When thinking of buying a travel laptop, there are several factors to think of. The first thing you’ll need to consider is what you’re going to use the laptop for. Are you always on the road, but still would like to keep up with the latest Netflix originals? Do you need a machine for updating your travel blog? Or maybe you plan to do some photo or video editing work using Adobe Photoshop to maximize productivity.
While vital hardware components such as processor, memory, and brand are fairly straightforward (the higher, the better), you’ll need to think of the following as well:
Portability – Size and weight make up portability. As a general rule, 15 inch laptops are too big and 10 inch laptops are too small.
Battery Life – Traveling means you’ll be spending a lot of time unplugged. You will need a laptop that can easily last a whole workday, a full flight or an event.
Storage – When time is of the essence, you’ll need SSD for faster boot and loading time. You can always pack a portable external HDD for photos, videos, and other media.
Cost – You won’t need an overly expensive laptop as it does eventually get damaged or has a high risk of being stolen. The simpler the design and the use, the better.
With that being said, here are the best laptops for traveling:[table “39” not found /]
1. ASUS ZenBook 13
Encased in a durable aluminum chassis and weighing only 2.6 lbs., the ZenBook 13 combines portability and style. A quick look at the hardware that’s packed into the laptop reveals specs that can handle many kinds of travel or outdoor computing needs.
The ASUS ZenBook sports the fastest 8th generation i5-8250U Intel processor clocked at 1.6 GHz, 8 GB of LPDDR3 memory and a speedy yet generous 256 GB of SSD space. Boot time is clocked at just 10 seconds, and opening software should take more or less the same.
Flipping open the lid reveals an exquisite 13.3 inch full HD display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution and WideView and Anti-Glare technology. The machine has the fingerprint security for one-touch logins built right in the touchpad.
The ZenBook 13’s side is lined with various connectivity options for your other peripherals. There’s a USB Type-C, three USB 3.0 ports, a card reader for SD card data transfers, micro HDMI and the newer 802.11 ac WiFi adapter. One of the USB ports has been enhanced with the USB Charger+ technology, which allows you to quick-charge your phone or tablet up to two times faster and even with the laptop turned off.
The ZenBook 13 has an expected battery life of 10 hours, which should be enough to work on various tasks on the road.
- Premium look and feel
- Backlit keys
- 256 GB may not be enough for RAW photos and videos
2. Google Pixelbook
Google’s Pixelbook is a thing of beauty in both physical and efficiency aspects. The powerful 2-in-1 convertible can easily outperform the latest Windows and Mac-based machines while being ultra lightweight at only 2.4 lbs.
The laptop’s chassis is made up of brushed metal, while an industry standard Gorilla Glass technology protects the display, ensuring a smudge-free surface no matter how many times it’s handled throughout the day. The Pixelbook touts top of the line hardware, including a speedy i7 Intel core processor and a whopping 16 GB of RAM. Moreover, Google has added a quick charger technology that gives you 2 hours’ worth of power in a 9-hour battery by plugging it in for just 15 minutes!
The versatility of a convertible coupled with beefy specs should be more than capable in handling various tasks you can throw at it. You can write as you wait, read and send important emails or enjoy video content with the Pixelbook in tent or tablet mode. You also get a free 1TB of cloud storage with Google Drive.
- Top-notch design and display
- Great keyboard layout and keys
- Thin and light; perfect for travelers
- Advanced processor
- Expensive for a Chromebook
- No biometric log in
3. Dell XPS Premium 13.3
Need a premium, high-end display for unmatched color representation? The latest offering from Dell is a re-designed XPS model, and it’s 45 percent smaller than a MacBook Air, .22 inches thinner and 5 ounces lighter than its Apple counterpart.
The single greatest feature the XPS Premium 13.3 has is its Infinity Edge display, an exquisite 13.3-inch screen that has virtually zero bezels. It’s available in touchscreen and 4K and puts out stunning, detailed graphics that will enhance your photo editing experience. If you enjoy watching movies or Netflix on the go, then it’s something you should strongly consider!
The block-machined aluminum body and small-ish footprint fits right on your lap or on a small surface. You’ll be able to max out the hinge angle and still type comfortably for long periods of time. The only disadvantage of the bezel-less design is the front-facing webcam located at the screen’s bottom, which puts out unflattering angles when it comes to web conferences and video calls. Battery life is acceptable at 7 hours.
- Comes in Rose Gold or Silver options
- Has a touchscreen model for better efficiency
- Awkwardly placed front cam
4. Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1
The ThinkPad Carbon X1 is for people who can’t bear the thought of unplugging or leaving their laptop at home. It’s great for business people who are always on call and individuals who want a constant electronic companion by their side.
You can get an amazing 15 hours’ worth of work and entertainment in a single full charge. What’s more, the Rapid Charge technology ensures that you can be back on track in just a little more than an hour. Downtime won’t be an option. With the new ThinkPad, you can keep on reading email, posting on social media, writing and doing editing work without any worries.
The 2018 Carbon X1 packs serious firepower in the form of the latest 8th generation i7 Intel Core processor, 16 GB of RAM and plenty of SSD space. Multiple connectivity inputs mean you can connect to a bigger display via HDMI and mini Display, or plug an external HDD or thumb drive for data transfer on the USB-C and USB ports. There’s also some extra niceties such as the fingerprint authentication and the sliding webcam cover that maximizes security. The screen is rich and features vibrant colors, and the keyboard is sturdy and tactile enough for a pleasurable typing experience.
It’s also one of the first machines to make use of Alexa, which means you can have the ThinkPad Carbon X1 read to you the latest news or help you with navigation while you’re on the road.
- Good, beefy hardware specs
- Thin and light design
- The HDR display is vivid and bright
- Astounding battery life
- HDR costs extra
- Tiny speakers
5. Huawei MateBook X Pro
Huawei is an established brand in the Eastern regions, and their MateBook X Pro offers plenty of technological firepower that rivals even the best laptop brands in the market. You get the latest 8th generation i7 Intel CPU with the biggest SSD storage all at a reasonable price.
It’s the laptop of choice for those who refuse to shell out for anything Apple. The MateBook X Pro holds the distinction of being one of the few laptops in the world that features Full View Display. The 13.9-inch screen spurts out an impressive 3K resolution within a touchscreen display. There’s virtually no bezel that can be found at the edge! Watching entertainment gets taken to the next level, courtesy of four Dolby Atmos speakers that deliver immersive sound.
The One Touch Power Button feature allows you to boot up the Windows Hello OS in less than eight seconds. The excellent trackpad makes it easy to navigate to where you need to go without the help of a mouse, and the keyboard is back-lit so you can work even when there’s little to no ambient lighting.
- Full View 3K Display
- Aesthetically pleasing design
- Four Dolby Atmos speakers
- One-Touch Power feature
- No SD card slot
- Mediocre webcam
6. LG Gram Thin and Light Laptop 15.6
Does your line of work or entertainment needs demand a huge screen and a measure of portability? This offering from LG is the next best thing. In fact, critics say that the Gram 15.6 is arguably the best laptop companion for travelers and people who are always on the go.
The whole thing weighs only about 2.5 lbs. but the hardware is impressive. You get an i5-8250U Intel core processor, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD space. The display is what you’d expect from a premium 15.6-inch laptop- bright, clear and detailed. Audio quality and speakers are above average and provide extra immersion for when you’re watching YouTube videos, movies, and Netflix shows.
- Available in touch and non-touch variants
- One of the best 15.6-inch laptops around
- A touch on the delicate side
7. 13″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
MacBook and travel enthusiasts get the best of both worlds in the 2018 MacBook Pro 13 inch variant. Apple’s offering touts a blazing 8th generation i5 Intel core processor (upgradeable to i7), 8 GB of RAM and a respectable 256 GB of SSD space which makes short work of even the most tedious and power-hungry programs and apps. Apple’s iOS architecture amplifies the speed of the hardware for an unbeatable combination of performance and efficiency.
The proprietary Retina display is a sight to behold, especially in larger screens. The 13 inch, 2560 x 1600 pixel monitor features extremely detailed, bright and vivid visuals. The True Tone technology in later 2018 models uses ambient light to automatically adjust the color temperature. Issues with Apple laptops have been addressed, especially in the keyboard department. The new butterfly keys have been reinforced with a silicone under-layer to prevent debris from going under it and getting it stuck. Tactile feedback is softer and typing sound is quieter than ever.
You can call up hands-free assistance with Siri built in the MacBook Pro. Voice command is actually robust and allows you to do many things, from changing some of the settings to launching your favorite bookmarked websites in a snap.
In lieu of standard SD card slots and full-sized USB port, you get four Thunderbolt 3 ports. You’ll need to buy an adapter to enable various peripherals and your iPhone. The battery is rated at 10 hours and 30 days standby time.
- Retina display
- Touch bar feature is useful
- Great speakers
- Improved keyboard
- Memory and CPU is non-upgradeable
- No SD card reader
- You’ll need an adapter for peripherals
8. Microsoft Surface Pro
Microsoft’s Surface Pros are ideal for creative artists and those who want to use the Surface Pen and Dial for doodling, taking notes and for graphic editing. The hybrid form makes it more useful than a Chromebook in terms of storing photos, using social media and blogging on the web.
The Surface Pro is light at less than 2 lbs. and should give you around 9 hours’ worth of computing before needing to find a power source. It’s considered as a high-end laptop that can double as a tablet for better content consumption, i.e., for when you’re watching the latest movies, sports or YouTube videos. Inside the shell lies powerhouse specs like the i5 Intel core processor, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of SSD storage; there’s a higher configuration that boasts 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD, and LTE-enabled versions as well.
The Surface Pro is solid, dependable and its battery should be enough for a whole day’s task. In short, it’s one of the best laptops you can bring with you while you’re on the road.
- Iris Plus GPU has the power of a discrete graphics card
- Lengthy battery life
- Exceptional Surface pen technology
- Can replace most traditional laptops
- Stylus Pen costs extra
- No USB Type C