Best lightweight laptops 2022: top Ultrabooks for college, gaming and more

The best lightweight laptops, Ultrabooks, portable laptops and thin laptops to buy this year

Best lightweight laptops 2022
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(Image credit: xxxx)

With T3's best lightweight laptops of 2022 guide, we've carefully curated our list with the top Ultrabooks that aim to offer the perfect balance of power, performance and portability. From top-of-the-line options from Microsoft, Dell and Acer to budget-friendly machines from Samsung – like the ever popular Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 – our guide is here to help you decide which lightweight laptop is best for you.

Considering every scenario we can, we've looked at the best (and cheapest) lightweight laptops for students as well as the best cheap lightweight laptops for families and work. We've included Windows and Mac laptops, hybrid laptops and Ultrabooks (there's even a Chromebook, although if that's your preference, it's worth checking out our best Chromebooks guide, too).

If you are just looking for a good all-round laptop, or something more specialist, then one of T3's other laptop guides could be better suited to your needs. For example, our best laptops guide is filled with the crème de la crème of portable systems, while our best 2-in-1 laptops guide has machines that can act as both a laptop and a tablet.

The best lightweight laptops and ultrabooks

Dell XPS 13 2020T3 Best Buy Award badge


(Image credit: Future)
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: 1.2 kg

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic looks
+
Powerhouse performance
+
Will last way beyond university

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher specs raise price

"With eye-catching good looks, a gorgeous display and excellent build quality, the Dell XPS 13 is one of the finest ultrabooks on the market today. And addition of a faster processor makes this upgraded version capable of resource-heavy tasks such as Photoshop, video editing, and playing many AAA titles." – T3's Dell XPS 13 review

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 the latest 11th-gen Intel processors installed and up to 16GB of RAM installed, 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 airT3 Award

Mac fans should look no further than the M1 Apple MacBook Air for an ultraportable laptop in 2022.

(Image credit: Future)
The best premium lightweight laptop

Specifications

CPU: Apple M1
Graphics: Apple M1
RAM: 8GB unified memory
Screen: 13.3-inch 2,560 x 1,600 pixel-resolution Retina display
Storage: 256GB SSD
Connectivity: 2 x Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C
Camera: 720p FaceTime camera
Weight: 2.8 pounds
Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches (W x D x H)

Reasons to buy

+
Very fast
+
Superb keyboard
+
Impressive storage
+
Premium design

Reasons to avoid

-
More ports would be nice
-
Webcam still not great

"The MacBook Air (M1) is a small revolution. As much power as you could need in a light and silent design, with giant battery life." – T3's Apple MacBook Air review

The only reason the new M1 MacBook Air isn’t topping our chart is that it’s a little more expensive than the Windows equivalents. That said, Apple's new M1 processor makes it exceptional value for money and an even better buy than the Intel-powered MacBook Air it replaces. If you can afford it, you won’t be disappointed.

The new MacBook Air may look identical to the previous model, but there's a revolution going on inside. Apple has moved to its own processors, and they combine system and graphics memory together: in other laptops the system memory and graphics memory are separate. That delivers very significant speed increases, and it means that the MacBook Air doesn't require you to compromise between portability and power. It delivers both.

The speed of the new M1-powered Macs is truly extraordinary, and in benchmark tests, we’ve seen the new MacBook Air absolutely destroy laptops that cost many times more. That addresses the only major issue we’ve had with the MacBook Air in the past: the Intel-powered ones weren't always brilliant performers, but this Apple-powered one really is. In fact, it’s the number one choice in our best laptops guide.

There is still one little problem, mind you, and that’s the webcam. When you consider the camera technology that Apple puts in every iPhone, the inclusion of a mere 720p FaceTime camera seems like an odd corner to cut. The camera is improved over the previous version – it has better dynamic range, noise reduction and face detection thanks to a new image processor – but it’s still an annoying flaw in what’s otherwise a near-perfect lightweight laptop package. 

That's a minor quibble, though. The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is a game-changer and an absolutely superb lightweight laptop.

Lenovo Ideapad 3iT3 Approved badge

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3i is a great budget lightweight laptop choice.

(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

"This lightweight and stylish-looking Windows laptop is quite the bargain. 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. You will have to compromise, however, on the quality of the screen and audio, which are both below par." – T3's Lenovo IdeaPad 3i review

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.

What really stands out here, and why the 3i ranks so high in our best lightweight laptops list, is the price: this laptop comes in cheaper than almost every other system in this buying guide. As such, if the amount you're spending is important, then it might be worth putting the IdeaPad 3i on your shortlist.

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.

The system comes installed with a copy of Windows 10 in S mode, meaning that the OS is streamlined around light and fast usage. You can obviously switch to full Windows 10 if you desire, but if you're selecting this system you are doing so as you want a machine that can quickly run basic applications and programs, such as browsing the internet, sending emails, streaming the odd bit of Netflix, and playing Candy Crush Saga, which is what Windows 10 S Mode specialises in.

To see how this budget light laptop stacks up against our number one choice, be sure to check out T3's Acer Swift 7 vs Lenovo IdeaPad 3i comparison feature.

lg gram 17 laptop blackT3 Approved badge

The LG Gram 17 weighs in at a feather-light 1.35kg (2.98lbs).

(Image credit: LG)
The best premium Windows 10 lightweight laptop

Specifications

Model: 17z90p
Dimensions: H x W x D = 26.01 x 38.02 x 1.78 cm (14.97 x 10.24 x 0.7 inches)
CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7 (2.8 GHz, Turbo up to 4.7 GHz, L3 Cache 12MB, 28W)
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB LPDDR4X 4266MHz
Screen: 17 inch IPS WQXGA 2560 X 1600
Storage: 256GB SSD
Weight: 2.98 lbs. (1.35kg)

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic 17-inch screen
+
Lightweight, stylish design
+
Plenty of battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a touchscreen

"Who knew you could get a laptop this light and this large? And to top it all, the LG Gram 17 (17z90p) offers high-end performance and a screen to die for. Unless you specifically need a touchscreen, 2-in-1, or a gaming laptop, you won't find finer for this form factor at this price." – T3's LG Gram 17 review

As you can see from our LG Gram 17 review, this is a laptop that does lightweight properly – despite it having a larger-than-average 17-inch screen, the portable computer is the exact opposite of bulky and unwieldy.

In fact the LG Gram 17 tips the scales at a mere 3 pounds and this, along with its lithe dimensions (26.01 x 38.02 x 1.78 cm), make it an ultraportable in every sense of the word.

Definitely worth a place in our list of the best lightweight laptops of 2022 then, and it would earn a high ranking in a list of the most stylish-looking laptops of 2022 as well. LG has done a really nice job here, putting together a laptop that looks great from any angle without being flashy or overstated.

You can get this laptop kitted out with some seriously internal specs as well, further adding to its appeal, though the integrated graphics mean you shouldn't attempt any serious gaming on this machine. For taking a large screen around with you everywhere though, it's perfect.

Throw in an impressive battery life, strong keyboard and small bezels, and you've got an ultraportable star. One of the absolute finest lightweight laptops running Windows 10 on the market today.

Latitude 9410 lightweight laptop shown in tend orientation, approximately 65 degrees, in silver colorway and showing on its screen a screensaver of waves in a kind of violet, cyan and purple layering effectT3 Approved badge

The best 2-in-1 lightweight laptop for business users? That's the Latitude 9410 2-in-1 laptop.

(Image credit: Dell)
The best 2-in-1 lightweight laptop for business users

Specifications

Weight: 1.36 kg
Screen: 14-inch, FHD, 1920 x 1080, 360-degree hinge
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5-i7
GPU: Intel UHD 620
RAM: 8-16GB
Storage: M.2 256-512GB PCIe NVM SSD
OS: Windows 10

Reasons to buy

+
Superb battery life
+
2-in-1 flexibility
+
Automatic log-in
+
Great audio

Reasons to avoid

-
No 4K support
-
Lacks number pad

"This premium business laptop from Dell offers good looks, fast performance, hybrid flexibility, and world-beating battery life, all within a lightweight body that's perfectly portable. While it's pretty expensive, and by no means perfect, this is a great choice for business people of all kinds, particularly those who travel." – T3's Dell Latitude 9410 2-in-1 review

As we note in our Latitude 9410 2-in-1 review, this premium laptop from Dell delivers good looks, fast performance and, unlike many systems in this best lightweight laptop list, 2-in-1 flexibility.

The laptop also is very thin,  tapering from 8.5mm to 15mm in height, and weighs in at just 1.36kg, making it very portable. Jumping between meetings and commuting with this laptop is easy.

The rotating screen is obviously a star attraction here, and it can rotate a full 360 degrees, meaning you can use this system in laptop orientation, slate orientation, and propped up as a mobile screen in a V shape.

The system comes with strong internals, too, with 10th Generation Intel Core processors joined with 16GB of RAM and M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD storage. There's lots of port choices as well, including 2x Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.1 with power share feature.

Throw in a good-sized track pad, a battery life that just runs and runs (up to 27 hours 23 minutes between charges), and it's easy to see why this laptop is so ideal for business users.

samsung galaxy book pro 360 laptop blackT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Samsung)
The best 2-in-1 lightweight laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB
Screen : 15.6-inch
Storage: 512GB
OS: Windows 10

Reasons to buy

+
S Pen included in the box
+
Incredibly slim and lightweight
+
Works seamlessly with other Galaxy devices

Reasons to avoid

-
16:9 aspect ratio won’t suit everyone
-
No facial recognition
-
Lacks a 4K option

"The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 is a productivity powerhouse. It has a long-lasting battery, strong performance and the included S Pen works perfectly with its responsive touchscreen. Then, when the workday is over, its large wide display is perfect for streaming video content or browsing the web." – T3's Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 review

Weighing just under 1.4kg, the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 isn’t the lightest laptop on this list. But considering its 15.6inch screen, you don’t really expect it to be. You can take it on the train, to cafes and from room to room without it being a hassle, and while still having the luxury of a big touchscreen display.

Where this 2-in-1 laptop thrives is in productivity. It happily coped with heavy workloads, and then some. Included in the box is the S pen stylus so you’ll be able to use it for all kinds of work from creative tasks to data entry. It also had a long battery life, which will please anyone who tends to work on the go a lot. If it does run out, the charger is as small as a phone charger so won’t take up loads of bag space. 

Because it’s so thin, you don’t get loads of ports so you’ll have to make do with a few USB-Cs instead. That won’t be too much of a problem for most, though. 

Overall, this 2-in-1 laptop is pretty impressive, and it really looks the part. The large, vivid display won’t just be good for getting work done but when you want to relax in the evening with a Netflix show it’ll happily cater to that as well. 

hp elite dragonfly laptop blackT3 Approved badge

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

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels)
Storage: 512GB
Weight: 0.99 kg / 2.18 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent looks
+
Superb screen
+
Long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Average audio
-
Trackpad could be better

"The HP Elite Dragonfly isn't for everyone, but it looks great and ticks a lot of boxes for power users on the go." – T3's HP Elite Dragonfly review

While the HP Elite Dragonfly 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, the battery life impresses... it's just a joy to use all around, really. Okay, it's a little on the pricey side, but we think it's worth it.

Tipping the scales at just under 2.2 pounds, 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 with an Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 chip, as well as up to 16GB of RAM. There are multiple options when it comes to the display as well, all the way up to 4K (we've listed the top-end spec in the box above).

If you like the sound of this system you should consider it, as it is so highly rated that it has just won the Best Laptop award at the T3 Awards 2020.

samsung galaxy book s laptop grayT3 Award

(Image credit: Samsung)
One of the best laptops for users on the go

Specifications

CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx
Graphics: Integrated
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Storage: 256 GB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Great design and build
+
4G LTE connectivity everywhere
+
Amazing battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Low-powered processor
-
Trackpad isn't great

"The Samsung Galaxy Book S is one of those laptops that's really good for some people and some use cases, while also having weaknesses that are going to put certain people off. If you need what this laptop can offer, then it's worth its admittedly high asking price." – T3's Samsung Galaxy Book S review

We've listed the spec for the Snapdragon-based Samsung Galaxy Book S above, but there's also an Intel-based version that's arguably even better – it offers better compatibility with older Windows applications, and it's almost as good in terms of battery life. Whichever version you pick though, you're guaranteed a very special lightweight laptop with the Samsung Galaxy Book S.

From the light, compact design, to the bright and sharp screen, to the textured finish, this is a laptop with a lot going for it. The screen isn't 4K in its resolution, but it doesn't matter very much at all at this size, and as you would expect from Samsung the display looks top-notch.

Battery life is very good, and performance is excellent as long as you're not going to try to do any heavy gaming or demanding video editing on this device. Our favorite part of the Samsung Galaxy Book S experience is just how compact and aesthetically appealing it is though – the perfect laptop to have in your bag while you're on the go and to pull out at a moment's notice.

hp spectre x360 14 laptop grayT3 Award

(Image credit: HP)
A premium hybrid lightweight laptop

Specifications

Screen size: 13.5-inch OLED
CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i7
GPU: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB
Dimensions: 11.8 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 3 pounds
OS: Windows 10

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited connectivity
-
3:2 ratio screen

"While expensive, the HP Spectre x360 14 2-in-1 Windows laptop's combination of gorgeous screen, lovely keyboard and fantastic audio offers very good value. Just be aware of the 3:2 screen ratio, and limited number of ports." – T3's HP Spectre X360 14 review

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.

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

lenovo ideapad slim 7 laptop blackT3 Award

(Image credit: Lenovo)
Power and performance in a compact form

Specifications

CPU: Up to Intel Core i7 / AMD Ryzen 7
Graphics: Up to Nvidia GeForce GTX
RAM: Up to 16GB
Screen: 14-inch or 15.6-inch, up to 3840 x 2160 pixels
Storage: Up to 1TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Polished and stylish design
+
Impressive battery life
+
Wide choice of spec options

Reasons to avoid

-
No fingerprint scanner
-
16:9 display aspect ratio

"The Yoga Slim 7 is another excellent laptop from Lenovo that's well worth considering as your next upgrade: it brings with it really good battery life, decent performance, and an overall design that we find hard to fault apart from one or two minor annoyances." – T3's Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 review

The Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 strikes an excellent balance between power and portability, giving you a laptop that's capable of taking on pretty much every task you give it (including some light gaming and video editing) while looking the exact opposite of bulky and heavy. It's portable power taken to the extreme.

You'll be impressed with the stylish aesthetics of the laptop, first of all. Both the slate gray and orchid red shades look great, and the gray version has the option of a fabric topping instead of aluminum if you prefer. You even get a choice of screens: a 14-inch or 15.6-inch display panel.

Those customization options continue under the hood as well, with a selection of top-tier AMD or Intel processors available, and plenty of variations when it comes to the RAM, SSD storage and GPU that can be fitted. If you need more power and have the budget for it, then the Yoga Slim 7 might be the laptop for you.

There's a good choice of connections and ports onboard the laptop too (we're sad about the lack of a fingerprint sensor though), and the battery life is up there with the best too: you'll be able to spend the whole of the working day away from a power source, and then some, with the Yoga Slim 7.

acer swift 5 laptop grayT3 Award

(Image credit: Acer)
The Acer Swift 5 continues to impress

Specifications

CPU: 10th-gen Intel Core i5
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 256GB
Graphics: Integrated
Weight: 0.99 kg (2.18 pounds)

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and sleek
+
Sharp and vibrant screen
+
Integrated fingerprint reader

Reasons to avoid

-
Busy keyboard text
-
Average battery life

"With plenty in the positives column and hardly any negatives to talk about, the Acer Swift 5 is an appealing laptop choice for those after a good balance of price and performance." – T3's Acer Swift 5 review

The Acer Swift 5 is another excellent entry from the Acer Swift line (after the awesome Swift 7 at the top of our guide): with a 14-inch, Full HD screen, some pleasing aesthetics, and a reasonable amount of power under the hood, it's likely to be on the shortlists of a lot of people shopping for a laptop for less than $1,000.

It's fantastically portable too, which is why it makes this list of the best lightweight laptops. Weighing in at just 2.3 pounds, you'll barely notice that it's there, and you can easily carry it in one hand if you need to. It'll squeeze into bags of most sizes without weighing you down.

With a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, this machine is respectable as far as specs go, but it's really the size, the weight and the design that you're going to be buying this one for. If you're after a mid-range laptop that balances price and performance well, then give the Acer Swift 5 a look.

microsoft surface book 2 laptop grayT3 Approved badge


The best lightweight laptop if you need premium hybrid functionality

Specifications

CPU: 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8650U (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 4.2GHz with Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620; Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5 VRAM)
RAM: 16GB LPDDR3 (1866Mhz)
Screen: 15-inch, 3,240 x 2,160 (260 ppi) PixelSense display (3:2 aspect ratio; 1600:1 contrast ratio)
Storage: 512 GB PCIe 3.0 SSD
Weight: 3.64 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
All-around powerhouse
+
Top rate battery life
+
Excellent screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Surface Pen is not included
-
Drab grey finish
-
Speakers are so-so

"The Surface Book 2 is, by a long way, the most powerful and capable 2-in-1 laptop in the world right now, offering crazy levels of performance in all applications. Make no mistake, though, to enjoy its power you need to have a seriously large budget to play with." – T3's Microsoft Surface Book 2 review

If you want absolutely massive ultraportable power then you should definitely consider the Microsoft Surface Book 2. It remains one of the best lightweight laptops money can buy in 2022.

The second edition of this ultra-premium (and ultra-expensive) 2-in-1 laptop-tablet is a marked improvement in every respect, with a suite of powerful internal hardware components including an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, a stunning 15-inch 3,240 x 2,160 resolution display, and excellent battery life combining to deliver a superb all-around computing package.

You don't get a stylus included to fully make the most of the device in tablet mode, but if you can stretch to the Surface Book 2's very high price point, then you can probably spend a little extra to complete the dream setup.

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
+
Lots of style in the design
+
Excellent display

"The Surface Laptop 4 is another superb laptop from Microsoft. The drawbacks are very minor, and the list of plus points is a lengthy one. Give this a serious look if you want a stylish Windows laptop that can go just about anywhere and do almost anything." – T3's Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review

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.

razer blade stealth laptop blackT3 Approved badge

The Razer Blade Stealth packs a gaming punch while staying light and svelte.

The best lightweight laptop for gamers

Specifications

CPU: 8th-gen 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8565U (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 4.6GHz with Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620; Nvidia GeForce MX 150 (4GB GDDR5 VRAM)
RAM: 8GB-16GB LPDDR3 (2,133Mhz)
Screen: 13.3-inch up to 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution
Storage: up to 512GB PCIe M2
Weight: 2.82 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Packed with some high-end components
+
A wealth of customization options

Reasons to avoid

-
Gets hot quickly
-
On the expensive side
-
Battery life isn't great

"The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is going to fall between two stools for some people, but for others it could just be the perfect blend of portability, creativity and gaming. Make sure you check out the various configuration options before parting with your cash." – T3's Razer Blade Stealth 13 review

If you're happy to sacrifice a little bit of thinness and lightness for some extra gaming power, then the Razer Blade Stealth might well be the best lightweight laptop for you in 2022. With an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, the option of a 4K screen and an Nvidia GeForce MX150 under the hood, it's going to offer decent performance on even the most demanding games.

This being a Razer laptop, it comes packed with extra touches for gamers (like customized keyboard lighting and immersive audio) and offers a build quality that puts a lot of laptop makers to shame. You'll have to pay a premium for this, but it's worth it.

google pixelbook go chromebook blackT3 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: 2.34 pounds

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons to avoid

-
16:9 display feels squashed
-
No integrated stylus
-
Top spec costs a lot of money

"The Google Pixelbook Go isn't perfect – and it's possibly a little overpriced – but it's one of the best Chromebooks in terms of how much fun it is to use." – T3's Google Pixelbook Go review

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

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.

lenovo thinkpad x1 nano laptop blackT3 Award

(Image credit: Lenovo)
Power in a lightweight body

Specifications

CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i5 to i7
Graphics: Intel Iris X
RAM: up to 16GB
Screen: 13.0" 2K (2160 x 1350) IPS, touchscreen
Storage: Up to 1 TB PCIe SSD
Weight: 1.99 lb (907g) to 2.21 lb (1001g)

Reasons to buy

+
Thin, light design that still feels robust
+
Excellent performance
+
Plenty of memory and storage space

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited ports

"The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano has it all: excellent battery life, performance, all in a compact package." – T3's Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review

The lightest of the ThinkPad X1 range, the Nano weighs just under 2lbs for the basic model, or 2.21lbs for the top spec. Using Intel's 11th gen i5 and i7 processors and Iris Xe graphics, its a real powerhouse. And thanks to the EVO platform, it delivers great power management, for up to 13 hours battery. 

While not designed for gaming, it's the perfect machine for work tasks during the day and entertainment in the evening. 

MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021 best lightweight laptopsT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Apple)
The best premium Mac lightweight laptop

Specifications

CPU: Apple M1 Pro or Apple M1 Max
Graphics: Apple M1 Pro or Apple M1 Max
RAM: Up to 64GB
Screen: 14.2-inch (3024 x 1964 pixels) or 16-inch (3456 x 2234 pixels)
Storage: Up to 8GB
Connectivity: SDXC card slot, HDMI port, 3.5 mm headphone jack, three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports
Camera: 1080p FaceTime camera

Reasons to buy

+
Top-tier performance
+
Quality design
+
Excellent display

Reasons to avoid

-
We're not sure about the display notch

"The MacBook Pro (2021) 14-inch and 16-inch models offer a screen to die for, class-leading power, and long battery life. The 16-inch is a big beast that's probably overkill for anyone other than genuine creative pros, but the 14-inch is a compact rocket that's the ultimate do-anything, go anywhere laptop of today." – T3's Apple MacBook Pro review

The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops from Apple might not be quite the most lightweight and compact around, but they're difficult to beat in terms of packing so much performance and power into chassis designs that are so thin and elegant. These laptops really are testament to the sort of engineering talent that's working at Apple at the moment.

You can configure these 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros with M1 Pro or M1 Max chipsets, and they'll wow you with their performance – while still remaining quiet and cool in operation. When it comes to these laptops, you can believe the hype, because they really do deserve all the plaudits that they've been attracting.

The usual high build quality that we've come to expect from Apple is in evidence here again, and in going for a slightly retro look with the design, these laptops are actually better looking than ever – we're not convinced by the display notch, but the removal of the Touch Bar is a good idea, and we're glad to see that the webcam has been upgraded to 1080p too.

Asus Vivobook Pro 14X lightweight laptop on white background with screen open at 90 degrees and showing a Asus-branded wallpaper of various colours including yellow, blue, red, violet and cyan

(Image credit: Asus)
The best mid-range laptop for content creators

Specifications

CPU: Ryzen 9 5900HX / 5800H / 5600H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
RAM: 8GB / 16GB / 32GB
Screen: 14inch 2880 x 1800 or 3840 x 2400
Storage: 256GB / 512GB / 1TB SSD
OS: Windows 10 Pro
Dimensions: 317.4 x 228.5 x 17.9mm
Weight: 1.45kg

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful screen 
+
Sensitive trackpad 
+
Special functionality for creative software

Reasons to avoid

-
Other laptops are faster

"If you're a creative student, or content creator at the start of their career, this mid-priced laptop is an excellent choice. Designed with creatives in mind, it has some unique functionality to help you use software such as Photoshop, a beautiful 2.8K-resolution screen, and decent (if not earth-shattering) levels of performance, connectivity and battery life. Be aware, though, that there's no touchscreen or pen input." – T3's Asus Vivobook Pro 14X OLED review

Slim (at 1.79cm) and light (at 1.45kg), this mid-priced laptop has a specific target audience in mind: creatives using software such as Photoshop, After Effects and Premiere Pro. So it comes with both a sensitive tracking pad and a virtual dial that allows you to make fine control edits of your work. 

It also boasts a beautiful 14-inch OLED screen, with Pantone-certified colours, a 90Hz refresh rate and a high resolution of either 2880 x 1800 or 3840 x 2400, depending on how much you spend.

These premium elements raise the laptop above its price. That said, performance, connectivity and battery life, are more in keeping with a mid-range machine. There's no touchscreen or pen input either. In short, a good choice for creative students and hobbyists, but seasoned pros will probably prefer something more powerful.

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

Reasons to buy

+
13.3inch QHD screen 
+
Facial recognition
+
Decent performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Average battery life
-
No fingerprint sensor 

"An ultraportable mid-range laptop that looks like it should cost a lot more than it does, the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Carbon is about the size of a notepad and it’s seriously lightweight. The battery life is average and while it doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles you get from a more pricey PC, for most everyday tasks it goes above and beyond what you'd expect at this price." – T3's Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon review

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.

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 the 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. 

Which is the best lightweight laptop to buy today?

The Dell XPS 13 takes the crown in our guide, offering an almost perfect balance of power, performance options and portability for the price. Available in multiple configurations that are both affordable and properly powered, Dell's XPS line is a great starting point for anyone looking to find the best lightweight laptop.

From the polished Dell XPS 13 to the seriously professional HP Elite Dragonfly and Apple's marvelous MacBook Air (M1, 2020), the sheer choice of models among the best lightweight laptops in the UK market is really impressive right now, and if you do your homework and shop smart then you can bag a bargain.

Those at school or university will be best served with our best student laptops roundup, while gamers will love the pixel-pushing powerhouses on offer in our best gaming laptops guide.

How do I choose the best lightweight laptop?

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, but you also don't want to be tapping out emails and browsing the web on a 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 for 2022 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 in 2022.

How are lightweight laptops tested?

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

This lets 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 whizzy 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.

With contributions from