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Best Thin and Lightweight Laptops this 2022

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In today’s market, there are a lot of laptops available. The options are overwhelming and most of the time it’s very time-consuming just to look for a laptop best suited for a college student. You can easily get lost with the specs, CPU model, clock speeds, display size/type and resolution, and all other features. Allow me to help you with that. In this article, let’s focus on laptops that are thin and light, and easy to carry around. Tuition fees and the pressure of studying in college are already huge burdens. I think, there’s no need to add another burden by carrying a heavy laptop. So, if you are in the market looking for an (ultra) portable and lightweight laptop, we listed here some of the best lightweight laptops that are available in the market.

best lightweight laptops 2022

Best Thin and Light Laptops This 2022 – Great for College Students

As I mentioned earlier, choosing a laptop can be time-consuming, since there are a lot of options on the market. But for this article, I have set several criteria or filters so we can remove the other laptops that do not meet our needs.

First of all, since we are looking for the best lightweight laptop, I believed the laptop must not be more than 3 lbs. Carrying a heavy laptop going to school and/or around the campus is not a comfortable experience. I know this since I used to carry a 5 lbs laptop in my backpack. And after several days of carrying that, I can feel the pain in my back and it wasn’t comfortable.

Second, the laptop must be powered with the latest CPU and/or GPU. Unlike desktop PC, laptops are not upgradable. You can’t upgrade the processor and its graphics processor (if available). The only thing that you can upgrade is the RAM and storage. Although some laptops can’t be upgraded at all, even the RAM and storage. A good example is Apple’s MacBooks. Since we can’t upgrade the CPU, I usually recommend getting the latest model or generation.

Finally, aside from being light, it should be thin or of reasonable size. This way, it would fit nicely inside a bag or backpack. Also, it should come with a decent amount of storage, memory, and connectivity options, both wired and wireless.

Without further delay, below is a summary table of the best lightweight laptops this 2022. After that, I’ll discuss more of each laptop’s features as well as its cons or something worth mentioning about the laptop.

Note that the laptops below are in alphabetical order.

Best Lightweight Laptops

ModelCPUGPUStorageRAMDisplay sizeDisplay ResolutionWeightDimensions (H x W x D)Availability
Acer Swift 3Intel Core i7-1260PIris Xe Graphics512GB16GB14"2560x14402.76 lbs0.63" x 12.64" x 8.3"Check here
Apple MacBook Air M1Apple M1 8-core7-core (M1)256GB8GB13.3"2560x16002.84 lbs0.63" x 11.97" x 8.36"Check here
Apple MacBook Air M2Apple M2 8-core10-core (up to) (M2)256GB / 512GB8GB13.6"2560x16642.73 lbs0.44" x 11.97" x 8.46"Check here
Asus ZenBook 14X OLEDIntel Core i7-12700HIris Xe Graphics1TB16GB14"2880 x 18002.87 lbs0.63" x 12.25" x 8.70"Check here
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10Intel Core i7-1270PIris Xe Graphicsup to 1TB16GB / 32GB14"1920 x 12002.48 lbs0.60" x 12.43" x 8.76"Check here
LG Gram 17Intel Core i7-1260PIris Xe Graphics1TB16GB17"2560x16002.98 lbs0.7" x 14.91" x 10.19"Check here
Microsoft Surface Laptop 4Intel Core i7-1185G7Iris Xe Graphics215GB / 1TB16GB / 32GB13.5"2256x15042.84 lbs0.57" x 12.1" x 8.8"Check here
Samsung Galaxy Book2 ProIntel Core i7-1260PIris Xe Graphics512GB16GB15.6"1920 x 10802.58 lbs0.52" x 13.99" x 8.89"Check here

Acer Swift 3 – Cheapest in the List

The Acer Swift 3, model SF314-512-78JG, is a thin and light laptop weighing only 2.76 lbs. It is powered by Intel’s Core i7-1260P, a 12-core 16-thread processor with a maximum boost clock speed of 4.70GHz. The CPU is paired with 16GB of LPDDR4X memory, and as for storage, it has 512GB SSD. If I am not mistaken, there is only one M.2 slot for the SSD, but you can upgrade the storage. It’s not a toolless upgrade and you do need to open the laptop from underneath.

It features a 14″ IPS display with a resolution of 2560×1440. The display is 100% sRGB with 300 nits of brightness. You may have difficulty viewing the screen outside, on a bright sunny day. The Acer Swift 3 doesn’t have a dedicated GPU, but it comes with an integrated GPU in the form of Intel’s Iris Xe graphics. It’s not designed for gaming purposes, but it’s enough to play videos and do some simple to (very) light gaming.

Connectivity-wise, it features WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. It also comes with USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports and USB Type-C ports with support for USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4. While it does have a built-in speaker and fingerprint reader, it doesn’t have a built-in webcam. Battery life is up to 10.5 hours, but expect it can be lower depending on the activity, usage, and level or brightness of the display.

You can check out more of its features, including its pricing and availability on here.

Apple MacBook Air M1 – Best Lightweight Laptop Overall

Now, unless you absolutely need a Windows-based laptop, in my opinion, the Apple MacBook Air is still the best lightweight laptop on the market. Not only that it’s thin and light, but it is also a powerhouse with its Apple M1 chip (8-core CPU with 7-core GPU). This is an older product, released in late 2020, but until today it can still keep up with the competition. That’s why Apple didn’t lower the price of the MacBook Air M1 when they released the newer MBA M2.

Speaking of the M2, Apple released the new MacBook Air M2 last July 2022, so if you want a better and newer version of the MacBook Air, the M2 would be it.

Unlike most Windows-based laptops, Apple’s MacBooks are not upgradeable. This means you will have to decide the memory size and storage capacity depending on your need. You can’t upgrade the memory since it is integrated into the M1 silicon. And you can’t upgrade the storage since it is soldered into the circuit board.

The MBA M1 comes with the essential features that you need on a laptop – a good WiFi and BT connection, webcam and mic, Touch ID, 3.5mm headphone jack, and 2 Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports. It has a nice 13.3″ Retina display, with a resolution of 2560×1600 and a pixel density of 227. Thanks to its super-efficient M1 chip, the battery can last up to 18 hours depending on usage. The only thing that the MBA M1 disappoints me is it has only two USB-C ports.

You can check out more of its features, including its pricing and availability on here.

Apple MacBook Air M2 – Definitely, The Best In The List

The MacBook Air M2 is Apple’s latest thin and light laptop. It’s slightly lighter than the MBA M1, weighing 2.7 lbs only. But it has a different chassis design. The M2 chip is slightly faster and better than the M1 chip. But the M2 chip is not faster than the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips that are powering the 14″ and 16″ MacBook Pro laptops. You can learn more about the differences between the M2 and M1 chips here.

Aside from the better M2 chip, it does come with a better and brighter display (500 nits), which is better if you are outside in the sun. It has a dedicated MagSafe 3 charging port, unlike the MBA M1, which frees the USB C port for other use. It has a 1080p ‌FaceTime‌ HD webcam, a better speaker system, fast charging support, and two more color options. It’s just a better MacBook Air overall.

However, it is more expensive than the MBA M1. Not to mention, if you are editing some photos and videos, and/or handling large file sizes, I suggest you get the 512GB model (or higher capacity). Why? Because Apple is now using a single 256GB NAND chip for storage for the base model. The 512GB variant has two 256GB NAND chips, offering the expected read/write speeds. But with the base model (256GB), the storage speed is around 30% to 50% slower compared to the higher capacity models.

This wouldn’t be an issue if you are just browsing, typing, or doing some video calls. However, if you are editing photos, especially videos and you are working with large file sizes, it is best to get the higher storage capacity models.

You can check out the options, including its pricing and availability on here.

Asus ZenBook 14X OLED – Best Lightweight Laptop With OLED Display

Asus has a plethora of laptops, from thin and light to powerful (but heavy) gaming laptops. The Asus ZenBook 14X OLED (model UX5401ZA-PS74) is a sleek and nice-looking lightweight laptop, powered by Intel’s latest 12th gen Core i7-12700H processor. It’s a 14-core CPU with 20 threads and can boost up to 4.7GHz. This is better than the Core i7-1260P. There’s also a Core i9-12900H version if you need more processing power, but for most of us, especially for school use, the Core i7-12700H would be sufficient.

The ZenBook 14X OLED weighs only 2.87 lbs, just slightly heavier than the MacBook Air M2. However, it does feature a nice 14″ OLED display with a resolution of 2880×1800, and a refresh rate of 90Hz. It comes with several ports including Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Type-A, HDMI 2.1, 3.5mm audio jack and it even has a micro SD card reader. For wireless connectivity, it has WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. The webcam is only 720p though.

Now, among the Windows-based thin and light laptops in this list, I would definitely consider the ZenBook 14X OLED first.

You can check out more options, including its pricing and availability on here.

LG Gram 17 – Best Lightweight Laptop with 17″ Display

Most of the lightweight laptops I have mentioned have a display of 14″ or below. What if you prefer a larger display, while still maintaning a thin and light design? Let me introduce to you the LG Gram 17. Released this year, the LG Gram (model 17Z90Q) is a 17″ lightweight laptop with a display resolution of 2560×1600. Despite its display size, it only weighs 2.98 lbs and it is also thin at 0.70″ only.

Powering the LG Gram 17 is the Intel Core i7-1260P, paired with 16GB of LPDDR5 and 1TB of storage capacity. It also has an extra M.2 slot if you want to expand and upgrade the storage later. Another great thing about the Gram 17 is it comes with several I/O ports (2x USB-A, 2x Thunderbolt 4, 3.5mm audio, full HDMI 2.0, micro SD), and a full HD IR webcam.

Although the LG Gram 17 has a larger 17″ display size, it is not as good compared to the display of the ZenBook 14X OLED. The OLED display is better than IPS panels in several aspects. It’s more vivid and brighter; not to mention the ZenBook 14X OLED’s display is capable of a 90Hz refresh rate, meaning smoother-looking motion, less blur, and appears sharper.

You can check out more of its features, including its pricing and availability on here.

There you have it! These are currently, in our opinion, the best thin and lightweight laptops available this Q3 2022. What laptop strikes you the most? For me, I’d definitely go with the MacBook Air M2 (512GB model), or the Asus ZenBook 14X OLED if I need a Windows laptop. Although, the Acer Swift 3 is currently the cheapest option on the list.

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A PC enthusiast and a gamer, and my eyes eat frames for breakfast, I guess. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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