In recent several years, one of the biggest advances made to the modern laptop is that chassis continue to shrink. Best of all, laptops keep getting thinner and thinner, and yet battery life and performance continue to improve. It’s a no-compromise situation — and we love it.
The thinnest laptop around is the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, at just 0.39 inches thick. It’s a Chromebook, but unlike most of the ones you’ve seen, thanks to a 10th-gen Core CPU, a 4K display, and S Pen stylus support. But the stunningly diminutive size of the laptop is its greatest strength
The best laptops for battery life at a glance:
- The thinnest laptop: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook (0.39 inches)
- The thinnest 15-inch laptop: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (0.57 inches)
- The thinnest MacBook: Apple MacBook Pro 13 (0.59 inches)
- The thinnest budget laptop: Acer Swift 3 (0.63 inches)
- The thinnest gaming laptop: Razer Blade Stealth 13 (0.6 inches)
Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook is the thinnest laptop we could find, coming in at 0.39 inches. We had to switch to millimeters to discover that it was, indeed, thinner than the previous thinnest laptop, Acer’s Swift 7 (9.9mm versus 9.95mm). What’s remarkable about the Galaxy Chromebook is that in being so thin, it actually wins in four different categories: Thinnest overall, thinnest 13-inch laptop, thinnest 2-in-1, and thinnest Chromebook.
And you’re not sacrificing anything to get so thin. The Galaxy Chromebook is one of the first Chromebooks to offer a 4K display, it’s powered by a 10th-gen Intel Core i5-10210U CPU, and it has 256GB of storage. Oh, and the Samsung S Pen is tucked away in its slot and ready for some inking action. The only downside is that it’s a very expensive Chromebook at $1,000 — but that’s the price of a laptop that’s so thin, offers so much, and weighs only 2.2 pounds.
It would be unfair to completely count out thefrom this list. The 14-inch laptop takes the prize as the thinnest Windows 10 laptop and still weighs just 2.2 pounds. It hasn’t been updated this year yet, though, and so it’s still stuck with an older 8th-gen dual-core processor. The Acer Swift 7 starts at $1,700.
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 is the company’s third try at producing a competitive clamshell machine — which comes in both an Intel and AMD variant. This is a very thin laptop at just 0.57 inches, placing it ahead of competitors like the Dell XPS 15 and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme. It’s not as powerful as those rivals, featuring only up to a quad-core processor, but when it comes to portability, the Surface Laptop 3 is the winner.
The Surface Laptop 3 sports the brand’s usual excellent high-resolution IPS display in the productivity-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio, and a rock-solid build that screams quality. You’ll love the no-compromise keyboard and touchpad, as well as the excellent audio quality. This is one large and thin laptop that won’t force you to give anything up by fitting in a very svelte chassis.
Read our in-depth Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 review
MacBooks are generally thin, and there was a time when the MacBook Air was the thinnest laptop you could buy — no Windows machine came close. Today, Windows laptops are thinner. And while the tapered MacBook Air is thinner at its thinnest point (0.16 inches), it’s 0.63 at its thickest, while the MacBook Pro 13 is 0.59 inches across the board.
Not only is the MacBook Pro 13 thinner, but it’s also significantly more powerful. It packs in full-speed CPUs compared to the MacBook Air’s low-powered processors, to go with more RAM, more storage, and generally more powerful components across the board. The Pro’s display is also better, with wider and more accurate colors and more brightness.
Read our in-depth Apple MacBook Pro 13 review
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a reasonably thin laptop. The Acer Swift 3 proves the point, giving you solid productivity performance with some optional gaming on the side thanks to an Nvidia MX350 GPU. If you don’t want to game, then you can spend as little as $680 for a 10th-gen Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 14-inch IPS display.
You’ll also enjoy a build quality that’s good enough for the price, very good battery life, and a comfortable keyboard and touchpad. And best of all, you’ll fill up less of your backpack when you take the Swift 3 on the road.
Read our in-depth Acer Swift 3 review
Most gaming laptops are relatively thick laptops because they have to fit in complex cooling systems that allow the CPU and GPU to run at full tilt for intense gaming sessions. Razer worked some magic with the Blade Stealth 13, managing to pack a real gaming laptop into a very diminutive chassis that’s only 0.6 inches thick.
Inside, you’ll find a quad-core 10th-gen Intel Core i7 CPU to go with a legit Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Ti GPU that can manage modern titles at 1080p and reasonable graphics. And like some other gaming laptops, you get the option of a fast 120Hz display (or a high-quality 4K panel) and RGB keyboard that supports 16.8 million colors and customizable lighting effects.
Read our in-depth Razer Blade Stealth 13 review
- The best iPad keyboards for 2021
- The best iPhone to buy in 2021
- Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 (15-inch) review: OLED disappointment?
- MacBook Pro vs. iPad Pro
- Best cheap laptop deals for May 2021