Making the journey to travel requires some planning ahead. You have to consider what you’ll be doing in the future and potentially in a completely different part of the world, without ever having been there before. Will you be working? Will you want to keep up with your favorite YouTuber? Ultimately, will you need a laptop? If you’ve figured out that you’re going to need a device larger than your phone to travel with, a laptop might just be the thing you need. Let’s go over some of the best travel laptops 2016 has got to offer.
What To Consider When Buying a Travel Laptop?
Your exact needs might be a lot different than the next person’s. If the primary purpose of your trip is relaxation and adventure, then a basic laptop with web browsing and email capabilities will do. On the other hand, if you plan on working while on the road, then you’re going to want a laptop that can handle every task you throw at it, anything from video editing to long writing sessions. Important things to consider when purchasing a travel laptop are comfort, battery life, processing power, and cost. Given that this computer will primarily be used for travel purposes, size, weight, and usability will be emphasized throughout our review.
Best Travel Laptops 2016
Coming in at 3.2 pounds, this full fledged Windows travel laptop certainly packs a punch and looks quite good doing so. Its full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS display gives you 178 degree viewing angles and makes it possible to use at least two open applications at once, while the 2.3 Ghz Core i5 processor keeps going without a glitch. You can get your standard browsing, writing, and image processing done without batting an eye, but anything more resource intensive might be too draining on this machine.
- 256 GB SSD
- 7 hour battery life
Who is it for? It’s for your average user looking for a smooth experience on the Windows platform. You’ll have a good compromise between price and performance.
If you’ve never used Mac OS before, you’ll be glad to know that it’s really easy to use, especially for those of us who don’t want to fickle with the quirks of Windows. It’s slim unibody aluminum chassis makes it a durable laptop against bumps and bruising, and it’s not too heavy, coming in at 3.5 lbs. It’s on the more expensive side, especially if you’re budget-conscious, but it can be worth it depending on what you need. If you are passionate about photo editing or writing, this laptop’s 2560 x 1600 Retina Display and fantastic keyboard can be a godsend. The MacBook Pro is consistently one of the best travel laptops 2016 can give you, despite retaining the form factor of older models. The battery life on these is great too, especially on a long flight.
- Retina Display
- 8GB RAM
- 10 Hour Battery Life
Who is it for? The traveler who wants a premium experience, for a premium price tag. You’ll be able to get a lot of work done, but you will have to be more careful with this device as it is more prone to theft than others.
A few years ago purchasing a computer of this caliber at this price wouldn’t have been possible, but today even budget laptops have great features. The 2016 Dell Inspiron is running Windows 10 with 2 GB or RAM and a small 32 GB Solid State Drive, which is just enough for the essentials. You won’t be able to do much heavy work on this device since it’s specifications are on the low end, but you will be able to comfortably browse the web, watch 720p HD videos, and do light word processing.
- Touchscreen Display
- 1 Year Free Office 365 Subscription
- Low Price
Who is it for? This laptop is perfect for the budget conscious who still want to be able to get some work done on the road and won’t be too disappointed if their device is broken, lost, or stolen given its inexpensive price.
ChromeOS is the underlying operating system that all ChromeBooks are running, and it’s fairly new. It is an online-oriented interface, wherein most of what you do will occur within the browser and requires an internet connection. It’s lightweight and runs on 4GB of RAM, which should be plenty for what you can accomplish with it, as graphics-intensive applications aren’t readily available for such devices. Its 1920 x 1080 display makes it great for streaming video, editing presentations, and general usage.
- Inexpensive, yet stylish
- Only 3.1 lbs
- Quick to boot, fast OS
Who is it for? Its intended user is someone who loves the cloud and wants to give a new OS a shot. It is worth noting that you should use this as a travel laptop if your destination has Wi-Fi readily available or if you can tether your phone’s data as many features require an internet connection.
A laptop for tablet lovers, the Transformer Book Chi is the ultimate in travel compatibility and flexibility as it is light, powerful, budget friendly, and can be easily used for both entertainment and work purposes. It detaches from its keyboard to provide a tablet experience if you so wish, and supports a digital stylus for graphic artists to take advantage of. The small form factor makes it simple to fit in any luggage or backpack, and convenient to use on the plane, on a train, or at a coffee shop.
- Detachable 1920 x 1080 Screen
- 8 Hour Battery Life
- 3.2 lbs
Who is it for? This transformer laptop/tablet hybrid is for someone who wants to have their cake and eat it too. It’s powerful enough to do some heavy duty work, but also light and portable to take anywhere and it comes in at an affordable price.
A travel laptop is a unique purchase because there’s a lot to consider. You might be in different parts of the world with this device as your main form of getting work done, so it’s important that you are afforded the flexibility that travel demands. All of the laptops we’ve covered meet most traveler’s needs, hence why they are the best travel laptops 2016 has brought along. It’s a tough decision to make, but all of these should work well enough for the average traveler that any are a good choice. Most traveler’s limiting factor is budget, but if that is not an issue for you, pick the device that you will be most comfortable when using. Remember, travel, adventure, and growth are your primary goals for your journey; at the end of the day, any of these functioning laptops will do an adequate job for most people. Let us know in the comments what you’ve used in your travels!