Best Overall

Microsoft Surface Book 2

Also available in a 15-inch configuration, Microsoft's 13.3-inch Surface Book 2 is a phenomenal modular device. The 3,000 x 2,000 resolution display detaches from the keyboard and trackpad for a true tablet experience, and the Surface Pen only sweetens the deal. Inside, get up to an eighth-gen Intel Core i7-8650U processor (CPU), 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. Models start at about $1,200.

Bottom line: The best 13-inch laptop out there right now is the Surface Book 2.

One more thing: Check out the review of the 13-inch Surface Book 2 for much more information.

Why the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is the best 13-inch laptop

The updated Surface Book 2 still has that modular design you love, with a display that can be removed and replaced backwards on the keyboard to sit flat. The Surface Pen makes a great addition to the 3,000 x 2,000 touch display, and the unique 3:2 aspect ratio is great for drawing and writing.

Though not quite as powerful as its 15-inch counterpart, the 13.3-inch Surface Book 2 has inside up to an eighth-generation Intel Core i7 CPU with a 4.20GHz clock speed, an NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. That's more than enough power for most tasks.

For quick Windows Hello logins an IR camera is situated above the display, and you won't find a keyboard and touchpad much better than this. Throw in a battery with about 11 hours of life from a charge, and you have one sweet device.

Convertible Runner-Up

HP Spectre x360

The HP Spectre x360 has fantastic build quality and a chassis that is only 0.53 inches (1.34cm) thick. The 13.3-inch, 4K touch display works exceptionally well in tablet, stand, or tent modes, and the keyboard and touchpad are a joy to use in notebook mode. Inside you get eighth-generation Intel Core processors, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to a 1TB PCIe SSD. Configurations start at about $1,159.

Bottom line: For one of the best 13-inch convertible laptops, you have to go with the HP Spectre x360.

One more thing: Pen support and convertible design turn this into an able device for writing and artwork.

Notebook Runner-Up

Dell XPS 13

The XPS 13's 13.3-inch touch display has up to a 4K resolution and sits in a chassis that would normally house an 11-inch screen, which results in an almost complete lack of bezel. Eighth-gen Intel CPUs deliver increased performance and better battery life, 16GB of DDR3 RAM ensures you can power through anything thrown your way, and a 1TB PCIe SSD provides a fast storage solution. Configurations start at about $1,000.

Bottom line: The XPS 13 is one of the best 13-inch notebooks you can buy.

One more thing: The SSD in the XPS 13 can be upgraded at a later time if you want to save some money right now.

Best Budget

CHUWI Hi13

Microsoft's Surface Book 2 is a shining example of what a modular laptop can be, but its price is prohibitive. To address an enormous market, CHUWI has created the Hi13 (about $330), an outstanding 2-in-1 laptop. It has a seventh-generation Intel Celeron N3450 CPU, 64GB of Samsung eMMC storage, and 4GB of DDR3 RAM. The 13.5-inch IPS touch display is really the main feature, coming in with a 3,000 x 2,000 resolution. The trackpad and keyboard attach with a simple magnet system, and you can remove the tablet and use it on its own.

Bottom line: The best 13-inch laptop under $350 is the CHUWI Hi13.

One more thing: Read our full review for more information about what makes the CHUWI Hi13 so great.

Best Business

HP EliteBook x360 G2

The EliteBook x360 G2 (about $1,499) draws a lot from the Spectre x360 but adds business-oriented features. There are Intel vPro CPU options, a card reader, NFC, and both an IR camera and a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello. For performance, get up to an Intel Core i7-7600U CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD. The 13.3-inch touch display can be rotated back into stand, tent, or tablet modes, and is compatible with Wacom AES pens.

Bottom line: If you like the look of the Spectre x360 but need a business partner, check out the EliteBook x360 G2.

One more thing: Our review of the EliteBook x360 G2 contains more information to help you make a final decision.

Best Thin & Light

LG gram 13Z980

LG's refreshed lineup of gram laptops includes this 13-inch beauty (about $1,400), weighing in at 2.13 pounds (965g) with a 0.6-inch thickness. You get a 1080p touch display, fingerprint reader, and 72WHr battery that lasts upwards of 13 hours, plus Intel's latest eighth-gen CPUs make an appearance. Plenty of ports, including HDMI, USB-C, and USB-A 3.0 give you decent connectivity options, and a lid that opens with one hand is the cherry on top.

Bottom line: For a thin and light laptop with performance hardware inside, check out LG's new gram 13Z980.

One more thing: The gram 13Z980 is available in white or silver colors to suit your style.

Best Student

Microsoft Surface Laptop

Microsoft's Surface Laptop (about $800) is its best notebook ever, coming at you with an Alcantara-coated keyboard, slim design, and powerful hardware inside. Get up to an Intel Core i7-7660U CPU a 1TB SSD, and 16GB of DDR3 RAM. The 13.5-inch touch display lives up to the Surface brand, meaning it has beautiful color, contrast, and is compatible with the Surface Pen. Toss in a streamlined version of Windows 10, known as Windows 10 S, and you have a laptop ready for back to school (or pretty much any other use).

Bottom line: The Surface Laptop is the best choice for anyone who's headed back to school.

One more thing: Check out our review to help you decide whether or not the Surface Laptop is for you.

Best MacBook Twin

Huawei MateBook X

While the MateBook X (about $1,000) isn't the most powerful laptop out there — it works well for light to medium computing — it is one of the thinnest and lightest at 0.49 inches (12.5 mm) thick and 2.31 pounds (1.05 kg). Inside is up to an Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, a 512GB SSD, and 8GB of DDR3 RAM. A fingerprint reader lets you log in quickly with Windows Hello, and a USB-C port makes an appearance on each side of the laptop. The 13-inch IPS display has a beautiful 2,160 x 1,440 resolution, and there's minimal bezel for an attractive look.

Bottom line: For a laptop that looks like a mix between a MacBook and an HP Spectre x360, check out the MateBook X.

One more thing: Be sure to read our in-depth review of the MateBook X to help you make a final decision.

Best Gaming

Alienware 13

The Alienware 13 is a compact gaming laptop with a lot of power. Inside you can get up to an NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM — if you're a VR enthusiast, this GPU will run your Rift, Vive, or Windows Mixed Reality without a problem. For a CPU, choose up to an Intel Core i7-7700HQ with a clock speed up to 3.8GHz, and grab up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM to keep things running smoothly. The 13.3-inch display comes in either 768p, 1080p, or 1440p options depending on your budget. Configurations start at about $1,199.

Bottom line: The best 13-inch gaming laptop is the Alienware 13.

One more thing: Grab up to a 1TB PCIe SSD for speedy Windows 10 bootups and for plenty of room to store all your games.

Best Mobility

Samsung Notebook 9

Looking for a 13-inch laptop that fits just about anywhere and weighs almost nothing? Look no further. Despite its half-inch (0.27 cm) thickness and 1.8-pound (0.86 kg) weight, the Samsung Notebook 9 manages to cram in powerful hardware and a battery that will last you upwards of 10 hours. You get a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 256GB SSD. The LED display has a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution that is great to look at, and its brightness and anti-glare coating ensure you can use your laptop in pretty much any setting. Configurations start at about $1,000.

Bottom line: For a mobile laptop that doesn't skimp on performance, check out the 13-inch Samsung Notebook 9.

One more thing: Fast charging can deliver 2.1 hours of use on a 20-minute charge.

Conclusion

For a great mobile laptop, have a look at the Samsung Notebook 9 or the LG gram 13Z980, and if you're a gamer, you'll love the Alienware 13's customization options and powerful hardware. For a great budget laptop, go with the CHUWI Hi13, and for a business laptop geared toward the workday lifestyle, check out the HP EliteBook x360 G2. If you're a student, the Surface Laptop will serve you well, and if you've recently converted from a Mac, you'll like the look and feel of the MateBook X. The Dell XPS 13 makes a great 13-inch notebook, the HP Spectre x360 makes a great convertible, but the Surface Book 2 is the best.

Best Overall

Microsoft Surface Book 2

Also available in a 15-inch configuration, Microsoft's 13.3-inch Surface Book 2 is a phenomenal modular device. The 3,000 x 2,000 resolution display detaches from the keyboard and trackpad for a true tablet experience, and the Surface Pen only sweetens the deal. Inside, get up to an eighth-gen Intel Core i7-8650U processor (CPU), 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. Models start at about $1,200.

Bottom line: The best 13-inch laptop out there right now is the Surface Book 2.

One more thing: Check out the review of the 13-inch Surface Book 2 for much more information.

Updated May 17, 2018: This list has been refreshed with some exciting new choices to ensure you're still getting the best 13-inch laptops around.

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