Best overall

HP Spectre x360

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The HP Spectre x360 has fantastic build quality and a chassis that is only 0.54 inches (1.37 cm) thick. The 13.3-inch, 4K touch display works exceptionally well in tablet, stand, or tent modes, and the keyboard and touchpad are a joy to use in notebook mode. Inside you get a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor (CPU) with a clock speed up to 3.5GHz, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD). This configuration starts at about $1,500).

Bottom line: For the best 13-inch laptop, you have to go with the HP Spectre x360.

One more thing: Our full review of the HP Spectre x360 has more details to help you decide if it's the laptop for you.

Why the HP Spectre x360 is the best 13-inch laptop

The HP Spectre x360 has an outstanding all-metal body, dazzling touch display, and powerful hardware, making it the best 13-inch laptop you can buy right now.

Everything about the HP Spectre x360 screams quality. The solid, dark ash chassis doesn't show most scratches or fingerprints and is only about a half-inch (1.38cm) thick when closed, and it weighs just 2.9 pounds (1.32 kg). When opening the lid and rotating it back for tent, tablet, or stand modes, the hinges feel solid and there's no unnecessary wiggle.

As far as performance hardware, get up to a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7500U CPU with a clock speed up to 3.5GHz, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and up to a 512GB PCIe SSD. This laptop can handle whatever you throw at it with ease, and with a battery that lasts up to seven hours, you won't get stuck looking for an outlet.

The 4K touch display has deep color, excellent viewing angles, and near-perfect contrast. It reaches from edge to edge thanks to a reduced bezel, and the IR camera built into the top of the screen is compatible with Windows Hello for fast, secure sign-ins.

Runner-up

Dell XPS 13

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The XPS 13's 13.3-inch touch display has up to an 1800p resolution and sits in a chassis that would normally house an 11-inch screen, which results in an almost complete lack of bezel. The new Kaby Lake Intel CPUs deliver increased performance and better battery life, and 16GB of DDR3 RAM ensure you can power through anything thrown your way. Configurations start at about $800.

Bottom line: The XPS 13 only comes second to the HP Spectre x360.

One more thing: The SSD in the XPS 13 can be upgraded at a later time if you want to save some money right now.

Best budget

CHUWI Hi13

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Microsoft's Surface Book is a shining example of what a modular laptop can be, but its price is prohibitive. To address an enormous market, CHUWI has created the Hi13 (about $390), an outstanding 2-in-1 laptop. It has a seventh-generation Intel Celeron N3450 CPU, 64GB of Samsung eMMC storage, and 4GB of DDR3 RAM. The 13.5-inch IPS touch display is really the main feature, coming in with a 3,000 x 2,000 resolution. The trackpad and keyboard attach with a simple magnet system, and you can remove the tablet and use it on its own.

Bottom line: The best 13-inch laptop under $400 is the CHUWI Hi13.

One more thing: Read our full review for more information about what makes the CHUWI Hi13 so great.

Best business

HP EliteBook x360 G2

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The EliteBook x360 G2 (about $1,280) draws a lot from the Spectre x360 but adds business-oriented features. There are Intel vPro CPU options, a smartcard reader, NFC, and both an IR camera and a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello. For performance, get up to an Intel Core i7-7600U CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD. The 13.3-inch touch display can be rotated back into stand, tent, or tablet modes, and is compatible with Wacom AES pens.

Bottom line: If you like the look of the Spectre x360 but need a business partner, check out the EliteBook x360 G2.

One more thing: Our review of the EliteBook x360 G2 contains more information to help you make a final decision.

Best student

Microsoft Surface Laptop

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Microsoft's Surface Laptop (about $1,000) is arguably its best device ever, coming at you with an Alcantara-coated keyboard, slim design, and powerful hardware inside. Get up to an Intel Core i7-7660U CPU a 512GB SSD, and 16GB of DDR3 RAM. The 13.5-inch touch display lives up to the Surface brand, meaning it has beautiful color, contrast, and is compatible with the Surface Pen. Toss in a streamlined version of Windows 10, known as Windows 10 S, and you have a laptop ready for back to school (or pretty much any other use).

Bottom line: The Surface Laptop is the best choice for anyone who's headed back to school.

One more thing: Check out our review to help you decide whether or not the Surface Laptop is for you.

Best MacBook twin

Huawei MateBook X

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While the MateBook X (about $1,100) isn't the most powerful laptop out there — it works well for light to medium computing — it is one of the thinnest and lightest at 0.49 inches (12.5 mm) thick and 2.31 pounds (1.05 kg). Inside is up to an Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, a 512GB SSD, and 8GB of DDR3 RAM. A fingerprint reader lets you log in quickly with Windows Hello, and a USB-C port makes an appearance on each side of the laptop. The 13-inch IPS display has a beautiful 2,160 x 1,440 resolution, and there's minimal bezel for an attractive look.

Bottom line: For a laptop that looks like a mix between a MacBook and an HP Spectre x360, check out the MateBook X.

One more thing: Be sure to read our in-depth review of the MateBook X to help you make a final decision.

Best gaming

Alienware 13

See at Dell

The Alienware 13 is a compact gaming laptop with a lot of power. Inside you can get up to an NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM — if you're a VR enthusiast, this GPU will run your Rift or Vive without a problem. For a CPU, choose up to an Intel Core i7-7700HQ with a clock speed up to 3.8GHz, and grab up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM to keep things running smoothly. The 13.3-inch display comes in either 768p, 1080p, or 1440p options depending on your budget. Configurations start at about $1,050.

Bottom line: The best 13-inch gaming laptop is the Alienware 13.

One more thing: Grab up to a 1TB PCIe SSD for speedy Windows 10 bootups and for plenty of room to store all your games.

Best for mobility

Samsung Notebook 9

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Looking for a 13-inch laptop that fits just about anywhere and weighs almost nothing? Look no further. Despite its half-inch (0.27 cm) thickness and 1.8-pound (0.86 kg) weight, the Samsung Notebook 9 manages to cram in powerful hardware and a battery that will last you upwards of 10 hours. You get a seventth-generation Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 256GB SSD. The LED display has a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution that is great to look at, and its brightness and anti-glare coating ensure you can use your laptop in pretty much any setting. Configurations start at about $975.

Bottom line: For a mobile laptop that doesn't skimp on performance, check out the 13-inch Samsung Notebook 9.

One more thing: Fast charging can deliver 2.1 hours of use on a 20-minute charge.

Conclusion

For a great mobile laptop, have a look at the Samsung Notebook 9, and if you're a gamer, you'll love the Alienware 13's customization options and powerful hardware. For a great budget laptop, go with the CHUWI Hi13, and for a business laptop geared toward the workday lifestyle, check out the HP EliteBook x360 G2. If you're a student, the Surface Laptop will serve you well, and if you've recently converted from a Mac, you'll like the look and feel of the MateBook X. The Dell XPS 13, once the best 13-inch laptop, is now second only to the amazing HP Spectre x360.

Best overall

HP Spectre x360

See at Best Buy

The HP Spectre x360 has fantastic build quality and a chassis that is only 0.54 inches (1.37 cm) thick. The 13.3-inch, 4K touch display works exceptionally well in tablet, stand, or tent modes, and the keyboard and touchpad are a joy to use in notebook mode. Inside you get a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor (CPU) with a clock speed up to 3.5GHz, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD). This configuration starts at about $1,500).

Bottom line: For the best 13-inch laptop, you have to go with the HP Spectre x360.

One more thing: Our full review of the HP Spectre x360 has more details to help you decide if it's the laptop for you.

Updated August 9, 2017: We refreshed this list with some exciting new choices to ensure you're still getting the best 13-inch laptops around.