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Best Laptops for Travel in 2022

Why the Dell XPS 13 is the best

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 8th generation Intel processors, a 4K 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.

Updated May 21, 2018: We updated our roundup for 2018.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

77 Comments
  • Scratch anything Lenovo.
  • I have a Gen 1 X1 Carbon. It's boss. I dropped it the other day (open and on) and nothing happened. I can't find any cracks or scratch's. Their hardware is awesome.
  • I know people will be angry at Lenovo for centuries, but of those choices, I'd still pick the X1. Yes, Virginia, even over the WC darling Dell god machine. The pricing on the X1 is now reasonable and dat track point. And dem classic buttons they brought back. Better than the Dell IMO. You can REST ASSURED there will no shady software on any Lenovo machine forever now. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I agree but not because of the recent issue. I've purchased thousands of Lenovo's over the last 6 years and not once have I had an account manager or rep even try to contact me. They are the least customer focused manufacturer I think I have ever dealt with and that is why I wouldn't purchase one for personal use and that's why I am looking at other vendors for business now.
  • Not sure that's appropriate. The Lenovo devices in question in this article were never victim to the Superfish adware, and Lenovo has apologized and is taking steps to right this wrong. I'm not saying it wasn't a disaster, but we can't hold Lenovo's feet to the fire forever. After all, if we still judged Windows based on Vista: Where would we be? :P
  • We would be judging windows based on win 8 ^^ i like win8/8.1 alot, but for most people what vista was to xp, win8 is to win7. Just sayin' :D
  • I think alienware is best for traveling.
  • you're funny
  • HAha thanks
  • Lenovo is still an option in my book as the still produce top notch hardware BUT I will purchase their products Only from Microsoft as they sell them with vanilla OS.
  • Just save money and reinstall the OS when you get it....
  • Surface Pro 3
  • This. Not really a laptop, but still perfect for travel.
  • Yup. i7 8/256GB. Love mine.
  • The tablet that can replace your laptop.... so many of us use it like a laptop often. So, Surface Pro 3 can't be called a laptop? I feel sorry for shops selling computers nowadays, I needed to look in the Laptop and tablet section on their website. They seemed confused to know which category to stock the items.
  • Yup, my SP3 has become my go-to computer. It amazing being so productive on it and, essentially, taking my whole office with me when I travel.
  • Nothing travels like my SP3.
    It is the tablet that can replace your laptop after all.
  • Totally agree. Hope the next retains the same dimensions but increases the display size, they can sacrifice some bezel.
  • I third that. Also needs biometric device.
  • I second that!
  • Yes, not sure why its not on the list. It has replaced my t420s (my previous most favorite laptop). I will admit that its probably a good laptop replacement if you don't use it as a laptop most of the time. For occasional laptop usage, its great. For me its docked 60% of the time, used as a tablet 20% and as a laptop the remaining 20%. I will not go back to traditional laptop.
  • I use it as a laptop almost 100% of the time and it's still my favorite "laptop" I've ever had
  • Dell Inspiron 11 2 in 1.
  • THANK YOU. I love that thing. A damn fine little machine for less than $400. Great screen, fast enough processor for normal work and play, and the ability to convert it to tablet mode makes that a force to be reckoned with. Wish windows central appreciated that a bit more, never see any articles about it.
  • Hahaha! I know right. I bought it to replace my Surface Pro 1. Literally the same thickness when keyboard is attached and about an inch wider all around. The multiple angles that I get on it surpasses the Surface Pro 1 and 2. Sure the screen isn't as sharp but it gets the job done. I put an SSD on mine at 240GB and the speed is on par with my Surface Pro 1 and get up to 6 - 6.5 hours of battery life on it. Probably the greatest laptop out there for the $400 mark.
  • Dell xps 13 deserves better recognition
  • Windows 10.... The whole thing... Can't wait.
    .........
    Surface Pro 4
  • Totally!!! Just as much on my Surface Pro 3 as my Lumia 1520.
  • Yep❗
  • Dell xps 12
  • Totally agree!  Not as light-weight as the SP3, but it offers far more flexability in how the device can be used... and it has the best feeling keyboard I have ever used on a laptop.  It is truly a convertable meant for those who are more production oriented.
  • Dell Latitude E7240
  • I would love a 15" version of the Dell XPS 13. With the minimal frame around the screen and the great battery life. 13" is just a tad too small for me.
  • I agree, would love an XPS 15.
  • No love for my Acer S7-392?
  • After about an year of heavy use, mine still gives a comfortable 4hr battery life.
    Acer Aspire S7-392 is better than all of the above, except Dell XPS 13 (which excels in battery life.. by a LOT!).
  • What's the difference between the Yoga 3 Pro and the Yoga 3? Lenovo has a Yoga 3 11 inch with that m processor and a yoga 3 14 inch with i5 or i7. Screen RES not as good as pro, and it has the non "m" processors. What's not pro about them? Thanks!
  • Razer Blade 2014 ... Light, blitzkrieg speed, better than my SP3 (miss the pen input though).
  • Blitzkrieg speed? You buying a computer for computing or for Nazism?
  • -_-
  • First comment that made me laugh. Ever.
  • I would probably look for something that was light and portable that I could accommodate me dumping pictures from my camera or previewing clips while on the set, with minor editing and long battery life.
  • I love tablet windows
  • HP Stream 13. Small and light running 8.1 and includes Office 365 for a year?? Great student machine for travel to school and classes
  • I have the Stream 14 and yes, light weight and cold aluminum.
  • I love my acer s3-391. lightweight and perfect for my everyday needs, i'm a college student
  • SP3! Perfect machine for anywhere!
  • Maybe off topic, but what about a midrange price tag built for travel?
  • Acer Aspire R14 2-n-1
  • For me it's the Dell Venue Pro 11. I've got the 7130 (think i series processor) with i3, 4GB RAM, and 128GB SSD. Plus mobile keyboard. Now that's my kind of laptop/tablet hybrid.
  • Not a laptop but the Surface Pro 3 is the boss.
  • how is the Surface Pro 3 not a laptop? :) MS is selling it as "the laptop that can replace your tablet"... Loving mine!
  • No, it's the TABLET that can replace your LAPTOP
  • Because the hinge is in the body, not the keyboard...so for some reason people refuse to classify it as a laptop.
  • The X1 is an awesome laptop. Reliable and that fast charge is fantastic. Pricey but highly recommended.
  • Alienware M17x. Only 10lbs and about 3 inches thick. Toss the 2lb power supply and mouse in the bag and good to go. Believe it or not I actually lugged that thing to Mexico last time I went with my buddy. Using it on the plane was very uncomfortable but playing Fifa with Xbox controllers at night in the lobby while sipping on banana mama's was amazing.
  • Love my X1
  • Surface Pro 2 for me. I just barely managed to get an order in with Best Buy before they sold out. $599 for an SP2 with 4th generation i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. Threw in the Power Cover off of Amazon for 84. Not a bad at all and very portable!
  • Surface Pro 3...best I have travelled with for 20 years. Why is it not on the list? It is all laptop and all tablet
  • Just bought a 17' laptop with core i7 and gtx850m / 12gb ram ...
    Performance over battery life & lightness : always
  • Acer S7
  • Have a Samsung Ativ XE700 for the last 2 years a great light weight Tablet / Laptop  so much so my proper laptop very rarely leaves my desk
  • Lenovo Flex 2 14 :p
  • What about the Surface Pro 3? It's lighter than all of these, can serve as a tablet and laptop and has equal performance :)
  • How are the core Ms? Are they comparable to older i5s (or i3s)? Can they handle occasional photoshopping?
  • Still nothing beats the Asus Taichi 31 for me. Only thing that comes close is the Surface Pro 3.
  • Is the Asus core M processor that bad in terms of performance for basical tasks (browsing, office, mail)?
    I'm a student and I need the max portability but the prices of "standard" ultrabooks are out of my range
  • Since processor speed is way less important, I still love my Acer timeline 4810 Olympic edition. 8gb of ram, 120gb Intel ssd, DVD drive and 14" screen. still my favorite notebook of any generation.
  • how do the Core M processors compare in performance with the Core i5/i7? can a Samsung Ativ Book 9 (Core M 0.9 GHz) compete in performance with a Dell XPS 13 (Core i7)?
  • Why is the sp3 never on these lists? Sure, no hinge, but really, what's the difference?
  • What's hilarious is that the ads on the right hand side are ALL SURFACE PRO 3 related but nary a mention in here. Ah well. It's my goto device nowadays.
  • #Want a sleek Windows laptop to replace my screwed up Macbook Pro.  Yosemite is awful for performance.
  • I have a Lenovo Thinkpad X120e.  It's about 4 years old (I bought it used), running 32-bit Windows 8.1 (previously 8 and 7) with 4GB RAM (upgraded from 2 after purchase) and a 128 GB SSD (I replaced the 320GB hard disk immediatley after buying this thing--it worked fine, but I wanted a machine I could just slam shut and toss in my bag without worrying whether the disk was safe yet). 11.6" non-glare screen, excellent keyboard, AMD 350 (iirc) processor.  I get 5 hours +/- out of the battery. It's getting a little long in the tooth now, I suppose, but I have yet to put my hands on anything that would make me want to replace it--including the MBA.  The X120e is hard to find, but the updated X140e--which, alas, I do not think is quite as businesslike in appearance. Thinkpads have a reputation for being tough.  How tough?  This one was on my back in an unpadded bag when the bike I was riding was hit by a car.  I landed on it.  Fractured my hip, elbow, and ankle.  And this little machine woke up from sleep as soon as I opened it in my hospital room.  That's how tough.
  • Asus T100 I find it hard to justify $700 when I can buy a used 64gb t100 for $250. I can upgrade every 24months for 6 years and pay the same.
  • Asus T100. Easy choice :)
    (it can be recharged via Anker battery or any micro USB phone charger. It has the detachable tablet, 1KG weight, 4K video playback, free Office 2013, & cheap!!! Oh, and a full size USB 3.0 port!)
  • Being on the lookout make sure to not miss the new VAIO Z; presently only for Japan but definitely worth a look.
  • I had used EeePc, then a lightweight Asus X451 and now Lenovo Yoga 500