5 fantastic laptops for your summer 2018 travels

The best options for the vacation season

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Summer is fast approaching, and if you're currently in the market for a laptop you're going to be able to take on your travels over July, August, September and beyond, then it needs to offer certain characteristics: portability, lightness, sturdiness and longevity, for example.

With so many laptops available in so many shapes and sizes, we're going to pick out five for you that hit the right balance for travelling – laptops that won't weigh you down but still offer enough performance for you to get stuff done while you're away from home.

We've also supplied links to every one of our detailed and authoritative laptop buying guides, so even if you don't find a machine from our curated selection here that suits you, be sure to check them out for a wide selection of the very best machines money can currently buy.

Microsoft Surface laptop

Microsoft Surface laptop

1. Microsoft Surface laptop

Long-lasting and light

Reasons to buy
+Can be configured with some serious specs+Choice of colours and comfortable to use
Reasons to avoid
-Comes with Windows 10 S Mode by default

If you want power and performance most of all, then the Surface Book 2 might be a better bet, but the standard Surface laptop ticks all the right boxes for hitting the road – portability, flexibility, and a price that isn't going to have you maxing out your credit cards.

It looks stylish too, an important consideration if you're going to be taking this out on the beach or at the airport. The fabric keyboard is comfortable enough to use for long sessions away from a desk too, so it's suitable for on-the-go working in all kinds of different ways.

Primarily though you want portability, and the Surface comes in at reasonable 1.25 kg (2.76 lbs) in its lightest configuration. The 13.5-inch screen won't overwhelm you with its size, but it is pin sharp with a resolution of 2256 x 1504 pixels.

Specs wise, you can give the Surface laptop some serious oomph if you want to (and can afford it) – i5 and i7 processors are available, together with up to 16GB of RAM, and the 14.5 estimated hours of battery life can't hurt either when you might be miles away from the closest power source.

HP Envy x2

HP Envy x2

2. HP Envy x2

Get online (almost) anywhere

Reasons to buy
+Phenomenal battery life and connectivity+Use it as a tablet or a laptop
Reasons to avoid
-Comes with Windows 10 S out of the box

There's so much to like about the HP Envy x2 that it's difficult to know where to start – with the 20-hour-plus battery life? Or the 2-in-1 design that means you can ditch the keyboard and use it as a tablet? Or the svelte and compact design?

Add in the fact that you can get this laptop with 4G LTE connectivity for those times when you don't have Wi-Fi, and very quickly this starts to look like the perfect device for your summer travels (just don't get stung by high data prices if you're venturing abroad).

It's thin, it's solidly designed, and the touchscreen and stylus support mean you can ditch the keyboard if you're not in a position to sit down and open it up as a normal laptop. HP itself is pushing the device as the perfect travel companion, and we can see why.

The only downside is the performance – this runs on the Snapdragon 835 processor found in the top-end phones of 2017, like the Samsung Galaxy S8. It also comes with Windows 10 S on board: it's perfect for light web and office use, but don't buy this if you need to chew through some 4K video editing on the move.

Apple MacBook

Apple MacBook

3. Apple MacBook

The ultimate in portability, Apple style

Reasons to buy
+Fantastically thin and light+Superb software and hardware integration
Reasons to avoid
-Won't have enough grunt for some

Maybe you're not so keen on all that Windows nonsense and would rather buy a laptop made by Apple – you don't have as wide a choice, of course, and for business and pleasure on the go we'd say the MacBook is the model that hits the sweet spot right now.

That's mainly down to the way it balances portability and power better than the dated MacBook Air or the weightier MacBook Pro. It's not as light as the former or as powerful as the latter but it hits the sweet spot for travellers, as long as you can live with that single USB-C port for charging, data transfer and everything else.

Have no doubts about it: this is very, very lightweight in terms of its chassis and design. Measuring 1.31 cm (0.52 inches) at its thickest point, and tipping the scales at 0.92 kg (2.03 pounds) in its lightest configuration, you'll almost forget it's there.

You don't get the ultimate in performance – configurations top out at a 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 – but on balance this is perfect for those summer journeys. Don't forget the slick and stylish macOS software that comes with the laptop too, with just about everything you need to get started.

Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN

Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN

4. Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN

The portable powerhouse

Reasons to buy
+Top-notch Intel and Nvidia chipsets+Ample amounts of battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Shiny looks won't be to everyone's taste

The latest laptop to carry the Asus ZenBook 13 moniker (and there have been a few) is powerful, compact, and the ideal companion as you tour the world – or just head down to the coast for a few days.

Behind the scenes you've got some of the best specs in the business, including the option of 8th-generation, Intel Core i7 processors and up to 8GB of RAM, which should be capable of handling all but the most demanding tasks with aplomb. It's maybe not going to get the highest frame rates on your video games, but it'll do everything else.

The 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution screen looks the part, as to the two options you've got for the finish: royal blue and slate grey. The display is powered with a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX150 chipset, and Asus is promising up to 14 hours of battery life so you don't have to worry about taking it out for the day.

All of this power and style comes packed in a chassis that's just 13.9 mm (0.58 inches) thick at the widest point and tips the scales at a mere 1.12 kg (2.47 pounds). The ZenBook 13 has everything you could need from a laptop, and then some.

Samsung Chromebook Pro

Samsung Chromebook Pro

5. Samsung Chromebook Pro

Chrome OS does more than you think

Reasons to buy
+Lightweight and versatile design+Can keep working while offline
Reasons to avoid
-Can't run advanced desktop apps

At first, a Chromebook might not seem like the ideal travel companion – don't these laptops turn into paperweights without Wi-Fi? Well, first of all, you can't do much on any computer these days without internet access, and second of all, web apps like Gmail and Google Docs are now perfectly happy working offline.

What's more, this laptop runs Android apps (like a lot of Chromebooks these days), giving you more options if you happen to go offline. In other words, you don't have to panic about always having to be in reach of a wireless network.

Connectivity issues aside, you get all the usual benefits of Chrome OS: a lightweight operating system that doesn't slow down and needs no extra security protection, and a very reasonable price even for the best Chromebooks in the business (among which the Samsung Chromebook Pro can definitely include itself).

Powering everything you've got an Intel Core m3 processor and 4GB of RAM, topped off by an attractive 2400 x 1600 pixel, 12.3-inch touchscreen display. Add in the fact that there's stylus support and you can twist the screen around for a functional tablet mode, and it's not hard to see how the Chromebook Pro can excel while on the go.