Source: Windows Central
Best 13-Inch Laptop Windows Central 2020
There are plenty 13-inch notebooks out there to choose from, but which ones are the best Windows laptops you can buy for the money? Luckily for you, it’s a great time to be shopping for a Windows laptop. We’ve rounded up some of the best 13-inch notebooks available to make your purchasing decision easier.
Best Overall: HP Spectre x360 13
There are a variety of screen choices available that cover both 1080p and 4K. HP still hasn’t departed from using a 16:9 aspect ratio, which could be argued as looking a little dated in modern laptops. Still, performance is right up there with 10th Gen Intel CPUs, 16GB of RAM, and 2TB M.2 PCIe. There’s Wi-Fi 6 available for a better wireless experience.
If you want the best non-convertible laptop, the Dell XPS 13 (9300) would be your best bet. The Spectre x360 13 offers far better value with more modes and optional LTE. It’s a reliable all-around Windows laptop and tops more than one of our round-ups, including the best Windows 10 LTE laptops.
- 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs
- Wi-Fi 6 and LTE connectivity
- Precision touchpad
- 4K AMOLED touch display with a thin bezel
- Big 60Wh battery
- Speakers moved to the bottom of chassis
- Still using 16:9 aspect ratio
A sublime notebook
The HP Spectre x360 13 is an incredible piece of kit. HP refined the laptop to remove almost everything we disliked about it.
Runner-up: Dell XPS 13 (9300)
The 192×1200 (FHD+) panel is a joy to use, even if it is the most affordable option. It can hit up to 500 nits for brightness and has an anti-glare finish. You can upgrade to a touch-enabled version for the FHD+ range or a 4K touch display. Intel’s 10th Gen CPUs are used to offer amazing portable performance, combined with up to 32GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 2TB of PCIe SSD storage.
It’s easily good enough to handle most tasks you could throw at the notebook, but for good measure, Dell included Thunderbolt 3, microSD card reader, as well as Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. Lastly, the keyboard and Precision-powered touchpad are a joy to use. It’s just a shame the webcam is a little weak.
- 16:10 aspect ratio and thin bezel
- Stunning look and design
- Excellent keyboard and touchpad
- Strong performance
- Beautiful display options
- Webcam could be better
- Costs more than our top pick for similar specs
If you value the look of your laptop, the Dell XPS 13 is one of the hottest-looking 13-inch notebooks you can buy.
Best Convertible: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390)
That may not sound like magic when compared to other laptops in its class, but this convertible notebook houses a 13.4-inch panel that can be configured as 1920×1200 or 3840×2400, depending on your preference. Both display options have an aspect ratio of 16:10. Much like the XPS 13, the design is exquisite, but the 2-in-1 has a few party ticks like various modes.
There’s also active pen support and plenty of ports for you to connect all your favorite accessories. You’ll find Thunderbolt 3, microSD card reader, and more. If you’re more about the typing experience, the maglev keyboard here is simply awesome to use. The large Precision touchpad is also excellent.
- Dazzling HDR anti-glare touch display
- Robust audio
- Eight-hour battery life
- Clean, minimalist design
- 10th Gen Intel hardware
- Ports limited but powerful
- Hardware not upgradeable
Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 convertible notebook is a fun PC to use if you want to take your computing experience beyond the traditional laptop setup.
Best Premium: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13.5
Other improvements include faster SSDs with a capacity of up to 1TB. There’s also a USB-C port to let you connect all your modern accessories to the Laptop 3. Finally, the touchpad is larger than the previous generation of Surface Laptop, and Microsoft is still using its fantastic Precision drivers for a brilliant experience.
The design of the Surface Laptop 3 13.5 is a joy to look at. It’s not only available with Alcantara either. Should you not enjoy the feel of the fabric finish, it’s possible to kit out the Surface Laptop 3 with an all-aluminum finish throughout. An IR camera can be used for Windows Hello, and the display is nothing short of sublime with a 3:2 aspect ratio and 2256×1504 resolution.
There are a few drawbacks, however. These include the lack of Thunderbolt 3 and anti-glare for the displays.
- Gorgeous design and craftsmanship
- Now with USB-C
- Superb keyboard and touchpad
- Intel 10th Gen hardware
- Some parts can be upgraded
- No Thunderbolt 3
- No Dolby Vision or anti-glare display
Stunning Surface laptop
Microsoft took the Laptop 2 and added USB-C, Wi-Fi 6, and Intel 10th Gen CPUs, making the Surface Laptop 3 13.5 an incredible notebook.
Best Budget: ASUS ZenBook 13
Processor choice includes 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 and Core i7-1065G7, which matches what you’d find elsewhere. RAM is up there too at 8GB of LPDDR4X. Storage is solid, with a 256GB PCIe SSD pre-installed. There’s even a number pad next to the full-sized keyboard. And because this is 10th Gen Intel, there’s Thunderbolt 3 and Wi-Fi 6.
Because this is more of a budget-friendly laptop, you won’t find anywhere to select a 4K display. If you want something a little more fancy in the specification department, you’ll need to look elsewhere. For those on a tighter budget, this is a beautiful notebook with plenty going for it.
- Large ScreenPad/touchpad
- Produces good nice
- 10th Gen Intel CPUs
- Wi-Fi 6
- No 4K option
ASUS managed to make a premium-looking laptop with an affordable price tag. It even houses capable 10th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.
Best Gaming: Razer Blade Stealth
Source: Windows Central
The latest generation of Blade Stealth laptops can be kitted out with a 120 Hz 1080p display, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti (Max-Q Design) GPU, up to a 25W Intel core i7-1065G7 CPU, and 16GB LPDDR4X RAM at 3733 MHz. There’s a full-sized shift key, and the keyboard as a whole is a joy to use.
It’s the gaming performance that sets this laptop apart from other offerings, however. The GTX 1650 Ti isn’t the most capable GPU from NVIDIA, but it’s more than capable of handling modern PC games. The best part is the battery, allowing you to enjoy some interactive media for longer than five minutes, as was the norm with more bulky gaming laptops.
Just don’t go expecting this machine to set work records in benchmarks.
- 10th Gen Intel CPUs
- Dedicated NVIDIA GPU
- Amazing gaming performance
- Compact Ultrabook design
- Solid battery life
- Can struggle with demanding games
If you want a sleek laptop that can also double up as a gaming machine, look no further than Razer’s Blade Stealth. The one true gaming Ultrabook.
There are so many 13-inch laptops out there to choose from. Like all notebook choices, you can’t go wrong so long as it ticks all your boxes. For us, the HP Spectre x360 is simply too good to pass up on. It has 10th Gen Intel CPUs, a Precision touchpad, and can be configured with an excellent 4K AMOLED display.
Should you desire something a little, well… more, Microsoft has your back with the Surface Laptop 3. This is one beautiful machine to gaze at, but it also packs a punch on the insides with 10th Gen Intel processors, plenty of RAM and all the storage you’ll ever need.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Rich Edmonds is a staff reviewer at Windows Central, which means he tests out more software and hardware than he cares to remember. Joining Mobile Nations in 2010, you can usually find him inside a PC case tinkering around when not at a screen fighting with Grammarly to use British words. Hit him up on Twitter: @RichEdmonds.
Daniel Rubino is the executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.
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