If you’re looking for a silent, fanless portable computer, Intel Core M processors may fit your bill. While the previous generation Broadwell Core M allowed for silent computing, the performance was somewhat lackluster. The current generation Skylake Core M3, Core M5, and Core M7 processors bring enough of a performance improvement so that using the computer for non-intensive tasks doesn’t suffer from a poor, lag-infested experience.
The question that remains, however, is which Skylake Core M notebook or tablet should you buy? To help you answer this question, here is a list of fanless (and thus silent) Skylake Core M devices available on the market. Included with each entry is some information for consideration, such as the price, screen size, dimensions, weight and stated battery life. These factors are perhaps the most important when considering a portable computer that you can take anywhere.
Notebook or Tablet?
These days, the line between notebooks and tablets running full desktop operating systems is blurring. A tablet that uses a secure attachment mechanism such as Microsoft’s Surface Book (not a Core M device) works and feels like a notebook when the keyboard is attached. This list is separated into two parts, Notebooks (without detachable keyboards) and Tablets (with detachable keyboards).
If you know of any options that are not in the list, please leave a comment below!
Table of Contents
Click an item to see details below.
Skylake Core M Notebooks
Skylake Core M Tablets
- Acer Aspire Switch 12 S
- ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi
- Dell Latitude 12 7000 Series 2-in-1
- Dell XPS 12 2-in-1
- HP Spectre x2
- Lenovo Miix 700
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
- Microsoft Surface Pro 4
- Samsung Galaxy TabPro S
- Toshiba Portégé Z20t
Skylake Core M Notebooks
The only macOS (formerly OS X) device on this list, the Macbook is the way to go if you prefer the Apple ecosystem. Even if you are planning to run Windows, you may want to consider the 12-inch Macbook for its thin and light design. The two caveats to be aware of are that it comes with a single USB-C port and a butterfly switch keyboard that doesn’t press down as far as you might be used to. However, you do get the choice of 4 colors, including Silver, Space Gray, Gold and Rose Gold. The CPU options include the Core M3 and M5 versions as stock models, with the option of Core M7 built-to-order.
ASUS ZenBook UX305CA
ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA
HP EliteBook Folio G1
Although HP’s website claims this computer starts at $999, it seems to be selling for around $800 on Amazon. It also has a somewhat small battery compared to competitors, although the starting weight is quite low. There are more expensive configurations as well, such as a touch display.
Lenovo Yoga 900S
The Lenovo Yoga 900S is one of the lightest and thinnest convertible notebooks available. Battery life claims are also a bit longer than average. With Lenovo’s trademark watchband hinge, the Yoga 900S makes quite a statement as well.
Skylake Core M Tablets
Tablets running full Windows operating systems can give the same notebook experience when used with a keyboard, but do not require one to be attached to function. They are often lighter than notebooks when the keyboard is detached.
Acer Aspire Switch 12 S
With a removable keyboard on a flexible hinge, the Acer Aspire Switch 12 S is capable of 4 modes of operation: laptop, tablet, tent, and display. It also contains a Thunderbolt 3 port and (supposedly) the option of a Full HD (1080p) or 4K display. However, the models currently available on the US site do not seem to include the 4K option. The listed weight also likely includes the keyboard, but the tablet-only weight is unknown.
ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi
Price: ~$500 | Screen: 12.5″ | CPU: M5 | Battery: 32 Wh | Weight: 1.59 lbs (0.72 kg) or 3.13 lbs (1.42 kg) w/ keyboard | Dimensions: 12.51 x 7.54 x 0.65 in (318 x 192 x 16.5 mm) | Website: ASUS | Buy on Amazon
Dell Latitude 12 7000 Series 2-in-1
Price: $1049+ | Screen: 12.5″ | CPU: M3, M5, M7 | Battery: 30 Wh | Weight: 1.61 lbs (0.73 kg) or 3.1 lbs (1.4 kg) w/ keyboard | Dimensions: 11.45 x 7.59 x 0.67 in (291 x 193 x 17.1 mm) | Website: Dell | Spec Sheet
The Dell Latitude 12 7000 Series 2-in-1, also known as the Latitude 12 7275, is a tablet that attaches to a keyboard base. The battery seems to be quite small at only 30 watt-hours. Also, note that the listed dimensions include the keyboard cover. Without it, the tablet height is only 0.32 in (8.11 mm).
Dell XPS 12 2-in-1
Price: $999+ | Screen: 12.5″ | CPU: M5 | Battery: 30 Wh | Weight: 1.75 lbs (0.79 kg) or 2.8 lbs (1.27 kg) w/ keyboard | Dimensions: 11.46 x 7.8 x 0.63-0.69 in (291 x 198 x 16-25 mm) | Website: Dell | Buy on Amazon
The Dell XPS 12 2-in-1, also known as the XPS 12 9250, is a tablet that attaches to a keyboard base at fixed position, which means you cannot adjust the viewing angle. The battery seems to be quite small at only 30 watt-hours. On the plus side, there are options for a 1080p or 4K display, and there is also Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. The listed dimensions include the keyboard cover. Without it, the tablet height is only 0.31 in (8 mm).
HP Spectre x2
A design modeled after the Surface Pro 3, the HP Spectre x2 has a kickstand and keyboard cover. Although the retail price is high, it can be found for considerably less.
Lenovo Miix 700
Price: $749+ | Screen: 12″ | CPU: M3, M5, M7 | Battery: 9 hours | Weight: 1.7 lbs (0.78 kg) or 2.4 lbs (1.11 kg) w/ keyboard | Dimensions: 11.5 x 8.27 x 0.57 in (292 x 210 x 14.5 mm) | Website: Lenovo | Buy on Amazon
The Lenovo Miix 700 is another tablet with a kickstand and keyboard cover, modeled after the Surface Pro 3. The dimensions listed include the keyboard cover on the tablet; without it, the tablet itself is only 0.35 in (8.9 mm) thin.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
Price: $1029+ | Screen: 12″ | CPU: M3, M5, M7 | Battery: 10 hours | Weight: 1.69 lbs (0.77 kg) or 2.35 lbs (1.07 kg) w/ keyboard | Dimensions: 11.45 x 8.24 x 0.53 in (291 x 209 x 13.5 mm) | Website: Lenovo | Buy on Amazon
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet is almost as light as the Surface Pro 4, even with keyboard attached. However, it does not appear to be sold currently.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Price: $899 | Screen: 12.3″ | CPU: M3 | Battery: 9 hours (3450 mAh) | Weight: 1.69 lbs (0.766 kg) or 2.33 lbs (1.06 kg) w/ Type Cover | Dimensions: 11.50 x 7.93 x 0.33 in (292 x 201 x 8.5 mm) | Website: Microsoft | Buy on Amazon
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 is a tablet that can be used with the (sold separately) Type Cover keyboard, allowing it to act as a laptop. With the keyboard attached, the total weight of the system increases by 0.64 lbs (292 g) to 2.33 lbs (1.06 kg), which is still among the lighter options available. However, only the least expensive base model of the Surface Pro 4 is fanless with the Core M3 CPU option, and you cannot customize a more powerful CPU, higher RAM (4GB) or storage capacity (128GB). Attempting to do so will put you in the Skylake-U series of notebook CPUs, which cannot be run fanlessly. Finally, be aware that some units of the Surface Pro 4 may have coil whine, although I have also seen some units that do not (or the whine is small enough to be mostly inaudible).
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S
Price: $999+ | Screen: 12″ | CPU: M5 | Battery: 10.5 hours (39.5 Watt-hours) | Weight: 1.53 lbs (0.69 kg) or 2.8 lbs (1.27 kg) w/ keyboard | Dimensions: 11.43 x 7.83 x 0.25 in (290 x 199 x 6.3 mm) | Website: Samsung | Buy on Amazon
The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is one of the lightest and thinnest Core M tablets available. However, the official specs do not include the keyboard cover/stand weight or thickness. Setting this device apart is the sAMOLED display.
Toshiba Portégé Z20t
Price: $999+ | Screen: 12.5″ | CPU: M5 | Battery: 9/17 hours Tablet/Notebook (36Wh/36Wh) | Weight: 1.61 lbs (0.73 kg) or 3.33 lbs (1.51 kg) w/ keyboard | Dimensions: 11.46 x 7.8 x 0.63-0.69 in (291 x 198 x 16-25 mm) | Website: Toshiba | Buy on Amazon
The Toshiba Portégé Z20t offers the potential for incredible battery life with an extra battery in the base. Although prices supposedly start at $999, the available models seem to start at $1399.