The 9 Best 13-Inch Laptops of 2019

These portable options prove bigger isn't always better

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Dell XPS 13 at dell.com

"Keeps you productive when you’re working or handling schoolwork."

Best from Apple: MacBook Pro at Amazon

"The sweet spot in the company’s MacBook lineup, offering more than enough power for the needs of all."

Runner-Up, Best from Apple: MacBook Air at Amazon

"Unless you know why you need a MacBook Pro, it’s safe to say that you’ll be fine with a MacBook Air."

Best 2-in-1: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 at dell.com

"Even when the hinge is folded completely over to resemble a tablet, it remains thin."

Runner-Up, Best 2-in-1: Samsung Notebook 9 Pen at Samsung

"Crammed with features, the Notebook 9 Pen can rotate a full 360 degrees on its hinge."

Best for Gaming: Razer Blade Stealth at Amazon

"Plug it into an external graphics card, and it can turn into a gaming machine."

Best with Chrome OS: Acer Chromebook R13 at Amazon

"Having a simple yet elegant design, the Chromebook R13 is perfect for all your basic computing needs."

Best Design: HP Spectre Folio at Amazon

"The laptop's entire exterior frame and keyboard shell are built from 100-percent genuine full-grain leather."

Runner-Up, Best Design: Huawei MateBook X Pro at Amazon

"Packed into a metallic body for a premium feel."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13

Courtesy of Dell

 

If you’re looking for one of the most tried-and-true laptops for business and personal use, then Dell’s XPS 13 line is worth looking into. The latest models offer updated specs that can keep you productive when you’re working or handling schoolwork.

The Dell XPS 13 offers ample configuration, so you can choose a more affordable model with 4GB of RAM and an 8th-gen Intel Core i3 processor. Or, you can go all in for a model with an Intel Core i7-8650U quad-core processor with boost speeds up to 4.6GHz and pair it with 16GB of RAM for serious productivity. All of the models come configured with M.2 PCIe NVMe storage for fast boot times and file access.

The design of the XPS 13 line is sleek, with an Infinity Edge display that lets the 13.3-inch screen stand out with minimal bezels around the edges. You also get options from Full HD panel to 4K resolution, battery life of up to 21 hours, plus touchscreen configurations are available. Whatever your needs, the XPS 13 should be able to fit them.

Best from Apple: MacBook Pro

Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro has always been the sweet spot in the company’s MacBook lineup, offering more than enough power for the needs of all but the most demanding professional applications. This has become even truer in the past couple of years, as Apple has gotten aggressive about keeping its MacBook lineup up to date. As of 2019, there’s the MacBook Pro for professionals and power users and the MacBook Air for everybody else. If you’re in that first category, the 13-inch MacBook Pro won’t disappoint you.

Inside, you’re getting an 8th-generation 2.4 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, which can burst up to impressive speeds of 4.1GHz, and if you need more than that, you can get it with a custom upgrade to a Core i7 2.8 GHz that will top out at 4.7GHz. It also has 8GB of RAM, upgradeable to 16GB, and a choice of SSDs from 256GB and 512GB right up to 1TB and 2TB variations. For most folks, however, we think one of the base models will be more than enough, especially with the four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports in mind.

Then there’s the display. Apple has been on the leading edge of high-resolution laptop displays for years. This one, in particular, boasts a 2560x600 native resolution at 227 pixels-per-inch (PPI) and, in the past couple of years, Apple has improved that already-great display by adding unprecedented color accuracy in the form of not only a P3 wide color gamut but True Tone technology as well, meaning it automatically adjusts colors to match the light in the room. 

Check out the best MacBook Pro models available on the market today.

Runner-Up, Best from Apple: MacBook Air

After a few years of mixing things up, Apple’s MacBook family has gotten nice and simple, with the company boiling it down to two distinct lineups: the MacBook Pro for those with high-end needs, and the MacBook Air for everybody else. While there’s no doubt that Apple’s MacBook Pro has beefier specs, the MacBook Air wins on price and especially on portability, and it’s definitely no slouch in performance. So unless you know why you need a MacBook Pro, it’s safe to say that you’ll be fine with a MacBook Air.

In fact, with Apple’s 2019 MacBook Air, raw CPU power is about all you’re really giving up in exchange for the ultra-slim profile. All of Apple’s MacBooks — Pro and Air alike — feature the same 2560x1600 resolution and 227 PPI Retina Display, along with the True Tone feature that matches the display’s color temperature to whatever your ambient lighting is. There’s also a pair of Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C ports for connecting external storage or an external display, along with Apple’s now-standard T2 security chip and Touch ID sensor for full disk encryption and authentication.

Inside, the MacBook Air is powered by a 1.6GHz 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor that, when Turbo Boost is activated, trailblazes at 3.6 GHz, along with 8 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD, which is more than enough power for the average user while still allowing for a battery life of up to 13 hours.

Best 2-in-1: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

If you want more versatility from your 13-inch laptop, you should consider a 2-in-1. Excelling both as a laptop and tablet, the latest Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390) has been fitted with the most recent Intel Core processor as well as top-of-the-line memory and storage.

As a tablet, the lightweight 7390 shines thanks to its beautiful 13.4-inch 1920x1200-pixel touchscreen display and 16:10 aspect ratio. Even when the hinge is folded completely over to resemble a tablet, it remains thin. A thermal cooling system keeps it from running hot. 

The XPS 13 2-in-1 uses Intel’s 10th-generation processors, meaning each configuration offers solid performance. The base model has a Core i3 processor paired with 4GB of RAM and a 256GB NVMe SSD. For everyday tasks like email, web browsing, and entertainment, the Core i3 upgrade is a compelling option.

You can boost the power by opting for the Core i5 or one of the two Core i7 models. Along with offering a better, middle-of-the-road processor, picking the Core i5 version doubles the RAM. Both i7 configurations, however, are juggernauts, featuring better onboard graphics, 256GB or 512GB of storage, 16GB of RAM, and an optional 4K screen.

Runner-Up, Best 2-in-1: Samsung Notebook 9 Pen

Samsung Notebook 9 Pen

Courtesy of samsung

The popularity of tablets has led to the emergence of 2-in-1 devices, which work equally well as both laptops and tablets. There are quite a few 2-in-1 laptop-tablets you can consider, but we recommend Samsung's Notebook 9 Pen.

Crammed with features, the Notebook 9 Pen can rotate a full 360 degrees on its hinge. The 2-in-1 comes with the same S-Pen that Samsung's Galaxy Note line-up of phablets is famous for, and the stylus can be conveniently stowed away in its own silo. The S-Pen can be used to simulate actions such as writing, sketching, and even painting, all of which can be easily digitized.

The Samsung Notebook 9 Pen is powered by an 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, paired with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. Its display is a 13.3-inch touch-enabled panel, boasting a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio. External I/O options include Thunderbolt 3, USB Type-C, and a 3.5mm combo, with Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, and Bluetooth 5.0 taking care of wireless connectivity.

You also get a 720p HD webcam, dual-array digital microphones, a UFS-compatible microSD card slot, and AKG-tuned stereo speakers. Running on Windows 10 Home, Samsung's Notebook 9 Pen is claimed to have a battery life of up to 15 hours on a single charge.

Take a look at other product reviews and shop for the best 2-in-1 laptop tablets available online.

Best for Gaming: Razer Blade Stealth

The Razer Blade Stealth features a small footprint that makes it highly portable while still having decent power. The design includes a 13.3-inch display that can either come in Full HD or a 4K touch panel. All of the versions offer 100 percent coverage of the sRGB color space, making them solid options for web design.

Inside, you’ll get an Intel Core i7-8650U quad-core processor paired with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM depending on the model you choose. The cheapest model has integrated graphics, though there are also models with Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics processors for playing 3D games. The catch? This is sort of a sleeper gaming laptop, meaning the internals aren’t going to handle the best graphics settings on the latest games. Still, the Razer Blade Stealth supports Razer’s external graphics enclosure, which lets you pair the laptop with a full desktop-class graphics card for serious gaming performance.

In practical terms, the Razer Blade Stealth is capable enough to carry to work or school with up to 13 hours of battery life, and its lower power internals will help it last throughout the day. But, when you get home and plug it into an external graphics card, it can turn into a gaming machine.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best gaming laptops.

Best with Chrome OS: Acer Chromebook R13

It may not be as popular as traditional operating systems like Microsoft's Windows and Apple's macOS, but Google's Chrome OS is still a great option for anyone who wants a no-frills computing experience. The browser-based operating system works great even with low-specced notebook PCs (also called 'Chromebooks'), such as the Acer Chromebook R13.

Featuring a simple yet elegant design and a 12-hour battery life, the Chromebook R13 is perfect for all your basic computing needs. It comes with a quad-core MediaTek CPU, supported by 4GB of RAM and 32GB of flash-based storage. The display is a 13.3-inch touch-enabled panel, with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio.

For input/output, the laptop includes HDMI, USB (both Type-A and Type-C), 3.5mm audio, and a microSD card slot. Of course, there's also Wi-Fi 802.11 ac and Bluetooth 4.0 included for wireless connectivity. Other features include an HD webcam, built-in mic, and stereo speakers. The Chromebook R13's hinge can rotate a full 360 degrees, allowing you to use the laptop as a tablet as well.

You also get all the usual features of the Chrome OS, including quick access to all of Google's services, such as Gmail and YouTube, and the ability to run selected Android apps.

Best Design: HP Spectre Folio

Laptops nowadays come with some pretty great design elements, including everything from premium construction materials to unique color options. With competition getting stiffer by the day, it's difficult to come up with a product that visually stands out from the rest. And yet, HP's Spectre Folio manages to do just that.

Hands down the best-designed notebook PC available, the Spectre Folio is made from leather. That's right — according to HP, the laptop's entire exterior frame and keyboard shell are built from 100 percent genuine full-grain leather. This not only imparts the Spectre Folio a unique appearance but also allows the device to be used in a variety of different modes.

The laptop's 13.3-inch touch-enabled display has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio. Our recommended configuration of the Spectre Folio includes an 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage. For external input/output, you get a combo 3.5mm audio port, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

There's Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.2 for wireless connectivity, a Full-HD webcam, and Bang & Olufsen speakers for a premium audio experience. With up to 15.5 hours of battery life, HP's Spectre Folio also comes with its own digital stylus and runs Windows 10 Home.

Runner-Up, Best Design: Huawei MateBook X Pro

While most 13-inch laptops feature great designs in their own right, the Huawei MateBook X Pro stands out by offering almost everything its competition does and then turning it up a notch.

The MateBook X Pro comes in a low-profile design that’s every bit as portable as its competitors. Boasting a battery life of up to 15 hours, it also comes with either an 8th-Gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor and 8GB or 16GB of RAM. The newest version offers a dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics processor, while an earlier version has the older MX150. All told, it’s offering good performance potential for an ultrabook.

Where the Matebook X Pro really shines is in the display. While keeping its size down, it packs in a 13.9-inch display, which may put it in the 14-inch laptop class, but the computer has a 91 percent screen-to-body ratio that keeps the body from swelling to the usual size you’d find in a 14-inch laptop. The screen gets even better with a 3,000 x 2,000 pixel resolution, full coverage of the sRGB color space, 10-point multi-touch, and a peak brightness of 450 nits for use in even bright environments. And, all of that is packed into a metallic body for a premium feel.

Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best laptops can help you find what you're looking for.

Our Process

Our writers spent 7 hours researching the most popular 13-inch laptops on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 11 different 13-inch laptops overall, screened options from 9 different brands and manufacturers, and read over 300 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.