Finding the best laptops for travelers under $1500 can be a challenge when there are so many options. As a frequent traveler myself, I have learned how to travel both leisurely and professionally with my laptop and all of the tech components needed to work away from home.
I’ll admit, I made many mistakes when it came to choosing the right laptop to bring with me on my travels in the beginning. My main focus was just choosing the most lightweight option. Over the years though, I have learned exactly what a good travel laptop needs to make your vacation and work-life easier.
Traveling with a laptop can be a pain if you don’t choose the right one. A good travel laptop should fit easily into your backpack or purse, be extremely portable, and still have all the software and systems you need. This guide can be an easy way to find your next travel laptop and prepare you for all the holidays you have coming up!
The Best Laptops for Travelers: QUICK LOOK
- Best Laptops for Travelers Under $1500 Overall: Apple Macbook Air
- Best Lightweight Option: Dell XPS 13”
- Top Budget Option: Lenovo Flex 14”
- Best Laptop for Business Professionals: Macbook Pro 13 2020
- Best Best 2-in-1 Option: HP Spectre x360
- Top Battery Life Option: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
- Best Value for Money: Acer Spin 3
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What To Expect From A Travel Laptop Under $1500
The best laptops for travelers should have all the features you need to stream, surf, and work when you’re on vacation or working remotely. There are a lot of travel laptops under $1500 that are ideal as they are lightweight and durable. You can expect them to be compact and have the computer processing speed and storage options you need.
Are There Good Laptops for Travelers Under $1500?
You might think you have to spend more money on a travel laptop to get all the features you need. This usually isn’t the case! There are laptops for travelers to fit every need under $1500, including popular brands like Apple and Microsoft. Great lightweight and compact travel laptops don’t need to break the bank. And with the money you save, you’ll have even more money for traveling!
Best Brands For Travel Laptops Under $1500
While many brands may boast about their laptops under $1500, these are the best you’ll find within the budget. They are well-known in the tech world and offer all the amazing features you need. Any of them would be a great laptop for travelers, with options for your needs.
When you think of laptops, Apple may be one of the brands that immediately enters your mind. Apple makes some of the best laptops with amazing storage options, all in a compact and sleek design.
Microsoft is also really popular for computers as they make durable and well-built laptops. Their keyboards and screens are extremely comfortable to swipe and type on. All of the computers are very user-friendly.
Dell laptops are known for being inexpensive but reliable. They are some of the best budget laptops that still give you all the features you need to work and stream your favorite shows. Dell is also known to be a good option for people who want gaming laptops.
Features Of The Best Laptops for Travelers Under $1500
Whether you are getting your travel laptop solely for entertainment, work, or both, there are many features to look for in the best travel laptops. Check out the most important ones below.
When thinking about loading up your travel backpack or purse to stuff under a plane seat or in the overhead bin, you should consider how much the laptop weighs. Lightweight travel laptops are ideal because they don’t add too much weight to your luggage.
Durability is also extremely important because of all the places your laptop will go with you. From the airport to the hotel and everywhere in between, you’ll want to make sure your laptop is durable enough to travel with you.
All the laptops on this list can easily fit into a mid-sized purse or small backpack. This means you won’t have to invest in a special laptop bag or carrying case.
Long Battery Life
When traveling, you might not always have access to a power source or outlet. The best laptops for traveling will be able to give you enough power to get through long layovers and overnight bus rides.
You also want to be sure your travel laptop has enough storage for your files and images. You’ll find a range for storage from 8 GB to 2TB. Most travel laptops start at 8 GB, which is enough for most users. If you use Photoshop or another image editing software, you might want to consider upgrading to 16 GB.
The easiest way to gauge the computing power is by the Intel core chip. Most travel laptops will start at i3 or i5. The i5 works amazing for most travelers, except for gamers who might need an i7 or higher.
Best Travel Laptops Under $1500
Here are the top picks for the best laptops for travelers. All of the most important features are listed to help guide you with your choice based on your needs. Whether you’re searching for a full-time travel laptop or one that can meet all of your professional needs, there should be a great choice for you on this list.
MacBook Air (M1)
- Pros: long battery life, new M1 chip is extremely fast, lightweight
- Cons: can’t run Windows
- New M1 chip: brand new Apple-made processing system gives it lightning speed
- Cheaper price: with the most basic option selling for less than $1,000, you don’t have to drop too much money for this Mac
The new Macbook Air with the M1 processing system was released in 2020. While some people were worried about Apple changing from the original intel chips, the Macbook Air M1 quickly showed people their new laptops are even better than before.
The M1 chip offers amazingly fast processing times. The Macbook Air is easily the best laptop for digital nomad life and at a pretty reasonable price point. Starting at $999, you get an Apple laptop for a fraction of the price of a regular Macbook or Macbook Pro.
The battery life lasts between 18-20 hours, which is incredible. Most other laptops on the market don’t have a battery life this long. In the past, people thought the Macbook Air model was inferior to regular Macbooks. With all of these updates and the new battery, the Air can easily be your main work computer.
The only problem (for some users) is that the computer can’t run Windows applications with the new processing system. Also, if you are an avid PC gamer, you might need a different laptop option.
Dell XPS 13”
- Pros: portable, very lightweight, anti-glare screen
- Cons: some might need to upgrade depending on software and work needs
- Thin screen bezel: makes the laptop extremely portable and thin
- Touch and non-touch options: choose whichever screen will work better for you
If finding the most portable and smallest laptop is important to you, the Dell XPS 13” should be your first choice. At only 2.7 pounds, you won’t even notice the weight in your backpack. With the 500-nit anti-glare screen and 12 hours of battery life, you can easily be on this laptop all day.
For most digital nomads, the basic version of the computer will suffice. If you need to do heavy video) and photo editing, you might want to consider upgrading to the Intel i7. (The other version is i5. The hard drive space can also be upgraded to 1TB for maximum storage for your photos.
The Intel i5 version is definitely enough for office applications, streaming, and surfing the web, though. So, unless your job or hobbies involve editing applications, the most basic XPS is perfect.
Lenovo Flex 14”
- Pros: 6 ports, 2 backlit keyboard modes, sleek black finish
- Cons: heavier than other options, maximum brightness seems dim to some
- Customizable trackpad: create your own gestures for extra features on the trackpad
- Active pen stylus: super easy to take notes on the touch screen
If you want a great option for an amazingly low price, the Lenovo Flex 14” is a solid choice. Even though it is 14”, the top and sides of the laptop are thin. It can still be slipped easily into a 13” laptop case.
It’s a convertible laptop with a trackpad and touch screen features. The trackpad is super smooth for swiping and scrolling. If you want extra customization, you can program gestures on the trackpad to change the volume, switch programs, and many other options.
It comes with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, similar to more expensive laptops. With 6 ports, you have ample options for charging and plugging in everything you need. It includes a headphone jack, an HDMI port, a USB-C port, a half depth SD card reader, and two USB 3.1 ports. The only con is that the laptop is 3.59 pounds, so it isn’t the most lightweight option.
MacBook Pro 13 2020
- Pros: amazing speakers, starts at 256 GB of storage, comfortable keyboard
- Cons: more expensive than other options
- Bright Display: up to 500 nits of brightness gives you a crisp display
- Fast intel chips: base model comes with 1.4 GHz quad-core Gen Intel i5
The Macbook Pro 13 2020 is easily the best choice for professionals and full-time remote workers. If you are working as a freelancer or a digital nomad, you know that your computer is your means for making a living and paying the bills. The Macbook Pro has all the features you need to keep your business going.
While the base model comes with an amazing processing system, you can upgrade to the 1.7 GHz quad-core 8th Gen Intel Core i7, the 2.0 GHz quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i7, or the 2.3 GHz quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processors. The higher the processor, the more performance you will get. If your main business is video editing or web design, you should try to get the highest processing system that your wallet can afford.
The trackpad is larger than on the Macbook Air, and the keyboard is more comfortable, so it’s definitely easier to work on the Pro. The battery life, the webcam, and ports are all the same as the Air.
HP Spectre x360 13T
- Pros: 2-in-1 convertible laptop, lightweight, fingerprint unlocking option
- Cons: sound quality is only average, stylus pen only takes AAAA batteries
- Different screen buying options: choose between Full HD, Full HD with anti-reflective coating, or 4k ultra-wide viewing
- Low power mode: switch the display to low power mode when you aren’t able to charge it soon to reserve the battery
If you are set on getting a convertible laptop, the HP Spectre x360 13T is a great choice to look at. It’s very slim and lightweight at only 2.7 pounds. It comes with a carrying case that has a dedicated place for the stylus pen. The stylus pen is a great addition, and it’s fantastic. The only problem is it only operates on AAAA batteries which are expensive and often hard to find.
The different screen options are great, depending on what you need. The Full HD version is sufficient for most travelers. However, you can upgrade to the anti-reflective Full HD option if you want a more crisp picture. The 4K display is best for those who often work with photos and videos or web design.
You can put the laptop on low power mode if the battery is running low and you don’t have a nearby outlet. The basic option comes with a 1.1 GHz Intel Core i5 processing system but can be upgraded to 1.3 GHz Intel Core i7 for an additional fee. The keyboard is extremely functional, with dedicated buttons for microphone control and a fingerprint sensor.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
- Pros: ultra-slim, sleek design, fast battery charging
- Cons: not convertible like other Microsoft Surface laptops
- 3:2 aspect ratio: more suitable for vertical scrolling
- USB-C port: makes it easier to charge power banks and phones
Unlike other Microsoft Surface laptops, this option is not convertible. It operates more like a standard laptop for traveling. The battery life is 15 hours, which should give you enough life to go a full travel day before needing to recharge.
The most unique feature is the 3:2 aspect ratio. Instead of having a standard widescreen layout, this laptop gives you extra vertical space for toolbars and customization. This feature also makes it easier to scroll and read documents.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 has a fast-charging battery that can get up to an 80% charge in just an hour. So, you can get it almost to full charge, even on a short layover. It doesn’t have a Thunderbolt 3 port, which can be inconvenient for some. It has a USB-C port, which can charge phones, power banks, and several other devices.
Acer Spin 3
- Pros: 2-in-1 convertible laptop, specific tablet mode, comes with great stylus pen
- Cons: display quality could be better
- 10th generation intel processors: awesome computing power for all of your work and travel needs
- 11 hours of battery life: enough power to get you through long flights and bus rides
If you’re looking to get the most budget-friendly option that gives you all of the best features, the Acer Spin 3 is a fantastic choice. This new Acer generation of laptops has the 10th generation i5 Intel processors. This means you get the same computing power as with the Macbook Air.
The convertible laptop option allows you to use it as a regular laptop or as a tablet. The Acer Spin 3 also has specific tablet and tent modes where the screen will rotate and format itself to make viewing much easier. The stylus it comes with is of good quality and works great for note-taking. Most buyers find they don’t need to buy another stylus since the included one is so well-built.
The basic model works for most, but even with the most upgraded version, your total is only around $700. For a completely specced-out computer with an i5 processor and 256 GB of SSD storage, you are getting great value for your money with this choice. The USB-C port and Thunderbolt-3 port are also great for charging all your various devices.
Which of the Best Laptops for Travelers Is Right For You?
The best laptops for travelers under $1500 should have all the features you need to stay connected and working (or playing!) while on vacation. If you are a digital nomad or work with many different editing and photo software, you might want to consider choosing one of the laptops with a more efficient computer processing system and more memory.
If you mainly use your laptop for streaming, surging, or office applications, you can definitely go for one of the more basic options without too many upgrades. Either way, you are getting a fantastic travel laptop with the ones on this list.
Looking for a great travel router for your next trip? Here are some great suggestions.
Have you recently bought a travel laptop that you can’t live without? Share your top pick in the comments!
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