Best 13-inch laptops

Updated April 14, 2014 1:47 PM PDT

This category is reserved for 13-inch laptops, which are a perfect hybrid for globe-trotting business types (or campus-trotting students). They hit the sweet spot of portability, performance, and features. Most 13-inch laptops today are ultrabooks, but not all, so you'll occasionally find a heftier "performance" 13-inch laptop.

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Apple MacBook Air (13-inch)

Apple keeps the latest MacBook Air updates on the inside, but greatly improved battery life and a lower starting price make up for a lack of flashy design changes.

Price: $1,074.99 - $1,799.95 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display (13.3-inch)

While the Retina MacBook Pro is easily the most desirable 13-inch Mac laptop to date, the high price and lack of discrete graphics make it a tough call versus either the more powerful 15-inch Retina Pro or the more affordable 13-inch Air.

Price: $1,445.00 - $1,649.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Acer Aspire S7

One of the few standout products from the first wave of Windows 8 laptops, the Acer Aspire S7 proves that Apple does not have a monopoly on great design.

Price: $879.99 - $951.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Samsung Series 5 Ultra

Samsung's midprice Series 5 UltraTouch looks and feels like a more expensive machine, but keeps it simple by skipping the complex hybrid mechanics of so many new Windows 8 systems.

Price: $749.99 - $749.99 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 is a convertible touch-screen laptop/tablet that most importantly doesn't compromise the traditional laptop experience.

4 stars Excellent
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