These are the best 13-inch laptops you can buy in 2022

These are the best 13-inch laptops you can buy in 2022

Laptops are incredibly useful devices, and buying a new one can be very exciting, but also daunting. There’s so much choice nowadays that finding the right laptop for you can be tough, but we’re here to help. We already have a round-up of the best laptops overall, but what if you specifically want something that’s lightweight and easy to carry around? Well, you can check out our list of the best lightweight laptops, or we can take a look at the best 13-inch laptops you can buy today.

While some users prefer bigger screens, 13-inch laptops are some of the most popular out there, and for good reason. Laptops are meant to be portable, and with this compact size, you can have something that’s easy to take with you to school or work. And while they’re not huge, 13-inch displays still give you enough room to work with and multi-task, so it’s the perfect balance for many of us. Because it’s such a popular segment, there are tons of great 13-inch laptops, and we’ve rounded up what we consider to be the best ones you can buy today.

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Best overall: Dell XPS 13 (9310)

If you’re looking for one of the very best laptops around, the Dell XPS 13 might just be it. The XPS line is home to some of the best laptops you’ll find anywhere, and the 13-inch model is one of the most popular among them. It’s sleek, compact, and powerful.

Performance-wise, the Dell XPS 13 comes with Intel’s 11th-generation Core processors, up to a Core i7-1195G7. That’s one of the fastest ultrabook CPUs around, with four cores, eight threads, and boost speeds up to 5GHz. Plus, it includes Iris Xe graphics with 96 execution units, so some light GPU workloads are feasible on this laptop. You can also configure it with up to 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD, so this is as high-end as ultrabooks get.

It’s got a great display, too, with a tall 16:10 aspect ratio. Tall screens are great for productivity, whether that’s working with text, spreadsheets, or media apps that have complex interfaces, like Photoshop. The base model comes in Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) resolution, which is already great, but you can upgrade to a stunning 3.5K (3456 x 2160) OLED option that’s very sharp while also having the usual benefits of OLED, like true blacks, vivid colors, and high contrast ratios. There’s also an Ultra HD+ (3840 x 24400) LCD option which is ideal for creative work since it covers 100% of Adobe RGB.

The biggest downside of the XPS 13 is its webcam. Dell uses at tiny 2.25mm lens with 720p resolution, so it’s not very sharp, but most importantly, it can’t capture a lot of light. Even in decent lighting conditions, results from this webcam aren’t very impressive. However, at least you get Windows Hello facial recognition, in addition to a fingerprint sensor if you prefer that.

In terms of design, the Dell XPS 13 is also great. Like the rest of the XPS lineup, it’s very compact, with tiny bezels around the display (hence the small webcam), so it’s very easy to carry around. It looks great, too, with a unique dual-tone color scheme. One model comes with a dark silver exterior and a black carbon fiber interior, while another has a lighter silver exterior and a white fiber glass composite interior. Both look great, though I’d personally go with the white version right now.

You don’t get a ton of ports with the XPS 13, but it does have two Thunderbolt 4 ports, meaning you can connect just about anything using a Thunderbolt dock. You also get a headphone jack and a microSD card reader built in, but for everything else you’ll need some kind of USB-C hub or adapter. It’s not ideal, but it’s what you get with 13-inch laptop this thin.

There’s no such thing as the perfect laptop, but as far as 13-inch laptops go, the Dell XPS 13 is easily one of the best. You can buy it below or check out additional configurations on Dell’s website.

    The Dell XPS 13 is a compact and powerful ultrabook with high-end specs and a great display.

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Best 13-inch convertible: HP Spectre x360 14

Despite having a name that suggests it’s a 14-inch laptop, the display on the HP Spectre x360 14 is actually a 13.5-inch panel. But we’re willing to forgive that because this is one of the very best laptops around, and if you want a 13-inch convertible, you really can’t go wrong with this one. It looks fantastic and it has great performance for just about any day-to-day task.

That performance is driven by up to an Intel Core i7-1195G7 processor, with four cores, eight threads, boost speeds up to 5GHz, and integrated Iris Xe graphics. On top of that, you can configure the laptop with up to 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD for storage, so you really do get the full package with this laptop. Whether you want to just browse the web, watch Netlfix, or get work done, the Spectre x360 14 can keep up.

The display is another standout. HP calls this the Spectre x360 14 because it has the width of the 13-inch model and the height of the 15-inch version. That’s all thanks to the 13.5-inch panel which has a tall 3:2 aspect ratio, even taller than 16:10. You get even more vertical space to work with this way, so it’s truly great for productivity, and it makes the screen feel much bigger than it is. The base model is Full HD+ (1920 x 1280), and you can equip it with a privacy screen if you want to, but the best upgrade option is the 3K2K (3000 x 2000) OLED panel, which looks stunning with vibrant colors and true blacks.

It does have a downside, though, and that’s the webcam. Similar to what Dell did with its XPS laptops, the Spectre x360 14 has a 720p webcam and it uses a very small 2.2mm sensor. That means there’s not a lot of light coming into the sensor, and thus, the picture can look a bit dark and noisy. It’s not ideal, but serviceable in a pinch. You do get Windows Hello facial recognition, plus a fingerprint sensor so you can choose your preferred method.

The Spectre design is iconic and stunning. This 14-inch model comes in three color options: Natural Silver, Nightfall Black, and Poseidon Blue. The first one is plain silver if that’s your style, but the other two come with dual-tone designs. Nightfall Black has copper accents along the edges of the laptop, while the Poseidon Blue model mixes dark blue surfaces with gold accents. These are paired with angled edges and trimmed corners that are a signature of the Spectre family, and it all makes for a premium and eye-catching look that’s still classy.

As for ports, the Spectre x360 14 is packing two Thunderbolt 4 ports – with one housed in the corner so it’s easier to access from the back – plus you get a USB Type-A port, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader. Some users (myself included) would probably want to see HDMI built-in, but having USB Type-A is very welcome. Otherwise, you’ll need a THunderbolt dock or some adapter to connect other peripherals.

This is one of my personal favorite laptops on this list, and one of the very best 13-inch models you can buy today.

    The Spectre x360 14 is one of the best convertibles HP has ever made, featuring a stunning premium design and a tall 3:2 display, all paired with high-end performance.

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Best premium laptop: Surface Laptop 4

Surface Laptop 4 front view

If you’re in the market for a premium 13-inch laptop, the Surface Laptop 4 is one of your best options. It’s got a premium design with some unique twists, a great display, and solid performance with high-end specs. It does come in a 15-inch variant as well but obviously we’ll be focusing on the smaller model here.

Powering the Surface Laptop 4 are Intel or AMD processors, with the top-tier configuration featuring an Intel Core i7-1185G7. That’s a quad-core, eight-thread CPU, and it can boost up to 4.8GHz, making it one of the fastest mobile processors around. You can also get it with an AMD Ryzen 5 processor if you prefer that “team red”. You can get it with up to 16GBGB of RAM and a 512GB SSD (maximum 256GB for AMD models), and that’s enough to give you a great experience overall.

One of the areas where the Surface Laptop 4 shines is the display, which is a 13.5-inch panel with a tall 3:2 aspect ratio. As we’ve mentioned before, tall screens are great for productivity due to the extra vertical space and larger surface area overall, so this is great. It’s a sharp display, too, with 2256 x 1504 resolution, which is standard across the board. There aren’t any upgrade options, but that also means you’re getting a great display no matter what configuration you go with.

The webcam on the Surface Laptop 4 is only a 720p camera, which isn’t as good as what Microsoft uses on its other devices. Still, Surface devices do have some of the better webcams, and though the resolution is a bit low, it should still work just fine. Plus, you get Windows Hello facial recognition support out of the box.

Design-wise, the Surface Laptop 4 is one of the most minimalistic laptops you’ll find, which is very much in line with the Surface design language. It looks clean and sleek, but it comes in four colors to choose from – Platinum, Matte Black, Ice Blue, and Sandstone – so it can still have some personality. There’s a twist, too: the Ice Blue and Platinum models have a keyboard deck covered in Alcantara, a soft fabric that helps your hands be more comfortable when you type. That’s something you won’t really find on other laptops, so it truly helps the Surface Laptop 4 stand out.

A downside of the Surface Laptop 4 is the ports. You get one USB Type-A, one USB Type-C, a headphone jack, and a Surface Connect port. It covers some of the basics, but you don’t get Thunderbolt support, something Microsoft has taken a while to implement in its devices. If you want a docking solution, you can use a Surface Dock with the Surface Connect port, but it’s not ideal since it only works with Surface devices.

While it’s not impressive as far as ports go, the Surface Laptop 4 gets enough right in terms of performance, display, and design to deserve a spot among the best 13-inch laptops you can buy today.

    The Surface Laptop 4 has a sleek and clean design, high-end performance, and a great display.

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Best 13-inch laptop for gaming: ASUS ROG Flow X13

ASUS ROG Flow X13 featured image

There aren’t a ton of small laptops designed for gaming, obviously because the components needed to run games smoothly tend to be big and require large cooling systems. But the ASUS ROG Flow X13 is an extremely impressive convertible that can run most modern games, even if you need to tweak some settings.

Performance-wise, the ASUS ROG Flow X13 is powered by up to an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS, which is a 35W processor with 8 cores, 16 threads, and boost speeds up to 4.8GHz. You can also get it with up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, which is a relatively small discrete GPU that’s great for small laptops like this. It can use up to 45W of power with Dynamic Boost, and it’s good enough to run most modern games without a problem. Additionally, you can get it with up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.

If you want more power for gaming, you can always buy the ASUS ROG Xg Mobile, an external GPU that uses a proprietary connector specifically for this laptop. It comes with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU inside, plus it adds a bunch of ports to your laptop. It’s sold separately on ASUS’ website, but you can also buy the laptop and external GPU bundled together.

The display on the ROG Flow X13 is a 13.4-inch panel and it comes in a 16:10 aspect ratio, which means it can also be a great laptop for productivity. There are a couple of versions, one with a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, and another with a 4K+ (3840 x 2400) 60Hz panel if you value resolution over refresh rate. Both options are great, and since it’s a convertible, it also supports touch and pen input, and you can use it as a tablet.

This is yet another laptop with a 720p webcam, which is still a bit too common. It doesn’t support Windows Hello facial recognition, either, but if you want Windows Hello, you can use the fingerprint reader built into the power button for that.

On to the design, the ASUS ROG Flow X13 feels like a gaming laptop and doesn’t at the same time. It has a clean design with some lines running across the chassis that make it somewhat unique without being obnoxious. Some models have RGB lighting on the lid, but others don’t. What’s most surprising is that the laptop is 15.8mm thick and weighs 2.87lbs, which is super impressive for a convertible with a discrete GPU like this.

As for ports, the ROG Flow X13 comes packing two USB Type-C ports, one USB Type-A port, HDMI, and a headphone jack. There’s also the ROG Xg Mobile interface connector, which is a proprietary port combined with one of the USB Type-C ports. That covers most of the basics, and it’s one of the best setups you’ll find in a laptop of this size outside of more business-oriented devices. There’s no Thunderbolt support due to it being an AMD laptop, and that’s why ASUS uses a custom interface for its external GPU.

If you want to buy the ASUS ROG Flow X13 by itself, you can do it below, or use this link to get the bundle with the ROG Xg Mobile external GPU. That model includes an older GTX 1650 Ti GPU built-in, but that might not matter if you’re planning to use the external GPU for gaming anyway. Otherwise, you can buy the external GPU by itself on ASUS’ website. No matter your choice, this is easily one of the best 13-inch laptops around, especially if you’re into gaming.

    The ASUS ROG FLow X13 is a lightweight convertible laptop that still packs a punch with a dedicated NVIDIA GPU.

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Best for college students: MacBook Air

macos 12 monterey on macbook air m1

MacBooks are some of the most popular laptops for college students, and the latest MacBook Air is certainly worthy of that popularity. It’s a sleek and premium laptop, and it’s faster and more efficient than ever. If you want a laptop with all-day battery and great performance, this is one of your best options in the 13-inch segment.

The latest model of the MacBook Air comes with Apple’s own M1 chipset, which is significantly different from what we see on most Windows laptops. This is an 8-core processor based on the Arm architecture, and it has four performance cores and four efficiency cores. It’s fast enough to compete with the best Windows ultrabooks in terms of performance, but because the Arm architecture is so efficient, battery life is likely to be much better compared to equivalent Windows laptops. It also has an integrated 8-core (7-core in entry-level models) GPU that can drive some lighter graphics-related workloads and a 16-core Neural Engine for AI tasks. Not only that, you get up to 16GB of unified memory (RAM) and a 2TB SSD, so this is still as premium as they come in terms of performance.

The display is also great on the MacBook Air. It’s a 13.3-inch Retina display, meaning it has a resolution of 2560 x 1600, which is super sharp for a display of this size. That display is standard across the board, too, so you get the same great experience regardless of what configuration you choose. It’s also got a tall 16:10 aspect ratio that’s great for productivity, which also helps make this a great laptop for students. A potential downside some might find is the lack of touch support, which most laptops on this list have.

The MacBook Air also comes with a 720p webcam, but Apple is using the Neural Engine in its M1 processors to improve image quality with AI, so it’s one of the better cameras you’ll find on a laptop like this. There’s no kind of facial recognition for login, but Touch ID is built into the power button to make it easier to log unlock your laptop.

Design-wise, there aren’t many surprises here. The MacBook Air has a very clean and minimalist design, and it comes in three color options: Silver, space grey, and rose pink. At 16.1mm of thickness and 2.8lbs of weight, it’s also very portable, making it ideal if you’re going to take it to school everyday.

As for ports, the MacBook Air has a couple of USB4/Thunderbolt ports and a headphone jack, and that’s it. It’s one of the very few non-Intel laptops to support Thunderbolt, which is great if you want to use a docking solution to expand your ports. Keep in mind you can only connect one external display, though. The port selection isn’t very wide here, but if you’re familiar with MacBooks, that’s been the case for a while, so it’s probably not as much of a pain point for you anymore.

If you’re looking for one of the best 13-inch laptops on the market and you’re willing to branch out from Windows (or if you’re already familiar with Macs), this is definitely an option worth keeping on your radar. You can buy it below or check out higher-end configurations at Adorama.

    The MacBook Air features Apple's first in-house processor with great performance and efficiency, plus it has a great screen and lightweight design.

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Best 13-inch business laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga

Front view of ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga on bench

Lenovo makes some of the best and most iconic business laptops in the world, and the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga tried to blend the iconic ThinkPad design with modern design elements and traits. The result is an ultraportable convertible that keeps what makes ThinkPads great while also making them appealing to more people.

Starting with performance, the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is powered by up to an Intel Core i7-1180G7 with vPro technologies for extra security in business environments. That’s a quad-core, eight-thread CPU that can boost up to 4.6GHz, and it also sports Intel Iris Xe graphics. This is 9W processor, which means it’s a little less power-hungry than most laptops on this list, though performance is also not as great. It’s not bad by any means, though, and this helps the laptop be as thin and light as it is, though, so it’s an understandable tradeoff.

The display is one of the great things about the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga. It’s the first ThinkPad to have a 3:2 aspect ratio for the display, and it comes in a very sharp 2256 x 1504 resolution, which is what you get regardless of the configuration. Many business laptops start with Full HD displays, which are good, but this gives you a fantastic experience by default and in every configuration. That tell aspect ratio also makes this even better as a work laptop thanks to the additional vertical space.

Like pretty much every laptop on this list, the webcam is a 720p camera, so it’s not setting any records for quality, but at least it has Windows Hello facial recognition support by default. You can also add human presence detection, which allows the laptop to lock itself when you walk away and wake up when you approach it without requiring any action from you. That way, it can also use facial recognition to sign you in right away.

The ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga’s design is very interesting when you think about it. It has some iconic elements of the ThinkPad line, like the red accents on the logo and a pointing stick on the keyboard, complete with clickable buttons above the touchpad. But instead of black, it comes in this silver color, and the chassis is made of a mix of materials. The lid uses a mix of titanium and carbon fiber, while the base uses aluminum and magnesium, and this gives the laptop a sort of dual-tone look even though it’s all the same color. These materials also allow it to weigh a mere 2.54lbs and be just 11.5mm thin – making it one of the thinnest laptops on the market right now.

A thin design like that does require some sacrifices, so you don’t get a ton of ports compared to other business laptops. You get two Thunderbolt 4 ports and a headphone jack, which is in line with other premium compact laptops like this. Business laptops tend to have a bit more, but you’ll have to use a Thunderbolt dock if you want more ports with this laptop. One thing it does have is optional LTE or 5G support so you can stay connected to the internet even when you’re away from Wi-Fi. That’s an important feature in business laptops, so it’s great to see it here.

With an extremely thin and light design, great performance, and business features, the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is one of the best 13-inch laptops for a modern workplace. You can find more configurations on Lenovo’s website.

    The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is a very thin and light business laptop with classic ThinkPad features and a modern design.

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Best 13-inch tablet: Surface Pro 8

Angled view of Surface Pro 8

There aren’t a ton of Windows tablets out there, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Surface Pro 8 is one of the very best you can find today. It’s the best Surface Pro model in a long time, featuring high-end performance, a fantastic screen, and a more modern design.

Performance-wise, the Surface Pro 8 is up there with many of the best ultrabooks on the list, You can get it with up to an Intel Core i7-1185G7, and that’s a quad-core, eight-thread CPU that can boost up to 4.8GHz. Plus, it supports Intel Iris Xe graphics for some light GPU-focused workloads. That’s impressive for a tablet, and you can configure it with up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, so it’s as premium as laptops get, just in a tablet form factor.

One of the highlights of the Surface Pro 8 is the display. It’s a 13-inch panel and it comes in the 3:2 aspect ratio that every Surface device has, so you get the usual benefits of a taller display, which makes this a great tablet to work on. It’s also incredibly sharp, with a resolution of 2880 x 1920. To make it even better,the display has a variable 120Hz refresh rate, which is something you don’t really see outside of gaming laptops. While it’s more popular for gaming, a high refresh rate can really help make animations and transitions feel a lot smoother, so it’s a great addition to any laptop. Of course, it supports touch and pen input, and if you’re using the Surface Slim Pen 2, it even supports tactile signals (haptic feedback) in some apps t make it feel like you’re writing on real paper.

Another thing that’s great is the camera – or rather, cameras. The Surface Pro lineup has always had some of the best cameras of any laptop, and here you get a 5MP front-facing camera with 1080p video support, which makes this easily the best webcam out of any laptop on this list. Plus, it supports Windows Hello facial recognition. As a bonus, you even get a second camera on the back, and that one has a 10MP sensor and supports 4K video, so you can take pictures or record videos in a pinch with it.

The Surface Pro 8 also has a new design compared to previous models. It uses rounded edges now, and the bezels around the screen have shrunk. Plus, it’s made of aluminum now instead of magnesium. Because it’s a tablet, it’s the thinnest device on this list at 9.3mm, and it also weighs just 1.9lbs. When you add the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard (which is sold separately), it’s about 14.2mm thick, and a little thicker if you include the Surface Slim Pen 2’s garage. Regardless, it’s a very portable device, more so than most of this list.

As for ports, the Surface Pro 8 is one of the first Surface devices to feature Thunderbolt support, meaning you can finally connect things like external GPUs and Thunderbolt docks to create your ideal setup. You get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a Surface Connect port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It’s not a very wide selection, but for a tablet, it’s certainly acceptable. There’s also a variant with LTE support meant for businesses, so you don’t have to rely on Wi-Fi.

The Surface Pro 8 is one of the best devices in Microsoft’s lineup, and if you want something portable and versatile, it’s one of the best 13-inch laptops out there.

    The Surface Pro 8 is probably the best Windows tablet you can buy right now. It has great performance, a fantastic display, and more.

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Best Chromebook: Acer Chromebook Spin 713

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

Almost every time we recommend a Chrome OS laptop, it’s the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, and there’s a very good reason for it. For its price point of $700, this laptop offers incredible value – great performance, a premium design, a great display, and the versatility of a convertible.

Starting with performance, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is powered by an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, which is a rare sight on a Chromebook. Most Chromebooks have low-end hardware, so this quad-core, eight-thread CPU should give you really good performance for Chrome OS. Plus, it has Intel Iris Xe graphics. You also get 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, a stellar combination for a Chromebook and most laptops at this price.

It’s got a great display for this price point, too. It’s a 13.5-inch panel with a 3:2 aspect ratio, and it has a very sharp 2256 x 1504 resolution, so it’s going to be great for all kinds of work, but also content consumption. This is a convertible, too, so the screen supports touch and pen input and you can use it like a tablet.

The webcam is in line with most other laptops on this list, too. It’s a 720p camera, and there’s no infrared-based facial recognition, which Chrome OS doesn’t support. Unfortunately, there’s no kind of biometric authentication, either, and that’s one of the bigger downsides of this laptop.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 doesn’t have a very distinctive design, but it is functional. It’s an all-metal laptop and the screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, adding to the overall premium feel of this laptop. It meets MIL-STD-810H standards for durability, too, so it should be able to withstand some bumps and drops if necessary. It only comes in a dark grey color, which isn’t very flashy, but that’s what you’d expect for a metal laptop, especially an affordable one.

Finally, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 has one of the most complete port setups of any laptop on this list. It has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one USB Type-A port, HDMI, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader. It covers all the basics you could want, with some bonus features like Thunderbolt 4 being a big surprise at this price point.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 checks off many boxes that most other laptos at this price point don’t cover. When you consider how many of them are in this laptop alone, that’s incredibly impressive, and that’s why it’s one of the best 13-inch laptops you can buy today.

    The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is one of the very best Chrome OS laptops out there. It has performance and other great features you won't find in most other laptops at this price.

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And those are the best 13-inch laptops you can buy today. We chose the Dell XPS 13 for the top spot because it has a fantastic combination of high-end performance, great display options, a compact design that you can take anywhere. It’s a laptop you can’t really go wrong with, so it deserves the top spot, but all the other laptops on this list are also great choices.

It’s worth noting that Intel recently introduced 12th-generation processors, and some new laptops may make it tot this list soon. One example is the Dell XPS 13 Plus, which is planned for later this year. In the meantime, if you’re more interested in bigger laptops, we also have a  list of the best 15-inch laptops you can buy right now.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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