There are many thin, light and fast ultraportables out there, but for some users size matters more than anything else when choosing a laptop.
This post is about the best 11-inch and smaller notebooks available these days in stores. We’ve been reviewing portable laptops for 15 years now, so we can tell you which are the better options and why, in order to help you pick the right device for your needs and budget.
I’ve split the post into several sections in order to make your quest for the best small laptop easier:
- premium 11-inchers (around $500 and above),
- affordable 11-inchers (under $500),
- 10-inch mini laptops and tablets,
- 12-inch laptops (separated article).
I’ll tell you what I like about each option, the negative aspects you need to be aware of and I’ve also added links to our detailed reviews and to our deals website, where you can usually find these devices discounted. Last but not least, you can also get in touch with me in the comments section if you have any questions or anything to add to the article, I’m around and will help out if I can.
The premium 11.6-inch ultraportable laptops
This chapter is going to be short, as most manufacturers migrated their premium ultraportables towards the 12-inch segment in recent years and you’ll find better value with those units.
However, you might still want to check out these few premium 11-inchers listed below, as you can usually find them greatly discounted. Most of them are rather old though, and you should make sure you can live with their quirks:
HP ProBook X360 11 Education
This is one of the very few options with modern hardware, a sturdily built 11-inch convertible that meets MIL-STD-810G standards, thus is an ideal computer for kids, that can survive the daily hassle and occasional bumps.
The specs list includes either an Apollo Lake Celeron/Pentium or a Intel Core m3 processor, up to 8 GB of RAM and SSD storage, alongside a 41 Wh battery and a spill-proof keyboard, all tucked inside a 3.2 lbs plastic shell. It only comes with a TN HD screen though, and I would have expected an IPS panel in this price-range.
The ProBook x360 11 starts at under $400 at the time of this update, but the higher end configurations sell for around $800. Follow this link for more details and updated configurations/prices.
HP EliteBook Revolve 810
The Elitebook Revolve 810 is an older model, but still one of the most complete 11-inchers you can find in stores. It gets a nice metallic outershell, an excellent backlit and spill-proof keyboard, a bright IPS convertible touchscreen, Core U (5th gen) hardware and a 44 Wh battery.
Potential buyers might complain about the screen’s HD-only resolution and the dated hardware inside, but both should be good-enough for everyday use.
If you can look past these quirks, the Revolve 810 might be what you want, especially as it’s greatly discounted these days, as a Core i5 configuration with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of SSD storage sells for a little over $500. Follow this link for more details.
Lenovo Yoga 710 11
This is also an older model, but a slimmer and lighter convertible that only weighs 2.3 lbs, so much easier to carry around. It’s made out of plastic, so is not as sturdy as the HP options, but is still nicely built and good looking. It also gets a FHD IPS touchscreen, something the other options lack, and a fairly good non-backlit keyboard.
The Yoga is powered by Intel Pentium or 5th gen Core M hardware, with up to 8 GB of RAM, SSD storage and a 40 Wh battery, so is not as fast as the EliteBook, but will handle everyday chores well and it’s much quieter, as its built on fanless hardware.
The 11-inch Yoga 710 was pricey at launch and has still retain a fair chunk of its value. These days you can find the Pentium versions for under $500, but the Core models still sell for over $600. Follow this link for more details and updated configurations and prices.
Apple Macbook Air 11
We’ll still mention the 11-inch MacBook Air in here, although it’s no longer something we’d recommend, due to its dated hardware, the poor-quality TN glossy screen and still high price-tag.
The build quality, typing experience, the long-battery life and even the performance to handle everyday tasks are still here though, so this might still be a good buy for some of you looking to get a cheap MacBook, even with these significant quirks, but only if you can find it greatly discounted, maybe for around $600 or less. Follow this link for updated prices.
Just keep in mind that a discounted or a Certified Refurbished 12-inch MacBook could be a much nicer alternative, and you’ll also find better-value devices in the Windows camp.
Affordable 11-inch laptops and 2-in-1 hybrids
The offer for affordable 11-inch mini laptops is more diverse, especially in the $250 to $400 spectrum of inexpensive secondary notebooks, travel companions or laptops for kids. Don’t expect premium features or materials, but if you want something simple that can handle everyday tasks and run for quite a few hours on a charge, you’ll probably find something suitable below.
We have to start this section with Chromebooks, as there are many good ones selling for between $200 to $350, and as long as they meet your requirements, you’re not going to find better value for your money elsewhere.
It is however imperative to understand what a Chromebook is and what it can and cannot do, and I’ve put up a whole article on this topic over here, that you should go through. In very few words though, if you’re on the Internet most of the time and your activities involve browsing, Youtube, Netflix, eMail and other web-related chores, a Chromebook is the perfect match, as it’s snappier than a regular Windows computer and much simpler and safer to use. On the other hand, if you need to run specific Windows software, games or plan to use your computer offline often, you’d better go for one of the Windows running alternatives in the next sections.
You’ll find more about Chromebooks in this post, where I’ve also gathered a selection of the best available models at the time of this update.
This section includes 11-inch mini laptops with a traditional notebook form-factor (clamshell) and a selling price of under $500.
There are many different options out there, but my advice would be to aim for a configuration with at least 4 GB of RAM, at least 64 GB of storage and one of the faster CPU options, otherwise the computer is going to struggle even with daily browsing and light multitasking or you won’t have enough storage space for Windows and programs (on the 16 and 32 GB versions). This aside, expect 11-inch non-touch displays in this class, non-backlit keyboards and fairly well made plastic bodies with a thin profile.
With these in mind, here are some of the sub-$300 units I have on my radar:
- Asus VivoBook E203 – plastic shell, available in a few different colors, 11-inch HD TN matte screen, up to Gemini Lake Celeron/Pentium CPUs, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB eMMC storage, 38 Wh battery, 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs, around $230 for mid configurations with Gemini Lake Celeron;
- Dell Inspiron 11 3000 – plastic shell, available in a few different colors, 11-inch HD TN matte screen, AMD E2 and A6 CPUs, 4 GB RAM, 32 GB eMMC storage, 32 Wh battery, 1.1 kg/ 2.5 lbs, around $200 for mid configurations with AMD A6;
- HP Stream 11 – plastic shell, available in a few different colors, 11-inch HD TN matte screen, up to Apollo Lake Celeron CPUs, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB eMMC storage, 37 Wh battery, 1.1 kg/ 2.5 lbs, around $230 for mid configurations with Apollo Lake Celeron;
- Lenovo N22/100e Winbook – plastic shell, available in black, 11-inch HD TN matte screen, up to Braswell Celeron CPUs, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB eMMC storage, 45 Wh battery, 1.2 kg/ 2.7 lbs, around $240 for mid configurations with Braswell Celeron;
The VivoBook is my favorite due to the slightly faster hardware, lighter build and larger battery. The HP Stream is a well-balanced product, but comes as a second choice after the VivoBook, unless you can find it discounted, as it’s both heavier and slower. The Lenovo N22 gets a big battery, but is rather pricey and slower than the other options. The Inspiron 11 is affordable and fairly capable with the AMD hardware, but it’s available with just 32 GB of storage and the smaller battery, corroborated with the decreased efficiency of the AMD platform, is another important disadvantage to consider.
We’ve left out devices like the Acer Aspire ES1 (old model), Asus VivoBook X205 (old model, slow hardware) or the Lenovo IdeaPad 120s (just 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage), but you can still consider them for the right price.
There are also a couple of nicer clamshell 11-inchers you can opt for if you’re willing to spend a little more. Lenovo and Dell offer a few interesting options, but they’re charging a premium for the rugged construction and faster hardware, thus the average user might find better value with the more affordable options mentioned above.
The Latitude 11 Education series is Dell’s offer in this class. This one gets a black rubberized plastic case that’s supposed to withstand minor bumps and drops, a matte HD TN screen, a good spill-proof keyboard and proper IO. It’s motorized by Intel Celeron and Pentium Gemini Lake processors with up to 8 GB of RAM and up to 256 GB of SSD storage, and gets a 42 Wh battery. The base models start at around $350, but the higher end versions sell for up to $600. Follow this link for more details and this one for updated prices and configurations.
Lenovo offers a very similar alternative, the ThinkPad 11E, with the same kind of rugged build, matte TN screen, hardware specs and 42 Wh battery. Some versions of the ThinkPad 11E are available with an older generation Core i3 processor though, and Lenovo’s offer is also a bit more accesible when specked up. Follow this link for updated configurations and prices.
2-in-1 mini laptops
THis section covers convertible mini-laptops with a touchscreen.
The HP Pavilion x360 11, the Lenovo Flex 11 and the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 series are some of your better options. Just keep in mind you’re still getting plastic bodies, non-backlit keyboards and TN displays with these, for around $230 to $400.
The HP Pavilion x360 11 2-in-1 is built on Intel Pentium or even Core i3 processors, with up to 8 GB of RAM and usually a 500 GB HDD, which means there’s a 2.5″ bay inside where you can stick whatever storage solution you might want. There’s also a 34 or a 41 Wh battery (on the Core i3 config), so overall this notebook will handle daily chores well and will last for quite a few hours on a charge.
Specs aside, the Pavilion x360 11 is a convertible, with an HD TN touchscreen, is made out of plastic, is available in a few different colors and it weighs around 3.1 lbs.
HP ask between $350 (for the Pentium model) and $550 (for the Core i3 model) and you can find more about them via this link.
Lenovo’s Flex 3 11 series on the other hand comes with a cheaper price tag, slower hardware (Intel Celeron and Pentium) and a 30 Wh battery. It still gets up to 8 GB of RAM and a 2.5″ storage bay, so it can be a decent mini laptop, but it’s not going to last as long on a charge. You’ll find out more about this device from our detailed review, and details on the latest configurations and their updated prices are available here.
Dell’s Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1 is a solid alternative for the HPs, a similarly sized computer with the same form-factor.
Dell’s option is available with a larger selection of hardware options though, from Intel Celeron up to Intel Core M CPUs, 2-4 GB of RAM based on the configurations available at the time of this post and eMMC to SSD storage. It also gets a 32 Wh battery, but the screen still uses a TN panel. These aside, the Inspiron 11 3000 is also made out of plastic, available in a bunch of different colors and weighs 3.1 lbs.
Dell asks between $250 and $550 for the models in this series, and you can find more about them via this link. Keep in mind there are also some older Inspiron 11 3000 versions, with larger 43 Wh batteries and a more rugged design. Those were available in silver and you should easily recognize them by this aspect.
How about 10 inchers?
You can hardly find 10-inch mini laptops in stores anymore these days, with some exceptions like the Panasonic Let’s Note Z6 for instance, which is only available in Japan. There are however quite a few good Windows tablets with 10-inch screens to consider, and these are usually paired with keyboard docks or folios so can be used as both notebooks or as slates.
And there’s also the unusual Lenovo Yoga Book, which we’ll address first in this section.
Lenovo Yoga Book
Mid-range tablets with digitizer and pen support
We’re currently updating this section.
Core M options – dell latitude 11, Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S, Lenovo Thinkad X1 tablet
Dell Latitude 11 5000 series
The Latitude 5000s are Windows tablets with an 10.8-inch screen, that can be paired with a matching keyboard dock for laptop use, and Dell is one of the few OEMs that still offer one of these in a package that could spark interest from regular consumers (HP and Fujitsu also have similar devices in stores, but they are really expensive).
The Latitude 5000s are built on Intel Core M hardware, so they are fanless and can handle most standard tasks well, but they’re not meant for heavy multitasking or demanding loads. The CPUs are paired with up to 8 GB of RAM, SSD storage and a 35 Wh battery, tucked inside a fairly thick and heavy slate (1.6 lbs). The 10.8-inch touchscreen gets an IPS panel, FHD resolution and is compatible with Dell’s Active Pen. In order to meet business requirements, these devices also feature TPM, fingerprint-readers and integrated 4G connectivity on some configurations.
Affordable 10-inch tablets
Asus T100 series
Acer Switch 10
Among them, we have the Asus Transformer Book T100 series, a $300 dollar 2-in-1 convertible (or even cheaper these days) with a keyboard dock, which acts like a compact mini laptops and offers a complete Windows 10 experience on a compact 10 inch device. It’s powered by the latest Intel Atom Bay Trail hardware platform, which means that it’s not very punchy, but can deal fine with casual activities or movies. And because this is a low power platform, the T100 will run for 6-7 hours on a charge.
There’s also its metal made successor, the Transformer Book T100TAM that I reviewed here, the Acer Aspire Switch 10 or the slightly larger but more powerful Dell Venue Pro 11 .
These are the 11.6 and 10 inch options I’d look at right now if I’d be in the market for an ultracompact laptop. Most of them cater to those of you on limited budget, those looking for devices for primarily tablet use, or those looking for secondary travel companions and inexpensive machines for your kids, as the options for high-end 11 and 10-inchers is limited.
So if you need power in a small form-factor, check out my general list of recommended ultrabooks as well, where you’ll find options marginally larger and heavier than those mentioned here, but able to meet most requirements in terms of performance, keyboard experience, screen-quality, ports or battery life.
With that in mind, we’ll wrap this up here. I’m constantly updating this list with new ones and take out the old and obsolete ones, so do save the link and come back when you’ll need the recommendations again. And if you spot any mistake, care to suggest a device that’s missing from the list or just want to say hi, leave a comment below, I’m around to help out.