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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) review: Flirting with perfection

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Changes to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s display and design combine with huge endurance gains to make the best business laptop ever.

Editor’s Choice

(Image: © Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

Laptop Mag Verdict

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) makes clever changes to move a winning business laptop to the brink of perfection.

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Pros
  • +

    Slim, lightweight design

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    Good 14-inch, 16:10 FHD+ display

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    Class-leading keyboard

  • +

    Great quad speakers

  • +

    Epic battery life

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    11th Gen Intel CPUs, up to 32GB of RAM

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    New and legacy ports (see cons)

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) specs

Price: $1,393 ($1,965 as reviewed)
CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7
GPU: Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Display: 14-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel 16:10
Battery: 15:39
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
Size: 12.4 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 2.5 pounds 

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon earned our rare 5-star rating in 2018 when we dubbed it the best business laptop. It has held that title ever since, but the gap has narrowed with rivals from Dell and HP adopting modern features and design cues from top consumer models. Sensing the pressure, Lenovo took some risks with the ninth version of its flagship ultra-portable business laptop — and they paid off. 

This is no reinvention but a series of refinements built upon a successful platform. With the 9th Gen model, Lenovo brings some of the most meaningful changes in years, highlighted by a taller 16:10 display, a larger battery and 11th Gen Intel processors. 

Let’s not forget why the X1 Carbon is the reigning champ in the first place. It remains lighter than the other top business models and the soft-touch carbon fiber surfaces covering its chassis are a calming departure from cold ore. Then there are the legendary ThinkPad keyboard, modern security features, and enough ports to prevent you from needing adapters. Clever design tweaks round out what would be a complete package if not for a poor webcam and lack of a card reader. 

Already the best business laptop entering 2021, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon gets enough meaningful upgrades in its ninth life to stave off tough competition.  

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) price and configurations

The X1 Carbon is expensive but not as exorbitant as some of its direct rivals. 

Opting for the base model with an FHD+ display, Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD will set you back $1,392. We recommend spending at least $1,509 for the upgrade to a Core i5-1145G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. 

Opting for the Core i7 processor will run you at least $2,000 after tax. Our review unit, equipped with a 14-inch, FHD+ non-touch display, a Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD costs $1,965 when manually configured. I recommend spending another $15 on the IR camera. 

If you need the most powerful machine with the best display, an X1 Carbon with a 4K UHD+ screen, a Core i7 CPU, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD (plus the IR camera) costs $2,358.

One is better than two in this case. Lenovo opted for a single bar-style hinge to replace the dual hinges on previous models. It feels sturdy — like the rest of the laptop — and hides the important antennas within.

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

In its quest to perfect the laptop puzzle, Lenovo moved a few pieces around. The top-firing speakers once positioned at the top of the deck now flank each side of the keyboard. And the power button returns to the deck following a three-year vacation on the right edge. The previous position allowed for power on/off with the notebook docked; while convenient for some setups, I prefer the small oblong button on the deck where I don’t need to hunt for it.  

The rest will look familiar to ThinkPad diehards. Plush matte-black surfaces coat the system and give it a stealthy, inconspicuous appearance that contrasts its satisfying warmth. Logos on the deck and lid were emboldened with larger fonts to appeal to the consumer crowd without being too in-your-face. Red trim remains a ThinkPad signature and can be found on the X1 Carbon’s pointing stick, branding and the illuminated “i” on the lid.  

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

I’ve reviewed various X1 Carbon versions over the past three years, yet the portability of these systems continues to amaze. By blending carbon fiber and magnesium materials, the X1 maintains a featherweight 2.5 pounds and measures 12.4 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches. For comparison, the HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7 (12.6 x 7.9 x 0.7 inches, 2.9 pounds), Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (12.3 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches, 3 pounds) and Dell Latitude 9420 2-in-1 (12.2 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches and 3.2 pounds) are heavier, although that’s expected of 2-in-1 hybrids. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) security and durability 

It’s all here. The X1 Carbon has modern security amenities needed to keep your data protected and make logging into the system a breeze.

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

For a hands-free experience, an optional IR camera uses facial recognition via Windows Hello. Sadly, our review unit didn’t come equipped with one so we also missed out on the human-presence detection feature, which wakes the X1 Carbon when it senses you, locks it when you leave, and turns off the display to conserve battery when you glance away. IR cameras are rarely 100% reliable in my experience so I recommend registering your fingerprint using the match-on-chip sensor embedded in the power button — that approach is darn near failproof.

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

And don’t worry about Windows 11 upgrades because the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has the required TPM 2.0, a chip that protects encryption keys and credentials so bad actors can’t get a hold of your data. It may not be needed for remote work but a Kensington lock will chain the laptop to your desk upon your return to the office.

As is the case with every ThinkPad, the X1 Carbon passed a dozen military-grade durability tests, proving its ability to withstand harsh conditions like high altitudes or unbearable temperatures. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) ports 

With a mix of modern and legacy ports, the X1 Carbon shelters you from the dongle life.

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

I still reminisce about the SD card slot days, but then, who am I to complain about a razor-thin laptop with such a wide assortment of ports? Now, let’s get to it! On the right side are a USB 3. 2 Type-A port, a headphone jack and a Kensington lock slot.

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

Flip the X1 Carbon around and you’ll find two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a second USB 3.2 Type-A input and an HDMI 2.0 port. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) display 

If only Euclid could help us discover the Golden Display Ratio because laptop vendors are experimenting with all sorts of shapes and sizes. Lenovo’s formula gets us to a 14-inch, 16:10 panel, resulting in a slightly taller and narrower canvas than your standard 16:9. While subtle, the squarer shape allows for more vertical real estate which is great for business users who crunch spreadsheets or write reports.

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

And it didn’t bother me when I watched a trailer for Dune, the film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi/fantasy novel. Arrakis is a ruthless, desolate planet, but its drab hues allowed the captivating blue eyes of the Fremen to pop off the screen. The optional 4K panel will reveal more detail, but the FHD+ (1920 x 1200-pixel) display I tested was sharp enough for me to see the individual bristle-like teeth in the mouth of a hungry worm — mine your spice and run! One advantage the base panel has over the high-res option is the matte finish, which effectively disperses reflections. 

Also worth highlighting is how every display but the Privacy Guard option features low blue light technology, which reduces the frequencies most harmful to your eyes. As someone who suffers from eye strain and the occasional migraine, this feature is critical to me.

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

Covering 69% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, the X1 Carbon’s display isn’t as vivid as those on the EliteBook x360 1040 G7 (76%), ThinkPad X1 Yoga (71%), the Latitude 9420 (89%) or the premium laptop average (83%). 

The X1 Carbon’s matte panel gets bright enough to view outside on a sunny day, reaching 365 nits of brightness. That outshone the EliteBook x360 1040 (344 nits) and the X1 Yoga (351 nits) but is dim compared to the Latitude 9420 2-in-1 (477 nits) and the premium laptop average (387 nits). 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) keyboard and touchpad 

Tweaks were made to the keyboard, but fear not as they don’t compromise that legendary ThinkPad comfort. The X1 Carbon continues to set the standard with magical keys that feel as if they sink below the chassis. Clicky switches and oh-so-satisfying feedback for each keystroke will keep your fingers happy deep into a workday.

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

The keys, with their signature convex shape, are so bouncy that my digits effortlessly sprung from one letter to the next as I typed this review. Better yet, key size and spacing are adequate for most people even those with petite fingers or chubby sausages. The arrows keys, per usual, are undersized, but that was never an issue as I crawled my way down spreadsheets.

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

Swapping the Ctrl and Fn keys is a hill I’m willing to die on, and clearly one where Lenovo has no planned rescue missions. You can, at least, easily swap the Fn and Ctrl keys from within Lenovo Vantage using a tool that specifically mentions how some people habitually press the bottom-left-most key to initiate shortcuts. Speaking of which, Lenovo cleverly separates its “Unified Communication Keys” (answer and hang up) on the top row. 

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

Long live the pointing stick…I guess? Cultists who cherish the cute rubber nub will spot it in a divot between the G, H and B keys. And with the left and right buttons located above the touchpad, you can navigate the web without moving your hands away from the home row. 

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

Lenovo says it widened the touchpad by 10%, but I need a more precise ruler to measure the difference. Then again, any extra real estate helps when the 4.3 x 2.4-inch touchpad is smaller than those on just about every other business laptop. It’s a good thing the silky surface feels fantastic and is responsive, letting me quickly execute Windows 10 gestures like three-finger swipes to switch windows.  

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) audio 

Dual speakers underneath work with another set flanking the keyboard to deliver loud, clear audio. I couldn’t help but dance to the heart-thumping rhythm and frenetic pacing of Jain’s “Makeba” as it filled my moderately sized office. Vocals were crisp and there was a palpable energy to the simple instrumentation. Missing from the track was a weighty low-end, but I still didn’t stand a chance — the catchy tune wormed its way into my ears for the rest of the day. 

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

More sonically complex songs like The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” were deftly handled by the Dolby Atmos speaker system. Each electronic boink and bop had its place in the soundstage and never shrouded Ben Gibbard’s quietly powerful vocals. Best of all, the speakers didn’t distort even at 100% volume.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) performance 

Turn it up to 11! That’s what Lenovo did with the X1 Carbon Gen 9, which gets its horsepower from an Intel 11th Gen Core i7-1165G7 CPU and 16GB of RAM (up to a whopping 32GB). My 9-to-5 workload wasn’t much of a challenge for this speedy business laptop, which quickly loaded 20 tabs in Microsoft Edge, including two pairs of YouTube and Twitch streams. I even watched Olympic BMX racing for a few hours before the horrific accidents made me turn away and question the safety of the sport. Just remember that lengthy demanding tasks — especially graphics-heavy ones — will tax any laptop in this class.

(Image credit: Future)

The X1 Carbon did a good, if unremarkable, job on our synthetic benchmarks. Starting with the Geekbench 5.4 overall performance test, the Lenovo hit 5,365, topping its convertible cousin in the X1 Yoga (5,447), as well as the EliteBook x360 1040 (4,041) and the category average (4,838). The Latitude 9420 2-in-1 (6,037) won this round by a comfortable margin. 

It took the 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD in our X1 Carbon 51 seconds to duplicate 25GB of multimedia files for a transfer rate of 523.9 megabytes per second. This time, the Carbon fell only to the Yoga (531.3 MBps) after outpacing the EliteBook (439.2 MBps) and Latitude (401.9 MBps). None of these met the laptop average of 617.5 MBps. 

Finally winning the gold, the X1 Carbon converted a 4K video to 1080p resolution in 13 minutes and 23 seconds. This was a photo-finish against the X1 Yoga (13:50) and the Latitude 9420 (13:35) but a good distance ahead of the EliteBook x360 (16:25) and the premium laptop average (15:53).

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) graphics 

Relying on Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, the X1 Carbon can run photo and video editing apps but gaming should be avoided. 

On the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark, the X1 Carbon hit 4,734, crushing the EliteBook (1,229, UHD) and matching the X1 Yoga (4,780, Iris Xe). The Latitude 9420 (Iris Xe) powered ahead with a 5,258. 

In real-world testing, the X1 Carbon played Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm (1080p) at 35 frames per second, just ahead of our 30fps playability threshold. That beats the Dell (23 fps) and sits alongside the X1 Yoga (34 fps).

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) battery life 

Leave the brick in your office and work from bed because the X1 Carbon with an FHD+ display can easily last a full workday before powering down. Heck, you can even watch the entirety of Zack Snyder’s Justice League after you clock off before refueling the X1 Carbon via its USB-C port.

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

I say that because the laptop lasted for an outstanding 15 hours and 39 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits. 

The X1 Carbon isn’t the only marathon runner in this category. The EliteBook x360 1040 (15:45) had an extra breathe in its lungs while the Latitude 9420 2-in-1 (15:02) and X1 Yoga (14:45) weren’t far behind the Carbon. These endurance beasts bested the category average (10:59) by several hours.  

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) webcam 

“But is the webcam good?!” I asked myself after going through a mental checklist of the shortcomings Lenovo successfully addressed in this 9th Gen model. Unfortunately, that box remains blank. The 720p camera is as bad as you think it is. Filled with visual noise, a selfie I snapped in my office looked like a watercolor drawn by the Pointillism artist Paul Signac. Colors were a mixed bag; my face had natural rosy tones but my navy shirt was an unpleasant brownish-black.

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

When you aren’t using the webcam, a physical shutter can be slid over the lens to reassure you that nobody is snooping.

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

Lenovo put more effort into the mics than it did the camera. Four far-field microphones with Dolby Voice captured the nuisances in my voice and sounded crisp when I played back a short video clip. 

It’s 2021, and laptop webcams are more important than ever so consider this my cry for companies to start a 1080p revolution. Until then, we recommend buying an external webcam for those exciting conference calls and budget meetings. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) heat 

The X1 Carbon can stay in the kitchen all it wants because no part of the chassis breached our 95-degree Fahrenheit comfort threshold after we played a 15-minute, 1080p video. Peaking at only 93 degrees, the underside was the toastiest location while the keyboard (86 degrees) and touchpad (76 degrees) — the bits your skin actually touches — were even cooler. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) software and warranty 

Vantage gives Lenovo an advantage. Neatly housing all the utilities and support tools an X1 Carbon owner needs, Vantage is one of only two branded apps pre-installed on the Windows 10 Pro system. In this app you can view your warranty status, check for system updates and see how much storage and memory is being used. Flipping to the “Device” tab gets you an overview of your system specs and a quick link to the user guide.

The only other Lenovo-branded app is called Quick Clean, and by “clean” Lenovo means physically; the app locks your system’s inputs so you can wipe it down without engaging the touchpad or keyboard.

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

Your standard Windows 10 Pro fare takes up some space on the Start Menu. Those apps include Groove Music, Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Xbox Game Bar. 

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon ships with a one-year warranty. See how the brand fared in our Tech support showdown and Best and worst brands special reports. 

(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

For years, the X1 Carbon was so far ahead of its competitors that Lenovo simply released the same system with new internals. But the business laptop landscape has evolved and budding competition is keeping Lenovo on its toes. The X1 Carbon Gen 9 is the company’s answer to those capable competitors. It adopts modern trends, including a 16:10 display, and combines them with the latest Intel processors and a larger battery.

Those aren’t groundbreaking changes, but they arrive on what is already one of the most refined platforms — for business users or regular consumers — on the market. What made the X1 Carbon such a compelling option in the first place, like its lightweight chassis, fantastic keyboard and generous assortment of ports, is all still here. Introduce the old to the new and you get a masterclass of a laptop that will satisfy executives, students and everyday consumers alike. 

Yes, there are excellent alternatives like the Dell Latitude 9420 2-in-1 and HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, but the X1 Carbon remains the best overall package due in large part to the updates made in this latest model.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9: Price Comparison

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Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he’s not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 review: Get this if you’re sick of bad laptop webcams

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This HP notebook has a great webcam and even better battery life

(Image: © Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 may not be the most powerful notebook on the market, but it has impressive power efficiency. Plus, its 5MP webcam, 3:2 aspect ratio, and clicky keyboard make it a great productivity companion.

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HP Elite Dragonfly G3 specs

Price: $3,295 (as tested)

CPU: Intel Core i7-1265U vPRo

GPU: Intel Iris Xe graphics 

RAM: 16GB

Storage: 512GB SSD

Display: 13.5-inch, 1920 x 1280-pixel display 

Battery: 14:20

Size: 11.7 x 8.6 x 0.64 inches 

Weight: 2.2 pounds

The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 is the third-generation entry of the well-received Dragonfly line — and man, these laptops just keep getting better. 

The touchpad is more spacious, it packs new 12th Gen Intel processors, and sports a new 3:2 aspect ratio for a taller display and more screen real estate. Woo-hoo!

Another selling point worth mentioning is the Elite Dragonfly G3’s 5MP webcam. We’re nearing the end of 2022 and I can’t believe that a 5MP shooter is a standout feature at this point — I thought the laptop industry would be miles ahead in this territory by now, but alas, anything better than 720p is seemingly a rare treat.

As a cherry on top, the Elite Dragonfly G3 has superior battery life, far surpassing the 10-hour runtime of the average premium laptop. As such, if you’re an on-the-go busy bee who often finds themselves video conferencing with friends, family members, and colleagues while traveling from A to B, the Dragonfly G3 is worthy of being on your shortlist. 

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 review (Image credit: Future)

  • HP Elite Dragonfly G3 at Amazon for £2,747.14

However, it’s not all unicorns and rainbows. The Elite Dragonfly G3 is up against some serious competition from Dell and Acer. When it comes to performance, it’s certainly fierce. But can it take down its similarly priced rivals? Read on to find out if the Elite Dragonfly G3 is stellar enough to land on our best HP laptops page — and even our best overall laptops page

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 price and configuration options 

The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 has a wealth of configurations to choose from, but you’ll have to spend about $2,000 for the least-expensive model. The cheapest variant, with a price tag of $1,861 at HP.com, comes with an Intel Core i5-1235U CPU, 16GB of RAM, Intel Iris Xe graphics, a 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, a 13.5-inch, 1920 x 1280-pixel, 400-nit display, and Windows 11 Pro.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 (Image credit: Future)

Priced at $3,295, our review unit adds the following upgrades: an Intel Core i7-1265U vPro CPU and 512GB of SSD storage.

A maxed-out configuration is packed with an Intel Core i7-1265U vPro processor, 32GB of RAM, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 1TB of SSD storage, a 13.5-inch, 1920 x 1280-pixel, 1,000-nit display, 5G support, and a near-field communication module (lets you quickly and wirelessly exchange data between compatible devices). How much is it? A whopping $3,999!

According to HP’s website, the Elite Dragonfly G3 is poised to ship on Dec. 8, 2022, so you’ll get it just in time for the holidays.

The ultra-futuristic insignia on the lid is composed of four lustrous, reflective bold lines that use negative-space art to spell “HP,” setting the tone for this modern, avante-garde notebook. Our Elite Dragonfly G3 review unit is wrapped in a refined, understated Slate Blue hue that is so dusky, it looks closer to black than cobalt.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 (Image credit: Future)

Keep a microfiber cloth handy, though. This lid attracts fingerprints like nobody’s business.

Open the lid and you’ll find that the gleaming vibes from the logo are mirrored on the deck. The touchpad is framed by a shiny, polished trim. And let me tell you — this touchpad feels divine. Hey, HP! Did you weave mulberry silk into this or something?

Above the island-style keyboard, there’s a thin strip that happens to be a Bang & Olufsen-tuned speaker grille. Flip the laptop upside down and you’ll find two elongated feet, which help keep the laptop slightly elevated to prevent surfaces from suffocating the vent on its underside.

The Elite Dragonfly G3 is a featherweight notebook, weighing just 2.2 pounds. It has dimensions of 11.7 x 8.6 x 0.64 inches. It’s lighter than its rivals, the Acer Swift 5 (12. 2 x 8.4 x 0.59 inches, 2.65 pounds) and the Dell XPS 13 Plus (11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches, 2.7 pounds), but it’s slighter thicker. 

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 ports 

On the left side of the HP Elite Dragonfly G3, you’ll find an HDMI port, a nano SIM slot, and a USB4 Type-C Thunderbolt 4 port. The right side features a 3.5mm headphone jack, a drop-jaw USB Type-A port, a Kensington lock slot, and another USB4 Type-C Thunderbolt 4 port. 

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 (Image credit: Future)

As you can see, the HP notebook has a satisfactory selection of connection options, but if it’s missing something, check out our best USB Type-C hubs to expand your access to the I/O ports you need. 

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 display

The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 sports a 13.5-inch, 1920 x 1280-pixel display that is as sharp as a precocious child. Thanks to its 3:2 ratio, the display is taller than you’d expect, offering more screen real estate for long-form articles and other content that benefit from extra vertical space.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 (Image credit: Future)

I watched the Black Adam trailer on YouTube, and I was impressed with the display’s palpability and tangibility of textures — so much so that I was almost certain that the hooded cape Dwayne Johnson wore would feel burlap if I touched it in real life. The pores on Johnson’s face were striking and conspicuous. If I didn’t have a life, I’d be able to count each pore individually — that’s how distinct they are on this display. As fiery explosions graced the screen and voltaic, electrifying powers emanated from someone’s hands, I was impressed with the rich yellow, red, and blue hues.

Although the display looked pretty damn good in my eyes, the numbers from our lab say that the Elite Dragonfly G3 falls short of its rivals. According to our colorimeter, the Elite Dragonfly G3 only covered 80.2% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which falters behind the 88.7% color-coverage score of the average premium laptop. The Acer Swift 3 came out on top with a score of 93. 3%. With a score of 84.2%, the Dell XPS 13 Plus didn’t beat the Acer, but it surpassed the HP. Sorry, Elite Dragonfly G3. Better luck next time.

As advertised, our review unit comes with a 400-nit display, so it’s no surprise that the Elite Dragonfly G3 could only muster a brightness average of 370 nits (you can upgrade the brightness to 1,000 nits if it tickles your fancy). Save for the Dell XPS 13 Plus, which has a disappointing 366-nit display, the Elite Dragonfly G3 got eclipsed by the Swift 3’s 457-nit display and the 426-nit screen of the average premium laptop.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 (Image credit: Future)

With a 0.3 Delta-E score (closer to 0 is better), the Elite Dragonfly G3 also suffered in our color-accuracy tests. The Acer Swift 5 (0.23), Dell XPS 13 Plus (0.21), and the average premium laptop (0.25) all delivered better color-accuracy scores. Womp, womp, womp! 

It’s also worth noting that the display on our review unit isn’t a touchscreen, but there is a configuration with one if interactive screens are your cup of tea.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 audio 

If music was edible, the sounds that emanated from the Bang & Olufsen-tuned speaker would be delicious. I fired up “Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding on Spotify, and first of all, the amplification on the Elite Dragonfly G3 is, well, elite. If you’re streaming a TV show with a friend, significant other, or whomever, everyone will hear everything loud and clear — no captions needed.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 (Image credit: Future)

Although the up-firing speaker can get really loud, at max volume, it can sound slightly tinny. I’m not complaining, though, because the highest volume setting nearly blew my ears out anyway. Secondly, when the sound was set at a comfortable listening level, Ellie’s smooth, funky vocals were well-balanced with the synth-pop instrumentals in the background. 

I opened HP Audio Control to see if I could tweak the sound to my liking. The app has four presets to choose from: Auto, Music, Movie, and Voice. I didn’t notice any major differences between Music and Auto, but while listening to “Love Me Like You Do,” I preferred them over Movie and Voice. Ellie’s voice sounded richer, more sultry, and more prominent while the presets seemed to silken the intimate yet grandiose melody.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 keyboard and touchpad 

The Elite Dragonfly G3 has an island-style keyboard with well-contrasted white characters and symbols superimposed on the chiclet-style keys. It has a white backlight that has three levels of brightness and a fingerprint reader between the Alt and arrow keys on the bottom-right corner of the keyboard.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 (Image credit: Future)

On the 10FastFingers.com typing test, I reached an 88 word-per-minute average, which aligns with my typical 85-87 wpm typing speed. HP always nails it when it comes to their keyboards and the Elite Dragonfly G3 is no different. The keys are quiet, but still provide springy and tactile feedback. If a psycho broke into my house (knock on wood), and the Elite Dragonfly G3 is all I had with me, I’d be pretty confident that I could type frantic emails — beseeching others for their help — without outing myself.

As mentioned, the Elite Dragonfly G3’s touchpad feels divine with its silky-smooth texture. The touchpad is also quite large and spacious for a 13.5-inch laptop. It also responded well to Windows 11 gestures, including three-finger tabbing and two-finger scrolling.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 performance 

The Elite Dragonfly G3, packed with an Intel Core i7-1265U vPro CPU and 16GB of RAM, didn’t even break a sweat after I tried to oppress it with an avalanche of 35 Google Chrome tabs — three of which were playing YouTube videos simultaneously. As such, if you tend to flood your browser with a mountain of tabs, and you don’t care to close any of them, the Elite Dragonfly G3 will fare just fine with your workload. 

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 (Image credit: Future)

On the Geekbench 5.4 overall performance benchmark, Elite Dragonfly G3 achieved a multi-core score of 6,042. This beats the average premium laptop (6,152), but couldn’t surpass the Intel Core i7-1260P CPU inside the Acer Swift 5 (9,859) and Dell XPS 13 Plus (10,621).  

To be fair, the Elite Dragonfly G3 sports a U-series chip while the Dell and Acer laptops are outfitted with a P-series chip. The latter was designed to deliver high performance while the former was created for high efficiency. In other words, the Elite Dragonfly G3 may not have a beastly processor, but its battery life should knock its rivals out of the water (stay tuned for the battery life section). That being said, I won’t ding the Elite Dragonfly G3 for its middling performance.

The Elite Dragonfly G3 took 13 minutes and 9 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p, which is slower than the average premium laptop (9:49). Unsurprisingly, the Swift 5 (7:36) and XPS 13 Plus (8:17) whooped the HP’s butt.

 On the file transfer test, the Elite Dragonfly G3’s 512GB SSD took 23 seconds to copy 25GB of data, which translates to a rate of 1,157,23 megabytes per second (MBps). Unfortunately, this is slower than the average premium laptop (1,194.7 MBps), the Swift 5’s 1TB SSD (1,673), and the XPS 13 Plus’ 512GB SSD (1,502).  

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 graphics and gaming 

The HP Elite Dragonfly G3, like its rivals, is outfitted with Intel Iris Xe graphics. Is it ideal for gaming? Not at all, but for kicks and giggles, let’s see how well it performed on our gaming benchmarks.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 (Image credit: Future)

On the Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm test, the Elite Dragonfly G3 produced 25 frames per second. This is below the average premium laptop’s 48 fps average (which isn’t as bad as you think considering laptops with discrete graphics skew this figure). The HP notebook beat the XPS 13 Plus (23 fps), but couldn’t pull a win against the Acer Swift 5 (26 fps).

On the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark, the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 achieved a score of 4,142, which sinks beneath the average premium laptop (7,670), the Acer Swift 5 (5,189), and the Dell XPS Plus (4,944).

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 battery life 

You may have been groaning at the Elite Dragonfly G3’s less-than-impressive CPU performance, but here’s where the U-series chip shines: battery life.  

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 (Image credit: Future)

Believe it or not, the Elite Dragonfly G3 lasted a whopping 14 hours and 20 minutes on the  Laptop Mag battery life test, which involves surfing the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. Can I get a hallelujah for high-efficiency chips? The Swift 5, despite having an impressive runtime, couldn’t outsurvive the HP notebook (11:24). As for the Dell XPS 13 Plus, I don’t even want to talk about it. Seven hours and 35 minutes? That’s it? Boo!

With that kind of battery life, the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 just squeezes onto our list of laptops with the best battery life.  

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 webcam 

Did hell freeze over? Are pigs flying? I actually like the 5MP camera on the Elite Dragonfly G3. It picked up on the slight redness on my cheeks after using an irritating skin care product. My curls look defined instead of looking like a blurry, fuzzy mess. It also renders colors quite well, recreating my burgundy-and-white t-shirt and ruby-red curtains quite well.

It’s not as great as an external webcam, though, so be sure to peruse our best webcams page for sharper shooters. 

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 heat 

After the HP convertible streamed a 15-minute, 1080p video, the Elite Dragonfly G3’s underside climbed to 98 degrees Fahrenheit, which surpasses our 95-degree comfort threshold. However, the touchpad and keyboard center managed to hover below that mark with temperatures of 81 degrees and 90 degrees. The hottest location on the Elite Dragonfly G3 is a region on the underside near the vents, climbing up to a whopping 104 degrees.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 software and warranty 

The Elite Dragonfly G3 comes with a gaggle of HP-branded apps. For example, HP Support Assistant offers a library of quick repairs and diagnostics, a dashboard that keeps track of the laptop’s health, and a pipeline to HP’s Virtual Agent. You can even manage your HP devices in this hub.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 (Image credit: Future)

The HP Power Manager tracks your battery’s health while the myHP app lets you program the keyboard to your liking. HP Easy Clean lets you temporarily disable your laptop so you can give it a good wipe down. There are plenty more HP-branded apps, but for the sake of brevity, let’s move on to Windows apps.

Fortunately, there isn’t too much bloatware. You’ll find your standard fare of Windows 11 apps, including Solitaire Collection, Weather, Phone Link, Paint, and Sticky Notes.

The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 comes with a one-year limited warranty. See how HP performed on our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Laptop Brands ranking.

The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 is a power-efficient gem with a lightweight, portable form factor, a decent webcam, and a battery runtime that climbs above 14 hours!=,

Keep in mind, though, that according to its Geekbench 5.4 score, it’s not a beastly powerhouse compared to the likes of the Dell XPS 13 Plus and the Acer Swift 5. However, because those two laptops are such titans, they’re not as energy efficient as the Elite Dragonfly G3. As such, if battery runtime is more important to you than having a performance monster, the HP notebook is an excellent choice.

Who is the Elite Dragonfly G3 for? As stated at the outset, this laptop is perfect for on-the-go professionals who’d benefit from having a decent, 5MP shooter because they often take video calls during their commute. Even if videoconferencing is infrequent for you or you work from home, the HP notebook is an ideal companion that will give you an extra edge in your productivity, thanks to its clicky keyboard, spacious touchpad, and tall 3:2 aspect ratio.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3 needs a bit more power before it lands on our best laptops page, but it certainly deserves a spot on best HP laptops and laptops with the best battery life.

HP Elite Dragonfly G3: Price Comparison

£1,714.80

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£2,248.77

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£2,747.14

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Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master’s degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire’s business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she’s finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!

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Also, we assume that laptops are mainly used by executives who work with documents and business applications in the office, sometimes at home, at a resort, occasionally on the road. Those. a laptop should be comfortable not only to carry, but also to work at it, sitting at the table, without spoiling your eyesight and nerves. Therefore, we pay great attention to the convenience of a laptop, in particular, the screen, keyboard, ports and connectors. If you travel more often than sit in the office, it is better to buy a tablet with a keyboard cover.

In the rating, all laptops are from different manufacturers. We choose the best model from each manufacturer, so that it would be interesting to look at the rating of brands as well.

And yet, we evaluate laptops that you can actually buy in domestic online stores. The prices are taken from them.

1

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

An indestructible, secure and lightweight laptop in classic IBM/Lenovo design. Offers an excellent balance of performance and autonomy (15 hours). Great for travel. Charging via USB-C. Trackpoint allows you to comfortably work in the car or on the plane when the laptop is on your lap. Security measures include a fingerprint scanner, a shutter on the camera, a data encryption module, screen protection from photographing. Only lack of a LAN port is frustrating. All the same, the quality of wi-fi in the office does not always match the quality of this laptop. So you have to use a USB-LAN adapter (crutch). Well, one more drawback – Price $2700

2

Apple MacBook Pro 13 M1

It doesn’t make much sense to compare MacBooks to Windows laptops and convince supporters to switch to another system. But objectively we can say that this laptop is fashionable, light, thin, super-fast and super-autonomous thanks to the ARM processor. True, ARM still has problems with supporting some programs. The 13-inch glossy screen is good for movies and photos, but not for work. Build quality is of course top notch. 2 state-of-the-art Thunderbolt ports (including for charging) are good, but without the old USB, you may not be able to connect your favorite mouse or printer. Touch Bar – some people like it, but it seems to be just a toy for which you will pay well. And the cost of a laptop is high. Price $2300

3

HP EliteBook 640

HP has finally managed to combine workhorse and fashion laptop, and offer it at a reasonable price. High-quality, elegant, with a thoughtful design, compact, reliable body and a full range of ports. Moreover, you can be sure of the reliability of this laptop in the long run. Keyboard with excellent backlighting. But there is a claim to the extra column of keys on the right. As usual, HP pays great attention to security (both at the hardware and software levels), incl. provided a curtain for the camera. Price $1350.

4

Asus ExpertBook B9

Very thin and light ultrabook with excellent battery life. Chip Asus – a numeric keypad on the touchpad will appeal to those leaders who often use a calculator. The keyboard is excellent, but there is one drawback – the power button is in place of the Del button. Another (doubtful) invention is to put a micro HDMI connector for a network cable adapter. Well, it’s better than nothing. Price $1970

5

Dell Latitude 5430

This laptop may lack some polish and it’s not super-slim, but it’s a workhorse that’s comfortable to work with and at a good price. Perhaps this is the only laptop that we sell with an LTE module. It has a full set of ports, including LAN. Comfortable classic keyboard (albeit with a power button in the main layout). Very capacious battery. Using Dell Power Manager, you can fine-tune the balance between battery consumption and performance. Price $1370

6

Acer Swift 3

The Acer Swift 3 is the best option if you want a lightweight ultrabook and don’t need to show off. Although Acer is not associated with a premium brand, everything about this laptop is in order in terms of hardware, quality and design. In this case, you will definitely pay less, all other things being equal. The laptop makes almost no noise, but, apparently, therefore, it heats up more. Price $1100

7

Microsoft Surface Laptop

Microsoft laptops are fashion accessories (perhaps even more fashionable than Mac). In addition, this laptop deserves praise for its compactness, lightness, security and high performance. The screen size of 13.5 “is optimal for many, it’s a pity that it’s glossy. But minimalism in relation to USB ports is too ahead of its time. But proprietary charging (albeit magnetic) for such a laptop is an anachronism. And the touchscreen significantly increases the cost and reduces autonomy. Price $2700

8

MSI Prestige 14

The MSI brand is not traditionally associated with prestige. However, they have a model with the name Prestige and without the MSI logo (instead of a coat of arms ala ferrari). Theoretically, in terms of parameters, this is an excellent (almost optimal) machine, light, compact, with a touch of gaming design. But there are doubts about its long-term reliability. This is probably a laptop for those executives who love to play (or edit videos), because. has a powerful video card on board. Price $1620

9

Google Pixelbook Go

Chromebooks were originally supposed to be cheap. Then for some reason Google started releasing premium models. As a result, we have a laptop with a dubious image effect. Of course, its advantages are compactness, USB-C charging and a fanless Y-processor, which gives good autonomy (would have given excellent if not for the 4K screen). But a small glossy screen, minimalism in relation to ports – will make working behind it not very convenient. In general, this is a laptop for those who are constantly on the road and use only browser applications. Price $1050

10

HUAWEI Matebook X Pro

Speaking of Huawei, first of all, it should be noted that the company is under US sanctions and it is not very clear what can happen to the work of Windows and Office on this laptop. Otherwise, it’s something like a Macbook with Windows – with a beautiful design, features (like a camera button and integration with a smartphone) and minimalist ports. The screen – glossy 3000×2000 – is not quite what you need to work with sites and applications, and it greatly reduces autonomy. But the movies on it look perfect. Price $1900

Top 3 CRM systems

Top 6 mini laptops in 2023

A mini laptop is a netbook or portable computer with a screen size of 10-12”. There are versions with a diagonal of 7”, but experience shows that they can be easily replaced by a tablet or phone with an external keyboard connected, since typing on them is still inconvenient due to their small size. Laptops 10-12” are more suitable for work, study, typing, studying tables and carrying the device with you everywhere. In this article, we will review the ranking of the best mini laptops in 2023, as well as give useful tips for choosing a compact laptop.

Contents [ show ]

  • What to look for when buying a mini laptop
    • Screen size
    • Resolution
    • Form factor ov for 2023
      • 1. The best mini laptop among all Apple MacBook Early 2016
      • 2. Best mini laptop convertible Acer SPIN 1 SP111-34N
      • 3. Best mini laptop in terms of cooling efficiency Lenovo IdeaPad 1 11ADA05
      • 4. Best mini laptop for study Acer TravelMate B1 TMB1 18 -M-C6UT
      • 5. Best mini laptop for accountant ASUS L210MA-GJ163T
      • 6. Best budget mini laptop DIGMA EVE 11C409
    • Which is better: mini laptop or tablet with plug-in keyboard
        90 103 Connectivity
      • Programs
      • Screen convenience
    • How to choose a mini laptop
      • Memory
      • Ports
      • Processor
      • Video card
      • Battery

      9 0106

    • Summing up

    What to look for when buying a mini-notebook

    Screen size

    Screen size affects the viewing comfort and dimensions of the device. If you work in one program, for example, in a text editor, a 10” diagonal is enough. When your activity involves several open windows, and to save time you have them reduced next to each other, it will be more convenient with a screen of 11-12”.

    Resolution

    When choosing, keep in mind that the smaller the resolution of the laptop mini-screen, the less detailed the picture will be. If you work only with text, the HD quality setting is enough – 1366 x 768. Graphic editors are best used with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and above to see the small elements of the frame well.

    Form factor

    The netbook can be in a classic version (with opening of the lid by 120-150°) or as a transformer (the lid turns 360°). In the second case, the screen of the mini-laptop is touch-sensitive, a stylus is attached to it. This facilitates precise positioning of the cursor, suitable for drawing in graphic editors. Mini-laptops transformers can be used as tablets by turning the keyboard, which is convenient for use in transport (in the subway, tram, bus). Ordinary netbooks, due to their compactness, are also suitable for use in such situations, but they are less convenient. Their main role is the “typewriter”.

    2023 Mini Notebook Ranking

    1. Best Mini Laptop Ever Apple MacBook Early 2016 powerful SSD storage. This allows you to work with complex graphics and keep large files in memory.

    Editor’s estimate:

    Specifications

    Screen: 12″ (2304 x 1440)

    Video card: integrated, Intel HD Graphics 515

    Processor: Intel Core m5 (2 x 1.20 GHz)

    Battery: 41.4 Wh

    Memory: RAM – 8 GB, ROM – 512 GB

    Design and body

    This mini notebook is extremely thin and light. Case dimensions are 280 x 196 x 13.1 mm, and it weighs 920 g. This is convenient for frequent transportation. Although the model debuted in 2016, it is still popular in 2022 as it is on sale. And Apple no longer produces netbooks with a diagonal of 12 “- the smallest size is now 13.3”. The model is available in gold, light gray and dark gray body colors. Of the physical connectors, there is only a headphone port and one USB Type-C. Therefore, the connection of peripherals is possible only through a splitter. The touchpad is comfortable to use due to its high responsiveness.

    Screen

    This mini notebook has an IPS screen that delivers vibrant colors. Resolution 2304 x 1440 provides high detail, so the device is suitable for graphic editors. The widescreen type is relevant for watching modern films.

    Contents

    The device can be called a powerful mini-notebook because it has an Intel Core m5 processor inside. It has 2 cores running 4 threads at 1.20 GHz. If the load increases, the frequency increases to 2.80 GHz. The netbook copes with the work of Photoshop, AutoCAD and other similar applications. But too thin case and a passive cooling system, which, by the way, is generally silent, led to significant heating of the case – it is unpleasant to keep the device on your knees at such moments. A large 512 GB SSD lets you store large work or personal files so you always have access to them. 8 GB RAM is suitable for work and study to use 5-10 programs at the same time. The 41.4 Wh battery provides up to 11 hours of use of the mini laptop away from a power outlet.

    Pros
    • slim body;
    • light weight;
    • autonomy up to 11 hours;
    • silent;
    • sensitive touchpad.
    Cons
    • for mouse, flash drives, printer only one port;
    • weak cooling system.

    2. Best Mini Convertible Laptop Acer SPIN 1 SP111-34N

    Compare Prices Why We Liked: netbook has a 360° touch screen. This allows you to use the device in tablet mode and can be useful if you need to work urgently in a deskless environment.

    Editor’s score:

    Specifications

    Display: 11.6″ (1920 x 1080)

    Video card: integrated, Intel UHD Graphics 600

    Processor : Intel Celeron N4000 ( 2 x 1. 10 GHz)

    Battery: 64Wh

    Memory: RAM – 4 GB, ROM – 64 GB

    Design and housing

    The mini laptop is fully metal, so it can better withstand accidental bumps. Screen hinges allow you to turn the netbook like a book or fully wind the keyboard under the display for use in tablet mode. But keep in mind that gradually the hinges can become loose, and the screen will no longer hold on its own, so adjustment will be required. The dimensions of the mini laptop are slightly wider than MacBook Early and 330g heavier.

    Screen

    The IPS-matrix screen delivers a crisp picture, while the 1920 x 1080 resolution contributes to high definition. Included with the mini-laptop is a stylus, which is convenient to work with vector graphics. The touch display allows you to do without a keyboard and mouse at all. Above the screen there is a webcam for calls, but it has a weak lens and a small viewing angle, so good lighting and a distance of 1 m from the device are required to fit the head in the frame.

    Contents

    The netbook’s processor has 2 cores that operate at a frequency of 1.10-2.60 GHz. There is no thread doubling technology here, like the leader of the rating, and there is only 4 GB of RAM, so for comfortable use we recommend running no more than 3-4 programs at the same time. 64 GB of permanent memory is not the biggest option among ultrabooks, but there is a USB port, a memory card slot, HDMI, so you can insert a USB flash drive, connect a printer and a second monitor at the same time. The battery lasts for 12 hours, so the model is liked by those who often travel or go on business trips.

    Pros
    • robust metal housing;
    • long autonomy;
    • touch screen;
    • stylus included;
    • various connection ports.
    Cons
    • small camera angle;
    • loosening joints.

    3. Best Mini Laptop for Cooling Efficiency Lenovo IdeaPad 1 11ADA05

    Compare Prices Why we liked it: has a passive cooling system with increased efficiency. This will be appreciated by those who often use a mini-laptop, holding it on their laps.

    Editor’s estimate:

    Specifications

    Screen: 11.6″ (1366 x 768)

    Video card: integrated, AMD Radeon Graphics

    Processor: AMD Athlon Silver 3050e (2 x 1.40 GHz)

    Battery: 35Wh

    Memory: RAM – 4 GB, ROM – 128 GB

    Design and chassis

    Mini laptop almost the same size as the two models above, but much thicker – 19.9 mm against 13-14 mm. The increased cross section is a consequence of the installation of a new passive cooling system, which prevents overheating during prolonged use or increased load. During stress tests, the device barely warmed up to 40 ° C, and without load it remained cold at all. Keep it comfortable on your lap.

    The screen opens to 140° – this is no longer a transformer, but the assembly is quite high quality, without backlash and squeaks. The keyboard is quiet and has a soft touch, so it’s the best mini laptop to work with if you’re typing a lot. From the connectors there are: HDMI, USB, a combo for a microphone and headphones.

    Screen

    TN-matrix significantly loses to IPS in viewing angles, so watching a movie on a netbook with a small company is a bad idea. Resolution 1366 x 768 once again convinces that this is a model for working with text documents.

    Contents

    The 128 GB SSD hard drive facilitates fast booting of the operating system. Windows 10 is already installed here, so you can use the mini laptop right out of the box. But the manufacturer has provided the model with additional applications that are quite intrusive and interfere with some users. The Athlon Silver 3050e processor supports dual thread technology, operating in a 2 x 4 scheme with a frequency of 1.4-2.8 GHz.

    Pluses
    • Windows pre-installed;
    • good cooling system;
    • high speed hard drive;
    • quality assembly.
    Cons
    • case is thicker than competitors;
    • Lenovo built-in intrusive applications;
    • TN matrix.

    4. Best mini laptop for study Acer TravelMate B1 TMB118-M-C6UT quad-core processor, so it can easily cope with the simultaneous work of text editors, browser and other programs. The battery supports battery life up to 13 hours, which is enough for the student for the whole day.

    Editor’s score:

    Specifications

    Screen: 11.6″ (1366 x 768)

    Video card: integrated, Intel UHD Graphics 600

    Processor : Intel Celeron N4120 ( 4 x 1.10 GHz)

    Battery: 48 Wh

    Memory: RAM – 4 GB, ROM – 64 GB on ultra-thin cases in favor of highlighting more space for a passive cooling system. As a result, the thickness of the mini-laptop turned out to be 22. 3 mm – more than that of all other participants in the rating. The keys are heavily recessed inside and do not touch the screen when the netbook is folded. In addition to USB, HDMI, SD card slot, there is RJ45 and a network card. The possibility of a wired Internet connection provides a stable connection, which is useful for online classes with a tutor.

    Screen

    11.6” display matte so less smudges from accidental finger touches. Glare on the screen is barely noticeable. But the resolution of 1366 x 768 and TN-matrix make it suitable only for office tasks.

    Contents

    The processor of a mini-notebook is much more productive than analogues, since it has 4 physical cores versus 2. The operating frequency is 1.10–2.60 GHz, so all programs “fly”. 4 GB of RAM is enough to keep 3-4 applications open at the same time, but you cannot replace the RAM – it is soldered to the motherboard, although the processor itself supports up to 8 GB of RAM. The hard drive is small – 64 GB. After installing Windows and a few programs, approximately 40 GB remains free. Consider whether this space is enough for you, or immediately buy an additional external hard drive. The battery provides battery life up to 13 hours, which not all mini-laptops are capable of.

    Pros
    • many connectors and ports;
    • has a network card;
    • good processor;
    • long autonomy.
    Cons
    • soldered to the RAM board;
    • low capacity hard drive;
    • thick body.

    5. Best mini laptop for accountant ASUS L210MA-GJ163T

    Compare prices Why we liked it: The touchpad of the mini-laptop has a layout for a block with numbers. This greatly simplifies entering numerical data into tables or calculating estimates, which is useful for people whose work is related to finance, performance calculations and other similar tasks.

    Editor’s score:

    Specifications

    Screen: 11. 6″ (1366 x 768)

    Video card: integrated, Intel UHD Graphics 600

    CPU : Intel Celeron N4020 (2 x 1.10 GHz)

    Battery: 38 Wh

    Memory: RAM – 4 GB, ROM – 128 GB

    Design and chassis 9 0187

    Netbook housing made of black plastic colors. In terms of dimensions, it is identical to its counterparts, and its thickness is 16.9 mm. The Enter key is highlighted in green around the perimeter, which helps you quickly and accurately find it for an input command. The touchpad is marked as a calculator. If you have to work with numbers a lot, this makes typing long numeric data much easier than entering through the top line of the keyboard. A large number of ports (2 x USB, USB Type-C, Combo, HDMI) allow you to simultaneously connect additional devices to the mini laptop.

    Screen

    The 11.6” screen is not outstanding. To save costs, the developers installed a TN matrix here, and the display resolution is 1366 x 768, so the netbook is more suitable for documents than for graphics and images. But the matte surface is less glare and does not collect fingerprints.

    Contents

    The processor in the mini laptop is almost the same as the Acer SPIN 1 , but it overclocks to 2.80 GHz instead of 2.60 GHz under load, so it can process tasks a little faster. A licensed Windows 10 Home is already installed in the netbook – you won’t have to spend extra money on basic software. The 38 Wh battery ensures battery life of the device up to 8 hours. 4 GB of RAM is enough for office tasks. Instead of a hard drive, the manufacturer installed a 128 GB eMMC drive inside. This is not a separate memory module, but a block integrated into the motherboard. It is not possible to replace it in case of combustion or if you want to expand the storage. By the way, the RAM is also soldered on the motherboard, and cannot be upgraded. In terms of data transfer speed, eMMC loses significantly to SSD.

    Pluses
    • illuminated Enter key;
    • markup for entering numbers on the touchpad;
    • many ports;
    • matte screen surface.
    Cons
    • TN matrix with small viewing angles;
    • non-removable permanent and random access memory;
    • Hard drive communication speed is low.

    6. Best Budget Mini DIGMA EVE 11C409

    Compare Prices Why we liked it: The mini laptop is one of the most affordable mini-notebooks out there, but stands out for its good specs. An excellent option for study and work in terms of price-quality ratio.

    Editor’s score:

    Specifications

    Screen: 11.6″ (1920 x 1080)

    Video card: integrated, Intel HD Graphics 500

    Processor : Intel Celeron N3350 ( 2 x 1.10 GHz)

    Battery: 30 Wh

    Memory: RAM – 4 GB, ROM – 64 GB with a case section of 21 mm. But closer to the front edge, the thickness decreases, so it seems not so massive. The lid can be opened with one hand thanks to the cutout in the bottom panel. The keyboard is soft with low travel, which is comfortable for typing, but the on/off button is located next to delete, so be prepared to accidentally hit it and turn off the device. There are two USB ports, a memory card slot and a headphone jack, but USB Type-C is no longer there, as well as a network card.

    Screen

    The manufacturer surprised by placing a display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and an IPS matrix in a budget mini-notebook. This is a juicy screen, on which it is pleasant not only to work, but also to watch movies.

    Contents

    Another nice surprise for customers is the fast response SSD. True, its volume is only 64 GB. The mini-laptop got the last place in the ranking due to a very weak processor with 2 cores operating at a frequency of 1.10-2.40 GHz, and doubling the threads is not supported here. The passive cooling system does not make noise and does not need maintenance (dust removal), since there is no fan. The pre-installed operating system saves budget and allows you to use the device right away.

    Pluses
    • opening in the lid for opening with one hand;
    • solid state drive;
    • Windows preinstalled;
    • IPS panel.
    Cons
    • power button next to delete;
    • no USB Type-C;
    • thick body.

    Which is better: a mini laptop or tablet with a plug-in keyboard

    Some people find it difficult to choose between a mini laptop and a tablet with a plug-in physical keyboard. To understand which is best, you need to consider the features of each type and upcoming use cases.

    Connectivity

    There are now cases for tablets with an attached keypad that allow you to type at the same speed as on a netbook. What then is the difference and advantages of these devices?

    The mini laptop has more ports for connection, so you can simultaneously transfer information from a USB flash drive, attach an additional monitor, send a document to print, and more. The tablet often only has mini-USB or USB Type-C, so you will need a splitter or serial connection of devices.

    Programs

    Windows netbook allows you to work with the same programs as on a regular computer. The same formatting is preserved, all functions are familiar, there is no need to learn something new. If you’re used to Windows, switching from a PC to a mini laptop will be “painless”. Tablets also come with the Microsoft operating system, but more often with Android or iOS. Therefore, to work, you will have to master new programs.

    Even the same programs (of the same developer) look different in different operating systems and may differ in the set of functions.

    Screen convenience

    Mini-notebooks also benefit slightly in screen size – 11-12” versus 10” for a tablet. It is more convenient to work with tables, documents and graphs in a laptop.

    Therefore, when the device is only needed for watching movies and surfing the web, and you have to print occasionally, a tablet is enough. Doing journalism, law and other documentary work with field activities is more convenient with a mini-laptop.

    How to choose a mini notebook

    Memory

    Manufacturers save most often on the amount of permanent memory in mini-notebooks, since the drive takes up a lot of space in a small case. If only a couple of text editors are needed for work, and only documents will be stored on the hard drive, 64-128 GB is enough. For graphic projects or videos, choose the 256-512 GB option.

    The fastest hard drive will be an SSD. If necessary, the ROM can be expanded by inserting another extended capacity bar into the SATA slot. The eMMC variant is also solid-state and heats up less, but it cannot be replaced, and the data transfer rate is much lower.

    The size of the RAM determines the number of simultaneously running programs. For office work and study, 4 GB is enough, and for video editors, a browser, and active messengers, 8 GB is required.

    Ports

    It is important to determine in advance the number and type of specific ports in your mini laptop in order to connect everything you need to work. If you like to use a mouse and often print documents, you will need at least two USBs. An HDMI port is required to display a picture on a second screen. The RJ45 connector allows you to connect wired Internet, which is important for stable video communication, network games, downloading large files.

    Processor

    Processor settings affect the processing speed of tasks. The option of 2 cores for 2 threads with a frequency of up to 2.60 GHz is only for typing, video communication, simple scenarios. For Photoshop and graphic editors, as well as games at low settings, choose netbooks with 4 cores, a frequency of 2.80 GHz and higher.

    The mini gaming laptop is found in the Lenovo and Panasonic product lines, but such models are not very popular among gamers, so we did not include them in the rating. And in general, there are almost no gaming netbooks, because they are too small to place a discrete graphics card inside.

    What features some mini-laptops have, you can see in the video review:

    Video card

    In most mini-laptops, the video card is integrated – it has a video processor, but consumes computer RAM. If the RAM is 4 GB or more, you can play CS GO at low settings. To enjoy video games without dropping frames or slowing down your computer, you need a discrete graphics card with 2-4 GB of memory.

    Battery

    The battery takes up a lot of space in a mini laptop, and manufacturers often sacrifice its size and capacity for the sake of a compact device. But the battery life depends on the battery, so if you have to regularly work away from the outlet, buy a mini laptop with a capacity of 40 Wh.

    Summing up

    Mini-notebooks are easy to carry around and outperform tablets in terms of the convenience of the operating system and the number of connectors.