Picking the best laptop for travel is not as complicated as it might look at a first glance, but still, you can’t rush headlong into it, especially if you mean to shell out some serious dough for it. So, what are the most important things to look out for when shopping for your travel laptop?
6 Best Travel Laptops Reviews
For starters, you need to decide on a budget, as this will inescapably affect the quality of the components.
Once you’ve done this, consider the weight you’re willing to carry. This will impinge upon how (in)frequently you travel and by what means (bus, car, plane, truck, foot, saddleback tortoise, etc.).
Additionally, you need to consider the size of your laptop, as it will decide what you’ll need to transport it in (a pocket, backpack, trunk… you get the picture). The recommended size for the best balance between portability and performance would be around eleven to thirteen, maybe fifteen-inch devices. This is just some of the things to consider regarding a travel laptop.
Once you’ve sized up your laptop, it’s time to consider specs that influence the performance – things like the CPU, GPU, RAM, storage capacity, the works. Naturally, since you’ll look for a “travel laptop”, odds are you need to stay in contact with people, so good connectivity is of utmost importance. Now, let’s see what’s available on the market.
Of course, don’t forget battery. Battery life is one of the most important aspects when choosing a travel laptop. We wrote about the longest-lasting laptops here.
1. ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH74
Now, the ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH74 is not what you would call a small laptop; in fact, the screen size almost cost it the place on this list. However, if you’re an avid gamer who simply has to take their gaming to the road, you can’t afford not getting it.
The quintessence of this beast is its powerful 6th Gen Intel Core i7-6700HQ with 2.6GHz base frequency and max turbo up to 3.5GHz. It comes with 16GB RAM and dual storage capacity – the 1TB 7200rpm HDD and an M.2 128GB SSD, so you can have both the speedy boot and game launch, as well as the place to keep between ten and twenty high-maintenance games.
The monitor features a 15.6-inch Matte IPS FHD display with 1920 by 1080 resolution for crisp and clear gaming experience, while the smoothness is guaranteed by the dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card with 4GB VRAM of its own.
Granted, you’ll need to find the best laptop backpack for travel to go along with this beauty (or beast, whichever you prefer) if you want to carry it comfortably, but if you’re willing to buy the computer, you’ll be willing to walk the extra mile and get the backpack, too.
- Highly durable
- Fairly lightweight (5.6 lbs.) and easily portable for its size range
- Fast and Furious
- Beautiful screen and graphics
- A tad pricey
- The touchpad feels cheap
All things considered, this is not a “true” travel laptop (talk about Scotsmen and fallacies, eh?), but it’s still a great gaming laptop that also happens to be easily portable.
2. Lenovo Thinkpad X140e 20BLS00400
The Lenovo ThinkPad X140e is what every college-bound young adult needs to make their lives easier, especially given the constant back-and-forth between home and campus, at least for that freshmen year.
The heart and soul of this little fella is its AMD APU A4-5000 Quad Core Processor with 2MB cache and 1.5GHz base frequency. The CPU is more than capable to handle general purpose usage, but can also handle some of the medium-taxing programs like video and image editing.
The laptop has 4GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM, as well as 500GB 7200rpm HDD, which is pretty much standard for laptops, but also not too common for its price range.
The monitor features an 11.6-inch HD WXGA Anti-Reflective Led-backlit screen with 1366 x 768 res. The screen is aided by the dedicated AMD Radeon HD 8330 SDRAM graphics card.
The real deal-maker here is the fact that the laptop comes with the Windows 7 Professional OS pre-installed, so all you have to do out of the box is personalize it.
- Great screen
- Great value for money
- 8+ hours of battery life
- Beefy build
- No optical drive
- The mic is right where your palm goes
The Lenovo ThinkPad is a real multitasking beast, it’s comfortable to use, easy to carry, and simply ideal for students and post-grads. The only thing left to ask is – why aren’t you buying it yet?
3. ASUS C200 Chromebook
If you’re not familiar with the term, a Chromebook is a laptop designed to be used with the internet connection, given most of its files and apps is contained in the cloud. The advantage is a smooth-running, although somewhat limiting OS, while the main disadvantages would be the need to be constantly connected and relatively small local storage capacity.
Like most Chromebooks, the ASUS C200 is able to open and edit MS Office files using either QuickOffice editor or Google Docs; alternatively, you have the option of downloading free MS Office Online, but not the Standard MS Office software.
Still, the laptop’s Intel Celeron processor clocked at 2.16GHz, 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a 32GB SSD more than make up for the fact it requires a constant connection. Moreover, with the newest Wi-Fi 802.11AC card and Bluetooth 4.0, connecting has never been easier.
The screen is Led-backlit, measuring 11.6-inches diagonally, with 1366 x 768 resolution, but no dedicated graphic card thrown into the deal.
- Boots fast as a greased lightning
- Amazing 11-hour battery life (may vary depending on setting and use)
- Ultra-portable at less than 3 lbs.
- Solid quality build
- Poor viewing angles
- Disconnects from network whenever it goes to sleep (just annoying, not really a problem)
All in all, when you consider all the angles, this little Chromebook is great for everyday computing, surfing the interwebz, checking email, social networks, or just binge-watching your favorite YouTube channel, even word processing, if you really can’t do without HW.
4. HP Elite X2 L8D65UT#ABA
The HP Elite X2, like most HP products, offers the best possible balance between price and performance, with just the right measure of versatility.
The hood of this little fella holds the Intel Dual-Core M 5Y10c CPU with 0.8GHz base frequency and turbo max boost up to 2.0GHz. Granted, it’s not amazing, but it’s nothing to sneer at, either, and it’s plenty enough for everyday computing. The Integrated Intel HD Graphics 5300 does an admirable job of helping out with some general purpose video and image editing.
The laptop features 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD, counterbalancing the fairly unassuming CPU and speeding up the boot time and app launching.
As far as the exterior goes, the laptop features the 11.6 Inch Full HD IPS detachable Touchscreen with 1920 x 1080 res, one Micro-SIM card slot, another for microSD, a display port, as well as four 3.0 USB ports on the keyboard dock. There’s also a stylish backlit keyboard, as well as a spill-resistant ForcePad.
For connectivity solutions, the laptop has Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi card, so you can take your surfing on the go.
- Very lightweight (3.6 lbs), easily portable
- Amazing battery life (up to 14 hours)
- Versatile, doubles as a tablet
- No optical drive
On a balance, the HP Elite X2 L8D65UT#ABA is a great travel companion, able to keep you in contact while on the bus, or giving you something to do on a flight between New York and Dubai (in case you decide to stay awake the whole time, for some reason).
5. Apple MacBook Air 13.3-Inch Laptop MD760LL/B
So, you’re hell-bent on buying a Mac to keep you company while traveling? This is a sound investment, and if you’re ready to pay the fairly high price in exchange for unquestionable quality, the MacBook Air is the way to go.
The engine beneath the hood of this beast is the Intel Core i5 Dual-Core processor with 3MB shared L3 cache, and 1.4GHz base frequency (with turbo boost up to 2.7GHz). The laptop packs 4GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory and has 128GB PCIe-based (SSD) storage capacity.
The monitor features a 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display; for smooth rendering, there’s the integrated Intel HD Graphics 5000, which supports DirectX 11.1, OpenCL 1.2 and OpenGL 4.0.
The laptop comes with X Mavericks OS pre-installed, so all you have to do is get it out of the box and plug it. The battery should be good for up to half a day of usage.
- Fast CPU, decent GPU
- Retina display
- Great battery life
- Fast boot and launch, as per Apple standard
- The RAM is soldered to the motherboard (no upgrade possible)
- Seriously inadequate RAM
When all’s said and done, the Apple MacBook Air is the perfect best travel laptop if you really need to take your work to the road; with snappy boot and launch, and incredible battery life, it recommends itself, really.
Let’s re-cap briefly the main points you need to consider when shopping for the best travel laptop – the weight, the size, the performance and price; additionally, you might want to do a research on the best travel laptop backpacks and other accessories.
Now, for one final word of advice – if you want a dependable, quality travel laptop, with streamline OS, definitely go for the MacBook Air; the HP Elite X2 L8D65UT#ABA, on the other hand, gives you max versatility by doubling as a tablet as well as laptop, while the ASUS C200 Chromebook is exactly what it says on the tin – best travel Chromebook; for specific purposes (or, rather, target groups), the Lenovo Thinkpad X140e 20BLS00400 and ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH74 come neck to neck, the former designed for students, and the latter for gamers (though the two are by no means mutually exclusive).