Travel laptops are a perfect option for professionals, students, and avid travelers who need something more powerful than a tablet for their work and entertainment needs. Tablets are great for some things, but for running multiple applications and especially typing, tablets fall short. The best travel laptop should be light, durable, and have batteries that will last for extended periods of time.
This review will help you decide on the best travel laptop for your specific needs. Whether you need a powerful machine capable of running complicated programs, or just a device to check your email and run MS Office Suite, we’ve got you covered.
Keep This in Mind When Traveling With a Laptop
With the convenience of portability come a few pitfalls. For instance, even the best travel laptop can lack extensive drive storage. Screen size is also limited for travel laptops. On the other hand, you’ll enjoy hours of wireless battery power and unbeatable design construction. Here are the things you should know about the best travel laptop models available today.
- Weight. The best travel laptops are usually weigh less than 5lbs. Some are even less than 3lbs. The goal is to slip it into your purse or laptop backpack without noticing the extra weight. You’ll also be happy to have a lightweight laptop when using your knees as a table during your travels.
- Screen Size. Due to their light weight, even the best travel laptop won’t have a screen larger than the standard 15.6”. In fact, many popular travel laptops these days have a screen size of about 11”.
- Storage. Storage can be an issue with travel laptops, as their weight, size, and price standards are different than for typical laptops. While some of the best travel laptops have huge, 1TB HDDs, most of them will have tiny SSDs in order to conserve space and energy.
- Battery Life. Your average laptop may last anywhere from 2-6 hours, but for the best travel laptops, 6 hours is the bare minimum. You’ll need every last minute of power when you’re typing notes in class or checking your email on the train.
- Durability. As a general rule, metal chassis are more durable than plastic. The best travel laptop models usually have a metal exterior. SSDs are also more durable than HDDs, allowing your device to survive a tumble without damaging the storage drive.
Another thing to take into consideration is that many of the best travel laptops won’t have a disk drive. They are simply too thin and light to accommodate the extra space, but you can easily rectify this with an external disk drive. Connectivity options are also not usually favored by travel laptops, though you can usually find a couple USB ports, an SD card slot, and an audio jack.
Best Travel Laptop Top 10 Comparison Guide
Reviews of the Top Rated Travel Laptops
What is not to love about this laptop? Setting the bar high as the very best travel laptop, the Macbook Pro MF839LL/A exceeds your every expectation. With a sizeable 13.3” screen, this laptop weighs just 3.48 lbs., so it can fit easily in your MacBook travel case or even under your arm. A strong LiPo battery will keep you going for up to 9 hours without plugging in, and the all-aluminum body can withstand a ton of abuse along the way.
Under the hood of this machine is just as impressive as its flawless exterior. Outfitted with a full 8GB of DDR-3L RAM and a large 128GB solid state drive, you won’t have any trouble running your favorite programs and storing plenty of data. Of course, it also runs on Apple’s latest OS 10. A respectable Intel Core i5 processor does justice for the incredible Retina display, too, allowing you to view true HD picture and video.
There’s very little to complain about with this machine, though as with all Apple products, price may be a concern. In all, the MacBook Pro MF839LL/A is a great value for the money if you can afford it, and will last you well into the future for your travel computing needs.
We’re willing to bet this laptop is lighter than some of your course books at a slender 2.8 lbs. Just .08” thick, the Acer C720 is the perfect compact laptop for students and professionals who need a quick and portable machine. Its 16GB SDD may be small, but it’s lightning fast and will have you up and running before you’re done opening the screen. This laptop almost matches the MacBook, with an impressive battery life of up to 8.5 hours.
We really like the glare-free, 11.6” screen, which ensures that your laptop won’t be a distraction to yourself or others during quiet study and work time. The Acer C720 uses Google Chrome OS, and you’ll also enjoy 2 years of free Google Drive storage for your important documents.
The Intel Celeron processor and 4GB of RAM are a good choice for this laptop, giving you just enough power for the important stuff without breaking the bank. If you’re not looking to play games or run other resource-hungry programs, the Acer C720 won’t disappoint.
Despite the MacBook’s brilliance, the LG Gram 14Z950 may be our favorite best travel laptop on the list. It’s certainly one of the lightest, at just 2.2 lbs., and the 128GB SSD gives you much more room to grow than most others in its weight class. The real kicker is its wide 14” screen, putting those cramped 11” screens to shame. HD video runs great, showing no stuttering, shadows, or pixelation.
There’s also plenty of RAM, with 8GB of DDR3-L memory. We appreciate the option to choose between an Intel Core i5 or i7, even though for most travel applications the i5 will perform just fine. While it doesn’t immediately feel as durable as an aluminum chassis, the carbon magnesium and lithium magnesium design is very strong and could withstand years of heavy use.
The LG Gram is a superior travel laptop for anyone seeking both portability and power. The price is right, and you won’t find a larger screen in such a small package.
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