The 30 Coolest Laptops And Tablets Of 2021: The Mobile 100

We round up the top new laptops and tablets for work-from-home from vendors including Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Microsoft and Samsung.

Cool Laptops And Tablets For 2021

With remote work and learning remaining widespread, demand for highly portable devices such as laptops and 2-in-1 tablets continues to surge. And device makers have responded to the demand by launching an array of new models that offer enhanced capabilities for collaboration, portability, security and performance. Many of the new devices come with notable features such as 11th-gen Intel Core processors, webcams and speakers that are optimized for conferencing, low blue light displays and 5G connectivity. Among the vendors with cool laptops and tablets for work-from-home in 2021 include Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, Dynabook, HP, Lenovo, Microsoft, Panasonic and Samsung.

As part of CRN’s Mobile 100 for 2021, we’ve rounded up 30 cool laptops and tablets worth checking out.

Acer Chromebook Spin 514

The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 stands out as the company’s first Chromebook to feature AMD Ryzen 3000 C-Series processors and AMD Radeon graphics, which enable strong performance, responsiveness and battery life (up to 10 hours), Acer says. Acer is offering a variant of the 14-inch convertible notebook aimed at business users—the Acer Chromebook Enterprise Spin 514—with additional security and management capabilities.

Apple iPad Pro

Apple’s soon-to-arrive iPad Pro update for 2021 adds the company’s Arm-based M1 chip, enabling up to 50-percent faster CPU performance over the previous model, according to the company. The new iPad Pro will continue to be available in 11-inch and 12.9-inch display sizes, with other upgrades including support for 5G and a new “Liquid Retina XDR” display with up to 1,600 nits of brightness on the 12.9-inch model.

Apple iPad, 8th Gen

For its eighth-generation model, the base-model iPad adds Apple’s A12 Bionic chip for 40-percent improved CPU performance and 2X improved graphics speeds, compared to the seventh-gen iPad. The latest iPad retains the 10.2-inch display size and the ability to connect to a keyboard, as well as support for the Apple Pencil stylus.

Apple MacBook Air

With the addition of Apple’s Arm-based M1 processor, the MacBook Air offers a 3.5X CPU improvement and 5X graphics performance gains, compared to the Intel-based MacBook Air. The MacBook Air with M1 also gets an additional six hours of battery life--or up to 18 hours of usage on a charge--and now does not require a fan, either.

Apple MacBook Pro

Apple’s entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro now features the company’s M1 chip for up to 2.8X better CPU performance and up to 5X improvement on GPU performance, versus the prior Intel-based version. The higher-end 13-inch MacBook Pro is not available with the M1 chip yet and continues to offer Intel processors. Both the M1- and Intel-based MacBook Pro models now feature the Magic Keyboard design for an improved typing experience, while the Intel-based model now offers up to 32 GB of RAM.

Asus ExpertBook B9

Touted by Asus as the “world’s lightest 14-inch business laptop,” the ExpertBook B9 has a weight of just under 2 pounds while still offering strong performance via 11th-gen Intel Core vPro processors and up to 32 GB of RAM. On battery life, the notebook offers up to 20 hours of video playback, while other key features include AI-powered noise cancellation and dual-SSD RAID support.

Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1 Education

For its Chromebook 3100 2-in-1 Education, a student-friendly convertible Chrome OS laptop, Dell includes an 11-inch touch display with scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass; drop protection (including from rubberized edges); a spill-resistant keyboard; and up to 13 hours of battery life.

Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable

Dell’s latest 2-in-1 Latitude tablet, the Latitude 7320 Detachable, features a new 13-inch display size with FHD+ resolution and 500 nits of brightness, along with an enhanced webcam and a newly designed folio keyboard with a faux suede design. On performance and connectivity, the tablet offers up to the 11th-gen Intel Core i7 with vPro as well as support for WiFi 6 and optional LTE connectivity.

Dell Latitude 7520

Dell’s Latitude 7520 offers a 15.6-inch display with either 4K/UHD or FHD resolution and reduced blue light technology. Key features include an optional FHD webcam, optional LTE connectivity, adaptive thermal response (to keep the laptop cooler), 11th-gen Intel Core processors (up to Core i7 vPro) and up to 32 GB of RAM.

Dell Latitude 9420

For the Latitude 9420, Dell offers a convertible model with QHD+ display resolution or a clamshell model with FHD+ resolution. The notebook’s 14-inch display offers a 16:10 aspect ratio for a 5 percent larger viewing area and brightness of 500 nits, while key capabilities include optional support for 5G or LTE; a built-in speakerphone, dedicated mute and mic keys, and an enhanced webcam; and ExpressSign-in 2.0, which leverages Intel Visual Sensing Technology to enable faster auto-wake and auto-lock.

Dell XPS 13

Dell’s latest XPS 13 now includes an option for a vibrant OLED touch display with nearly 4K resolution, along with a 4K LCD touch screen and FHD+ touch and non-touch options for the notebook’s 13.4-inch display. The updated XPS 13 offers slim bezels for a nearly 92-percent screen-to-body ratio, 11th-gen Intel Core processors, up to 32 GB of RAM and a starting weight of 2.64 pounds.

Dynabook Portégé X30L-J

Dynabook’s Portégé X30L-J stands out with its weight of just 2 pounds, thanks to the use of a lightweight magnesium alloy for its chassis. The 13.3-inch laptop is configurable with 11th-gen Intel Core vPro processor options--up to the Core i7-1185G with vPro--and with up to 32 GB of RAM. The notebook also features a wide selection of ports, including USB-A, USB-C, HDMI and Ethernet, as well as a microSD card slot.

Dynabook Satellite Pro L50

Dynabook Americas, formerly Toshiba America Client Solutions, recently revived Toshiba’s former Satellite Pro laptop series with new business-focused models including the Dynabook Satellite Pro L50. The notebook features a 15.6-inch FHD display, a 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, discrete Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics, 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage.

HP Elite c1030 Chromebook Enterprise

A high-end Chromebook for businesses, the HP Elite c1030 Chromebook Enterprise offers slim bezels around its convertible 13.5-inch touch screen; up to 1,000 nits of brightness on the FHD display; 10th-gen Intel Core processors; optional LTE connectivity; up to 12 hours of battery life; and a starting weight just shy of 3 pounds. Security features include a webcam privacy switch along with enterprise-grade security and manageability through the inclusion of the Chrome Enterprise upgrade.

HP Elite Dragonfly G2

With the second-generation Elite Dragonfly, HP has added 5G connectivity, integrated Tile tracking and the company’s Tamper Lock intrusion detection technology. The 2-in-1 notebook features a 13.3-inch display with FHD or UHD resolution and a weight of just 2.2 pounds, making it the “world’s lightest compact business convertible,” according to HP. On performance, the Elite Dragonfly G2 moves up to 11th-generation Intel Core vPro processors and offers up to 32 GB of RAM, up from 16 GB on the original model.

HP Elite x2 G8

HP recently updated its 2-in-1 tablet lineup with the debut of the HP Elite x2 G8. The 13-inch tablet features display options that include resolution of up to 3,000 x 2,000 (and up to 450 nits of brightness) or 1,920 x 1,280 resolution with the Sure View Gen 3 integrated privacy screen (and up to 1,000 nits of brightness). The Elite x2 G8 also offers an optional 11th-generation Intel Core processor, integrated Tile tracking and AI-based technology for suppressing background noise.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8

HP has brought an upgrade to its midrange EliteBook notebooks with the recent debut of the EliteBook 840 Aero G8. The notebook has a starting weight of 2.5 pounds—a half pound lighter than the standard EliteBook 840 G8—as well as optional 5G connectivity and an optional Sure View Reflect integrated privacy screen on the 14-inch display. Other notable features include integrated Tile tracking; an HD camera and three microphones; and optional 11th-generation Intel Core processors.

HP EliteBook x360 1030 G8

Key upgrades on HP EliteBook x360 1030 G8 include the addition of optional 5G connectivity and 11th-generation Intel Core vPro processors. The notebook has a 13.3-inch convertible display with optional OLED display technology and UHD resolution. The EliteBook x360 1030 G8 also offers slim bezels around its display, helping enable the notebook to have “the world’s smallest footprint in a 13-inch business convertible,” according to HP.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x i

Lenovo’s highly portable ThinkBook 13x i measures just a half inch thick and weighs 2.65 pounds. The notebook includes a 13.3-inch display with resolution of 2,560 x 1,600, a 16:10 aspect ratio, a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio and up to 400 nits of brightness. The ThinkBook 13x i also offers up to 15 hours of battery life and 11th-gen Intel Core processors up to the Core i7.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9)

For the ninth-generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Lenovo has introduced a new 16:10 aspect ratio and reduced blue light on the 14-inch display—which offers a choice between UHD or FHD resolution. Other additions include an integrated fingerprint reader on the power button, optional 5G or LTE connectivity and support for Dolby Voice, which optimizes the performance of the notebook’s microphones and speakers. The new X1 Carbon also includes a larger battery than the previous model, to enable battery life of up to 16 hours, and is powered by 11th-generation Intel Core processors with up to 32 GB of RAM.


Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold

The world’s first foldable PC, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold features a 13.3-inch display that, when unfolded, can be used as a tablet or as a screen connected to a Bluetooth keyboard. When folded, the X1 Fold can serve as a dual-display device with numerous options for multitasking across the two screens—including with a keyboard that can magnetically attach to the lower screen for use in a standard notebook fashion. The X1 Fold is also highly portable--with a weight of 2.2 pounds and capability to fold up into a compact form factor--and offers optional 5G connectivity.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano

As Lenovo has touted, the ThinkPad X1 Nano is the “lightest ThinkPad ever” with a starting weight of just 1.99 pounds. The X1 Nano also features a thin form factor for a business notebook, with a thickness of 0.55 of an inch. The 13-inch notebook features a new 16:10 aspect ratio—offering a larger workspace area on the screen—with up to 450 nits of brightness. Other key specs include 17 hours of battery life, optional 5G and up to an 11th-generation Intel Core i7 processor.

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable

As Lenovo’s latest 2-in-1 Windows 10 tablet, the ThinkPad X12 Detachable features a 12.3-inch FHD+ display with a 3:2 aspect ratio, 400 nits of brightness and Gorilla Glass 5 for durability. The device includes 11th-gen Intel Core processors (up to Core i7 vPro), up to 10 hours of battery life and “always on responsiveness,” which allows users to resume working within less than a second of waking the device, Lenovo says.

Microsoft Surface Book 3

With available 13.5-inch and 15-inch models, Microsoft’s Surface Book 3 continues the unique convertible design of allowing the display to be fully detached from the keyboard base for use as a tablet, or flipped around and re-attached. The notebook‘s display includes Microsoft’s vibrant PixelSense display technology with 3,000 x 2,000 resolution on the 13.5-inch model and 3,240 x 2,160 resolution on the 15-inch version. On performance, the Surface Book 3 offers 10th-gen Intel Core processors, up to 32 GB of RAM and powerful Nvidia graphics options.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7+

Business-friendly updates with Microsoft‘s Surface Pro 7+ include optional LTE Advanced connectivity and a removable SSD to help enhance security and data retention -- as well as longer battery life (up to 15 hours on a charge, compared to 10.5 hours on the Surface Pro 7). The 12.3-inch tablet also moves up to 11th-gen Intel Core processors, for a performance boost of more than 2X, according to Microsoft.

Panasonic Toughbook 33

Panasonic recently updated its Toughbook 33, a rugged 2-in-1 Windows 10 tablet, to include 10th-gen Intel Core processors; improved speakers, mics and camera; faster Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; connectivity to Private LTE CBRS networks; and Intel Hardware Shield security technology. The Toughbook 33 features a 12-inch QHD display with up to 1,200 nits of brightness, and offers up to 32 GB of RAM and up to 1 TB of storage.

Panasonic Toughbook A3

Panasonic’s Toughbook A3 is a rugged Android tablet offering support for LTE and for FirstNet, a wireless network from AT&T that is dedicated to first responder and public safety users. In terms of configurability, options include adding a 1D/2D barcode scanner, an insertable smart card reader and a second USB-A port. Other key features include a 10.1-inch display that is outdoor viewable with up to 800 nits of brightness; rain and glove touch functionality on the display; and a dual hot swap battery design offering up to 15 hours of usage on a charge in total.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

For the Galaxy Chromebook 2, Samsung has brought in what it’s calling the first-ever Chromebook display that uses QLED—the quantum-dot technology that has previously been used in Samsung TVs. The 13.3-inch convertible FHD display is “capable of producing over a billion different colors” through the use of QLED, Samsung says. Other key features include louder speakers; a new keyboard with wider keys; a thickness of just 0.55 of an inch and weight of 2.7 pounds; and up to the Intel Core i3-10110U processor.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active3

With the Galaxy Tab Active3, Samsung has upgraded the resolution on the 8-inch display while maintaining its military-grade ruggedness and ability to use the tablet with most gloves. The Tab Active3 also includes a larger battery and a new “no battery mode” meant for in-vehicle use. Other additions include a programmable key that enables users to quickly access push-to-talk, scanning or other business apps.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus

Key features for Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 Plus include a model that supports 5G and improvements to the S Pen stylus such as reduced latency. The Galaxy Tab S7 Plus includes a 12.4-inch OLED display with resolution of 2,800 x 1,752 and a 120hz refresh rate. The optional Tab S7 Plus keyboard features improvements such as the addition of function keys, while other updates include the addition of the eight-core Qualcomm SDM865+ processor.