Every month, we perform a group test to determine the Best Portable Laptop of the month. This involves updating our in-depth laptop reviews with the latest pricing and availability to establish the contenders before ranking them.
In recent months, we’ve changed tack and are ranking all the portable notebooks according to our reviews’ Portability scores. This provides a much fresher list and you can easily scroll through it to find the lightweight laptop that best suits your needs and budget. We also recently learned that perennial favourites, Huawei, are currently tools-down while they make significant internal changes.
To be eligible for our group test, all of the following portable laptops must weigh less-than 1.8KG and have a battery life of at least eight hours (unless otherwise stated). Our overall, best portable laptop rank is then derived by adding together the following facets: 45% of the battery life ranking; 45% of the weight ranking; 10% of the ‘weight of power supply and cables’ ranking; plus, 5% of the build quality ranking.
Table of Contents
What makes a perfect portable laptop?
The perfect portable laptop eschews powerful components for a long battery life. It also has a small power supply and a thin, lightweight, robust chassis that will survive life on the road.
It should be fast enough to run all basic computer tasks (like office work) without lagging and be comfortable to use for extended periods, due to good ergonomics. It shouldn’t get too warm and its cooling fans shouldn’t get too noisy. It should also have a good webcam and microphone for web conferencing. Occasionally you’ll also find a unicorn ultraportable laptop that will play games too!
Top 30 Best Portable Laptops
1. HP Envy X360
Price: $1,599 | A fantastic convertible ultraportable with over 19 hours of battery life
The all-aluminium HP Envy looks great, weighs little and has a very long battery life – that’s why it’s High Performance Laptops’ Number 1 Portable Laptop Award winner. It also converts into a tablet. It’s may look a little under-powered compared to some, newer rivals, but it’s one of the most portable notebooks we’ve ever tested and a worthy addition to anyone’s shortlist. We’ve seen its price fluctuate considerably in recent months, but it’s just dropped by $400 meaning it’s a steal in November!
2. HP Elite Dragonfly G4 (New Entry)
Price: $3,945 | HP’s luxurious, business-class ultraportable is seriously desirable
The HP Dragonfly has a gorgeous, thin-and-light magnesium chassis that’s also incredibly robust. On top of that, the 14-inch ultraportable only weighs 1.4KG and has a battery life 17 hours and 54 minutes. On top of that, its got HP’s Wolf Security, making it suitable for business users while the amazing speakers make it great for multimedia. It’s expensive though.
3. Dell XPS 13
Price: $1,799 | A business classic that’s nearly perfect for portability
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We posted our most recent review of the Dell XPS 13 on Smarthouse but we nonetheless tested it using High Performance Laptops‘ in-depth methodology. It’s an industry stalwart that impresses casual users and top executives alike with its aluminium appearance. However, its two Thunderbolt 4 ports (one of which is used by the power supply) will feel limiting to many users. The screen is also only suited to office work, too.
Nonetheless, there’s much to like, especially in terms of ergonomics (webcam, keyboard, amazing speakers) and, naturally, portability. It weighs just 1.16KG and has a battery that ran our PCMark Modern Office test for an impressive 14 hours and 13 minutes.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is designed for corporates who want a hybrid, mobile workforce to have a mobile tool that’s good for office work, reliable when out and about and good for web-conferencing when away from a desk. In these regards it’s a great success. It’s so easy to chuck in a bag and whip it out to start working instantly.
However, there’s no getting away from the fact it’s very expensive compared to rival ‘laptops’ and having to pay a whopping, additional $430 for the keyboard and stylus, can stick in the craw. It also has a long footprint which makes it difficult to actually rest on your lap. Still, it’s so easy to rip-off the keyboard and use it as a bona fide, lightweight tablet, we can’t not like it.
5. Acer Swift 5
Price: $2,732 | Great portable performance
It’s difficult to find the touchscreen-wielding Acer Swift 5 (with our review specs) in the stores or even listed on Acer’s online store. On the surface it looks and feels very good but the lightweight chassis’ plastic nature can feel a bit cheap underneath. Still, if you can find one at a good price – like this overseas model on Amazon – there’s much to like in terms of portable performance. It only weighs 1.29KG and the power supply and cables only add another 300g. The small(ish) 55Wh battery also managed to last for an impressive 14 hours 12 minutes too.
At $3,000 the Lenovo Yoga 7i represented very good value by having to heaps of features, excellent ergonomics and impressive portability. At $2,529, it’s a bargain. It’s been one of our Top 10 best laptops and one of our bust Best Business Laptops to boot. We’re also fans of Lenovo’s genuinely green credentials which offset all carbon throughout the laptop’s lifespan, from distribution, to construction, to lifetime energy usage and, finally, recycling. The only thing it’s not great at is gaming.
The fact a 16-inch laptop made it this far up the list is incredible. It’s also partly why we’ve given it a special dispensation to compete in this group test, as it breaks our 1.8kg cut-off point by busting the scales at 2KG. However, note that the power brick and cables weigh a paltry 174g which means it’s not the heaviest combo here. Finally, the Yoga 7i ran our battery test for an amazing 18 hours. These results and the giveaway price make it hugely desirable.
The MSI Prestige range has traditionally offered amazing portability, stunning looks and even gaming prowess in a corporate-friendly chassis. This new model cuts out the the gaming and the looks. But, it’s still powerful, portable, ergonomically pleasing and well worth considering.
Our review spec is hard to find now, but you can pick up a 13th-Gen version for much less money now. That buys you a 1.23KG Evo-certified laptop with an impressive 10 hours and 46 minutes battery life.
Price: $6,858 | If you need an industrial-strength laptop for the field, this is it
It might not be particularly light, fast or in any way cheap, but if you need a laptop that could survive on a battlefield, this is it. It also has a super-bright screen for very sunny days and two, hot-swapbatteries for continuous battery life if you need more than the existing [checks notes] 20 hours 11 minutes! The latter is why we forgave its 2.3KG bulk.
Dell doesn’t give a price for our spec – you have to call them up and negotiate one. Naturally, it’s not for everyone, but for some fields and industries, it will be essential enough to render the price inconsequential.
Price: $1,966 (US$1,300) | One of the best laptops we’ve ever used. But, it’s very new and hard to find
This brand new entry from Acer is one of our favourite laptops ever. The OLED screen is fast enough for casual and competitive gaming and it supports HDR which makes watching multimedia an immersive joy. The speakers are surprisingly good and it’s generally a joy to interact with. Oh, and it’s got a 16-inch chassis that weighs just 1.24KG! The phone-type power supply only adds another 182g, too.
On top of that, it’s the first laptop with AMD’s A.I. smarts built in to the processor and it’s comparatively powerful when compared to most other laptops on this list. In November, it’s very new in Australia and so we’re still pushing for local pricing.
We’re also still settling on a final battery-life score: Acer says 10 hours, but our in-house testing is stuck at 9 hours. That’s still a full day out of the office, but we think it can do more with updated software and so we’ll re-test. Either way, it’s a fantastic, portable workhorse. Keep checking Acer’s online store for availability.
Price: $1,129 | Another impressive Asus Vivobook that comes in at a very-low price
The Asus Vivobook S 14 is a good, general-purpose laptop. It might not stand-out in one (physical) area but it has few weak points and offers a well-rounded combination of ergonomics, features and performance. It weighs a modest 1.65KG but the battery life is an impressive 15 hours and 39 minutes.
It might not be our Best Value Laptop Award winner right now, but it used to be and its November sale price still means it offers outstanding value. So, hurry up if you want a bargain laptop.
Price: $1,699 | A great ultraportable that can suit many tasks
The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED is another winner from Asus’ impressive Zenbook range. It suits every requirement of an ultraportable for every use case… including, to a minor extent, gaming. The 75Wh battery lasted for 12 hours and 43 minutes and it weighs just 1.41KG. In November, it’s slightly increased in price, but it’s still a good buy.
Price: $1,649 | A powerful, well-featured ultraportable
Our updated benchmarks boosted the importance of features and portability in our monthly, best laptop group test and Lenovo’s ThinkPad Z13 was an early beneficiary. The price has collapsed since we reviewed it and, though it might not fly at gaming, it can do pretty much everything else. The price has dropped again in November but slightly lower-spec’d variants are currently even cheaper. It’s very solidly built yet weighs just 1.26KG. It also ran our battery test for an impressive 11 hours and 43 minutes.
13. Acer Swift Go 14
Price: $1,699 | Acer’s latest Go is a highly desirable, all-round, workhorse in a portable package
The Acer Swift Go 14 was our daily workhorse for a long time. It’s solid, highly portable, relatively powerful and has impressive ergonomics. Specs include a 14-inch OLED screen, a punchy 13th-Gen Intel processor, a 1.33KG chassis and an 11+ hour battery life. There aren’t any significant weak points and it’s very good value at $1,699. In November, you can even find lesser specs for under $900!
Price: $6,999 | A folding, keyboard-less, OLED, convertible laptop that is brilliant for presentations
The Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is a niche product before you see the astronomical price tag. It appears to be, in part, another of Asus‘ famous technical experiments but it will also appeal to niche users – especially those who make presentations. While we’re not convinced that the bulky hinge/clasp is as refined as it could be, few potential clients, colleagues and managers won’t be impressed if you whipped this out for a preso. It also weighs just 1.5KG (astonishing for a ’17-inch’ laptop) and has more-than 13 hours of battery life. It’s very, very expensive, though.
15. HP Spectre Foldable 17 (New Entry)
Price: $8,499 | A luxurious, folding, convertible OLED laptop that transforms into a desktop but isn’t cheap
After seeing Asus’ Gen 1 Fold we were keen to see a refined version of it and HP obliged. The Spectre Foldable 17 feels like a regular laptop when its keyboard is placed upon its lower half. Dragging it back elongates the screen. Unfolding it turns it into a useful 17-inch OLED tablet. Pulling out the stand at the rear then turns it into a passable desktop.
It’s 9mm thick unfolded, but 21mm thick when the thin, wireless-charged keyboard gets sandwiched in the middle and it’s folded like a laptop. It only weighs 1.32KG while the keyboard only adds another 267g to the mix. It’s also got a 14-and-a-half-hour battery life.
At $8,499 it’s one of the most expensive laptops we’ve ever tested. But, if you’re a travelling executive, who wants to travel with a large screen, while retaining full laptop functionality, it could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Price: $1,394 | A portable, AMD-based Creator laptop with an OLED screen
This 15-inch Vivobook is a joy to use thanks to decent ergonomics and the OLED screen. Only the speakers let the side down in our efforts to call it a great, multimedia device. The price is now affordable but it was much cheaper in the recent sales, so keep a look out for price drops in November.
It weighs 1.64KG (not bad for a 15-incher) and has a decent 14-hour battery life. It will suit those who want an OLED-based (Creator-designated) laptop without breaking the bank.
17. Lenovo Yoga Pro 7i (New Entry)
Price: $2,028 | One of the best all-round laptops we’ve ever tested
We’ve been big fans of the regular Yoga 7i but the Pro version adds an Nvidia GPU to the mix. What you’re left with is our joint best-value laptop that’s also our new Best Business Laptop and one that will suit creators as well as facilitate gaming. That’s quite an anchievement for an ultraportable laptop.
The Yoga Pro 7i also has a great screen, great speakers and great ergonomics. It’s well built with a 16mm aluminium chassis and it only weighs 1.51KG. It’s also got a battery that ran our PCMark 10 Modern Office test for 13 hours. It would be good value at its RRP but, in November, Lenovo’s early Black Friday sale has it for over $1,200 off. Amazing.
18. Acer Aspire Vero (New Entry)
Price: $1,399 | A relatively cheap, eco-friendly ultraportable that’s a good laptop in its own right
The Acer Aspire Vero felt like a proof-of-concept laptop the first time we saw it. However, this latest version feels like a high-quality laptop regardless of its green credentials: the chassis is made from Post Consumer Recycled plastic and uses stamped logos instead of ‘toxic’ ink.
The 15.6-inch laptop weighs 1.78KG which is right on our weight limit for ultraportables. However, it’s worth noting that the power brick and cables are relatively small and only add another 288g to the mix. The battery lasted a decent 14 hours 20 minutes underscoring the fact that it deserves to be on this list. At $1,399 it’s also one of the best value laptops on the market.
19. Dell Inspiron 14
Price: $1,424 | The Big Mac of portable, business-grade laptops
If you were to compare business laptops to food, then the Dell Inspiron 14 5420 is arguably the Big Mac. There are plenty of attractive alternatives, but this arguably represents the baseline of quality and value in the world of work-designated portable laptops. It won’t suit everyone, but it’s the epitome of mid-range quality and that’s especially important when you need a reliable, portable laptop that’s a workhorse for a mobile SMB, or Enterprise, workforce.
It weighs 1.52KG and has a 12-hour battery life. So, it’s above-average all-round. Just note that availability of our review spec has dropped off in November. Just can still find AMD variants for under $1,100, though.
20. Dell XPS 13 Plus
Price: $3,198 | A special, souped-up version of the popular XPS 13
The Dell XPS 13 Plus has a stunning OLED screen with Windows-friendly HDR. It’s partnered by an amazing quad-speaker system and yet weighs only 1.27KG. However, it does get a little warm (hot under heavy load) and the high-concept trackpad is misguided in how poorly it functions. The price rocketed in November but at least it’s now available with a 13th-Gen processor – check it out, here.
Price: $1,982 | Availability issues are banished and it’s in the stores again
The Spin weighs 1.58KG and has a twelve-and-a-half hour battery. It’s got some heavy competition from other portable laptops, but for those who want an ultraportable, business, convertible with an integrated stylus, it’s a decent choice.
Price: $2,247 | We wanted this to be great but it’s only ‘OK’
The Dynabook Portégé X-40L represents decent value for a laptop with such a high level of build quality plus, its combination of performance and portability. However, it’s in a crowded segment and most competitors are better buys. It’s also an horrendous fingerprint magnet. Still, it weighs 1.48KG and has a respectable 11 hour 10 minute battery. It’s hard not to like the blue, too.
Price: $2,169 | A business ultraportable with great ergonomics and enterprise-grade security
The HP Elitebook X360 1040 G9 is a robust, good-looking ultraportable that’s designed for business users. It can also fold back to become a tablet – replete with a stylus that magnetically attaches to the side. It weighs 1.48KG and the battery lasted 10 hours and 54 minutes. Most users will be assigned one by their employer, but it can be bought in stores, too.
Price: $974 | One of the best value laptops just got even cheaper in November
We only recently reviewed the Pavilion but were generally impressed. It doesn’t excel in many places but, as general-computing laptops go, it’s got a lot to offer at this price. It weighs 1.41KG and has a 9 hour and 10 minute battery life. It’s in a crowded market, but it’s certainly worth considering.
Price: $1,199 | It has issues but it’s a cheap and cheerful portable laptop
The MSI Modern 14 C13M originally cost the same price as its predecessor (note: MSI is also selling a Core i7 version of this laptop for $200 more). In an era of inflation that wasn’t not bad. It weighs 1.45KG and has a 10-hour battery. As we’ve noted about MSI’s Modern range in the past, the C13M is a capable, general-purpose, portable computer that might not excel at anything… but that’s exactly what it’s designed to be. In November, the price has risen, but it’s still relatively low.
Price: $1,389 | A laptop that’s been specially designed for schools
The 1.68KG Acer TravelMate B5 14 won’t be for everyone but there’s much to like if you’re in education. It’s heavily ruggedised to survive life in a school. It’s got a replaceable, modular, spill-resistant keyboard and a light on the lid that tells a teacher if it’s running low on battery or whether it’s connected to the internet (when it should or shouldn’t be).
It’s not high powered (at all), but that’ by design and it helps push the battery life to 11 hours and 10 minutes. It’s great if you want a functional work-oriented laptop that offers few distractions. Find it here for under $1,400.
Price: $3,199 | A lightweight, 16-inch, portable laptop
Asus’ Expertbook B5 feels incredibly light for a wide, 16-inch laptop – it weighs just 1.55KG. If you need a big OLED screen that’s portable, this is well worth considering. It also has a 10+ hour battery life and a great keyboard. If you can live with a somewhat-wobbly screen (the hinge is still strong) and a mediocre webcam, it’s still a great choice for a portable laptop. In November, the price has risen but it’s also been upgraded to a 13th-Gen processor. There are also now cheaper and updated SKUs available including this 14-inch version for $1,955.
28. Acer Swift Go 16
Price: $1,599 | The 16-inch Swift Go is another great workhorse that’s also on sale
The Acer Swift Go 16 is another laptop we’d happily use as a daily workhorse. It’s light, powerful, has a good battery, looks good and is solidly built. Most importantly, it’s great to use and it represents very good value at this price. As such, we’re very happy to recommend it. In November, it’s even cheaper than the 14-inch version!
29. Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED (New Entry)
Price: $2,799 | A potential unicorn laptop that does it all. But, it does have some issues
We really wanted to love Gigabyte’s Aero 14. This 14-inch laptop is 17mm thick and only weighs 1.47KG. Yet, inside there’s a speedy Core i7 processor and an Nvidia RTX 4050 GPU which give it some portable gaming chops.
Our main issue the battery life. It shouldn’t last just 7 hours and 15 minutes (below our ultraportable threshold) but it does and we’re not alone in reporting this. Hopefully, Gigabyte can fix the power issue – which seems to be caused by its A.I.-based app using too much power and keeping the fans on too much. If this does get fixed, it could race up the charts.
Price: $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 14 hours 26 minutes. Our spec was reasonably powerful but Venom allows for considerable configuration to tailor your preferred spec of portable laptop.
What is the best small laptop on the market?
The HP Envy X360 is the best small laptop you can buy in November 2023. It’s very light, has a great battery life and isn’t too expensive.
Why are portable laptops good?
Portable laptops are good because you can carry them around relatively easily and their battery life means they can usually operate for more than a day away from the mains.
What’s the lightest laptop in Australia?
The lightest laptop is either the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 which weighs 881g, but its magnetic keyboard cover adds 289g. Otherwise, it’s the 1.16KG Dell XPS 13.
Are gaming laptops really portable?
They can be if they have a fast screen and a discreet (separate) graphics processor. They often come with larger power supplies, though.