Whether you're a student looking for a super-portable computer or you’re a business professional who needs a more commute-friendly device, you may want to consider a compact laptop. While they’re designed to be taken with you wherever you go, a compact laptop is more than a handy travel companion. They also offer a similar amount of power while weighing less and boasting a thinner design than a standard laptop.
Let’s look at the features that make up the best compact laptops and then go through our own selection to help you find the right one for you.
Choosing the right compact laptop
It can take some research in order to help you find the right compact laptop. You should think about where you will be taking it, which tasks you plan on using it for, and whether or not it has the right specs in order to help you accomplish all of your goals.
The size you want in your laptop is an inherent part of choosing the right option. Most compact laptops are 13 inches devices, but certain models can be even smaller. The size you prefer depends on several variables. First, think about the size of your home or office space and how much room you have available. Then, consider which display size makes sense for you to enjoy entertainment such as streaming videos or playing games.
Many professionals and students choose to switch over to a more compact option because a heavy laptop can literally start to weigh on you after some time. Even with a padded bag, having a laptop that weighs a lot can be frustrating to take long distances. Compact laptops tend to be much more manageable. For those who commute or need to take their device to class, having a computer that weighs less than 4 lbs can go a long way toward making the trip more pleasant and manageable.
You also want to make sure your new computer can perform how you need it to. A smaller laptop used to mean a compromise in performance, but modern compact laptops pack a surprising amount of power into a reduced frame.
You'll want to also consider battery life when looking at which options are right for you. If you need your device to run most of the day, then you can narrow down your search to those that offer 8 hours of battery or more. This is particularly important if you do a lot of work away from an outlet or you aren't sure when you'll be able to access a power source.
Graphics are another consideration to keep in mind. If you want to play video games or your job includes video or photo editing, then how these forms of media look is a necessary factor to keep in mind. You’ll want a display that shows true colors and that offers you an enhanced gaming experience, even if it’s on a smaller screen.
Many compact computers are also much more affordable than their larger counterparts. While price is always a consideration when you are thinking about which device is right for you, compact laptops often come with a reasonable price tag. Thankfully for those shopping on a budget, most of our models are available for less than $1,000, some for considerably less.
7 best HP compact laptops
Searching for the right compact laptop gets a lot easier when you visit HP®. With plenty of options all decked out with high-quality specs, you don't have to worry about your device letting you down. When you need to find a smaller device that can handle anything you throw at it, consider the following options.
This 11-inch HP Chromebook was built to travel with you. It comes with 4GB of memory and an Intel® Celeron® processor to help you take on any work or play even if you happen to be away from your desk. And you won’t have to worry about a power source because its battery runs for up to 11 hours and 30 minutes.
The included Chrome OS operating system allows you to easily access your Gmail and other Google accounts online, including Google Drive and your Android apps. At such a reasonable price, you can't beat this option for when you need a compact laptop on a budget.
Just because something is small doesn't mean it can't be high-end. This is especially true when it comes to the HP EliteBook 755 G5 notebook. It boasts an AMD Radeon™ Vega graphics card and comes with Windows 10 Pro 64 so you can enjoy your media the way it was meant to be seen.
It’s a solid option for gamers who want to take matches on the road, or for commuters who want to watch their favorite TV shows between work projects. Not only that, but it has enough power to help you take on any photo or video editing projects whether you’re at the office or on-the-go.
256GB of SSD storage
13.3-inch HD display
Extra security with HP Sure Start Gen4
3. HP Stream 11 Pro G4 EE (Education Edition) notebook
This device takes everything users love about the HP Chromebook and optimizes it with an Intel Celeron processor and Windows 10 Pro 64. This device is ideal for students who want a laptop that can easily switch from work to play in a matter of moments. The HD touch screen allows you to create in new ways, while the VGA webcam gives you a way to call home with a clear sound and picture. Best of all, the HP Stream 11 Pro G4 EE is super-lightweight, so it won’t add any strain when it’s carried from class to class.
This HP ENVY 13-inch comes in a number of sizes, but for those searching for the best ultra-compact laptop, the 13-inch is the way to go. Touting extra features like enhanced privacy and data protection, a beautiful design, and a micro-edge display, this computer proves that good things really do come in small packages.
Bang & Olufsen audio creates surround sound wherever you go, and the backlit full-sized keyboard is comfortable for hours of use. And it all sits in a laptop that weighs less than 3 lbs, making it the ideal choice for those working outside the office. Also, thanks to the included NVIDIA® GeForce® MX250 graphics card, it’s our pick for the best and most compact gaming laptop on our list.
The HP ProBook 430 is designed for enhanced performance, which makes it the perfect device for those who take their work outside of the office. The flexible display goes above and beyond by opening up a full 180 degrees, while the stylish design makes it the talk of the boardroom. Quad-core performance and an Intel Core processor has you covered throughout the day, whether you need to give a presentation or finish a complicated project.
Another compact laptop in the HP Chromebook line, this one is designed specifically for educators, students, or those looking to have a dynamic device with them in their bag. With a connection to thousands of Android apps and a thin design, it’s perfect for finishing up term papers or for coming up with a new assignment for your class. The HP Chromebook 11 G6 EE has an impressive 4GB of memory and effective battery power management so you can have power throughout the day.
If you want to customize your device to your specifications, the HP EliteBook 830 is the best compact laptop for you. It starts with an 8th Generation Intel Core i5 processor and Windows 10 Pro 64, and you can then build the right device to meet your needs. It also boasts an aluminum design that helps you look great in front of clients or your boss, and the advanced security system keeps important files safe from any malware or spyware. And if you need to take a call, you can rely on HP Noise Cancellation so it comes in crystal clear.
A compact laptop can be the perfect choice for you if you need a device that’s sturdy but not heavy, and slim but powerful. From doing homework at the library, to playing games at a tournament, to handling projects on the road, to watching Netflix in your hotel room after your meetings, you can find a smaller HP laptop to fit the bill.
About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.
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