The 10 Best Ultrabooks

Updated March 12, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Ultrabooks
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. As technology progresses, components get 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 loss of battery life or processing power, and many feature advanced graphics cards and display capabilities, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best ultrabook on Amazon.

10. HP Spectre x360

The HP Spectre x360 is a solid choice of convertible that's been a favorite of many users for years. Its 13.3", LED-backlit touchscreen is covered in super-smooth Gorilla Glass by Corning, which makes it much easier to use accurately than many vinyl panels.
  • cpu boosts to a solid 4ghz
  • massive half-terabyte ssd
  • reliability is inconsistent
Brand HP
Model x360-13t
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Acer Swift 1

Minimalists on a restricted budget should take a look at the Acer Swift 1, an ultra-compact option that marries power and affordability. You'll have to pay attention to how much software you install, though, because it only has 64GB of internal storage.
  • great for everyday browsing tasks
  • not intended for gaming
  • brand isn't known for durability
Brand Acer
Model NX.GPPAA.001
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. MacBook Pro

It's tough to argue with fanatical Apple devotees after trying out the newest MacBook Pro. Any macOS fan will appreciate its awesomely powerful hardware, razor-thin form factor, and endlessly user-friendly GUI, as well its innovative Touch Bar.
  • standalone radeon pro 560 gpu
  • four thunderbolt 3 ports
  • expensive just like most macs
Brand Apple
Weight 7.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 is a recurring favorite among consumers and pundits. It combines decades of home computing experience with lightweight and low-voltage components to provide a cost-effective choice that's been at the top of the ultraportable world for quite some time.
  • eighth-gen kaby lake r processor
  • costs under a thousand dollars
  • suffers from usb connection glitches
Brand Dell
Model Dell XPS 13 9360 Touch
Weight 5.5 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

6. Asus ROG Zephyrus

The Asus ROG Zephyrus is a serious powerhouse of video processing. At 15.6 inches, it's larger and slightly heavier than most Ultrabooks, but it's strong enough to outperform many desktop PCs. 16GB of DDR4 RAM makes any task on this one a breeze.
  • legitimate 120hz refresh rate
  • heavy-hitting gtx 1070 gpu
  • costs quite a bit
Brand Asus
Model GX501VS-XS71
Weight 12.2 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Surface Book 2

There's a lot to love about the iconic Surface Book 2, Microsoft's flagship 2-in-1. They've managed to pack it with the latest quad-core, low-voltage CPU, as well as a discrete GeForce GTX graphics card to power its impressive PixelSense display.
  • comes in 13 and 15 inch sizes
  • sold in several performance levels
  • has charging and throttling issues
Brand Microsoft
Model HNL-00001
Weight 8.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

4. Lenovo Yoga 720

Weighing in at just under 3 pounds, the Lenovo Yoga 720 is a great 13-inch model with some reliable and fast hardware inside. Its cutting-edge CPU is one of the first and fastest to offer mobile, quad-core computing at a cool and effective 15w TDP.
  • 2 thunderbolt-ready usb-c jacks
  • full hd multitouch screen
  • includes lenovo active stylus
Brand Lenovo
Model Lenovo Yoga 720
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Razer Blade

Take your favorite first-person shooter on the road with the Razer Blade. This ultra-slim gaming rig is no slouch when it comes to pumping out polygons, and its i7-7700HQ processor keeps operation smooth while a programmable backlight keeps the keyboard visible.
  • plays new titles at high settings
  • expansive half-terabyte ssd
  • 1080p and 4k screens available
Brand Razer
Model RZ09-01953E72-R3U1
Weight 7.9 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Asus Zenbook UX330

The Asus Zenbook UX330 is an exciting machine thanks in large part to its low price tag. Despite that affordability, its performance doesn't disappoint, and it's quite versatile, thanks to its micro-HDMI, USB 3.0, and USB-C ports.
  • highly portable 13-inch form factor
  • 256-gig sata solid-state drive
  • max cpu boost speed of almost 4ghz
Brand Asus
Model UX330UA-AH55
Weight 4.7 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Thinkpad X1 Yoga

The second-generation Thinkpad X1 Yoga is one of Lenovo's most powerful offerings. It includes an exceptional half-terabyte NVMe drive that's four times as fast as its SATA cousins, and this convertible is one of the surprisingly few with built-in 4G LTE access.
  • accepts sim cards worldwide
  • has a mini-ethernet jack
  • two thunderbolt 3 ports
Brand Lenovo
Model 20JD000SUS
Weight 4.6 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 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 March 12, 2018 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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