Review: The best 13-inch laptops for Windows 10

Laptops and convertibles from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft square off in our performance, workability, and battery tests

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With Windows 10 out but customized hardware only starting to appear, there may never be a better time to buy a discounted Windows 8.1 machine -- whether you intend to keep Win 8.1 or upgrade for free to Windows 10. With an eye toward making the upgrade, I put six of the best and most popular 13-inch laptops through my extensive, real-world, “can I really live and work with them” test.

All six machines that ran my gauntlet of usability, performance, and battery tests -- the Acer Aspire R13, the Asus ZenBook 13, the Dell XPS 13, the HP EliteBook Pro 1020, the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, and Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 -- have unique advantages. A few are classic clamshells. A few are contortionists suited to both laptop and tablet duty. One, the Surface Pro 3, is a slate with a strap-on keyboard and laptop aspirations.

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