You want to purchase a laptop, but you don’t want the bulk. Standard models typically range from 13.3-inch to 17.3-inch screens, but even the smallest devices may be too big for your needs. It sounds like you need a mini laptop and we’re here to help you find the best mini laptops on the market.
A mini laptop is a PC that falls into the 10- to 12-inch display category. Think of them as large tablets with keyboards, yet powerful enough to avoid tablet classification. Many devices listed here are actually detachables, so you can remove the keyboard and simply use the tablet portion.
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Price-wise, even the best mini laptops are relatively cheap, save for a few in this list that break the $400 barrier. Remember, you get what you pay for, so don’t expect blazing fast performance from a device costing just $200. You’re investing in the smaller form factor and as many features the manufacturer can cram into budget hardware.
That all said, here is our list of the best mini laptops!
Best mini laptops: Windows 10
Acer Aspire Switch 10V
We start our list with a detachable sold by Acer. The company calls the Aspire Switch 10V a 2-in-1 netbook though 2-in-1 designs typically don’t include removable keyboards — that’s why we have the detachable category. Like a 2-in-1, you can use this device in standard laptop, tent, and stand modes. But unlike a 2-in-1, you can detach the keyboard and use the tablet portion on its own.
The Aspire Switch 10V packs a 10.1-inch IPS display with a 1,280 x 800 resolution powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 quad-core processor. Intel designed this chip to draw a crazy-low two watts of power while the overall device only draws 18 watts of power. Paired with a small 24Wh battery, you may see up to 9 hours of use on a single charge.
Backing the Atom chip is 4GB of DDR3L system memory and 64GB of storage. The main tablet portion provides a USB-C port (5Gbps), an audio combo jack, a MicroSD card slot, and a fingerprint reader installed on the back. The keyboard sports a latch-free magnetic hinge, a Precision Touchpad, and a USB-A port (480Mbps).
Other features thrown into this detachable include Wireless AC (2×2) and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, a 2MP camera on the front, a 5MP camera on the back, and proprietary display technologies like LumiFlex and BluelightShield. It measures 0.8-inches thick and weighs 2.65-pounds with the keyboard attached.
Asus VivoBook E203NA
If you want a traditional clamshell notebook, the VivoBook E203NA is a great choice. It’s based on a 11.6-inch screen with a 1,366 x 768 resolution and a maximum brightness of 200 nits. A durable 180-degree hinge enables this laptop to lay completely flat for sharing the screen’s content. Surrounding the screen is a black bezel complemented by one of three graduated finishes: Pearl White, Petal Pink, and Star Gray.
Under the hood, you’ll find an Intel Celeron N3350 dual-core chip or an Intel Pentium N4200 quad-core chip. System memory consists of 2GB or 4GB while storage ranges from 32GB to 128GB. You can add more storage using the MicroSD card slot that’s joined by two USB-A ports (5Gbps), one USB-C port (5Gbps), HDMI output, and an audio combo jack.
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Asus claims the Precision Touchpad is 17-percent larger than touchpads installed on similar competing laptops. Meanwhile, the chiclet keyboard seemingly stretches from edger to edge – without the number pad – boasting a 1.6mm key travel distance. Other notable ingredients include Wireless AC (1×1) and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, a pair of two-watt speakers with SonicMaster audio tuning, a VGA webcam, and a 38Wh battery promising up to 10 hours.
The Asus VivoBook E203NA measures 0.7-inches thick and weighs 2.16-pounds. The specifications list Windows 10 Home as the platform while third-party retailers list Windows 10 in S Mode. The latter is a version of Windows 10 targeting students that locks app installs to the Windows Store and prevents manual changes to the operating system. You can upgrade to Home or Pro for free.
Dell Inspiron 11 3000
If you’re shopping for an extremely inexpensive laptop, the Inspiron 11 3000 may be just the ticket. It has a fairly standard 11.6-inch IPS display with a 1,366 x 768 resolution, but unlike our previous best mini laptops, Dell ditched Intel for AMD’s seventh-generation all-in-one CPUs (aka APUs) with integrated Radeon graphics. These chips consist of the A6-9220e in three configurations and the A9-9420e in one configuration.
Dell locks the system memory at 4GB (DDR4 @ 2,400MHz) while storage ranges from 32GB to 128GB. An integrated MicroSD card slot provides additional storage if needed. You’ll also find an older USB-A port (480Mbps), a newer USB-A port (5Gbps), HDMI output, and an audio combo jack. Wireless connectivity includes Bluetooth 4.0 and old-school Wireless N (1×1).
Available in Alpine White, Bali Blue, and Grey, the Inspiron 11 3000 packs a 720p webcam, two speakers powered by Waves MaxxAudio Pro, a Noble lock security slot, and a 32Wh battery. The keyboard keys support 10 million keystrokes before failure while the touchpad buttons support one million clicks.
The Inspiron 11 3000 measures 0.82-inches thick and weighs 2.54-pounds. It even withstand heat conditions of up to 149 degrees fahrenheit in short duration according to the product listing.
HP Stream 11
Here’s another top mini laptop shipping with Windows 10 in S Mode. Currently, HP provides only one configuration based on Intel’s dual-core Celeron N4000 processor. It powers an 11.6-inch SVA screen with a 1,366 x 768 resolution, 4GB of system memory (DDR4 @ 2,400MHz), and 32GB of storage.
Given the installed storage is rather slim, HP tossed in a MicroSD card slot to help alleviate your storage woes. It’s joined by HDMI output, an audio combo jack, one older USB-A port (480Mbps), and a newer USB-A port (5Gbps). Wireless AC (2×2) and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, two speakers backed by DTS Studio Sound, a full-size island-style keyboard, and a basic webcam complete the hardware list.
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Powering HP’s best mini laptop is a 37.69Wh battery promising up to 12 hours and 30 minutes on a single charge. Shipping in a stylish Aqua Blue or Jet Black finish, the laptop measures 0.71-inches thin and weighs 2.57-pounds. Again, you can upgrade Windows 10 to the Pro or Home version for free.
Lenovo IdeaPad 130S
Lenovo currently sells four versions of this 11-inch mini laptop, three of which reside on Lenovo’s website packing Intel’s Celeron N4000 two-core processor. The fourth is sold by third-party retailers and runs on Intel’s Pentium Silver N5000 chipset. Out of the four, the Pentium version deliver the most bang for your buck.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 130S features an 11.6-inch screen with a 1,366 x 768 resolution. It also includes 2GB or 4GB of system memory (DDR4 @ 2,400MHz), 32GB or 64GB of storage, and a 32Wh battery promising up to eight hours on a single charge. Complementing the small storage is a MicroSD card reader along with two USB-A ports (5Gbps), one USB-C port (5Gbps), HDMI output, and an audio combo jack.
Depending on the model, the laptop ships with Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 in S Mode in a Mineral Grey or Midnight Blue finish. Other hardware goodies include Wireless AC (1×1) and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, a 0.3MP camera, a pair of two-watt speakers, and a 180-degree hinge for laying the PC flat to share the screen’s contents.
One notable feature found along the right side is the Novo button — a small pinhole you press if the laptop fails to boot. By pressing the button inside, you can perform a system recovery, enter the BIOS, or edit the boot menu. The Lenovo IdeaPad 130S measures 0.69-inches thick and weighs 2.8-pounds.
Microsoft Surface Go
The Microsoft Surface Go has one of the largest starting prices of the group at $399 while also having one of the smallest screens. It’s a premium device loaded with features like face recognition, 4G LTE connectivity, 10-point touch input, and a silver magnesium chassis. Unfortunately, the Type Cover and compatible Surface Pen are sold separately despite the product shots.
The Surface Go starts with a 10-inch PixelSense display sporting an 1,800 x 1,200 resolution and a 1500:1 contrast ratio. It’s powered by Intel’s Pentium Gold 4415Y two-core processor, integrated graphics, and 4GB or 8GB of system memory. Storage consists of 64GB or 128GB backed by a MicroSDXC card reader. Other ports include one USB-C (5Gbps), the Surface Connect port, the Surface Type Cover port, and an audio combo jack.
In addition to the face recognition camera, the Surface Go provides a 5MP camera on the front and an 8MP camera on the back. Other features includes Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, a pair of two-watt speakers with Dolby Audio Premium, support for the Surface Dial, and a 27Wh battery promising up to nine hours of video playback.
The Surface Go measures 0.33-inches thin and weighs 1.15-pounds without the Type Cover. Microsoft provides four configurations on its site and through third-party retailers, with the cheapest version packing 4GB of system memory, 64GB of storage, and Wi-Fi. The most expensive model has 4G LTE connectivity, 8GB of system memory, and 128GB of storage.
Samsung Galaxy Book
Here’s another premium detachable you can use as a mini laptop though, unlike the Surface Go, the keyboard and S Pen are included in the price. Samsung only serves up two 10.6-inch Full HD models in the Galaxy Book family, both of which are based on Intel’s seventh-generation Core m3-7Y30 dual-core processor. Both also include 4GB of system memory while storage ranges from 64GB to 128GB.
The Galaxy Book is rather short on physical connectivity providing a single USB-C port (5Gbps), a MicroSD card slot (up to 400GB), and an audio combo jack. Due to this limitation, you’ll need a USB-C hub to support USB-A peripherals and external displays. Other notable features include Bluetooth 4.1 and Wireless AC connectivity, a 5MP camera on the front, and a holder connected to the keyboard cover for storing the S Pen.
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Samsung Galaxy phone owners get a cool bonus thanks to the detachable’s built-in Samsung Flow feature. First, you can share files to the Galaxy Book with a simple tap. You can also receive and respond to native and third-party notifications pushed over to the laptop from the phone.
The Samsung Galaxy Book measures 0.35-inches thin and weighs 1.42-pounds without the keyboard cover. The battery promises up to nine hours of video playback on a single charge, and a full recharge after three hours.
Best mini laptops: Chrome OS
Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA
The only Chromebook on our best mini laptop round-up is the Flip C302CA. The 2-in-1 has one of the largest screens in the group measuring 12.5-inches. This screen sports a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, 10-point touch input, and a 60Hz refresh rate. It’s backed by a 360-degree hinge enabling laptop, stand, tent, and tablet modes.
Under the hood are one of three Intel dual-core processors: the Core m3-6Y30, the Core m7-6Y75, and the Pentium 4405Y. They’re backed by 4GB or 8GB of system memory and 32GB to 128GB of storage. You can add even more storage with the MicroSD card slot, which joins two USB-C ports (5Gbps) and an audio combo jack. Again, you will need a USB-C hub for standard peripherals and video output.
Other ingredients include Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, an HD webcam on the front, and an illuminated chiclet keyboard with a 1.4mm key travel distance. The touchpad features palm-rejection technology so your fingers do the walking across the screen, not your palm. Asus claims this Chromebook produces high-fidelity audio up to 87dB using high-quality speakers and larger-than-normal resonant chambers.
Powering this 2-in-1 Chromebook is a 39Wh battery promising up to 10 hours. It measures 0.54 inches thin and weighs a mere 2.65 pounds. It supports Google Play’s Android apps as well, making the MicroSD card slot a necessary component.
Best mini laptops: macOS
Want one of the best mini laptops that runs macOS? Unfortunately, Apple discontinued its 11.6-inch MacBook Air after 2016, but you can still find them on third-party websites as renewed/refurbished units. They’re based on a 11.6-inch TN panel with a 1,366 x 768 resolution powered by fifth-generation Intel Core i5-5250U and Core i7-5650U processors. This MacBook Air still isn’t cheap considering its “used,” but better than Apple’s original prices.
The 11.6-inch MacBook Air features 4GB or 8GB of system memory (LPDDR3 @ 1,600MHz) and storage ranging from 128GB to 512GB. There is no SD card slot, thus you may want to steer clear of the lower storage capacities if you plan to edit large videos or play games. Of course, you could add an external drive using the Thunderbolt 2 port or one of the two USB-A ports (5Gbps). The MacBook Air has an audio combo jack too.
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Other features baked into this MacBook Air include Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, a webcam fine-tuned for Apple’s FaceTime, and a 38Wh battery promising up to nine hours. The power connector is magnetic so you’re not worrying about accidentally breaking off the connector while it’s still in the power jack (it happens, just ask parents).
The 11.6-inch MacBook Air measures 0.68 inches thin and weighs 2.38 pounds. Your best bet is to grab a renewed/refurbished unit listed by Apple. It supports the latest version of MacOS, so no worries about running an obsolete operating system.
That completes our list of the best mini laptops. If there’s a mini laptop that should be on our list, please let us in the comments.
Be sure to check out some of our other laptop guides below:
- The best laptops of CES 2019
- Best Chromebooks
- The best laptops with the RTX 2080 arriving in 2019
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