2018 has been a great year for laptops, with better and faster computing components hitting the consumer market to make smaller, more powerful laptops possible. Over the last decade, the release of the ultra-thin and revolutionary MacBook Air started the race for the thinnest, sleekest, and most powerful machines, and in 2018, these machines just got a whole lot better with the leading names in tech releasing better architecture and high-performing components with better size-to-performance ratios. The result: the best 14-inch laptops ever made.
14-Inch Laptops are in a bit of an awkward place, size-wise. It may be a deal breaker for some that a 14-inch laptop neither provides as much portability as the much more common 13-inch small notebook, nor provides as much power and performance as the industry-standard 15.6″ laptops. But for others, 14-inch laptops are a perfect blend of size and performance, the ultimate marriage of power and portability. If you are part of the latter and think that a 14-inch laptop would be perfect for you – that 13-inches is way too small and 15 inches is way too big and that 14-inches are just right – then we may have something for you.
One of the first things you might notice if you’re in the market for a 14-inch laptop is that there are significantly fewer items to choose from. True, 14-inch displays don’t cater to as many people as 13-inch displays, or 15-inch displays, or even 17-inch displays. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a larger or smaller display than you want. If you think 14-inches hits the sweet spot regarding size and efficiency, then allow us to help you make the right decision, without compromising what you want.
This year, we’ve checked and evaluated, measured and reviewed the best of the best 14-inch laptops for any budget, and for every need and purpose. Whether you’re an on-the-go business type, a college student looking for a partner for the next four years, a gamer looking for some power and performance in a portable package, a music producer in search of a sleek and light laptop to take your digital audio workstations wherever you go, or an artist looking for a portable solution for a design-studio feel that that doesn’t tie you down, we have prepared this list of the best 14-inch laptops for you.
To some, a laptop is more than just a machine; it’s a partner. People use their laptops to do work, to play games, to stay connected, and through all that, a laptop computer is just as much a friend as it is a workhorse. We believe that no two laptops are the same and that all of the best laptops serve a particular need. In that regard, we’ve come up with this list of the best 14-inch laptops in the following categories:
- Best 14-Inch Laptop for Business/Work
- Best 14-Inch Laptop for College
- Best 14-Inch Laptop for Gaming
Our Picks for the Best 14-Inch Laptop (For Any Budget)
Best 14-Inch Laptop for Business/Work: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen) dominates almost every list of the best laptops for professionals, and with good reason. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, with its latest 2018 iteration marking the laptop’s 6th generation, delivers an unprecedented amount of power, performance, and portability, with a design scheme and feature-rich experience that is tailored for professionals and businesspeople. If you’re looking for the best 14-inch laptop for all of your professional needs, look no further than the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
Benefits & Features
Take a look at what you get for the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, and why it sets itself apart as the best 14-inch laptop for business or work.
Be at the top of your game
Don’t lag behind the competition – in fact, don’t lag at all. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon comes with the latest tech built-in to give you the best performance so that you can perform at your best. It has the new 8th Generation Intel Core processors, up to the i7-8650U, and up to 16GB LPDDR3 memory so you can run programs and perform all your work-related tasks with ease. Improve your productivity and get better results with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, and stay connected anywhere you go with its optional Global LTE-A capabilities. For the cutting edge advantage in work or business, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is the best 14-inch laptop you can get.
Look like a million bucks
You don’t have to look at the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s internals to be blown away – this laptop dazzles at first sight. Look sleek and professional with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s dark black or sleek silver color schemes that come with color-coded hinges to maximize appeal.
Turn the X1 Carbon on and enjoy an even more striking aesthetic experience with the stunning 14-inch laptop display that comes in two options – a touch-enabled Full HD display that keeps the weight at a minimum, maximizing portability and productivity, or pursue an unparalleled visual experience with the Quad HD display that features Dolby® Vision™ HDR technology . Either way, you choose, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon offers a bright and vibrant display with amazing clarity, colors, and detail in an almost frameless design with super-thin bezels.
Be ready for an immersive audio experience
Whether your work requires it, or your thirst for entertainment demands it, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon provides an outstanding audio experience powered by Dolby Audio™ Premium. The built-in speakers alone on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon deliver an incredible sound quality that’s both powerful and rich. Dolby Audio™ Premium enhances your audio even more with virtual surround sound functionality that makes you feel like you’re in your virtual home theatre. Experience incredible entertainment or share your videos and ideas with everyone in the room with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s excellent built-in sound system. Additionally, if you like to use headphones to maximize your focus or sneak a little quiet time from work, then prepare yourself for an immersive sound experience powered by Dolby Atmos®.
Charge faster to stay unplugged for longer
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon boasts rapid charging speeds that’ll bring your machine up to 80% of full power in just 60 minutes. For working professionals, you can get your ThinkPad X1 Carbon fully charged up and ready to go while you have lunch or attend a short meeting. Charge faster and stay unplugged longer with up to 15 hours of battery life on a full charge (or 12 hours of battery life after 60 minutes of charging) all with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
Maximize the power of your voice
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon comes with built-in far-field microphones that can capture clear audio all around at a full 360 degrees. But this doesn’t just enhance your voice over IP options. Enjoy full and unhampered use of Cortana, the built-in virtual assistant that you can control with the power of your voice. Wake the X1 Carbon from sleep mode with a short phrase you can say from across the room, or stay organized and on top of your work by asking Cortana to find files for you and remind you of what’s lined up on your Calendar, and more. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon lets you improve performance and productivity by using your voice as yet another tool for getting things done.
Hands-free all day long
Connect the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon to Amazon Alexa, and automate or voice-control everything from your most tedious tasks to your most time-consuming endeavors. Use your voice to tell Alexa to play music, bring you news, control your IoT devices, and more, without touching a single button so that you can use your hands towards more productive work.
Built like a tank, handles like a supercar
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is ultra-thin, sleek, lightweight, and portable, but don’t let that fool you – this 14-inch laptop is built to last. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is rigorously tested before it even hits the shelf – 12 military grade tests and over 200 quality inspections makes sure that the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a reliable and durable choice that you can count on when things get rough.
Keep your information private
Business-class users and professionals everywhere cherish the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon for its plethora of safety and privacy features, so you never feel that your data and information are vulnerable, exposed, or at risk. Cover your camera with built-in ThinkShutter, or opt for the model with an IR camera to get the latest facial recognition technology working to securing you and your data. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon comes with biometric authentication with anti-spoofing technology, and built-in data encryption for all the security you want. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon also comes with FIDO – fast identity online – that enables three layers of security for all of your online information and credentials.
Rely on world-class support
Gain access to Lenovo’s world-class support technicians to help you get to the bottom of any hardware or software woes that you may come across. Lenovo takes pride in its technical support, customer support, and after sales support to give you fast, effective solutions that let you make the most of your investment in their brand.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon comes in various configurations that affect the price for each model. Prices start at $1,519, and the configuration we recommend is listed at $2,269, but you can get either of these models at a discount at the time of writing for only $1,139 or $1,701, respectively, because of seasonal sales.
Our recommended configuration for the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon comes with the following technical specifications.
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U
Display Panel: 14” IPS Panel with QHD (2560×1440) Resolution
RAM: 16GB LPDDR3
Storage: 512GB SSD m.2 PCIe-NVME with OPAL 2.0
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
Battery: 3 cell Li-Ion 57Wh
Best 14-Inch Laptop for College: Lenovo Yoga 520
The second Lenovo machine featured on our list (but not the last), the 14-inch Lenovo Yoga 520 has some great performance, excellent specs, and all-around features and quality that makes it the best 14-inch laptop for college students on a student budget. The Lenovo Yoga 520 is a 2-in-1 form factor, so instead of just your typical laptop, you’re getting a laptop and tablet in one – perfect for multitasking, taking notes, and just great all-around productivity.
Benefits & Features
If you’re a college student looking for reliable, dependable partner that will see you through the toughest assignments and projects from orientation to senior year and beyond, read ahead to find out why the Lenovo Yoga 520 was built for you.
Perform better from freshman year to graduation
The Lenovo Yoga 520 is uncompromisingly fast and powerful, sporting the latest 8th generation Intel Core processors up to the i7, up to 16GB of high-end DDR4 memory, and hybrid storage up to 512GB solid-state drive for lightning fast booting and operations, plus up to 1 TB SATA hard disk drive, for all the space you need for school, work, and play.
Flexibility and portability for on-the-go comfort and performance
The Lenovo Yoga 520 is designed to adapt whenever you need it to, wherever you need it. With its ultra-light starting weight of 1.75kg (3.86 lbs), you’ll be able to take the Lenovo Yoga 520 anywhere you go, be it class, coffee shops, or anywhere around the house. The display goes where you go with a 360-degree hinge, so whether you’re in laptop mode, tent mode, or tablet mode, you never have to adapt to the Lenovo Yoga 520 – it adapts to you.
With the Lenovo Yoga 520, you get a laptop that never cramps your style. With a sleek aluminum finish, the Yoga 520 comes in different colors from classics like Mineral Grey and Onyx Black, to regal and fashionable in Metallic Gold. The Lenovo Yoga 520 delivers a modern look with precision-cut bevels and edges designed for comfort.
Best security on campus
Get an extra layer of protection with the streamlined security powered by Windows Hello and biometric authentication and still be able to sign in to your Yoga 520 up to three times faster than before without the need for passwords. With the added security and streamlined application, your data and credentials are never at risk.
Great sound for entertainment and audio learning
For entertainment or study, the Lenovo Yoga 520 comes with a built-in sound system that does not disappoint. Powered by Harman speakers that comes with the latest Dolby® Audio Premium™ technology, listen to lectures or watch your favorite movies and shows with unprecedented clarity and sound quality.
Battery life than keep up with your curriculum
Get more work done without worrying about running low with the Lenovo Yoga 520’s 10.4-hour battery life. Work flexibly and on-the-go without feeling like you’re anchored to a power socket. The Lenovo Yoga 520 has the battery to spare – and to share. With a USB 3.0 port that’s always on, you’ll be able to charge your other devices plugged into the Lenovo Yoga 520 even when it’s off.
Get the Lenovo Active Pen and amp up your productivity even more
An optional purchase, but one we highly recommend, is the Lenovo Active Pen that works seamlessly with Windows Ink that features palm-rejection and other accuracy and precision features to help you turn your thoughts and ideas into something concrete. Take notes, write, draw, or doodle on the go with the Lenovo Active Pen.
The basic configuration starts at just under $1000, but for college students on a budget, the standard model with a Full HD display and mid-range specs comes highly recommended at $1,199. See the full technical specifications below.
For the power and performance to see you through four-or-more of the best years of your life, we recommend the Lenovo Yoga 520 with the following configuration:
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U
Display Panel: 14” IPS Panel with anti-glare and FHD (1920×1080) Resolution
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Storage: 256GB SSD SATA III
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 940MX GDDR5 2GB
Battery: 3 Cell Li-Polymer
Best 14-Inch Laptop for Gaming: Razer Blade 14 (2017)
Razer has been a big name in gaming circles around the world, and last year’s Razer Blade was a 14-inch beast of a laptop that delivered smooth gameplay and unparalleled performance in a super-thin, lightweight form-factor that subsequently blew our minds. The 2018 Razer Blade has a bunch of new features and the latest components, but Razer decided to increase the Blade’s size by pushing it up to 15.6″ display, instead of last year’s 14″. The step up in performance isn’t that high, so if you’re looking for the best 14-inch laptop for gaming, your best bet is our top pick, the 2017 Razer Blade 14. Even better news: because it’s last year’s model, you’ll be able to get it at a fraction of the list price.
Powerful, portable, pixel-perfect performance
The 14-inch Razer Blade offers the best balance between portability and power, without compromising either. Powered by Intel Core i7 Quad Core processors, the Razer Blade makes full use of 16GB of DDR4 memory up to 1TB of ultrafast SSD storage to deliver unprecedented performance and smooth gameplay. With that much power under the hood, it’s hard to believe the Razer Blade weighs just 1.86 kg (4.10 lbs) and is only 0.7″ thin.
The Razer Blade 14 sports a powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 that’s built upon the top-of-the-line, high-performance Pascal architecture that delivers even more performance from your GPU. With the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, the Razer Blade is well-equipped to bring the latest and most immersive titles in VR Gaming – plug and play to experience a whole new level of gaming.
Lightning fast memory and storage
The Razer Blade 14 comes with 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM with 2400Mhz frequency already built-in. Boot your system in record time and launch your games almost instantaneously with it lightning-fast PCIe SSD that performs 3x faster than traditional SSD’s with mSATA technology.
Killer competitive edge
Built with Killer brand Wireless adapters, the Razer Blade provides unparalleled intelligence, speed, and control when playing online. On the Razer Blade 14, gamers can experience reduced lag and latency for that competitive edge to win.
Custom RGB with Razer Chroma
The Razer Blade 14 is a gaming machine at heart, and with Razer Chroma propriety software, gamers can fly their colors anywhere they go. Customize every RGB light on the Razer Blade 14 with over 16 million colors and individually backlit keys. Razer Synapse software also allows you to remap keys and create custom macros to turn your Razer Blade into the custom gaming station that’s built specifically for you.
Battery power overwhelming
The battery life on the monster-machine Razer Blade is uncompromised – with the ultraportable system featuring a solid 9 hours of unplugged run-time, and an impressively thin 165W power adapter so you can take your power with you anywhere you go.
Thunderbolt 3 Connectivity
The Razer Blade 14 features compatibility with the super-versatile, all-powerful Thunderbolt 3 ports with amazing transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps.
Desktop-power Compatible with Razer Core V2
For truly generation-defining visuals and 4K capacity on an external display, connect the Razer Blade to the Razer Core V2 external GPU, and get desktop-class graphics processing power on your ultraportable Razer Blade 14.
The Razer Blade 14 is a pricey option at $1,699, but thanks to the arrival of the 15.6” Razer Blade 2018, the Razer Blade 14 can be purchased for as low as $1,499 for brand new models.
The Razer Blade 14 with the FHD panel which we recommend getting instead of the configuration with a 4K display comes with the following specifications:
CPU: 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ
Display Panel: 14” IPS Panel Matte and FHD (1920×1080) Resolution
RAM: 16GB Dual-Channel DDR4
Storage: 1TB PCIe m.2 SSD
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 940MX GDDR5 2GB
Battery: 70Wh Li-Polymer
That’s it for our list of the best 14-inch laptops for business, college, and gaming, on any budget. We hope we were able to identify the best 14-inch laptops for you.