The 9 Best Ultrabooks

Updated November 28, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

9 Best Ultrabooks
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We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. As technology progresses, it gets smaller and lighter, and the compromise between computing power and portability entails far fewer sacrifices than it once did. These ultrabooks offer reduced bulk without a loss of battery life or processing power, and many feature the latest graphics cards and display capabilities. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best ultrabook on Amazon.

9. Asus Zenbook AH-54 Ultra-Slim

The Asus Zenbook AH-54 Ultra-Slim weighs in at only 2.6 lbs., making it one of the lightest available laptops on the market. It also features 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and its Intel i5 processor is fast enough for a lot of applications, but it isn't top-of-the-line.
  • built-in sd card reader
  • fingerprint sensor for logins
  • noisy even when idle
Brand Asus
Model UX330UA-AH54
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. HP ProBook 450

With a large 15.6-inch anti-glare display and Intel HD 620 graphics, the HP ProBook 450 can smoothly stream online content in great clarity. It includes VGA ports, as well as HDMI and type-C USB connections to interact with a significant array of devices.
  • intel i7-6500u processor
  • 8gb dual-channel ram
  • battery is not removable
Brand HP
Model HP Probook 450 G4
Weight 6.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Lenovo IdeaPad 710S

The Lenovo IdeaPad 710S boasts an infinity edge display that spreads its imagery to the absolute perimeters of its screen panel. It doesn't have the most internal storage for a modern laptop, but with more data heading to the cloud, that might not be the worst sacrifice.
  • supremely portable build
  • power adapter is also very small
  • mid-grade graphics processor
Brand Lenovo
Model 80SW0032US
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. MSI Phantom Pro-069 Gaming Laptop

The MSI Phantom Pro-069 Gaming Laptop bills itself as a portable option with a ton of power. While the hardware built into this unit is significant for its speed and performance, and its weight is a mere 3.8 lbs., its chassis runs very much on the thick side.
  • steel series backlit keys
  • killer e2400 network controller
  • plug-and-play vr capability
Brand MSI
Model GS43VR PHANTOM PRO-069
Weight 9.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Asus ROG Strix GL502VS

The Asus ROG Strix GL502VS features a display with a 120Hz refresh rate that combines with 10-series Nvidia GeForce graphics to make for much smoother gaming and video playback. It's advanced thermal module and triple cooling fans keep it from getting too hot.
  • tactile chiclet keyboard
  • mini displayport output
  • weighs nearly 5 lbs
Brand Asus
Model GL502VS-DS71
Weight 10.1 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga offers a significant amount of flexibility in its physical configuration, allowing you to set it up at a wide variety of angles. Its keyboard doesn't fully detach, however, so it feels bulky as a tablet.
  • 2k 14-inch oled display
  • 8gb of ddr3 ram
  • fingerprint reader is finicky
Brand Lenovo
Model ThinkPad X1 1st Gen(20F
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

3. Microsoft Surface Book

The convertible design of the Microsoft Surface Book makes it an ideal choice for the graphic artist or engineer who could benefit from a combination of laptop, drawing pad, tablet, and display. It interacts seamlessly with the included stylus.
  • choice of 8gb or 16gb ram
  • front- and rear-facing cameras
  • flexible hinge is very sturdy
Brand Microsoft
Model 975-00001
Weight 6.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro Black Edition

The Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro Black Edition features a 7th generation Intel i7 processor that can clock speeds up to 3.8GHz in its turbo mode. It also comes equipped with a TrueHarmony Plus sound system, making it ideal for streaming movies and television.
  • built-in fingerprint reader
  • 1tb 5400rpm sata hard drive
  • battery runs up to six hours
Brand Acer
Model VN7-5913G-73KV
Weight 10.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Razer Blade RZ09

The Razer Blade RZ09 is a laptop designed for portable gaming, so its hardware is among the fastest and most reliable in the industry. The company manages to squeeze all of that tech into a body that's no thicker than the diameter of a dime.
  • millions of key backlight colors
  • 16gb dual-channel ddr4 2400mhz ram
  • nvidia geforce gtx 1060 graphics
Brand Razer
Model RZ09-01953E72-R3U1
Weight 8.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

What Exactly Is An Ultrabook?

The term Ultrabook is trademarked by Intel to refer to a number of premium laptops that are smaller and faster than standard models. They make use of ultra-low-voltage Intel processors to extend their battery life, and have a small chassis for ultimate portability. To achieve such a small size, they often omit common laptop features, such as Ethernet ports and an optical disc drive.

Intel first announced Ultrabooks at Computex in 2011. The first two Ultrabooks released were the Acer Aspire S3-951and the Asus Zenbook UX21E, both of which went on sale in October of 2011. Lenovo and HP quickly followed suit, releasing their own Ultrabooks in November and December, respectively. In 2012, Intel created a $300 million fund to support startups working on technology that could be integrated into the following generations of Ultrabooks. Intel's goal in creating the Ultrabook subnotebook class was to reinvigorate slumping PC laptop sales at a time when they were facing heavy competition from tablets, smartphones, and the Macbook Air.

Intel created specifications that a laptop must meet to be marketed as an Ultrabook. For the first iteration, Ultrabooks had to have a processor based on Sandy Bridge microarchitecture and a minimum battery life of five hours. Models with a 13.3" or smaller screen had to be 18mm or less in height, and models with a 14" or larger screen had to be 21mm tall or less. They also had to be able to resume operations from hibernation within seven seconds, which often called for the use of an SSD or SSD/HDD hybrid storage option. Over time, Intel has adjusted the specifications to keep up with current technology. For example, Ultrabooks now must have storage that is capable of a minimum of 80 MB/s transfer rate, a 3.0 USB or Thunderbolt port, a touchscreen, and be capable of six hours of battery life during HD video playback.

Tips For Choosing The Best Ultrabook For Your Needs

The first thing you should consider is what size Ultrabook best fits your intended uses. If you plan to take your laptop to and from school or the office every day, portability should be a top priority. No one wants to be stuck lugging around a giant, 17-inch laptop in their backpack or laptop bag. The best size for those who need an Ultrabook that is ultra-portable is usually 13.3 inches. Anything bigger tends to get heavy and cumbersome to insert or remove from a bag, while anything smaller tends to inhibit productivity. If you don't plan to carry your laptop around too often, and like to use it to watch movies and play games, or often find yourself keeping multiple windows open at the same time, you will probably be better off with a 15-inch model.

If portability is one of your top priorities, you'll also need to take battery life into account. Some Ultrabooks get as few as six hours of battery life, while others get 10 hours or more. Remember though, that these numbers are theoretical. Most laptops will get considerably shorter battery life in real-life operation, so choose one with a marketed battery life well above your needs.

Next, you should consider storage space and type. Ultrabooks with an SSD will often have less storage space than their hybrid SSD/HDD counterparts, but they are quicker. Booting up and reading and writing information from and to a disk will take less time. The average Ultrabook with an SSD will come with somewhere between 128 and 512GB of storage space. Ultrabooks that utilize a hybrid SSD/HDD drive can often be found with 1TB of space for the same price as one would pay for a similar model featuring a 256 or 512GB SSD. To save a bit of cash and still wind up with the fastest laptop possible, consider buying one with a 128 or 256GB SSD, and then purchasing an external hard drive to compensate for the limited amount of storage space.

After you have these vital decisions out of the way, it is finally time to focus on a few other features. As a rule of thumb, you should never buy a laptop with less than 4GB of RAM, and you'll be better off with at least 8GB. If you like to play games, choose one with a dedicated graphics card to prevent game stutter. It is also a smart idea to look at the type and number of USB ports. If you like to use a USB mouse, make sure the laptop you choose has a least two USB ports, so you can simultaneously connect your external mouse and another device.

How To Extend The Battery Life Of Your Ultrabook

Battery life is something nearly every laptop user complains about at one point in time. There are a few steps you can take, though, to ensure you get the maximum battery life out of your Ultrabook. One of the biggest drains on battery life is the screen. When working indoors, reduce your screen brightness as much as is comfortable for you. Adjusting the screen brightness to match surrounding lighting can also help to reduce eye strain. Altering your PCs settings so that the display automatically turns off after a minute or two of inactivity, rather than initiating a screen saver, can help, as well.

You can also disable some hardware devices. If you are working offline, put your Ultrabook into airplane mode. If you aren't using Bluetooth, turn it off. Disabling your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use can dramatically increase battery life. Modifying your power plan can help, too. Many of us have laptops that are overpowered for many of our daily tasks. You can customize your device so that it automatically enters power saving mode any time it is unplugged. While this will decrease processing power, many people won't notice it. Closing any unused applications is another good way to increase battery life. To make this more convenient, you can select which applications automatically start when you turn your laptop on. The fewer processes that start automatically, the fewer you will have to worry about turning off manually.



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Last updated on November 28, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.


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