Best Overall

Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13

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The Dell XPS 13 made an immediate impact upon its debut in 2015. The eye-catching, almost bezel-free design of its InfinityEdge display makes it stand out from the crowd and fit a 13-inch laptop into the form of an 11-incher.

It's incredibly well made, formed of aluminum and carbon fiber, and sports a full-sized keyboard and powerful internals — including Core i7 processors, up to 512GB solid-state drive (SSD) storage and 16GB of RAM, plus USB-C Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. Depending on specs, you can expect between seven and 10 hours of battery life, so fairly good for those jaunts away from the wall. The XPS 13 is not only perfect for taking on the road, it's perfectly well-equipped to be your only machine.

Bottom line: It packs the power of a bigger laptop in a smaller body — and is the perfect travel companion.

One more thing: There are multiple options available, including a cheaper, non-touch 1080p display an entry-level Core i3 processor.

Why the Dell XPS 13 is the best

When it comes to travel, one of the key factors to consider is size.

Lugging a massive laptop through airports isn't a fun experience, and that's where the Dell XPS 13 really comes into its own. With the striking InfinityEdge display, Dell managed to squeeze a 13-inch laptop into the form factor of something closer to the 11-inch MacBook Air. And that's an incredible achievement.

It's a high-end Ultrabook in a teeny tiny chassis.

And this isn't just a laptop. It's a high-end Ultrabook boasting seventh-generation Intel processors, a QHD+ touchscreen, massive internal storage and plenty of ports. This is a top-of-the-line Ultrabook in a teeny, tiny chassis.

It's also incredibly well made. With aluminum on the outside and carbon fiber when you open the display, the XPS 13 will stand the test of time and many, many trips in and out of overhead bins. It's probably the best way to travel light with a Windows 10 PC.

Runner-up

HP Spectre x360

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The HP Spectre x360 ($1,199.99) has a fantastic build quality and a chassis that is only 0.54 inches (1.37 cm) thick. The 13.3-inch, 1080p touch display works well while in tablet, stand, or tent modes, and the keyboard and touchpad are a joy to use while in notebook mode. Inside you get a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor with a clock speed up to 3.5GHz, up to 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and great battery life.

All of this makes for a terrific laptop for travel, and it's only just behind the XPS 13 in these rankings. If you like to watch movies or listen to music on the road, you'll like the Bang and Olufsen audio — it's crazy good for a laptop!

Bottom line: For a convertible laptop that looks like it cost a fortune (but isn't priced like it), go with the HP Spectre x360.

One more thing: Audio by Bang & Olufsen will blow you away the first time you hear your favorite song.

Best LTE

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

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Lenovo ThinkPad laptops are almost synonomous with business and travel, and the X1 Carbon ($1,403.10) is the one to get for frequent road trips. Recent refreshes to the X1 lineup mean there's no more touchscreen on the Carbon, but you still get the same 14-inch 2K display and legendary build quality. Oh, and the ThinkPad line's famous red cursor nub.

Despite being thin and light, the X1 Carbon packs the high-end internals you'd expect, with Core i7 processors, 16GB of RAM and 512GB PCIe SSD storage. What helps the X1 Carbon stand out, however, is the built in 4G LTE connectivity. Slap in a SIM and be connected wherever are.

Bottom line: It delivers true mobile productivity thanks to 4G LTE support.

One more thing: The X1 line now includes Yoga and tablet versions depending on your preference.

Best 2-in-1

Microsoft Surface Book

Microsoft Surface Book

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Microsoft's first proper laptop has one particular party trick the others on this list do not: The screen comes away completely. The Surface Book ($1,349.00) is the ultimate 2-in-1 because you can use it as a tablet either connected to the keyboard dock or completely detached from it. What's extra nice is that by docking the tablet to the keyboard you actually get more battery life, because that part is stuffed with a big ol' battery.

In true Surface style, it's also ridiculously portable and very well equipped. With options including Core i7 processors, 512GB SSD storage and even a dedicated GPU from NVIDIA, the Surface Book packs an awful lot into its sleek frame. It isn't cheap, though, so you will need to part with a fairly handsome amount of cash for the higher-spec models.

Bottom line: Easily the best 2-in-1 PC you can get right now.

One more thing: The GPU isn't available in all editions and the refreshed "Performance Base" offers the most graphical power.

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Best Portable

ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54

ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54

See at Amazon

This ZenBook laptop (commanding a price tag of $699) is made of aluminum, sports an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and has a great keyboard for those intense Word document sessions. Being rather thin and light also makes this ASUS notebook incredibly portable.

With Windows 10 and a 256GB storage drive, this sleek-looking laptop will be able to hold music, video and other content for future travels when internet is scarce.

Bottom line: This is arguably the best looking laptop in our roundup.

One more thing: There's a built-in fingerprint sensor for enhanced security.

Best Overall

Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13

See at Dell

The Dell XPS 13 made an immediate impact upon its debut in 2015. The eye-catching, almost bezel-free design of its InfinityEdge display makes it stand out from the crowd and fit a 13-inch laptop into the form of an 11-incher.

It's incredibly well made, formed of aluminum and carbon fiber, and sports a full-sized keyboard and powerful internals — including Core i7 processors, up to 512GB solid-state drive (SSD) storage and 16GB of RAM, plus USB-C Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. Depending on specs, you can expect between seven and 10 hours of battery life, so fairly good for those jaunts away from the wall. The XPS 13 is not only perfect for taking on the road, it's perfectly well-equipped to be your only machine.

Bottom line: It packs the power of a bigger laptop in a smaller body — and is the perfect travel companion.

One more thing: There are multiple options available, including a cheaper, non-touch 1080p display an entry-level Core i3 processor.

Updated August 18, 2017: We added the ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 as a super-portable option and made sure that all other listings offer the best for frequent travelers.