Trump’s Press Secretary Slams Media Over Inauguration Crowd Size Coverage

      President Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer, making his first statement in the White House briefing room, slammed the news media on Saturday for trying to “lessen the enthusiasm” of Trump’s inauguration through reporting on crowd size and a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. in the Oval Office. In a combative tone, Spicer insisted that... Read more »

      Variety
    • ‘Avengers: Infinity War’: Will Marvel Recast Daredevil?

      'Daredevil' lead Charlie Cox expressed uncertainty surrounding his potential role in the next 'Avengers' movie. Is a recasting on the horizon?

      The Cheat Sheet q
    • Paris Jackson Makes Her Front Row Fashion Debut as Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid Hit the Runway

      Kendall Jenner, Bella and Gigi Hadid and Kaia Gerber all found supermodel stardom after being born to famous parents, and are leading the way on today’s runways and magazine covers. Not long after her red carpet debut at the InStyle Golden Globes after party, Jackson made her FROW cameo wearing an “I Feel Love” Givenchy sweater. At the show, she bonded with fashion icon Carine Roitfeld, and made sure to commemorate the starstruck moment with a selfie.

      People
    • Kellyanne Conway’s Inauguration Style: The Internet Has Strong Feelings

      Kellyanne Conway is certainly enjoying Inauguration Day and is wearing a lot of red, white, and blue for the festivities, presumably to show her patriotism for the United States of America.

      Yahoo Style
    • Flight attendant shouts out all the 'nasty women' headed to the Women's March on Washington

      As hundreds of thousands of women head to Washington, D.C. ahead of Saturday's Women's March, shows of solidarity are making the rounds on the internet. Twitter user @FlorBlake shared a clip from her Spirit Airlines flight to Baltimore, where a flight attendant on board offered a show of solidarity for passengers headed to the march. SEE ALSO: How to get involved with the Women's March on Washington if you're not in D.C. Love a nasty woman flight attendant  Starting our wknd of amazing women because we can't give up! @SpiritAirlines #WomensMarchOnWashington pic.twitter.com/bWj89inKtJ — Flor Blake (@FlorBlake) January 20, 2017 "I just want to know, how many of you are going to the March on Washington?" the flight attendant asked to a show of hands and erupting cheers.  "You guys are going to the Women's March, right? Let's get a round of applause for all the nasty women on board," she said. "Stay safe, stay hydrated, have a good time, watch out for your fellow sisters. Just remember, we don't take no 'ish' from no man." On Thursday, a Southwest Airlines crew made a similar show of support when it turned on pink cabin lights for a plane full of women headed to the march. March organizers expect about 200,000 people to attend the march, while local law enforcement plans for up to 400,000, according to the New York Times . DCist reports that there are 2,066 buses registered to bring marchers to D.C. for Saturday, while 435 buses had permits to park in the city for Friday. Mashable has reached out to Spirit Airlines for comment. BONUS: Michelle Obama tears up during final speech as First Lady

      Mashable