Your guide

Microsoft Surface Go

You want to purchase a laptop, but you don’t want the bulk. Standard models typically range from 13.3-inch to 17.3-inch screens, but even the smallest devices may be too big for your needs. It sounds like you need a mini laptop and we’re here to help you find the best mini laptops on the market.

A mini laptop is a PC that falls into the 10- to 12-inch display category. Some have a detachable keyboard, while others have the keyboard permanently attached. Because of their size, it’s easy to think of mini laptops as large tablets with keyboards.

With that said, here’s our list of the best mini laptops you can buy.

Best mini laptops:

Editor’s note: We will update the list of best mini laptops as more devices launch.

1. Microsoft Surface Go

The smallest member of Microsoft’s Surface line of computers, the Surface Go packs a punch for a computer its size. Microsoft equipped the Surface Go with the Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y processor, along with 4 or 8GB of RAM. Storage options include a 64GB eMMC drive and 128GB SSD.

Even though the 10-inch display is relatively small, the 1,800 x 1,200 resolution means content will look sharp. Even the port selection impresses, with USB-C, Surface Connect, and Surface Type Cover ports accounted for. There’s even a headphone jack and microSD card slot.

Starting at $380, the Surface Go is more expensive than some slightly-larger laptops on this list. Also, the price doesn’t factor in the optional Type Cover, which goes for an extra $99.99. However, reviews have mostly been kind and the small machine uses materials found in pricier laptops.

Check pricing

2. Microsoft Surface Pro 6

If you like the Surface Go’s form factor and wished it was a bit larger, look no further than the Microsoft Surface Pro 6. The company announced the Surface Pro 7 in October 2019, but that doesn’t make the Surface Pro 6 any less of a great buy.

The Surface Pro 6 features a 12.3-inch IPS display with 2,736 x 1,824 resolution, Windows Hello, up to 1TB of SSD storage, and up to 16GB of RAM. Processor options are limited to the Intel Core m3-7Y30, i5-8250U, and i7-8650U, with no USB-C port in sight.

Also read: Microsoft Surface Neo: Is this foldable Windows tablet the true iPad killer?

As with the Surface Go, the Surface Pro 6’s price doesn’t factor in the optional Type Cover. Microsoft’s optional keyboard attachment normally goes for $129.99, but you can find one for less than $100 if you look around a bit. You can save some scratch and get the Surface Pro 6 with an Intel Core m3 processor, but we’d advise against it.

That said, Amazon bundles the i5 Surface Pro 6 and Type Cover for a little less than $900.

Check pricing

3. Samsung Galaxy Book 2

Samsung Galaxy Book 2 official press render

One of the latest always-connected PCs, the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 is unique in that it doesn’t feature an Intel or AMD processor. Instead, it features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 processor. That means the Galaxy Book 2 comes with LTE support out of the box and solid battery life.

The Galaxy Book 2 gives a run for the Surface line’s money in other areas, too. Samsung included a companion keyboard and S Pen, two accessories not included with Surface machines. Also, it’s very nice to see an AMOLED panel instead of IPS.

However, the Galaxy Book 2 isn’t as good as the Surface Pro when it comes to performance. The performance gap between the Snapdragon 850 and Intel’s i-series processors still exists in Intel’s favor. Another sticking point is the Snapdragon 850’s app support, worse than app support for Intel processors.

So long as you prize battery life and work in a browser above all else, the $999.99 Galaxy Book 2 is a solid choice.

Check pricing

4. Apple MacBook

Apple MacBook 2017 press render

Apple discontinued the MacBook line and replaced it with the updated MacBook Air earlier in the year. That said, the MacBook is still a good laptop for those who want something ridiculously light from the macOS ecosystem.

Apple only refreshed the MacBook two times, so the version you want is the 2017 refresh. The latest refresh features the Intel Core m3-7Y32 or i5-7Y54, 8 or 16GB of RAM, and 256 or 512GB of storage. Those are impressive specs for a laptop only 3.6mm thin.

Also read: Want an Apple laptop? Here are the best you can buy right now

Then again, the MacBook’s major criticisms boil down to the sole USB-C port and keyboard. You can somewhat remedy the one USB-C port by picking up a hub, but the keyboard is a tougher pill to swallow. The 2017 refresh introduced the second-generation butterfly switches, though they continued to fail for some people.

In 2018, Apple launched a service program for MacBooks with faulty keyboards. That should give you some peace of mind if you plan to buy one, especially since Apple no longer directly sells the MacBook. That said, you can buy a used model for around $800. On Amazon, the MacBook goes for around $850 in “renewed” condition.

Check pricing

5. HP Stream 11

HP Stream 11 press render

HP’s Stream line of small and affordable laptops have been around for years, but this year’s Stream 11 finally looks to have decent performance. That’s thanks to the Intel Atom x5-E8000 and 4GB of RAM. The 32GB eMMC drive is an anemic amount of storage, but at least Windows 10 S won’t tax the system too much.

Also read: Best HP laptops to buy in 2019: Consumer, business, gaming, and more

The rest of the Stream 11 is standard for 11-inch laptops in 2019. There’s an HD-resolution TN panel, two regular USB ports, a USB-C port, an HDMI port, a DisplayPort, and a headphone jack. The Stream 11 also features quad speakers and support for Bluetooth 5.

If it wasn’t clear by now, the Stream 11 is not a laptop for heavy multi-taskers. Rather, the Stream 11 is for those who have much simpler uses or for those who need a second, smaller laptop to bring with them from time to time. At just $179.99, it’s also for those with smaller wallets.

Check pricing

6. Asus VivoBook L203MA

Asus VivoBook L203MA

A direct competitor to the aforementioned HP Stream 11, the Asus VivoBook L203MA is another 11.6-inch Windows machine with modest internals. That starts with the Intel Celeron N4000 processor and 4GB of RAM. Above the full-size keyboard is an 11.6-inch display with 1,366 x 768 resolution.

Port selection is decent, with regular USB, USB-C, and HDMI ports. There’s also a headphone jack on the right and a microSD card slot on the left. You’ll likely end up using the card slot, since the 64GB eMMC drive isn’t very large by today’s standards.

Modest specs aside, Windows 10 S won’t push the machine too hard and the VivoBook L203MA makes for a good first laptop for your kids. Also, the $209.99 price tag includes a one-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365.

Check pricing

7. Lenovo Chromebook C330

Lenovo Chromebook C330

No list of cheap and small laptops would be complete without at least one Chromebook. Enter the Lenovo Chromebook C330, regarded as one of the best small Chromebooks currently available.

On paper, the Chromebook C330 is similar to many other modern small laptops. There’s an 11.6-inch display with HD resolution, a USB-C port, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage. Normal stuff, though the display can tilt back 360 degrees.

Also read: Best Chromebooks: Acer, HP, Lenovo, and more

Then we get to the quad-core MediaTek MT8173C processor. It might seem like a strange processor choice for a laptop, but the MT8173C does just fine with Chrome OS. Because the software doesn’t require as much horsepower to run well as Windows does, performance isn’t as bad as you think it might be.

The $245 starting price is a bit higher than similarly-sized Windows machines. That said, the Chromebook C330 is a great choice for those who mainly live in the browser.

Check pricing

8. Dell Inspiron 11

Dell Inspiron 11 3195

The last entry on our list belongs to the Dell Inspiron 11, which now features the seventh-generation AMD A9-9420e processor. It’s a departure from previous Inspiron 11 models, which featured Intel processors. It’s also a 2-in-1, which means you can fold the 11.6-inch HD display back 360 degrees and turn the laptop into a 2.6-pound tablet.

Also read: Best Dell laptops to buy in 2019: Mainstream, business, and gaming

On the right are two regular USB ports and a headphone jack. On the left are the power port, HDMI port, another USB port, and a microSD card slot. Unfortunately, the Inspiron 11 doesn’t feature a USB-C. That hurts, especially when cheaper machines than this one feature USB-C.

Speaking of price, the Inspiron 11 is available for $200 on Amazon. If you go to Dell’s website, you can get the Inspiron 11 with double the storage. It’s still a slower eMMC drive, so you might be better off getting the base model and an external SSD.

Check pricing 

That was our list of the best mini laptops you can buy. We’ll update the post with new models once they are released.

More posts about The best laptops