If you travel for work, or simply want to carry a laptop that won't slow you down--either in performance, or weight, finding the right combination of size, power, and portability can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available that are fully capable of being both your primary work machine, as well as your place to get things done when you're not at your desk.
Here are five of the best options for you if you need reliable power on the go, plus one that would have made the list if it wasn't already on the naughty list with the federal government.
1. MacBook Air
With last year's introduction of an updated MacBook Air with a Retina display, it's getting harder to decide which of the Cupertino company's laptops is the best choice. I'll make it easy. Unless you're doing heavy video editing or graphic design on the go, just go with the 2018 Air. It's lightweight enough to carry with you all day, has the battery to match and has enough power to handle almost all of your daily computing needs.
2. Microsoft Surface Laptop 2
Microsoft's laptop entry leaves a little to be desired, mostly because it's overdue for an update. It still features USB-A connectors and has started to show it's age. Then again, when you consider how far ahead of the curve it was when it was introduced, the Surface is actually holding its own, even if other devices have started to catch up. At $999 with 8GB of memory, it's still an affordable option if you're a Windows user.
3. Dell XPS 13
Dell updated this year's model, getting rid of the obnoxious "nose-cam" as the webcam was known because of its placement in the bottom bezel--meaning it was pointed straight up at your nose. It also offers a 4K display option, though don't count on the battery getting you through a full workday if you go that route. Starting at $899, the XPS 13 is again one of the best overall combinations of power, style, and portability.
4. Google Pixelbook
If you're willing to spend $899 on a Chromebook, Google didn't spare any expense on their two-year-old portable computer. It has a solid 12.3" touchscreen that can double as a tablet and packs plenty of memory and storage. While it's pricey for a Chromebook, it's still a worthy contender for anyone who needs good performance on the go.
5. 11-inch iPad Pro
Honestly, if you're looking for the best combination of power, portability, and style, the 11-inch iPad Pro is easily the best option. Even with Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio attached, it's still the lightest option on the list, and it's as powerful as anything else here. The only thing that has held it back in the past was an operating system that wasn't able to take full advantage of the power packed inside. With iPadOS that's changed, making it worth considering whether you need a laptop at all.
Bonus: Huawei MateBook X Pro
The MateBook X Pro has been on a variety of top laptop lists until the U.S. government restricted the company's ability to do business here. It is worth mentioning that both Intel and Microsoft have said that they will continue to support the company's laptops. That said, this laptop is in a difficult space where it's hard to recommend, but too good a choice to leave off completely.
Aside from being a great portable option, the MateBook X Pro has both USB type C and type A ports. That may not seem like a big deal, but if you're like most of us trying to bridge the gap with dongles and adapters, it's actually pretty helpful. The 2019 model starts at $1799 and keeps the same webcam hidden in the function row of keys, which is great for privacy but maybe not the most flattering angle for your work meetings.