Gone are the days when notebooks were bulky affairs that barely lasted half a day. Today's laptops are often lean, slim and have the battery stamina for a proper work day. Meanwhile, tablets, too, are becoming more like notebooks, especially with multi-tasking and split-screen functionality Add a keyboard or stylus and you can just be as productive as with a notebook. These portable notebooks and tablets are not too shabby either when you need to chill and relax. Tablets offer a wide range of apps and games, while slim notebooks without a dedicated graphics card can also be gaming PCs with the advent of cloud gaming.
For this roundup, I have picked lightweight and versatile devices across a range of budgets. If you're looking mainly at notebooks, check out our top five Intel Evo laptops for more ideas.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
A premium, good-looking notebook with minimal bloatware, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is one to consider if you have around S$1,500 to S$2,500, depending on the configuration. It comes in 13.5- and 15-inch sizes and offers the choice of either AMD or Intel processors (the 15-inch AMD version is reviewed). Microsoft's attention to detail is evident from the design. Overall, it's a pleasure to use, though it could do with a couple more ports.
LG Gram 16
Whether you're watching a movie or working on a spreadsheet, having a large screen makes a whole world of difference. And displays on ultrabooks don't get much larger than the S$2,299 LG Gram 16's sharp, 2,560 x 1,600-pixel IPS display. It is also incredibly light for its size at just under 1.2kg, while its battery life of over 10 hours is handy when you're shifting between office and home.
HP Pavilion Aero 13
Entry-level notebooks are not supposed to be as lightweight as the HP Pavilion Aero 13. And yet, how do you explain this 13.3-inch laptop, which is not just highly portable at under 1kg, but is also extremely affordable at a starting price of S$1,199. Yes, it probably helps that it uses AMD's price-competitive Ryzen processor, but the Aero's specs are very reasonable for the price. With its decent performance and solid battery life, the Aero is definitely a cheaper alternative to premium Intel Evo notebooks.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G
If you're leaning towards a more entertainment-focused portable device, a tablet like the S$900 Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G could be a better fit. It has a bright and crisp 12.4-inch display and a plethora of Android games to choose from. But that's not to say that the Tab S7 FE 5G isn't equipped for work. When it's time to crunch some data, you can attach a keyboard cover, pair a Bluetooth mouse, and switch to Samsung's desktop-oriented Dex mode for a more productive user experience.
Lenovo Chromebook Duet
Chromebooks are great for younger students that mainly use the computer for online learning. And if they need some rest and relaxation, Chromebooks like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, can install Android apps and games, too. The S$400 Duet is also a 2-in-1 device, with a handy kickstand and an included keyboard accessory. Its 10.1-inch size feels a bit cramped while typing, but kids may find that less of an issue.
Bonus recommendation: iPad mini (2021)
While we have yet to test Apple's latest iPad mini (from S$749), this handy tablet — now with a larger 8.3-inch screen — seems ideal for those who are into taking notes and sketching. The new model supports the Apple Pencil, which attaches magnetically to the side of the tablet, as well as a faster processor and optional 5G connectivity.
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