The word laptop has been used rather loosely for the last decade. There are several types of portable PCs available today, but an Ultrabook puts other styles to shame. It’s the preferred machine of professionals and students around the globe, and we’re here to help you find the best Ultrabook to suit your needs.
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How to Choose the Best Ultrabook
What type of user are you?
When you sit down at your PC or laptop, is it for business or leisure? That alone can dictate which direction you should go when looking for the best Ultrabook. Gamers and students are two more types of users that require different kinds of machines, but thankfully there is an Ultrabook style for everyone.
Before you think about areas like memory or ports, consider how you plan to use your new PC. In the Ultrabook class, the price point isn’t nearly as important considering it’s difficult to find an Ultrabook under 500 dollars unless it’s used. You can find some solid contenders for under a grand, but most are north of that number.
For some, a speedy processor or solid-state drive may be the first area they turn towards when making a buying decision. That would be a mistake as you need to start with the operating system. While there are several exotic options available, we’re only going to focus on the top two with Windows and the Mac OS.
Windows – There are currently billions of machines running some form of Windows; it’s safe to say it’s the most popular option around. There was a time when it was considered unstable compared to PCs running the Mac OS, but that gap has narrowed considerably.
One perk of the platform is compatibility as almost every program will run on Windows. There are a few exceptions, but those are mainly exclusives built for Macs. Another would be power as a decked out Windows-based machine will run circles around a Mac.
Mac OS – With Macs, reliability is the most significant selling point along with the overall design and “Mac” mystique. They are very unlikely to crash compared to their Windows-based brethren although Windows 10 is rock solid for the most part. The overall user experience is arguably better and generally a hot topic of debate between fanbases.
On the flipside, you may encounter a few compatibility issues if you’re switching from a PC to the Macbook. Some of your favorites may not work although it’s not hard to find a substitute in the App Store unless it’s a PC classic geared towards one machine.
Memory and Processing Power
Every machine in the Ultrabook class will have at least 8GB of RAM, and that is the bare minimum we recommend. If you plan to play any high-end games or work with programs that can tax a system’s resources, you’ll want to double that number. RAM is not an expensive component in the overall price of a laptop although it’s tough to find portable machines with more than 16GB under the hood.
Processors are a bit trickier, but Intel’s are what you’ll find in most Ultrabooks and all the best 2-in-1 laptops. The generation and core are what you’ll want to hone in on – the higher the number, the better. The company’s Core-i5 chips are the most common while the i7 series is found in top-tier Ultrabooks and PCs.
The display is just as important as the components running the show considering you’re going to stare at it for hours on end. It’s a lot easier to wrap your head around as well with only three options in this class.
FHD – Full HD displays have slowly pushed HD panels out, so you won’t find any 720p displays this time around. Despite competition from the QHD and UHD club, they remain the best option for consumers that want a solid display that won’t break the bank. 1,920 x 1,080 is nothing to scoff at, and likely the same resolution as your current smartphone or big screen TV.
QHD – QHD stands for Quad High-Definition and is double the pixels of FHD. You will notice a major uptick in clarity if you’re making the jump from 720p, but may not from notice the change between FHD and QHD. It depends on the type of panel used and the tech pushing those pixels around.
UHD – UHD, otherwise known as 4K, takes things to an all new level. It’s overkill for casual users unless you’re looking to the future, but ideal for gamers and AV enthusiasts alike. The resolution is four times what you’ll find on an FHD display while options like HDR really kick things up a notch.
This is the one area you can upgrade on a laptop, so while you do need to consider the size, you should focus on the decision between HDD and SDD. Hard disk drives are becoming rarer in the Ultrabook class, but are the best way to go if you need a lot of space. They are cheaper, but not as quick as a solid-state drive.
While SSDs are more expensive, there is no substitute for speed. Transfer times are considerably quicker when your rig has a solid-state drive, but they do bump up the price. They usually top out at around 500GB in Ultrabooks as well, so you may need to expand sooner than later. In a nutshell, there is no magic number when it comes to storage space. Simply keep your needs in mind as you can always expand through an external drive or USB sticks.
The cool thing about Ultrabooks is they provide users with top-tier performance in a smaller package. Unfortunately, there are also a few drawbacks as you won’t find optical drives or many Ethernet ports on machines in this class. The battery life can take a big hit as well. That’s not always the case, but something to consider when you’re looking at a laptop with a UHD display. The size and type of panel can draw more juice, even when the innards are optimized.
Every laptop manufacturer will give you a “rough” idea of how long their Ultrabook will go, but it’s a number you need to take with a hefty dose of salt. If you like to crank your brightness up, you can decrease that number, and the same goes for games and applications that need a lot of power. The charging times are usually very close, however, and some models are equipped with fast charging tech.
Connectivity and Other Flagship Features
Now that we’ve covered all the key areas, it’s time to take a look at the extras which can separate the best from the rest. How your computer connects to the net and other peripherals is a critical area, and every Ultrabook will have a couple of ports at the ready. USB-C ports are trending and the best option along with USB 3.0 ports if you need speed.
While it’s not hard to find a laptop with those, the number of ports is important along with their charging capabilities. Dual-band Wi-Fi is another standard option, but fingerprint scanners are still sparse. The quality of the built-in speakers should be at the top of your list if you’re a media lover while gamers will want a good keyboard and the best-integrated graphics available.
The last feature worth note would be something tied to Windows-based PCs in the form of Windows Hello. It’s a super speedy login feature which works with the aforementioned fingerprint scanner or a webcam. Unfortunately, it only works with webcams capable of near-infrared imaging; something that is missing from several cheaper webcams.
9 Best Ultrabooks
The Ultrabook category has grown considerably since Apple started the trend, so finding the best Ultrabook is easier said than done these days. While you won’t find Chromebooks or any Linux-based laptops on our list, we have included a wide array of options for everyone including power users, casual gamers, and students.
HP Spectre X360 GEM Cut 13.3″
A Gem-cut Portable Marvel
One of the few convertible laptops that struck both the general public and critics alike like a storm ever since the original x360 model got out, this latest version manages to deliver a profound experience that sets an entirely new set of standards for high-end laptops.
What you will immediately notice at first glance are the vivid and crisp-clear visuals that are also touch-sensitive. Full HD IPS, one of the highest-grade touchscreen panels you can stumble upon on the market, is provided so that you get to enjoy video content of the highest quality at the palm of your hand.
It outmatches a great deal of performance-oriented specs, bringing both Intel’s i7-1065G7 quad-core processor and 16GB DDR4 RAM, that specialize it as a portable, multi-tasking machine that is powerful enough to handle work usually intended for desk-bound computers.
It does not slack off in the convenience department either, packing features such as a fingerprint reader and accessory control keys (for both your camera and mic). The audio system deserves its own praise, sporting HP Quad Speakers that are custom tuned and built by Olufsen, and Bang’s joined efforts aimed at producing the ultimate portable sound system.
This engineering masterpiece is in a league of its own and it brings you immense power without sacrificing its overall portability.
- High-quality processor
- Fast data access (512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD)
- Superb RAM
- Anti-reflection HD display
- Long battery life
The Reliable Choice
The MacBook needs no introduction considering they are among the most popular Ultrabooks on the planet. The MacBook Air MQD32LL/A is one of the more recent models and one to consider regardless of your preference in operating systems.
The MacBook Air lineup gets an incremental upgrade each year, and their newest model is one of their best yet. Podcaster and professionals will love the speed of this slim system which has a 1.6GHz dual-core i5 processor and 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM. The display is sharp at 13.3-inches although limited with a resolution of only 1,440 x 900. Features like gesture control and the FaceTime camera make up for that, and it’s in line with the rest of the pack in regards to its size.
MacBook Airs are an acquired taste for some as the Pro models offer up more power, but are far from affordable. The Air lineup is cheaper and is one of the best laptops for college or consumers that want something reliable, but don’t necessarily need a beastly machine. This version of the MacBook Air comes with several accessories and with your choice of a 128GB or 256GB SSD.
- Amazing battery life
- Great keyboard
- Cheapest Mac available
- May not be powerful enough for some
Microsoft Surface Book 3
A Flagship Representative of One of the Most Powerful Laptop Series
Built with the intent of providing you with the most sophisticated and fastest experience available on laptops Microsoft Surface book is perhaps a real example of a product it is going far beyond the scope expected from commercial laptops.
The flexible model endorses a wide range of customizable representative specs that expand upon the three-mode convertibility that supports Surface Pen use in all three touch-sensitive transformations.
What furthers its already potent set of capabilities is the implementation of Dolby Atmos sound systems and Studio Mics, bringing you the power of a miniature studio that is always just a few clicks away.
It comes with the NVIDIA GTX GeForce graphics. Combined with Intel’s critically-acclaimed 10th generation core processor, this is one of few laptops that can perform admirably well even when it comes to gaming capabilities.
If elegance and unprecedented adaptability were engineered into a luxurious product, it would be excellently manifested within yet another amazing laptop from Microsoft’s Surface Book series.
- The freedom of choice to out the specs of the model that suits your needs
- Great battery life (up to 15.5 hours of use)
- Multi-connectivity that offers ports for USB A and C, as well as SD card slot
- Touch-sensitive with a pen included
- Fantastic RAM specs (from 8 to 32 GB)
- The product is quite fragile
Dell XPS 13 9310 (Intel 11 Gen)
A Portable Marvel Of Precision Engineering And Unrivaled Performance
From the moment you first lay your eyes on the CNC designed and milled exterior to the instance you get to see what specs this machine is packing, quality in all aspects is the essence of Dell’s newest business-class laptop.
The chassis is built using high-grade aluminum that is stronger than any plastic or magnesium counterpart.
Enjoy every little detail being additionally enlarged as the XPS’s touchpad is now 17% larger and the display sports a ratio of 16:10, being further reinforced with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 6.
Perhaps the two most impressive combinations of all are included in the main course – Intel’s 11th Generation Core processor and Iris X graphics blur the like between a static desk pc and a laptop like never before.
It does not stop there as you get to enjoy 2TB of storage and 32GB of working memory, ensuring heavy-duty tasks and multitasking can be easily completed within a short period without any holdups or glitches.
This is far from all the provided features Dell’s newest champion has to offer. Armed with the latest portable technology and style in equal measure, it is a device that will produce abundant levels of satisfaction in almost any scenario.
- Extremely powerful portable machine
- Scratch and stain-resistant
- Comes with Eyesafe software
- Energy-efficient and 90% recyclable
- 4k Ultra HD+ touch display
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14
Dedicated fast-paced gaming laptop
Constructed to meet the most rigorous standards of modern-day gamers while upholding high overall quality, this machine packs a punch.
It gives you a 14” HD display with a refresh rate of 12Hz, being boosted with fantastic color and clarity. LED backlights are included to provide you with lightning in case of laptop use in low-light conditions.
It is one of the lightest (and also thinnest) flagship laptop models out there, it is designed to include the powerful 2.5 W Dolby Atmos speakers and powerful specs that can stand toe-to-toe to the high-middle range of gaming laptops.
AMD’s newest Ryzen 9 4900HS processor is unapparelled with its 8 cores and 16 threats, giving you even faster responsiveness.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 is the prime component that gives this device so much power, being 6x times faster than previous generations of graphics cards, giving you the immense power of Full QHD and HD gaming. With this bad boy, you can enjoy the full 4k experience without any issues.
The system is extremely fast (120Hz display refresh rate and 3200 megahertz RAM speed) which will equip you for both laptop-intensive gaming and even video-editing/content creation tasks with ease.
- Weighs just 3.64 lbs. and is just 0.7” thin
- Includes Wifi 6 technology, two data streams, and antennas.
- It can run virtual reality software and programs
- Chiclet keyboard includes backlights and a comfortable design
- Solid battery life (from 8 to 11 hours, depending on use)
- Quite pricey
- No camera
Razer Blade Stealth 13
Lighting-fast Heavy-duty All-rounder
If you are wondering if a gaming-dedicated laptop can fill out administrative and editing functions alongside its main purpose, the answer comes in the form of this amazing portable powerhouse that does all of the jobs with flying colors!
The entire laptop is extremely lightweight and thin with the elegant black color anodized on a sub-molecular level, giving you a laptop that is both elegant and possesses a rich black exterior.
Seamlessly shift tasks and freely engage in demanding activities with Intel’s 10th generation i7- 1065G7 quad-core processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX which are among the most powerful mobile specs on portable computers to date.
The entire experience is enhanced with the massive connectivity advantage that Thunderbolt 3 brings to the table, allowing you to connect to an external monitor and up your game to an entirely new level!
The system also supports USB A and C, as well as Wireless AX to be able to connect with a multitude of different devices. It also sports an HD cam.
With speed and performance being the ultimate goal of this laptop, you are guaranteed a truly powerful and multi-purposed tool at the palm of your hands.
- Gaming-oriented specs
- High-definition webcam
- Chroma single-zone RGB light Keyboard and Precise Touchpad
- Full HD Bezel display with 100% sRGB color space
- 16GB dual-channel memory
- The “delete” key is too close to the power button, making accidental shutdowns a common complaint
- Somewhat loud fan
ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481
A Modern Creator’s Futuristic Dual-screen Laptop
Just one glimpse at the FHD NanoEdge display immediately sends the message that this machine is really for a different breed of consumers. As a matter of fact, the entire system is built to encompass every kind of artist and craft imaginable on an electronic platform.
The secondary 4K touchscreen functions in tandem with the 14 inch HD touchscreen amazingly, allowing you numerous options when it comes to customizing the workflow to fit your style, which is further assisted with built-in applications that give you even more options from the start.
The controls shift seamlessly from one screen to the other thanks to Task Swap, App Switcher, and ViewMaw which are intuitively designed so that even people unfamiliar with dual-screen functionality can get the hang of it in mere moments.
Bring your creations to life with the included stylus which is supported by both touchscreens, while the ScreenPad Plus is specifically designed to provide a stable and ergonomic platform for all kinds of drawings and writings.
All the awesome capabilities the ZenBook Duo brings is powered by a 10th Generation Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics card, making the combination ideal for tasks such as editing videos, engaging in 3D rendering, and photoshopping pictures and/or photos.
- The absolutely stunning four-sided frameless design is truly a high-end attribute on the market
- Multi-purpose ScreenPad Plus
- Supports Alexa
- Excellent for multitasking
- Execution of typing-exclusive tasks could be improved when it comes to comfort
Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-59W2
A Fast-paced And Powerful Laptop Within An Affordable Production Line
A laptop that was made to please a wide range of different users while remaining true to the promise of delivering fantastic specs in a portable design.
The 15 6” HD (1920 x 1080) LED-backlit IPS display offers an excellent viewing experience that supplements the excellently built system of specs that go a step above the upper-middle range.
Backed up by the 10th Gen Intel Core i5- 10210U processor (which runs at the impressive speed of 4.2 GHz), the premium system excellently utilized the 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage space to bring you the ultimate combination of speed and reliability.
The integrated graphics unit, Intel’s UHD 620, consumes small amounts of power and performs impressively in all areas of use.
The laptop’s audio systems produce sounds that you can feel with Acer TrueHarmony which excels in bringing out even deeper bass and quality volume.
The many features that you can find within this laptop allow you to work in any environment and meet deadliness on the go without having to sacrifice performance.
- The specs are pretty great, allowing the laptop to engage in gaming as well
- Includes a fingerprint reader for security
- Sports a wide display in HD resolution
- A lightweight and elegant design
- Solid battery life (can function for up to 9.5 hours of use)
- The included camera does not work well in low or medium-light conditions perfectly, restricting its use in highly-lit areas
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
A Customizable Model That Delivers Elegance and Style Within an Overall Powerful Set of Specs
Combining modern-day stylish exterior design with an already well-established formula for success, Microsoft offers you an elegant model that comes with rich tone-on-tone combinations of color that you can choose from.
From the very beginning you are given a variety of options to pick out what suits your needs the most; a 13.5” or 15” size laptop, are 8Gb of RAM and 128GB of storage enough, or do you need 32GB and 1TB? The choice is yours!
Fuel your passions or finish your tasks anywhere you go as this laptop is easy to carry (weighing only 3.4 pounds) and is ultra-thin.
The vibrant display is touch-sensitive and can be used as a portable drawing tablet with your pen to instantly visualize all the ideas that come to your mind within a moment’s notice
Placed discreetly under the keyboard lie the Omnisonic Speakers which produce high-quality sound, excellently adding to the overall value that is present in every component of this customizable product of sheer excellence.
This product comes from a long-established line of successful laptops that aims to give you the options to get your hands on the perfect laptop for all your needs.
- Completely customizable choice of specs
- Sleek and elegant design
- Long battery life (up to 11.5 hours)
- Lightweight and portable
- Multi connectivity (USB A and C)
- Most of the options are pricey