The 13 – inch laptops are small, light and not too expensive, which makes them especially attractive to many user sectors. The screen is slightly larger than that of most tablets, and its hardware is considerably more powerful than the tablets on the market. On the other hand, in terms of mobility and size, they are not far from a tablet, so they are a smart alternative for many buyers.
Likewise, having a relatively small screen compared to other 15.6 ″, 17 ″ laptops, etc., its consumption is reduced considerably, which greatly increases its autonomy. Something that for those who work outside the home or where there are no power outlets such as outdoors such as a park, taking advantage of moments in public transport, etc., is most practical.
What should I consider before Buying Laptops?
The same as for the rest of laptops and ultrabooks as we have been explaining in saim deals PC guides. The first thing you must be very clear about is what you are going to use it for. In general, a 13-inch laptop is not usually used for gaming, for design and other tasks where it is interesting to have a large screen; although that does not mean that they can eventually be used for video games, even if they are not the most comfortable.
Why would you want to buy a 13-Inch laptop?
- Educational uses: they are good equipment to carry out classwork/homework, take them to university with you comfortably and use them to take notes in the classroom, take advantage of time anywhere to review the subject, etc.
- Work: It is not the best option for most jobs, but for those who need to work wherever the weather allows, such as public transport while traveling, on the train, in the park, or anywhere area away from home or office, they are very light to transport and have good autonomy. Also for those technical jobs where you need to carry a computer with you to perform certain tasks.
- General uses: if you only use a computer to check email or surf the net, a 13-inch laptop could be a good option adapted to your needs and investing not too high money.
Less than that resolution would not be recommended. That is one of the few considerations that you must take into account when choosing your equipment with a 13-inch screen. Resolutions lower than that in modern equipment are not frequent, but if you choose not to respect this standard, you will not see a quality image despite the screen is small and you think it will not distort the image too much.
The form factor might also come in handy. You already know that there are three types of laptops in this regard:
- Normal: These are the conventional hinged notebooks.
- Convertible: those devices with a 360º hinge that can be folded to the other direction to transform it into a tablet with a touch screen or you can rotate the screen on some models.
- 2 in 1: when they can be separated, that is, the touch screen can be removed from its connection to the keyboard and thus have a tablet and a laptop whenever we want.
I consider this to be something personal, depending on the needs of each person…
Remember that this type of equipment is usually very thin and that means that in most cases they will not have active air cooling, but only passive cooling. Heatsinks cannot always dissipate all the necessary power, especially when we use them for tasks that tend to overheat the equipment, such as video games, simulation, etc.
It is also common for users to put it on their knees when working from a bench in the street or on the bus, etc. That usually has two negative side effects. On the one hand, the heat of the legs will reduce the dissipation efficiency and with our clothes, we will be obstructing the cooling grills under the laptop, which will prevent hot air from escaping and there is good circulation for temperature exchange.
Therefore, in this type of equipment, it is vital to choose only equipment with aluminum or other metal alloy casings, since the entire casing will act as a macro sink and will be an aid to internal passive cooling. Avoid by all means equipment with plastic finishes.
Due to the restrictions imposed by the physical size of the computer, the keyboards of these laptops are quite different from the rest. For starters, there is no room for a numeric keypad. Some keyboards might also have some oddities like the backslash to the right instead of the left, not having keys like Start, End, Re Pag, Av Pag, etc. So, if you are one of those who squeeze these types of keys, you should make sure what the keyboard is like.
They also usually have very small keyboard arrows in some cases to save the surface on the board. If you plan to use it eventually for gaming, it is not good that you select this type of keyboard or you will want them to properly manage the controls of your favorite video game. Another peculiarity is the use of the function key (FN) in combination with others to have other functions that in other keyboards are provided by independent keys. There is no room for so much here!
With the touchpad something similar happens, it is usually smaller and therefore, being the surface to interact more limited, they will be somewhat less sensitive. Therefore, the movements of our fingers are going to be more repetitive to get to where we want with the cursor on the screen. Also pay attention to the poor implementations of some poor quality equipment, since they usually integrate the touchpad buttons as part of the panel itself and not independently. This, if done incorrectly, may mean that when you click the cursor, it jumps from one place on the screen to another.
Some keyboards and touchpads are also quite lacking in touch due to space limitations. So choose good teams or you will regret it. Sometimes you do not feel comfortable with the keystrokes or the touchpad button may get caught and not let go of the click, which is uncomfortable. So it is important to pay attention to this part.
For example, Microsoft has some high- quality peripherals, so all those teams that mount panels of this brand will be good. What happens is that the assemblers of portable equipment are not very transparent regarding the brands or manufacturers of the components that they assemble. What is certain is that if you buy a Microsoft Surface you will be buying a device with a quality panel.
Connectivity is the important factor
Thinner + smaller = less space to accommodate ports. The dimensions, therefore, penalize the number of available ports that our team will have. But if we have chosen this type of laptop to take it from one place to another, it will not be too much of a problem, since in that case, at most we can connect a pen drive to keep backup copies of our work or little else. You don’t usually carry a lot of gadgets in those situations, because it would be uncomfortable.
Avoid buying a 13 ″ laptop to have it in an office or on your desk, since you will not be exploiting its two characteristics for which they were created: mobility and autonomy. And in the end, it will frustrate you that you do not have enough ports to connect peripherals you need at any given time. They are not made for that!
So what should I have?
- USB: It should at least have one or two USB ports, better if they are of a modern version like 3.0 that makes them compatible with the fastest transfer speeds and also backward compatible with previous versions. In general, a large number of USB devices will not be connected to this type of equipment, perhaps a USB stick or external hard drive to make backup copies, and little else …
- HDMI: It is important that you have this type of port since we can comfortably take the laptop to a conference or workshop to connect it to a projector or larger external screen and be able to expose what we want. On the other hand, if you also use it at home, you may want to connect it to your TV to watch a movie on a larger screen, etc.
- Jack: Sound is important. Better if it is a combo to connect headphones, microphones, speakers, etc. Be careful because some only include a headphone output jack or external speakers and do not support audio input!
- Others: the previous three are essential, but it should also have a card reader, with Bluetooth if we want to connect other devices using this technology. An RJ45 would not hurt if you use the equipment as a technician and you need to connect to a network via cable at any given time. In other circumstances, it would not be necessary.
With those, for the uses that are usually given to this equipment, it should be enough.
The screens of 15 ″ or more, have already reached autonomies of close to 10 hours or a little more. A team of these dimensions should have a range of not less than 12 hours, so if you find teams with a battery life of between 12 and 18 hours it would be fine.
Operating system and compatibility
In general, almost all computers have Microsoft Windows 10 Home Edition, although you can find some that have the most complete version of Windows 10 Pro with some extra features for professional use. However, as we discussed in another of our articles, the features of Pro are rarely worthwhile for most users. For example, how many of us need support up to 2TB of RAM? The Home version accepts up to 128GB of RAM which is more than enough for most.
In some cases, you can find some computers without an operating system installed, which will allow you to choose, but it also adds extra work to you by having to install it yourself or entrust it to a technician. This is interesting for those who already have a Windows license or do not want to use the Microsoft system and choose another option such as Linux, FreeBSD, etc.
Finally, add that what we have to take into account is the type of family or architecture of the equipment that we are buying. In this type of equipment, it is common to find some with ARM-based microprocessors. This implies that the software will have to be compiled especially for this architecture and the x86 software will not work. In our list, I have only included computers with x86-64.