In the world of High Performance Laptop reviews we look at many factors which rarely favour ultraportables. However, not all laptops suit all people. In this group test we’ll be discovering the most portable laptop by focusing primarily on the portability score and less on raw power.
What is the perfect portable laptop?
A portable laptop eschews power for a light chassis, lightweight power supply, long battery life and rugged build quality that will survive life on the road. It should be responsive for all basic computer tasks and comfortable to use for extended periods with good ergonomics, heat management and low noise.
1. Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip | $1,549 | Ticks every box for the perfect portable laptop
While we loved the ExpertBook B9400 (see below) it’s a bit expensive for most tastes. Fortunately, Asus’ 13.3-inch ExpertBook B5 Flip’s compromises are outweighed by its enhancements. It feels very similar and is equally as responsive for most, basic computer tasks – despite the lesser, i5 processor, RAM and hard drive. It’s also a convertible with a touchscreen. Battery life is somewhat reduced but it still managed an impressive 11hrs 19mins. At less-than half the price, that’s astonishing!
2. Asus ExpertBook B9400 | $3,893 | Everything you could want from a lightweight, portable laptop. It’s pricey though
The 14-inch Asus ExpertBook B9400 is everything you’d want from an ultraportable. It weighs just 1KG, has a 330g power supply and a battery life of 17hrs 55mins. It’s very well built and the 11th Gen Core i7 processor and 2x 1TB NVMe hard drives mean it’s no slouch either. It’s not the cheapest though(!)
3. Venom BlackBook Zero 15 Phantom | $3,549 | 15-inch portability with a 7-year, $500 buy-back promise!
Venom is Australia’s global laptop brand. It’s also very big on e-waste. The company doesn’t like the thought of disposable technology and so insists on building its portable laptops to last – so much so, that it will guarantee you a $500 buy back after SEVEN YEARS! We like that two power supplies are included (so you can leave one plugged in and take the other traveling). They only weigh 350g too and this helps counter the (in this context) hefty 1.7KG ‘bulk.’ Battery life is an impressive 14hrs 26mins. Our spec was reasonably powerful but Venom allows for considerable configuration to tailor your preferred portable laptop.
4. Acer Swift X | $1,299 | An ultraportable with a bit more bite
The 14-inch Acer Swift X represents a low cost, portable choice for those who want a little more grunt. It has discreet graphics in the form of the (old but popular) Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU which offers that bit more than the usual, integrated Intel Xe GPU that we see elsewhere. It ran our battery test for 12-and-a-half hours and it’s comfy to use. The price also keeps coming down, so it deserves a place on your portable laptop shortlist.
5. Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 | $2,348 | Huawei’s flagship ultra portable laptop offers some tempting, unique features
Huawei set out to make the best ultraportable laptop it could with the 13.9-inch, MateBook X Pro. It has a UHD, 3:2 touchscreen, weighs just 1.33KG and is just 15mm thick. It’s also very well built. It has one of the best portable laptop chargers (a phone-sized rapid charger that can also charge your phone) and ran our battery test for 12-and-a-half hours. It’s also got an 11th Gen Core i7 processor, so it’s no slouch either. It’s a fantastic choice for those looking for a laptop that’s portable. If you want a version that’s similar but cheaper, check out Huawei’s other ultraportables.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 | $3,499 | An ultraportable gaming tablet(!)
It has its issues… the 120Hz screen has a slow pixel response and displays iffy gradients. It’s it’s underpowered when it comes to 3D. But, there’s still lots to like including blistering 2D performance a unique, lightweight form factor and some fancy looks.
Razer Blade 14 | $4,999 | Portable power personified
Some might feel aggrieved by the Razer Blade 14 not sitting at number 1. It’s the best laptop here, after all. This 14-incher looks gorgeous, is great to use and is packed with enough power to take on every other ultraportable combined. Did we mention the 10-hour battery life? However, it landed just the wrong side our the arbitrary, thin-and-light requirements for this round-up. Still, at 1.8KG it’s hardly heavy and few people wouldn’t choose this as a perfect portable laptop.