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

    • 7-foot-7 'Game of Thrones' actor Neil Fingleton dies at 36

      LONDON (AP) — Neil Fingleton, a 7-foot 7-inch actor who played the giant Mag the Mighty in "Game of Thrones" has died at 36.

      Associated Press
    • Johnny Miller: Rickie Fowler hasn't learned to finish Sundays 'like a true champion'

      Rickie Fowler picked up his fourth career PGA Tour victory on Sunday, but it wasn't as smooth as the four-stroke barrier indicates. He started the day with a four-shot lead and won the Honda Classic by that much, but Fowler, who was 0 for 4 in converting 54-hole leads or co-leads entering Sunday, shot a two-over 37 on the front nine and saw his lead slip to one at times. "He hasn't learned how to do that yet." In his press conference, Fowler was asked specifically about Miller's comments. "Well, I started with a four-shot lead and I still won by four, so I didn't play great," he said. A win's a win." It was Fowler's first win since the 2015 Deutsche Bank Championship.

      Golf
    • Kim suffered painful death within 20 minutes of attack: minister

      Kim Jong-Nam was dead within 20 minutes of being attacked and would have suffered a painful death as his major organs shut down, according to Malaysia's health minister.

      AFP Videos
    • Oscars 2017: Jimmy Kimmel tries - but fails - to bury the hatchet with Matt Damon

      Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon continued their "feud" as the 89th Academy Awards host took aim at the actor in his opening monologue. The host claimed he would "bury the hatchet" with Damon, whose Manchester by the Sea was up for six Oscars, before ripping into the actor. "I would like to bury the hatchet with someone I've had issues with -- Matt Damon.

      The Telegraph
    • Lawmaker: 'I got confirmation' my Russia-Ukraine plan was delivered to White House, despite what Trump lawyer says

      The Ukrainian lawmaker who met with President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and businessman Felix Sater in New York last month to discuss a controversial peace plan for Ukraine "got confirmation" from Sater that his plan was delivered to the White House, he told Business Insider. Andrey Artemenko, a member of Ukrainian parliament and former member of the country's far-right Radical Party, said he met with Cohen and Sater at the Loews Regency New York on January 27 to discuss Artemenko's proposal for solving the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The meeting was organized by Sater, who knew Cohen through his work with the Trump Organization and was introduced to Artemenko by a mutual friend

      Business Insider q
    • Richard Sherman Reveals Message From Tom Brady While Posting Jersey Collection

      Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has a game-worn Tom Brady jersey. And no, it’s not THAT jersey, so feel cross him off the list of suspects. Sherman posted an Instagram picture of his collection of game-worn jerseys exchanged with other NFL players, and included was a home jersey of the New England Patriots quarterback. The sleeve of an Odell Beckham, Jr. jersey obstructs Brady’s full message to Sherman, but from what we can see, it says, “RS – I’M STILL … YOU ARE THE BEST!” Brady is 1-2 in his career against the Seahawks since Sherman was drafted in 2011. Of course, that one victory was in Super Bowl XLIX. Brady and Sherman shook hands after that game. Sherman caused a stir after

      New England Sports Network q
    • This one tweet explains that truly bizarre Oscars Best Picture mixup perfectly

      In what is certainly the weirdest moment in Oscars history, the incorrect Best Picture winner was announced on stage to finish off the 89th Academy Awards. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway first announced La La Land as the big winner of the night. The cast and crew walked onstage and began to make their speeches, only to be stopped halfway through — the correct winner was actually Moonlight. Comedian Jackie Jennings quickly pointed out a perfect explanation for the bizarre mistake. WAIT BUT THIS IS ACTUALLY THE REAL END OF LA LA LAND AND ITS GREAT #Oscars — Jackie Jennings (@ohhijackie) February 27, 2017 La La Land' s depressing dream sequence finale was oddly similar to the ending of the Oscars. The Oscars ended exactly like La La Land did. La La Land is the Oscars. The Oscars are La La Land . SEE ALSO: Your guide to the 2017 Oscars, in highly accurate charts As the dust settles on the weirdest Academy Awards thing of all time, more dazed viewers have begun to realize the connection. Hey "La La Land" remember when you gave us that fake happy ending and then took it awayHow's it feel — Daniel "Kibblesmith" (@kibblesmith) February 27, 2017 This was super meta for La La Land- the movie about following your dreams with the most crushing ending. — Tiffany Mink (@minkus) February 27, 2017 I hope they put that alternate ending on the La La Land blu ray — pat tobin (@tastefactory) February 27, 2017 So that was actually just like La La Land, where they imagine the joy and glory they would have had, only to accept a different ending. — Joshuah Bearman (@joshbearman) February 27, 2017 Remember at the end of La La Land where it shows the happy ending but then it's snatched away? And it's nighttime? And there's MOONLIGHT?! — Corey Vidal (@CoreyVidal) February 27, 2017 Insane the Oscars would have the same dream sequence ending as La La Land. — Peter Sherer (@psherz) February 27, 2017 BONUS: Oscars contender 'La La Land' gets an old school video game treatment

      Mashable
    • Mama June Accused by Fans of Wearing a Fat Suit to Exaggerate Weight Loss on Reality Show

      The 37-year-old reality star's new show, 'Mama June: From Not to Hot,' premiered on Friday night.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Game of Thrones Star Neil Fingleton Dead at 36

      Neil Fingleton, the remarkably tall actor who was best known for portraying Mag the Mighty on HBO's Game of Thrones , died Saturday due to heart failure, TMZ reports. He was 36. The 7-foot-7 British thesp had a brief but still memorable career on the small and big screens, earning his first credit for Read More > Other Links From TVGuide.com Game of Thrones This article, Game of Thrones Star Neil Fingleton Dead at 36, originally appeared on TVGuide.com.

      TV Guide q
    • North Korea executes 5 senior security officials: Seoul

      SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea executed five senior security officials with anti-aircraft guns because they made false reports that “enraged” leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea’s spy agency said Monday. The comments by the National Intelligence Service in a private briefing to lawmakers come as Malaysia investigates the poisoning death of Kim’s estranged elder half brother, Kim Jong Nam. That investigation is still going on, but South Korea says it believes Kim Jong Un ordered the assassination, which took place Feb. 13 at Kuala Lumpur’s airport. The spy agency told lawmakers that five North Korean officials in the department of recently purged state security chief Kim Won Hong were executed by

      New York Post q
    • Stars react to ‘Moonlight,’ ‘La La Land’ Oscars mix-up

      In a shocking upset, Moonlight won best picture at this year’s Academy Awards, but only after an onstage mix-up when La La Land was first declared the winner. The announcement came after the La La Land producers had already taken to the stage and started to give an acceptance speech, and the news that Moonlight was the real winner sent shockwaves throughout the Dolby Theatre — and across Twitter.

      Entertainment Weekly
    • Op-Ed: Smartphones as we know them will be dead in five years

      Don't be surprised if in five years if your smartphones look the same, but all of a sudden you're talking to them a lot more.

      CNBC.com q
    • Matt Damon Fears Oscars Host — and Faux-Nemesis — Jimmy Kimmel: ‘It’s Going to Be Ugly’

      Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel are perhaps the most iconic frenemies in Hollywood history, and now their hilariously bitter rivalry will play out live at the 2017 Academy Awards! The late night star will clearly have the upper hand, given his capacity as the Oscars emcee. On the red carpet immediately prior to the broadcast, Damon admitted that he’s bracing himself for a rough evening at the hands of his (faux) nemesis.

      People
    • Ryan Gosling's Oscars date wasn't Eva Mendes (8 photos)

      When Ryan Gosling showed up at the 2017 Academy Awards — fans around the world were quick to notice the Canadian heartthrob wasn’t with his gorgeous wife, Eva Mendes. Nope. Instead, he was spotted with a beaming blonde in a stunning gold gown. Wondering who his +1 was? Gosling attended the awards show alongside his older sister, Mandi, who is a producer. And turns out, it’s not the first time she’s joined him on the red carpet. Take a look through the gallery to see all the times Ryan’s big sis has joined him on the red carpet, and let us know what you think by tweeting @ YahooStyleCA .

      Yahoo Canada Style
    • Donald Trump has tweeted about the Oscars a lot

      Donald Trump wasn’t watching the Oscars on Sunday night. Instead, the president hosted the Governors’ Dinner at the White House, the first major social gathering of his administration since the inaugural galas.

      Yahoo Movies
    • These fisherman caught a manta ray on camera that’s so big, it’s making us wonder if the Loch Ness Monster might be real

      If you’re not familiar with manta rays, they’re super cool sea creatures who look like a cross between a shark and an…

      Hello Giggles
    • Actor Bill Paxton, known for roles in 'Big Love,' 'Titanic,' dies at 61

      (Reuters) - American actor Bill Paxton, who rose to stardom with roles in Hollywood blockbusters such as "Aliens" and "Titanic," has died at age 61 after complications from surgery, his family said in a statement on Sunday. Paxton, who appeared in dozens of films over some four decades, had recently starred in the HBO television series, "Big Love," about a polygamous Mormon family, and acted alongside Tom Cruise in the film, "Edge of Tomorrow." For his role in "Apollo 13," Paxton won a Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture in 1996. “It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery," a family representative said in the statement.

      Reuters
    • ‘Game of Thrones’ Actor Neil Fingleton Dies at 36

      Neil Fingleton, who played the colossal warrior Mag the Mighty on “Game of Thrones,” died from heart failure on Saturday. He was 36. Fingleton was the U.K.’s tallest man at seven feet, seven inches in height. In addition to “Thrones,” Fingleton appeared in “Doctor Who,” Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and “X-Men: First Class.” His death was announced... Read more »

      Variety
    • 6 charged in death of UConn student run over after party

      Six University of Connecticut students were charged Friday with alcohol-related offenses connected to the death of a student who was run over by a fire department vehicle after leaving a party last fall.

      WPVI – Philadelphia