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Best Laptop for travel

Editor's Choice

Huawei MateBook X Pro

4.5/5
Runner Up

Apple MacBook Air

4.5/5
Best Value

Samsung Chromebook 3 11.6”

3.5/5

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When you travel a lot, whether for business or pleasure, if you need access to a computer during your travels, it’s important to pick out a lightweight compact laptop. You’ll want a machine that won’t weigh you down when you’re checking in and out of hotels, or travelling to and from your destination by plane, train or coach.

But you also need a very capable computer, that’s going to be able to handle the different tasks you throw at it. You’ll want a great screen and speakers for watching films and TV on during your downtime, you’ll want a capable battery to keep your machine running even when you’re away from a plug socket, and you’ll want a sturdy well-built machine that isn’t going to be fragile when in transit.

To keep the size and weight of these laptops down, some compromises have to be made in some areas, but each option in this lineup of laptops will be great for travel. We’ve picked out a selection of lightweight laptops, offering a variety of combinations of specifications and features.

Our Recommended Best Laptop for travel

Editor's Choice

Huawei MateBook X Pro

4.5/5
Runner Up

Apple MacBook Air

4.5/5
Best Value

Samsung Chromebook 3 11.6”

3.5/5

Acer Aspire 5

3.5/5

How We Picked

We’ve focussed on capable laptops that weigh under 3lb, so every machine we’ve listed here will be well suited for taking on trips, and using while on the go.

We’ve also taken into consideration the construction of each machine, what materials they are made out of, and how durable the design is.

How We Tested

We’ve picked out our favorite laptops that meet the criteria outlined above, to make them well suited for users who spend a lot of time travelling and want a powerful and capable laptop computer to accompany them on their travels.

Our Recommended

Best Laptop for travel

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Editor's Choice

Huawei MateBook X Pro

Huawei’s top end laptop is a beautifully crafted machine, with a solid aluminium body, one of the best screens in any laptop, and a slimline frame that doesn’t compromise on the full suite of ports for connectivity.

Pros

  • Solid aluminum construction
  • Lightweight but powerful
  • Gorgeous screen

Cons

  • Fairly pricey
  • Unconventional webcam
  • No built-in HDMI port

Huawei MateBook X Pro

With the MateBook X Pro, Huawei has sought to squeeze one of the most powerful Windows laptops into a tight and aesthetically pleasing frame. The clean solid aluminum body is extremely durable and very easy on the eye.

Equipped with a fast i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a generous 512GB SSD, and a GeForce MX150 GPU, the MateBook X Pro is going to be able to easily handle the vast majority of tasks you throw at it, short of high end demanding games. With a battery life of up to 10 hours, it’s got impressive endurance too.

The MateBook X Pro offers a wide selection of different ports for connecting and charging devices on your travels, with a full-size USB port, and a pair of USB-C ports, you’ll easily be able to connect multiple devices at once.

The 13.9 inch, 3000×2000 touch screen is one of the nicest in any laptop available today and will offer a great experience for watching videos when on the go. The Dolby ATMOS speakers also offer some of the richest sound in any laptop of this size. The webcam is unusually designed, hiding beneath the keyboard, and popping up when needed.

For a machine that’s well made inside and out, and will let you keep up with all your computing tasks when on the go, this is an excellent choice.

Runner Up

Apple MacBook Air

The latest revision of Apple’s slim and light line of Laptops makes some big improvements. Most notably the screen is a big upgrade, with far thinner bezels than previous models. If you’re after a flashy and aesthetically pleasing lightweight laptop, this is an excellent choice.

Pros

  • Great update to a category-defining product line
  • Brilliant retina display
  • Up to 12 hours of battery life

Cons

  • macOS not for everyone
  • Slightly large screen bezels
  • Not many ports

Apple MacBook Air

An iconic design that rewrote the rulebook on thin and light laptops, updated for 2020. 

The 2020 Macbook air refresh brought a lot of refinements and improvements. This redesign has addressed shortcomings of older models, particularly the unreliable keyboard keys. It’s now a solid all-round choice that will be ideal for users wanting a slim and lightweight laptop for use when traveling.

The aluminum body is robust and durable, and it has a “all-day” battery life of up to 12 hours, so this will be great for use during long trips.

The microphone set up on the Macbook Air, with three microphone arrays for picking up your voice clearly, is one of the best available any lightweight laptop, ideal for if you’re making a lot of video calls when you’re away from home.

It’s a little light on ports, with just two USB-C ports, so remember to pack a dongle if you’re planning to connect multiple devices to this laptop, or hoping to connect it to a hotel TV.

Best Value

Samsung Chromebook 3 11.6”

A cheap and cheerful Chromebook from Samsung.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • High level of security
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Cheap construction
  • Low-end specs
  • Unimpressive screen

Samsung Chromebook 3 11.6”

We’ve included this Chromebook in our lineup as one option to bear in mind if you’re travelling to parts of the world where you might be concerned about adverse weather conditions, security, or other ways in which your devices might be at risk of coming into harm’s way. This is a cheap and very secure device, and whilst it’s not a powerful computer, it will be able to handle basic tasks like browsing the web, accessing emails, and watching videos.

Integrated into ChromeOS is google’s remote security functionality. You can easily remotely wipe all local files on your device if you accidentally leave it somewhere or it gets stolen. All files and settings are automatically synced with your Google account, meaning the stakes are much lower for taking a device like this on trips to remote locations.

In part due to the stripped-down nature of ChromeOS, this laptop has a great battery life, up to 11 hours. Many much more expensive laptops can’t come close to that.

This is not a powerful machine: the modest specs, average screen, and budget construction are all shortcomings, but if you want a basic machine for managing simple tasks on the go, and don’t want to take a thousand dollar plus laptop with you on trips to unfamiliar places, this is an option worth considering.

Acer Aspire 5

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Pros

  • Large screen
  • Impressively lightweight
  • Extensive range of ports

Cons

  • Modest performance
  • Plain aesthetics
  • Weak gaming performance

Acer Swift 5

This is a solid choice for anyone who doesn’t need an extremely powerful laptop with them when they’re travelling but would like a nice lightweight machine that will be reasonably capable and reasonably priced.

This is one of the lightest 15-inch screen laptops available today, so if you want the big-screen experience in a laptop that you can still easily take on the go, this is an excellent option. Despite the lightweight design and slim frame, Acer was still able to fit in an excellent range of ports, with 2x full-sized USB ports, 1x USB-C port, and a full-sized HDMI port available. This is a great input/output setup and will let you connect multiple devices, and easily watch videos on a hotel room TV from it.

The touch screen can be handy for when using in cramped spaces where you won’t be able to use a mouse, like trains or planes. Up to 10 hours of battery life is going to be very useful during any trips where you don’t have access to a charging point.

The Acer Swift 5 is pleasant looking, if a little bland, but if you want a large screen laptop that offers moderate performance, isn’t too pricey, and can be carried around without much trouble, it’s a smart choice.

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Our Verdict

Huawei MateBook X Pro

4.5/5

Huawei MateBook X Pro

4.5/5

Huawei MateBook X Pro

4.5/5

We’ve gone for the powerful combination of high-end components and world-class design and opted for the MateBook X Pro. This is a great lightweight laptop that offers something for everyone and can go toe to toe with many other expensive machines. If you want a highly portable and top-end computing experience to take with you when travelling, this is an obvious choice.

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