The best travel laptops of 2022

Couple sat in a tent, using one of the best travel laptops
(Image credit: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels )

Now lockdown is becoming a distant memory, the best travel laptops are firmly back on our radar. Handy for everything from short train rides to transatlantic flights, and everythig in between, these laptops allow you to do everything you can do at your desk while you're on the move.

The best travel laptops are small, light and easy to carry, but still packed with enough power to do everything you need while you're away. We've gathered our favourites together in the article below, covering a variety of budgets and a range of capabilities. If you're not sure what you're looking for, though, first read our section on how to pick the best travel laptop.

Looking for some more specific? Then you might also want to check out our roundups of the best laptops for graphic design or the best laptops for programming. Meanwhile, for some extra help planning a trip, also see our guides to the best travel accessories for designers.

The best travel laptops available now

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Product shot of Dell XPS, one of the best travel laptops

(Image credit: Dell)

01. Dell XPS 13 (2022)

The best travel laptop overall

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i5-1230U or i7-1230U
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8-16GB
Size: 29.54 x 19.94 x 1.39 mm (11.63 x 7.85 x 0.55 in)
Weight: 1.17 kg (2.59 lbs)

Reasons to buy

+
Fast performance
+
Lovely screen
+
Nice keyboard

Reasons to avoid

-
Web cam only 720p
-
Short on ports

Nice and compact, and weighing just 1.17 kg (2.59 lbs), the Dell XPS 13 (2022) offers an exceptional combination of portability and power, along with great battery life. In our eyes, that makes it the perfect travel companion.

The screen can give out just under 450 nits of brightness, so even bright daylight shouldn't be an issue. The inclusion of Intel's 12th-gen U-series chips means everything runs super-fast, and it's powerful enough to run creative software like Photoshop. It stays cool and quiet in use, and you can expect around 13 hours' battery life with light use. 

On the downside, the webcam is only 720p, which is okay for Zoom calls but not the best picture quality. You're limited in the number of devices you can connect, with just two Thunderbolt 4 ports in total. But as long as those aren't deal breakers, we reckon the Dell XPS 13 offers better value overall, making it our pick as the best travel laptop of 2022.

MacBook Pro 13-inch M2, one of the best travel laptops, sat on a desk

(Image credit: Future)

02. MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022)

The best travel laptop for Apple fans

Specifications

CPU: Apple M2 with 8-core CPU
Graphics: Integrated 10-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 24GB
Size: 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56 cm (11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 in)
Weight: 1.4 kg (3 lbs)

Reasons to buy

+
Thin and light
+
Superfast M2 chip

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited ports
-
Webcam only 720p

Weighing just 1.4 kg (3 lbs), this latest version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro is perfect for travel. Showcasing the high build quality you'd expect from Apple, this thin and light laptop touts the latest M2 chip, a beautiful 13.3-inch Retina display and that convenient Touch ID. Our tests showed that it's great for multitasking, handles creative software like Photoshop very well, and lasted 15 and a half hours in our battery test, which involves playing a looped 1080p video.

On the downside, the webcam is just 720p and as far as connectivity goes, you're limited to just 2x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) slots and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Plus you're tied into Apple's ecosystem, which may be a good or bad thing, depending on where you stand. For more details, see our full MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) review.

Product shot of PixelBook Go, one of the best travel laptops,

(Image credit: Google)

03. PixelBook Go

The best Chromebook for travel

Specifications

Processor: 8th-generation Intel Core m3
Graphics: Full HD
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 64GB
Screen: 13.3-inch, LCD touchscreen
Dimensions: 31.1 x 20.63 x 1.34cm
Weight: 1061 g (2.3 lbs)

Reasons to buy

+
Silky smooth running
+
Really long battery life
+
1080p webcam

Reasons to avoid

-
Can't run Windows

The diminutive sibling to Google's higher-end Pixelbook (opens in new tab), the Pixelbook Go is truly great value for money. For sheer class and ease of use, due the stellar components that you get, this is a great bargain, and one of the best entry level Chromebooks out there for travel. 

Of course, being a Chromebook, this will work on Google Chrome OS operating system, running cloud-based applications and storing a lot of data online, so a solid internet connection for its user is essential. And of course, you won't be able to run any Windows or macOS software you're used to. 

More generally, its design is slim and light, its frame made from magnesium alloy with a matte finish, and it weighs in at 2.3 pounds and is 0.5-inches thin. On top on that, it offers a back-lit keyboard, and a 1080p front-facing camera; two elements that you won't find on most of the laptops here.

Product shot of HP Spectre x360, one of the best travel laptops

(Image credit: HP)

04. HP Spectre x360 (2021)

The best travel laptop that doubles as a tablet

Specifications

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB
Size: 30.6 x 19.45 x 1.6 cm (12.08 x 7.66 x 0.67 in)
Weight: 2.8 pounds (1.3kg)

Reasons to buy

+
Doubles as a tablet
+
Beautifully designed
+
Great battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

When you're travelling, particularly if you're jammed into tight spaces on planes, trains and automobiles, you need to be flexible. Helpfully, the HP Spectre x360 (2021) has a hybrid design so you can switch between, for instance, working in traditional laptop mode, playing games in tablet mode and streaming your favourite shows in tent mode.

More generally, it's gorgeous, with its elegant gem-cut design that will be the envy of everyone on your holiday. It offers a fair number of ports, so you can connect lots of devices: a USB-A 3.1 port, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a microSD card reader and a combi audio jack. And it also boasts great Bang & Olufsen speakers, an exquisite touchscreen display and a whopping 12-hour battery life. 

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is a good laptop for drawing

(Image credit: Future/Erlingur Einarsson)

05. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 13.5-inch

Sturdy, portable and a great performer

Specifications

CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i5-i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB-32GB
Size: 30.8 x 22.3 x 1.45cm (12.1 x 8.8 x 0.57 inches)
Weight: 1.265 kg (2.79 lbs)

Reasons to buy

+
Sturdy and portable
+
Great for Zoom and writing
+
Good touchscreen

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of ports

The Surface Laptop 4 continues Microsoft’s tradition of crafting excellent portables. This thin and light laptop comes fitted with 11th-generation Intel Core processors, plenty of memory for most computing needs and decent storage options. It delivers such an excellent performance, and boasts Microsoft’s impressive keyboard and trackpad as well. 

As with most ultrabooks, there's a lack of ports: just one USB-C, one USB-A, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and Surface Connect port for power. However, at under 1.27 kg, this is lighter than most of its 13-inch rivals. So if weight is a top priority for you, this must be at the top of your list of options. For more details read our Surface Laptop 4 review (opens in new tab).

Razer Blade Stealth 13, one of the best travel laptops,

(Image credit: Razer)

06. Razer Blade Stealth 13

The best travel laptop for gaming

Specifications

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 with Max-Q
RAM: 16GB
Size: 30.46 x 21.0 x 1.53 cm (11.99 x 8.27 x 0.60 in)
Weight: Up to 1.48 kg (3.26 lbs)

Reasons to buy

+
Thin and light for a gaming laptop
+
Beautiful display

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey for its internals
-
Not many customisation options

Razer is no stranger to excellent gaming laptops that boast mind-blowing power, but it’s the Razer Blade Stealth 13 that’s really impressed us. While most gaming laptops are big and bulky machines, this 13-inch model has fitted all that gaming prowess in an Ultrabook laptop, so you can play all those latest games smoothly at 1080p while on the go. It’s not just for games, mind you – it can handle creative tasks like photo and video editing as well. There’s even a 4K option for an even better image quality. And the sophisticated and sleek non-gaming aesthetic is a bonus.

Product shot of the Lenovo Flex 5 14, one of the best travel laptops,

(Image credit: Lenovo)

07. Lenovo Flex 5 14

This 2020 laptop is great value

Specifications

Operating system: Windows 10 Home
Display: 14-inch FHD; touchscreen
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 256GB SSD
Size: 1920x1080
Weight: 1.6kg (3.6 pounds)

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable price
+
Loads of ports
+
Great to watch films on

Reasons to avoid

-
More weight than the lightest

The Lenovo Flex 5 14 (opens in new tab)  may be a couple of years old now, but it remains a great laptop for when you're out and about, serving brilliantly as a secondary travel laptop if you want to leave your heavy duty work horse in the office. 

It's a 2-in-1 device, which makes it that little bit more, well, flexible. You can fold the screen back to use it as a supported tablet, ideal if you want the screen only to watch media on long journeys. And with its 14-inch, FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution display, the image is crisp and clear. And, it's specs include an impressive 16GB RAM, and a super fast and stable 256 solid state drive – perfect for when TV shows turn into a work project on the move, as it'll run the most common creative design software without breaking a sweat. With the Lenovo's Active Pen Stylus, digital artists should be happy too. 

Add to that a nice array of ports, including a USB-C and two USB-A ports, plus an HDMI port in case you want to connect to an external monitor, and this is a fantastic allrounder at a affordable price.

How to pick the best travel laptop

Not every laptop can be a good travel laptop. Some are powerful yet too heavy to go traipsing around with, while others just aren’t powerful enough to be reliable, especially for digital nomads whose computing demands are more intensive than that of regular users.

The best travel laptops must combine portability with power and durability. They must be thin and light so you can easily slip them in your backpack or carry-on, and not have to worry too much about the added weight. Anything under 1.59kg (3.5lbs) is ideal. After all, traveling as light as possible is one of the key things for a more relaxing – and cheaper – trip.

They must also be powerful enough to handle your needs, whatever those may be. If you’re just looking to do travel research, stream movies and chat with friends, a less powerful laptop will do. However, if you’re planning on working while traveling, not just any laptop will do. Luckily, there are excellent mobile workstations out there that are fitted with powerful processors and plenty of memory.

The best travel laptops must also be extremely durable, robust enough to not only handle hard bumps, but also accidental drops. MacBook Pros, for example, are tough enough to survive a high fall.

A long battery life is also extremely useful. While most cafes, airports, stations, trains and planes provide outlets for laptop users, a portable that will last you a while on a single charge is preferred in case you find yourself stuck in a place where charging just isn’t possible. It wouldn’t hurt to have plenty of storage space, either – although Cloud storage (opens in new tab) and best external hard drives are readily available, if upgrading to a bigger storage space proves too pricey for you.

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Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity (opens in new tab), published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects. 

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