Portable Laptop for Light to Medium Tasks

So I'm going overseas for a few months and since I have no laptop (only an iPad) i will most likely need to buy one

Portability is the main thing I'm looking for so 13" is fine

I will be using it for general stuff like Netflix, web browsing and Excel/Word stuff no gaming

I was looking at maybe the Macbook air or the Pro (leaning more towards the Pro because of the terrible screen on the Air)

The thing that's most attractive to me about the Macbook is the longevity many have had with them and the resale value of them

Are there any better options out there?


  • Chromebook

  • Macbook Pro's are great if you can justify the cost. I got a late 2013 Retina 13 (8/256) for ~900 (800 after eBay discount) but you can often find them cheaper, so they definitely hold their value. If you're doing a lot of web browsing, the low pixel density of the air really takes away from the experience IMO. Make sure you're happy with the keyboard though if you choose the new Pro's.

    Could also take a look at the Zenbook range (much cheaper at ~1000 for a decent model with the 20% off Tech sale) if you want something portable and with alright battery life.

    • What's the battery life like? Also performace wise do you think it's worth checking out the older range? Not a big fan of the usb c only inputs

      • Mine had ~5700/~6300mAh usable capacity, which gives me approx 6 hours of general usage (YouTube, Web browsing with Safari, lecture slides). Should be able to ask the seller to provide details. For heavy use, I bought an external battery + magsafe adapter for ~$75 all up which gives me an extra 70% or so and doesn't weigh much more than the actual charger.

        Performance-wise, not a huge difference between this and the newer models (though, newer has a much more powerful iGPU and faster SSD), but still flies through everything I throw at it.

        If you do choose to go for the older range, make sure you get one with 8GB of RAM as 4 can be limiting and you'll need to be frugal.

        Another note- try not to go older than the late 2013 range, as the early 2013 is based on Ivy bridge and gives much lower battery life (~30% less with web browsing).

  • The high end Thinkpad T470s would be my pick for a working portable 14" laptop.
    It'll be around $1.5K.

  • Xiaomi Air 13 inch.
    Amazing value for the money. A lot of people argue the problems if something goes wrong and you need to send it back, but given its about half the price of a macbook pro with very similar specs and the build quality is amazing.. you could really just buy another one if you have some kind of fatal error with the Xiaomi.

  • Samsung chromebook plus/pro

  • Interested to know what you ended up going with OP and how it's worked out!