You’d think that, with all the incredible things our smartphones can do, 11 inch laptops should be at least just as fast right?
Even in 2022 , 99% of 11 inch laptops still suck.
That’s because manufacturers still equip them with the same processor they use in tablets and smartphones.
Those CPUs are good to run apps on smartphones and all but they are NOT good enough to run the full version of Windows 10 Home or even worse Windows 11.
That’s why they all feel like you’re running Windows 98 in 1998 instead of Windows 10 Home.
Most of them are so slow you might get more work done with a smartphone.
Q: Why do they use a mobile CPU?
Well, they have really no choice.
It’s very expensive to fit in a decent processor on a very compact device. Mainly due to the limiting space available to create a proper air cooling system to avoid overheating.
Q: So should I look for bigger laptops then?
You could do that but just so you know that there are still a few great “cheap” 11 inch laptops out there that can support Windows 10 Home and even Windows 11 Pro.
The problem is of course…
The market full of 11 inch laptops of all types: chromebooks, touchscreens, convertibles, ultrabooks,etc, with dozens of brands and CPUs of all sorts and ages. It will surely take at least a few days to find a good deal.
Fortunately for you…
I’ve already done that work for you.
In fact, I own three of these laptops myself.
What’s more I’ve also written a guide on how YOU can pick them apart on your own so you can get the best 11 inch laptop that can support Windows 10 or even Windows 11.
- Recommended Specs for 11 inch Laptops
- How To Buy The Best 11 inch Laptop
Recommended Specs for 11 inch Laptops
Anyways these 11 laptops are mostly available in the US.
So if you’re reading this from another country (UK, India, Philippines,Canada, Singapore). You can either type these models name on the google search + country.
If you still can’t find them, I suggest you pay close attention to what I’m about to say.
I will summarize it here but if there’s something that’s not clear there is a more complete and detailed buying guide at the end of this post.
The biggest factor behind perfomance will be the what CPU you use for a given OS (operating system).
Chrome OS: Virtually any CPU will work here. Even MediaTek MT8173C & Atom x5 E8000 CPUs.
Windows 10 in S Mode: Most CPUs will work here but I’d take a strong preferene to N4020,N4100,N4000 Celeron CPUs.
OSX(Mac): Apple designs their OS to work with their CPUs. So they all will be fast fast.
Linux: You just need to choose the right distro and you’ll be fine. Any CPU works.
Now for Windows 10 Home or Windows 11 Pro:
- Only Core m3/m5/Y processors. EX: M3-8100Y / M5Y31 will assure you of lightining speeds. Some Celeron processors work you need to meet other reqs (N4020,N4000).
- Here’s from the best to the worse: Core i3>Core m3/m5/y5>Pentium Gold>AMD A9=AMD A6=Celeron>Pentium(not Gold)>Atom/ARM /MeditaTek
*Those in gray must be avoided for Windows Home, green are okay, blue are great
Getting a fast CPU is useless if you don’t have enough RAM.
RAM can also help offset the lack of CPU power.
How much memory depends on the Operating System:
Chrome OS/OSX/Linux: 2GB or 4GB any size you get here is fine.
Windows 10 S: is a little more hardware demanding but you can still do with 4GB RAM.
Windows 10 Home/Windows 11: Try to get 8GB here. Can’t stress this enough.
*Not all 11 inch laptops are upgradeable (most aren’t).
Most 11 inch laptops have eMMC storage.
Although those are much faster than traditional hard disk drives, they may not be good for Windows 10 Home(especially if you lack CPU power/RAM).
So try to get an SSD (if not upgrade) if you lack the CPU power.
11 inch laptops with 128GB SSDs are still available. That much should be enough.
Most 11 inch laptops have low resolutions: HD. Not much you can do about it.
Full HD will give you tons of extra space despite the limited screen size but they’re rare & ultra expensive (~800$).
Top 11 Best 11 Inch Laptops in 2022
I’ll start with the best 3 11 inch laptops (I own these myself , I’ll post the most recent models though) then I’ll go over other good options that can support the full versions of Windows 10 Home and some only Windows 10 in S mode.
1. MacBook Air
Intel Core i5 up to 2.7GHz
128-256 GB SSD
11.6 inch HD Glossy
OSX Catalina (upgradeable to Monterey)
It’s been three years since the first revision of this post and the 11 inch MacBook Air is still the best 11 inch laptop you’ll find under 500$ and might even be the best 11 inch laptop under 300$ now.
Aside from ultrabooks and other premium very expensive laptops, there aren’t really laptops that are as fast as the 11 inch MacBook Air.
Although the 11” version has been discontinued for almost 5 years, surprisingly you can find way more now than last year. If you have any doubts about their quality or their performance, be my guest click any of the links above and read the reviews.
Also make sure to compare the specs to what other 11 inch laptops offer. You’ll notice right away the MacBook Air still makes them look like silly toys.
Don’t worry about these not being new by the way.
Remember how I bought my MacBook Air a year before the first version of this post ~2019? Well it’s still working like a champ, it’s even updated to the latest version of OSX. You can see the featured image of this post has me running youtube, an IDE, pdf and a word editor with zero issues (even making some pace for World of Warcraft now).
The charger stopped working though mostly because it took several drops but it only cost me 50 bucks to replace it.
Just for the sake of completeness for those who are new to laptops, let me talk about the MacBook Air a little bit more in depth.
Why are there so many 11 inch MacBook airs if they have been discontinued then?
The first 11” Macbook Ai was released several years after the first MacBook Air which was 13”’. That was in 2015, back then, it was hailed as the best lightweight 11 inch laptop to the point that most writers, programmers and students had one. It was back then the thinnest, lightest laptop with an insane amount of battery life you could find while still keeping the top of the line keyboard of the 13” version.
A few years later, Apple came up with the: The New MacBook which was an even smaller laptop with all the qualities of the 11 inch MacBook Air but with a retina resolution display , no ports and just better looks really. Since that new macbook was nothing more than a smaller carbon copy of the 11 inch MacBook Air but was more expensive, they had to discontinue the 11 inch MacBook Air which was cheaper and so it had to go.
Fortunately, they kept 13” version of the 2015 MacBook Air. Although it was later on also replaced by the New MacBook Air which after trial and error had to revert back to the same trackpad/keyboard design of the original 2008 MacBook Air Steeve Jobs designed (the 11 inch MacBook Air also follows the same design).
Out of desesperation, since the 11” MacBook Air was pretty much the same laptop Steeve Jobs designed and was the best selling laptop back then, people bought 11 inch MacBook Airs like crazy because they knew they were both about to be discontinued. That’s why you can still find these models on Amazon or Ebay.
I would strongly advice you to buy them from Amazon. I have bought several of these as gifts and they are still working like a champ. You also get a better warranty , 90 days, which is enough time to find out if there’s anything wrong with it.
If you spend days making a list of all 11 inch laptops under 400$ you’ll find that only the 11 inch MacBook Air has the fastest processor AND also a Solid State Drive. Pentiums, Celerons, ARM chips don’t even come close to a Core i5.
Wait, is this Solid State Drive any different?
Yes, most 11 inch laptops use flash storage (eMMC) , although they try to disguise it by just saying “64GB storage” or “128GB storage”. They are still faster than HDDs (which you must avoid) but they’re not as fast as Solid State Drives and they usually don’t have this same capacity . In fact, the 11 inch MacBook Air’s SSD is on a class of its own, it’s propietary of Apple and despite being designed like 7 years ago they still run as fast as the SSD (NVMe PCIe) you find on modern 2022 laptops.
Don’t worry about not having Windows 10 on it, if you’re using this for remote work/classes, you can still run:
- Dozens of tabs open with Chrome
- Large spreadsheets with plugins
- Stream Zoom with zero issues,
- Programing with IDEs (although it may not be necessary since you’ve got the terminal)
- I’ve used mine to play AAA games like WoW, OverWatch with no issues (at lowest settings).
- I’ve also throw in some serious computatinal physics: running a simulation to backtrack a particle (find the change in direction of a particle traveling from the outer edge of the galaxy to earth).
- While waiting for that I’ve run facebook, played music, and web browse with no lag.
I’ll add what’s it like to run a very graphical demanding game like WoW in the coming days or maybe even a video.
By the way, if you are a programmer, subscribe to the site and make sure to select the programming option. I will post a cool guide on how to install python correctly on the MacBook Air so you don’t have any compatibility issues with third party packages.
The best part of the design is that this is basically the updated 2015 version of what Steeve Jobs designed back in 2008. How is that good?
Well unlike the Newer MacBooks, you will still find the good ol’ USB/thunderbolt ports AND the magsafe powercord here which was discontinued but was put back into place in 2020 though. This will should protect your laptop from anyone tripping over the power cord and sending your MacBook flying away across the table.
KeyBoard & Trackpad:
Believe or not the older versions of the MacBook Air’s keyboard and trackpad (again the design that Steeve Jobs left into place) are just as good or better (at least to writers) than today’s new line up of MacBooks.
Despite their limited travel distance, the keys are extremely clicky and responsive. Only a few (more expensive) ultrabooks manage to produce the same tactile feedback.
As for the trackpad, it’s huge, bigger tha most 11 inch laptops and extremely responsive. If you’ve been using a mouse your entire life and hated trackpads, there is a chance you will use this trackpad just as much as you use a mouse, at least that was the case for me.
The only real issue is that the trackpad is kind of big for a laptop of this size, you’ll find yourself hitting the trackpad accidentally with the palm of your hand if you are not careful.
Another cool thing about the 2008-2017 models is that they still have the insane long battery life of the newer models. The battery depending on how used your machine is can last anywhere from 8h to 13 hours. Havint this laptop on standby for a week isn’t really that uncommon.
If I’m using this laptop on a trip and using the internet through a mobile hotspot, the battery will last me at least 6 hours.
1.6-2.48 GHz Intel Celeron N3060
4GB RAM DDR3L
32 GB eMMC
11.6 inch HD Anti Glare
The only type of 11 inch laptop that will UNDOUBTEDLY give you a fast performance after the MacBook Air is a ChromeBook. Why you may ask?
Because ChromeBooks do not need a high performance CPU as Windows 10 may require. They only have Chrome OS which is a very lightweight operating system.
This is why Chromebooks will for the most part have mobile CPUs on board and low RAM.
In fact, any chromebook will run several times faster than most, if not all, 11 inch laptops because Chrome OS was designed specifically for ChromeBooks too, kind of like Apple designs the OS for their MacBooks.
They also have low storage capacities since most of the stuff you do with one will be stored on the Cloud (online). If you want to store stuff on your ChromeBook you can easily add an extra SD reader.
You can have MS Word, spreadsheets, NetFlix + several dozens of web browsing tabs and still feel no lag. And yes, ZOOM is available on ChromeBooks too.
Everything may seem to be perfect so far, so what’s the caveat?
The caveat is that you can only install software that is available in the Android Store. Now that isn’t really limiting because we all know all the kind of stuff available in the Android store by using our smartphones and most of the software available has a ChromeBook version too.
However, if you want to install third party software online, you’re out of luck. There’s a solution to that problem though: install Linux on it.
Once you get Linux on a computer, it’s like opening up a pandora’s box. You will get access to millions of third party sfotware, even MS Office and Zoom have a linux version. So provided you install Linux on your ChromeBook, you will have the best of both worlds: all the apps available in the android store + all the software available online which you can download and install yourself.
Switching back to Chrome OS only takes a restart so you don’t have to re-install anything if you want to go back to Chrome OS.
Design: ASUS C202
Now why I picked this model over all the others. I’m a complete mess and leave my laptop wherever I feel like at the moment.Sometimes I may find it next to the kitchen sink and sometimes on top of the fridge or under a pile of dirty clothes on the floor. So I need the extra protection of the 180 degree hinges so as to not damage my display when it’s flipped back way too far. That ruggerized case also helps when I happen to drop it.
My chromebook as you can see still doesn’t have a single dent/scratch.
Intel Celeron N4020
11.6 inch HD TN display
1 x Headphone-out & Audio-in Combo Jack ,1 x HDMI ,2 x USB Type-A 3.1 , SD Card Reader, x1 USB Type C port
Windows 10 S (Upgradeable to Windows 10 Home)
ASUS has always had a great line of 11 inch laptops. However, only two models of their models are widely available now. Both of them will run the full version of Windows 10 Home with zero lag even when you multitask.
The first thing that will blow your mind is that it’s only ~200$.
Now, there’s nothing special about the Hardware. It’s the usual hardware you’ll find on 11 inch laptops: Celeron Processor, 4GB RAM and 64 eMMC Flash Storage. What’s really amazing about this laptop is the performance which we’ll talk about soon.
If there’s anything worth of mention about hte hardware is the display which for a TN display does not give any issues. There’s no washed out colors, no whitening, no weird spots on the corner. Since it’s a TN display though and what most 11 inch laptops have , viewing angles are important. It starts to become more blurry the more you flip back the screen. Though
Then we have the webcam. It’s not the best but for 200$ it’s clear, no issues with dropped frames, color accurate. On the other hand, the microphone works amazing. It registers speech accurate, no screeching sounds and the like. If you’re buying it for school purposes then for Zoom it will do.
Lastly, all the ports you need are there with slightly more ports than the average 11 inch laptop: x2 USB ports, USB-C port, SD Card Slot, HDMI port and of course the headphone jack.
Now to the most important aspect.
Although the hardware is pretty average for an 11 inch laptop, the performance is well above average and I’m not talking about the performance you’ll get with Windows 10 in S mode, I’m talking about WIndows 10 Home. Sure, this laptop comes with Windows 10 in S mode like most laptops do but you also get the option to make the switch to the full version of Windows.
Once you do so, you’ll realize that this laptop, at least for the first few weeks, will run Windows 10 Home decently. However, as Windows updates add up and other installes piles up on your system (even without you doing or installing anything), you will need to do the upgrade to 8GB. You also need to make sure you install a proper wireless driver for it to fully work.
Once you can mutitask with the everyday software and applications everyone uses with 0 performance issues: MS Office 365 (Free for one year ) , Zoom, Google Chrome, MP3 players,etc.
Now you don’t have to do any upgrades if you’re willing to leave the version of Windows 10 S intact. The most commonly used software are all available on the Windows App store.
Linux: Now if you don’t want to use Windows 10 in S mode and you don’t want to buy a separate RAM stick. Just install a Linux Distro, here are the basic steps but you can find hundreds of videos on how to do it on Youtube. Once you do, it will work just like Linux does on Chrome OS, you’ll get several times the performance of Windows 10 with all your favorite third party software: Zoom, Office-like software, IDEs for programming, and pretty much everything you can install on Windows because 95% of these software have a Linux version too.
Depending on what distro you install (I recommend Ubuntu), you may have issues with the wireless card. If you do, you can just get a USB Wifi Antena and problem solved, your budget will still stay below 250$.
Unlike a significant number of 11 inch laptops, this one has the overall weight and build quality of premium 11 inch laptops. One cay say it’s just as good as the MacBook’s build quality: only 2.2lbs, VERY thin for a windows laptop, no plastic around it whatsoever, solid sturdy case, rock solid hinges,etc.
Keyboard and TrackPad:
Keyboard is very very comfortable to type with. The overall design: space between keys, size, travel distance makes it very hard to accidentally press a character. It doesn’t feel cramped which is surprising for an 11 inch laptop. There’s no backlit feature and this is something you can’t really ask for 200$ (The MacBook Air does though ~250$-300$).
The only real issue is how unconventially the delete key is positioned, it’s right to the power key and there will surely be times when you send this laptop to sleep mode so it will get some time getting used to
Trackpad quality is excellent, totally usable, you don’t have to buy a separate mouse all functions work accurately. As you can see in the picture it comes with a numpad on the keyboard so if youre crunching numbers on excel it will definitely come useful.
Best 11 inch Laptop Under 300 ASUS
11.6 inch HD TN display
1 x Headphone-out & Audio-in Combo Jack ,,1 x HDMI ,2 x USB Type-A 3.1 , SD Card Reader
Windows 10 S (Upgradeable to Windows 10 Home)
This is the second older version released by ASUS and in fact is still popular even in 2021-2022, the reason is again performance. Given the fact that most 11 inch laptops have very bad overall hardware for Windows 10 Home, it’s very rare to find a laptop that will be able to efficiently use its power to handle the full version of Windows.
There’s nothing really remarkable about this hardware, it’s still what most 11 inch laptops offer. The CPU is slightly different than the first ASUS model we went over: N4000 vs N4020 which is only a tiny bit faster. The advante of this laptop is that the wireless card is older so it’s more compatible with any operating system of your choice, even Linux.
Works just like the ASUS L210. You can multitask all you want with Windows 10 S mode or Linux on it. If you decide to run Windows 10 Home on it, remember to forfeit any updates as it is very likely it won’t run future versions as fast as the 2004 Windows 10 package.
Other than that trackpad and keyboard and weight have the same good quality of the newer model. The trackpad however lacks the numpad key. WebCam and audio works fine too so it’s still super useful for streaming purposes.
Why limit the updates? Because this laptop is unfortunately not upgradeable at all. You can’t upgrade the internal storage nor the RAM. So I suggest you buy this one ONLY if the other ASUS model is out of stock.
5. HP Stream 11
Intel Celeron N4000
4GB RAM DDR4
11.6” TN Display HD
1 x Headphone-out & Audio-in Combo Jack ,1 x HDMI ,2 x USB Type-A 3.1 , SD Card Reader, x1 USB Type C port
Windows 10S (Upgradeable to Windows 10 Home – not recommended)
Now no 11 inch laptop list would be complete without mentioning the HP Stream line of laptops because they’re the most common 11 inch laptop you’ll find online and it is very likely you will come across one of their models.
Before you pull the trigger on one of these you must know a few things:
First, your best bet to get good performance out of one is to choose a model that has one of the following CPUs: N4000/N4010/N4020.
You must avoid any other CPU otherwise you will definitely have too much lag to even do basic things (some have an ATOM Chip like the Atom x5 E8000).
Only the Celeron version will at least give you the chance to run Windows 10 Home decently.
Now this model and in fact most windows laptops under 350$ will come with Windows 10 in S mode and that’s a good thing because that is much much less hardware demanding and will should allow you to multitask with minimal lag even without the RAM upgrade.
So whichever HP stream model you choose, try your best to see if Windows 10 in S mode suits your needs.
Like I said, Windows 10 S mode has every software you’ll need. Though probably not exactly the brands/companies you have in mind. You should still be able to code, program, stream videos, use Zoom, Office, etc.
Now I’m advicing you to do this because it is very likely NONE of their models will be able to run the full version of Windows 10 properly and RAM IS NOT UPGRADEABLE.
Aside from that the only limiting factor is their storage which range from 32-64GB. If you are running Windows 10 in S mode and buying it for school purposes, then it should be fine. If you ever run out of space, like I said, you can just plugin an SD Card memory: a 256GB memory sells for 50 bucks these days.
However, if you’re planning to install Windows 10 Home. YOU MUST buy this external SSD card and store EVERYTHING on it except Windows 10 home of course. It’s the only safest way to get the best performance out of it. I’ve done so with no performance issues however you may not be that lucky.
- Looks are aesthetically pleasing.The finish and colors make it look like they’re for kids.
- Decent Keyboard: Not MacBook great for 200$ dollars it’s comfortable to type for hours.
- Speakers: quiet with poor quality. Might be best to use headphones.
- WebCam: Very old Web-Cam technology however for Zoom purposes it will do.
- TouchPad: bad. Some functions no longer work. A mouse is better anyways if you want to be productive.
Here are some tips that might help you out:
- Remove all the bloatware as soon as you turn it on(Apple bounjour, LEAP, McAfee, Antivirus, HP software support )
- Disable future updates. They’ll make it slower.
- Download CCleaner (if using Win 10 ): use it to clear up cache registry
- Install google Chrome. Try it out see if its faster than Microsoft Edge.
Accesories I recommend you buy (especially if you Wireless Mouse especially this one.
Intel Pentium N5000
4GB RAM DDR4
128 GB Solid State Drive
11.6” TN Display HD TouchScreen 2-1
Windows 10 Home
Unlike the HP stream , this HP x360 assures you of extreme high speed performance with Windows 10 Home for one very simple reason: the SOLID STATE DRIVE.
Unlike 99% of 11 inch laptops including the HP Stream, the HPX360 comes with a slightly faster and more recent CPU: Pentium N5000 (although it may not sound like it).
But that’s not why it’s different: it’s the storage, this time you’re getting a full blown Solid State Drive not a eMMC flash storage (which is still faster than HDDs but slower than real SSDs) pair that with ANY old CPU/4GB RAM laptop, you can expect at LEAST to be able to multitask with zero issues whatsoever.
Interestingly enough, this laptop is upgradeable despite being a more sophisticated device (a 2 in 1 inch laptop). That is, the 4GB RAM is not the only slot available and it’s attached to the motherboard. Although it will take some work to do the upgrade as you can see in the video below, you aren’t like to needed it. The storage device should make all the difference and Windows 10 Home should run fast enough.
In the scenario where you accumulate way too much bloatware you can’t get rid of and you don’t want to format the device, then you will need to do the upgrade. I suggest you take it to a computer repairshop and they should do it in a second.
You aren’t likely to need any upgrades though.
This is a 2 in 1 laptop so you can flip it back and forth to your liking, this is also a touchscreen so you can use a tablet. It’s got a high build quality , made of full aluminum with a rock solid enclosure. Trackpad and keyboard are good. Provided you don’t get a faulty unit everything just works great. Battery life is pretty long too. If you don’t use the touchScreen it should last you for at least 8 hours.
Best Thin 11 inch Laptop(Windwos 10)
Intel Pentium N4020
4GB RAM DDR4
128 GB Solid State Drive
11.6” TN Display HD
Windows 10 Home
The advtange of going for less popular brands is that you usually get more bang for your buck. That’s one way to narrown more 11 inch laptops with great performance because these will come with better hardware.
Almost all of the hardware is pretty much what you’d expect from an 11 inch laptop: celeron CPU, 4GB RAM, TN Display,etc, except that this model . just like the HP Pavilion X360, also has a Solid State Drive with 128GB. This, as you know, will make sure Windows 10 Home runs with no hiccups.
Now you have to be careful when shopping for these kind of laptops. Although a Solid State Drive adds quite a lot of power , it will only offset any lack of RAM IF and ONLY IF you’ve got a Celeron/Pentium CPU in it.
For example, if you browse around long enough you will come across this model:
Which despite the spacious 128 Solid State Drive will NOT run Windows 10 Home properly unless it has a Celeron/Pentium CPU. As far as I know, although it’s not clearly stated, has an ATOM CPU which is the slowest CPU on laptops. If the fusion 5 comes with an Intel Celeron/Pentium AND the Solid State Drive then that would make it just as much of a good choice as this CHUWI HeroBook Air.
This is the most compact and lightweight Windows laptop on this list. It’s only 2lb and it’s only 1.7mm thin. This is probably the best choice if you want a back-up computer to take with you on trips as it can pretty much fit in anything, even a large pocket, it’s just as compact as the MacBook Air.
Another cool thing is that display is pretty bright so it will help offset the fact that it has TN display and you want flip back the screen slightly. Speaker sound system is average. It’s not as bad as other laptops so you won’t need to use headphones.
Best 11 inch Laptop Lenovo
Intel Core i5-7Y54
8GB RAM DDR4
128 GB Solid State Drive
11.6” TN Display HD
Windows 10 Home
Now it’s time to go over 11 inch laptops with very fast processors, which should make a HUGE different when using Windows 10 Home. Although this is the most sure way to get a snappy performance with Windows 10, this also raises the prices significantly. These laptops are not cheap at all so I urge you to buy them only if you really need a really small laptop.
With that out of the way, let’s go over one of the two 11 inch laptops (w/ Windows on it) with the most powerful mobile CPUs.
You will probably never be able to find better hardware than what this Lenovo ThinkPad Offers at least in the 11 inch laptop market. The summary of this laptop is that it will outperform every 11 inch laptop you’ll find online, if you want to know more details about why this is the case, then keep reading this section.
The CPU, although from the 7th generation, is even faster than the CPU you find on the MacBook Air (though that doesn’t mean it will perform as Windows is way more hardware demanding).
This CPU is basically the same Core i5 CPUs you’ve heard about except that it’s been slightly modified to be able to accomodate the high temperatures that result from the small space available 11 inch laptops. This means that it only operates at full speed (3.4GHz) for short periods of time and it will only operate at such high speed only with one core (the other will most of the time stay around the base clock speed 1.1GHz). For everyday purposes, this is still too much power (3.4GHz even if it’s through one core is still quite a lot of power for), so you bet you’ll be able to throw in some pretty insane multitasking (I assure you it should be as fast as a MacBook Air).
What’s more is that it’s already upgraded to 8GB RAM which is the maximum amount ANY everyday user , most gamers will ever need. This should make the system even more snappy with several RAM-eating applications run simultaneously such as Chrome, Zoom, MS Office, video player, windows movie maker, etc. You could even play Minecraft, Roblox and even World of Warcraft on this thing which are very hardware demanding applications. It’s also aided in that regard by the fact that it has a relatively recent integrated GPU: Intel 615.
Lastly, it’s also got a full blown Solid State Drive, which will make this thing turbo charged when booting up and launching software.
Like I said, it’s all good stuff you’re paying for here. So even if you find it to be expensive, it’s all worth it.
This is a Lenovo ThinkPad and like all ThinkPads, they stay true to their most attractive feature: the overall build quality. The ThinkPads are built like tanks, have an insane amount of ports and come with top of the line keyboards and trackpads.
The case and lid cover are all rock solid, sturdy and resistant to physical drops (up to 3 meters). They’re tested against various physical benchmarks before relase and this model is no exception.
There are several places where this laptop is solid covered by rubber band to minimize dents from drops as well.
The only bad part about these little tanks is that they’re quite thick and relatively heavy (3lb) but that’s to be expected if you have this much power , this very responsive and top of the line keyboard (good keyboards require thickness to allow for more travel distance) and the rock solid overall built.
Intel Core i3-10100Y 1.3 – 3.9 GHz
8GB RAM DDR3
Intel UHD Graphics 615
10.5” IPS 1800×1200 Pixel Sense
Finally, the last 11 inch laptop (well this one is actually even smaller) that can run Windows 10 Home and even Windows 11 Pro with zero lag.
This is the most expensive ultra portable laptop there is (if you get a model with 8GB RAM + 128GB, which you should!) .
So I suggest you buy it ONLY if you need both the touchScreen feature (which works like an iPad Pro) and it’s ability to be switched into a full blown laptop. It’s basically a Windows version of the iPad Pro with the exception that it has a full blown operating system that’s used on computers.
The highest configuration has what’s probably as of 2022 the most powerful “mobile” CPU available : the Core i3 10100Y.
This Core i3 can reach higher clock speeds (up to 3.9GHz) however , at least in devices this small, it can only reach this upper limit for short periods of time. This is what will most likely make it almost equal in power to the Intel Core i5-7Y54 and the older Core m3-8100Y. The other CPU configuration is a Intel Pentium-Gold which is basically a “rebranded” Core m3-8100Y.
Which brings me to most important fact to know about the Surface Go 3:
“It makes little difference to choose the supposedly faster Core i3 CPU over the Pentium Gold CPU, they will have more or less the same performance for everyday tasks and multitasking”
So if you wish to go for the Pentium Gold version to save yourself a few hundred of dollars you can do so provided you also get 128GB and 8GB RAM with it. Otherwise, even if you get the Core i3, you will have some lag when using Windows 10 and even worse lag when using Windows 11 Pro.
The design is unique, there are no other 2-1 convertible laptop this small and much less with this much resolution. It’s got the highest resolution at this size if we are talking about laptops OR device with a full blown operating system like Windows 10: almost FHD resolution (1800×1200) as opposed to HD resolutions (1280×720).
Screen is also the brightest (400nits) as opposed to the average 250 nits that most 11 inch laptops have. You should however lower the screen brightness for eye health and battery purposes. By the way, the battery is also the longest (at least from Windows laptops) at 9 hours (provided you don’t use maximum brightness of course).
Moreover, the overall build quality is extremely sturdy and well-built more so than any other device on this list (with the exception of the MacBook Air). There’s also no fan therefore little to no noise when turned ON (this is due to the Core i3/Core i5 CPUs not needing much ventilation to operate).
Lastly, the speakers are loud and clear and the touchscreen feature with the stylus is very accurate to draw and design accurately.
The bad side:
- It’s expensive (549-700$).
- It’s going to be slow if you don’t get 8GB RAM (which ups the price by 200$).
- You will run out of space quickly if you get the 64eMMC for storage (you should get the 128GB SSD or else don’t buy this thing).
- The keyboard and pen are sold separately and add up to 200$.
- No USB ports which means carrying a dongle or using wireless devices.
Like I said, it’s only a great option if you need a fast and quiet little machine with the full blown version of Windows .
We have gone over pretty much every high performance 11 inch laptop available. If you can’t find any of the models we’ve so far gone over, just copy the model’s name and paste it on the google search see if you find them on eBay, Costco, BestBuy or any computer store of your country (type the model name + your country).
To wrap it, let’s go over a few more ChromeBooks worth considering. They can’t run Windows 10 Home but as you’ve seen in the ChromeBook I own (laptop #2) they are still very versatile machines even more so if you install Linux on them.
Intel Celeron N4000/N4020
4GB RAM LPDDR4
Intel UHD Graphics 600
11.6 inch HD 2 in 1 Touch IPS Display
There’s no point talking about performance since all ChromeBooks regardless of what hardware they have will have almost the same performance, again this is due to Chrome OS which is a very lightweight operating system.
So let’s talk about what makes this ChromeBook different than all the others:
2 in 1 TouchScreen: This is a Chromebook that can turn into a tablet and not viceversa because unlike the Surface Go/Ipad Pro, the keyboard is soldered into the display. Once you flip back the keyboard, it will basically as a huge smartphone or a tablet, you can play games with the touchScreen feature and even use software through it again as if it were a smartphone.
Stylus: You can also use any stylus of your choice and write on it. Although it isn’t as nearly as accurate and precise as the Surface Go and the iPad Pro, you can still writes and draw with. Obviously, you can also use the stylus to interact with software and click on options like an Ipad Pro.
There are hundreds of stylus and most of them will work but I highly recommend using this one for a more seamless compatibility.
Display: it’s an IPS panel as it should be. TN displays are not useful for 2 in 1 laptops as any tilting of the screen will make the display darker and harder to see. So viewing angles are perfect, even if you tilt the screen as far as 150 degrees, everything is still clearly visible.
Other than that, it’s still an HD panel with huge bezels which is a bummer because they could’ve made use that extra space to fit it a bigger display but for 250$ what else can you ask?
Keyboard & TrackPad: Keys have low travel, they are soft but still clicky and responsive. The only annoying thing is that it doesn’t have a delete button and instead of the “CAPS LOCK” button it has a “Search” button that will get some time to used to. This is universal in all ChromeBooks.
Intel Celeron Processor N4020
Intel UHD Graphics 600
11.6 ” HD TN display
Now the final laptop on the list and also the only other ChromeBook worth mentioning in this list.
It’s got no touchscreen , no 2in1 display, no IPS display, it doesn’t even have 8GB RAM so what’s so special about?
It is the cheapest ChromeBook you will see in a long long long time. It’s only about 150$.
And for 150$ you’re getting all the usual stuff 11 inch ChromeBooks have to offer: the 10 hour battery life, the ultralight weight design and of course the high performance of Chrome OS.
There are really no caveats with this model. Everything from the screen to the trackpad and keyboard work just fine here. It’s not renewed and it’s not an old model either, it’s actually recent. You can install Linux on it and
Nothing wrong with the speakers either in fact they’re quite powerful. The display is also bright enough.
Stop questioning this thing and buy it before it’s out of stock.
It’s just a limited time thing, the usual price is about 250$ (which is pretty average for a ChromeBook) but as February 2022 it’s selling for 150$.
How To Buy The Best 11 inch Laptop
There are several reasons why a decent 11 inch laptop is difficult:
- There are several CPUs with all sorts of different names: Celeron, Pentium N3000 Atom X5 Core M3 Core Y3 MediaTek. So it’s difficult to tell just by the name.
- Most will have only 4GB. Windows 10 itself eats ~3.1GB and memory usage will increase with updates.
- eMMC flash storage are almost universal on 11 inch laptops which for large storage purposes it’s slower than SSDs.
Now even with all the good harware in place : Core i5/Core i3 CPUs + 8GB RAM + Solid State Drive, you’ll still be limited to what you can do:
- Photo editing/Video like you would with a smartphone will be fine. But you can’t do any serious video/photo editing.
- You can’t play games at high settings as you would with any bigger 600$ laptop.
You can basically do all the things you can with a smartphone with the difference of having a bigger screen.
Obviously, you can multitask and do everyday tasks with it. Provided you follow my advice on hardware you should be able to:
- Watch videos without pausing every 30 seconds.
- Use MS Office with no lag when scrolling down
- Browse the web w/ at least 20 tabs open before having lag.
- Photo Edit (nothing too crazy though)
- Program with light IDEs
- Basically anything that doesn’t ask for a dedicated graphics card.
|Name||Cores||Threads||Base Speed (GHz)||Boost Speed
|Atom x5 E8000||4||4||1.1||2mb|
|AMD Athlon 3050U||2||2||2.3||3.2||1mb(l2)|
|Intel Core M-5Y31||2||4||0.9||2.4||4mb|
|Intel Core i5-7Y54
|Pentium Gold 4425Y||2||4||1.7||—||2mb|
|Intel Core i3-10100Y||2||4||1.3||3.9||2mb|
|Pentium Gold 4415Y||2||2||1.6||—||2mb|
This table basically has ALL the CPUs you’ll find on 11 inch laptops. I’ll explain what the colors mean soon.
Here’s a quick breakdown for these CPUs.
There’s only one Atom CPU on the table although in reality there dozens of different models. The reason why I decided to list one is simple: they are all pretty bad for Windows 10 Home.
They were basically designed to be used on TVs or anything that uses a processor sparingly. Over time they made their way to tablets and eventually laptops.
Once they made it into laptops, their design and performance started to improve however even the latest atom CPU has still rock bottom performance for Windows 10 or even worse Windows 11.
I would only opt for this if I was on a budget AND if I’m only going to use Windows 10 in S mode.
They obviously work OK for ChromeBooks and Linux set ups too.
I labeled them with red because you should avoid this for Windows 10 Home.
These were only designed for tablets and laptops and no other device so they needed to pack a lot of power.
Although these have the same design and architecture as Atom CPUs , they can handle much higher clock speeds so they’ll have much much higher performance. In fact, some of these can perform as good as old generation Core i3 processors.
If running Windows 10 S/Chrome/Linux , chosing a celeron over a Core i3isn’t a bad idea. Because celeron CPUs consume significantly less power than Intel Core i3 CPUs so you’ll have much more battery.
N4000 vs N3000: there’s a huge jump in performance from the 3rd to 4th generation. The 3rd generation Celeron CPUs are obsolete now and if you find them, you should avoid these as they do not have much power to run Windows 10 Home. They’ll be okay for any other OS system though. N4000 celeron CPUs and CPUs with similar performance are labeled in green. They will run Windows 10 Home provided you meet a few other requirements.
These have the same name as the processors that we were all used to in the 90s and early 2000s until facebook and social media did not ruin what was the internet all about: reseach and work. Though the architecture is now entirely different from the early 2000s pentium CPUs.
The newer Pentium CPUs now have the same architecture as the “Intel Core i3”, “Intel Core i5” and “Intel Core i7” series including their new features: hyperthreading and turbo-boost.
However, performance is a mixed bag. Some CPUs perform better than Celeron CPUs and some far worse. To be sure of their performance, it’d be best for you to use notebookcheck to see where they stand compared to other CPUs. I labeled these as blue as their not really a good choice for Windows 10 Home but you may be able to do so if don’t want to multitask.
Pentium Gold: These are vastly different from other Pentium CPUs. Performance and architecture is much much closer to the newest 8th-11th generation Core i3 CPUs. These are good choices for Windows 10 Home though they can get really expensive.
Intel Core i3 / Intel Core i5
I have written an entire article about Intel Core i3 CPUs and another one for Intel Core i5 CPUs.
In a nut shell, all of these will out perform Pentium or Celerons procesosrs with the downside of consuming too much power and consequently decreasing battery life.
They are not found on 11 inch laptops, what you’ll find instead are their mobile versions which have been basically designed for very small devices like 11 inch laptop.
Mobile Core i3 , Core i5, Core M series
These are Intel Core CPUs that may have an M or Y on their names such as those labeled in light purple.
Basically, they have the same architecture of the high tier Intel Core CPUs but they’ve been put on a “leash” to fit in small devices and to make sure they don’t reach high temperatures as most of these devices cannot support an air cooling system.
Since they consume much less power , devices with these on bard will far more battery. They also make zero nose (just like most mobile celeron/pentium CPUs) because they lack a ventilation system(fans).
A few more tips:
- If you want to compare CPU performance, DO NOT RELY ON CLOCK SPEEDS. They’ll give you a good estimate but not the whole part to the story.
- Use www.notebookcheck.com for reliable and accurate benchmarks.
- Basically the architecture/design also plays a huge rule as well as the number of cores. .
- Use www.notebookcheck.com for reliable and accurate benchmarks.
- The best choices for 11 inch laptop that HAS TO RUN WNDOWS 10 HOME is a celeron , pentium gold and mobile core CPUs in that order.
- The rest of these processors are only good for other Operating systems : Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
RAM is just as important as CPU power, get the wrong amount and no CPU will be able to handle the full version of Windows.
2GB RAM: this much will only be useful for Chrome OS and even then you may have some lag. Linux would a better fit for this much.
4GB RAM: perfect for Chrome OS systems and Windows 10 S. You should be able to multitask and browse the web without having to worry about the number of tabs. Slightly low for Windows 10 Home or Windows 11, these may take up to 3.5GB leaving you with only 500MB for a web browser and any other application.
8GB RAM: This is perfect for windows 10 and windows 11 Pro. Unfortunately, most 11 inch laptops do not come with this much and they are not upgradeable either (you can’t buy a separate RAM stick and up the RAM). Some 11 inch laptops are upgradeable so if you’re buying a laptop with a celeron or any other slow CPU, make sure your laptop can be upgraded. Otherwise, there’ll be no solution to its low performance with Windows 10.
Upgrading is pretty easy as shown in this tutorial:
Most 11 inch laptops will come with eMMC Flash Storage and very very few with Solid State Drives.
They will not come with HDDs – Hard Disk Drives (that’s a good thing because these are dozens of times slower than SSDs and eMMC storages).
What’s the difference?
eMMC(Flash) vs Solid State Drives
They basically have the same type of memoy (NAND) so they have similar speeds.
eMMC vs SATA III SSDs, one type of SSD, have exactly the same speed.
However, Solid State Drives will have more lanes so they can send larger amounts of data than eMMC storages.
Think of lanes as roads, the more roads you have, the more vehicles you can use to carry stuff.
Which one is best for Windows 10 Home?
Since SSDs have more lanes they will deliver larger amounts of data at the same speed. That makes them more suitable for a full blown operating system like Windows 10 Home which, depending on what applications you use, require to deliver more data as higher speeds.
SSD: Performane Boost
One way to speed up performance in a slow 11 inch laptop is to add an SSD. It may be all you need even if you’ve got a Pentium Processor. Though they will work best with Celeron or higher CPUs. If you get an SSD with a celeron CPU it’s almost a given Windows 10 will run with zero hiccups.
If your 11 inch laptop does not come with SSD by default (which is almost the case), it may or may not be upgradeable.
Most laptops with eMMC storage are not upgradeable since these eMMC storage are always (and must be) SOLDERED to the motherboard. However, a few laptops may have a M.2 NVMe slot open for a SSD upgrade.
So use google to find out if the seller’s description doesn’t state it. Type “LAPTOP NAME + MODEL NUMBER” plus the words “UPGRADEABLE” on the google search bar, you should get at least one website that has this information.
Although both eMMC and SSD are several times faster than traditional HDDs, they have low storage. For everyday tasks purposes this is not a problem, you have plenty of solutions:
- Cloud storage: most 11 inch laptops (especially ChromeBooks) will come with free cloud storage (up to 100GB) for a year or two.
- SD Card Reader: an additional 128GB SD Card costs 50 bucks. You can just plug it into the SD Card Reader and it should work as good as an internal storage drive.
There are several factors that make up the battery of an 11 inch laptop:
- Most important one is Operating System: Linux, Chrome OS and OSX will consume much less power therefore these require weaker GPUs to run optimally.
- Windows 10 Home 11 inch laptops will top out at 8 hours.
- The more powerful the processor the less battery you’ll have.
- Low resolution (HD) also helps here. FHD or higher on 11 inch laptops will make it top out at 6 hours.
- Brightness also eats up battery life (though not significantly). Set it to an amount that’s good enough to use and you can add up to 2 hours.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know in the comments below.