Eleven inch laptops are some of the smallest on the market, competing with both netbooks and tablets for the portability-conscious user. And when it comes to these small devices, it really is all about ultraportability.
Small laptops such as the 11 inch allow you to take your device on the go without having to buy special bags to accommodate their size.
They often fit comfortably into regular purse, bag, or briefcase—just don’t forget to use a protective sleeve to cushion them as you jostle through life, and try to put them in a stable part of your bag such as a pocket or slip.
So just how do you choose a great 11 inch laptop? We’re about to find out.
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How we chose the best 11 inch laptop
Choosing the best 11 inch laptop can seem daunting at first. There are so many different laptops of this size on the market. They vary widely in terms of both overall quality and functionality.
To make matters more complex, people choose 11 inch laptops for many different purposes and with very different expectations.
Nevertheless, there are several key considerations that most users should keep in mind. The five most important are:
We determined this final list by gathering data from industry experts and users of 11 inch laptops. We compared many criteria to determine those that were most applicable to a great overall laptop experience. These criteria will help you choose the best laptop for your needs.
The five best 11 inch laptops
Here’s a list of the five best 11-inch laptops:
|Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ...||from $174.71||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Apple MacBook Air MJVM2LL/A...||$919.95||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 2-in-1...||$409.00||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Dell Inspiron i3179-0000GRY 11.6" HD...||$419.98||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|ASUS C201 11.6 Inch Chromebook...||from $169.99||Read Amazon Reviews »|
The most important consideration when choosing the best 11 inch laptop
When you set out to buy an 11 inch laptop, you’ve chosen to sacrifice screen size in favour of other factors such as portability. However, that doesn’t mean that you should have a poor viewing experience.
There’s no need to find yourself squinting at the screen or battling eye fatigue and headaches. By choosing a laptop with the right kind of display, you will be able to use your 11 inch laptop comfortably for most tasks.
Unfortunately, one challenge you’ll face is that many 11 inch laptops come with displays limited to HD (1366 x 768). While an HD display will certainly look better on an 11 inch laptop than it would on a 15 or 17 inch laptop, it’s not always the high-quality experience that most users desire.
We recommend that you consider getting a decent FHD display or better, meaning 1920 x 1080 plus. However, if you find that the perfect laptop for you isn’t available with an FHD option, don’t despair.
On an 11 inch screen, HD resolution is still sufficient for most purposes. You also may wish to opt for a slightly lower resolution to save money or as a trade-off for the perfect constellation of other features.
Our list includes both HD and FHD laptops, and which one is best for your personal situation is up to you.
Other than that, there is no one ‘right’ answer when it comes to choosing your display. The important thing here is to choose the best display for your personal needs and intended use.
A few questions to keep in mind are:
The answers to these questions will vary depending on your preferences. If you’re not sure what the differences are between screen types, here’s a run-down on some of the basics.
Other considerations when choosing the best 11 inch laptop
Most people who purchase an 11 inch laptop do so because they’re interested in portability.
They want a laptop that they can easily slip into a purse or briefcase without taking up too much extra space.
They want one that can truly be used on the fly, without being burdensome or heavy. When it comes to this type of portability, small 11 inch laptops or 13 inch laptops are an attractive choice.
However, if your device has poor battery life, then the usefulness of having a small laptop will be minimized.
If you have to get up and charge your battery every couple of hours, or if you always have to carry a charging cord with you, then you lose out on some of the most satisfying benefits of having such a small laptop.
However, battery life in 11 inch laptops faces its own challenges. The smaller the laptop, the less room for hardware, including certain types of batteries. With somewhat more limited battery options, not all 11 inch laptops do a great job in this area.
To get the most from your 11 inch laptop, we recommend choosing a device with an absolute minimum of four hours of reliable battery life.
Battery life isn’t the only thing that will enhance or take away from your laptop’s portability. You’ll also want to keep weight in mind. Even an 11 inch laptop can feel like a brick if it’s too heavy.
Thankfully, laptops have gotten lighter and lighter over the years. Between 3 and 6 pounds is usually considered a reasonable weight, but for optimal portability with your 11 inch laptop, we recommend sticking with models around 3-4 pounds or less.
Have you ever seen someone with an 11 inch laptop or smaller netbook, and thought it looked like a plastic block? Not all small devices are particularly slim, including 11 inch laptops.
If you truly want to be able to slip your laptop into your bag and forget about it, you’ll want something that’s not just small and light, but also slim enough to leave plenty of room for your other belongings.
Luckily, there are many options in this department. We recommend choosing a laptop that’s under 1 inch, to make the most of your on-the-go experience.
Versatility is another key consideration. Ask yourself what extras you will need or want, and then check to make sure that the laptop you’re thinking about can do the job.
Does it come with enough USB ports for your purposes, and are they the right kind? Can it connect with a larger monitor?
Does it have enough processing power to perform a variety of tasks, or is it limited to basic web browsing, movie streaming, and the like? What connectivity options does it have?
Which of these features are important to you will depend on your specific use case. It would be great to have all of them, but keep in mind that the more versatile your laptop, the more expensive it’s likely to be, especially in terms of processing power.
The key is to find a good balance between a laptop that meets your needs and affordability.
The best 11 inch laptop
Our #1 pick for 11 inch laptop is the Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ. The Acer is a fantastic all-around laptop suited to a variety of computing demands.
The 11.6 inch LED-backlit display offers Full HD resolution at 1920 x 1080 pixels, excellent for an 11 inch laptop. Most users report great touchscreen accuracy as well.
Overall, the quality of both the picture and touchscreen feature are outstanding compared to other small laptops.
Battery life is also top-notch on this laptop, although it will vary depending on your settings and what you do with it. You can expect approximately 9 hours though.
Keep in mind that in all laptop’s battery life is partially dependent on use—heavier applications will run your battery down faster, so plan accordingly.
The chromebook weighs 2.43 pounds and is just 0.7” thick, making it one of the most portable laptops on our list. With such a slender profile and so little weight, you’ll hardly feel the difference once you’ve tossed it into your bag.
This laptop is also highly versatile, offering a number of features to help you get the most out of your machine.
Performance wise, it has an Intel Celeron N2840 processor, which will keep you running through a variety of common use cases. 2GB of RAM is the bare minimum for a laptop and you also get 16GB of SSD hard drive space. It also comes with 2 USB 3.0 ports and both wireless and Bluetooth connectivity.
The four other 11 inch laptops we tested
MacBooks are the laptop of choice for many users, and if you’ve never used one before, now might be a great time to give them a try. The 11.6 inch MacBook Air gives you a superb balance of portability and processing power.
The LED screen on this device comes with HD resolution and has received good reviews for color and overall picture quality compared to other HD laptops, although it won’t compare well to larger versions of the MacBook Air, which have much higher resolution.
The battery life is phenomenal with up to 9 hours and an average of 5, letting you work for long stretches without being stuck to the cord. And at 2.38 lbs and just 0.68 inches slim, this laptop is a top choice for those who are serious about portability.
The MacBook Air comes with an i5 CPU and fast SSD storage, making it a great choice for those who plan to use their laptop for heavier tasks. The speed and power of our second place pick make it versatile enough to handle a variety of use cases on the go.
- 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz) with 3 MB shared L3...
- 4 GB of 1600 MHz LPDDR3 RAM; 128 GB PCIe-based flash storage
- 11.6-Inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Glossy Widescreen Display, 1366 x 768...
The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga is another top-notch example of a highly functional 11 inch laptop, coming in at third place.
This laptop ranked on our list for a number of reasons, starting with the display. The ThinkPad comes with a standard resolution of 1366 x 768 HD, which is common for laptops of this size.
However, remember the color accuracy and viewing angles we asked about earlier?
Well, the Lenovo display uses IPS panels to give you the best of both, at a great price for this particular bit of hardware. Users report a beautiful, clean viewing experience. It’s also a touchscreen, for those who prefer more ways to interact with their computer.
With a battery life around 5 hours, the ThinkPad Yoga offers decent power for such a small laptop, although we’d like to see more. This device is also 3.5 pounds, heavier than some on our list but still nice and light compared to many other laptops. It’s also nicely slim at just under an inch.
As a 2-in-1, this laptop is easy to convert from laptop to tablet mode simply by folding the screen back. It also has an HDMI port so that you can connect to a larger screen when needed. The 128 GB SSD drive is small but powerful, with excellent load speeds.
- Get reliable performance from the Intel N2940 Quad-Core 1.83GHz processor
- 11.6" HD LED-backlit Touchscreen IPS display with 1366 x 768 resolution...
- 4GB DDR3 memory - For multitasking power
The Dell Inspiron holds a solid fourth place on our list. This 2-in-1 has a lot to offer. The HD LED touchscreen has excellent touch accuracy, reducing frustration when you’re trying to tap your way through a favorite webpage or program.
The battery life on the Inspiron is around 6 hours, above our minimum but not as good as our first two picks.
This laptop is also very lightweight at just 3.24lbs pounds. Throw a slim 0.8 inch thickness into the mix and you have a laptop that’s easy to take and use on the go.
You’ll get an Intel m3-7Y30 which isn’t the fastest CPU in the world, but more than adequate for running most applications and 4GB helps out with multitasking. 500GB worth of hard drive space is included.
The Inspiron is also quite versatile, with 1 USB 3.0 port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, and an HDMI connection. It supports both wifi and Bluetooth connections and converts to a tablet when needed. It’s even available in a fun blue color.
- 7th generation Intel Core m3-7y30, up to 2.6 GHz Processor
- 4GB DDR 1600Mhz included; 4GB maximum
- 500GB HDD storage; No Optical Drive included
Another option for 11 inch laptop is the Chromebook. Many laptop brands offer some version of a Chromebook these days, and they can be an excellent, affordable alternative to a regular laptop.
If you plan to use your laptop primarily for low-demand tasks like web surfing or word processing, a Chromebook can meet your needs at a significant savings over other laptops.
Coming in fifth on our list, the ASUS Chromebook C201 is one such alternative. This inexpensive Chromebook costs less than $200, offering fantastic portability at a fantastic price.
The 11.6 inch LED-lit HD screen does an excellent job of creating clear images with great color and contrast for an HD screen.
It’s not as good as an FHD screen would be, but it’s pretty fantastic for an 11 inch Chromebook and more than sufficient to meet the needs of most Chromebook users.
If you’re looking for a device that will let you work all day without needing to charge, this is it! The ASUS Chromebook claims a battery life of up to 13 hours.
Based on the user feedback we gathered, that’s pretty close to the mark. With this device, you’ll be able to go all day before needing to find a place to charge.
This laptop is also very lightweight, weighing just 2 pounds and clocking in at just 0.7 inches slim. It will fit conveniently into your purse or bag without weighing you down.
In terms of versatility, this device offers 2.0 USB ports, an SD card reader slot, HDMI capability, and wireless and Bluetooth connectivity. However, it does run a slower CPU and has limited storage capacity, both of which are normal in Chromebooks.
As cloud-based devices, Chromebooks will never be quit as versatile as their laptop counterparts, so if you want to run local installations of your favorite games and apps, do intense multi-tasking, or have high storage needs, the ASUS Chromebook isn’t for you.
But if you’re looking for a cheap, highly portable laptop for basic everyday use, this is a great choice.
- 11.6inch 1366 by 768 glossy HD display for vivid high definition image quality
- Up to 13 hours of battery life
- 802.11ac wireless for up to 3 times faster wireless speeds
The truth is, there is much more to a laptop than just its screen size. There are many great 11 inch laptops to choose from these days, and which one is best for you depends on your needs and intended use case.
Each of the laptops on our list has some fantastic strengths, but in the end the Acer Aspire won out over the rest due to its winning combination of a beautiful FHD display and good processing power.
That being said, the other laptops on our list also played well against others in the comparison, making it into the top five with flying colors.
Each one is worth your consideration and has the potential to make an exciting and satisfying addition to your computing arsenal.