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The best mini laptops take everything you love about the best laptops and rolls it up into an easily portable package. These laptops have smaller displays and are usually aren’t as powerful as standard laptops, but you can still get work done, play games, and perform a wide variety of other tasks on a mini laptop if you choose the right one.
When deciding on a mini laptop, it’s important to think about the way you plan on using the device. Mini laptops are available in the standard laptop design you’re familiar with, as tablets with removable keyboards, with keyboards that can fold a full 180 degrees, and in other styles.
If you just want a smaller version of a laptop, look for a scaled down mini laptop that has the required hardware specifications to do what you need to accomplish. If you like the idea of using your laptop as a tablet in the field, or while kicking back on the couch after work, keep that in mind.
Our top pick for the category is the Microsoft Surface Go 2 at Amazon. It's a compact Windows 10 2-in-1 that incredibly portable and supports a detachable keyboard and trackpad. Also, be sure to check out our constantly updated guide to the best laptop deals happening right now, for great machines at steep discounts.
Without further ado, read on for the best mini laptops for any use.
Excellent keyboard and trackpad
Keyboard and pen cost extra
Windows S mode enabled
In a category where factors like size and portability are key, the tiny Microsoft Surface Go 2 reigns supreme. The specifications are impressive, the display is sharp and easy to read, and the responsive touchscreen is even compatible with the Surface Pen. Most importantly, the Surface Go 2 is powerful enough to get actual work done while being small and light enough to carry around all day.
This gold standard mini laptop tips the scales at just 1.2 pounds, while managing to pack in a beautiful 10.5-inch full HD display, your choice of Pentium processors, up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage, and over 10 hours of battery life. It does come with Windows S Mode enabled, but you can switch out of S mode in Windows 10 without too much trouble.
The main drawback here is that the extremely attractive price tag comes back to earth a bit when you add in the cost of the keyboard cover and a Surface Pen. The former is an absolute necessity, as they backlit keyboard and touchpad combo is a joy to use, while the pen is a great option if you want to jot down notes or use the Surface Go 2 as a drawing tablet. Even adding in those additional costs, the Surface Go 2 still represents a great value.
Great battery life
Only one port (USB-C)
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a Chrome-powered 2-in-1 with excellent battery life, decent performance, and a fantastic price that doesn’t ask you to pay extra for the keyboard. Performance is a bit slower than some of the more expensive mini laptops on this list, but the price is right, and Chrome OS is perfectly suited to the sort of low-intensity type of work and entertainment that the Lenovo Chromebook Duet is designed for.
If you’re looking for a basic tablet that can also function as a laptop, and you don’t need any Windows apps, this is probably the 2-in-1 that you’re looking for. The long battery life, lasting up to 11 hours of use, makes this the perfect mini laptop to haul around all day without scrambling for a charger. Toss it in your bag, and it will be ready for tasks like email, taking notes, and light word processing all day long. It also runs Android apps for additional functionality.
In order to hit such a fantastic price point, Lenovo did cut a few corners. The Chromebook Duet only has a single USB-C port that’s also used for charging, so you’ll need to buy an adapter dongle if you want to plug multiple devices in. The laptop also feels a bit cramped, but that’s hard to get away from in such a tiny laptop.
Long lasting battery
Works well in both modes
Low resolution display
Windows in S mode
The Dell Inspiron 11 3000 is the mini laptop you’re looking for if you’re in the market for a 2-in-1 with a fantastic price and great battery life. The AMD processor is a bit slow, and 4GB of RAM can make multitasking something of a chore, but it’s tough to beat a fully functional 2-in-1 Windows laptop at this price. The keyboard is comfortable when using it in laptop mode, and it flips around easily when it’s time to use the Inspiron 11 3000 in tablet mode.
It’s important to drive home the fact that despite its affordable price, this is a real Windows laptop. It does come with S mode enabled, but you can easily switch that off and enjoy the full Windows 10 experience, including whatever apps you need to get the job done. If your workflow requires Windows apps, but you’re working on a tight budget, this is the 2-in-1 that you’ve been looking for.
Works well for productivity
Somewhat sluggish performance
The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 is an all around great mini laptop that’s great for tight budgets. If you need a highly portable laptop for basic productivity tasks, and all you need is a laptop, then you’ll have trouble beating this price for the value that you receive. Those looking for extras, like the ability to use their laptop as a tablet, will have to look elsewhere. Anyone looking for a highly capable little productivity machine that won’t break the bank should start here.
The IdeaPad 1 features an 11.6-inch display with a modest 1366x768 resolution that would be too low on a larger display, but which works out just fine in this application. The 4GB of onboard RAM and 64GB eMMC storage are both on the low side, but those are acceptable corners to cut when presenting a budget-priced mini laptop like this.
This laptop is best suited to light duty use, like email, browsing the web, and word processing, but it’s capable of light image editing and other tasks if you aren’t in that big of a hurry. The included 0.3MP webcam is suitable for basic Zoom teleconferencing as well.
Two great cameras
Lots of ports
Only 4MB RAM
The HP ProBook x360 11 G5 is a convertible 2-in-1 Windows laptop that works as well in tablet mode as it does in laptop mode. However, its most interesting feature is the inclusion of not one, but two cameras. It includes a front-facing 720p webcam for teleconferencing, but it also has a more powerful 5 MP world-facing camera for snapping pics and recording video. If you’re looking for a mini laptop with a dual-camera setup, this is the best it gets.
In terms of overall performance, the ProBook x360 11 G5 is right down the middle of the road, with a 64-bit Celeron N4120 processor and 4GB of RAM. Performance is a bit slow at times, especially when multitasking, but this mini laptop is perfectly suitable for productivity work like word processing, sending an email, and it doesn’t flinch when browsing the web or streaming from sites like Netflix.
This mini laptop also shines in terms of how many ports it has, including a full-sized Ethernet port, HDMI port, two USB 3.1 ports, and even a USB-C port. Unlike some mini laptops that require you to buy an adapter dongle, the HP ProBook x360 11 G5 has plenty of room to hook up your peripherals.
Bright beautiful display
No SD card slot
Not a lot of ports
The best mini Chromebook you’ll find is Google’s own Pixelbook Go, with its beautiful 13.3-inch full HD touchscreen display, comfy keyboard, long-lasting battery, and surprisingly snappy performance. This is one of our pricier mini laptop recommendations, but the Pixelbook Go is a premium device that’s well worth the extra investment.
The Chromebook Go comes with a handful of processor options, from the 8th gen Core m3 Y-series in the base unit to a more powerful Core i5-8200Y, or even a beefy Core i7 if you have a lot of heavy lifting to do. You also have the option to go with a perfectly serviceable 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, or max it out with 16GB of RAM and A 256GB SSD, depending on your budget and needs. In any case, the Pixelbook Go is a solid performer that makes it easy to get real work done despite its mini laptop form factor.
The only real downside of the Chromebook Go is that it doesn’t have a whole lot of ports, which is really a sacrifice to its remarkably thin and lightweight design. You don’t get an SD card slot either, so make sure to select an SSD that will meet your storage needs.
Unique dual display format
One e-ink display
Excellent pen included
No physical keyboard
The Lenovo Yoga Book C930 is a mini laptop unlike just about any other mini laptop you’ve seen, which makes it perfectly suited to some uses and less so for others. It features a 360-degree hinge that allows you to use it in a number of orientations like a bunch of other laptops on this list, but instead of featuring a screen and a keyboard, it features twin 2,560 x 1,600-pixel displays: a beautiful 10.8-inch full HD touchscreen paired with an e-ink display.
The primary touchscreen display, paired with the included Bluetooth pen, makes this the perfect mini laptop for artists on the go. The pen features 4,096 levels of pressure, allowing you to use this mini laptop as a fantastic little drawing tablet that isn’t tethered to your desk.
The e-ink display is also a touchscreen, allowing it to render a full keyboard for traditional touch typing, or display ebooks and any other content you like. Touch typing on a touchscreen does take some getting used to, and it will never be as efficient as typing on a physical keyboard, so this laptop is better suited to uses where you will need to type occasionally rather than all the time. If you need to do a more even mix of typing and sketching, check out one of the 2-in-1 mini laptops on this list that includes a physical keyboard, like the Microsoft Surface Go 2.
Built-in game controls
Convenient clamshell design
Tiny cramped keyboard
Runs really hot
The GPD Win 2 looks and feels more like a handheld game console than a mini laptop, but it’s actually packing a powerful m3-8100Y processor and a full Windows 10 install under the hood. Round that out with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, a full QWERTY keyboard, and a built-in game controller, and the GPD Win 2 is clearly straddling two worlds, as both a mini laptop and a handheld gaming device.
Most mini laptops are underpowered when it comes to gaming, and the GPD Win 2 is still limited by its integrated Intel HD Graphics 615 chip, but it’s a fantastic platform for emulators, and it’s also capable of playing modern PC games as long as you don’t expect to crank up the graphics settings to ultra. The controller is also surprisingly comfortable and works well with most games.
As a mini laptop, the GPD Win 2 is perfectly capable of getting real work done, as it includes a full install of Windows 10 and the ability to install any Windows app you need. It does run quite hot though, and the keyboard is cramped and more like a Blackberry keyboard than a traditional laptop keyboard, but the clicky raised keys are fairly easy to get used to if you need to dash off an email here or there. For anything else, you’re better off connecting an external keyboard.
Works great in both modes
Beautiful vivid display
Good selection of ports
Poor audio quality
The Asus Chromebook Flip C302 is a fantastic convertible Chromebook if you have a little extra room in your budget. This mini laptop features a 360 degree hinge, so you can wrap the keyboard all the way around the back and use it as a laptop, in a tent formation, or as a tablet. The vivid HD display is also a highly responsive touchscreen, ensuring that this Chromebook works just as well in tablet mode as it does in laptop mode. When in laptop mode, the keyboard is comfortable and spacious for such a small laptop.
In terms of performance, the Chromebook Flip C302 gives you a few options, including three different Intel processors, either 4 or 8GB of RAM, and 32, 64 or 128GB of storage. At the low end, this unit is a bit underpowered, but it performs quite well when configured with the Core M5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. As a Chromebook, most users will get by just fine with the limited amount of RAM and storage. If you need more, there are upgrade options available.
The Chromebook Flip C302 excels at what Chromebooks do best, which is productivity tasks like email and web browsing, but it’s also capable of running Android apps. So while this option is more expensive than a lot of other Chromebooks, the higher performance hardware and ability to smoothly run a ton of different apps makes it worth that price tag.
Some keys too small
The GPD P2 Max is an exercise in extremes. Not only is the GPD P2 Max one of the smallest laptops on this list, it’s also remarkably powerful. Featuring a diminutive 8.9-inch screen and a size profile to match, it manages to pack in a powerful Intel Core m3-8100Y processor, a respectable 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD. That kind of hardware packed into this kind of a tiny package does come with a premium price tag, but it’s not that out of line from other powerful mini laptops.
The best thing about this laptop is that its size doesn’t prevent it from getting actual work done. It’s similar in profile to an iPad Mini, but it manages to pack in a full keyboard that’s surprisingly easy to adapt to. Some of the keys are too small and take a lot of getting used to, but this is a pocket-sized laptop that you can pull out at a coffee shop, job site, in your vehicle, or just about anywhere else, and get real work done.
Microsoft Surface Go 2
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 (view at Amazon) ticks all the right boxes for a fantastic mini laptop. It’s a productivity powerhouse when paired with the comfortable keyboard cover and fantastic Surface pen, and it functions as a great little tablet without the cover. If you aren’t looking for a 2-in-1, and you don’t need to run Windows 10 apps, the Google Pixel Book Go (view at Amazon) is a mini laptop that’s built to get work done during the day and stream media at night. The screen is big and beautiful compared to the overall size of the laptop, the keyboard is comfortable, and the hardware is more than powerful enough to handle any Chrome OS or Android app that you might throw at it.
Jeremy Laukkonen is a tech journalist and reviewer with over 10 years of experience. Jeremy has gone hands-on with hundreds of laptops, from beastly gaming rigs to the smallest of Linux-powered netbooks.
Style - Do you just need a basic laptop, or would you benefit from a 2-in-1 that also functions as a tablet? Tablet laptops that include detachable keyboards are another option in this category, although it’s important to understand that most of them lack a true hinge, making them inconvenient to use in laptop mode if you don’t have a desk or table to work at.
Resolution - Mini laptops have screens that are so small that you don’t really get the full benefit from an ultra high definition screen, but the resolution is still important both for productivity and quality of life. While a 1920x1080 display is a gold standard, smaller displays also work fine with lower resolutions like 1280x720.
Memory and storage - These are both typically limited in mini laptops. If you want to get any real work done, with easy multi-tasking, look for at least 8GB of RAM. For storage, 128GB is a bare minimum to shoot for. Anything less, and you’ll have very little space left over after the operating system is accounted for. Even with 128GB of storage, you may want to consider looking for a laptop that includes a built-in SD card reader for additional space.