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8 best lightweight laptops for work and play on-the-go

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Ella Glover
·11 min read
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<p>We tested for durability, design, power, battery life and webcam quality</p> (iStock/TheIndependent )

We tested for durability, design, power, battery life and webcam quality

(iStock/TheIndependent )

Compared to the old desktop you and your siblings would take turns on in the early 2000s, it’s safe to say laptops have come a long way.

What is particularly impressive about modern day computers (and TVs and mobile phones, for that matter) is that they seem to be getting increasingly lighter, thinner and more portable.

These days, there’s little much more fashionable than a slender device, and sleek laptops are all the rage. But, to our credit, it’s about more than just trendiness, lighter laptops are much more practical: whether you’re a commuter, a student or a work-from-homer, it’s likely your device won’t be kept in one place.

From long train journeys to coffee-shop shifts, portability is key. That’s why we wanted to test the best lightweight laptops, which are perfect for people on the go.

While portabilityis important, it’s not the be all and end all. After all, it’s no use if your laptop doesn’t do what it needs to do, or worse, it can’t survive the journey.

Read more:

When testing the best lightweight laptops, we of course took weight into account, and vowed not to dip under the 1.55kg mark. But we also looked at specifications, durability, design, power, battery life and webcam quality (you can thank the pandemic for that).

Since lightweight laptops are designed for those on the go, we also took into account some of the more indulgent features, like touch screens, fingerprint sensors and software like Alexa. We spent roughly two hours on each device, tapping away and reaping the benefits.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism acrossThe Independent.

HP envy laptop

Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64

Storage: 512GB

Processor: Intel Core i7-8565U

Weight: 1.30kg (2.87lbs)

Display: 13.3in

Battery life: Up to 10 hours

Touchscreen: Yes

Weighing in at 1.3kg on the dot, the HP envy screams luxury portability. Its design is impressive: sporting an almost bezel-less screen, it’s smaller than other 13.3in laptops – like Apple’s MacBook Air, for example – but doesn’t disappoint in terms of usability and power. The large and virtually silent keyboard, which stretches from end to end of the laptop’s base, is one of the best we’ve used. Although this leaves little room for a slightly larger trackpad, the touchscreen capabilities mean convenience won’t be an issue.

Despite being slightly thicker than other laptops this size, it still feels durable and looks great. With an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor and a Nvidia geforce MX450 graphics card, it’s undeniable this tiny appliance has enough horsepower. The 720p webcam is fairly good, quality-wise, and is able to be covered with one swipe on the keyboard, while the fingerprint reader for signing on is perfectly placed. Safe to say, this laptop leaves little to be desired.

Buy now £799.99, Hp.com

LG gram ultra-lightweight 16 (8GB)

Operating System: Windows 10 Home

Storage: 512GB

Processor: 11th gen Intel Core

Weight: 1.19kg (2.64lbs)

Display: 16in

Battery life: Up to 18 hours

Touchscreen: No

At 1.19kg, the LG gram 16 holds the Guinness World Record for the lightest 16in laptop. With a 16:10 display though, it’s far from feeble, and is geared towards both productivity and entertainment, particularly because the bezels are extremely thin. The device boasts an incredible 18 hour battery life, eliminating the need to carry a charging cable with you on busy days. The11th Gen Intel coreprocessor provides the power, while the inbuilt Alexa capabilities provide ease of use.

The design is sleek, and the matte black interior is particularly suave, while the numeric keyboard is sublime, having been enlarged just enough to not compromise portability. The trackpad is genuinely huge, in the best way, and a breeze to use. The 720p webcam, which has been made tiny in order to fit on the bezels, is good, but for the price tag, a 1080p webcam would have been appreciated. That being said, this laptop is worth every penny.

Buy now £998.99, Lg.com

Honor magicbook 15 8GB+512GB, space gray

Operating system: Windows 10 Home

Storage: 512GB

Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Processor

Weight: 1.53kg (3.37lbs)

Display: 15.6in

Battery life: Up to 10 hours

Touchscreen: No

With an industrial looking design and an aluminum chassis, this laptop is not only portable but durable, too. Despite being lightweight (1.53kg), the machine packs a powerful punch. The AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor and AMD radeon vega 8 graphics make this laptop extremely versatile: from work to play, it’s just as good for admin and video editing as it is for gaming and watching Netflix. The keyboard is dreamy, the trackpad is comfortable, and the 15.6in bezel-less screen makes for perfect viewing. The webcam however, while good quality, is in a very awkward position: under a secret key on the top row of the keyboard (great if you want to give your colleagues a full view of your chin). Other than that though, this laptop is definitely worth its midrange price point, if not more.

Buy now £669.99, Hihonor.com

HP elite dragonfly convertible 2-in-1 13in laptop

Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64

Storage: 512GB

Processor: Intel Core i7-8565U

Weight: 0.99kg (2.18lbs)

Display: 13.3in

Battery life: Up to 10 hours

Touchscreen: Yes

At less than an inch thick and less than a kilogram in weight, this is one beautiful laptop. With a folding screen, it can also be used as a tablet, making it perfect for those who are on the go. The velvety, “dragonfly blue” chassis takes the meaning of sleek to new levels, while the 13.3in touch screen, with very thin, glossy bezels is a dream to look at. The keyboard is the perfect size, and while the trackpad is a little small, it’s about right for a laptop of this size – the smart Bluetooth stylus absolutely makes up for this anyway, while the silent clicking feature is extremely satisfying.

Sound quality isn’t a problem either, as instead of being tucked underneath, the speakers line the keyboard and project sound upwards. For its size, this is a powerful laptop with a long battery life, perfect for productivity. While it is expensive, the quality genuinely does mirror the price.

Buy now £2569.00, Bt.com

Samsung Galaxy book S 13.3in

Operating system: Windows 10 Home

Storage: 512GB

Processor: Intel Core i5-L16G7

Weight: 0.96kg (2.11lbs)

Display: 13.3in

Battery life: Up to 17 hours

Touchscreen: Yes

At 0.96kg, the Samsung Galaxy book S is the lightest laptop in this round-up. It’s also the thinnest, with a height of 11.8mm at its thickest point. Despite its size, this laptop is made to last, and with the ability to add a sim card and connect to 4G networks, portability is definitely its major selling point. The 720p webcam is potentially the best on this list, with accurate colour and great quality, which is especially impressive considering its size. The 13.3in touch screen is also of great quality, and we could definitely imagine watching Netflix on this on long train journeys.

The keyboard has great travel, is almost silent, and is complemented by a small but comfortable trackpad. Using Intel’s Core i5 processor, this tiny laptop is powerful and boasts a battery life of up to 17 hours. The fingerprint login option is handy – something that is fast becoming a common feature on laptops – and the quick boot-up time is phenomenal. One major downside of this notebook is the lack of ports, including no USB ports – but it does, thankfully, come with an adapter. This laptop could make the perfect companion for someone who travels a lot.

Buy now £849.00, Johnlewis.com

Dynabook portege X30W-J-109

Operating system: Windows 10 pro 64

Storage: 256GB

Processor: 11th generation Intel Core i5-1135G7

Weight: 0.98kg (2.18lbs)

Display: 13.3in

Battery life: Up to 16 hours

Touchscreen: Yes

Weighing just 0.99kg, this 2-in-1 laptop is one of the lightest in the game. With a foldable 13.3in touchscreen and Bluetooth stylus, it would definitely suit on the go professionals looking to get the most out of a small device. Portability is unquestionable, but its chassis does feel a little cheaper than, say, the HP elite dragonfly (although this is somewhat reflected by the price). The webcam is of decent quality and comes with a sliding cover for added privacy.

The “main” camera, which sits above the keyboard to be used in tablet mode, is even better. Being an Intel Evo-certified laptop, long battery life is assured – the portege goes above and beyond the standard nine hour limit and can survive for around 16 hours. The matte black chassis is basic but classic, while the keyboard offers decent travel and is comfortable to use. With thin bezels, especially for a 2-in-1, the display is great quality and offers a lot of space for viewing, making this laptop perfect for productivity.

Buy now £1197.99, Box.co.uk

Dell XPS 13 7390 13.3in laptop

Operating system: Windows 10

Storage: 512GB

Processor: Intel Core i7-8565U

Weight: 1.29kg (2.73lbs)

Display: 13.3 in

Battery life: Up to 9.5 hours

Touchscreen: No

At 1.29kg the Dell XPS 13 is by no means the lightest laptop on this list, but it is definitely the sleekest. Notably, the matte black interior gives an extremely luxury feel, and the super thin bezels make the 13.4in display really stand out, particularly thanks to the bottom bezel being just as thin as the top – something hard to come by with smaller laptops. With up to 10 hours of battery life, and at a meagre 11.6mm thin, this is certainly one of Dell’s most portable laptops. Perhaps its most striking feature, though, is the velvety backlit keyboard, which is virtually silent and offers brilliant travel – a worthy contender for HP’s elite dragonfly’s keyboard (perhaps even better).

The 720p webcam is of good quality, but isn’t the best on this list, due to its colour recognition being slightly off. Still, the latest Intel Core i7 processor makes this laptop powerful enough to handle everything, from vlogs to report writing. The Dell XPS 13 is yet another Evo-certified device, meaning it’s reliable and honest, and although it’s quite expensive for its size, it is durable and long-lasting, so it’s definitely worth the plunge.

Buy now £1059.00, Currys.co.uk

Avita pura 14 R3

Operating system: Windows 10 Home

Storage: 256 GB

Processor: AMD Ryzen 3

Weight: 1.34kg (2.95lbs)

Display: 14 in

Battery life: 8 hours

Touchscreen: No

At 1.34kg, this Avita device does lightweight on a budget – but that doesn’t mean it’s not powerful. Featuring an AMD Ryzen 3 processor, this portable, versatile laptop is perfect for studying, editing, watching and playing. Its 14in screen is a dream to look at, and although its bezels are a little bigger than most on this list, they’re hardly a problem. While not Evo-certified, it still offers a battery life of eight hours, making it perfect for the working day. And while it is less durable than, say, the Honor magicbook, it’s also half its price, much lighter, and comes with decent webcam quality and a free mouse. It has a gloriously silky metallic chassis and the keyboard and trackpad are a breeze to use. This budget-friendly laptop is absolutely perfect for anyone who’s on the go, especially students.

Buy now £399.99, Box.co.uk

The verdict: Lightweight laptops

At under £900, the HP envy laptop is our best buy. Compact yet sturdy, with a keyboard to die for and a good amount of horsepower, this laptop would suit anyone on the go who’s after a long-lasting, trustworthy laptop, from students to professionals. For those on a budget, the Avita pura 14 R3 certainly packs a punch. The Ryzen processor, along with its extremely usable design, makes for the perfect budget-friendly laptop.

We’ve rounded up the best two-in-one laptops that offer all the benefits of a tablet too