Best laptops for travel - review

Best Laptops for Travel 2020 – Review

If you’re searching for the sleekest, ultra-portable laptop of 2019/20, you’re lucky for you we’ve done the hard part for you.

After hours, days, weeks of research and numerous store visits, we created this shortlist for the best laptops for travel. We’ve included a description, main features, specs as well as pros and cons.

You can find our chosen laptop (which we love!) in our conclusion, along with our recent update on our purchase! MUST READ as we have decided to switch laptops!

We’ve been wanting to share our findings on this subject for a while now, as we have recently been going through the painful process ourselves of deciding on the best laptop for working while travelling.

Our shortlist was based on a mid-range budget of around £700-1,150, as we initially wanted a cheap one as we’re on a tight budget, but knew we had to part with our money if we wanted a sustainable, light laptop with enough processing power to edit and store our travel photos successfully.

Whether you want a small, lightweight laptop for travelling or just want to avoid carrying a tonne on your way to work, we’ve reviewed below the top lightweight portable laptops of 2018.

Dell XPS 13 Convertible Touch Notebook

– World’s smallest 13-inch 2-in-1 with infinity edge display
– Premium 360-degree hinge for four, flexible positions

This laptop was the runner-up for us with its ultra-lightweight portability, small size and boasting a 15 hour battery life. This would be perfect for us working long hours online, yet would still be easy and light to carry around in our backpack on a day to day basis.


Price: £975.45

Weight: 1.29 kg

Dimensions: 13.3 in

Battery life: 15 hours

Memory: 4GB

Storage space: 128 GB SSD

Processing power: 7th Generation Intel Core i5

Operating System: Windows 10

Connectivity: Wi-fi, Bluetooth, USB, Thunderbolt

HP Spectre 13 x360

– Innovatively engineered to rotate 360º so that you can use your device in four modes – work in laptop mode, watch in stand mode, play in tent mode, and go in tablet mode.
– Touchscreen and HP pro active stylus pen

The design is what caught our eye at first, with its slick frame and flexible hinge. Similar to the Dell XPS 13, it’s very light in weight however has an extra hour of battery life. If you’re like us an enjoy projecting videos and movies onto the TV, you’ll be glad to know there is a thunderbolt to HDMI cable for purchase, despite there being no HDMI port.


Price: £1149.98

Weight: 1.29 kg

Display: 13.3 in

Battery life: 16 hours

Memory: 8GB

Storage space: 256 GB

Processing power: Intel Core i5

Operating System: Windows 10 home

Connectivity: USB, Thunderbolt 3 with PowerShare/DisplayPort (sleep & charge), headphone/microphone combo jack

Asus Zenbook

– Ultra Slim 200nits

The sleek shell definitely makes this laptop stand out, and is cheaper than the XPS 13 and HP Spectre. The change in price unfortunately means a slight drop in battery life compared to the others, at 12 hours, but is slightly lighter in weight.


Price: £775.00

Weight: 1.2 kg

Display: 13.3 in

Battery life: 12 hours

Memory: 8GB

Storage space: 512 GB

Processing power: Intel Core i5

Operating System: Windows 10

Connectivity: Micro HDMI, USB

MacBook Air

– LED back-lit glossy widescreen display with support for millions of colours

We of course went straight to the MacBook range for obvious reasons, and we’ve always wanted to own one. However after doing a lot of research, this turned out to be the heaviest laptop in our shortlist. After all, we are reviewing laptops for travel, and there just seemed to be several other options which were lighter and smaller, yet still provide the same, if not better, memory, storage and battery life.


Price: £928.00

Weight: 1.35 kg

Display: 13.3 in

Battery life: 10 hours

Memory: 8GB

Storage space: 256 GB

Processing power: Intel Core i5 Processor

Operating System: Mac OS X

Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth


EDIT – 1 year later

As you can see below, the winner of our review was the HP Spectre 13 x360, which is what we had bought. A year on and as our knowledge has developed, we have realised that as amazing as this laptop is, it’s not quite built for what we need.

Running Lightroom, Photoshop, Premier Pro and other large programs was indeed possible, but didn’t run as smoothly as we needed it to in order to work on jobs efficiently. Sometimes Lightroom would almost give up on me altogether and not load much at all.

The small 256GB storage was also a problem. Despite having a 2TB external hard drive, it was still inconvenient not being able to hold all the photos necessary to work on particular projects. Also not being able to hold all of the photos from trips. This lead to files being transferred to and fro and getting unorganised. If you can find a version of the Spectre 360 with more memory and RAM then that may work for you!

With that being said, only having 1 USB port was also a problem when trying to transfer files on multiple devices, such as transferring files from my phone straight to the external hard drive (because there was no space on my laptop!).

And no slot for our camera SD? Nightmare. Don’t even go there.

However, if you are looking at this laptop just for blogging and regular every day use, then you will absolutely love it. We will definitely miss the touch screen, facial recognition and being able to fold the laptop in half to create a tablet! The design is so sleek and elegant, so will definitely be missing that aspect too.

What laptop do we have now?

We have now invested in the MSI range, with the PS42 8RB. This has double the memory at 512GB which is even SSD, double the RAM at 16GB, with a better i7 processor and a better graphics card. All of this meaning its simply much more built for what we need! And price wise? Still within our budget!

2 USB ports, SD slot, HMDI port, fingerprint recognition? CHECK!


HP Spectre 13 x360

After taking everything into consideration, we believed this to be the best investment for our beloved travel laptop, despite the highest price. It’s light – REALLY light, and ultra-thin and portable and can even comfortably carry it in one hand.

If you’re lucky enough to have a Costco store near you, this is where we got ours from in the end at a slightly lower price of £950. We’ve had it for a while now, and it really does live up to expectations and we’re really happy with it!

Here are some additional pros and cons we thought we’d share and confirm for you guys:


Laptop case

We also invested in this smart, water-resistant case for our new addition to the family for £15.99, and fits snug in the 12.5-13 inch size.

External hard drive

We opted for the 2TB storage instead of the 1TB storage, as the price difference isn’t too much and is definitely worth the extra investment to double the storage. So if you need to hold thousands of travel photos like us, there is a great discount on Amazon at the mo for the 2TB.

We hope this information has broadened your knowledge enough to make your decision a little easier when buying your new laptop!

Thank you for reading our review on the best laptops for travel.

All the best and happy shopping 🙂

Round the world with us


  • Bill

    Gadgets I just love gadgets.

    I am torn between 2 the HP and the Mac, touch screen is the future and I am surprised that Apple seem to be dragging their feet when it comes to this.

    But having said that I have always found that Windows machines are fine when new but after a while they tend to slow down, and for that reason I would have to buy the Mac.

    • Kelly Menster

      Thanks for your comment Bill!

      We have got to agree! Very suprised at Apple, and personally we find the Apple lightweight laptops to still be too heavy.
      If it wasn’t for us having to carry the laptop around while travelling, we would have definitely opted for the mac too – we just can’t be dealing with that extra weight! Haha

  • Ruben

    A great selection of light LapTops. I personally like the Asus Brand for Laptops. I have own two of them and I haven´t had any problems. HP Brand has a large history of making computers and accessories, so they are a solid choice for a new Laptop.

    • Kelly Menster

      Thanks for your comment Ruben!

      It was such a hard decision for us choosing from all of these! They’re all so great with only slight differences – but had to opt for the lightest one and touch screen 😀
      The HP is treating us well so far, hopefully it stays that way.

      Kelly & Luke 🙂

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