Best 13 Inch Laptops – 2020 Reviews

Jeremy Miller Updated on August 5, 2020
Best_13_Inch_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 best 13 inch laptops in 2020 currently available on the market.

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!

Recommendations for September 2020 

Top 10 Best 13 Inch Laptops In 2020

Samsung Notebook 9 Pro – Large SSD Storage

Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
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,great specs, as well as a large SSD storage of 2 TB.

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.

The Notebook 9 Pen has a speedy : Intel Core i7-8565U, 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.

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.

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.

And its biggest selling point is that it has a model that comes with over 2 TB of data of DDD storage! 

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.

Recommended configuration for Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U up to 4.6GHz | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 13.3 inch FHD SVA BrightView WLED-backlit touchscreen (1920×1080) Display| Storage:  2TB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home| Battery Life: 9 hours | Weight: 2.84 pounds

Apple MacBook Air – Impressive Display

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sadly, this model of the Macbook Air only has 512 GB 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.

Recommended configuration for Apple MacBook Air

CPU: Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Retina display with IPS technology; 2560 x1600 native resolution| Storage: 512 GB SSD  | Operating System: MAC OS| Battery Life:12 hours | Weight: 2.8 lbs

Dell Inspiron 13 – Good Gift For Kids

Dell Inspiron 13
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! And because of its affordability and reliability it makes a good gift for kids as well.

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 AMD Ryzen 5-2500U 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.

Recommended Configuration For Dell Inspiron 13

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5-2500U| Graphics: AMD Radeon RX Vega 8| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 13.3-inch 1920×1080 Full IPS Touchscreen display| Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: up to 9 hours | Weight: 3.8 lbs

ASUS ZenBook 13 – Ultra Slim Bezels

ASUS ZenBook 13
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 but has an amazing display that maximizes its space by minimizing the bezels.

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, the 10th 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.

Being 13 inches it doesn’t have a lot to show but its ultra thin bezels more than make up for its small size.

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 512 GB SSD version for under $1,000.

Recommended Configuration For ASUS ZenBook 13

CPU: Intel Core i7-10510U |Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX250 | RAM: 16GB RAM | Storage: 512 SSD| Screen: 13.3 inches; 1920 x1080 resolution| Storage: 512 GB SSD|Operating System: Windows 10 Pro | Battery Life: 11 hours | Weight:  2.8 lbs

Razer Stealth 13  – Best 13 Inch Gaming Laptop

Razer Stealth 13
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!

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 Razer Stealth 13. This is a compact 13 inch ultrabook that also happens to be VR ready!

Between the 16GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics 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 4K display. Simply put, this is one of the highest resolution, best quality displays you can find.

Gaming capabilities aside, this laptop has an exceptional display as well. While the screen is amazing, the bezels are also minimized which maximizes its 13 inch screen. The only downside to this laptop is the price.

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.

Recommended configuration for Razer Blade Stealth 13

CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7  | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650| RAM: 16 GB RAM| Screen: 13.3 inches FHD Matte 1920 X 1080 pixels (GTX 120Hz Model) 4K 3840 × 2160 pixels (GTX 4K Model)  | Storage: 512 GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home| Battery Life: 10 hours | Weight: 3.2 lbs

HP Envy 13 – 4K Display

HP ENVY 13
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.

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 & detailsThis 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.

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.

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.

Recommended configuration for HP Envy 13

CPU: 8th Generation intel(r) core(tm) i7-8565u, quad-core, 1.8 GHz Base frequency, up to 4.6 GHz| Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX250| RAM: 16 GB RAM | Screen: 4K display: 13.3-Inch diagonal 4K IPS micro-edge WLED-backlit touchscreen with durable protective corning(r) Gorilla) Glass nbt(tm) (3840 x 2160) | Storage: 512 GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home | Battery Life: 12 hours | Weight: 2.6 lbs4

Lenovo Yoga C930 – Thin And Light

Lenovo Yoga C930
If you are looking for a super thin and light 13-inch laptop, you won’t find a more stylish one than the Lenovo Yoga C930. It’s slim look and fantastic specs make it a great computer no matter what your needs.

Just because a laptop has a smaller 13-inch display does not always mean they are thin and light. Huawei made sure that their Lenovo Yoga C930 used up all the space efficiently, making it the most thin and light laptop in this size bracket.

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.

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.

Most laptops that are thin and lightweight are really bad at cooling their internals. This is not the case with the Lenovo Yoga C930, it has a custom fan and cooling system that keeps the system cool and stable.

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.

Recommended configuration for Lenovo Yoga C930

CPU: Intel Core i7-8550U  | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16 GB RAM | Screen: 13.9 Inch Energy-efficient LED backlight 4K (3840 x 2160) Ultra HD Touchscreen  | Storage: 512 GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home | Battery Life: 10 hours| Weight: 3.00 lbs

ASUS Chromebook Flip  – Budget Pick

ASUS Chromebook Flip
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.

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.

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.

With a battery rated to last 12 hours, this laptop will keep you going all day. Perfect for college students and those that need longevity.

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.

Recommended configuration for ASUS Chromebook Flip

CPU: Intel Celeron N4000| Graphics: Intel HD Graphics| RAM: 4GB RAM | Screen: 11.6-inch 1355×768 Touchscreen with Anti-glare display| Storage: 32GB eMMC| Operating System: Chrome OS| Battery Life: up to 12 hours | Weight: 2.6 lbs

HP Spectre x360  – Powerful 2-in-1

HP Spectre x360
If you’re looking for a powerful and portable laptop, then you should check out the HP Spectre x360. It's a 2-in-1 laptop that happens to be a tablet at the same time. With this amount of versatility, you’ll be able to enjoy the best of both worlds having the power of a laptop with its 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor and the portability of a 13 inch tablet as well. Lastly, the HP Spectre x360 has a sturdy and convenient 360 hinge which allows for easy viewing at any angle.

13 inch laptops are very portable and easy to use. However being 13 inches they tend to be less powerful than their 15 inch counterparts. They also have the disadvantage where you can’t use it as easily as a tablet since you have the keyboard and lower end of the laptop to worry about.

Thankfully there are gadgets like convertibles which serve as both a laptop and a tablet at the same time. And you’re going to need a powerful convertible if you want to effectively use it as a portable laptop.  

The HP Spectre x360 is exactly what you’re looking for, it’s very powerful since it’s powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor which allows for fast loading and handling of resource intensive programs. It has a 13 inch FHD display which works well for watching movies in tablet mode.  Lastly it has a 360 degree hinge which gives you a convenient view at any angle. 

Recommended configuration  for  HP Spectre x360 

CPU:10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8 GB RAM | Screen: 13.3″ FHD (1920×1080) IPS BrightView WLED Multi Touch Screen | Storage: 512 GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 Pro | Battery Life: 10 hours | Weight:  2.87 lbs

Dell XPS 13 –  InfinityEdge Touch Display

Dell XPS 13
If you want an amazing display that maximized the limited 13 inch screen, then the Dell XPS 13 is a good choice. This laptop features an InfinityEdge touch display which almost completely removes the bezels giving you a wonderful  view to look out. Asides from that it has 16 GB of RAM and a powerful 10th gen i7 processors for all of your multitasking needs.

For users who want performance, speed, and convenience, the Dell XPS 13 is a good choice. Its a world famous laptop known for its features that makes life easier for the user. Features like an incredible resolution, a 360 degree display, and powerful specs. 

Its also an amazing laptop for multitasking as wekk with its 10th gen i7 processor and a full 16GB of physical memory. You’ll  be able to open dozens of tabs and run multiple programs without having performance issues. 

The only downside to it is that it has 256 GB of SSD storage so it might not be the best if you’re planning to store a lot of file in your laptop.

Recommended configuration for Dell XPS 13 

CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10710U processor | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics| RAM: 16 GB RAM | Screen: 13.3” FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge Touch Display | Storage: 256 GB SSD |  Operating System: Windows 10 Home | Battery Life: 12 hours | Weight: 5.69 pounds lbs

Picking The Best 13 Inch Laptops In 2020

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?

Processor

The processor is the brain of the computer and it should be at the heart of the things you should be looking for when choosing any laptop. Most things like RAM and storage space can be upgraded. Which is why you should prioritize getting the best processor that you can get within your budget. 

With this in mind, if you have the money for it go for the most powerful and latest processors you can get. For Intel that would be an i9 processor and an AMD Ryzen 9 for AMD processors. 

Sadly the best you can get with a 13 inch laptop is an Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 so you can go for those if budget isn’t an issue.

However if you don’t have money or you’re on a budget choosing lower end processors is also an option. An Intel i3 processor will work fine in handling day to day tasks so you ‘re reliable budget picks.

An i5 or a Ryzen 5 is probably a good choice for those wanting to have the processing power to do more than everyday tasks but still don’t want to spend a lot of money. 

In the end, the choice is up to you. Which do you prefer: affordability or power?

Graphics

Next up in the order of priority is the graphics card of your laptop. Just like with the processor, its hard to upgrade a laptop’s graphics card. Most laptop graphics are integrated into its system making it next to impossible to change them.

This is why we advise getting a good integrated graphics card for your laptop or battery yet, try to get dedicated graphics instead.

An Intel UHD and Radeon Vega graphics card are very powerful and reliable despite being integrated GPUs so you might want to look out for those when choosing a laptop.

With that being said, getting a dedicated graphics card is worth it if you want to do some gaming or video editing. 

RAM

RAM is an important spec to look out for. Generally speaking, the more RAM your computer has, the better it is at running multiple programs at once.  Because of this we advise that you get as much RAM as you could with your laptop.

Also avoid laptops with 2 GB of RAM because you can barely run most modern day programs with that kind of RAM. We advise getting at least 4 GB of RAM for your budget picks. And 8 GB of RAM for more portable and powerful laptops.

The best you can do with a 13 inch laptop is 16 GB of RAM. 32 GB is too big and bulky and it would defeat getting a portable 13 inch laptop in the first place. Of course 16 GB is no joke and you can easily multitask and run multiple programs without having performance issues. 

Storage

We advise getting at least 256 GB of storage for your laptop. It also advised me to get an SSD for faster boot and loading times as well. 

Display

13-inch laptops have small displays which is why we advise that you compensate for this by choosing a laptop with good resolution. An FHD display is ideal to help you see better but you can go for 4K as well if you really want that extra panache to your viewing sessions.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

Conclusion

Portability is key in any computer these days, and that’s exactly what you get with any of our top 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!

Jeremy Miller
Article by:
Jeremy has been building computers for the last 20 years. He has expert knowledge of computer hardware, and a passion for writing to match. He has joined the NetbookNews.com team to share his knowledge and passion for computer technology with you.

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