Whether you like carrying your possessions in a comfy two-strap backpack or a single-strap messenger bag or tote, you’ve probably felt the shoulder and back pain that comes with lugging around a heavy computer. Going lighter used to mean limited productivity, but that’s no longer the case with today’s ultra-slim laptops and convertibles. There’s something out there for every kind of traveler, and B&H has a variety for creatives, gamers, higher education or career novices, children, and those who need a system that can do it all.
Here we break down which laptops should be on your radar if you’re planning a trip, or just find yourself on the go regularly.
For artists who are on the move and have lighter workloads, the Apple 13.3" MacBook Air with Retina Display (Late 2018) is worth your consideration. Weighing 2.8 lb and measuring 0.6" thick, the MacBook Air sports a 1.6 GHz Intel® Core™ i5 dual-core processor, up to 16GB of LPDDR3 onboard RAM, and up to 1.5TB for the solid-state drive. Additional features that support creativity include the 13.3" 2560 x 1600 Retina IPS Display powered by Intel® UHD Graphics™ 617, Thunderbolt™ 3 ports, multiple microphones, speakers, and a single 3.5mm audio jack, so you’ll get to edit photos, recorded sound, and more. For wireless connectivity and security, the MacBook Air comes with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), Bluetooth 4.2, and an integrated Touch ID sensor.
If you’re a creative who takes on intensive tasks like VR or 3D modeling, the Apple 15.4" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Mid 2018) is better suited with its dedicated AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 GPU, six-core Intel® Core™ i7 and i9 processors, up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and up to 2TB of solid-state drive storage.
Being a committed gamer usually means you’re tied down to a desktop, but you can pack that power into a portable system like the Lenovo 15.6" Legion Y7000 Gaming Laptop. Though it weighs 5.2 lb, the Legion is worth the workout, with its non-compromising six-core 2.2 GHz Intel® Core™ i7-8750H processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, 512GB PCIe solid-state drive, Full HD 1920 x 1080 144 Hz IPS display, dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card, Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), and Gigabit Ethernet. When combined, you’ll be able to play all the first-person shooters, MMOs, and other genres that tickle your fancy effortlessly.
For more casual gamers who want a lighter system with a longer battery life, the Razer 13.3" Blade Stealth 13 Multi-Touch Gaming Laptop is another option for jet-setters who like to have fun while they travel.
Teens to Young Adult
Whether you’re in high school, just started college, or are early in your career, you need a reliable system that can perform a wide range of tasks. The ASUS 14" ZenBook Flip 14 UX461 Multi-Touch 2-in-1 Laptop is a great choice for beginners whose primary work involves editing documents, accessing the Internet, occasional streaming, and other applications that can be done with either 8GB or 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM. Depending on how important performance, storage, and graphics are to you, you can pick between models that are equipped with a Core™ i5-8265U processor, a 256GB PCIe solid-state drive, and an Intel® UHD Graphics™ 620 GPU; or a Core™ i7-8550U processor, a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive, and an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU.
Other than these few differences, the ZenBook Flip 14 is an excellent travel companion, with its 360° hinge, lightweight, ultraportable design starting at 3.1 lb, multiple ports, integrated fingerprint reader, and 12-hour run time.
The young’uns shouldn’t be forgotten either, especially when it comes to long commutes. Weighing 2.95 lb, the Dell 11.6" Inspiron 11 3000 Series Laptop is a budget- and kid-friendly system that’s sure to keep children busy while you’re out and about—whether it be during a plane or car ride. This laptop is loaded with a 1.6 GHz AMD A6-9220e dual-core processor, 4GB of DDR4 RAM, and 32GB of eMMC flash storage, so little ones will be able to do their homework or play light games.
Additional features that will enhance their entertainment needs include an 11.6" 1366 x 768 WLED display powered by AMD Radeon R4 Graphics, cinematic sound with Waves MaxxAudio Pro, clear video streaming with SmartByte channels, and Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) for access to the Internet.
If you need a travel laptop that is as compact as possible without sacrificing power, the Microsoft Surface Go 10" 128GB Multi-Touch Tablet (4G LTE) is up your alley. You can get full laptop functionality with the optional Surface Go Type Cover, but this slate is more than sufficient on its own, with the integrated kickstand. In terms of performance, the 4G Surface Go is equipped with a 1.6 GHz Intel® Pentium™ 4415Y dual-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB solid-state drive, all of which makes it a great option for business, art, education, and more. Other useful features include a 10" PixelSense 10-point touch display that’s driven by Intel® HD Graphics™ 615, rear and front cameras, Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), and Bluetooth 4.1, as well as a USB Type-C port, 3.5mm audio jack, microSD and SIM card slots.
Alternatively, if you want a convertible that offers more ports, battery life, screen space, and a dedicated GPU, the Microsoft 13.5" Surface Book 2 Multi-Touch 2-in-1 Notebook might be more your speed.
Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know which laptop you like to take with you when you travel and make sure to tell us why, so your fellow globe trotters can be prepped before their journeys.
For more travel-related news and tips, be sure to check out the rest of Travel Week on B&H Explora!