Last updated: August 19, 2021

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Welcome to our big mini laptop test 2022. Here we present all the mini laptops we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We want to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best mini laptop for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a mini laptop.




Summary

  • A mini laptop allows you to work on your computer virtually anywhere and at any time.
  • There are standard mini laptops, 2 in 1 convertibles and 2 in 1 detachables.
  • Mini laptops are smaller, lighter and less powerful than standard notebooks. However, they are cheaper and often have a longer battery life. They are particularly suitable for pupils and students.

The Best Mini Laptop Test: Editors' Favourites

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a mini laptop

What is a Mini Laptop?

A mini laptop is an extra-small and lightweight notebook that you can easily take anywhere and store.

Mini laptops are usually offered at relatively low prices.

Hybrid devices like the 2 in 1 convertible can be used as both laptops and tablets. (Image source: unsplash.com / freestocks.org )

This is possible because the hardware built into them is less powerful than in other computers. Unlike tablets, mini-laptops have a keyboard. Therefore, it is also possible to write longer texts.

The keyboard can be variably attached or detached from some models if necessary. These are 2-in-1 mini laptops - convertible or detachable.

How does a mini laptop differ from a netbook and a notebook?

The distinction between a mini laptop and a laptop is - as the name suggests - a question of size.

Mini laptops are small notebooks, typically around 10 inches to 12 inches in size, though some are smaller. The term netbook is usually used as a synonym of mini laptop.

The terms subnotebook or ultrabook also usually refer to small laptops.

At the latest, a screen diagonal of more than 15 inches is considered a normal notebook.

Mini laptops are small notebooks that usually have a screen diagonal of 25 to 30 cm.

How big is a mini laptop?

The vast majority of mini laptops on offer have a display diagonal of either 10.1 inches or 11.6 inches.

The smallest laptops available have a screen diagonal of 7 inches; smaller computers are more commonly referred to as handhelds.

Upwards, the border to a normal notebook is fluid or a matter of interpretation. However, a 13-inch netbook can still be considered a mini laptop.

The vast majority of mini-laptops are smaller than an A4 notebook and can easily be carried with one hand. According to manufacturer information, the mini-laptops on offer weigh between 0.5 and 1.5 kilograms.

Is there a Mini Laptop with a CD or DVD drive?

The small, lightweight Mini Slim Laptops are designed for compactness and mobility, which is why the optical drives are omitted.

If you still need a CD, DVD or Blue-ray drive or a CD, DVD or Blue-ray burner, you can buy external versions and connect them via USB.

Which mini laptop is suitable for students?

Basically, mini laptops are the perfect compromise for students. On the one hand, they are small enough that you can easily take them to school or campus - an ideal small laptop for university.

On the other hand, they also offer you a keyboard to type properly, several USB ports to exchange data, for example, and HDMI or at least VGA outputs to connect a monitor for presentations on a beamer.

If transportability is the most important criterion for you, you should choose a very small model. Of course, the keyboard will also be smaller, which could make typing a little more difficult.

You also need to consider which of the above features you need, whether or not you want to use the computer in tablet mode and how many hours of battery life you need.

Are mini laptops suitable for gamers?

Mini laptops are usually not designed for gaming. It depends on the specific hardware, of course, but the slim subnotebooks can't compete with larger gaming laptops or even gaming PCs.

Mini games and light gaming on the go are often possible.

Due to the light and compact design and the low price, the light, small notebooks are suitable for students and pupils as well as for children in general as an educational entry-level and learning device.

For gaming, however, mini laptops are rather unsuitable due to their performance.

Are mini laptops suitable for children?

Mini laptops are also ideal for children between the ages of 7 and 14 to learn how to use computers. Because they are smaller and weigh less, the lightweight laptops can be carried much better by the children.

Their lower price also makes them perfect entry-level devices and suitable for children's hands. With appropriate tools, you can make sure that the little ones can't access websites that are harmful to minors.

What are the benefits of LTE on mini laptops?

For a surcharge, some netbooks are also available with LTE or WLAN. This allows you to use the internet via the mobile network even in places where you cannot receive WLAN.

LTE-capable mini laptops allow you to use the internet via the mobile network without unnecessarily using up your smartphone battery in hot-spot mode. (Image source: unsplash.com / Tyler Franta)

All you have to do is insert a sim card into the existing sim card slot. Depending on how often you use it, you should get a prepaid card or perhaps a data-only plan.

What are the alternatives to a Mini Laptop?

If a mini laptop is too small for you, you can opt for a larger notebook or - if the laptop does not need to be mobile - a desktop PC.

If you don't necessarily need a keyboard, a tablet is also suitable for you.

Decision: What types of mini laptops are there and which is the right one for you?

You basically have three choices when it comes to mini laptops:

  • Standard Mini Laptop
  • 2 in 1 Convertible
  • 2 in 1 Detachable

The term mini laptop is rather special in itself. It is mainly defined by the size of the notebook. They can best be divided into a standard version and a detachable variant that can be converted into a tablet.

In the following, we will take a closer look at the features, advantages and disadvantages of the three types.

What distinguishes a standard mini laptop and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

These are simply solid laptops in a small format. Standard netbooks often offer better hardware and features than detachables, for example.

Their construction is also more robust, but they are also often somewhat heavier and less compact. They are also easier to upgrade.

Advantages
  • Often better equipment
  • Better upgradeable
Disadvantages
  • Less compact or mobile
  • Usually no touch screen
  • Not usable as a tablet

Unlike the other two variants, you can't use this laptop as a tablet, and it usually doesn't have a touchscreen either.

What distinguishes a 2-in-1 convertible and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Devices that can be used as both a mini laptop and a tablet are usually called either 2-in-1 notebooks or convertibles.

With these devices, you can decide according to your mood: small laptop or tablet. Different mechanisms are used for the change.

The more common variant has a 360-degree hinge. This allows you to fold the display so far back that its back rests on the underside of the rest of the computer.

This allows you to operate the laptop with touchscreen like a slightly thicker tablet.

Advantages
  • Mini notebook with touch screen and pen input
  • Flexibility: laptop and quasi-tablet
  • Better hardware than detachable
Disadvantages
  • Less mobile than detachable
  • Keyboard can be damaged more easily
  • Folding mechanism must be stable

With this variant, the focus is clearly on the laptop.

Another advantage of many 2-in-1 devices is that you can often make handwritten notes, sketches or illustrations using a stylus.

The construction may be less robust. On the one hand, the keyboard rests directly on the table in tablet mode and is therefore more likely to be damaged. On the other hand, the 360-degree hinge must be well made to withstand the load in the long term.

What distinguishes a 2-in-1 detachable and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

In the second variant of hybrid devices, most of the hardware is installed behind the screen.

It is basically a tablet that can be docked to a keyboard if necessary, turning it into a mini notebook with a touchscreen.

This variant is basically called a Detacahble, but confusingly often goes by the name Convertible in the trade.

The great advantage of these is that you can use them as fully-fledged, slim tablets and that they are particularly easy to transport.

Advantages
  • Flexibility: quasi-laptop and tablet
  • touch screen and pen input
  • maximum mobility with pure tablet
Disadvantages
  • Less powerful
  • shorter battery life
  • focus on tablet rather than laptop

Since most of the hardware has to fit in the tablet part, the devices are sometimes less powerful than the other two variants.

The battery is also less powerful for reasons of space. In principle, the tablet function is more pronounced in this variant.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate mini laptops

In the following we show you what you should look for when buying a mini laptop. This will make it easier for you to get an overview and decide on a suitable and effective device.

In summary, these are the following criteria:

  • Type & size
  • Battery
  • Display
  • Processor
  • Memory
  • Operating system
  • Hard disk

Below you can read about the respective criteria and find out why it makes sense for you to purchase a device with this function or not.

Type & size

You can decide whether you prefer a standard mini laptop or a 2-in-1 convertible or 2-in-1 detachable.

The two most common sizes of mini laptops are 10.1 inches and 11.6 inches. Of course, there are also smaller and larger laptops. Larger versions make it easier to work because there is room for more screen space and a slightly larger keyboard. However, they are more difficult to transport.

Battery

Since you want to be able to use mobile devices even when there is no power source, battery life is very important.

Netbooks are less powerful than normal laptops, which is why their batteries often last even longer.

The stated battery life ranges from 4 to 12 hours. Many of the batteries installed have only two cells. If you need more runtime, look for models with more cells. However, these are also heavier.

Display

The best netbooks offer Full HD resolution (1920x1200), which is perfectly adequate for this screen size. Other models are available with WXGA (1366 x 768) or HD (10280 x 800) resolution.

If you want to use your small laptop in less than optimal lighting conditions, your display should have a brightness of around 200 cd/m².

If you often work outdoors, a matt display is highly recommended.

Processor

Many subnotebooks have the energy-saving processors of the Intel Atom series, which are particularly suitable for mobile devices. However, you will also often find Intel Celeron and Intel Pentium CPUs.

Did you know that software programmes in the autostart can slow down your laptop enormously?

Limit yourself to a few programmes at a time. Skype, Dropbox, Drive, antivirus programmes and more in the autostart slow down your netbook.

It is best to start only those programmes that you want to use immediately or without which it is not possible to start them. Otherwise, the main memory of usually 2 GB fills up extremely quickly, which then leads to "jerking".

Also look at the clock speed (in GHz) as well as the number of cores and possibly a turbo boost. If you do want a certain level of performance, mini laptops with quad-core processors are also available.

RAM

Memory is important, especially if you want to run several applications at the same time. Mini laptops often have less memory than others. Many netbooks only have 2 GB of RAM.

High-quality models, however, come with a decent 8 GB of RAM. In the middle are mini notebooks with 4 GB RAM.

Operating system

The latest mini laptops usually come with Windows 10 Home (64-bit) or Chrome OS. If you prefer, you can also find some models without an operating system, with Linux or with Windows 7. Cheap 7-inch laptops often run Android.

Apple's MacBook Air subnotebooks run iOS and the Google Chromebook is equipped with the Linux distribution Chrome OS.

Hard disk

Many mini laptops have eMMC memory. This is a flash memory that is slower and cheaper than the memory of SSD notebooks.

However, the more expensive Mini Notebooks with SSD are the best. You can also find some with a classic hard drive (HDD). Most have a total hard drive capacity of 32 or 64 gigabytes. However, there are also devices with 128 gigabytes.

Facts worth knowing about the Mini Laptop

How do I install an operating system on a Mini Laptop?

The operating system is typically pre-installed. Should it become necessary to re-install the system, some notebooks offer recovery partitions.

In the boot menu, you can then select in recovery mode whether you want to repair or reinstall Windows.

Windows 8 and Windows 10 also offer the option of simply resetting the entire system to the factory settings. (Image source: unsplash.com / rawpixel )

However, if you want or need to install an operating system completely manually, you will need a bootable USB stick with an image of the operating system for mini laptops. You can find instructions on the internet.

Why is my mini laptop so slow?

You shouldn't compare netbooks with normal laptops. They are designed as very compact and rather inexpensive models. Components such as the processor, main memory or graphics processor are weaker here.

That's why you can't usually run countless tasks in parallel with these devices, nor can you run particularly computationally intensive tasks such as video encoding or new games. This leads to delays. The actual performance depends on your model, of course.

Did you know that there are also laptops with UMTS?

The Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) is a third-generation (3G) mobile phone standard that enables significantly higher data transfer rates than the second-generation (2G) GSM standard.

Laptops are just now becoming firmly established on the market again, and models with mobile internet will probably soon be offered more widely than they are now. Otherwise, you can also configure your internet-enabled smartphone as a hotspot for your mini-laptop.

If your device is generally slower than before, you could first try deleting a few applications.

Although mini laptops are more powerful than they used to be, you can't use them in the same way as larger computers. Too many tasks at once can quickly cause delays.

What mini laptop accessories are available?

There are of course many accessories available for small, lightweight laptops. For better transport, you can get mini laptop bags, backpacks, cases or sleeves.

If you're not comfortable with the touchpad, a mini or laptop mouse makes a lot of sense.

External (Bluetooth) mini laptop speakers for mobile music enjoyment or cooling pads for mini laptops are also worth considering.

To be able to work more comfortably on the road and when travelling, you can also buy a mini laptop table (desk) or laptop stand.

Image source: 123rf.com / 81285732

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