Best Travel Laptop of 2020

  Comparison

Product Screen size Weight Price range
New Apple MacBook Air 13inch New Apple MacBook Air 13inch 13.3-inch 2.75 pounds $$$
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13.5 inches 2.84 pounds $$
LG gram Laptop LG gram Laptop 15.6 inches 2.4 pounds $$$
Microsoft Surface Pro 6 Microsoft Surface Pro 6 12.3 inches 3.15 pounds $$
Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop 14 inches 3.52 pounds $
Acer Spin 3 Acer Spin 3 14 inches 3.75 pounds $$
Microsoft  Surface Laptop 2 Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 13.5 inches 2.76 pounds $$

In the modern age, more and more people like to travel. Be it for work, weekends away or epic journeys through distant continents, traveling is a way of life now. As we all know, there is a lot of downtimes when traveling. Train and plane journeys can take forever. That is where the best travel laptops come in. They can be a godsend when you have a lot of time on your hands to watch a film, catch up with emails or browse the web. 

But what to look for when making a considered purchase of a travel laptop? There are a lot of features to think about, that's for sure. So to help you in this process, here are the top 5 things to consider when buying a travel laptop. 

Top 5 Factors to Consider  When Buying the Best Travel Laptop

1. Weight

The most important feature you will want to consider when buying the best travel laptop for you is the weight. For some people, it won’t matter how good the machine is at doing tasks if it is too big to carry comfortably when traveling. 

2. Size

Similar to weight, the physical size of the machine, length, and width, are important in the portability of the device. If a machine is too big to fit into a regular backpack, it will discourage you from taking it out with you. You may even have to buy a bag especially for carrying it, which is  a real turn off. 


3. Battery

Laptops used when traveling need portability, but they also need power. This is where the battery life of a machine is a very vital feature to consider when choosing the best travel laptop. It is not always easy to be near a power source when traveling, so long battery life can be a lifesaver. Most machines these days have a battery life between 4 and 8 hours, with the best even stretching it to 12 hours. There is often a trade-off between performance and battery life though, as the more powerful the processor and the more intense tasks the machine performs the faster it uses up the battery power. 


4.  Performance

The importance you place on how well a travel laptop performs is a personal preference. The more powerful machines are often a lot more expensive, as it’s complex to pack all that tech inside. It is often the case that portability is sacrificed when adding better performance to a device. So there may be a balancing act to perform whenever you find the right level between performance adaptability for your specific needs. 4GB RAM is the absolute minimum but won't let you perform any editing or gaming. But you can find some great value machines around this level. 


5. Build quality

Travel laptops are used differently than how desktops at home are used. They live very different lives. They are always being taken in and out of bags, thrown around and treated generally a little bit rougher. This means that sturdy build quality is important so that they don’t break at the first signs of use. Some things made from plastic will be lighter than a metal machine, but also a lot less sturdy. Metal is also better for repeated use and will last a lot longer with repeated uses. 


6. Connectivity

The final thing to consider is the number of ports that a machine has. Most regularly used ports are USB, USB-C, Thunderbolt, HDMI. Consider what you will need your laptop for and what external devices you will want to use with it. Adding ports to a laptop is awkward and means you will have to invest in a dongle, only lowering the portability of the machine. 


The 15 Best Travel Laptops in the Market Today 


The Apple MacBook Air needs little introduction. It is the most well-known laptop today, with good reason. This little PC is great at most applications and looks fantastic to boot. Apple products have always been great looking and the Macbook Air is no exception. It features a beautiful brushed aluminum finish that exudes quality. 
The screen is equally high quality with a 13.3-inch retina display that has a near-perfect recreation of color and shade. It is considered one of the best screens on any laptop today. If you are an artist of a photographer and an accurate representation of color and tone is vital to you, then this is the laptop for you. 

Under the hood, the Macbook Air is good without being spectacular. It features the dual-core 8th generation intel i5 processor. This machine will perform everyday tasks excellently but will struggle if you push it with heavy video editing or high-intensity gaming. Email, video, social media runs like a dream though, which is what most travel laptops are used for anyway. 

One of the main issues with this device is the strange insistence from Apple to take away nearly every port a person needs when using a laptop. You will find only a couple of Thunderbolt 3 ports and not much more. No USB ports, no HDMI, No Sd card reader, or CD drive. To gain access to these ports you need to spend further money on a port bank. This then reduces the portability of the machine, which was the whole point in the first place. 

Pros:

It is the best-looking laptop available. 
It has the best screen on a laptop, hands down.
It is lightweight and extremely portable. 

Cons:

Processing power is average and for the same money, you could buy a much more powerful machine. 
No ports that are of much use and you will need to spend more on a port bank to have access to USB and HDMI ports. 

One of the most premium lightweight ultrabooks today, the Microsoft Surface 3 is at the higher end of the price range for travel laptops, but for that, you do get a lot. Firstly, the build quality of this machine is exceptional, as you would expect for such a large price. It is on a par with the look and feel of the MacBook Pro, Apple's flagship machine. The case is made from solid aluminum with very little flex or bend, making it feel solid. Combine this with a great feeling keyboard and well-utilized trackpad and you are onto a winner.

The screen is not widescreen like most laptops and therefore has more screen real estate top to bottom for websites and apps. Whether you like this or not is down to personal preference. A downside is that movies cannot be displayed in their native 16:9 format. While this is an issue for some, the amazingly responsive touchscreen is not. Something that the MacBook Pro does not have and a real standout feature of the Microsoft Surface Laptop. It works brilliantly and can be used for a variety of different things. 

Battery life is truly excellent as well on this device, perfect for traveling on planes or trains. It is claimed that it can reach 11+ hours on a full charge but realistically 8 hours is what you will get. Still great for a portable device. Some minor gripes with this device are that it only has 1 USB port and 1 USB-C port. So if you use a lot of peripherals then you will need to buy a port bank. 

Pros:

An amazing touch screen that works perfectly.
Great looking design and sturdy yet quality feel.
8 hours plus battery life make it great for travel and portability. 

Cons:

Only 1 USB and USB-C port
Expensive

The LG gram is an ultra-light laptop that weighs a miraculous 2.5 pounds. Something vitally important when choosing the best laptop for travel is the weight you will have to carry around with you. This machine is easy to pick up with one hand, to use whilst lying down and it fits neatly into a backpack or bag. This device also features a 72W battery that will last up to 18 hours on a full charge. This is one of the best battery performance on any laptop, period.

The display is a beautiful IPS touchscreen where you will find brilliant colors and more than adequate brightness to manage your laptop tasks in any lighting conditions, inside or out. The touchpad and keyboard are high quality as well and there is nothing to fault with them. This laptop has enough power to easily perform any everyday tasks at a canter. Emails, vídeo, multiple apps can be opened and you won't see a problem. Just don’t expect a gaming machine. This is not it. 

Some possible issues with this machine are that the screen, amazing though it is, is highly glossy and as a result, does attract fingerprints easily. This becomes a nuisance as it's a touchscreen so you can't avoid it. If it is a big enough issue for you, you can purchase an anti-glare matte screen protector that will prevent this issue. 

Pros:

Beautiful looking touchscreen.
The quality looks and feel using high-grade construction materials. 
Superb battery life.

Cons:

Touchscreen attracts fingerprints easily and causes constant irritation.
No stand-alone graphics card. 
Expensive.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is unique in the travel laptop space because it features a fully detachable screen that doubles as a tablet if you need it too. Something which can come in very handy when traveling. Ideal for movies and social media and a variety of other applications. 

This laptop is well built and looks great. The keyboard and trackpad are very well produced and better than most laptops around, even in such a thin and light frame. The battery life is good and you will be able to last the day on a single charge with this machine. It will easily be able to handle all the productivity tasks that you throw at it. Under the hood, the 8th gen intel processor is more than adequate for everyday tasks. 

There are two main drawbacks to this device, though. Connectivity and storage. Firstly, it only comes packaged with 128GB of storage, which in today's age is way too little to not be an issue. It does come with a micro SD card slot for storage expansion but for the money, we should be expecting more storage as standard. The connectivity issue is more of a serious problem. It only features one USB- 3 port, which in turn means only one data connection. And one that is being replaced by the much more useful USB-C port in many modern devices. 

Pros:

A unique detachable screen means that the Surface Pro doubles as a laptop and tablet.
Well built using high-grade materials. 

Cons:

Only one USB port means that a dongle will be necessary for most people. 
Only 1268 GB storage out of the box. 

The Lenovo Flex is a budget level portable laptop that manages to pack in a lot of features. It has a full HD touchscreen display, a real surprise at this price. The screen is well suited for a variety of applications, from light photo editing to movies and light gaming. 

Inside, it has an AMD processor with 12GB of RAM. That makes this little machine very capable of most tasks for the discerning traveler. It is even powerful enough to manage video editing without too much of an issue, as well as gaming, made possible by its dedicated graphics card. The build quality on this device is good, with a solid feeling trackpad and keyboard as well. The frame is sturdy and doesn't feel like it will be easily broken, a major plus when taking it in and out of a bag. 

So far so good, but there are a few issues that prevent this machine from being a real standout star. Firstly, the battery life is ok without being anything special. The company claims 10 hours but expect quite a lot less than that with regular use. Secondly, the speakers are terrible and will see a lot of distortion at higher volumes. Finally, when using the touchscreen, the hinge simply is not strong enough to revert a large amount of wobble on the screen. This is very irritating after a while and something that could be easily prevented, which is a shame. 

Overall, this machine is very highly recommended for the price and beats a lot more premium travel laptops for power and quality, just a few issues hold it back from being truly great. 

Pros:

Well made touchscreen for a budget price.
Lots of processing power under the hood mean that this machine can handle all but the most intensive tasks. 

Cons:

Poor battery life.
Wobbly touch screen due to weak hinges.

The Acer Spin 3 is a convertible laptop with a fully rotating touchscreen that makes it perfect for watching movies at any angle and setting in any position. This is an excellent travel laptop in many ways. It features some high-level specifications that make using it feel fast and responsive, with a large SSD storage and a whopping 16GB of RAM. Throw in the i7 processor and we are onto a pretty powerful machine. 

The screen is also good quality at 14 inches and shows a good recreation of color. This machine also comes with a rechargeable stylus to use for art or general day to day uses. Maybe not ideal for professional-level drawing, but adequate enough for most other things. This machine really excels at portability though and is very versatile and lightweight for travel while being able to easily handle most processing tasks such as photoshop and lightroom, so if you work and travel, this would be a good choice of laptop. 

Some downsides include the lack of a stand-alone graphics card, which means that it does not perform quite to its potential as integrated graphics do put a cap on what can be achieved in processing. Also, it is rather short on connectivity options, a common problem with these super portable travel laptops. There is no USB-C port here. Therefore, connecting this device to other devices is not as easy as it could have been. 

Pros:

Powerful machine with tons of storage space and more than adequate RAM mean that even high-intensity video or photo editing can be achieved.
Well crafted touchscreen that rotates a full 180 degrees makes this perfect for movies. 

Cons:

No USB-C port hurt the connectivity of this device.
Battery life is average.

The original model of the Apple Macbook Air is still quite a capable machine that is not to be dismissed. Even though it does not have that gorgeous retina display on the newer model, it has a lot of things going for it that make it an available contender for the best travel laptop. The biggest positive with this older model compared to the new version is that it still has the much-heralded USB ports for boosted connectivity capabilities. This will be music to the ears of many of you out there who just can’t abide by paying more for a dongle to be able to use a USB on your computer. 

The look and feel of the machine are identical to the newer version, minus the screen. This makes the look and feel of it equally impressive. It still has that excellent Apple design flourishes that make their products very desirable. 
 
When we take a look under the hood, you begin to see the other big differences from the newer model. Firstly, it houses a weaker processor and is, therefore, a little slower at what it does. Not too slow that its a deal breaker mind you. It is also missing the fingerprint reader and uses the old style mag safe power cord. It comes with 8GB of memory which is fine for everyday use on the go. The battery life is still excellent, so nothing to worry about there. 

So if you are looking for an entry-level travel laptop that does all the basics well, looks good and doesn't break the bank, is lightweight and pretty as well, you could do much worse than the previous version of the Apple Macbook Air. 

Pros:

It still looks beautiful, even being a few years old now.
Reliable, lightweight with good battery life. 
USB ports present.

Cons:

The older processor simply is not as fast as the newer models. 
No retina display.

The little brother to the excellent Microsoft Surface Pro, the surface 2 is a superior travel and lifestyle machine that does all the basics well at a competitive price. This laptop is aimed at people who need to be able to use a laptop on the go with little fuss or need to use it for anything other than movies or general use. To this end, this device is one of the best travel laptops around. Its keyboard is one of the best on the market and an absolute delight to use. The display and touch screen are incredible as well, making this a very interesting package. 

You will, however, have to compromise on some things, and those compromises are mainly with the performance of the machine for any more intensive tasks. The small size of the device means that you will see some power issue. But also that the battery life is excellent and means that this is a high portability deice. 

A common theme when it comes to these portable laptops is the lack of connectivity option and Microsoft Surface 2 is no exception. It too, has a distinct lack of USB-C ports, meaning you will need to take a trip to the dongle store to satisfy your connectivity cravings. 

Pros:

Excellent all-rounder machine that is perfect for travel and especially great at typing. 
Great looking screen and best in class keyboard.
Lightweight and very portable.

Cons:

Not powerful enough for more high-intensity tasks.
No USB-C port.

The Acer Aspire 5 is at the budget end of our list, yet has quite a few positives that will make it a worthy contender for some. With only 4GB RAM and 128 GB SSD space, this machine is definitely not a powerhouse in computing. But the price to performance ratio is still high. You do get a machine that runs smoothly for everyday tasks such as running browsers and watching movies. 

The screen is an IPS LCD that is of a fair quality with some pretty decent viewing angles. It also does not struggle in bright environments due to its good brightness range. The keyboard is even backlit, which you often find is missing on cheaper units. A positive of this device is that it is easily expandable in the future if you wish to do so, making it more future proof that you would initially think. It also weighs in at a relatively small 4lbs, which is good going for a 15” screen. 

There are a few areas where manufacturing costs will have been saved by cutting a few corners though. The trackpad is a little cheap to touch, as it is made from basic plastic. The housing for the machine comes in an aluminum metal but it does not fit tightly around the screen, leaving a gap around the edges. The speakers on this device are poor and barely usable. And finally, the battery life is average to poor at around 5 hours. 

As you can see, there is always a trade-off when it comes to laptops in the budget price range. It all depends on what features are most important to you. This machine will perform well for everyday tasks, looks decent and is easily upgradable in the future. But be careful, because it has its weaknesses too. 

Pros:

Adequate power for everyday use.
Good price to performance ratio.
Large 15” screen is good for movies.

Cons:

Questionable build quality in some areas.
Average to poor battery life.
Poor speakers and trackpad.

The ASUS Zenbook Pro is a monster of a machine with high-level specs and a lot of power inside the case. It is at the higher end of the price range and fro that you do get a lot of great features. One of the standout features is the excellent, 15” 4K touchscreen that will simply blow you away. It is faultless in its color recreation and general quality. Perfect for high definition movies, photography and video editing and everything in between. 

This device is very well built, slim and features a smooth brushed aluminum body. The trackpad is made from glass, not plastic and this makes movements so much easier. The bezel around the screen is small also, making the already big screen seem even bigger. It also has some of the best sounding speakers on a laptop, period. It is an amazing achievement that they have managed to squeeze in such brilliant speakers to such a tiny frame. It has the full complement of connectivity ports, so no dongles needed here. 

As this machine is a 15” pro version, it is going to be heavier than some less powerful models with smaller screens. That means you have quite a simple choice to make. The choice is between power and portability. Most people will never need all the power that this machine has, especially when traveling. In that case, it would be wise to consider a 13” screen laptop that is lighter and smaller and will be easier to move around. But if you need a travel laptop that can process anything and maintain a degree of portability, then this is a tough deal to beat.

Pros:

Amazing looking design with top quality materials used across the board.
The best 4K touch screen available on a laptop. 
Some of the best speakers you can find on a laptop. 

Cons:

Bigger and heavier than less powerful machines with smaller screens. 

The Lenovo C330 is the first chrome book on our list and one of the best Chromebooks you can buy. If you have not heard about Chromebooks before, they are basically laptops with a stripped-down operating system. So no windows 10 here. You mostly find a version of android similar to mobile phones. This means that they are considerably cheaper than regular laptops, yet can still pack a lot of features. 

This Chromebook comes with a convertible, 11”, 2 in 1 touchscreen with IPS display that, although not the highest of resolutions, still works great. The build is solid without being spectacular, but the plastic case is sturdy enough while keeping the weight low. It has most of the ports you would need, USB-C, SD Card, HDMI are all here. Under the hood, you will find 4GB of RAM, the bare minimum for modern computers but still enough to complete general tasks. 

Because the ARM processor is optimized to the GooglePlay store, the apps run lightning-fast and definitely much better than low-end alternatives like the Intel Celerons you see in most other low-end Chromebooks. 

In a way, this machine meets the opposite needs than the high-end power pro laptops. Its focus is on ease of use, portability and packing a lot of value at a small price. If you care not about processing power and need a machine to travel with that will complete everyday tasks and watch movies, then the Lenovo Chromebook is one of the best travel laptops in class at just that. 

Pros:

The lightweight and small form factor make it highly portable and great for travel.
Touchscreen for a budget price.
One of the best performing Chromebooks around.

Cons:

It cannot do gaming or editing of any kind and use apps not available on the Google Play Store of Chrome extensions. 
The screen is not full HD. 

The Asus Vivobook L203MA is priced very competitively in the travel laptop market and as such, is in direct competition with Chromebooks. They are similar in value in a lot of ways, yet there are a few big differences. 

The Asus Vivobook L203MA is a super thin and super light laptop, weighing in at a tiny 2.2lbs and smaller than a piece of A4 paper. It scores very high on the portability scale, that's for sure. The screen is 11.6” Full HD and is surprisingly high quality, but unfortunately not touch screen. It is bright though, and more than capable of being used in almost all environments. It has a great color gamut too. The entire build quality of this machine is good, with the ASUS brushed aluminum housing present as standard. 

This machine comes with a Windows 10S operating system, which is a reduced version of the full windows 10. This means it is snappy, but will not be able to access some apps. You are able to upgrade the OS to the full windows version easily though, so not to worry. 

The processor is solid and boots the device fast. It is capable of everyday tasks, but not gaming or intense editing. There also features all main ports such as USB and HDMI. The battery life is good with around 8 hours on a full charge. All this comes together to make this device a great pick for those of you that need a super portable device for everyday tasks yet are not bothered about power. 

Pros:

Very thin at a mere 7” thick and smaller than a piece of A4 paper. True portability.
Full HD screen and all necessary ports at a budget price. 
Windows 10S out the box and easily upgradable to windows 10.

Cons:

Only powerful enough for general everyday tasks. 

Another machine at the budget end of the market is the HP Stream. Like others in this bracket, it has decent enough features and provides good value for money. The HP Stream has a large if only sized 14” screen, though not as good as high-end screens, it is still perfectly serviceable. The body and build are solid, with the look of a business laptop and no cheap colorful plastic like that are found on other HP Laptops around this price. Even with this in mind, this machine weighs very little and is easily maneuvered in and out of a backpack on the go. The portability rating on this one is high. 

Under the hood, you will find a modest 4GB of RAM, the bare minimum for a modern computer. It is capable of everyday tasks but nothing more. But it does the basics well. The operating system on this machine is Windows 10. So you are able to install all apps, not just ones from the Google Play Store. The storage is 64GB, plenty for everyday use. The memory is not upgradable, unfortunately. This means that this machine will always be what it is now, a simple machine that is light and does the basics well, nothing more. 

Pros:

Super lightweight and portable making it great for simple tasks when traveling.
Solid design and business look feel is a step above other laptops at this price range.

Cons:

Memory is not upgradable so it will only have a short lifespan before it becomes obsolete. 
Not able to perform any intense tasks such as editing or gaming. 

This modern version of the Asus Vivobook is an upgraded version of previous Vivobooks to meet modern-day standards and trends. It features a more powerful AMD Quad-core processor with 4GB of RAM. This provides it with a lot more power for completing tasks of a more intense nature. This means that you will be able to use this machine for movies, light editing, and light gaming if you so wish. 

The screen is a real standout feature though. It is a 15.6” anti-glare full HD widescreen that looks and feels really solid.  The operating system on this machine is Windows 10 in S mode. S mode is Microsoft's answer to the chrome operating systems on Chromebooks by Google. It is a stripped-down version of the full Windows 10 Home. It only allows you to install apps from the Windows app store and nowhere else. It makes the OS more responsive on low power devices but limits a lot of the functionality of full Windows 10 home. The caveat to this is that it is fairly simple to update the Windows S to full Windows home if you so wish. So it shouldn't be the dealbreaker it could have been. 

Overall, this is a similar package to the other matches in this price range. You get a machine that is portable, sturdy and great at everyday tasks such as streaming and emails, etc. but not much more. If you value lightweight overpower than the ASUS Vivobook 2019 could be the best travel laptop for you. 

Pros:

The large, good looking, 15.6” anti-glare screen is perfect for movies. 
Solid build and quality materials used in the manufacturing process.

Cons:

4GB RAM is the absolute minimum required for a modern laptop, so only everyday tasks are viable with this machine. 
It comes installed with Windows S only. 

Choosing the best travel laptop for your needs is a delicate balancing act. There are many factors to consider and each one affects the other. The two main factors are portability and performance. It is important to find the right balance between these two for your specific needs. Do you want to get some work done when traveling, maybe some photo editing? Then you will probably have to sacrifice some portability for some power. Do you only need a machine to watch films? Maybe answer a few emails? Then you should consider portability over power and go for something lightweight with good battery life.

 

There are so many choices when it comes to laptops that there will almost definitely be a machine that hits all the right notes for your needs. It is just a matter of taking your time, doing the research and having a clear idea of what's most important. You can get a lot of value in the market today if you look in the right places and don’t pay for features that you will never get much use out of. Any of the choices on our list will be a safe bet.

 

Happy shopping!


Rate this article:

...

1New Apple MacBook Air 13inch
New Apple MacBook Air 13inch
2Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
3LG gram Laptop
LG gram Laptop