Searching for the best lightweight laptop? Looking for the ultimate ultrabook? Want all the power you need for work and/or gaming on the go, in a device that won’t tear the seams of your shoulder straps? You’re in the right place. (Here’s a more general roundup of the best laptops, if you want it).
There’s no shortage of super-slim, lightweight notebooks out there – there are plenty in our best premium laptop list, among bigger, heavier machines. But if you’re set on skinny, we’ve rounded up some of the best lightweight laptops in 2023 right here, from Apple’s ever-popular MacBook Air to offerings from Dell, Asus, Microsft and more, to provide an easily digestible list of top-class ultrabooks to suit your needs.
Want something even more portable than an ultrabook? Check out the best tablets.
What’s the best lightweight laptop?
- Best lightweight laptop overall: Dell XPS 13 (check price)
The Dell XPS 13 remains one of the best Windows laptops ever made, thanks to its masterful combination of stunning, compact design, and powerful specs.
- Best lightweight Apple laptop: Apple MacBook Air 2022 (check price)
The lightest, slimmest, most powerful MacBook Air to date, with a scarily powerful M2 processor and the same screen as the premium MacBook Pro. A no-brainer for light-travelling Apple fans.
- Best lightweight laptop for raw power: Asus Zenbook 14X OLED (check price)
From its stunning OLED screen to its rather insane Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, and dedicated Nvidia RTX 3050 mobile GPU, Asus’ pricey stunner is a lightweight do-it-all beast.
- Best budget lightweight laptop: Acer Chromebook Spin 513 (check price)
Cheap, cheerful, and portable, Acer’s Chromebook is the perfect choice for a basic workstation and app machine, at a price that’s a grand cheaper than anything else on our list.
The best lightweight laptop you can buy today:
1. Dell XPS 13
The Dell XPS 13 remains one of the best Windows laptops ever made, thanks to its masterful combination of stunning, compact design, and powerful specs. Rivalling Apple’s best on the aesthetics and build front, it’s a beautiful bit of kit that’s as much a joy to use, as it is handsome.
With a pixel-packed 3840 x 2400 13.4in touchscreen, and weighing in at a mere 1.17kg, it’s one of the lightest ultrabooks on our list, and we still marvel at its sturdy-yet-compact design to this day. Stature aside, it’s no slouch on the specs front either, with this particular model offering a 12th Generation Intel Core i7-1250U processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage.
Intel’s built-in Iris Xe graphics processor should be good enough for some light gaming and editing, though if you want a machine that will churn through demanding AAA titles like Cyberpunk 2077, then you’ll want to look for a machine with a dedicated GPU, like the Asus Zenbook 14X OLED further down our list.
2. Apple MacBook Air (2022)
The 2022 MacBook air is the best lightweight laptop in 2023 for Apple fans. With a speedier, impressively-powerful M2 processor, it’s got more than enough power to smash through intense multitasking and editing workloads with ease. In fact, it’s around 20% faster in editing tasks compared to the M1, and five times faster than the zippiest Intel-based Air — no doubt helped by a 10-core (rather than the older 8-core) GPU.
On the business end, you’re greeted with the same 13.6in liquid retina display found on the MacBook Pro, which is 25% brighter (500nits) than its predecessor. There’s a Full HD webcam for the seemingly endless barrage of online meetings, and everything is crammed into a shell that’s 20% smaller in volume than before. With a weight of around 1.2kg and measuring just 11.3mm-thin, you’re getting a scary amount of power in a sleek, lithe form factor.
While we’ve yet to test it, Apple has also finally added a 15in model to the range – in case you want to lug a larger screen around with you.
3. Asus Zenbook 14X OLED
Asus’ entry is one of the most expensive ones, but boy, are its specs worth it. Where to start? Well, how about a gloriously punchy 14.5in 2.8K120Hz OLED display? With true blacks and mesmerising colours, everything from bland spreadsheets to in-game explosions will be an absolute delight for your retinas. It’s a touchscreen affair too, though we’d be far too frightened of ever sullying its beauty with our digits.
Its power, by the way, is almost laughable, considering its mere 1.56kg weight. Windows 11 and all the apps you’ll eve need are absolutely blitzed through with ease, thanks to Intel’s 13th Gen i9 processor, paid with a desktop-worthy 32GB of DDR5 RAM. And let’s not forget Nvidia’s formidable RTX 3050 mobile graphics card, which unlocks a world of genuine high-end gaming while you’re out and about.
Yes, it’s expensive, but given the power on offer in a desktop-matching package, it’s amazing that it’s as thin and as light as it is. A luxury choice that will serve you well for many years to come.
4. LG gram 17
The LG gram 17 is the largest entrant on our list, thanks to its very generous 2560 x 1600 17in display, and full-sized keyboard. Despite the vast amount of display real estate on offer however, LG’s gram range continues to live up to its lightweight moniker, with this 17in model tipping the scales at a mere 1.28kg.
It’s not the most powerful ultrabook on offer, but it’s more than capable of heavy multitasking and media consumption, thanks to a 12th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. And if you need more graphical grunt to unlock serious gaming powers, you can always connect up an external GPU (eGPU) unit to one of its Thunderbolt 4 ports, if you fancy.
5. Microsoft Surface Laptop 5
Microsoft’s Surface range is an impeccably-built group of tantalisingly-designed laptops, with keyboards decked out in luxurious Alcantara. This particular model definitely fits the lightweight ultrabook bill, thanks to a compact 13.5in screen, and 1.29kg weight.
It’s a capable sliver of a machine too, thanks to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. Thunderbolt 4 for maximum connectivity, combined with an impressive 18-hour battery life, make this a superb choice for Microsoft purists who want a streamlined Windows 11 experience, in hardware crafted by the same company. It’s available in a range of eye-catching hues too, letting you stand out from the bland devices that fill most bags and backpacks.
6. HP Envy x360
It might not feature AMD’s latest generation mobile processor, but make no mistake — the Ryzen 7 CPU under the hood of this HP Envy x360 configuration is still a beast, and can even handle light gaming in addition to your regular workflow.
Paired with a 15.,6in Full HD screen, 16GB of RAM, and B&O-powered sound, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck here. Granted, it’s not the sexiest laptop on our list, nor is it the lightest (weighing a still-respectable 1.86kg). But considering the specs for the price, you’re still getting a very capable machine for work and play, while saving some hard-earned cash in the process. Throw in the fact that its touchscreen folds back for some tablet transformation action, and it’s quite a compelling option.
7. Acer Chromebook Spin 513
Acer’s Chromebook Spin 513 is, comfortably the cheapest ultrabook on our list, with a price tag that’s easily around a grand less than anything else. Naturally, there are some fairly important comprises you’ll need to be aware of, but if you’re after a simple lightweight laptop for some light work and media consumption, it could be the perfect budget ultrabook for your needs.
It’s running Google’s Chrome OS, for a start, which is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c chipset, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. With a 13.3in screen and a weight of just 1.2kg, it’ll slip into any bag with ease, with a respectable 14-hour battery to boot. If you need cheap and cheerful, look no further.