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Thinner Lighter Better

Best 12-inch laptops and 2-in-1s in 2019 – small and punchy mini notebooks

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , updated on November 27, 2018

You should definitely consider one of the available 12-inch devices out there if you’re looking for a good quality mini laptop these days, which we’ll discuss in this detailed guide.

That’s especially the case if you’re after fast hardware, premium builds and modern features, as otherwise, if you’re on a tighter budget, you’d be better off with one of the well balanced 11-inchers you can find in stores, which we cover in this other article. That’s because there aren’t many affordable 12-inchers anymore, most of the options in this class targeting a higher price-tier, but there are still a few exceptions you might want to look into.

With that in mind, we’ve split the devices we’re going to cover into two main sections, based on how much they cost:

It’s also important to add that this is not just a generalist article like the many others you can find online. We’ve been reviewing compact laptops for more than 10 years now, both here on TLBHD.com and on Ultrabookreview.com, and we have hands-on experience with most of the devices mentioned in here. I’ve also used a 12-inch laptop as my main driver for many years in the past, and while I have switched to the Dell XPS 13 in recent years, which is a compact 13-incher, I still think many 12-inchers provide that sweet balance between size, weight and features.

Anyway, this article includes our recommendations for 12-inch mini laptops, and should help you choose the right device for your needs and budget, but you can also get in touch in the comments sections at the end if you need extra help, we’re around to help out.

The convertible 12/12.5 inch mini laptops

Most 12-inch options pack touchscreens these days and some sort of a convertible form-factor. That makes them usable as a notebook for work related activities, with a good keyboard and trackpad at your disposal, but also as tablets or anything in between, if the user so desires.

Microsoft Surface Pro

The Surface Pro 3 was one of the most appreciated convertibles of 2014/2015, and the newer Surface Pro 4 does everything slightly better.

It maintains the tablet form-factor, but gets a slightly larger 12.3-inch 3:2 screen, with a higher 2736 x 1824 px resolution and an improved digitizer and pen. You’ll find a few more details about the pen from the video review included below, as I feel this is one of the main reasons you might want to buy a Surface Pro 4. Magnesium is still used for the outer case, which gives the slate’s a nice and sturdy feel, and the Surface Pro 4 is thinner and lighter than the Surface Pro 3, despite the fact that it packs a larger screen.

Hardware wise, the Surface Pro 4 is built on either Skylake Y or Skyalke U processors. The former is a fanless platform targeted at casual users, while the latter are the Core i5 and i7 processors found in most of the other modern ultraportables, although this time crammed into a tiny body. The performance of the Surface pro 4 is a significant bump over the Haswell based SP3, both in everyday use and especially in anything graphics related. The top configuration can also be paired with 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage.

The Keyboard Folio is another significant improvement over its predecessor, as the keys are taller and stiffer, while the trackpad is larger and more accurate. The new Folio works with the old Surface Pro 3 as well, so if you own the older Surface Pro, you could consider just upgrading the Folio, it’s worth it.

Not everything is all bells and whistles with the Surface Pro 4 though. For instance, Microsoft went for a smaller battery on this new iteration, which only translates in about 5-6 hours of daily use. That’s average by today’s standards, at best. Then there’s the form factor, great if you want to use this as a tablet or even on a desk, but not that much on a lap and other less conventional positions. And last but not least there’s the pricing.

Microsoft are charging premium for the Surface Pro 4, with the Core m3 version starting at $899 and the cheapest Core i5 model at $999. That’s without the pen and the Keyboard Folio, which are going to cost you around $200 extra.

Is the Surface Pro 4 worth that kind of money? Well, that’s up to you to decide. It’s definitely a great product, but the high price tag make it tough to recommend for the average user. Follow this link for more details and potential discounts, and you can also have a look at the Surface Pro 3, which is still a great hybrid and sells for significantly less. Just make sure you get the redesigned Keyboard Folio if you opt for this one.

The Surface Pro 4 is an excellent hybrid with Skylake hardware and a great screen, but the older Surface Pro 3 is probably the better option for the average user, as it is much more affordable.

The Surface Pro 4 is an excellent hybrid with Skylake hardware and a great screen, but the older Surface Pro 3 is probably the better option for the average user, as it is much more affordable.

Lenovo Miix 700

If you’re a fan of the Surface Pro, you must have the Lenovo Miix 700 on your list as well, because this one is pretty much a much more affordable and not as powerful copy of Microsoft’s device.

In fact, on the outisde it’s a copycat of the Surface Pro 3, with a similar design, similar 3:2 dispaly with Pen support, similar kick stand on the back and a similarly designed keyboard-folio, with a taller and supposedly a more comfortable to use keyboard though.

Unlike the Surfaces’ though, the Lenovo Miix 700 is only built on Skylake Core M platforms, so it’s not going to be as powerful. If you opt for a Core m5 or an m7 processor with 8 GB of RAM though, this device should be potent enough for most users and most everyday activities.

The major reason to consider this Lenovo is the aggressive pricing though. The base version is going to start at $699 for a Core m3 configuration, but it actually includes the Keyboard Folio and the Dock. In other words, the Miix 700 is going to be several hundred dollars cheaper than a similarly specked Surface Pro 4.

Follow this link for more details on the Lenovo Miix 700 and this one for up-to-date prices and configurations, as well as potential discounts.

Asus Transformer Book Chi T300

The Trasnformer Book T300 Chi is a premium detachable with an excellent price. These days it sells for under $550, and for that kind of money you’ll end up with a sleek aluminum 12-inch tablet and a matching keyboard dock.

I’ve reviewed the Transformer Book Chi T300 a while ago and I was impressed by the screen, build-quality, performance and the typing experience. However, keep in mind this is a Core M motorized device, so it is fanless, but at the same time not very fast. It will do fine for everyday activities like browsing, editing Office documents and watching multimedia content. But don’t expect too much from it.

On the other hand, I wasn’t very happy with the price at the time of the review, temperatures, Wi-Fi performance and especially battery life. The latter are still issues to consider, but the price has gone down in the meantime, that’s why I think the T300 is these days a device to consider. Just make sure you know what you’re getting and what it can and cannot do.

Follow this link for more details on the available configurations and the latest prices.

The Asus T300 Chi offers excellent build quality and premium craftsmanship in an affordable package

The Asus T300 Chi offers excellent build quality and premium craftsmanship in an affordable package

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260 – the business hybrid

The ThinkPad Yoga 260 is business hybrid.

While still thin (0.7″) and light (2.9 lbs), the ThinkPad Yoga 260 checks boxes un-checked by most other 12-inchers. For instance, it packs an excellent keyboard and a trackpad with mechanical click buttons, it packs a screen with digitizer and pen support, gets the latest Skylake processors and Nvidia dedicated graphics, gets a 44 Wh battery and is still strongly built.

On top of all these, the Yoga 260 is a hybrid, with a 360-degrees convertible display. The keyboard, trackpad, ports and overall shape make it a great laptop, while the fairly light weight and the screen make it a decent tablet as well.

All in all, at least on paper, the ThinkPad Yoga 260 looks like a complete 2-in-1, a device meant for those of us in search of performance in a sturdy and light convertible form-factor. It’s not affordable though, but that was expected, given its features. The base version starts at $949 , with a mid-level configuration going for several hundred dollars extra. It will hit the stores in November 2015.

Dell XPS 12 9250

On a fist look the XPS 12 might look like a very compact 12-inch laptop, with a narrow bezel around the screen, but it’s actually a detachable. You can pull the tablet apart from the keyboard dock and use it independently, as the hardware, battery and screen are all tucked inside this slate.

However, the XPS 12 9250 is not like all the other detachables. As you can see from the article, the “hinge” on the dock is not exactly a hinge, but merely a support for the tablet. So the two parts don’t latch together, they just stay attached with magnets, and there’s no way to adjust the screen’s inclination in any way. This will impact everyday use and can be a major deal-breaker for some.

This aside though, the XPS 12 9250 is a great little fellow. Magnesium is used for the exterior and the slate alone is thin and light (1.75 lbs). Dell opted for a 12.5-inch IPS 4K display, while the whole thing is motorized by Skylake Core M platforms.

As for the dock, Dell is actually going to offer two version for the XPS 9250. One is slimmer and only includes a full-size chiclet keyboard and a large trackpad, while the other is thicker and heavier, but also adds an extra battery and several ports. If you opt for the former version, you’ll have to rely exclusively on the two USB TypeC connectors and the SD card slot on the tablet.

The XPS 9250 is scheduled for release in November 2015 in the US and you will find more details on the available configurations and prices on Dell’s website.

HP Spectre X2 12

The HP Spectre X2 12 is another hybrid with a Surface like form-factor. It gets a 12-inch display, Skylake hardware and an stunning aluminum body. The Keyboard Folio is metallic as well and sports backlit keys and a large trackpad.

I’ll update this section once the Spectre X2 12 will be available in stores. For now, check out this link from HP’s website for more details.


The classics – clamshell 12-inchers

If you’re after a simple, classic 12-inch notebook, you should know there are still a few of these left out there, and we’ll talk about the best ones in this section.

Apple MacBook

The Apple MacBook is not an ultraportable for everyone, and that’s because it’s an expensive product and it’s only powerful enough to handle everyday tasks, but can’t deal with demanding chores and serious multitasking. I’ve gathered my in depth opinions of the MacBook in this post, in case you’re interested.

On the other hand, no one can deny this little fellow is a wonderful piece of technology. It looks and feels amazing, it’s incredibly light and thin, it packs a great screen and lasts for around 6-7 hours of daily use on a charge. As for performance, well, it’s up to you to decide if this thing is what you want or not. Used lightly, it’s going to perform well. Pushed, it will choke.

My main nits with MacBook are the keyboard and the IO though. The keys are proper sized and spaced, but travel very little inside the frame, which leads to a weird experience. I type for a living and I couldn’t get used to this keyboard after using it for a few days and typing in thousands of words. If you can try it out in an Apple Store, do it, for me typing on it feels a lot like touch-typing on a screen, because of the limited key travel. You might feel otherwise.

As for the ports, well, there’s only one, an USB TypeC connector on the left edge, used for charging the device, transferring data, outputting video and connecting peripherals, with the help of dongles. Dongles that are not included in the pack. Oh, and you can only perform one of these at a time, since there’s just that single port.

These two aspects kill the MacBook for me. And then there’s the price.

The base version of the MacBook Air sells for $1299, but you can actually get it cheaper online. Follow this link for more details and potential discounts.

The base configuration however includes 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD, alongside the Core M processor, which brings the MacBook close to similarly specked MacBook Air 11 and 13. So in other words, you’re getting a better screen and a thinner/lighter package, but you’re sacrificing performance, typing experience and battery life when going for the 12-inch MacBook.

Samsung ATIV Book 9

The ATIVBook 9 is a Windows running alternative for the Apple MacBook, a device built on a similar hardware platform, with a similar screen and a similar foot-print.

Aluminum is used for the entire case and the ATIV Book 9 weighs just 2.1 lbs and feels sturdy, well built. For the screen Samsung chose a 12.2-inch IPS panel, a bright, sharp and color-accurate one. As for the keyboard, well, it travels a bit deeper than the keyboard on the MacBook, but the weird layout with a minuscule Space is annoying, while the lack of illumination is pretty much unacceptable at this level.

Hardware wise, the ATIV Book 9 is motorized by a Core M platform, with only 4 GB of RAM and either 128 or 256 GB of storage space. There’s also enough room for a 36 Wh battery inside, but the ATIV Book is not very efficient and will only last for 4-5 hours on a charge. So that’s another front where the MacBook comes on top.

In fact, I feel the MacBook is the better pick overall of these two, despite the fact that the ATIV Book 9 has a much more satisfying IO and more affordable prices on its side. You’ll find two USB 3.0 slots on the sides, a micro-HDMI connector and a microSD card-slot, while the prices range between $1099 and $1199, but you can find this one even cheaper online. Still, you’re only going to pay $100 more for the MacBook, but get 8 GB of RAM, a minorly faster processor, a backlit keyboard and a increased battery life, which I feel are worth paying a little extra for.

Lenovo ThinkPad X250/X260

This is Lenovo’s latest business ultra-portable at the time of this post, but it might have been replaced with the X260 model by the time you’re reading this.

The X250 is a business notebook, tough, simple and built to withstand the daily hassle of business environments. It gets a tough frame and case, built from carbon-fiber, magnesium and hard plastic, and it passes various MIL tests, like extreme vibrations, high humidity, dust and others.

The X250 gets Broadwell hardware, while the x260 is motorized by the newer Skylake platform. They are paired with up to 8 or 16 GB of RAM (for the Skylake model) and SSD storage.

Hardware specs aside though, the two are similar in many ways. They are a bit thicker than other ultraportables, but still fairly light (roughly 3 lbs). They accommodate a large selection of full-sized ports and two batteries, one embedded within the case and an external one, available in several different capacities. Opting for the largest one gives you a combined capacity of 95 Wh, which means the laptop is going to easily last for 15-18 hours of daily use on a single charge.

On top of these, both pack some excellent backlit keyboards and large trackpads with mechanical click buttons. They are also both regular clamshell notebooks with 12.5-inch IPS displays. You can opt for either a matte non-touch panel or a touchscreen, and it both cases the display can lean back flat to 180 degrees.

Now, all these don’t come cheap. And as business laptops, these ThinkPads are available in a multitude of configurations, with the base version selling for around $800 in the US, and a good Core i5 model with 8 GB of RAM and a 46 Wh battery going for around $1000. There are tools on Lenovo’s website that let you create your own configurations, and you might even find some predefined ones in other online stores.

One thing to keep in mind is that these ThinkPads seem to be extremely expensive in Europe. A given configuration in Germany costs nearly 50% more than what it costs in the US, so if you’re living in Europe, chances are these machines might not be worth your hard earned Euro.

Dell Latitude E7250 / E7260

These are Dell’s business 12-inchers. Like the Lenovos above, they also pack a 12.5-inch screen in a rugged, heavily tested body, ready for corporate life.

They are also available in a multitude of configurations, with different screens, batteries and hardware options. The Latitude E7250 series packs Intel Broadwell hardware with support for 16 GB of RAM, while the Latitude E7260 series gets the updated Skylake processors.

Both series are compact and thin, tipping the scales at just under 3 pounds. They offer a full set of ports, a backlit keyboard, a large trackpad with mechanical click buttons, a fingerprint-reader and an optional 3G/4G modem.

Bottom point, Dell put up together great 12-inch ultrabook with these Latitudes, as you can also see from this in-depth article about the Latitude 12 and 14-inch Series. However, the Latitudes are significantly more expensive than the Thinkpads. The base versions start at around $1150 for what Lenovo asks less than $900, while a mid-level Core i5 model sell for around $1400 (and only around $1000 for a similar Thinkpad).

So as much as I’d like these Latitudes, I can’t see why a regular user would actually pay that much for them, when the ThinkPad X models are just as good and much more affordable. Perhaps Dell are focusing more on corporate clients and not that much on end-users, otherwise it’s hard to understand their pricing policies and their high margins.

HP EliteBook 820 and 1020

HP offers two high-end models with 12.5-inch screens, the EliteBook 820, built on Core U hardware, and the EliteBook 1020, built on a Core M platform.

The latter could be an option if you really want the whole EliteBook experience in a fanless machine. That translates in sturdily build aluminum case, a great keyboard and a large selection of ports on the sides. But considering how the Folio 1020 actually weighs around 2.8 lbs and only includes Core M hardware and a 36 Wh battery, I don’t think this is actually worth the amount of money HP asks for it.

The Core M 5Y51 model with 8 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD sells for $1200 , while the Core M 5Y71 version with 8 GB of RAM and a 180 GB SSD sells for $1500. That kind of money can buy you either a much faster Core i configurations from other manufacturers, or one of the slimmer and much lighter Apple Macbook or Samsung Ativ Book S.

It might be worth your buck if you can find it cheaper online though.

The EliteBook 1020 mixes Core M hardware with the standard characteristics of a premium laptop, but it's high price tag can be a deal breaker

The EliteBook 1020 mixes Core M hardware with the standard characteristics of a premium laptop, but it’s high price tag can be a deal breaker

The EliteBook 820 on the other hand is a great machine. In fact, it’s an option for those who appreciate the naked-aluminum look in a business machine, and packs pretty much everything one could want from a compact laptop, including the latest Core U processors, IPS FHD matte or touch screens, an excellent backlit keyboard and trackpad with mechanical buttons or a 46 Wh battery, all tucked inside a slim body that weighs around 3 lbs.

The base configuration sells for just under $1000 and includes a Core i5 processor with 4 GB of RAM, HDD storage and a HD TN display. There are a handful of preconfigured models available online, and there’s also the possibility of customizing your own version on HP’s website, but in this case a Core i5 configuration with 8 GB of RAM, a FHD IPS touchscreen and a 500 GB HDD will jump to around $1300, which is rather pricey. Still, the EliteBook 820 sits somewhat between the Thinkpad X and the Dell latitude series, price wise.

The EliteBook 820 can be the ideal 12-incher for those who appreciate the bare-naked aluminum looks in a business ultraportable

The EliteBook 820 can be the ideal 12-incher for those who appreciate the bare-naked aluminum looks in a business ultraportable


Ok, that’s about it with my list of recommended 12-inch laptops.

These days there aren’t as many laptops in this class, especially in the affordable sub-800 dollars price category. Most manufacturers migrated their cheap entries towards the smaller 11.6-inch class, and kept the 12-inchers as their more premium options, with high-end features and powerful hardware specs, which don’t come cheap.

So if you’re looking for more affordable mini laptops, you should definitely check out at my detailed list of recommended 11.6-inchers. And if you’re just after a compact and portable laptop, you might also want to go through the list of the best ultrabooks you can buy these days.

As for this post, I’m going to be constantly update it each couple of weeks, so be sure to check it out periodically for changes. Also, feel free to post your opinions, remarks and questions in the comments section below, I’m around to reply and will help out if I can.

Andrei Girbea, aka "Mike", Editor-in-Chief at TLBHD.com. I absolutely hate carrying around heavy stuff, that's why I'm fond of mini-laptops and portable computers. I'm primarily using such devices and have been testing them for many years now. Get in touch in the comments section below.


  1. stephanie joy macapanas

    April 9, 2010 at 11:13 am

    hello…am presently here in riyadh,ksa.this month i want to buy netbook,13.3″ or 15.3″.am still confused what to buy.just affordable less than 300US$.for office use & personal.help me whats good & proven and tested in the markets.pls.reply

    • Mike

      April 9, 2010 at 11:43 am

      Stephanie, I’d love to help you, but i don’t think you can get anything bigger than 10 inches right now for 300 US $ . IF you want a 13 incher, i would suggest going on ebay or something like that and shop for an used device. Still, that’s kind of risky, It would be wise to try and get some extra bucks and go for a new device.

  2. Jack

    April 10, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I am looking to buy a good lightweight netbook at around 12″ screen size, and Asus UL20A seems almost perfect. I would love to get another 2-3 hrs of battery life so that I can use it for 10+ hrs a day w/o charging. Since Asus UL20A has been out for 5+ months, should I wait for the next update? How often do they update the netbook product lines?

    • Mike

      April 12, 2010 at 3:46 am

      Jack, I don’t think you’ll see an update on this line too soon, that’s because intel plans to update their ULV lines and the first processor should be available in Q3 2010. Add 1-2 months for Asus to implement the new platform and you’ll probably end with a new 12 incher by Ocotber – November, or even later…

  3. Angel_Dust

    April 27, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Hi… was almost settled on the Asus 1201N with Ion1 till I saw your link on the Asus UL20A. Have some basic queries which would really help me decide which one to buy…budgets upto 550$.

    1.Which one is better purely for graphics Ion1 or Ion2 with Optimus tech? heard that there is/will be an upgrade on the 1201N with the Ion2? I Dont really worry bout battery life (3-4 hrs is fine) my main considerations are portability and processing/gaming/graphics/multitasking power and seems the upgrade to 1201N wont ahve a dul core processor. How do I deceide?

    2. Given my considerations above im confused bout the Asus UL20A. Is the processor (also a dual core) and graphics card better than the 1021N? Basically is it a faster better option than the one you help me decide in the 1st question?
    3. What is PineTrail?

    Sorry for the bother, but im pretty confused. Tks!

    • Mike

      April 27, 2010 at 6:35 am

      Angel, first, PineTrail is the name of the hardware used for netbooks these days, with processor like the n450, n470, etc.

      As for your questions.

      1. The Ion2 will be better. For now, the only 12 inch device announced with it on board and a dual-core atom (N500) – yet to be launched, is the Asus 1215N . It should be unveiled in June and should reach stores by July-August. You can read more about it in here: https://tlbhd.com/asus-eee-pc-1215n-dual-core-atom-new-ion-and-optimus-3387/
      2. Yes, the processor on the Ul20A is definitely faster that on the 1201N and also faster than what the future 1215N would have to offer. So, in terms of everyday performance and multitasking, the Ul20A will be better. In terms of graphics, the 1215N wins though. Both will be able to play 1080p content (and 720p flash), but the one with ION will be better in games (not by much and don’t expect too much out of it, but will be better). However, you do have to wait a couple of months for the 1215N and we don’t know how much is it going to cost.

      Hope i helped. Also, check the Guide in here for more answers to your potential questions: https://tlbhd.com/netbook-buying-guide-v2.pdf Or reply if you still are confused 🙂

  4. Sasha

    May 9, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Hey.. i realy like the asus ul20a I want to buy it for studing and light gaming(world of warcraft) but i need it to be very light in some reviews people mention that it weights more than 3.3 lbs with the battery. So is it realy 3.3 lbs? and wil there be a better 12 incher to suit my needs in the next couple of month?

  5. Mikkel trestrail

    July 16, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    hi need some help. Trying to decide between the asus ul 20a ame the toshiba t215. Performance, keyboard ame sound are important to me as i am blind. I really like the t215. I also read about the upcoming ul 20at. Should i wait? Oh i will be using it for school ame scanning me text

  6. Amy

    August 11, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Hi, Mike. Do you still think the Asus UL20A is best affordable 12 incher available? I’m trying to decide between the Asus UL20A and UL30A…unless there’s something else you’d recommend more now? Thanks!!!

    • Mike

      August 11, 2010 at 11:46 am

      I do Amy, but there will be some updates pretty soon. For instance, we’re waiting for the updated versions of the UL20A, the UL20FT : https://tlbhd.com/asups-ul20ft-improved-12-incher-with-better-performance-3643/ . Also, there’s the updated version of the 1201N, called 1215N : https://tlbhd.com/asus-eee-pc-1215n-review-power-in-a-compact-sleek-body-4092/ . Both of them should be available in early September (but delays may occur). And while I did test the 1215N, I did not have the chance to play with the UL20VT. So if you can wait, well… You should. If not, the UL20A is just fine (Be aware that the new version will be more powerful, but also probably 10-20% more expensive, while offering less battery life and being hotter – however, these are now only suppositions based on experience, so take them with grain and salt). Hope I helped.

  7. Amy

    August 11, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Awesome, thanks Mike. This is very helpful, and I can definitely wait for the updated versions to come out. Also, do you expect an updated version of the UL30A to come out any time soon?

    • Mike

      August 12, 2010 at 1:59 am

      There is already the UL30VT you can check out, which is ul30A with better graphics. Or, the UL30JT which i tested in my other site: http://allabouteeepc.com/asus-ul30jt-13-incher-with-extra-muscles-and-good-autonomy/ . that one is already available in some parts of the world, but not yet in the US. This one is the update, with core i5 CPU and even more improved graphics. But will be pricier. I will let you guys know when these hit the States, so be sure to subscribe to keep in touch :p

  8. Amy

    August 21, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Hi, Mike…Amy again. Last question (for now): If you were in the markiet for a 12 or 13 inch laptop for school and battery life and weight/size were two of your top priorities but you also wanted a decent amount of memory and power, what would you buy? I’ll primarily be using it for MS Office and the Internet. Price is a factor but not top priority. I’d prefer to pay less than $600. Thanks so much!!

    • Mike

      August 21, 2010 at 2:59 pm

      Well, for sure I would buy something with Intel ULV inside, if you want battery life and power. Something with an SU7300 processor and 2-4 GB of memory should do fine, like the UL20A. Or even better, something with Core i3, like the UL20FT (which just became available at Amazon and got a nice review. See this link: https://tlbhd.com/asus-ul20ft-new-12-inch-notebook-brings-extra-power-4505/ ). There will be others, soon, but mainly in the 11.6 inch class. As for 13 inchers, the UL30A, UL30VT (with better graphics, but more expensive) or Toshiba T135 , these would be my picks right now and I believe within your budget.

      Anyway, once you settled for a couple of models, go on google and search “Model Review” and look for more details in those texts. Sites like engadget.com, cnet.com, trustedreviews.com, notebookreviews.com , those are all trustful sources. And this one, of course, only I didn’t have the chance to actually play with all these machines 😛

  9. Friend

    August 30, 2010 at 7:10 am

    MSI Wind12 U230 with AMD inside

    U230 comes with a dual-core Atom Neo – WTF ?! IS ATOM NEO ?

    Asus UL20A – best affordable 12 incher – my review of the Asus UL20A

    Inside you’ll find the dual-core Intel SU7300 processor, Nvidia GMA4500 graphics, 2 GB of RAM, 250 GB HDD and Wi-Fi N/Bluetoot – WTF !! DUDE typos all over the place NVIDIA GMA4500 ?!!! seriously ?

    • Mike

      August 30, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      @Friend Hmm, you’re so right. Thanks for pointing those to me, such mistakes are unpardonable 🙁

  10. Bostjan

    October 18, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Hello to all,

    I just wanted to ask if you happen to know, that spare parts for the HP TM2 won’t be available until 2015?!? Dou you know if that is true?
    I’ve jsut read an Amazon.de site obout one of this netbooks and one customer had a problem and HP support told him that. I’m just wondering if this could actualy be true.

    • Mike

      October 19, 2010 at 11:45 am

      don’t know anything about that…

  11. digitalart

    October 22, 2010 at 9:40 am


    I would like to buy a netbook :).
    Main reasons and wishes are:
    – 11, 12 or maybe 13 inch screen
    – to be mobile at least 4h
    – to run Photoshop CS4
    – to use it with my digital SLR as preview tool and for timelapse photos
    – 720p screen resolution
    – if possible to run Premiere CS4 for simple operations and smaller video files

    ..now from reading this page I see 1215N and UL20FT as candidates..

    please help, I have real problems selecting one 🙂

    Thank you.

    • Mike

      October 23, 2010 at 3:33 am

      Premiere and Photoshop will get any Atom powered machine down to their knees.

      The ul20FT would be OK. If you can go for a bigger 13.3 incher, than i suggest the Asus ul35JC , especially if you’ll find the Core i5 version. However, that will go for around 800 bucks, so i’m not sure if you’re willing to spend that kind of money… But for those Adobe programs, you’ll need at least a Core i3 CPU to run decently on a mini laptop.

  12. Momo

    October 29, 2010 at 6:03 am


    I really want to but a new mini laptop and consider a 12″ as an ideal size (big enough). Ive earlier had a Asus eee 1000H and im pretty unhappy with the small atom processor. I only my computer for smaller normal day tasks but would love to have a good processor and graphic on it so it could be ideal for video an streaming without turning slow. From what i can see Asus eee 1215N and the UL20FT are the best candidates, and i can get them for 700$ and 770$ in Norway. Imnot sure how it will be with warranty if i buy from abroad. My question is, what computer do ou recommend if you take price and hardware/processor for consideration.

    Sincerely, very unpatient buyer

    • Mike

      October 30, 2010 at 1:51 pm

      Momo, if you need power, you can go for that 12 inch UL30VT. Or even better, a 13.3 incher like the UL35JC

  13. Momo

    October 29, 2010 at 6:06 am

    And btw if you have any laptops in 11-13″ you would like to recommend more (taken the processor/graphics and price to consideration) im fully open for that 🙂

  14. Momo

    October 30, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Any better if i upgrade a 1215N with 1GB extra RAM? (total approx 2,72GB)

  15. s stern

    November 4, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    am used to macs and the comfort of their keyboard (i have a 13 inch ibook.
    does your top 12 inch asus ‘netbook’ have a full sized or at least comfortable keyboard.

    • Mike

      November 5, 2010 at 11:18 am

      @s Stern : none of the devices in here have a better keyboard than the Macs unfortunately. The chiclet on that Asus 12 incher is nice, but still feels quite flimpsy when compared to the one on Macbooks

  16. s stern

    November 4, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    followup to above question. am fast typist but have some arthritis in fingers

  17. Kuentos

    November 29, 2010 at 3:05 am

    For just a lightweight backup to my desktop and 15″laptop, I was considering the Asus 1215N with the new Nvidia ION. I would mostly do web surfing, some photo editing and some light editing with video and FTPing photos and small 2-minute video clips. But after reading your review on the Asus UL20FT I’m now considering this laptop.

    My requirements are that as a journalist I need to have my camera and laptop 24hr. Most of my heavy photo and video editing would be done on my desktop or my larger laptop, but I just need a SMALLER laptop that offers decent performance for smaller assignments. I thought about the 13inch laptops, but then I may as well carry my 15inch laptop brick.

    What are your thoughts on the 2 laptops? Or do you have another suggested laptop in the 12inch range.

  18. Andre S.

    December 4, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Nicely and simply laid out infos here.
    I have an HP DV2 with Radeon HD3200, the pioneer of performance netbooks for some time now, and I think it actually delivered on its premise of afftordable fast (relatively speaking) net/notebook. Yeah, it has its limitations, but hey, what did you expect from a computer this size (not to mention price)?
    Now I want something even better. could you help suggesting some net/notebook 11-13″ wide, with some fast graphics and processor, screen specs that’s friendly to the eyes (I read A LOT, from blogs to textbooks to comics), excelling built-in speakers (I listen to music while reading), as lightweight as possible (I travel a lot too, can’t be helped), preferably keyboard as ergonomic as possible (I also write) and that comes in other color than black. Pardon me if this is asking too much, but from what I read, I like the way you said your words. If you don’t feel like detailing, please just mention/list the brand(s), series and price(s) and I’d research alone. It would be very helpful. Thanks.

    • Mike

      January 1, 2011 at 8:16 am

      Hey Andre, sry for not answering your comment, it probably slipped my attention. It’s hard to recommend anything without knowing what kind of budget you have in mind. Please contact me by mail (there’s a contact link in the menu on top of the site) and I’ll gladly help you. Also, the posts on 11.6 and 12 inch devices are up to date here on the site and they should help you. Once again sry for not answering before.

  19. Bill

    December 23, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Makes no sense to post if the author is so inconsiderate as to not answer any questions from his readers. Just simply an inconsiderate person!!

    • Mike

      December 24, 2010 at 3:24 am

      Bill, I’m trying to answer all of the questions, however some might slip unanswered from time to time…

  20. Mehron

    December 24, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    im a student. i don’t want to play game or edit pic or videos. just ofice software and some other software help analyzing information. other hand i don’t want to buy cheap one because i have to had it long time. which do yo think is better in 11.6 or 12 inches. thanks

    • Mike

      December 28, 2010 at 3:48 am

      Mehron, see the post above for my opinions and also the other one on the 11.6 inchers here on the site

  21. Liz

    December 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I received for Christmas the Asus UL20FT and love this this laptop. I would like to upgrade the memory to the maximum, however I can’t find in any of the info cars that came with my laptop which specific type of memory I need to use. Can you help me with which type and the maximum?

    • Mike

      January 1, 2011 at 8:12 am

      @Liz try and see what type of memory you have installed right now on your machine and get another identical module. I do not have the UL20FT myself so I can’t check it out for you 🙁

  22. Andre S.

    December 31, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Curious. It seemed that virtually every question here was answered, except for mine and the one before.
    Well, keep up the good work anyway, Mike.

  23. Liz

    January 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Mike opened it up and all I was able to get was a series of numbers. I ran the numbers through Google along with keywords, DDR memory ram,.. however no hits. Unfortunately no sticker for model or speed. Any other ideals would greatly be appreciated.

    • Mike

      January 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm

      Liz, can you please take a photo of the RAM module inside and send it to me via email? mike at netbooklive dot net . I’ll try and help you based on that. Or at least send me those numbers written on the module .

  24. Liz

    January 2, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Mike thank your so much for your help!:) I was able to online get Crucial Memory to scan my new laptop and identify the memory as 2GB PC3-8500 1066MHz DDR3 204-Pin SO-DIMM. Crucial scan further indicates that I have 2 slots (which I new) and that I can install up to 8Gb (which I didn’t know).

    Do you know if my new Asus UL20FT will recognize 8Gb of installed ram? I tried to check Asus web site, but I can’t find my laptop listed.

    • Mike

      January 3, 2011 at 8:54 am

      Hey Liz, what you found out is correct. There are 2 memory slots in the UL20FT and it can use up to 8 GB of memory. However, I believe a 2x 2 GB kit would be enough for most tasks.

      As for the memory, I advice getting DDR3 1066 MHz modules, exactly as the one installed inside. Brand shouldn’t really matter.

      However, other Asus products are known for some problems with RAM upgrade. Now, I couldn’t find anything about this on the UL20FT, but it’s important to know that they exist. This post should tell you more: https://tlbhd.com/upgrade-memory-on-asus-1018p-and-asus-1215n-4595/

      Unfortunately I cannot recommend any memory that will for sure work, but like I said, i would go for a DDR3 1066 MHz Dual-channel kit and make sure you buy it from a proper place, that will allow 30 days money back guarantee just in case it won’t work (although chances for that are actually slim, but it’s wise to be safe 😛 )

      • Team MeowMix

        April 18, 2011 at 3:54 pm

        Mike, can you site your sources for this claim? I actually bit the bullet, and purchased the UL20ft with the intentions of moving my currently owned 8gb DDR3 1333 mhz modules over to the ul20ft.

        Everywhere online claims 4gb max, but I can’t help but just assume (read: hope) that the spec charts are indicating what the previous refresh [UL20a] was capable of. My 1333 modules downclock to 1066 in my current HP DM1z, BUT isn’t dual-channel.

        I guess my question is two parts:

        1) I’m betting 8gb works in the UL20ft, but I’m curious as you how you came to your own conclusion.

        2) Is the UL20ft DUAL-CHANNEL capable?

        Thanks Mike! You’ve done great replying to so many inquisitors!

      • Mike

        April 18, 2011 at 6:34 pm

        please tell me what CPU exactly you have on your ul20ft so i can check on Intel’s site

  25. Liz

    January 3, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Mike is the link broken?…… it says I need a password.

  26. Ruth

    January 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Hey, i saw you are recommending the best mini laptops to buy? just want to know can you update and now comment on which one is best? i want a fast one and one that will be able to handle programs like photoshop?

    • Mike

      January 11, 2011 at 4:04 pm

      Ruth, the post is up to date for the moment, Changes will happen in the next months, but for now, these are the best choices in my opinion

  27. Liz

    January 13, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I have the Asus UL20FT with CS5 Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Elements and I use it as my grab-and-go laptop when I don’t really want to take my larger and much heavier laptop. Though my Asus is not meant to my primary laptop, it does a very good job when I just need to something lightweight and still need to edit photos out in the field.

    Hope this helps.

  28. Liz

    January 13, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I should have mentioned I did upgrade my Asus UL20FT to 4Gb of memory. I would however like to upgrade the HD to the Seagate Momentus XT ST95005620AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache 2.5″ SATA 3.0Gb/s with NCQ Solid State Hybrid Drive,.. I’m not afraid of changing out he HD myself, but transfering the old image to the new HD I think that might be a harder task for me to do on my own.

  29. AJIT

    January 27, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    why have you missed on 12 inch ASUS 1215T AND 1215P?

    • Mike

      January 28, 2011 at 2:48 am

      @AJIT There wil be a major update on this post soon. I haven’t miss those but they aren’t selling all over the globe and I’m not really sure they are actually worth included here.

  30. JAZM

    January 30, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I’m looking forward to the new post,. will it be on 12″ line of laptops?

  31. Ahmad

    February 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Hey Mike. Is the Asus VX6 a worthy upgrade over the 1215N? I am looking to buy something by the end of April. Do you think anything will change by then?

    • Mike

      February 1, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      It’s the same in terms of hardware. Only a few things differ so i would say no, but hey, if you got the money and want the fancy stuff, why not

  32. Ahmad

    February 1, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks Mike. Quick follow up. Are we looking at something new and exciting come May?

    • Mike

      February 1, 2011 at 6:06 pm

      Yea, we should see new devices with AMD inside starting from March. Stay tuned for updates

  33. jigsaw

    February 9, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    There are some fascinating time limits on this article but I don’t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There may be some validity but I will take maintain opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want extra! Added to FeedBurner as effectively

  34. Suz

    February 20, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Hey Mike. I’m also thinking about buying the asus vx6. But it would be awful if a few months later was released a 12 inch netbook with i3 processor and nvidia grafics in the same pricerange. Should I wait? Will Asus launch a 12 incher with the above specs soon?

    Keep up the great work.


    • Mike

      February 21, 2011 at 1:18 am

      I wish I’d know Suz. No rumors about such a 12 incher yet. There’s the Ul20FT already on the market with Core I3/I5 processors but without the graphics, so it really depends if you plan on playing games or not…

  35. Suz

    February 20, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Ohh and the vx6 has B&O ICE speakers plus two usb 3.0
    But then again it’s 200 dollars more in price…hmmmm……

  36. Napz Almario

    March 8, 2011 at 3:03 am

    thank you for this Mike. it really helps. am planning to buy a new one @ 12-13 inches with best specs coz am working more on SEO so there were lots of software need to be installed. budget price is 20-28K. what can u suggest? right now am using Lenovo but its only 1GB. better if i could find a 4gb. i’l go for Lenovo, Toshiba, or HP if there is.

    • Mike

      March 8, 2011 at 5:36 pm

      napz, 20-28K what? pls state an USD budget

  37. Frank

    March 28, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Cant decide between the Asus 1215N (1.8ghz atom dual core) or the Ul20FT which has a 1.2ghz processor.
    How is this a faster processor then the 1.8ghz?
    Id like a 12inch laptop for use in everyday tasks and the occasional game here and there. But more for business use and some multitasking. Which would you prefer mike?

    • Mike

      March 28, 2011 at 11:17 am

      Frank, the ul20Ft seems better for you. There is quite a big difference in terms of everyday speed between the two and if you won’t play any games than there’s no point going for the device with ION

  38. Frank

    March 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    After research, in Australia the ul20FT isnt available, so would the 1215N still be ok for my usage mike?

    • Mike

      March 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm

      Well… I wouldn’t go for it and better wait for the Asus 1215B (search for the review here on the site) or any of the other devices with AMD Zacate on board. There are a couple of 11.6 inchers already available, like the vaio yb, hp pavilion dm1, lenovo ideapad s205 and lenovo thinkpad x120e. Those offer overall better performances than the 1215N and come with good graphics and battery life as well. Don’t know which one of those are available Down Under but you should check… Of course, in terms of CPU none are as good as the Ul20FT though but should be enough for most everyday tasks.

  39. Frank

    March 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks for that mike, unfortunatly all the units u listed arent available here in aussie, which means i prob be waiting forever for the 1215B. so im prob gonna have to just take my chance with the 1215N or maybe even the VX6. Is performance really that bad on these units, like i wouldnt be playing any full on 3d games, its more for just multitasking and doing invoices on the go.
    If u really think its not worth it, il just wait until something else hopefully pops up in the 12inch range???

  40. Frank

    March 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Hi mike, what do you think of the MSI u270. Because that has the AMD Zacate and That is available in aussie but just a matter of finding one! 🙂

    • Mike

      March 28, 2011 at 6:45 pm

      That one should do… however i would look for more reviews of it before buying. Haven’t seen that many poping along and although hardware platform is the same, there are those little details that make all the difference, like screen, battery, build quality.

      Not, the 1215N ain’t bad at all. However, when I had my test unit, I had problems with 1080p clips and games. That was an rearly sample and drivers were defective at that time. Not sure if this has changed in the meantime but I do believe it did… Still, based entirely on my expeirence with both the 1215n and the 1215B, my money are on the later. Not to mention that it’s cheaper as well. The 1215B though ain’t yet available but was announced for April in Europe and US. So should reach you as well in the next months.

  41. Drathale

    April 1, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    ASUS 1215 T is a very good affordable 12 inch laptop- stating from my own use.
    It certainly deserves a review.

    • Mike

      April 1, 2011 at 3:20 pm

      Didn’t have the chance to ever get my hands on this one so there’s nothing I can say about it 🙁

  42. Gaby

    April 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Hi Mike!!
    I think you are doing and amazing job, by using all your knolewdge and experience to help us 😀 Congratulations about that!
    I would like to make you a quick question, i want to buy a netbook and i want it to fast: wich one of this would you recommend me? HP DM1-3090 or ASUS 1215B? or another one that you consider that is about that price, but always with AMD.
    Thank you so much 😉 and congrats again!

    • Mike

      April 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm

      Gaby, both of them are very good so I would go for the one you like best and can find cheaper

  43. Varun Thakkar

    April 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Hey Mike, I heard that the real model 1215B is deprived of a LAN port. Is it true?

    • Mike

      April 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm

      Not from what i know

  44. Andre

    May 7, 2011 at 5:52 am

    I am wondering if there are portable laptops/netbooks with internal optical (DVD drive) available other than sky-highly priced Vaio entries.

    And on another topic entirely, which is the largest (maybe around 12-13 inch) AND lightest portable laptop/netbook available? Which, among them, comes with dedicated graphics?

    Thanks for your kind response.

    • Mike

      May 7, 2011 at 8:09 am

      Andre, you’ll hardly find any 12 incher with DVD unit these days and also anything with dedicated graphics (except for the 1215N – sort of – and the Dell Alienware M11X) . You’ll have to go to 13.3 or even 14.1 devices to find these for an affordable price

  45. Fh

    June 14, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Hi Mike. Opposite to your recommendation above in your 1215B review you say it tops the N. Which is the better choice? Thanks

    • Mike

      June 15, 2011 at 9:38 am

      yea, i should fix that. Like I said in the review , the 1215N is theoretically slightly faster on paper, but in practice the 1215B performed better, because of the graphic bottlenecks of the Atom + ION architecture. I will write a post that will explain the differences between these two pretty soon, but if you guys have any more questions, just leave a comment or contact me by email

  46. Nicmazza87

    September 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    hi, love your reviews
    i am looking for the right netbook. i will use it manly to browse, writing and watching movies on a hd tv. I was going to buy an ul20ft but i read on many reviews that a 1215b is better suited for watching movies because of its discrete graphics, what do you think?
    Another question: which model of the 1215b has the 1.66 cpu and which one has the 1.0 one? i live in italy, in case its something country-based

    • Mike

      September 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm

      e AMD The 1215B can play 1080P movies smoothly, while the UL20Ft cannot.

      Also, on the 1215B, i would ge tthe version with the AMD E350 APU clocked at 1.66 Ghz. The version with the AMD C-50 APU is clocked at 1.0 GHz and also has poorer graphics, as this processor is developed for smaller 10 inch devices.

  47. Andre

    September 27, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Man that U260 design is sooooo funky! Love it! But what’s with battery life (only 4 hrs)? It isn’t like it sports a discrete graphics there…

    The Series 4 is rather nice also, although not as drool-inducing as Series 9.

    What about the rumored orange, new and faster Lambo VX6? Is there any new news?

    Which one in 11.1-12.5 inch range that comes (or soon comes!) with great graphics?

    But for now, I’d just stick to Asus UL20FT. Best one all around.

    Thanks and kudos!

    • Mike

      September 27, 2011 at 9:00 am

      No word on the new VX6X but I do know Asus is working on new 12 inchers, including the UX21 and some others. So stay tuned

  48. Bruno Dantas

    March 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Any word about the Asus 1225 series?

    • Mike

      March 12, 2012 at 12:22 am

      The new Asus 1225 laptops are actually 11.6 inchers now, and you can read my reviews of the two in the dedicated section (see the menu on top of this page)

  49. Vivek Kumar

    May 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm


    Can you review or give comments regarding HP Pro book 4230s? Whatever I have seen on HP website seems to be impressive. Although about 1 year old now, I feel that is also a good alternative to all these mentioned above.

  50. Tina

    May 31, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    I am looking for mini laptop
    My brother has recommended me Asus
    My desire that it s comfortable to carry and I think I just use it for playing game or entertain but not net book ^__^

    Could you recommend me anything else?

    Thank you for future ^__*

    • Mike

      June 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      TIne, the post above is upo to date and thois are my recommendation. You can also see my post on the Top 11.6 inch mini laptops, you can find it on the front page of this website.

  51. gaurav

    July 6, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    hii mike…i want to buy samsung series 3 mini laptop 12.5 inch..But i am little scared as i heard i3 processor not go well with small screen..is it true?
    also Amd processor i headr they got heating problem too

    • Mike

      July 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      I wouldn’t say that. I don’t get what you are trying to say with the Core I3s not going well with Small screens, but these processors are fast and will work fine on any of these small laptops or bigger ones.

      As for AMD APUs, I didn’t encountered overheating problems when using them

  52. natalia

    January 15, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Hi Mike, I would like to buy a 12 inch laptop, my budget is $550. I spotted this Dell Inspiron 14z and the HP Folio 13-1029wm. Which one is better? Please advice me.

  53. HJay

    April 6, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    “I’ve been using a 12 inch laptop as my main daily driver”……. I thought drivers sat behind the wheel of a car..? In what way is a 12 inch laptop a driver?

    Speak the Queen’s English, there’s a good chap!

  54. Alkasel

    July 6, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    I would link to buy a pc for handwriting.
    Therefore, I’d like to know if these pc have resistive or capacitive touchscreen. Or is ips a type of touchscreen different from the previous? and if it’s the case, is ips touchscreen good for handwriting, as much as resistive touchscreen?

    Lastly, when you say “the battery last for about x hours of everyday use” what do you mean with “every day use”? using pc with wi-fi on, medium brightness etc?

    thank you very much

  55. Vlad

    August 21, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Running a 12.5″ HP Elitebook 2570p with an upgraded CPU (i7-3740QM instead of i5-3360M), upgraded storage (256GB SSD + 2TB HDD in optical caddy), upgraded RAM (incoming 16GB 2133 CL11 RAM), and the option of external GPU through ExpressCard.
    Food for thought.

  56. jaff

    July 3, 2016 at 2:19 am

    Hi Mike… I am a programmer, and a part time unit trust consultant.. I am torn between gettting a thinkpad yoga 260 vs yoga 900s.. The thinkpad is due to good keyboard while the 900s is due to screen and weight factor.. The laptop would primarily use for the unit trust works.. Interested in getting your opinion on which would you choose..if you’re in my situation…

  57. confuse

    January 5, 2017 at 10:27 am

    hi there,

    too many product in the market nowadays and it making us consumer prove to making a wrong choice. i really need an upgraded for my HP Pavilion 360x 11-u019tu. i used in for office tasks, surfing internet & watching movies etc.

    i need a suggestion on latest product below 12 inch laptop/2 in 2s/ultrabook which had enthernet port like my hp. i dont wanna carry around ethernet doogle and lost it when i need it the most.

    although it is a little bulky but HP 11 inch 360x grow on me due to the fact it has a lot of ports & easy to carry around.

  58. Muhammad Hassan

    January 8, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    what about razer blade stealth

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