Best 13 Inch Laptops Of 2020 – Guide for Portable Laptop

Out of all the options, the 13 inch laptop offers optimal portability in a full computer. With that said, we’ve gone through dozens of makes and models to find you the top five best 13 inch laptops currently available on the market.

Picking The Best 13 Inch Laptop

The biggest question to answer before making a buying decision is easily whether you want a hybrid model or a traditional clamshell laptop.

The cost of touch screens are going down while their functionality is constantly improving. If you haven’t tried a 2-in-1 device before, now is a great time to jump in and see what the fuss is about.

After deciding if you need a touch screen, it’s time to consider the main ways you intend to use a portable 13 inch laptop.

Are you looking for a business notebook? A budget Are you looking for a business notebook? A budget option for school? A small laptop for browsing the web at home?

Option for school? A small laptop for browsing the web at home?

When you’ve got your usage and screen functions sorted, there are five main contenders to consider. Each has slightly different configurations and hardware specs, so between the five you should find the perfect 13 inch laptop option!

In A Hurry? Here’s The Winner From Hours Of Research

Editor’s Choice


Samsung Notebook 9 Pen

Why is it better?

In 2018, two 13 inch laptops reign supreme over the competition, and both will meet the needs of different kinds of users.

Do you prefer a 2-in-1 style computer with a touch screen? In that case, Samsung’s Notebook 9 Pro will likely be your top pick.

Don’t care about the touch screen display or having a 360 degree hinge for using a laptop in tablet mode? The Asus ZenBook 13 should instead top your list of options!

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The Lineup At A Glance

The Contenders For Best 13 Inch Laptop

1. Samsung Notebook 9 Pen – 2-in1 Laptop Option


If you are in the market for a 2-in-1 laptop and would also like to use it for art or taking notes, the Samsung Notebook 9 Pen is a great choice. The included pen is just the cherry on top of the good build quality and great specs.

  • Fast processor
  • Good battery life
  • Great for drawing
  • Runs hot
  • No storage drive

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There are a plethora of 2-in-1 options out there, but none that have the ability of the Samsung Notebook 9 Pen. It has all the high end specs you want, and also includes a pen to let your inner artist out.

Intel i7 Processor

The Notebook 9 Pen has a speedy i7 8550U, giving it speed and performance to run any programs you want. This is particularly helpful if you want to take advantage of the art capabilities by running an intensive program such as Photoshop.

Included Pen

The stylus pen that is included with this laptop is great. Has a lovely feel when taking notes and drawing, as good as anything on the market.

Battery Life

For such a powerful machine, the battery life on the Samsung Notebook 9 Pen is surprisingly good. Though, if you are using a drawing or editing program, there will be a decrease in overall charge time.


The one shortcoming of this laptop is the fact that it does get quite warm. This can cause issues such as thermal throttling, making the processor slow down below its rated speed. Prevent this by using a nice cooling pad to keep it under control.

Overall this laptop does everything it says it does, and does them all well. From drawing to web browsing and video watching, you will have no issues with the Samsung Notebook 9 Pen.

Hardware specifications for 2018 Samsung Notebook 9 Pen
ProcessorIntel i7 8550U (1.8 – 4.0 GHz)
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620
Display13.3-inch LED LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery Life9 hours
Weight2.2 lbs

2. Apple Macbook Air – Best Macbook

Apple Macbook Air

The light and portable Macbook Air is a great choice for any student or person that needs to carry it with them all day long. It has one of the most amazing screens of any 13-inch laptop on the market.

  • Beautiful display
  • Great battery life
  • Light and portable
  • Only 8GB of RAM
  • Low storage space

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At this point everyone has either owned, or wants to own a Macbook. If you are in either category, the Macbook Air is worth considering if you like the small 13-inch screen size and portability it offers.

Awesome Display

The display on this laptop is absolutely stunning. The 13.3-inch screen has a pixel resolution of 2560 x 1440, which gives it insane pixel density. This will provide you with a crisp and vibrant viewing experience unrivaled by most other laptops.


Another fantastic thing about the Macbook Air is the lightweight design, making it one of the most portable laptops on this list. If you need the perfect laptop to put in a bag and carry all day, this is it.

Battery Life

The battery life on the Macbook Air is great. It has enough juice to last all day with normal use. If you are a heavy user it may diminish some, but is still really good.

Storage Space

Sadly, this model of the Macbook Air only has 128GB of SSD storage. It is a fast drive, but you will want to invest in either a cloud storage solution or an external drive to expand your space.

Overall, if you are looking for an extremely light and portable Macbook, this is the one for you. It has the power you need and the portability that most desire.

Hardware specifications for Apple Macbook Air
ProcessorIntel i5 8210Y (1.6 – 3.6 GHz)
Storage128GB SSD
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 617
Display13.3-inch LED LCD, 2560 x 1440 pixels resolution
Operating SystemmacOS
Battery Life12 hours
Weight2.75 lbs

3. Dell Inspiron 13 5000 – Best Under $700


Looking for a great Windows-based machine at 13 inches but don’t have a ton of cash to spend? This should be your pick!

  • Great processor for the price
  • Plenty of ports
  • No solid state drive
  • Loud fan

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As with the contender listed above, it’s worth noting that most worthwhile 13 inch laptops are above this price point.

You’ve got to really search hard to find a worthwhile notebook at this size and still stay under $600. You can manage it with this Dell model however, which packs some pretty hefty features into a tiny frame.

By adding on an extra hundred to the price tag from the previous contender, you get drastically increased specs. An 8th gen processor and 8GB of RAM is more than adequate for most users.

This one isn’t lacking in ports either, with 3 USB ports, an HDMI port, and a card reader. Apart from the ports, one feature above all others is cited by buyers as their reason for going with this machine.

The Inspiron is of the few ultrabooks that can be upgraded by the end user. Upgrading with a storage drive is possible, if you are looking to expand the paltry 256GB you get here.

Buyers also frequently mention that the fan is a bit loud, especially when flipped around into tablet mode and the fan is facing towards you.

Hardware specifications for Dell Inspiron 13 5000
ProcessorIntel i5 8250U (1.6 – 3.4 GHz)
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 620
Display13.3-inch IPS LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery Life8 hours
Weight3.56 lbs

4. ASUS ZenBook 13 – Best Value Under $1,000


Want an absolutely top-notch laptop in an extremely thin design? This should be your pick if you don’t need a touch screen display.

  • Dedicated graphics card
  • Very light and slim
  • No touch screen display
  • Not a 2-in-1 model

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In terms of portability and overall specs, Asus has a real winner on its hands here with the ZenBook.

This model is just over two-and-a-half pounds and features a comfortable keyboard and oversized touchpad design. If style is an issue, the ZenBook is available in both gray and an eye-catching brushed gold design

Between the fingerprint reader, 8th gen processor, and dedicated graphics card, there isn’t much this slim machine can’t do.

The graphical power pales in comparison to the Alienware listed below, however. If you want a cutting edge gaming machine, check out that contender instead.

The most frequent complaint from buyers involves a slight change in the keyboard layout. Many users aren’t fans of the power button being positioned above the backspace key, so you will need to get used to that design.

Note that there’s also no touch screen functionality here, which can be a big downside if you use that feature frequently.

If you absolutely need the touch display, the Samsung listed above is available in a 256GB SSD version for under $1,000.

Hardware specifications for ASUS ZenBook 13
Processor8th Gen Intel i5-8250U (1.6 – 3.4GHz)
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce MX150
Display13.3-Inch Anti Glare FHD Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life12 hours
Weight2.6 lbs

5. Alienware 13 R3 – Best Pick For Gaming


Want a portable laptop with a cutting edge graphics card and extremely high resolution display? This should be your choice if you don’t mind taking out a loan!

  • Excellent graphics card
  • Very high end touch display
  • Extremely high price
  • Large screen bezels
  • Heavier model

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Truly powerful 13 inch gaming machines are quite rare, as typically gamers want a bigger viewing area.

If you need to combine power and portability, there’s one clear winner over all others — the Alienware R13. This is a compact 13 inch ultrabook that also happens to be VR ready!

Between the 16GB of RAM and GTX 1060 card, you can run pretty much anything on high settings. The 512GB SSD is a nice balance between speed and storage space, as well.

Probably the biggest draw here though is the high quality OLED touch screen. Simply put, this is one of the highest resolution, best quality displays you can find.

Gaming capabilities aside, there are some downsides to keep in mind. While the screen is amazing, the bezels are quite large, which is the design flaw most frequently mentioned by reviewers.

One of the main reasons to pick a 13 inch laptop is to get a lighter, sleeker model. You lose out on both those features here, as this is more than double the weight of our other contenders.

Don’t have a spare $2,600 lying around? The Asus laptop listed above will more than meet your needs for casual gaming.

Hardware specifications for Alienware 13 R3
ProcessorIntel Core i7-7700HQ (Up to 3.8GHz)
Storage512GB SSD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB)
Display13.3-Inch QHD OLED Touch Screen Display, 2560 x 1440 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life7 hours
Weight5.8 lbs

6. HP Envy 13 – Best 4k Screen


The HP Envy 13 has a fantastic 4k screen that will leave you in awe. It also has the specs to drive the screen, making it a fantastic laptop, and one of the best 13-inch models on the market.

  • Beautiful 4k screen
  • Nvidia dedicated graphics
  • Good battery life
  • Great keyboard
  • Bad speakers

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HP has packed a full 4k resolution into this small 13-inch laptop screen, meaning the pixel density is off the charts. For anyone who is very sensitive to pixels and doesn’t wish to see any of them, this laptop is the one for you.

Key features & details

4k Screen

This screen is absolutely stunning. The colors and clarity makes for a beautiful display, and all the pixels from the 4k Resolution ensure you get the cleanest image possible.


As with most 13-inch laptops, the HP Envy 13 is extremely portable. It’s under 3 pounds, has a nice small form factor, and is ready to be put into a bag or backpack.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The keyboard on the HP Envy 13 is fantastic. Even though it runs from edge to edge with little to no spacing, it feels great to type on. One of the best out there.

Poor Speakers

The speakers on this laptop are not good at all. They are very high pitched and tinny, lacking any sort of bass.

Overall, this laptop is a great choice if you are looking for a small form factor yet powerful computer. We highly recommend it.

Hardware specifications for HP Envy 13
ProcessorIntel i7 8565U (1.8 – 4.6 GHz)
Storage512GB NVMe SSD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce MX250 (2GB)
Display13.3-inch WLED IPS LCD, 3840 x 2160 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery Life12.75 hours
Weight2.82 lbs

7. Huawei Matebook 13 – Best Thin and Light


If you are looking for a super thin and light 13-inch laptop, you won’t find a more stylish one than the Huawei Matebook 13. It’s slim look and fantastic specs make it a great computer no matter what your needs.

  • Extremely portable
  • Nvidia dedicated graphics
  • Great design
  • Good cooling
  • Only 8GB of RAM
  • No SD card slot

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Just because a laptop has a smaller 13-inch display does not always mean they are thin and light. Huawei made sure that their Matebook 13 used up all the space efficiently, making it the most thin and light laptop in this size bracket.

Key features & details

Thin and Light

Coming in at just around a half an inch thick, this laptop is extremely thin. It also weighs less than 3 pounds, so carrying it around for a full day in a bag or backpack is a breeze.

Nvidia Graphics

Somehow Huawei was able to cram a dedicated GPU into this tiny chassis. This is great for those that want to do some casual gaming on the go.

Cooling Design

Most laptops that are thin and lightweight are really bad at cooling their internals. This is not the case with the Matebook 13, it has a custom fan and cooling system that keeps the system cool and stable.


The only real downside to this laptop is the lack of 16GB of RAM. 8GB is fine, but 16GB would have made a huge difference for the overall speed and multi-tasking ability of this laptop.

This laptop is a real beauty. It combines the nice design and fantastic screen with decent specs, making it an easy choice for a thin and light laptop.

Hardware specifications for Huawei Matebook 13
ProcessorIntel i7 8565U (1.8 – 4.6 GHz)
Storage512GB NVMe SSD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce MX150 (2GB)
Display13-inch WLED IPS LCD, 2160 x 1440 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery Life10 hours
Weight2.86 lbs

8. ASUS Chromebook Flip – Best Chromebook


If you are in the market for a chromebook that is in the 13-inch screen size, the ASUS Chromebook Flip is the best there is. A fast Intel processor combined with 4GB of RAM is enough to blaze through all of your Chrome OS apps.

  • All metal construction
  • 2-in-1 design
  • Good battery life
  • Bad trackpad
  • Terrible audio

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While there are cheaper chromebooks on the market, you will be hard pressed to find a more loaded one than the ASUS Chromebook Flip. It has everything you need to enjoy the Chrome OS experience.

Key features & details

Quality Materials

The chassis of the Chromebook Flip is created entirely of metal. While there is plastic around the keyboard and trackpad, it still feels robust when in use.


Buying this computer means you not only get a good laptop, but the ability to flip it into tablet mode as well. Great for watching movies and videos, this is one of the main draws of this computer.

All Day Battery Life

With a battery rated to last 10 hours, this laptop will keep you going all day. Perfect for college students and those that need the longevity.

Trackpad Issues

The trackpad on the ASUS Chromebook Flip is hit-or-miss. It misclicks, has tracking issues at times, just overall is very unreliable.

Trackpad issues aside, this is a great chromebook. If you are looking for a portable, easy to use computer, this one is a great option.

Hardware specifications for ASUS Chromebook Flip
ProcessorIntel Core m3 6Y30 (2.2 GHz)
Storage64GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 515
Display12.5-inch Touchscreen LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery Life10 hours
Weight2.65 lbs

What Specs Should I Look For In A 13 Inch Laptop?

Portable computers at this size are typically referred to as ultrabooks, meaning they are ultralight and ultraportable.

Those are the two main advantages in a 13 inch machine over a standard 15 inch laptop, but they come at a cost.

Manufacturers have to radically change their designs to fit the same amount of parts into a smaller space. That means you end up paying a premium for this size bracket.

If you are going to have to pay more anyway, you want to get the best specs possible. In general, a 13 inch laptop should have a minimum of 8GB of RAM unless you are specifically looking for a cheaper model.

A solid state drive will also be a must-have feature, as their quiet operation and fast speeds work well with the slimmer 13 inch design.

What Features Set Each 13.3 Inch Laptop Option Apart?

By going slimmer and lighter, 13 inch devices can actually offer a few extra features over larger machines. In particular, their ability to function as 2-in-1s is unparalleled.

15 – 17 inch laptops are unwieldy when held like a tablet, but 13 inch designs are perfect for holding in your hand. If you are going to pick a laptop with a touch screen, be on the lookout for a hybrid 2-in-1.

These devices typically have a rotating hinge that lets them be configured in 360 degrees, but a few feature detachable keyboards instead.

Besides the touch screen issue, the number and type of ports will be one of the biggest differentiating factors.

Most 13 inch laptops ditch the optical drive entirely, but some give you more USB or HDMI ports in exchange.

What Operating System Do I Want To Pick?

13 inch machines run the gamut on operating system options, and which OS is right for you depends on your specific usage needs.

If you primarily browse the web, send emails, and play a few freemium games, then a cheap Chromebook with the Chrome OS will work out great.

Chromebooks several limit your options on installing programs, however. If you are used to having a full range of executable programs available, then the tried and true Windows 10 will be your best option.

While it may be the most prevalent OS, Windows isn’t necessarily the best operating system available. The constant updates eat up hard drive space and slow down your system, and Windows isn’t nearly as secure as Mac OS.

If speed and security are your top concerns, don’t discount the MacBook. The Mac OS has all the same types of programs as Windows machines, and even a few high end video editing tools that aren’t available in Windows at all.

Finding The Right 13 Inch Laptop

Portability is key in any computer these days, and that’s exactly what you get with any of our top 5 contenders listed above.

What did you think of our list of the best 13.3 inch laptops, and are you planning on picking up any of our choices? Let us know your perfect laptop specs in the comments below!

Frequently Asked Questions

What resolution is best for a 13-inch screen?

We suggest that you try and get at least a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels on any screen, no matter the size. While on a smaller screen you can go less without seeing as many pixels, 1080p is still what we suggest.

Are the keyboards small on a 13-inch laptop?

No, generally the keyboards are fairly regular sized. They may omit certain buttons in lieu of a function key, but the overall size should feel fine to type on.

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