Best Lightweight Laptops for 2019

Looking for a highly portable computer? Here are a few standouts from our labs.

If you’re in the market for a laptop that you can easily cart from the office to the local coffee shop or merely from living room to bedroom, you have plenty of options.

Several models from Apple, LG, and others offer killer performance and generous battery life while weighing less than 3 pounds. Even some of the most powerful laptops in our ratings, designed for people who play video games at the highest graphics settings, just barely edge above 4 pounds.

“For the smaller-sized laptops that are most popular for travel, say 12 to 14 inches, a good general weight to follow is 3 pounds,” says Antonette Asedillo, who oversees laptop testing for Consumer Reports. “If you can find a laptop at or below that, you should be fine for carrying it around.”

More ON LAPTOPS

Every year Consumer Reports rates dozens of laptops, buying them at retail and testing them in our labs. We run the laptops through a series of standardized tests to see how they compare with one another. Then we add in brand reliability and owner satisfaction data drawn from surveys of CR members.

The result is a living, breathing database of laptops ranging from cheap clunkers—not every laptop is worth your money—to models that push the envelope in terms of portability and performance.

Here are our picks of high-performing laptops that also happen to be among the lightest we’ve seen.

Microsoft Surface Go: 1.7 pounds

Released in mid-2018, the Microsoft Surface Go could be a good laptop for someone who is willing to accept so-so performance to get a highly portable and affordable machine.

The basics: It’s a 10-inch detachable laptop, which means the keyboard can be physically separated from the display, effectively giving you a Windows-based tablet. Because Microsoft intends for consumers to use the Surface Go with a keyboard, we tested it with the technically optional Surface Go Signature Type cover, which doubles as a protective case. It adds $130 to the $350 base price, but you could also use any wireless Bluetooth keyboard (or wired USB keyboard, for that matter) if you wanted.

With the Surface Go Signature Type cover attached, the laptop weighs 1.7 pounds. Ditch the cover and you’re looking at 1.15 pounds.

So what are the trade-offs? The biggest one is that performance receives only a Fair rating. That means you might see sluggish performance while working inside large spreadsheets or editing digital photos. It’ll browse the web just fine, and dead-simple tasks like clearing out your email inbox, editing text documents, or watching videos on YouTube shouldn’t be an issue.

For consumers who want a Windows laptop that weighs very little and starts at less than $500, the Surface Go could be a good choice.

97
Laptops Rated
Access Ratings