HP TECH TAKES
Exploring today's technology for tomorrow's possibilities
5 Best HP Travel Laptops
October 3, 2018
While it’s understandable to think that most if not all laptops are designed primarily with mobility in mind, there have been significant developments to ensure that some are the absolute best for an on-the-go lifestyle.
For some users, a generously-sized display is the perfect thing for collaboration or media during travel, but for others, that additional space can be a drag - literally.
It’s important to understand some of the pros and cons of different models before trying to decide which is the best travel laptop for you. Shopping for a solid travel laptop isn’t altogether different from shopping for a laptop in general, but there are specific features to consider more closely than others.
Important considerations for a travel laptop
Here are some of the questions to ask and many of the key technical specifications to keep in mind while you look to find what’s best.
Is the laptop portable enough to stay mobile?
A laptop’s portability is defined by several values, most important being weight and physical dimensions. Depending on how often you change venue or how much time you spend in transit, one or the other may become less important.
For example, you may easily manage a small, but heavier, laptop in the right carrying case. Or, you may use a larger model if the weight is low enough to compensate for the extra size. If you’re constantly on the move and shifting from workspace to workspace, you’ll want to prioritize models that are compact and light.
Does the laptop have a long-lasting battery?
Laptop battery life is another critical consideration because portability won’t do you much good if you’re working away from outlets or on a dwindling charge. Fortunately, the capacity of laptop batteries has improved substantially compared to older designs, and many offer more than a full workday’s worth of charge.
Speed of charge when the battery runs out is another thing to look out for in a laptop’s hardware specifications. HP® also offers several laptop models equipped with built-in fast charging technology that helps restore battery life quickly.
Does the laptop complement your storage and media routine?
These days, the market offers plenty of peripherals and accessories to make a mobile work situation easier.
Still, you should consider how much you want to depend on devices like external hard drives or video adapter cables for connectivity. How much you depend on streaming or visually intense features should also come into play, so make sure you have enough memory and storage to stay truly mobile.
It’s important to have options
Whether or not you know exactly what you want from the start, having a variety of options at similar price ranges makes it easier to compare so you can find exactly what’s best for you.
Just choose the product line and configuration you prefer, whether it’s a traditional laptop or an adaptive convertible style, a gaming laptop, or a touch screen device designed for collaboration.
1. Affordability and convenience with HP Chromebook or HP ProBook
Okay, so you probably noticed that we snuck two into the first category since there are definite similarities in these two HP laptop families.
The HP Chromebook family is built around the Chrome OS, a relatively new Linux-based system developed by Google. The concept is intended to help streamline laptop design by shifting more weight to the cloud, making the devices smaller, cheaper, and simpler to use. For those who spend a lot of time on the internet and streaming, the HP Chromebook was designed with you in mind.
Although there are 12-inch HP Chromebook and 13-inch HP Chromebook display models, the latest models are offered in two size configurations. The smaller size offers an 11-inch diagonal display and super-compact form, weighing just over 2.5 lbs and measuring only 18.4 mm from top to bottom. The larger model, with a 14-inch display, still weighs less than 4 lbs while it’s even thinner at 17.8 mm.
Where price is concerned, the popular HP Chromebook 11-inch laptop is pretty hard to beat. With ENERGY STAR® certification and an average battery life of 12 hours for the series, that’s plenty of time for a full day.
The next step up, the HP Chromebook x360 14-inch laptop has a 14-inch Full High Definition (FHD) touch display. It has powerful base specs including a dual-core 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i3 processor, 8GB of memory, and 64GB of eMMC storage. It also boasts an impressive battery life of up to 13-and-a-half hours.
Each HP Chromebook also comes with a two-year subscription for storage via Google Drive so you can easily store and manage your files.
Prefer a conventional OS? Get an extra boost from HP ProBook
If you’d rather work with a more familiar OS, there’s a wide variety of competitively priced models from the HP ProBook series, all backed up by the extra power of Windows 10 Pro 64.
Built around 8th Generation Intel Core processors, the HP ProBook is designed primarily as an affordable business laptop.
Its extremely compact design and range of hardware options make this series diverse and easy to sync up with different travel routines.
The popular and customizable HP ProBook 440 G5 laptop stands out with its powerful starting configuration and list of optional features for users with particularly rigorous workloads. Loaded with an 8th Generation Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of memory, and 500GB of HDD storage, the base model is a surprisingly affordable workhorse all by itself.
And if you need more, you can upgrade to quad-core performance with optional i5 or i7 processors. Or if you have a visually heavy routine and want more power than the Intel HD Graphics, check out the options for NVIDIA® GeForce® graphics cards.
In addition to Windows 10 Pro 64, the HP ProBook 440 G5 also makes on-the-go collaboration easier with integrated sound features like HP Audio Boost and HP Noise Cancellation.
You’ll also find that it’s highly responsive thanks to the 16GB of Intel Optane™ PCIe NVMe 3D XPoint™ memory.
2. HP ENVY: For collaboration and media on-the-go
The HP ENVY laptop family is diverse as well with its range of options emphasizing portability, collaboration, and media with their generous display configurations. With starting prices that still compare favorably against budget models and a maximum display size of 17.3 inches diagonal, it’s both compact and surprisingly affordable.
If you don’t need a larger display, you can find the HP ENVY 13-inch laptop that weighs less than 3 lbs, measures under half-an-inch thick, and packs a rich media experience.
But if you prefer a substantial display, the HP ENVY 17-inch laptop is a great solution for high-quality media and collaboration while traveling because it weighs in at only 6.63 lbs. It also boasts a sleek design with lifted hinges and 16GB worth of Intel Optane memory for speedy responsiveness.
Unparalleled battery life with the convertible HP ENVY x2
For anyone whose biggest concern about their travel laptop is long battery life, you’ll definitely want to consider the HP ENVY x2 detachable laptop.
In addition to being less than half-an-inch thick and just under 4 lbs, it comes with a staggeringly long life of up to 22 hours. And with HP®’s fast charge technology, you’ll recover 90% of its charge in only 90 minutes.
Designed to blur the boundary between a standard laptop and a highly interactive tablet, the HP ENVY x2 is compact and extremely versatile. It features a Corning® Gorilla® Glass touch screen display to protect against wear, so you can be confident when interacting via touch or stylus.
The HP ENVY x2 is also designed for easy connectivity. Despite its thin measurements, it boasts a USB Type-C™ port, micro SD, SIM card slot, and combo audio jack for headphones and speakers. It even comes with premium audio by Bang & Olufsen and high-quality built-in cameras for truly immersive sound and visual performance even when you’re on-the-go.
3. High performance mobile computing with HP Spectre
For a true jack-of-all-trades, the HP Spectre family is the company’s premium laptop line featuring more eye-catching exterior designs and high-performance specs across the board.
Weighing in at less than 3 lbs and boasting a maximum battery life of more than 16 hours, the HP Spectre x360 13-inch convertible laptop with touch screen is compact but versatile. It also features fast-charge technology and an 8th Generation Intel Core i Quad Core processor to complement the almost-borderless 13.3-inch FHD display.
Or, if you take comfort and style on-the-go very seriously, there’s the HP Spectre Folio 13-inch laptop with a genuine leather exterior. It weighs a few ounces more than the HP Spectre x360, but it compensates with up to 18 hours of battery life. It’s still convertible, too, and available in both touch or non-touch display configurations.
4. HP OMEN laptops for gamers on-the-go
HP OMEN laptops are available in both 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch configurations for those who take their portable gaming seriously.
While you may favor HP OMEN 15-inch laptop for the sake of extra portability, the HP OMEN 17-inch laptop is a great value, particularly if you are looking for a gaming laptop on a budget.
The HP OMEN 17-inch laptop’s starting configuration includes the latest 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processors and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. Its specs also include 8GB of memory, 1TB of HDD storage, and 16 GB of PCIe NVMe Intel Optane memory for speed. If you need more, simply customize your order for up to 32GB of memory and 2TB of HDD storage. It’s also VR-ready and equipped with state-of-the-art thermal regulation to keep your device running at a safe temperature.
5. HP ZBook for designers and dedicated creatives
For designers, engineers, or creatives whose work keeps them on the move, the HP ZBook line of mobile workstations is the benchmark.
They’re available at a variety of prices, but what you get will astound you thanks to HP®’s extensive industry consultation during development.
Equipped with powerful graphics and versatile usability features, the HP ZBook is designed for topshelf performance and high mobility. Options include the detachable HP ZBook x2 and the ultrathin and secure 14-inch HP ZBook design.
Another HP ZBook may be a little larger thanks to the 17-inch display, but the HP ZBook 17-inch mobile workstation, the top-of-the-line option, has specs like the 6-core Intel Xeon® processor and as much as 64GB of RAM. The HP ZBook 17 also has a built-in color calibration system for consistency and clarity, excellent thermal regulation, and HP DreamColor 4K displays. It’s even VR-ready with powerful NVIDIA Quadro® P3200 graphics cards.
Bonus: convertible laptops for the progressive traveler
A convertible laptop configuration won’t be ideal for everyone’s travel routine, but they’re undeniably versatile whether you’re on-the-go or working in a stationary setting.
With a detachable keyboard and flexible hinge, convertible laptops can be used as both a conventional laptop or in a range of touch screen positions. If a more adaptive design seems to be the best laptop for traveling for you, then embrace it and check out HP’s diverse range of convertible options.
You’ll be able to choose from many of HP®’s recognizable lines, add on extras like premium features for collaboration, and still enjoy an impressive battery life.
Looking for an affordable convertible model with robust specs across the board? The HP ENVY x360 is a competitively priced standout with your choice of 13-inch or 15-inch diagonal displays. Where the basics are concerned, you’ll also have options for as much as 16GB of memory and 512GB worth of SSD storage.
No matter which style you choose, there’s an HP laptop out there to meet your traveling needs.
About the Author: Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.