Thin & Light

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Thin and light laptops: Compact and powerful

Slim and lightweight notebooks combine the practical portability of a tablet with the higher performance, better features and flexibility of a laptop. Equipped with the latest Intel processors or AMD CPUs, these devices, also known as ultrabooks, have excellent application performance. Yet they still have a low weight: Some of the lightest laptops weigh less than 1 kg, depending on the equipment.

 

Excursion into history: The development of slim and lightweight laptops

 

From the 1990s to the second half of the 2000s, subnotebooks set out to revolutionise the notebook market with a new concept for maximum mobility. These mini-notebooks were significantly lighter, slimmer and smaller than the usual devices. The screen diagonal was limited to a maximum of 13.3 inches.

They were superior to conventional laptops with 15.6 inches and a much thicker case in terms of portability. However, they were usually much slower, sinfully expensive and lacked optical drives, which were standard for many users at the time.

The next surge in development came with the introduction of netbooks, which were popular until shortly after 2010. These were also comparatively slow, but at the same time very cheap and thus affordable even for many pupils and students. Due to the low performance, however, this device class was then replaced by the increasingly popular tablets, among others.

In 2023, after many more technological leaps forward, these restrictions no longer apply to thin and light laptops. Modern devices are extraordinarily powerful thanks to Intel Core or AMD Ryzen processors with 8 or more cores. If required, they even integrate the latest NVIDIA graphics cards up to the GeForce RTX 4090, because even high-end hardware for notebooks has become decidedly efficient.

After all, light weight and slim design are no longer exclusively tied to a tiny form factor like 13 inches these days. You can also find flat laptops from the featherweight class with 14 inches, 15 inches, 16 inches or 17 inches.

 

What features are important when buying a slim and light notebook?

You can buy thin and light laptops in a wide range of price and performance classes on bestware. We would like to offer you an overview in the form of a buying guide. What should you look for when searching for the ideal compact laptop?

Laptop mit schlankem Gehäuse

 

Form factor and display

Before buying, consider whether you'd rather benefit from the large display of a slim 16-inch notebook or a wafer-thin 14-inch laptop with a low weight. Laptops that are as small as possible are perfect for those who travel a lot, such as business travellers. If you use your laptop primarily in the office or at home, however, a larger display is simply more comfortable.

High resolutions such as WQHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) or UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels) provide a razor-sharp display, but also consume more power than a Full HD display (1920 x 1080 pixels). The higher the display resolution, the more important a large battery is in your thin and light notebook. This is because the laptop monitor is a major power consumer, especially when surfing or performing light office tasks.

Also bear in mind: the smaller the screen diagonal on your laptop, the closer together the pixels are at the same resolution. This means that 1920 x 1080 pixels look much sharper on a 14-inch display than on a 17.3-inch laptop screen.

If you use your laptop mainly indoors, a display with a brightness of 300 cd/m2 is sufficient. If, on the other hand, you use the device in direct sunlight, such as on a train, or if you work outdoors a lot, you should look for a brighter display so that you can see everything clearly.

 

Processor and graphics card

Intel and NVIDIA offer particularly efficient CPUs especially for slim and light laptops. Processors from the U series are very energy-efficient - regardless of whether it's AMD's Ryzen or Intel's Core. You get significantly more performance with an H or HX processor, which, however, also consumes more energy. Since many CPUs for high-end laptops and gaming laptops have made considerable progress in terms of efficiency and energy management over the last few generations, they can also be cooled effortlessly in very flat notebooks.

Graphics card manufacturers also have ways of optimising the power consumption and heat generation of their graphics chips specifically for thin and light notebooks: NVIDIA allows laptop manufacturers to adjust the maximum consumption of the GPU optimally for each laptop. This allows manufacturers to ensure that the graphics card delivers continuous performance even in very slim notebooks without getting too warm. It doesn't matter whether it's a GeForce RTX 4050, RTX 4060, RTX 4070 or an even faster graphics card.

If, on the other hand, you don't need a high-end GPU, a multimedia laptop with a graphics chip integrated into the processor is sufficient. Intel's Xe graphics or AMD's integrated RX Vega chip offer excellent performance for multimedia applications with very low power consumption.

Tip for particularly power-hungry users: the SCHENKER VISION 16 Pro uses an Intel Core i7-12700H, and graphics cards up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080. At the same time, the laptop is just 17.1 mm slim and weighs only 1.6 kg.

 

SSD memory and RAM

Many particularly flat laptops use soldered RAM or even soldered SSD hard drives. This concept comes with a disadvantage: once you have decided on a certain equipment variant, you can neither upgrade the notebook nor replace a defective component yourself.

With a few exceptions, all thin and light laptops that you can buy on bestware are therefore based on plug-in components. This allows you to determine how much RAM and which SSD size you need when you buy the laptop. If your requirements grow over time, you can also replace and upgrade the components later.

As a rule of thumb, if you want to be future-proof, configure your notebook with 16 GB RAM and an SSD of at least 500 GB. If you don't use any additional cloud storage and work with a lot of data, it's worth going straight for a 1 TB or 2 TB SSD. If you use very demanding software, such as image and video editing, 32 GB RAM will help you work faster.

Dünner und leichter Laptop

Long battery life and lightweight power supply unit

If you are looking for an ultrabook that is as slim and lightweight as possible, you are usually on the road a lot and don't always have a power socket nearby. Therefore, when buying a slim and lightweight notebook, look for a battery that is as large as possible. This ensures that you can work with your notebook for more than a working day or over 8 hours even when you are on the road. Some flat, long-running notebooks can achieve a battery life of 12 hours or more.

A compact format, the thinnest possible laptop case and a large battery are not mutually exclusive. For example, the 14-inch SCHENKER VISION 14 integrates a battery with 99 Wh capacity despite its compact chassis - due to legal regulations, you won't even find larger batteries in 17.3-inch desktop replacement laptops. However, a larger battery also makes the laptop somewhat heavier.

If you travel a lot and work on the move, you should also make sure that your laptop has the lightest possible power supply unit, as you will be carrying it with you all the time.

 

Thin and light laptops with many connections

For maximum flexibility, flat laptops need to have all the connections you need on the road, at home and at work. Despite the compact design of your laptop, you certainly don't want to carry around a whole bag full of adapters, do you?

 


All the slim laptops you can buy at bestware offer you lots of connections. Which ones are particularly important depends on your intended use.

Thunderbolt 4 is currently one of the most versatile connections, especially for compact laptops. Not only do you connect a docking station or external monitors to it. A docking station is ideal if you often use your laptop on the road as well as at a fixed workstation. In this case, you can connect external monitors, an additional mouse and keyboard, the printer and more to the docking station and connect all devices to your laptop with just one cable.

If the Thunderbolt 4 port on your laptop has power delivery, you can also use it to charge it. A compact and lightweight universal power supply with a USB-C connection is ideal for this purpose, especially when you're on the move, as it is often lighter and smaller than the conventional external power supply.

You can also use Thunderbolt 4, a USB-C or a USB-A port to back up data to external SSDs. An integrated SD card reader or micro SD card reader can also be useful for fast data exchange.

If you often use a projector for presentations or connect several external monitors to your thin and light laptop at your stationary workplace, you should also make sure that the laptop has one or more graphics interfaces. Well-equipped devices have an HDMI output, DisplayPort or Mini DisplayPort.

Otherwise, it's worth taking a look at the specifications of your Thunderbolt 4 port. Many of these interfaces provide a DisplayPort signal. If this is the case with your laptop, you can connect your monitor via a Thunderbolt cable or using a corresponding adapter from USB-C to DisplayPort.

 

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