Laptop bags and cases come in all shapes and sizes, but if you're toting around a 13-inch MacBook or MacBook Air, you're going to want something designed specifically for your system. We've skipped the generic nylon briefcases (which are usually designed for 15-inch laptops) and oversize backpacks, and instead picked some of the best recent laptop cases that are perfect for a 13-inch laptop.
Some of these are more traditional messenger-style bags, others are sleeves designed to fit inside some other piece of luggage. They all have one or more unique features that make them stand out from the crowd.
Cocoon CLS456 13-inch laptop case We've reviewed our fair share of laptop cases over the years, and in the past year and a half we've seen (and reviewed) a good number of cases designed for Apple's iPad tablet. We've seen people shove laptops and tablets together into backpacks and messenger bags, but the $69 Cocoon CLS456 is the first case we've seen specifically designed to hold both a 13-inch laptop and a tablet at the same time.
Just a few short months ago (in March, to be exact), we wrote about an odd glut in Apple's otherwise streamlined lineup of products: instead of one or even two 13-inch laptops to choose from, Apple was offering three. The white MacBook, the MacBook Air, and the MacBook Pro each had a slightly different value equation in terms of design, features, and price.
That glut's been lessened a little now that the white MacBook has been discontinued. The MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro are the only two MacBook product lines left, and they represent two different solutions to same problem. The unibody aluminum Pro used to be considered thin, but it's--relatively--thick at 1 inch, and weighs over 4 pounds. The Pro offers better specs, while the Air, which has just been recently updated, leans toward light weight and quick booting as its advantages.
There's more to consider, though: the 2011 13-inch MacBook Pro and new 13-inch MacBook Air have become more similar than they've ever been before, for several reasons: performance, battery life, and a Thunderbolt port.
Two 13-inch MacBooks: which do you choose?… Read more
A few years ago, the Acer TimelineX was one of the first of what we then called "thin and light" laptops, 13-inchers with sleeker, lighter frames, long battery life, and a more easily portable design than a standard notebook.
The TimelineX series still exists, and Acer's latest version features newer Intel second-gen Core i-series processors and impressive Nvidia graphics. Still, the landscape has expanded to include many thin laptops: the Sony Vaio S and Toshiba Portege R835, and the extremely thin Apple MacBook Air and Samsung Series 9. The $779 TimelineX 3830TG-6431 is thin, but not as … Read more
Following a few leaks, Sony's new high-end Vaio Z laptop has been announced by the European arm of the Sony Vaio group, a few weeks ahead of its expected American debut.
The 13.3-inch laptop is slim and light, under 17mm thick, but still manages to pack in a full-voltage Intel Core i7 processor (paired with an SSD hard drive). The screen has a 1,600x900-pixel resolution, which is higher than most 13-inch laptops.
But the real interesting part of the new Vaio Z is its docking station. The vertically mounted Power Media Dock not only includes an optical drive and a rarely seen Intel Light Peak port, but also a fully functioning AMD Radeon graphics card, which can be used by the laptop when connected to the dock. Sony, in its European press release, says: … Read more
Sony laptops generally tend to be particularly good at being two things: big, high-end media experiences, and small, slim executive powerhouses. The new Vaio F and S series laptops, announced today, offer a bit of both for laptop shoppers willing to spend over $1,000.
The 13.3-inch Vaio S series is only .95 inch thick, and also relatively light: just 3.6 pounds, despite having an optical drive. The closest equivalent we can think of is the Toshiba Portege R835. Unlike the Portege, the Vaio S has a higher-resolution display--1,600x900 pixels--and optional discrete graphics. The Vaio S comes … Read more
Fancy a thin ThinkPad? Lenovo's venerable ThinkPad brand may seem from a distance to look the same every year, since lately the interesting changes have been made under the surface lately. It's also a confusing landscape to navigate, even when you know what size you want. Case in point: the ThinkPad X1 and the ThinkPad Edge E220s.
In one sense, they're completely different laptops. The X1 is a full-powered 13-incher, with a serious professional bent and durable construction. The Edge E220s is a smaller, low-voltage laptop, a 12.5-incher with a more reasonable price tag. And yet, … Read more
Especially in an age of iPads and tablets, thin laptops seem to be back on the rise. Emerging into a landscape full of MacBook Airs, Samsung Series 9s, and Toshiba Porteges--to name a few--is Lenovo's corporate take on the thin, sexy 13-incher, the ThinkPad X1. We've played with one for a week now, and have finally emerged with our review of Lenovo's sex(ier) beast.
The ThinkPad X series has been alive and well for years--the x100e and X201 are recent members of the ThinkPad's ultraportable line--but the X1 is a 13.3-incher that's … Read more
As it is an excellent update to last year's Toshiba Portege R705 (one of the most popular laptops we reviewed in 2010), it's no surprise we also liked the new Portege R835 model. We just reviewed the $929 R835-P56X, with a fast Intel Core i5 CPU and outstanding battery life, and awarded it a very rare Editors' Choice designation.
And now, just as it did with the R705, retailer Best Buy has just put an exclusive version of the R835 on sale at a steeply discounted price. The Portege R835-P50X is $749 at Best Buy, while Toshiba lists … Read more
One of our most popular reviews last year was of the 13-inch Toshiba Portege R705, a slim high-end laptop that managed to pack in a solid set of components for around $800. It became one of my go-to recommendations for people who liked the look and feel of MacBooks, but wanted to either spend a few hundred dollars less, or had to stay on Windows.
But in 2011, the still-popular system was hampered by being stuck on Intel's previous processor platform, while newer laptops moved to the latest Core i-series Sandy Bridge chips, which offered both outstanding performance and … Read more