Best Lightweight Laptops 2023: Jump Menu
00. The list in brief ↴
01. Best overall: Dell XPS 13
02. Best ultra-premium: Apple MacBook Air 15-inch
03. Best affordable: Lenovo IdeaPad 3i
04. Best big screen: LG Gram 16
05. Best premium: Apple MacBook Air M2 (2022)
06. Best for business: HP Elite Dragonfly G3
07. Best affordable 4K: Acer Swift Edge
08. Best for students: Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon
09. Best hybrid design: HP Spectre X360 14
10. Best Chrome OS: Google Pixelbook Go
11. How to choose
12. How we test
In the olden days laptops were heavy, chunky machines that almost looked like they were made out of Lego. Nowadays the best lightweight laptops are all about portability, so you can take these devices wherever you go without feeling weighed down.
All of the entries on this list boast powerful performance, just like the best laptops, but they manage to pack all that hardware into a body that weighs 1.5kg or less. Here, in this carefully curated guide, we've picked out some of the best ultrabooks and ultraportables that offer the best quality and value to those looking for the best lightweight laptop. Your back will thank you for it, especially if you are a commuter.
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 to ensure the right laptop option for all budgets. You can jump between the options in the Quick List section above.
Looking for the best deals? Mark your calendar for Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 October, which is when the best Amazon Prime Day deals will be available – it's now called Prime Big Deal Days, though – with the T3 team monitoring the best buys.
The biggest sale event in the calendar is Black Friday, though, which falls on 24 November this year. For the best Black Friday deals, however, the T3 team will be scouring all the best retailers ahead of the long sale weekend to bring you curated deals of all the hottest discounts, so we'll do the work and save you the hassle!
I'm T3's resident laptop guru. I'm also an avid deals-hunter. And there are plenty of laptop best-buys incoming from the biggest end-of-year sales: Amazon Big Deal Days (AKA Prime Day 2) is on 10 to 11 October; then the best Black Friday deals will appear prior to and including the weekend of 24 November. Myself and the T3 team will be bringing you all the greatest lightweight laptop buys from these shopping extravaganzas!
T3's Top 3
Best lightweight laptop overall
Combining substance and style, the Dell XPS 13 is an all-rounder that you can't really go wrong with. If you're looking for a powerful but lightweight Windows machine, then that's exactly what you'll get. If you can, plump for the more expensive 4K screen and be blown away.
Read more below
Best ultra-premium lightweight laptop
It won't come cheap but this 15-inch variant of the MacBook Air is powered by the mighty M2 chip, delivering plenty of power in pretty much silence. It's not the lightest laptop on this list, granted, but still very much worthy of the 'Air' moniker and a great buy.
Best affordable lightweight laptop
Not the newest machine anymore, that's only helped to make the Ideapad 3i even better value for money. If you're just looking for a conveniently portable laptop for everyday use and aren't expecting to do any editing or gaming, then you've found the answer.
Read more below
The best lightweight laptops in 2023
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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.
Best ultra premium
It's rare that you'll find a 15-inch laptop in this best-of list, because such display sizes typically mean much more weight. This MacBook? It's a lightweight 1.51kgs (okay, forgive us on the 10 grammes going over the threshold) and an absolutely stellar performer with little compromise.
Not convinced about the 15.3-inch display and fancy a 13.6-inch option instead? Then the 2022 MacBook Air, further down this page, will be your perfect partner instead. It's a little cheaper, too, which is a bonus. But when it comes to big-screen dreams, this 15-inch MacBook Air is just perfect.
As said in our review: "The 15-inch MacBook Air's sell is simple: it's a MacBook Air, embodying everything typically slim, light and portable about that, only it's got a bigger screen (and bigger sound as an added bonus). There are no significant compromises in opting for the 15.3-inch screen, except it'll inevitably cost you a little more and add some additional mass. For many that'll make it the big-screen MacBook of your dreams... except now it's a reality."
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 solid build quality.
Best big screen
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.
Best premium laptop
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: "The MacBook Air M2 is 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." A great option if the 15-inch model isn't for you – and a little cheaper too.
Best for business
While the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 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 precisely 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 G3 with a 12th Gen Intel Core i5 or 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 G2, the third generation has kept everything that made the previous 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.
Best affordable 4K
Weighing just 1.2kg. the Swift Edge feels nothing short of futuristic. The large 16-inch 4K display 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.
Inside, there's an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor with integrated graphics and 16GB of RAM. It’s a relatively modest laptop performance-wise, not best suited for demanding tasks such as video editing, but for day-to-day office work on a big screen, there’s scarcely anything better.
In addition to the stylish design, this laptop comes packing a power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner for secure booting, although you won't get some other common security features like a webcam privacy shutter or facial recognition. 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. For more, take a look at the Acer Swift Edge review.
Best for students
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.
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.
Best Chrome OS
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
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 a tiny device that strains your eyes and your posture. 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. Remember of course that Chromebooks run on Chrome OS and not Windows, so bear that in mind.
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 2023.
How we test
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. If it's not light, it's not right for this list.
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 of 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, an exclusive honour
I'm T3's resident laptop guru. Recently I've been diving into the world of the best gaming laptops but I'm always keen to get hands-on with super sleek lightweight machines. If you value performance and portability, this guide will help you know exactly what is the right low-weight laptop for you.