Laptops are one of the primary needs for a working individual and student. And these two categories look for a compact, portable, and powerful laptop to handle all the daily needed tasks. And to check all these boxes of requirements, a laptop with a 12-inch display seems to be a sweet spot b/w performance and mobility. Hence in this article, I will list some of the best 12-inch laptops you can buy right away. Finding a laptop that I can recommend to you in a 12-inch category was a challenging task.
This is because there are few options in this segment, and among those laptops, the ones that I can recommend to you are even less in number. But after days of research, reviews of the users, and expert advice, I have compiled a list of the best possible 12-inch laptops you can buy. All the listed laptops’ displays range from b/w 12-inches to 12.5-inches, and there will be no issue in terms of performance. I have tried to diversify the list of laptops. Thus, the list includes laptops ranging from budget to premium category.
Recommended: Best 13-inch Laptops
Top 10 Best 12-inch Laptops to Buy in 2021
Here is our final list of the top 10 best 12-Inch laptops that you can buy in 2021:
1Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (Overall Best 12-Inch Laptop)
To fulfill your desire to have a portable and compact laptop, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 checks all the boxes. It has a high performance, solid build, a compact design, and a touch screen. It is primarily a Windows tablet from Microsoft, but it can easily fit into the category of laptops just by adding a keyboard cover to it.
- Display: 12.3-inch 2736 x 1824p Touch
- Processor: Intel Core i5-1035G4
- Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics G4
- RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X
- Storage: 128GB NVMe SSD
The Surface Pro 7 comes with a 12.3-inches display which fits perfectly into your display size requirement. The display packs a resolution of 2736 x 1824 pixels with 261 PPI of pixels density which means it’s a very sharp and high-resolution display, and Microsoft calls it the PixrelSense Display. It is a 3:2 aspect ratio display and hence provides more vertical room to work with. Lastly, it’s a touchscreen and supports 10 point multitouch.
There is 10th gen Intel processors on the Surface Pro 7 ranging from Core i3 to Core i7. There are Core i3-1005G1, Core i5-1035G4, and Core i7-1065G7 variants of the laptop, and they serve awe-inspiring performances. Talking about the graphics, the Core i3 model comes with Integrated UHD graphics, whereas the i5 and i7 come with Integrated Intel Iris graphics. The front side is surrounded by a 5MP HD webcam, but interestingly, there is another 8MP rear camera, making it a perfect choice for video conferencing and streaming. Besides, working from home is also possible as long as you are not doing graphics-intensive work.
The Surface Pro 7 packs 4/8/16GB of LPDDR4X high-speed RAM with 1TB of SSD storage. The laptop is rated to deliver up to 10.5 hours of battery backup, fabulous for a laptop serving portability. The is Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 for reliable wireless connectivity. Along with that, the body of the tablet is equipped with a 1x USB-C port, 1x USB-A port, a 3.5mm jack, 1x Surface Connect port, a Surface Type Cover port to attach an external keyboard cover, and a MicroSDXC card reader slot. Under the price of $700, this is our primary recommendation for 12-inch laptops.
2Microsoft Surface Laptop Go (Runner Up)
The next laptop on our list is also from the house of Mircosoft, and this time it’s a complete laptop where you don’t need to buy a separate keyboard cover to use it as a laptop. If the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 was not favoring your vision for a compact laptop, then you can have a look at the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go.
- Display: 12.4-inch 1536 x 1024p Touch
- Processor: Intel Core i5-1035G1
- Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics G1
- RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X
- Storage: 128GB NVMe SSD
The laptop houses a 12.4-inches pixelSense Display with a high resolution of 1536×1024 pixels and a pixel density of 148 PPI. And by looking at the resolution, it is clear that it is a display with a 3:2 aspect ratio. It also supports a 10 point multitouch touch screen, which is nice on a laptop to increase productivity. Coming to the performance of the laptop, it comes with a 10th gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor. It is a 4-core processor having eight processing threads and works at a base clock speed of 1GHz, and can be boosted up to 3.6GHz.
For graphics processing, there is Integrated UHD graphics from Intel bundled with the processor. There is an 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM inside the laptop, and it has been coupled with 128G or 256GB of SSD storage. The laptop is rated to deliver up to 13 hours of battery life, making it last at least a day at moderate usage. The laptop chassis is decorated with ports like 1x USB-C port, 1x USB-A port, a 3.5mm jack, and 1x Surface Connect port. Altogether, this is the foremost choice for people looking at a reasonably priced 12-inch laptop.
3HP Chromebook X360 (Cheapest 12 Inch Laptop)
If you’re on a tight budget and looking for a decent 12-inch display laptop for routine tasks, then you should head towards having a Chromebook. A Chromebook runs over google’s Chrome OS, a lightweight Operating System making the Chromebook deliver hours of battery life and a very comfortable and mobile design. You can have a look at the HP Chromebook X360 laptop.
- Display: 12-inch 1366 x 912p HD+
- Processor: Intel Celeron N4000
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600
- RAM: 4GB LPDDR4
- Storage: 32GB eMMC
Talking about the display, there is a 12-inch IPS Mirco-edge WLED-backlit display. It is a touchscreen laptop with support for multitouch. The display’s resolution is HD+ (1366×912 pixel) which is acceptable for a 12-inch display, and the content will not look pixelated. The performance of the laptop is based on the Intel Celeron N4000 processor. This processor comprises two cores and four processing threads for multi-threaded execution. Furthermore, there is an integrated UHD 600 graphics from Intel to handle the basic GPU tasks.
The HP Chromebook X360 is loaded with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM working at a 2400MHz frequency and delivers up to 2400MT/s of data transfer speeds. Coming to the storage, the laptop has been provided with 32GB of eMMC storage which is primarily used in smartphones. The laptop is rated to deliver up to 13 hours and 15 minutes of backup in mixed usage. The port selection includes 2x USB Type-C 5Gbps ports, 1x USB Type-A 5Gbps port, and a headphone/microphone combo jack. As expected, Chromebook laptops are significantly cheaper than traditional Windows machines. As a result, this laptop is the cheapest option for a 12-inch laptop.
4Google Pixel Slate (Detachable Design)
If you think a Chrome OS-based tablet would be a better choice than having a complete laptop, you may also consider the Google Pixel Slate. This is primarily a Chrome OS-based tablet that supports a separate keyboard cover, making it used as a laptop. It has a better high-res screen, better specs, and more storage and RAM as well. The Pixel Slate’s display has no compromise in the display quality. A 12.3-inch Molecular Display from Google comes with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a resolution of 3000×2000 pixels. You can call it a 3k display.
- Display: 12.3-inch 3000 x 2000p Touch
- Processor: Intel Core-i7 8500Y
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615
- RAM: 8GB LPDDR3
- Storage: 128GB NVMe SSD
The complete built of the Pixel Slate is made from Anodized aluminum, and the display is protected with the Corning Gorilla Glass 5. Coming to performance, the Pixel Slate comes in three different processor variants. The Intel Core M3, Core i5, and Core i7 8th gen Intel processors. This is in the increasing order of the performance and if you are looking for power, go for the i7. For moderate usage, i5 is enough, and for essential work, the Core M3 is reasonable. There are integrated Intel HD graphics that works decently in gaming and other GPU-related tasks.
The tablet has 8GB and 16GB of RAM variants, and you can choose as per your requirement. There are also different storage options as you can buy the tablet in 64GB and 128GB storage variants. Besides, it has 12 hours of battery backup with support for 45W fast charging. Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 4.2, and. USB-C port is the connectivity option of the tablet. It also has an 8MP front-facing and 8MP rear camera, best suited for video conferencing and live video calling.
5VAIO SX12 (Best 12-Inch Non-Touch Laptop)
If you’re looking for a fully-fledged laptop with a proper keyboard, clamshell design, and a compact form factor, then look at the VAIO SX12. Vaio used to be a Sony company but is now a separate entity and manufacturers laptops only. Hence they are perfect in their work of serving with the best laptops. Starting from the laptop’s display, the VIAO SX12 comes with a 12.5-inches display with a proper 16:9 aspect ratio and 1920X1080 pixels of Full HD resolution.
- Display: 12.5-inch 1920 x 1080p FHD
- Processor: Intel Core i7-10710U
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
- RAM: 16GB LPDDR3
- Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD
Moreover, the display is not a touch screen, but the design is good due to minimum bezels. It is magnificent for doing any work and also fits your size requirement as well. The laptop has been backed by two different versions of the 10th gen Intel processors in terms of performance. One is the Core i5, and the other is Core i7. The processors are fairly powerful to handle any high-level task thrown at them. There is also integrated Intel UHD graphics.
There is 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM inside the laptop that operates at a frequency of 2133MHz. And for storage space, the laptop has 512GB of PCIe SSD. This is a decent set of memory and storage to make the laptop reasonably fast. There are Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 4.1, 1x LAN port, 1x USB Type-C port, 2x USB (3.0) Type-A ports, 1x HDMI Port, 1x VGA, 1x Headphone + Microphone port. The laptop is rated to have a battery backup of up to 12 hours and 15 minutes which is also nice.
6ASUS Chromebook Flip CM3 (2-in-1 Convertible Design)
For a budget of $300, here is a Chromebook from Asus called the Chromebook Flip CM3. As the name suggests, it is a 2-in-1 convertible and is obviously a touchscreen. This laptop has a decent set of specs, a powerful and efficient processor, and much more. Along with that, the laptop is bundled with a stylus, a wired optical mouse, and USB-C to HDMI adapter.
- Display: 12-inch 1366 x 900p Touch
- Processor: MediaTek 8183
- Graphics: Arm Mali-G72 MP3
- RAM: 4GB LPDDR4X
- Storage: 32GB eMMC
Talking about the display first, the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 comes with a perfectly sized 12.0-inches LCD with HD resolution (1366×912). It is a 3:2 aspect ratio display and hence provides more vertical room for the work. The display has thin bezels and provides a 78% of screen-to-body ratio, and is a touchscreen.
Coming to the processing department of the laptop, the Chromebook Flip CM3 comes loaded with an octa-core MediaTek SoC. A MediaTek 8183 Processor packed inside whose top clock speed is 2.0GHz can efficiently deliver a mid-range smartphone-like performance. For graphics, the MediaTek SoC comes with an integrated Arm Mali-G72 MP3 GPU which is a 3-core GPU and works nicely while gaming for other GPU-related tasks.
The Chromebook comes with 4GB LPDDR4X RAM coupled with 32GB of eMMC storage. For wireless connectivity, there is Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2. Talking about the ports, it comes with a 1x Audio jack, 1x USB 2.0 Type-A port, 1x USB 2.0 Type-C port, and a microSD card reader.
7Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 (Non-Touch Chromebook)
Samsung has some of the most loyal customers, or you can say loyal fans. This is not a surprise as Samsung makes some of the most reliable electronics on the planet. In this huge pile of a wide variety of electronics, there are also many laptops that you can have. As for a specific 12-inch display laptop at an affordable price, you can have the second version of the company’s Chromebook Plus.
- Display: 12.2-inch 1920 x 1200p FHD+
- Processor: Intel Core m3
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615
- RAM: 4GB LPDDR3
- Storage: 64GB eMMC
The Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 has a 12.2-inches WUXGA LED display, and there is no need to say that Samsung is one of the leading quality display makers. The display on this laptop is a Full HD display with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1920×1200 pixels. This is a touch panel and supports up to 10 point multitouch.
The Chromebook Plus V2 uses the Intel Core m3 processor, a dual-core processor, and goes up to 3.4GHz on clock speed for data processing and smooth performance. This is a decent processor and can easily handle any basic to mediocre task like web browsing, binge-watching, documents management, etc. For graphics, the laptop relies on the integrated Intel HD Graphics 615.
The laptop is loaded with 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM coupled with 32GB/64GB/128GB of eMMC storage options. You can choose any of the variants as per your needs. The laptop has a 39Wh battery and is rated to serve up to 10 hours on a single charge. It has a 13MP front-facing camera that works better than usually provided laptop webcams. It has two USB-C ports for connectivity.
8XIDU Tour Pro (Optional)
It is tough to find good laptops with 12-inch display sizes as there are not many recommendable options. But I still have one more laptop on the list to recommend to you. It is the XIDU Tour Pro laptop. I would highly recommend you this laptop if you want a top-notch 12-inch display on your laptop. I know this is not a very popular company, but its value for the price makes it stand here on the list.
- Display: 12.5-inch 2560 x 1440p QHD+
- Processor: Intel Celeron 3867U
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 610
- RAM: 8GB LPDDR3
- Storage: 128GB eMMC
Starting with the star of the show, the display. The XIDU Tour Pro comes with a 12.5-inches display which has a whopping 2.5k resolution. To be precise, there are 2560×1440 pixels on the display panel. It is an IPS display panel, and hence the quality and color accuracy are also good. On top of that, it is a touchscreen and supports 10 point multitouch. The laptop’s hinge allows the laptop to open up to 180-degrees.
Coming to performance, the laptop has been equipped with the 8th Gen Intel Celeron 3867U processor. It is a dual-core processor and comprises two processing threads. It operates at a base clock speed of 1.8GHz. This is a decent CPU for a laptop made to do basic stuff like document management, note-taking, web browsing, watching movies, etc. There is also an integrated Intel HD Graphics 610 working at 300MHz.
The laptop comes with 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM, which is a decent amount, and along with that, it has 128GB of eMMC storage. There is a 39Wh battery inside the laptop, and it is rated to last up to 8 hours. It has a USB-C port, USB 3.0 Type-A port, a microSD card reader, and Wi-Fi 5 as a set of connectivity features.
Buying Guide: What to look for in a good 12-inch laptop?
Even though good 12-inch laptops are very few to choose from, you can not compromise on the minimum specifications of you’re paying for that. Below I have discussed the baseline specs a laptop must have to have a flawless basic performance.
Processor: A processor has no relation with the screen size, and while you’re searching for a 12-inch laptop, there can still be a good performance. But a laptop with such a small screen is not meant to do cumbersome tasks like 3D-modeling, 4K video editing, etc. but is for standard day-to-day work. And for that, there should be at least a dual-core processor of the latest gen. The Intel Celeron, Core M3, and Core i3 are more than enough for simple day-to-day work like email managing, documents managing, web browsing, and all.
RAM & Storage: If you have a Chromebook with a 12-inch display, a minimum of 4GB DDR4 RAM is good. However, an 8GB of RAM capacity is something that you should seek to have a good performance. In the case of a Windows 12-inch laptop, the RAM of 4GB is not going to be a perfect choice, and one should look for at least 8GB of DDR4 RAM in it. In some cases, this RAM can be DDR3 buy the capacity should not be less.
Battery: Due to the small screen size, there is room for less battery consumption on such a laptop. A good battery backup is no big deal in this segment, and a laptop with a 12-inch display can efficiently deliver 6-8 hours of battery life. If the laptop is a Chromebook, then the battery life can also reach 10+ hours.
Design: If your primary purpose for opting for a 12-inch laptop is to get mobility, you will obviously carry your laptop with you. And in that case, the laptop should have a solid build. But the build quality of a laptop had never been on the priority list of the manufacturers. Hence, premium laptops are the one which comes with the reasonably durable build as compared to the budget ones.
Display: the display size is already pre-defined that it should have 12-inches in size. And when it comes to the display’s resolution, a laptop with a 12-inch display will be good with a Full HD (1920×1080 pixels) resolution. And talking about the HD resolution of the display, it will not be as bad as any other big display size. Due to the small 12-inch size, the HD resolution of the display will also produce a reasonably sharp quality.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why do I need to buy a 12-inch laptop?
In my opinion, portability should be the primary reason to buy a 12-inch laptop. Otherwise, there are various more powerful laptops available, even in a similar price range.
Can I use the 12-inch laptop for gaming?
No, it is not suggested to buy a 12-inch laptop for gaming. But, indeed, you can play casual games.
Final Conclusion – Which is the best 12-inch laptop?
So these were the laptops with a 12-inch display that you can buy. As there is no price bracket, I have tried to diversify the list with the laptops from budget to premium. But 12-inch laptops are pretty limited in the market, and the good ones among them are even less, so it was time-consuming and lengthy research work that I have done before serving this list to you guys.
Altogether, we want to recommend Microsoft Surface Pro 7 as one of the best 12-inch laptops. But you can decide according to your need. I hope my hard work will pay off by helping you improve your buying decision, and you’ll now be able to get the best bang for your bucks. If this article was helpful, then leave an appreciation below. Also, if you have any questions or better laptop suggestions, tell them in the comments below. I’ll try to consider them.
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