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Technology

Seven of the lightest laptops and ultrabooks to take on your travels

From the Microsoft Surface Book to the Razer Blade Stealth, these latest designs will help to keep you productive on your next trip overseas

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 October, 2017, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 October, 2017, 6:03pm

Checking emails, reading documents and making notes can all be done perfectly well on a smartphone. So why travel with a laptop? If you do any kind of writing, or need to manipulate photos or graphics, a laptop remains an essential productivity tool. The provision of a “proper” keyboard, lots of storage and some serious processing power can make a big difference to your output while travelling.

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Increasingly called ultrabooks because of their lightweight and even “hybrid” designs (hybrid usually means that the display separates to become a stand-alone tablet), they run either Windows 10 or macOS, sometimes have touchscreens, and can be configured with your choice of storage and processor. Here are some of the most lightweight designs around.

Microsoft Surface Book

If you’re most at home with Windows, the ultimate show-off hybrid device is undoubtedly the Surface Book (from HK$16,588). The detachable 13.5-inch display works as a stand-alone tablet that’s big enough for reading long documents and webpages, and powerful enough for photo editing, and gaming. However, it’s not as light as the rest of this batch at 1.5kg with its keyboard, and the battery only stretches to about eight hours. Available at microsoftstore.com.hk

Apple MacBook 12

Microsoft’s latest effort at a two-in-one might be grabbing the headlines, but owners of Apple’s newest MacBook (HK$9,988) know they have something arguably fitter for travel. Not only does it weigh a mere 920g, but its 12-inch screen and keyboard go for 10 hours. Whether you can live with the macOS is your call, but this is Apple’s best effort yet at a business-grade ultrabook. Luckily, “rose gold” isn’t the only colour available. Available at apple.com/hk

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Huawei MateBook X

Weighing 1.05kg and stylistically somewhere between Microsoft and Apple is Huawei’s latest business-grade laptop, the MateBook X (HK$9,488), which runs Windows 10. Its 13-inch screen is almost flush to the edge, and the overall size is smaller than a piece of A4 paper (the kind businesspeople often carry on flights). The low points are a battery that lasts only seven hours and that “champagne gold” styling, which won’t be to everyone’s taste. Available at vmall.hk

Lenovo Yoga Book

It’s not the most powerful or capable productivity device around, but the versatile Yoga Book (HK$5,499) is perfect if you’re happy to buy a device suited only to travel. Its virtual ‘Halo’ keyboard is unique; there are no actual keys, just a flat surface. It’s fine for browsing, but typing for long periods is tricky. Sporting Windows 10 within Android, it’s more a 10-inch tablet than a laptop, but at 680g with its keyboard cover, it’s much lighter than most ultrabooks. It also goes for about 10 hours on one charge. Available at fortress.com.hk

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Dell XPS 13

Much more affordable than the top brands, but with a surprisingly lightweight and compact design, this new, refreshed version of the Dell XPS 13 (HK$9,999) is more than just a good value option. With an almost borderless display – much like the MateBook X – this 13.3-inch laptop has a touch screen, so you can use it like a tablet. It weighs just 1.22kg, and battery life is an impressive 10 hours. Available at dell.com/hk

Razer Blade Stealth

A touch screen it may have, but this Windows 10 ultrabook (HK$11,399) is all about the keyboard. It’s backlit, which is not unusual, but those LEDs underneath the keys are colour and they can be customised and programmed into sequences. It’s available in two sizes, 12.5 inch and 13.3-inch (with a lower resolution display), which weigh 1.29kg and 1.33kg, respectively. However, battery life is only about five hours, so it won’t suit long-haulers. Available at razerzone.com/hk-zh

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HP Spectre 13

Weighing 1.1kg, HP’s 13-inch effort at an ultrabook (HK$11,999) is more traditional than some, relying on a hinge to attach the keyboard to a display that isn’t a touch screen. However, it’s very well built, easy to type on, and it runs Windows 10 super-quick. Sadly, a battery life of just over six hours just isn’t enough for a long-haul flight. Available at hpdirect.com.hk