If you’re going to use you laptop on the road – and why else get one – it’s a good idea to make WEIGHT a primary consideration. Especially if you’re going to carry it in your bag and on your back a lot, during conferences for instance.
However, you also have to think about what you want to do with your laptop. These days, with the iPad and other tablets around, I’m not sure I’d even be buying a laptop any more. However, if you are, you probably want to do more on your laptop than just watch videos and check email. After all, you can do all that on an iPad – in fact, it’s more comfortable on your iPad than on a laptop, as long as you don’t need to type much yourself.
Laptops are, I think, most useful these days for people who want it all – top of the line internet, top of the line speed, the ability to play DVDs etc. However, if you are going to select a LIGHT WEIGHT laptop, you’ll have to compromise on a few of those.
Don’t get me wrong: starting at 13 inch laptops, you can get a PC that’s level with today’s desktops in terms of speed, internal memory and hard drive capacity. These all include USB ad micro SD ports. Now for my picks:
|ASUS U36JC-B1 Thin and Light 13.3-Inch Laptop (Black)
Asus is the king of making good, fast and yet lightweight laptops. I have a previous generation Asus 13 inch laptop and it functions as my desktop computer. It is way faster than the desktop PC I traded it in for. Personally I think 13 inch is just the right size: large enough to make typing comfortable, small enough to fit into my backpack.The Asus comes with a Pentium i3 processor, so it is dual core and fast. Sure, there are faster chips on the market, but unless you want a gaming laptop, this really is fast enough for anything you could want to do on it.It comes with Windows 7 of course, 64 bit and 4GB of internal memory.The one downside to this laptop, the trade-off for it being lightweight, is that it does NOT include a DVD / CD drive.3.7 pounds
Up to 9 hours of battery life
|Samsung Series 9 NP900X1A-A01US 11.6-Inch Laptop (Black)This is an 11.6 inch laptop. This puts it in the netbook range, except that the specifications are quite upscale – hence the price.
At 2.3 pounds this is the lightest laptop I found you.
Built to go online anywhere this laptop doesn’t merely include a WiFi connection, but a 4G mobile internet connection as well. No messing about with USB internet on this one. That’s good: my experience with USB mobile internet has been abysmal, while wi-fi wireless connections tend to just work.
Again: no DVD or CD drive.
Up to 7 hours of battery life
|Samsung Series 5 3G Chromebook (Titan Silver)
Chromebooks are all the rage right now. Everybody is talking about them. But are they buying them? Well, yes. As I write this the Samsung 3G Chromebook is sold out.I’m still showing it, because it is after all meant for just the kind of on the road use you came to this page for.When picking a Chromebook you do need to take a 3G version: without mobile internet this laptop can NOT be used at all. It does not have a hard drive. That is, except if your sole use is at home and your modem supports wi-fi.You would think that would make this laptop lighter, but it doesn’t really. Sure, at 3.3 pounds it’s lighter than the Asus laptop shown above, but since this is an 12.1 inch laptop, that’s only to be expected. The weight reduction due to not having a hard drive really doesn’t seem to amount to much.However, it does compensate with Up to 8.5 hours of continuous use.
In terms of security this laptop sets a new standard: it updates it’s software automatically, just like modern browsers do. That does help – pc software that isn’t updated is the largest security risk people run with any pc or laptop.
While the processor is a dual core processor, they went with the latest Intel processor meant specifically for netbooks, the N570. It’s fast, it supports 64-bit operating systems and doesn’t use a lot of energy, so it helps that battery last.
Reviews mention using this as a personal use home PC that just lies around the house and moves with the people, just like you would an iPad.
If you do everything online, this is just the laptop for you: Gmail, google docs, Picassa etc.
Unlike any other laptop on the market this is plug and play: just fill in your Google details and you’re set. You may want to get some extra apps, but once you’ve added them to your account, they’ll be on any future Chromebook you get. No installation necessary: it’s all in the cloud (aka online).
Note: if you were looking for a lightweight laptop that supports you doing presentations on it, this is not a good fit: video out only includes VGA, not HDMI or any other option. Then again, is it possible to store presentations on the cloud yet?
Laptops That Are Easy On The Back
Paying attention to the weight of a laptop becomes important when you use it for work or school and you actually do transport it a lot. It may not make much difference if it is not something that you carry with you but just like the ability to use a laptop at home and be able to move around from room to room.
However, if your laptop is necessary to take to the office, a job site, college classroom, a business meeting or a multitude of other reasons; how much it weighs becomes an issue. Well, at least it should. With the technology of today there is no need to strain your back and shoulders from the weight of the computer.
Let’s take a look at the advantages of getting a lightweight laptop for you to use.
First Determine Your Needs
My recommendation before purchasing any of the lightweight laptops on the market today is to first determine what you need for your laptop to do. Obviously if you are choosing a laptop over a tablet you are needing to create documents, spreadsheets, graphs or other word processing actions that a tablet might not be able to do for you.
Many of the lighter weight laptops may not have an actual optical drive that will play a DVD or CD. They have the ability to be connected with a USB port if you have the need for one but much of the weight in the older models has been taken out by not building these players into the machine.
Personally, I don’t think that is much of an issue because you can get external ones to connect and with the popularity of streaming videos, if you want to watch a movie most of the time you can do that without inserting an actual DVD or CD. But, if this is something that you will need to use to perform well in your job or studies it is a consideration to think about.
Another option to think about is whether you want touch screen functionality or not. Most of the newer laptops are loaded with Windows 8 which will give you both a keyboard and touch features. You might decide that a refurbished or older model that has Windows 7 is suitable for the needs you will have with your laptop.
What size screen do you want? Those 15 inch and larger screens are great for a lot of things but the 13 or 14 inch ones weigh much less.
Pay attention to the keyboard design. Is it going to be comfortable to use? How about the touchpad will it be reliable to use?
Sleek designs weigh less
The newer laptops have sleeker designs with cases that do not add bulk to the computer and extra weight for you to carry around. Companies have found materials to make the cases out of to help them in the weight department. Plus they look pretty good, too!
Styles that are almost as slim as a tablet these laptops offer function and style while weighing in at less than 4 pounds.
Who needs a lightweight laptop?
I mentioned this a little bit at the top of this article but let’s look into it a little further. Who are the best candidates for laptops that weigh on the lighter side? Actually, the short answer would be virtually anyone who wants one but that is obvious.
- Students (from elementary to college) for the mobility and funtionality
- Professionals who need to take their computing with them and need a good keyboard and touchpad to create documents and other work related items
- Professionals who travel a lot for their profession and need to have the portability and functionality of a computer instead of a tablet
- Busy Moms and Dads who can multi task as they take the kids from activity to activity.
The serious gamers are not usually fond of the lightweight laptops due to needing the better graphics and optical devices in order to play their games. Those laptops usually weigh more but the person who is really into games does not mind.
As a reader said on a previous version of this post:
Weight and size are definitely important considerations when choosing a laptop particularly if you are going to be lugging your laptop around with you. My son has a very good laptop chosen to support what he needs to be able to do as a computer engineering student. I know he was thinking about size when he was choosing but I am unsure how that factored into his final decision.