Best lightweight laptops 2022: find the best ultrabook for you

Got questions about the best lightweight laptops that stand out from the crowd? We've got great suggestions...

Dell XPS 13 Plus
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(Image credit: Dell)

There's one primary selling point for the best lightweight laptops, and that's portability. These are devices that you can take on the go with you and not feel weighed down – they pack a powerful computing punch like the best laptops, except in the most thin and svelte form factors.

In this carefully curated and thoroughly researched guide, we've picked out some of the best ultrabooks and ultraportables offer the best quality and value to those looking for the best lightweight laptop.

From Lenovo to Apple to Dell, you're going to find a variety of makes and models covered here, and all the top brands you need to know about. We've also done our best to cover as many different price points as possible here.

What are the best lightweight laptops 2022? The top 3

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The best lightweight laptop for most people is the Dell XPS 13. A reliable brand that always offers power and style. This laptop is a great choice for those who need a lightweight Windows laptop to take with them on the go.

The best premium lightweight laptop has to be the Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022). Apple always delivers premium quality, and this is no different. It's sleek, stylish, powerful, and most importantly, it's portable.

The best affordable lightweight laptop is the Lenovo IdeaPad 3i. It's a bit older, but that's why this less-powerful option is much cheaper than the rest, making it an ideal budget buy. 

Dell XPS 13 2021 lightweight laptop on white background with screen open at a angle of approximately 100 degrees showing a screensaverT3 Best Buy Award badge


(Image credit: Dell)
The best lightweight laptop for most people

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-1185G7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: Up to 16GB
Screen: 13.4-inch Full HD+ LCD (1920 x 1200)
Storage: 512GB
OS: Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Dimensions: 198.70 x 295.70 x 14.80 mm
Weight: 1.17kg

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic looks
+
Powerhouse performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher specs raise price

The Dell XPS 13 series has consistently wowed us here at T3, and the latest version of the laptop continues that trend – it's powerful, supremely well built, and compact, so just about everything you could possibly want in your search for the best lightweight laptop. This will in no way weigh you down.

With 11th-gen Intel processors installed and up to 16GB of RAM on board, this is a portable computer that's going to be able to handle everything that you want to throw at it. From late-night Netflix to early-morning report writing, you'll find the Dell XPS 13 a capable and competent laptop.

It's that 13.4-inch display with the super-thin bezels that really makes the XPS 13 stand out though: if you want to, you can go all the way up to a 4K resolution, but the 1,920 x 1,080 resolution models still look fantastic (4K doesn't make a huge amount of difference on a laptop display this size).

The battery life is a very respectable 10 hours as well, meaning that you can legitimately use it all day for study as well, even if there isn't a power socket nearby. To see how the Dell XPS 13 stacks up against another strong laptop choice, be sure to take a look at our Asus VivoBook S15 vs Dell XPS 13 comparison feature.

Apple MacBook Air M2 2022 reviewT3 Best Buy Award badge

The best laptop for most people is the Apple MacBook Air M2

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)
The best laptop for most people

Specifications

CPU: Apple M2
Graphics: Apple M2
RAM: 16-32GB (unified memory)
Screen: 13.6-inch 2,560 x 1,664 resolution
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
Weight: 1.24kg

Reasons to buy

+
Superb battery life
+
Silent operation thanks to no fans
+
Apple M2 is a real powerhouse when needed

Reasons to avoid

-
The screen has a notch
-
Pricier than previous Air models

Think thin and light laptops have to sacrifice power? Not anymore. Or that big performance means smaller battery life? Nope. Or that getting all of these things in one machine would be expensive? Wrong again. This is the best of all worlds.

It's all thanks to the M2 processor – the second-gen Apple-made silicon for Macs – which is effortlessly powerful. Combined with the speediest storage in the business, this laptop is fast. But it also runs cool enough that it doesn't need any fans at all, so it's silent.

As we said in our review: "It's super powerful, has excellent battery life, and aside from some heat due to no fan cooling and the inclusion of a notch on that new 13.6-inch screen, it's a laptop that's truly hard to fault."

Lenovo Ideapad 3iT3 Approved badge


(Image credit: Lenovo)
The best budget lightweight laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i3-1005G1
RAM: 4GB
Screen: 14-inch, 1920 x 1080p
Storage: 128 GB SSD
Battery: 7.5 hours
OS: Windows 10 S

Reasons to buy

+
Very attractive price point
+
All the features and ports you need
+
Built to go the distance

Reasons to avoid

-
Specs aren't the fastest

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3i isn't going to win any benchmarking races and shouldn't be used for intensive tasks like video editing or gaming, but as light computing Windows laptops go, it is a great all-round choice if you're on a budget. That's its winning feature: the low price. 

T3's Lenovo IdeaPad 3i review says that "despite its low price, it's happy to handle day-to-day tasks such as email, web surfing, YouTube videos, Zoom calls, spreadsheets and word processing."

The screen is a strong medium-size 14-inch panel, which means this system is a portable lightweight laptop that you can take pretty much anywhere – and it's designed to be bumped around a bit, too, with a solid build quality.


Best lightweight laptop 2022: Best of the rest

LG Gram 16 (2022)T3 Approved badge


(Image credit: Future)
A great big-screen laptop

Specifications

CPU: 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1260P
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 16-inch IPS LCD, 2560 x 1600 resolution
Storage: 1TB (varies)
Weight: 1.16kg

Reasons to buy

+
Attractive, lightweight design
+
Decent battery life
+
Powerful internal specs

Reasons to avoid

-
On the expensive side
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No touchscreen display
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Occasionally gets warm 

The LG Gram 16 is one of the best combinations of a large screen and a lightweight chassis – it's almost perfect if that's what you're looking for in a Windows laptop, especially if the MacBook Air M2 doesn't appeal to your operating system wants. 

At close to the four-figure mark it's relatively good value for the specification on offer, too, especially with this much screen real-estate to really help sell this laptop. It's certainly going to be of interest to anyone in the market for a sleek, professional Windows 11 laptop, and it ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to performance, battery life and build quality. 

HP Elite Dragonfly G2 lightweight laptop shown face on a white background with screen open showing Window 10 home screen and Windows 10 wallpaper, which is the colour blueT3 Approved badge


(Image credit: Future)
The best lightweight laptop for business users

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i5 or i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch
Storage: 512GB
Weight: 0.99 kg / 2.18 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent screen 
+
Small, thin and lightweight 
+
Powerful performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Webcam could be better
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No SD card slot 

While the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 is targeted at business users, it really is one of the best lightweight laptops around no matter who you are – it looks fantastic, it has a gorgeous screen, and it's a productivity powerhouse... it's just a joy to use all around. Okay, it's a little on the pricey side, but it's definitely worth it. 

Tipping the scales at less than a kilogram, the laptop is versatile too. The 13.3-inch display can fold right over, so you can use it in tent or tablet mode as well if you like, and it comes with an included stylus if you want something that's more accurate than your finger to operate the touchscreen.

A choice of configuration options are available, and you can pack the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 with an 11th Gen Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 chip. That's a lot of flexibility both in the level of performance that you can expect and in the amount of money you'll have to part with. 

Very similar to its predecessor, the HP Elite Dragonfly, the second generation has kept everything that made the original so great and has made it even better. This series of laptops has consistently been in consideration for T3 awards and it's not difficult to see why.

Surface Laptop 4 lightweight laptop shown in black colorway on white background with screen open at 95 degrees and showing a screensaver image of a desert plain and sand dunes, location unknownT3 Approved badge


(Image credit: Microsoft)
The best lightweight Microsoft laptop

Specifications

CPU: Up to 11th-gen Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe or AMD Radeon
RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB
Screen: 13.5-inch or 15-inch
Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Weight: Up to 1.54 kg (3.4 lbs)

Reasons to buy

+
AMD or Intel powered
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Lots of style in the design
+
Excellent display

Reasons to avoid

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Can get expensive
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Not as light as some others

It's hard to give a general overview of the Surface Laptop 4 from Microsoft, because it's available in multiple configurations and a choice of two screen sizes, but we'll give it a go: this is a stylish, very capable laptop that looks great and that has enough power for all but the most demanding users.

If lightweight computing is important to you then you're probably going to go for the smaller 13.5-inch display option, and what a screen it is – with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a 2,256 x 1,504 pixel resolution, it's perfect for browsing the web and getting some work done. The integrated graphics are good enough for some light gaming too.

With decent battery life to get you through the day, the Surface Laptop 4 is an all rounder that we can recommend to just about anyone, as long as it's in your budget. It's certainly well put together, with an excellent typing and trackpad experience to enhance your input/output operations.

It's not the lightest laptop around but it's certainly not going to weigh you down, and coming from Microsoft you know that it's going to be built to be perfectly in sync with Windows. Microsoft hasn't always got it right with its computers but it definitely has with the Surface Laptop 4.

Acer Swift 7 ultrabook shown in gunmetal colourway on white background with screen open and showing a screensaver of the Earth shown from satellite image, location unknownT3 Approved badge


(Image credit: Acer)

7. Acer Swift 7

An attractive, well-specced lightweight laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-7Y75
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 14-inch Full HD
Storage: 256GB SSD
Weight: 1.18 kg (2.6 pounds)

Reasons to buy

+
Innovative security features
+
Breathtakingly compact design
+
Runs silently

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

There’s a certain magic about this laptop. Weighing just 1.2kg thanks to its fanless design and ultrathin battery, the Swift 7 feels nothing short of futuristic. The 14-inch touch display covered by Corning Gorilla Glass provides great colour density, with a bezel that is almost non-existent. In fact, when the screen is showing off its excellent true blacks, it’s difficult to tell where the display ends and the bezel begins. The Swift 7 only comes in black, too; Henry Ford would be proud.

Inside, there's an Intel i7 processor with integrated graphics and 8GB of RAM, optimised to produce minimum heat so the passive cooling system never gets overwhelmed. It’s a relatively modest laptop performance-wise, not best suited for demanding tasks such as video editing, but for on-the-go office work there’s scarcely anything better. Folded down, it’s just nine millimetres thick.

In addition to the stylish design, this laptop comes packing some nifty security features. The power button doubles as a fingerprint scanner for secure booting, and webcam hacks are a fear of the past thanks to a spring mechanism that conceals the camera within the body of the laptop when not in use. Overall, it's not cheap, but there are few ultralight laptops as elegant as this.

If you need something that's going to attract a lot of envious glances whenever you pull it out, this is definitely worthy of consideration. Acer also makes a smaller Swift 5 model that you can weigh up if you want to go even more compact.

Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon lightweight laptop shown in white colorway, on the screen a video call is shown with four women, one of them wears glasses and all four smileT3 Approved badge


(Image credit: Lenovo)
The best lightweight laptop for students

Specifications

CPU: 11th Generation Intel Core processors
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 8GB / 16GB
Screen: 13.3inch QHD (2560 x 1600)
Storage: 256GB / 512GB SSD
Weight: 0.98kgs

Reasons to buy

+
13.3inch QHD screen 
+
Under a kilo!
+
Decent performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Average battery life
-
No fingerprint sensor 

If you're a student or a business user on a budget, then one of the best lightweight laptops you can buy will be the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon. That said though, it's the sort of laptop that's going to appeal to everyone.

As the name suggests, its chassis is made from high-strength carbon fibre which is durable and light, this laptop weighs less than a kilogram and is about the size of a notepad. It'll be able to withstand knocks and bumps in your bag which is sure to give you peace of mind if you plan to take it out with you a lot. 

Sporting a choice of 11th-gen Intel Core processors and a crisp QHD 13.3inch screen, it'll be great for getting work done wherever you are – be that at home, on the train or in a cafe. The keyboard's low-profile keys are large and firm which make it satisfying to type on as well. 

There is one downside: the battery life. It's not the best you'll get, in fact, it's pretty average but luckily it barely takes anytime at all to recharge. If that's something you can live with, then this ultraportable laptop will be an excellent choice. 

HP Spectre 14 lightweight laptop shown in black and gold colorway with screen open but facing away from the viewer. The screen's orientation is approximately 63.2 degrees due to its positioning we can't see what is on the screen. We can see the HP logo, though, which is emblazoned on the casing and catching the light.T3 Approved badge


(Image credit: HP)
A premium hybrid lightweight laptop

Specifications

Screen: 13.5-inch OLED
CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i7
Graphics : Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB
OS: Windows 10

Reasons to buy

+
360-degree screen rotation
+
Excellent audio system
+
Rapid performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Limited connectivity

As we note in our HP Spectre x360 14 review, this is a super-slim, high-end laptop that can be used in laptop tent and tablet orientation, making it a great choice for those who want a slate as well as a lightweight laptop. This kind of versatility and flexibility isn't all that common in laptops.

The screen isn't the only thing that makes this ultraportable laptop a good choice, though, as it also comes with an 11th-gen Intel Core i7 Tiger Lake CPU, Intel Iris XE GPU and, if specced for it, a 3,000 x 2,000 resolution OLED screen.

This light laptop's audio system is also top draw (for the product category), thanks to a collaboration with audio maestros Bang & Olufsen. From deep and enveloping bass to the crisp clarity of percussive sounds it impresses across the soundscape.

Battery life isn't shabby at all either, coming in at 10 hours and 30 minutes on a single charge, and the system comes running a full fat version of Windows in terms of operating system. The design, with its mixture of sharp angles and clean, straight lines is also very modern.

Pixelbook Go lightweight laptop shown on a white background with screen open at 91.8 degrees. WIndows 10 home screen is shown on the display, with two people shown walking at different angles from a top-down view. One of the people looks to be carrying a bag, and both character's shadows stretch off towards the bottom of the image dramatically.T3 Approved badge

Google's Pixelbook Go is an elite Chromebook.

(Image credit: Google)
One of the best laptops around for Chrome OS fans

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core m3, i5, i7
Graphics: Integrated graphics
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch up to 4K resolution
Storage: 64GB, 128GB or 256GB SSD
Weight: 1.06 kg (2.34 pounds)

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and fast
+
Stylish and sensible design
+
Chrome OS rapidly improving

Reasons to avoid

-
No integrated stylus

When it comes to Chromebooks and Chrome OS, you've got a huge number of models to choose from – and the Google Pixelbook Go is one of the best and the most lightweight. It's stylish, it's capable, and you can customise the specs of the device to meet your exact requirements.

Every Pixelbook Go comes with a 13.3-inch screen: it runs at a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution on the cheaper models but does go up to 4K if you're willing to pay for it. The other internal components can be specced out as required, so it's really up to you how much you spend.

We like the black and pink colour options, we like the grippy rubber on the bottom to keep the laptop in place, and we like the smooth and subtle lines of the design as well. Some people are going to be looking for a larger screen of course, but for portable computing this is more than fine.

You're not going to be embarrassed to pull this Chromebook out at a coffee shop or your next meeting at work. As for Chrome OS, it continues to get better and better. It doesn't slow down, it's easy to use, and the addition of Android apps means that it's now more versatile than ever before.


How to choose the best lightweight laptop for you

It's easy to see the appeal of the best lightweight laptops: you don't want something that's too heavy or too big to carry around comfortably, and yet you don't want to be tapping out emails and browsing the web on tiny device. A super-thin, feather-light ultraportable is the perfect tool for the job.

The emergence of Chromebooks at the budget end of the market means that the world's best thin and ultraportable laptops are being pushed down in price, sometimes to very appealing prices – keep your eyes on the sales that are regularly appearing for the best chance of bagging a bargain.

And while you're doing your shopping, bear in mind that it's not just the weight and specs of these laptops that are important – these super-portables have to look good as well, while you're doing your computing on the move.

With that in mind, all ultraportables listed here in our curated best lightweight laptop guide deliver on the specs front, and score highly in the appearance department too. All-metal constructions, wafer-thin form factors and internals that can rapidly handle demanding tasks are the order of the day.

As you may have noticed, we're not fans of slow, poorly made technology here at T3, so you can be confident that these really are the best lightweight laptops and best compact laptops for speed, style and quality you can get right now in 2022.

How we test lightweight laptops

Obviously, testing lightweight laptops is very similar to most other forms of laptops, however due to their slant toward portability, T3 ensures that travelling with and using a system while on the go is central to each review.

This let's us ascertain key things such as how good is a lightweight laptop's battery, how robust is its chassis and keyboard, and how easy it is to slip into a bag. These are real-world important things that no amount of wizzy specs can compensate for if lacking, as they are fundamental to the lightweight laptop experience.

Those considerations aside, T3 first evaluates lightweight laptops in terms of their overall package, design and build quality. We want to know what the system comes with out of the box, and just how ergonomically and aesthetically pleasing it is. If a system has a poor trackpad or cheap feeling chassis, we'll find out here.

Next we consider the system in terms of specs and hardware, before proceeding to the benchmark the laptop to see what that translates as in terms of performance. We then actually use the lightweight laptop to see how that benchmark performance translates into real world usage.

Finally, we then consider the system's operating system, software and any extra unique features, such as biometric sign-in tech, touchscreen stylus support or built-in webcams and mics. Here we want to ascertain just how easy to use the system is, as well as if anything has been cheaped out on to save money.

The lightweight laptop is then assigned a score, with five stars the best a system can receive and one star the worst. If an ultraportable scores highly it is then considered for inclusion in T3's best lightweight laptops guide.

Deputy Editor for T3.com, Rob has been writing about computing, gaming, mobile, home entertainment technology, toys (specifically Lego and board games), smart home and more for over 15 years. You can find Rob's work in magazines, bookazines and online, as well as on podcasts and videos, too. Outside of his work Rob is passionate about motorbikes, skiing/snowboarding and team sports, with football and cricket two favourites. Feel free to contact him with any related products, events, and announcements.