The Best Mini Laptops in 2022

Welcome to another “best of” post from DroiX! This time, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the best ultrabooks, mini laptops, and other similar portable computers that are worth your time.

What IS an Ultrabook?

The term “Ultrabook” is actually a marketing term coined by Intel in early 2010’s. Back during this period, most laptops were much blockier and unwieldier than they are today. Ultrabooks were a series of laptops that utilized Intel processors, and that were much thinner than your average laptop at the time.

Other features included within the definition of an ultrabook included approximately 5-9 hours battery life. Touch screens and a boot speed (from hibernation) of 7 seconds or less.

As time went on and the features most often seen in ultrabooks became more normalized thanks to advancements in technology, the term has fallen out of popularity as people return to simply using the word “laptop”. Nonetheless, one can usually expect to get a slightly more portable laptop than usual when they purchase one marketed as an “Ultrabook”.

Mini Laptops vs Ultrabooks

The term “mini laptop” can be considered a subset of the term ultrabook. Taken one step further, mini laptops are often much, much more portable than your average laptop or even ultrabook.

In the most extreme cases, mini laptops can be small enough to even fit in your pocket! Making them excellent companions for commutes, or as easy-to-access devices on workbenches and similar locations. For when you need the functions of a laptop (built-in-keyboard, USB ports, etc.) but want to keep things light.

The Very Best Mini Laptops (and Ultrabooks!)

Below is a list of the best mini laptops currently available to purchase from DroiX.

P2 Max 2022

The GPD P2 Max 2022 is a refresh of the popular ultrabook from 2019. Created by GPD, who specialize in small-form-factor electronic devices of this nature (gaming handelds, mini laptops, etc).

Unlike the original model, the P2 Max 2022 only comes in one variation. This variation boasts an improved processor – a Pentium N6000. 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM, and an M.2 NVMe SSD.

Unlike similar laptops, the design philosophy behind the P2 Max is not to be some powerhouse does-it-all workstation. Rather, the focus is on providing a stylish, lightweight laptop for the casual user to manage emails, write articles, and perform general computing tasks throughout the day. Without adding too much heft to their daily carry (you can just slip it in your bag without noticing much).

The real centrepiece of the P2 Max 2022 is it’s large touch-screen display. Clocking in at a sizable 8.9 inches, and boasting a very high resolution of 2560x1600p, a brightness of 300nits, and a pixels-per-inch rating of 340 PPI. The visual quality granted by this laptop is extremely high compared to its contemporaries.

This large display does make it a tad less portable, but at the end of the day, compromises have to be made.

Being larger overall however, the GPD P2 Max 2022 features a deceptively comfortable chiclet-style keyboard. Which, unlike other smaller keyboards, is comfortable enough to type on for extended periods of time. The button layout is a little unusual however and takes some getting used to (still QWERTY, but with some punctuation being in odd places to maximize space).

The P2 Max 2022 also features a fairly standard selection of interfaces, including a Micro-HDMI port. Sadly however, it lacks a built-in microSD card reader, so you’ll need to purchase a dedicated USB reader for that functionality.

Overall, the P2 Max is definitely contender for one of the best ultrabooks on the market today.

Learn a little bit more about the P2 Max 2022 in our GPD P2 Max 2022 Review – or click the video above to watch it here!

What we like!

  • High-resolution, high-fidelity display.
  • Comfortable keyboard.
  • Stylish, slim design.
  • Good battery life.

What we don’t like…

  • No microSD slot.
  • Micro-HDMI is a fragile interface.
  • Raw power isn’t the highest.

GPD Pocket 3

The GPD Pocket 3 is the latest iteration in the second of GPD‘s two primary product lines. The GPD Pocket family.

It takes a stark departure from the previous models by discarding the “portability at all costs” mantra, and instead adopting a slightly more utilitarian approach. With an appearance and feature-set very similar to that of the GPD Micro PC, and One Netbook’s A1 mini laptop.

The GPD Pocket 3 also comes in two variants!

The first of these being the “base” model, featuring an Intel Pentium N6000 processor (also seen in the P2 Max 2022), 8GB of LPDDRR4x RAM, and 512GB of NVMe storage.

The second model, denoted as the “high-end” one, features a significantly more powerful i7-1195G7 processor, as well as 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM (that is also clocked at a higher frequency), and a 1TB NVMe SSD.

Circling back to the “Utilitarian” comment earlier, the GPD Pocket 3 features a good selection of interfaces. Including an ethernet jack, full-sized HDMI, and even a Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C port (for eGPU compatibility, among other things).

The number of interfaces can be FURTHER expanded via the “modular interface system”. Via a screw-fastened port in the rear of device, users can connect one of (currently) three modules. An extra USB Type-A port for general functionality. A KVM port with USB and HDMI inputs to allow the GPD Pocket 3 to act as a point of access for servers. And an RS232 port as a more “low-spec, industrial” variant of the KVM port.

Another highlight of the device is it’s display. Capable of rotating 180 degrees on its X-axis, then folding back down over the keyboard. Turning the GPD Pocket 3 into a chunky tablet PC of sorts.

To learn more about one of the best mini laptops, check out our GPD Pocket 3 review!

What we like!

  • Multi-functional; very versatile.
  • Can change interfaces; rare on laptops.
  • Can convert into a tablet form.

What we don’t like…

  • Keyboard is a bit cramped.
  • Base model is expensive.

GPD WIN MAX 2021

The GPD WIN Max 2021 is a refresh of GPD‘s WIN MAX gaming laptop that was released in the middle of 2020. This refresh made its way to the general public in the latter quarter of 2021. So while it’s technically a last-year model, it’s comparable to the P2 Max 2022 and GPD Pocket 3 in its release window.

The focus of the GPD WIN MAX 2021 is to provide a comprehensive gaming laptop experience that is also comfortable enough to use as a daily driver. Boasting a large size, powerful cooling and many useful functions that are appreciable by gamers-on-the-go.

So despite being on our list of the best ultrabooks, the GPD WIN MAX 2021 is comparable to a gaming laptop more than anything.

Power-wise, the GPD WIN MAX 2021 is the strongest on our list. Featuring an Intel i7-1195G7 processor, 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM (clocked at an impressive 4266MHz) and a 1TB NVMe SSD.

There are two central attractions to the GPD P2 Max. The first being it’s 8-inch display with a resolution of 1280x800p. While decently sized, the bezels are admittedly on the large-side.

The second point of attraction is the built-in-gaming controls. With face buttons, analogue sticks and shoulder/trigger buttons built into the system, there is no need to purchase a separate controller in order to game with the unit. There’s also a hardware switch that turns the gamepad functionality into that of a keyboard/mouse – allowing you to move the mouse cursor with the joystick, among other changes.

Much like the Pocket 3, the selection of interfaces on the WIN MAX 2021 is also excellent. With multiple USB ports (including one Thunderbolt Type-C, allowing for eGPU compatability), a full-sized HDMI port, and an RJ45 ethernet jack!.

There is also a variant of the GPD WIN MAX 2021 that featured an AMD Ryzen 7 4800U APU at the heart of the system. While marginally cheaper, this model was delayed a couple of months due to manufacturing difficulties and currently- to our knowledge – is already “end-of-life” (any stock you can find now is the last of its kind).

The AMD variant is very slightly cheaper than the Intel variant, but replaces the Thunderbolt USB-C port with a regular USB-C port. In all other factors (processor/graphics performance aside), it is identical to the Intel variant.

To learn about the different versions of the WIN MAX 2021, we encourage you to check out our GPD WIN MAX 2021 review, and our GPD WIN MAX 2021 AMD review!

What we like!

  • Extremely powerful.
  • Built-in gaming controls.
  • Can connect to eGPU for further power boost.

What we don’t like…

  • Somewhat bulky, compared to other mini laptops.
  • Large bezels are ugly.

GPD Pocket 2 – M3 Edition

The GPD Pocket 2 boasts a sleek, slim design.

The GPD Pocket 2 is the second member of GPD’s flagship “Pocket” series’ of mini laptops. Much like most of GPD’s product line, the intent behind the GPD Pocket 2 is to provide a device that “end-to-end premium mobile computing needs of business professionals”.

Releasing in late-2018/early-2019, the GPD Pocket 2 was a noticeable upgrade over the original pocket model in many ways. Featuring a much slimmer design overall, as well as improved performance.

The GPD Pocket 2 features an M3-8100y processor. This dual-core CPU runs at an impressive frequencies of up to 3.4GHz when under load, but defaults to a much more modest 1.10GHz as a method of saving power and extending battery life when not needed. Also included is 8GB of dual-channel LPDDR3 RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

Previously, there was a slightly lower specification model featuring an Intel Celeron 3965Y CPU. This was discontinued however for reasons currently unknown.

True to its name, the GPD Pocket 2 is one of the few devices to comfortably fit in a relatively “normal” sized pocket (no cargo pants or huge jackets required here!). The increased thinness over its predecessor greatly aids this, making it the best ultrabook around with regards to portability.

Additionally, the Celeron processor makes this ultrabook highly energy-efficient, with a TDP of approximately 6 watts, you can generally expect around 5-8 hours of lifetime with light usage.

Overall, the GPD Pocket 2 is an interesting – if a little outdated – option for a portable PC. For those who need the flexibility of a PC without adding too much to their daily-carry.

What we like!

  • Highly portable
  • Nice (touch) display

What we don’t like…

  • Outdated
  • Touchpad is awkward

GPD Micro PC

The GPD Micro PC is one of the few models from GPD to not feature a touchscreen.

The GPD Micro PC is GPD’s attempt at creating a more “technician-friendly” mini laptop. Gone are the sleek, smooth curves commonly seen, replaced by an overall bulkier, utilitarian design.

The name of the game for the GPD Micro PC is “compatibility”. This mini laptop is jam packed with interfaces for something so small. Owing to it’s identity as a technicians best friend. On top of the regular smattering of USB ports seen on most mini laptops, the GPD Pocket 3 also features a full-sized HDMI port, and even a gigabit RJ45 ethernet switch.

The GPD Micro PC originally featured an Intel Celeron N4100 processor, but received a refresh about a year and a half later featuring the very slightly more powerful N4120 CPU. Both models boast high energy efficiency, but rather low performance. Making the Micro PC poor for intensive tasks, but fine for simple ones like word processing.

A silver lining however is that this ultrabook does feature LPDDR4 RAM – 8GB to be exact. And an SSD that can be upgraded

Among other models, the GPD Micro PC is also substantially lower-cost, thanks to the plastic shell and the lower-specification processor.

All-in-all, this is one of the best ultrabooks one can find if they’re looking for a cheap, low-cost computer to put on their workbench, or use for other practical purposes.

What we like!

  • Many interfaces
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Comfortable trackpad

What we don’t like…

  • Low power
  • No touch screen

benjamin
Mild-mannered support agent by daylight; even milder-mannered tech blogger under cover of night. Fond of gaming, virtual reality, and sleeping; not necessarily in that order.
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Looking to upgrade your laptop? Why not try out an Ultrabook! We at DroiX have gathered some of the best Ultrabooks available right NOW!..Read full article

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