Finding the ideal laptop is never an easy business, no matter if you’re clueless or an aficionado. The first type of people will feel disheartened when faced with the amount of choice and the morass of technobabble around laptops, whereas the other type will be overly thrilled, like a kid in a candy shop. Even when you have a particular type of laptops in mind, such as minis, it’s tough to find the right one. That’s why we decided to save you the trouble, did the legwork and made a list of the best mini laptops on the market.
For those of you not in the know, mini laptops are just what you’d think when hearing the name – small laptop computers, usually with an 11.6-inch screen or smaller (although, some lists will include a 13-inch laptop). Now, before we get to the recommendations themselves, let’s briefly go over some major criteria you should look out for when buying a small laptop.
If you want the TL;DR version, check out our table of the best small laptops.
Things to Consider
As you might’ve imagined, the smallest laptops are pretty much the size of a regular tablet, and some will even be a convertible 2-in-1 type of deal (detachable keyboard or flipbook, the works). Overall, though, apart from checking the size, buying a small laptop will be just like buying a regular one.
You’ll need to decide on a budget, consider the purpose (why you’re getting it), check out some specs such as battery life, size, weight, and then and only then look for the bells and whistles – added features such as a pre-installed operating system (OS), fancy keyboard, whether it’s convertible or not, and so on. Let’s examine this in a bit more detail.
Most people will usually set a budget, and stick to it like it’s the be all and end all of laptop shopping, but this is a mistake. Don’t be afraid to shell out beyond your comfort zone.
Equally as important, keep in mind that cheap mini laptops do pretty much the same work as expensive ones, so if you need a general-purpose machine, you don’t have to spend much. Best thing to do is to keep it between 2 and 6 Benjamins.
Extrem low budget ? – Check out our article : Best laptops under 100 .
Why do people buy laptops over desktops? Exactly, because they can carry them wherever they need. Mini laptops, which you might also know as notebooks or even laptots, are the ultimate expression of this. Seeing as their primary function is to be toted around (hence – laptots), and be independent of any power source, they need to have a long-lived battery. Think 8 hours and upwards of continuous playtime. A word to the wise – anything under 4 hours is probably not worth your time (no pun intended).
Tying in to our previous point, the portability of your laptop will be decided by how long the battery can hold, but also its weight and size. These little laptops have one obvious advantage – they can fit almost anywhere (even bigger pockets) and you’ll barely feel them.
As noted earlier, they’ll mostly have 11-inch screens, though smaller items are not uncommon. 10-inch, even 8-inch minis can be found, though going smaller than that would seriously threaten to defeat the purpose of a laptop. You don’t want a keyboard for ants, do you? On a similar note, you might as well get an android or a dedicated tablet device.
Conversely, 12-inch and 13-inch laptops can also be considered mini laptops, bordering full-size. This brings another problem – how big is too big? Keep in mind that the bigger the laptop, the bigger the load you have to carry. Basically, the choice pretty much boils down to you and your personal preferences.
If you want your laptop to be ready to play right out of the box, you might want to get one with a pre-installed OS. Some will even target particular audiences, such as college-bound students, teens, programmers, and offer bundles of software. Be careful here, though, as some might pack heaps of bloatware which you’ll end up deleting anyway. On this note, there’s a certain kind of laptops called Chromebook, appearing in 2014, which wholly rely on a constant Internet-connection to function. The good news is that you get a 100 GB of cloud storage with each Chromebook.
Top 10 Best Mini Laptops Reviews
Here’s a list of the some of the most popular mini laptops, with a brief review on each.
1. Samsung Chromebook 3 XE500C13-K02US
The Samsung Chromebook 3 XE500C13-K02US is exactly what it says on the tin – a Samsung mini laptop that comes with the Chrome OS. This means that you can expect fast boot, and smooth performance even when doing some light multitasking, especially when you factor in the Intel Celeron N3050 CPU and 4 gigs of RAM (it’s not jaw-dropping, but it’ll get you through basic photo editing). Of course, it also means you can’t function without an Internet connection, but the 100GB of cloud storage more than makes up for it. As far as battery goes, you can get about 11 hours of runtime on a single charge, so you can take it to the park for the afternoon.
- Anti-reflective 11.6-inch display looks crisp.
- Spill-resistant keyboard protects from accidents.
- Exceptional battery life (11 hours).
- Simple, easy to use OS with snappy boot time.
- 4GB RAM is more than enough for multi-tasking.
- Needs a constant Internet-connection.
- The trackpad feels hollow.
- Can’t handle CPU-heavy programs.
Is the Samsung Chromebook the best mini laptop? Probably not, but it comes damn close! If you’re used to get good value for your money, you might as well roll with this one.
2. Asus Chromebook Flip C100PA-DB02
The ASUS C100PA-DB02 is a teeny-tiny 10 inch laptop with the heart of an 11 inch. Seriously, though, the laptop is impressively portable thanks to its small size and matching weight. The heart of it is a quad-core CPU (Rockship 3288-C) that clocks at 1.8GHz. The CPU has 4 gigs of RAM available to help it run almost anything a regular laptop does. Plus, the battery lasts much longer (9 hours of runtime on a single charge).
- Fast boot time, simple, user-friendly OS.
- Quality built metal casing, no keyboard flex.
- Amazing battery life (9 hours).
- Decent RAM (4GB DDR3).
- Flip design, can be both laptop and tablet (10.1-inch display).
- Very lightweight.
- Fits anywhere.
- The trackpad is not up to game.
- Needs to be constantly connected to function.
If you can get used to the screen-size and, more importantly, the size of the keyboard, you’ll have a blast with the ASUS Chromebook Flip. Better yet, when you get tired of the keyboard, just flip it and use it as a tablet, enjoying a bit of YouTube in crispy clear res.
3. Lenovo Idea Pad 100s
The Lenovo Idea Pad 100s laptop mini is a great medium-range computer. There are no bells and whistles about it, just a plain, pragmatic construction. You get a decent Intel processor (Atom Z3735F), with 2GB RAM. This is not ideal for multitasking, let alone any serious photo-editing, but it will render any video you throw at it. There’s even a built-in camera for Skype or Chatroullete, whichever jingles your jollies, and the WLAN 802.11n will give you a stable and fast connection.
- Looks great, 11.6-inch screen and all.
- Quick boot time.
- Very responsive touchpad, moderately responsive keyboard.
- Packs a built-in webcam.
- Comes with Windows 10 pre-installed.
- No optical drive.
- The cord for the charger could be longer.
If you’re looking for a decent all-purpose mini laptop, or at least something to lay on your chest to watch Netflix in your bed, the Lenovo Idea Pad 100s just might be the right thing for you.
4. Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series
The Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series comes with an Intel Pentium N3540 processor under the hood. The CPU clocks at about 2.16GHz and has 4GB of DDRL3 SDRAM available. Backed up with an integrate Intel HD Graphics card, the CPU will do everything a bigger and higher-end laptop could, and almost as efficiently. You also get 500GB of HDD Storage, enough for about 300 full HD movies that you can watch on your crispy clear 1366x768p res LED-lit screen. The laptop comes in two distinct flavors, depending on which OS you choose – Windows 10 or Windows 8.1.
- Small and lightweight, easily carries anywhere.
- Crispy clear 11.6-inch screen (1366×768).
- Responsive touchscreen.
- Quick boot time, fairly fast performance.
- Solid, sturdy and sleek body.
- Comes with Windows OS pre-installed.
- No optical drive.
- Have to restart it after idle for the touchscreen to become responsive.
- The touchpad is not up to game, tends to “fall asleep”.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option for your college-bound kid, the Dell Inspiron might just be the thing for you, or them, rather. It should be able to handle some CPU-heavy programs, such as Visual Studios, but it won’t be anything to write home about.
5. ASUS E200HA-UB02-GD
As we’ve come to expect from ASUS, their E200HA-UB02-GD mini laptop manages to find the right balance between price and quality. What you get is a compact 11-inch laptop with a quad-core Intel Atom CPU. Coupled with the 4GB DDR3 RAM, the processor will handle most programs and some multitasking, but don’t expect miracles. Its major selling point would be the full-size keyboard (sans numpad) with intuitive smart gesture touchpad (this will, essentially, differentiate between your palm and finger, which will keep the cursor from being moved by your palms while you type).
- Amazingly lightweight.
- Great keyboard.
- Excellent speakers, loud as hell.
- Easily portable.
- Nice 11.6-inch screen, good for watching movies and YouTube vids.
- Monstrously long battery life (13 hours).
- The hard drive could have more space.
- Can’t handle games.
In case you’re in the market for a small laptop that can handle watching movies, playing music, browsing the Interwebz, as well as some basic photo editing, the ASUS E200HAUB02-GD could be the right thing for you.
6. Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ
The Acer Chromebook CB3-1310C3SZ, as the astute reader may’ve already guessed, comes with Chrome OS pre-installed. It should go without saying that this is a small laptop, which makes it easily portable. Coupled with the fact its battery can survive for about 9 hours straight on a single charge, this makes the CB3 ideal for long flights or tedious holiday visits to the cousins in Wisconsin. All jokes aside, the laptop boots fast as Flash, and can keep smooth performance throughout, although you shouldn’t tax it too much. With its Intel Celeron N2840 CPU, 2GB DDR3L SDRAM, as well as a decent 16GB SSD, this puppy should handle some light multitasking.
- Great ergonomic keyboard, decent trackpad.
- Phenomenal battery life (9 hours).
- Bright and crispy 11.6-inch display.
- Needs to be connected all the time to function.
- Not many features.
In case you’re looking for a decent general-purpose laptop to take with you anywhere, you might want to consider the Acer Chromebook. It comes in two distinct flavors, with a clamshell (a traditional laptop) or as a flip convertible (2-in-1 laptop and tablet).
7. ASUS Transformer Book T100HA-C4-GR
With its 10 inches, the ASUS Transformer Book T100HA-C4-GR comes very close to claiming the title of the smallest laptop on the market. As you might have guessed by reading the name out loud, this is a 2-in-1 device. Nominally, it acts as a laptop, and a decently quick one thanks to the quad-core Intel Cherry Trail CPU under the hood. Detach the keyboard, and it becomes a touchscreen tablet.
- 2-in-1 10.1-inch laptop and tablet.
- USB 3.0.
- Thin, lightweight – deserving the adjective ultraportable.
- Impressive battery life.
- Fast boot time.
- Integrated GPU (Intel HD) for a boosted performance.
- Inexpensive, great bang for the buck.
- The screen should tilt a bit more backward when in laptop mode.
- The speakers could be a bit louder.
If you like versatility in your devices, then the ASUS Transformer Book should just about thrill you! Granted, it’s not the fastest computer out there, but the fact that you can turn it to a tablet at will, coupled with the 12-hour battery life more than make up for it.
8. Toshiba Mini NB305-N410WH
The Toshiba Mini NB305-N410WH is pretty much as its name might suggest – a small-sized laptop (10.1in) with decent performance. Its Intel Atom Processor and mere 1 gig of RAM make it feel underwhelming, but the Mini will handle any office or college work you need done. It comes with adequate storage space (250GB), which is nothing you can’t enhance by adding an external device. Still, for the price, you’d expect at least 4GB RAM. Nevertheless, this puppy is more than capable to handle streaming YouTube vids, some light pic editing, as well as watching movies / listening to music, getting you through the daily tedium.
- Excellent battery life.
- Smooth performance, quick boot up.
- Will stream on its 10.1-inch screen without any hiccups.
- Great for upgrades.
- The speakers are not up to scratch.
- Comes with an inferior OS pre-installed.
If you’re looking for the best laptop for linux, you might as well check out the Toshiba Mini. Granted, the laptop does come with an OS pre-installed, but you can take it down easily and install whatever you like. Think of it as a white canvass just waiting for you to upgrade it.
9. Lenovo S21e 80M4002DUS
The Lenovo S21e 80M4002DUS mini laptop is the ideal choice for folks who love to take their laptops everywhere they go, especially brightly lit areas such as parks (with free Wi-Fi). The matte finish on its 11-inch screen makes it viewable from all angles, plus the resolution makes any stream or movie crisp and clear. The Intel Celeron N2840 CPU and 2GB DDR3 RAM certainly help to keep the performance smooth and without hiccups. The 32GB SSD memory certainly helps (on the issue of storage – HDDs are bigger, SSDs are faster).
- Low cost, good value for money.
- Excellent 11.6-inch display, high res (1366×768).
- Fast boot up, smooth performance.
- Comes with Windows 8.1 pre-installed.
- Intelligent battery life (up to 5 hours of heavy usage).
- Good speakers, lots of clarity thanks to the Dolby Advanced Audio.
- No optical drive.
- There’s some sort of weird outward flex in the keyboard.
You might not like the Windows 8.1 OS that comes pre-installed on this puppy, but no matter – you can easily upgrade to Windows 10. Still, if you’re a fan of budget-happy items, this one’s definitely going to put a smile on your face.
10. Microsoft Surface Pro 4
First thing’s first – the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 does cost pretty penny, but rest assured you’ll feel where each and every one of them went. The hood of this bad boy hides a powerful Intel i5 6th Gen Skylake CPU, which should get you through just about any task you need to perform, even if it’s somewhat taxing. What’s more, you can get it in seven more varieties, six of which pack more cores in their CPU’s, more RAM, and/or bigger HDD. As for this one, you’ll get 4GB of RAM and a decent 128GB HDD. Still, the screen more than makes up for the lack of storage, thanks to the unsurpassed 2736×1824 resolution (as far as small laptops go).
- Great quality.
- Powerful processor (quad-core).
- Smooth performance, snappy boot up.
- Crispy clear 12.3-inch screen, high contrast, almost no glare.
- Great resolution (2736×1824).
- Keyboard sold separately.
- Slightly bigger than usual (12.3 inches).
If you’re not afraid to shell out some serious dough when buying a computer, then look no further. When it comes to small laptops, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is like a Porsche. Sure, a Yugo will take you from point A to point B just as a Porsche, but a Porsche will do it faster, more comfortable and with more style.