The Best Lightweight Laptops for Your Next Vacation
Like a lot of things these days, tech brands seem to be in a race to the bottom: who can get the thinnest, lightest, barely-there laptops on the market as quickly as possible.
Even though we all love the idea of unplugging and tuning out on vacation, a genuine digital detox is not always doable. As many as 42 percent of travelers can’t stop checking work emails even when their meticulous out-of-office explicitly states they’re far, far away. And for some of us, being connected anywhere in the world is just part of the job description.
Fortunately, travelers don’t need to worry about lugging heavy, bulky computers in their carry-on bags anymore. All of the ultrabooks on this list are well under an inch thick and weigh less than three pounds.
Of course, tablets are always a smart (and super-portable) option for frequent fliers—but for those of us who just can’t manage without a full-size keyboard, laptops remain king.
We’ve collected our 11 favorite, surprisingly lightweight laptops on the market now. They’re the pinnacle of compact computers, and you won’t feel as though you’re sacrificing anything (like a bad diet) to drop the weight.
The only thing you’ll really need to worry about with one of these slim laptops is leaving them behind, because you certainly won’t notice a difference when it’s tucked away in your bag.
High-tech, light, and in some cases fashion-forward (think: rose gold finishes, two-tone gold with carbon black), these are the best laptops for road warriors.
While the Spectre brags about its .40i inch-thick design and 2.45 pound weight, the laptop isn’t parsimonious on design. Its two-tone, mirrored gold and black finish and curvaceous piston hinges feel upmarket, while Bang & Olufsen speakers deliver on sound.
To buy: amazon.com, $1,425
Apple has been a pioneer in the ultrabook space, and their latest 12-inch MacBook is 2.03 pounds, and thinner than ever: at its thinnest point, only .14 inches high. Unlike many laptops, shoppers also have a breadth of finishes to chose from, including a metallic gray and rosy gold.
To buy: bestbuy.com, from $1,299
Despite its name, the 13-inch MacBook Air isn’t as light as the standard MacBook. At its thinnest point, however, it's only .11 inches thick, making it ever-so-slightly slimmer than its 12-inch Macbook counterpart. But an extra inch of screen space will add a few ounces—.93, to be exact.
To buy: bestbuy.com, from $999
Lenovo Yoga 900-Series 13”
At just shy of 3 pounds, and only .59 inches thick, the Yoga 900 is masterfully thin considering all its features: a 360 degree hinge (allowing it to fold inside out for presentations) and 6 1/2 hours of high definition movie viewing time. Perfect for those trans-Atlantic flights.
To buy: lenovo.com, $1,099
Microsoft Surface 3
The lightest device in the Surface family (only 1.37 pounds) is technically a tablet. But we’ve included it on our list because it functions like a complete desktop, thanks to a colorful keyboard that attaches to the screen and a full suite of Office programs. Best of all, it comes in at an unbeatable price point.
To buy: microsoft.com, $499
Dell XPS 13
Most paper-thin laptops are forced to compromise on power in an effort to slim down specs. But the Dell has an Intel Core i7 processor, as much as 1 terabyte of storage capacity, and a number of ports (USB-C, SD card reader, audio jack, and two USB 3 ports). It weighs in at 2.7 pounds, and is just over a half-inch thick. But the best part is its so-called “infinity-edge” display, which means you waste almost no room on an unattractive bezel.
To buy: bestbuy.com, from $1,422
Two main reasons to love the 13-inch Ideapad 710S? It’s only 2.6 pounds and .55 inches thick—and it costs half as much as comparable competitors. We’ll admit, the keyboard is a little unusual: the right shift key is significantly smaller than the left, meaning there may be a bit of a learning curve when it comes to speed-typing on this notebook.
To buy: lenovo.com, $599
Look too quickly, and the 2.58-pound laptop could be mistaken for the Macbook Pro (prior to the Touch Bar). And in a lot of ways, the .59 to .66-inch-thick tool is comparable. Only it’s lighter. Vaio didn’t compromise on the premium laptop (made from aluminum, carbon, and mica stone), which packs a full day’s worth of work into the battery. Though the keyboard has been knocked for feeling flat and “mushy.”
To buy: amazon.com, $1,779
Acer Swift 7
We know we’re splitting hairs (or literal fractions of inches) but the Acer Swift 7 claims to be the first Windows laptop to fall below the one-centimeter mark. Coming exclusively in matte black aluminum and gold, the 2.48-pound laptop competes directly with the HP Spectre and Macbook.
To buy: amazon.com, $1,050
ASUS Zenbook 3
Inside this ultra-thin (.469 inches) and impossibly light (2.007 pounds) Asus notebook is a super powerful Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB of memory. Another reason to like it? You won’t confuse your Zenbook 3 for half a second when it comes through the security conveyor belt: all of the finishes (including a sophisticated royal blue) have a spun-metal etching with anodized gold edges.
To buy: asus.com, $1,599
Even though this is one of the lightest laptops on the list at 2.16 pounds, the .7 inch-thick PC offers a 15-inch screen, so you can enjoy all of your favorite films on long-haul flights without compromising. Another thing we love? That brushed-gold glow.
To buy: amazon.com, from $970