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Home / Features / Best lightweight laptop in 2024 for work, gaming, and streaming

Best lightweight laptop in 2024 for work, gaming, and streaming

The ultimate ultrabooks from Apple, Dell, Asus and more


Searching for the best lightweight laptop? Looking for the ultimate ultrabook? Want all the power you need for work and/or gaming on the go, in a device that won’t tear the seams of your shoulder straps? You’re in the right place. (Here’s a more general roundup of the best laptops, if you want it).

There’s no shortage of super-slim, lightweight notebooks out there among bigger, heavier machines. But if you’re set on skinny, we’ve rounded up some of the best lightweight laptops right here, from Apple’s ever-popular MacBook Air to offerings from Dell, Asus, Microsft and more, to provide an easily digestible list of top-class ultrabooks to suit your needs.

What’s the best lightweight laptop?

We think the Dell XPS 13 (buy now) is the best lightweight laptop for most people. In fact, it remains one of the best Windows laptops ever made, thanks to its masterful combination of stunning, compact design, and powerful specs.

Other lightweight laptop recommendations

Best lightweight Apple laptop

The Apple MacBook Air 2022 (buy now) is the lightest, slimmest, most powerful MacBook Air to date, with a scarily powerful M2 processor and the same screen as the premium MacBook Pro. A no-brainer for light-travelling Apple fans.

Best lightweight laptop for raw power

The Asus Zenbook 14X OLED (buy now) is rather insane, from its stunning OLED screen to its Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, and dedicated Nvidia RTX 3050 mobile GPU, Asus’ pricey stunner is a lightweight do-it-all beast.

Best budget lightweight laptop

The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 (buy now) is cheap, cheerful, and portable. It is the perfect choice for a basic workstation and app machine, at a price that’s a grand cheaper than anything else on our list.

The best lightweight laptop you can buy today:

Dell XPS 13 laptop

1. Dell XPS 13

Stuff Verdict

The Dell XPS 13 is every bit the Windows laptop to rival the portability and power of a MacBook Air – plus it can be bought with a 4K touchscreen, too.


  • Optional 4K touchscreen
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Great build quality


  • Limited ports
  • Webcam only 720p
Dell XPS 13
Screen13.4in, FHD+, 1920×1200, 60Hz (upgradeable to 3840×2400 touchscreen)
ProcessorIntel Core i5 / Core i7
RAM8GB / 16GB / 32GB
Storage256GB / 512GB / 1TB
GraphicsIntel Iris Xe
Connectivity2x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C)
Operating systemWindows 11
BatteryUp to 12 hours
Dimensions1.4 x 29.5 x 20cm; 1.17kg

The Dell XPS 13 remains one of the best Windows laptops ever made, thanks to its masterful combination of stunning, compact design, and powerful specs. Rivalling Apple’s best on the aesthetics and build front, it’s a beautiful bit of kit that’s as much a joy to use, as it is handsome.

With a pixel-packed ‎3840 x 2400 13.4in touchscreen, and weighing in at a mere 1.17kg, it’s one of the lightest ultrabooks on our list, and we still marvel at its sturdy-yet-compact design to this day. Stature aside, it’s no slouch on the specs front either, with this particular model offering a 12th Generation Intel Core i7-1250U processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage.

Intel’s built-in Iris Xe graphics processor should be good enough for some light gaming and editing, though if you want a machine that will churn through demanding AAA titles like Cyberpunk 2077, then you’ll want to look for a machine with a dedicated GPU, like the Asus Zenbook 14X OLED further down our list.

Apple MacBook Air M2 review

2. Apple MacBook Air (2022)

Stuff Verdict

This revamp redefines the Air in a meaningful way, instantly renders the 13in MacBook Pro obsolete, and sets a yardstick by which Apple’s entry level devices will now be judged.


  • M2 chip more than powerful enough for most tasks
  • Noteworthy display and speaker improvements
  • Redesign looks very smart indeed


  • M2 chip supports only one external display
  • A big price hike for even the cheapest model
  • Midnight finish is a fingerprint magnet
Apple MacBook Air (2022)
Screen13.6in Retina 2560×1664 with P3 and True Tone
ProcessorApple M2
Storage256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB SSD
Operating systemmacOS Monterey
Connectivity802.11ax Wi-Fi 6; Bluetooth 5.0; 3.5mm headphone; 2×Thunderbolt 3 (USB 4); MagSafe
Dimensions30.41×21.5×1.13cm; 1.24kg
BatteryUp to 18 hours

The 2022 MacBook air is the best lightweight laptop for Apple fans. With a speedier, impressively-powerful M2 processor, it’s got more than enough power to smash through intense multitasking and editing workloads with ease. In fact, it’s around 20% faster in editing tasks compared to the M1, and five times faster than the zippiest Intel-based Air — no doubt helped by a 10-core (rather than the older 8-core) GPU.

On the business end, you’re greeted with the same 13.6in liquid retina display found on the MacBook Pro, which is 25% brighter (500nits) than its predecessor. There’s a Full HD webcam for the seemingly endless barrage of online meetings, and everything is crammed into a shell that’s 20% smaller in volume than before. With a weight of around 1.2kg and measuring just 11.3mm-thin, you’re getting a scary amount of power in a sleek, lithe form factor.

Apple has also finally added a 15in model to the range – in case you want to lug a larger screen around with you. The MacBook Air 15in (M2, 2023) is still physically compact, just as powerful courtesy of an M2 CPU, and matches the 13in model for battery life, so you’re giving up very little in pursuit of a bigger display.

Asus Zenbook 14X OLED

3. Asus Zenbook 14X OLED

Stuff Verdict

The Zenbook 14X OLED is a powerful and versatile laptop with a gorgeous OLED screen, but which is still remarkably compact and portable


  • Gorgeous display
  • Powerful i9 processor
  • Useful range of ports


  • Expensive
  • Overkill for some
Asus Zenbook 14X OLED
Screen14in, 2.8K OLED touchscreen, 120Hz
ProcessorIntel Core i9
RAM16GB / 32GB
Operating systemWindows 11
ConnectivityUSB-C, USB-A, HDMI,
Dimensions32.2cm x 22.6cm x 1.7cm; 1.56kg
BatteryUp to 18 hours

Asus’ entry is one of the most expensive ones, but boy, are its specs worth it. Where to start? Well, how about a gloriously punchy 14.5in 2.8K120Hz OLED display? With true blacks and mesmerising colours, everything from bland spreadsheets to in-game explosions will be an absolute delight for your retinas. It’s a touchscreen affair too, though we’d be far too frightened of ever sullying its beauty with our digits.

Its power, by the way, is almost laughable, considering its mere 1.56kg weight. Windows 11 and all the apps you’ll eve need are absolutely blitzed through with ease, thanks to Intel’s 13th Gen i9 processor, paid with a desktop-worthy 32GB of DDR5 RAM. And let’s not forget Nvidia’s formidable RTX 3050 mobile graphics card, which unlocks a world of genuine high-end gaming while you’re out and about.

Yes, it’s expensive, but given the power on offer in a desktop-matching package, it’s amazing that it’s as thin and as light as it is. A luxury choice that will serve you well for many years to come.


4. LG gram 17

Stuff Verdict

Want a slim and light laptop, but with a massive screen? This LG and its 17in display is the one for you, but it comes at a price.


  • Large, 17in display
  • Remarkably light and thin


  • Bigger than some will need
  • Expensive
LG gram 17
Screen17in, 60Hz, 2560×1600
ProcessorIntel Core i7
Operating systemWindows 11
ConnectivityUSB-C (x3), USB-A (x1), HDMI
Dimensions37.9 x 25.9 x 1.8cm; 1.35kg

The LG gram 17 is the largest entrant on our list, thanks to its very generous 2560 x 1600 17in display, and full-sized keyboard. Despite the vast amount of display real estate on offer however, LG’s gram range continues to live up to its lightweight moniker, with this 17in model tipping the scales at a mere 1.35kg.

It’s not the most powerful ultrabook on offer, but it’s more than capable of heavy multitasking and media consumption, thanks to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage. And if you need more graphical grunt to unlock serious gaming powers, you can always connect up an external GPU (eGPU) unit to one of its Thunderbolt 4 ports, if you fancy.

Surface Laptop 5 review

5. Microsoft Surface Laptop 5

Stuff Verdict

Several things hold the Surface Laptop 5 back from greatness, but it’s still one of the best ultraportables


  • Great display
  • Extremely good keyboard and touchpad
  • Swanky design


  • Some old ports
  • 720p webcam
  • Large screen bezels
Microsoft Surface Laptop 5
Screen13.5in, 2256×1504, 60Hz
ProcessorIntel Core i5/i7
Operating systemWindows 11
ConnectivityUSB-C/Thunderbolt 4, USB-A, Surface Connect
Dimensions30.1 x 22.3 x 1.5cm; 1.3kg
BatteryUp to 18 hours

Microsoft’s Surface range is an impeccably-built group of tantalisingly-designed laptops, with keyboards decked out in luxurious Alcantara. This particular model definitely fits the lightweight ultrabook bill, thanks to a compact 13.5in screen, and 1.29kg weight.

It’s a capable sliver of a machine too, thanks to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. Thunderbolt 4 for maximum connectivity, combined with an impressive 18-hour battery life, make this a superb choice for Microsoft purists who want a streamlined Windows 11 experience, in hardware crafted by the same company. It’s available in a range of eye-catching hues too, letting you stand out from the bland devices that fill most bags and backpacks.

Best mid-range laptop: HP Envy x360

6. HP Envy x360

Stuff Verdict

It’s not as light as other options, but this HP laptop is certainly versatile, thanks to its 15.6in touchscreen display that rotates 360 degrees


  • Folding touchscreen
  • Large display


  • Not particularly lightweight
  • Screen only 1080p
HP Envy x360
Screen15.6in, Full HD
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 7
Operating systemWindows 11
ConnectivityUSB-C (x2), USB-A (x1), HDMI 2.1
Dimensions35.7 x 22.9 x 1.8cm; 1.86kg
BatteryUp to 12.5 hours

It might not feature AMD’s latest generation mobile processor, but make no mistake — the Ryzen 7 CPU under the hood of this HP Envy x360 configuration is still a beast, and can even handle light gaming in addition to your regular workflow.

Paired with a 15.6in Full HD screen, 16GB of RAM, and B&O-powered sound, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck here. Granted, it’s not the sexiest laptop on our list, nor is it the lightest (weighing a still-respectable 1.86kg). But considering the specs for the price, you’re still getting a very capable machine for work and play, while saving some hard-earned cash in the process. Throw in the fact that its touchscreen folds back for some tablet transformation action, and it’s quite a compelling option.

7. Acer Chromebook Spin 513

Stuff Verdict

Chromebooks always deliver great value for money, and with the Spin 513 you also have a laptop with a rotating Full HD touchscreen, too


  • Stylish design
  • Decent battery life
  • Good range of ports


  • Chrome OS has its limitations
  • Glossy display
Acer Chromebook Spin 513
Screen13.3in, 1920×1080, IPS touchscreen
ProcessorSnapdragon 7c
Operating systemChrome OS
ConnectivityUSB-C (x2), USB-A (x1), Thunderbolt 4 (x1)
Dimensions31 x 20.9 x 1.6cm; 1.2kg
BatteryUp to 14 hours

Acer’s Chromebook Spin 513 is, comfortably the cheapest ultrabook on our list, with a price tag that’s easily around a grand less than anything else. Naturally, there are some fairly important comprises you’ll need to be aware of, but if you’re after a simple lightweight laptop for some light work and media consumption, it could be the perfect budget ultrabook for your needs.

It’s running Google’s Chrome OS, for a start, which is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c chipset, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. With a 13.3in screen and a weight of just 1.2kg, it’ll slip into any bag with ease, with a respectable 14-hour battery to boot. If you need cheap and cheerful, look no further.

How to choose the best lightweight laptop for you

Naturally, you’ll ant to look closely at the measurements and weight of a laptop if lightness is your primary concern. Lots of laptops are under 2cm thick these days, but remember that they are often wedge-shaped and the measurement tends to be at their widest point. Many also tip the scales at under 1.5kg, which really is impressive given the performance and particularly the heroic battery life of today’s best lightweight laptops.

Picking between Mac and Windows is a key factor, of course, and while Apple may once have had the lightweight laptop market to itself with the MacBook Air, there are now plenty of similarly slim machines from Dell, HP, Acer and others.

As with any laptop, the display, keyboard and touchpad are of utmost importance, since you interact with these more than any other element. Next up, shoppers should look at performance, storage and battery life, as well as what ports the laptop has. Some have just a couple of USB-C ports, so you’ll need to ask yourself if that’s enough for your daily needs – and if you’ll need to buy a dongle to plug in any accessories that don’t use USB-C. From printers to microphones, there’s still plenty of those around.

We also recommend having a good look at the glossiness of the display. This might look good in the store, but can be incredibly frustrating when you get home and find you’ve a better view of the window behind you than of the operating system. Similarly, check the speaker are up to scratch, as they can be compromised by the smaller form factor of a lightweight laptop, and check that the webcam is as good as you need it to be. Some older machines still only offer 720p cameras, while others have upgraded to 1080 Full HD.

Want something even more portable than an ultrabook? Check out the best tablets.

How we test the best lightweight laptops

We thoroughly test laptops before delivering a verdict and considering them for a buying guide. These tests include day-to-day use, of course, but also benchmarks to see how well they perform and if their battery stamina really lives up to manufacturer claims. We also pay close attention to the design, as well as the build quality and how well each component of the laptop functions, from the screen and keyboard to the touchpad, speakers and webcam.

As this guide is specifically about lightweight laptops, their portability is tested. Can you carry it around all day without doing yourself an injury? Will it slip unnoticed into a backpack? These are the crucial factors we aim to evaluate before delivering our verdict.

For more information on Stuff’s rating and review process, read our page on how we test products.

Profile image of Esat Dedezade Esat Dedezade Contributor


Esat has been a gadget fan ever since his tiny four-year-old brain was captivated by a sound-activated dancing sunflower. From there it was a natural progression to a Sega Mega Drive, a brief obsession with hedgehogs, and a love for all things tech. After 7 years as a writer and deputy editor for Stuff, Esat ventured out into the corporate world, spending three years as Editor of Microsoft's European News Centre. Now a freelance writer, his appetite for shiny gadgets has no bounds. Oh, and like all good human beings, he's very fond of cats.