5 Of The Best Thin And Light Laptops In Australia

Image: Gizmodo

Looking for some last minute tech? Laptops are always an obvious choice, especially the ones that are on the portable end of the spectrum. We thought this would be a good time to highlight some of the best thin and light laptops 2018 has offered up so far.

I recommend shopping around as you may be able to find better deals than the RRPs, especially the post-EOFY sale periods.


HP Spectre 13

Image: HP

If you read our list from last year, you're going to notice some repetition. And that's because the likes of Dell and HP are still setting the bar as some of the best in market for notebooks and their 2018 offerings are no exception.

The 2018 HP Spectre 13 is an absolutely stunning machine. It's actually the first laptop that made me not only care about touchscreens, but make it a deal breaker when it comes to my next upgrade. It has become a solid part of my workflow and I can't imagine life without it.

Aesthetics remain important — the Spectre 13 continues to sport dual piston hinges, as well as two beautiful finish options - ceramic white with pale gold accents and dark ash with copper accents. I personally used the the former for over a month and it never failed to get compliments. My only fear here is how dirty it may get after long term use.

When it comes to specs, the weight, dimensions and display remain the same as last year, but it does have upgraded graphics and almost double the storage capacity injected into the same shell.

Battery life also wasn't bad, coming in around 9 hours with a video loop. The edge-tp-edge keyboard and trackpad were also lovely to use on a daily basis.

Key specs:

  • Display: 13.3-inch, 1920x1080
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7
  • RAM: 8GB
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620
  • Storage: 256GB - 1TB SSD
  • Dimensions: 325x229,10.4mm, 1.11kg

RRP: starting at $3,400

Check it out here.


Dell XPS 13

Image: Gizmodo

Dell has produced possibly my favourite thin and light laptop of the year (so far) with the new and improved XPS 13. Not only does it have some tasty specs injected into a tiny shell, it has received a much needed refresh.

While HP may be cornering the market on aesthetics, the XPS 13 is a beautiful machine. Both the silver and rose gold options bring a touch of maturity to the design which includes wonderfully thin bezels and a keyboard and touchpad I have enjoyed using as my work machine. The latter is a relief, as Dell hasn't really been known for having great touchpads. It's nice to see them addressing the issue.

However, I have a gripe with the camera placement, which is still below the screen. While I appreciate having as much screen real estate as possible, I don't particularly want people having Blair Witch Project flashbacks during conference calls with me.

One last thing on design, I'm in love with the texture hand rest that runs along the outside of the keyboard. It looks and feels luxurious, which is a bonus when you spend all day on your laptop.

In terms of laptop display, I can be a bit of a heathen. I really don't care so long as it doesn't look like complete trash. But just as the Spectre changed my mind about touchscreens, the XPS 13 changed it in regards to 4K.

It may not have happened if I wasn't in possession of the 4K version at the same time as my partner was checking out the non 4K version. The added brightness, sharpness is instantly noticeable — including visibility of text from deep side angles.

So if display is something you care about, the optional 4K is worth considering. If it isn't, you're still going to have an impressive experience with the borderless InfinityEdge, and save yourself some cash.

If you're going for the 4K touchscreen, this is not a cheap machine. And even at the baseline, the 2018 XPS 13s start at a higher price point than last year. But with beefed up specs and a nicer design — that's to be expected. It's also worth noting that the RRP is currently cheaper than the Spectre (by a lot if you opt out of the 4K touch display) and it offers more under the hood and on the screen. It may be 100g heavier, but I doubt that will be a huge concern for many people.

Key specs:

  • Display: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) with optional 4K touch
  • CPU: Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 16GB
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • Storage: Up to 1TB SSD
  • Dimensions: 302mm x 199mm x 7.8-11.6mm, 1.21kg

RRP Price: starting at $1,900 but with 4K touch you're currently looking at $2,900.

Check it out here.


HP Spectre x360

Image: Gizmodo

I'm not the biggest fan of convertible laptops/2-in-1s. I'm a simple girl with simple tastes who can stream movies and use a touch screen happily without flipping the screen, thank-you-very-much. On days where I want a tablet... I use my tablet.

But not everyone is as basic as me. And I have to admit that this year's x360 is impressive.

While the aesthetic isn't as beautiful as the Spectre 13, it is still an attractive machine that is nice to run your fingers over. In terms of design, the speaker grilles look pretty cool and deliver some serious sound for such a small machine. It's also only a touch larger and heavier than its Spectre 13 sibling.

The x360 also comes with a HP Pen that works with Windows 10 Ink, which is a plus for the stylus fans out there. Being USB-C, you can use your x360 cable to also charger the Pen up.

And while we're on connections, HP have clearly listened to its customers because it has added a USB 3.0 connection this time around, eliminating the need for an adaptor every time you want to plug in a USB stick.

And as someone who records audio and takes a lot of photos for work, I also appreciate the microSD slot.

Key specs:

  • Display: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) with touch
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7
  • RAM: 8GB - 16GB
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620
  • Storage: 256GB - 1TB SSD
  • Dimensions: 30smm x 218mm x 13.6mm, 1.26kg

RRP Price: starting at $1849

Check it out here.

Microsoft Surface Laptop


Image: Supplied

The Microsoft Surface has been a bit hit and miss — but it's still a damn solid entry into the category even 12 months later. Being Microsoft's first laptop of this size that wasn't a convertible, it stands to reason that there would be teething problems. I think we're all expecting the second generation to deliver a lot more.

My partner bought the Surface Laptop around this time last year, so I've had around 12 months of experiencing the pros and cons on a daily basis.

It's a beautiful machine that is great for productivity, particularly with its 3:2 display. So in that respect, its a solid choice for a daily workhorse. It has also been praised in reviews for its power, particularly considering its size.

But after only a year, my partner is ready for an upgrade — there are more powerful machines in market for around the same price point he paid at the time. Now to be fair, we are both tech and gaming journalists so it's our job to both nit-pick and froth over the latest generation of rigs coming out.

So while the Surface Laptop isn't perfect, it's still absolutely worth of consideration — especially as an answer to Apple's MacBooks. The price has also dropped significantly since it first came out, likely because the second generation is on its way.

Key specs:

  • Display: 13.5-inch, 2,256 x 1,504
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7
  • RAM: 4GB - 16GB
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620/Iris Plus 640
  • Storage: 128GB - 512GB SSD
  • Dimensions: 308.1mm x 223.27mm x 14.48mm, 1.26kg

RRP Price: starting at $1099

Check it out here.


Lenovo Yoga 920

Image: Lenovo

It's hard to avoid those 2-in-1s so I'm putting my own preferences aside to deliver up one of the best in market — which has a price point to match.

While the Yoga 920 is a little bigger and heavier than other laptops out there, it packs a massive punch for a convertible. While it comes with an array of options, I'm particularly impressed with the 4K display (I told you, I care now). It also has the latest 8th Gen Intel processors that offer power, but don't destroy the battery life, which depending on what you're doing will hopefully come in at just under 10 hours.

In terms of aesthetics, I like the look of the 920. It feels solid and sturdy, but still attractive to look at. The watchband hinge is a particularly nice touch for a 2-in-1 like this.

The port offerings are also pretty decent, offering USB-C and USB 3.0 Type-A. And while I'm sad that there is no SD card reader, I realise this isn't important for everyone.

Key Specs:

  • Display: 13.9-inch FHD (1920x1080)/13.9-inch 4K UHD (3840x2160)
  • CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i5-i7
  • RAM: 16GB
  • GPU: Intel UHD
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Dimensions: 323 x 223.5 x 13.95mm, 1.37kg

RRP Price: starting at $1,899

Check it out here


Comments

    I just bought myself an Asus C302 Chromebook and it's fantastic...fraction of the price of most of these too.

    Funny to see these thin-and-light lists with no Macbook Air these days. Still a pretty good machine, but everyone else has caught up. And at the high-end, Apple's GPU lack of choice is terrible.

    So much so that after 3 Apple laptops in a row, I just bought a Dell. I would have loved the XPS 15, but in the end bought a G3 15 as dual drives and a 1050Ti were what I wanted and I could only spend around 2k.

      Caught up? Surpassed more like. Macbook air rocks 5th gen Core CPUs, an abysmal screen, an abysmal port selection, for the same price (for equivalent storage at least) of the latest XPS13. The lack of updates to the Air is a bit of a joke at this point.
      The smaller Macbook is still a pretty lovely device. At least it has a good screen on it. Although extremely slow CPUs but they're only a generation behind at least.
      I take your point though. The Air and Macbook pretty much defined the premium thin and light device. Now they don't even get a mention.

      When Intel/AMD announced the Kabylake G CPU/GPU I really expected it to be a semi custom chip designed for Apple. I imagine they could make a rather impressively compact and powerful system with those. Seems perfect for them and they've tended to favour AMD GPUs. Quite surprised they don't have a device using them.

      Those new G3/5/7 laptops look quite nice. Solid specs for the money and they at least look like they're properly cooled. My new laptop is also my first Dell.

        I was being understated, yes. :) Don't disagree with anything you said.

        I'll review the G3 when it arrives and I've had a chance to benchmark it.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now