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Best lightweight laptops 2020: get the best ultraportable laptop

T3 logo T3 09/02/2020 Robert Jones
a woman sitting on a table: best ultraportable laptops best lightweight laptops 2020 best thin laptop best small laptop best portable laptop best compact laptops © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. best ultraportable laptops best lightweight laptops 2020 best thin laptop best small laptop best portable laptop best compact laptops

Laptops keep getting thinner and lighter, which means our best lightweight laptops 2020 guide keeps getting better and better: these are the best ultraportables you can lay your hands on right now.

The T3 experts have put their heads together to put together this definitive list, so whether you're after the best cheap lightweight laptop, or the best lightweight student laptop, we can help you out – we've made sure our selection is as wide-ranging and comprehensive as possible.

We're also interested in finding you the best lightweight laptop deals, which is why you'll find prices and buying links next to all of our picks. You might be able to get kitted out with a new device for less money than you think.

From the polished Dell XPS 13 to the svelte Acer Swift 7. the sheer choice at either end of the best lightweight laptop in the UK market is really impressive at the moment. Whatever features you need or price you'll willing to pay, there's a top-rate lightweight laptop perfect for you.

How to choose the best lightweight laptop for you

So you don't want something that's heavy or big to lug around, but you don't want to be tapping out emails and browsing the web on a phone or tablet? If so, a super-thin, feather-light ultrabook is the perfect computing device for you.

The emergence of Chromebooks at the budget end of the market means that the world's best thin and ultraportable laptops are being pushed down in price, sometimes to very appealing prices – keep your eyes on the sales that are regularly appearing for the best chance of bagging a bargain.

And while you're doing your shopping, bear in mind that it's not just the weight and specs of these laptops that are important – these super-portables have to look good as well, while you're doing your computing on the move.

With that in mind, all ultraportables listed here in our curated best lightweight laptop guide for 2020 deliver on the specs front, and score highly in the appearance department too. All-metal constructions, wafer-thin form factors and internals that can rapidly handle demanding tasks are the order of the day.

As you may have noticed, we're not fans of slow, poorly made technology here at T3, so you can be confident that these really are the best lightweight laptops and best compact laptops for speed, style and quality you can get in 2020.

And so without any further ado, these are the best ultraportable and lightweight laptops available in the UK today. Happy shopping!

The best lightweight laptops and ultraportable laptops available in 2020

a laptop computer: The Acer Swift 7 is, arguably, the best lightweight laptop in the world right now. (Image credit: Acer) © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. The Acer Swift 7 is, arguably, the best lightweight laptop in the world right now. (Image credit: Acer)

1. Acer Swift 7

A breathtakingly thin and lightweight laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7-7Y75 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 14-inch Full HD | Storage: 256GB SSD

Innovative security features
Breathtakingly compact design
Runs silently

There’s a certain magic about this laptop. Weighing just 1.2kg thanks to its fanless design and ultrathin battery, the Swift 7 feels nothing short of futuristic. The 14-inch touch display covered by Corning Gorilla Glass provides great colour density, with a bezel that is almost non-existent. In fact, when the screen is showing off its excellent true blacks, it’s difficult to tell where the display ends and the bezel begins. The Swift 7 only comes in black, too; Henry Ford would be proud.

Inside, there's an 8th-gen i7 processor with integrated graphics and 8GB of RAM, optimised to produce minimum heat so the passive cooling system never gets overwhelmed. It’s a relatively modest laptop performance-wise, not best suited for demanding tasks such as video editing, but for on-the-go office work there’s scarcely anything better. Folded down, it’s just nine millimetres thick.

In addition to the stylish design, this laptop comes packing some nifty security features. The power button doubles as a fingerprint scanner for secure booting, and webcam hacks are a fear of the past thanks to a spring mechanism that conceals the camera within the body of the laptop when not in use. Overall, it's not cheap, but there are few ultralight laptops as elegant as this.

The Acer Swift 7 is the best lightweight laptop in the world.

a screen shot of an open laptop computer sitting on top of a table: With a variety of configurations on offer, the Huawei Matebook 13 is a really impressive ultrabook for the laptop connoisseur. (Image credit: Huawei) © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. With a variety of configurations on offer, the Huawei Matebook 13 is a really impressive ultrabook for the laptop connoisseur. (Image credit: Huawei)

2. Huawei Matebook 13

One of the very best lightweight laptops in the world, from any angle

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620; Nvidia GeForce MX150 (optional) | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch 2K (2,560 x 1,440; touch) | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD

Powerful upgrade from Matebook X Pro
Surprisingly robust GPU
Affordable considering specs

Huawei continues to show the world it's playing for keeps in the ultrabook market, following on from the sublime success of the Matebook X Pro comes the even more impressive Matebook 13. With a meaty 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 CPU and a powerful Nvidia GeForce MX150 (which is a surprisingly compete GPU for an ultrabook this thin), you can be sure you're getting a performance powerhouse.

With plenty of options to upgrade and customise your Huawei Matebook 13 (including the above GPU), you can make this already knock-out ultrabook even must-have. Prices do vary depending on your chose configuration, but even the base model represents one of the best thin laptops you can own right now.

Also, as a side note, if you like the Apple MacBook aesthetic but prefer Windows 10 as an operating system then this is simply the perfect system.

a screen shot of an open laptop computer sitting on top of a table: We doubt you'll find a cheaper Windows laptop than the Lenovo IdeaPad S130. (Image credit: Lenovo) © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. We doubt you'll find a cheaper Windows laptop than the Lenovo IdeaPad S130. (Image credit: Lenovo)

3. Lenovo IdeaPad S130

The best light laptop for affordable, streamlined performance

CPU: Intel Celeron Dual Core | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 11.6-inch, 1,366 x 768 pixels | Storage: 32GB SSD

Very attractive price point
All the features and ports you need
Built to go the distance

The IdeaPad S130 isn't going to win any benchmarking races and shouldn't be used for intensive tasks like video editing or gaming, but as light computing Windows laptops go, it's really hard to beat.

What really stands out here, and why the S130 ranks so high in our best lightweight laptops list, is the price: this laptop comes in cheaper than even a lot of Chromebooks. As such, if the amount you're spending is important, then it might be worth putting the IdeaPad S130 on your shortlist.

The screen isn't the biggest at just 11.6-inches (you can upgrade to the 14-inch version if that's a problem), but that does mean this is a super small and portable lightweight laptop that you can take pretty much anywhere – and it's designed to be bumped around a bit, too, with a solid build quality.

The system comes installed with a copy of Windows 10 in S mode, meaning that the OS is streamlined around light and fast usage. You can obviously switch to full Windows 10 if you desire, but if you're selecting this system you are doing so as you want a machine that can quickly run basic applications and programs, such as browsing the internet, sending emails, streaming the odd bit of Netflix, and playing Candy Crush Saga, which is what Windows 10 S Mode specialises in.

If you've got under £200 to spend on a laptop, then the IdeaPad S130 is definitely worth considering. For even more cheap laptops be sure to check out T3's best laptops under £500 buying guide.

a desktop computer monitor sitting on top of a laptop: Mac fans should look no further than the Apple MacBook Air for an ultraportable laptop in 2020. (Image credit: Apple) © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. Mac fans should look no further than the Apple MacBook Air for an ultraportable laptop in 2020. (Image credit: Apple)

4. Apple MacBook Air

The best light laptop for Apple lovers

CPU: 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 617 | RAM: 8GB to 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch 2,560 x 1,600 pixel-resolution Retina display | Storage: 128GB to 1.5TB SSD | Connectivity: 2 x Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C | Camera: 720p FaceTime camera | Weight: 0.92 kg | Dimensions: 30.41cm x 21.24cm x 1.56cm (W x D x H)

Thin and light
Sharp Retina display
Apple build quality

After years of neglect, the MacBook Air line got relaunched and this model is just about as fine an ultraportable as you could hope to find. The bright 2,560 x 1,600 pixel display isn't class-leading for resolution, but it's more than sharp and clear enough to work on, edit photos or watch videos. The stereo speaker system is impressively wide and full, too.

It uses Apple's shallow keyboard, which some people don't like the feel of, though we don't mind it at all. More concerning are the reliability problems some people have had with this kind of keyboard – we haven't encountered issues, and this third-gen version is supposed to be improved, but it's important to note.

There's a reasonable amount of power for working thanks to the dual-core 8th-generation Intel chip, helped hugely by Apple's fastest-in-class storage, which makes everything open instantly. It only comes with 128GB of storage, though, and an upgrade to 256GB costs an extra £200, which is pretty steep.

You get Apple's Touch ID fingerprint system for security, including a T2 chip that keeps your files extra secure. The two USB-C ports on outside double up as Thunderbolt 3 ports, which makes this impressively expandable – you could even add an external GPU for gaming.

It's a great all-round package, and sure to appeal to the ultralight laptop lovers out there – especially if macOS is your operating system of choice.

Find out how the MacBook Air matches up against the iPad Pro

a close up of a computer: (Image credit: Future) © Provided by T3 (Image credit: Future)

5. Acer Swift 5

The Acer Swift line continues to impress

CPU: 10th-gen Intel Core i5 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Graphics: Integrated

Lightweight and sleek
Sharp and vibrant screen
Integrated fingerprint reader

The Acer Swift 5 is another excellent entry from the Acer Swift line: with a 14-inch, Full HD screen, some pleasing aesthetics, and a reasonable amount of power under the hood, it's likely to be on the shortlists of a lot of people shopping for a laptop for less than £1,000.

It's fantastically portable too, which is why it makes this list of the best lightweight laptops. Weighing in at just 990 grams, you'll barely notice that it's there, and you can easily carry it in one hand if you need to. It'll squeeze into bags of most sizes without weighing you down.

With a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, this machine is respectable as far as specs go, but it's really the size, the weight and the design that you're going to be buying this one for. If you're after a mid-range laptop that balances price and performance well, then give the Acer Swift 5 a look.

a close up of a computer: The Dell XPS 13 is great option for anyone looking for one of the best ultraportable laptops on the market. (Image credit: Dell) © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. The Dell XPS 13 is great option for anyone looking for one of the best ultraportable laptops on the market. (Image credit: Dell)

6. Dell XPS 13

A superb all-round system and one of the best lightweight laptops going

CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 4.0GHz) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16GB DDR3 (2,133MHz) | Screen: 13.3-inch, Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) UltraSharp InfinityEdge touch display | Storage: 1TB PCIe SSD

Gorgeous 4K display
Lightweight, compact design
Quality internal spec

Not one to sacrifice power for size, the Dell XPS 13 is one of the beefier laptops we’re looking at here. It’s pleasingly weighty in the hands, with a smooth rose-gold finish on the outside and a glossy white interior, complete with white backlighting on the chiclet-style keyboard. And what a lovely keyboard it is; Dell may have been taking a peek at Apple’s notes lately, as both the keyboard and trackpad feel sensitive and pleasing to use.

The model we’re reviewing comes with an 8th-gen i5 processor utilising Intel’s integrated UHD 620 graphics, making it perfectly capable of simple photo and video editing as well as general computer work. Where it shines, though, is video playback. The screen is crisp and clear with excellent colour. The battery life is dependable too, so there’s no risk of it running out midway through your Netflix binge.

While it’s a bit heavier than some of the other laptops we’re looking at here, that’s no dealbreaker. It’s still small and light enough to easily slip into a shoulder bag, and the touchscreen makes quick navigation in Microsoft Office apps a breeze. Add to that a miniscule but powerful webcam, and you’ve got a versatile, dependable laptop.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

a laptop computer: If you're looking for one of the best small laptops available today that features premium build quality, then the HP Spectre 13 will not disappoint. © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. If you're looking for one of the best small laptops available today that features premium build quality, then the HP Spectre 13 will not disappoint.

7. HP Spectre 13

One of the best lightweight, ultraportable laptops with a Full HD, 1080p screen

CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 3.1GHz with Turbo Boost | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM (1,866MHz) | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD IPS UWVA BrightView Corning Gorilla Glass WLED-backlit display | Storage: 256GB SSD (PCIe; NVMe; M.2)

Sleek and lightweight
Tactile keyboard
Premium HP build quality

HP's most luxurious laptop borrows the Lenovo Yoga 900S's style and the MacBook's bag-friendly dimensions. The Spectre 13 is so thin that tapping away on its tactile keyboard almost feels like your fingers are tap-dancing on the table.

Its biggest advantage over the MacBook is its Intel Core-series processor inside, which lends it the winning combination of dazzling looks and computing muscle.

Packing three USB-C ports for hooking up peripherals (note that you'll need a converter to use your old USB-A ones), the Spectre 13 doesn't just look like a laptop from the future – it has one eye trained on it too. Undoubtedly one of the best lightweight laptops you can buy in 2020.

Read the full review: HP Spectre 13

a close up of a computer: If you've got a large budget to play and want one of the best ultraportable laptops on the market today with 2-in-1 functionality, then the Surface Book 2 is the best-in-class option. © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. If you've got a large budget to play and want one of the best ultraportable laptops on the market today with 2-in-1 functionality, then the Surface Book 2 is the best-in-class option.

8. Microsoft Surface Book 2

The best lightweight laptop if you need premium hybrid functionality

CPU: 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8650U (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 4.2GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620; Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5 VRAM) | RAM: 16GB LPDDR3 (1866Mhz) | Screen: 15-inch, 3,240 x 2,160 (260 ppi) PixelSense display (3:2 aspect ratio; 1600:1 contrast ratio) | Storage: 512 GB PCIe 3.0 SSD

All-round powerhouse
Top rate battery life
Excellent screen

If you want absolutely massive ultraportable power then you should definitely consider the Microsoft Surface Book 2. It remains one of the best lightweight laptops money can buy in 2020.

The second edition of this ultra-premium (and ultra-expensive) 2-in-1 laptop-tablet is a marked improvement in every respect, with a suite of powerful internal hardware components including an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, a stunning 15-inch 3,240 x 2,160 resolution display, and excellent battery life combining to deliver a superb all-round computing package.

You don't get a stylus included to full make the most of the device in tablet mode, but if you can stretch to the Surface Book 2's very high price point, then you can probably spend a little extra to complete the dream setup.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 2

a laptop computer: The Asus ZenBook UX333 delivers a quality internal hardware spec, with an attractive, mature design. (Image credit: Asus) © Provided by T3 The Asus ZenBook UX333 delivers a quality internal hardware spec, with an attractive, mature design. (Image credit: Asus)

9. Asus ZenBook UX333FA

The best lightweight laptop for quality hardware at a mid-range price point

CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB LPDDR3 | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 | Storage: 512GB SSD

Strong hardware spec
Quality fit and finish
Mid-range price point

For lightweight laptop buyers shopping with a mid-range budget then the Asus ZenBook UX333 is a top choice. That's because it delivers a proper strong all-round hardware spec along with a small-ish but quality screen in a chassis that boasts a truly first rate fit and finish.

The star of the show, visually, is the 4-sided NanoEdge display, which is a minimal bezel beauty that helps the UX333 boast a 95 per cent screen to body ratio. The bezels are just 2.8mm thin at the sides, 3.3mm at the bottom, and 5.9mm at the top, making the small screen look a lot bigger than it actually is.

From a hardware point of view, there is just no arguing with the mix of Intel Core i7, 8GB of RAM (this can be bumped to 16GB if desired) and 512GB SSD (can go to 1TB if wanted). There's also no arguing with a truly long-lasting 14-hour battery life on a single charge.

A full copy of Windows 10 Home completes the package. Overall, a great system that punches above its price bracket in terms of specs and build quality.

a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. Microsoft Surface Laptop 2

10. Microsoft Surface Laptop 2

The best lightweight laptop if portability is more important than power

CPU: 8th-gen Intel Core i5 or i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB or 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 2256 x 1504 (261 ppi) PixelSense display (3:2 aspect ratio) | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD

Plenty of power available
A range of appealing colours
Long-lasting battery

For our second Microsoft entry in this list of the best lightweight laptops of 2020 we've gone for the Surface Laptop 2. It's a little more compact and svelte than the Surface Book 2, but doesn't carry quite the same performance oomph – so it really depends what you're prioritising.

You don't get that clever detachable screen either, and there's no discrete GPU as there is on the Surface Book 2, but not everyone needs one. For everyday laptop tasks in a small and light form, the Surface Laptop 2 is ideal – aside from the graphics, the internal specs are very similar.

a close up of a laptop computer: The Razer Blade Stealth packs a gaming punch while keeping light and svelte. © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. The Razer Blade Stealth packs a gaming punch while keeping light and svelte.

11. Razer Blade Stealth

The best lightweight laptop for gamers

CPU: 8th-gen 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8565U (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 4.6GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620; Nvidia GeForce MX 150 (4GB GDDR5 VRAM) | RAM: 8GB-16GB LPDDR3 (2,133Mhz) | Screen: 13.3-inch up to 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution | Storage: up to 512GB PCIe M2

Packed with some high-end components
A wealth of customisation options

If you're happy to sacrifice a little bit of thinness and lightness for some extra gaming power, then the Razer Blade Stealth might well be the best lightweight laptop for you in 2020. With an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, the option of a 4K screen and an Nvidia GeForce MX150 under the hood, it's going to offer decent performance on even the most demanding games.

This being a Razer laptop, it comes packed with extra touches for gamers (like customised keyboard lighting and immersive audio), and offers a build quality that puts a lot of laptop makers to shame. You'll have to pay a premium for this, but it's worth it.

a close up of a laptop: The Lenovo Yoga 920 has a lot going for it as one of the best lightweight ultraportable laptops around. © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. The Lenovo Yoga 920 has a lot going for it as one of the best lightweight ultraportable laptops around.

12. Lenovo Yoga 920

The best ultraportable laptop if you need a 2-in-1 but can't stretch to the Surface Book 2

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.9-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Gorgeous display
Quality internal hardware
Top sound quality

If you're all about style and want very competitive power to back it up, things don't get much better than Lenovo's hot Yoga 920 hybrid as far as the best lightweight laptops of 2019 are concerned.

The specs are top rate – with 8th-gen Intel Core processors partnered with up to a 4K UHD touchscreen display and spacious 1TB SSD – while the design is thin, attractive and light (1.37kg), and the price is affordable.

Okay, the Yoga 920 isn't a graphical powerhouse, but providing you aren't banking on the system to play demanding PC games or do heavy video editing then it's pretty much the ideal 2-in-1 hybrid.

a close up of a computer: Google's elite laptop might just be the one for you. (Image credit: Google) © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. Google's elite laptop might just be the one for you. (Image credit: Google)

13. Google Pixelbook

The best light laptop running Chrome OS

CPU: 7th-gen Intel Core i5 and i7 | RAM: 8GB or 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch 2,400x1,600 LCD | Storage: 128GB, 256GB or 512GB SSD

Lovely hardware
Long-lasting battery life
Simple operating system

Google has been working hard on its hardware design for some time now and the pinnacle of those efforts is the Pixelbook, the most elite Chromebook around that serves as an example of how it should be done. The 12.3-inch device can be used in three different configurations – laptop, tablet, and somewhere in between – meaning it's very versatile. Weighing in at 1.1kg, it's also not heavy and will easily fit into your bag.

Besides the beautiful hardware, as the name suggests, the Pixelbook runs Chrome OS, the desktop version of the Chrome operating system, and that entails certain limitations compared to macOS and Windows. For most users, however, this is unlikely to be a problem, especially those who are wedded to their browsers. 

The price of the machine – starting at £999 and working up to £1,699 – is not for the faint of heart, too, but it is a really beautiful thing. Bear in mind that Google is rumoured to be prepping the Pixelbook 2 for launch in the near future, as well.

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