I really, really love my 11-inch MacBook Air. I love it so much I had to find a way to work a mention of it into this article about laptops that are even thinner and lighter than it (mission accomplished); especially it’s brother, the new MacBook (I actually bought my Air AFTER the new MacBook was announced). The new MacBook is the gold standard of thin, capable laptops (literally, it comes in a gold color)—sometimes referred to as ultra thin’s. Apple’s recent motto has been thinner is better and the competition has begun to take note, as you will see.
The Apple MacBook actually isn’t THE thinnest ultra slim notebook on the market, but it’s THE device that is moving the laptop industry forward. So whether you are looking for a MacBook alternative, just want to see what else is out there, want to see what the top of the line PC makers have to offer in the way of thin or want a machine that is thin AND and as budget-friendly as possible, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
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The new Apple MacBook ($1,299 on Amazon) is THE epitome of thin, light and beautiful wrapped into one package. Despite it’s thinness (13.1mm), the MacBook features a full-size keyboard, a 12-inch Retina display, a Force Touch trackpad (you won’t find that on any of the other machines listed here) and one (and only one) USB C port which is also the device’s power port. The MacBook runs silent and it’s battery will last up to 9 hours.
Dell XPS 13
The Dell XPS 13 ($949 on Amazon) claims to be “the smallest 13-inch laptop on the planet” and is just half an inch thick. That’s nice, but of course the MacBook with it’s 12-inch Retina display is smaller. Even so, the XPS 13 does sport a virtually borderless Infinity display. The optional touch screen model (the top of the line model) packs a 128 solid state drive, 8GB of memory and runs Windows 8.1.
Asus ZenBook UX305
The Asus ZenBook UX305 ($699) is just 12.3mm thick and weighs 2.6 pounds. The ZenBook is probably the 2nd best looking laptop here (after the MacBook) and comes in two colors; the white Ceramic Alloy and the dark Obsidian Stone. The ZenBook, like the Dell XPS mentioned above, features a touchscreen and runs Windows 8.1, but unlike the Dell the ZenBook comes with a larger hard drive (512 vs 128). Like the Apple MacBook, this laptop is fanless (and quiet).
HP Spectre X360
The HP Spectre X360 ($1,369) tries to be all things to all people, like the Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 below. It’s big feature is the ability to bend it’s screen backward therefore turning this laptop into a tablet (or sorts). The X360 does have the MacBook beat in battery life; it can reportedly run for up to 12.5 hours when fully charged. The X360 is thicker than the Asus ZenBook at 15.9mm thick and heavier as well at 3.26 pounds.
Lenovo Yoga Pro 3
The Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 ($1,310) stakes it claim as the world’s thinnest 2-in-1. The like X360 above, the Yoga Pro 3’s multitouch screen flips back 360° to offer 4 different viewing modes (laptop, tablet, tent and stand). The Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 is half an inch thick, weighs 2.6 pounds and gets up to 9 hours of battery life.
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus
The 13.6mm thin Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus ($1,129) features a 13.3-inch touch screen that folds down 180°. With 11 hours of battery life and a boot-up time of only 5.9 seconds, the ATIV Book 9 Plus gives the other Windows notebooks listed here a run for their money.
Microsoft Surface Pro
Is the Microsoft Surface Pro ($859) a laptop or a tablet? It’s whatever you want it to be, I guess. With a 12-inch screen and up to 9 hours of web browsing (i.e. gaming will kill the battery faster), the Surface Pro 3 is light and portable. If you need more USB ports than the MacBook offers, you’ll be delighted with the Surface’s USB 3.0 ports. Oh, and it comes with a stylus—if that’s your kind of thing.
Featured image via Flickr.