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The 5 Best 13-Inch Gaming Laptops: Ultimate Guide

13-inch laptops, commonly referred to as ultrabooks, have been a big part of the professional landscape for some time now.  As hardware manufacturers continue to make smaller and more heat-efficient components each year, more and more gaming laptops are being brought to market that fit into this category!  The following are the best gaming ultrabooks currently available today!

The Top-Rated 13-Inch Gaming Laptops

Editor's PickLaptopRating
Top PickRazer Blade Stealth 108090%
Luxury PickRazer Blade Stealth 4K94%
Budget PickMicrosoft Surface Laptop 388%
Best for ProductivityAsus ZenBook 1390%
Best
for Versatility
Dell 13 700091%

If you’re open to something slightly larger, also see our guide to the best 15-inch gaming laptops!

Top Pick: Razer Blade Stealth 1080

Razer Blade Stealth 1080
  • Performance for work and gaming: NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (25W) 4GB VRAM graphics, quad core 8th Gen Intel Core i7 8565U processor, and 16GB dual channel memory
  • Designed for mobility: Up to 13 hours long battery life ultra thin, light and incredibly durable with a CNC unibody aluminum frame
  • Thin Bezel full HD display: Visually stunning matte full HD screen with 100 percent sRGB color saturation for work and entertainment
  • Power by Razer Chroma: Keyboard featuring single zone RGB lighting with 16.8 million color options, and a precision glass touchpad
  • Complete connectivity: Includes Thunderbolt 3, USB C, USB A, Wireless AC, Windows Hello infrared camera, and dual array mics

The Razer Blade Stealth 1080 comes in a few varieties, and while you can’t go wrong with any of them, the entry-level models take the top pick due to their (relatively) reasonable prices in addition to the fact that they are the only ultrabooks currently in production that feature Nvidia’s full-fat mobile graphics cards!  

That’s not all though – these matte black anodized aluminum laptops have just about everything you’d expect in a full-sized gaming laptop, such as NVME memory, 16GB RAM, and the latest Intel i7 processors!  Toss-in a gorgeous FHD IPS display running at 120hz, and you have yourself a beautiful, capable and durable ultrabook that can hand everything you throw at it!

There is no question that this is the best ultrabook out there!

Luxury Pick: Razer Blade Stealth 4K

Razer Blade Stealth 4K
  • At only 0.52 inch thin and 2.84lbs, the Razer Blade Stealth is extremely portable, making it the Ultimate Ultrabook
  • Experience amazing color with the 4K 3840 x 2160 (352 PPI) display featuring 100% Adobe RGB color space coverage. Images are bright and clearly visible with wide viewing angles of up to 170°
  • The 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7500U processor gives the Razer Blade Stealth 2.7GHz of processing power and Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5GHz
  • Razer Blade Stealth gives you access to 16.8 million color options per key powered by Razer Chroma. This anti-ghosting keyboard registers simultaneous key presses with precision
  • With Razer Synapse, you can easily remap your keys, create macros, and personalize your own lighting effects, then use inter-device sync with your other Chroma enabled devices

The Razer Blade Stealth 4K also comes in a 4K OLED touch screen variant; this is the very definition of luxury!  While the top pick earns its place in part due to its practicality, this one is irrefutably more powerful, more beautiful and generally more desirable – but it comes at a dramatically higher price!  

If you can justify the considerable expense for the absolute best of the best – you’ve found it!

Budget Pick: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Sale
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
  • Clean, elegant design — Thin and light, starting at just 2.79 pounds, Surface Laptop 3 is easy to carry
  • Choose from rich tone-on-tone color combinations: New Sandstone, plus Matte Black, Cobalt Blue, and Platinum
  • Improved speed and performance to do what you want, with the latest processors – Surface Laptop 3 is up to two times faster than surface Laptop 2
  • More ways to connect, with USB-C and USB-A ports for connecting to displays, docking stations and more, as well as accessory charging
  • All-day power on the go, with up to 11.5 hours of battery life, plus standby time when you’re away. Go from empty to a full battery with fast charging - up to 80% in about 1 hour

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 perfectly encapsulates the notion that one cannot casually purchase a gaming ultrabook, even if they are a casual gamer!  While this sleek, powerful machine is lower-priced than anything else on this list, it is quite a bit more expensive than 15-inch laptops with similar levels of gaming prowess. 
Why?  For one, engineering!  The slimmer, sleeker ultrabooks invariably contain the highest quality components as their slim bodies don’t have room for amenities such as elaborate cooling systems or larger (and more expensive) hard drives.  Every saved millimeter translates to more cost!

That being said, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is a great laptop that is great for casual gaming, and is absolutely a steal at MSRP!

Best for Productivity: Asus ZenBook 13

Asus ZenBook 13
  • 13.3-Inch wide-view Full-HD nano-edge bezel touch display in 13.3” chassis with Windows 10 Pre-installed;WebCam : VGA Web Camera
  • Latest 8th generation Intel i5-8250U 1.6 GHz Processor (Turbo to 3.4 GHz)
  • Fast storage and memory featuring 256GB SATA SSD with 8GB DDR3 RAM and NVIDIA Geforce MX150
  • Extensive connectivity with HDMI/USB Type C, 802.11a/c WiFi, and micro SD Card Reader
  • Built-in fingerprint reader with one-touch login via Windows Hello feature

The Asus ZenBook 13 packs a ton of big features into a little package!  The most interesting and useful feature here is a touchpad that also happens to be a small, second monitor!  This little touchscreen is used for everything you can imagine – from editing photos to drawing to traditional mouse work.

Other surprising touches include a bonus upgrade to WIndows 10 Professional, dedicated graphics in the form of NVIDIA GeForce MX250 and an Intel i7.  This thing is ready to work or play whenever and wherever you are!

Best for Versatility: Dell 13 7000

Dell 13 7000
  • Intel Core i5-5200U Processor (3M Cache, 2.2 GHz)
  • 8 GB DDR3
  • 500 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
  • Windows 8.1
  • 13.3 in Full HD IPS LED touchscreen (1920 x 1080), 10-finger multi-touch support

The Dell 13 7000 is the latest in the manufacturer’s 2-in-1 line, and it’s their best one yet!  Featuring a 4K touchscreen that can swivel around and fold backwards for use in tablet form, this convertible would be a solid value at its price point if that’s all it did – but it does a lot more!
With 16gb of memory, an Intel i7 with UHD graphics and NVME memory – it’s a solid machine for casual or lightweight gaming on the go! 
If none of the others have caught your eye to this point – you can’t ever really go wrong with Dell and their world-beating customer service!

What to Look for in a 13-Inch Gaming Laptop

While there still aren’t very many ultrabooks that focus heavily on meeting the needs of gamers, there are a few!  These are the most important factors to consider in order to ensure you’re getting the best 13-incher for you:

GPU

The GPU is at the heart of any gaming rig, and 13-inch notebooks are not an exception to this rule.  The bad news is that there are very few ultrabooks that have a dedicated, discrete graphics card – and they are not exactly cheap!  The good news is, onboard graphics have come a loooong way in recent years and are more than capable of providing great experiences on lower settings!

Display

The thing that shows you what everything else is doing?  That needs to be the centerpiece of the design!  With that being said, consider this:  if gaming is your primary focus for your 13-incher, you probably don’t need a 4K display (with exceptions) as the onboard GPU in most of these devices will not be able to play many AAA games at a respectable framerate at UHD resolutions.  On the other hand, if gaming is merely a secondary consideration, 4K is certainly a nice thing to have if media consumption or content creation is going to be a regular thing!

Battery Life

One of the best knock-on effects of small screens and slim components is low power draw and therefore long battery life.  It stands to reason that anyone who wants a slim and supremely portable laptop probably has freedom in mind – so make sure your unit has a great battery that will last for many hours between charges – however you must consider that gaming will quickly consume all but the beefiest of power pools in 2-3 hours.  Gaming will effectively keep you tethered if you intend to play for extended periods – not a huge deal, but it’s important that you consider what you’re getting into!

Last Updated on March 1, 2021