The 10 best Ultrabooks of 2017: top thin and light laptops reviewed

There might be a ton of discussion about gaming these days, and the laptops that can power through them, but there are still plenty of people who want a great laptop that doesn’t necessarily play games. For those people, we’d recommend shopping for the best Ultrabooks – laptops that focus more on finesse and portability than they do on sheer graphics horsepower.

Ultrabooks generally aren’t host to powerful discrete graphics, instead opting for power-saving Intel HD Graphics – focusing on finesse just as much as raw horsepower. You can even flip some of them inside out and use them as a tablet, but that’s more of a gimmick than a core design philosophy in most cases. Instead, the best Ultrabooks aim to take sleek unibody designs that are beautiful and ultra-portable and shove quick SSDs inside for insanely fast storage and boot times that will save you both time and energy.

All of the best Ultrabooks around right now will almost universally be running Windows 10 – they are intended to be fiery competition to the MacBook Air, after all. These laptops are perfect if you have to do some work on the go – if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re in luck as we’ve collected together 10 of the best Ultrabooks you can buy today. Each one of these sleek and powerful laptops has been exhaustively tested by us in-house at TechRadar – so you know that they truly are the best of the best. And, with Black Friday right around the corner, there’s never been a better time to shop for one of the best Ultrabooks.

Best Ultrabooks

1. Dell XPS 13

The best laptop on the planet, Dell's latest Ultrabook is a masterpiece

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD

Same long-lasting battery
Great range of prices
Still poor webcam position
No Windows Hello

In terms of looks, specs and pricing, the Dell XPS 13 is nothing short of a miracle. Once again, Dell has done the universe a favor by squeezing a 13.3-inch InfinityEdge display into a measly 11-inch figure, and weighing in at only 2.9 pounds (1.29kg), the XPS 13 is blessed with extravagance. The Dell XPS 13 not only bears a lengthy battery life, but it’s even sold in a variety of different flavors, all the way up to an i7-7700U model. 

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

2. Razer Blade Stealth

More than just an Ultrabook for gaming

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12.5-inch QHD (2,560 x 1,440) – 4K (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 128GB – 1TB PCIe SSD

Captivatingly colorful display
Greatly improved battery life
Cumbersome charger
Keyboard needs more travel

Potential and temporary issues aside, the Razer Blade Stealth is an Ultrabook that – hence the branding – slants towards gaming. In favor of a dedicated graphics card, though, this little 12-inch laptop is all about an extensive battery life and up to Intel’s 8th-gen CPUs. Of course, you can play games on it, but it won’t do much without an external GPU attachment, which luckily it’s ready for.

Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth

3. HP Spectre x360

An ultra-light Ultrabook now with Kaby Lake performance

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Ultra thin and light styling
Long-lasting and quick charging battery
Lacks SD card reader
Especially thick bottom bezel

Among the first to sport 7th generation Kaby Lake processors, the HP Spectre x360 is more than a CPU upgrade. Sure, the 2-in-1 zips by faster than it did last year, but it’s also thinner and lighter than it was before – not to mention more stylish. From the revamped HP logo on the outer shell to the higher quality keyboard, the Spectre x360 is a force to be reckoned with, even if the port selection is limited.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 

4. Asus ZenBook 3

The mightier MacBook

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 12.5-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 512GB SSD

Crystal clear display
Lightweight and very portable
Weird fingerprint sensor placement
A single USB-C port

Anyone familiar with Apple’s thinnest and lightest laptop would be wise to compare the Asus ZenBook 3 to the 12-inch MacBook. The similarities are obvious, but one look at the specs and the differences stand out too. Adorned with the choice of a U-series Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, the ZenBook 3 is awfully powerful considering it’s less than half an inch thick and weighs two pounds. The port selection is sparse, but ultimately it’s well worth the sacrifice.

Read the full review: Asus ZenBook 3

Best Ultrabooks

5. Asus ZenBook UX310

A truly excellent ultrabook at a very agreeable price point

CPU: Intel Core i3 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 500GB – 1TB HDD; 500GB – 1TB SSD

Incredibly thin and light
Vibrant, glare-free screen
Weak sauce graphics
Tinny speakers

It’s no secret that Apple has all but neglected the MacBook Air recently, but in some cases a Windows Ultrabook can be just as good, if not better. Take the Asus ZenBook UX310, for example, the long awaited follow-up to the award-winning ZenBook UX305. Donning a 7th generation Intel Kaby Lake processor, a 178-degree rotating QHD+ screen, a USB-C port an and an all-aluminum shell, this truly a candidate for the MacBook Air’s throne. 

 Read the full review: Asus ZenBook UX310

best ultrabook

6. Microsoft Surface Laptop

The Surface Book's best prodigy

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Iris Plus Graphics 640 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 2,256 x 1,504 PixelSense display | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD

Gorgeous design
Well built
Windows 10 S is limited
No USB-C

No, it’s not another Surface Book – this is a full-on traditional laptop (albeit with a touchscreen) designed by Microsoft. From the Italian imported Alcantara fabric material decorating the keyboard to its gorgeous 13.5-inch, 3:2 PixelSense display, there’s no questioning the Surface Laptop’s appeal at face value, but dig even deeper and you’ll find a notebook that’s arguably more competent than Apple’s more expensive 12-inch MacBook. 

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Laptop

7. Acer Swift 7

Thin, light and handsome, if not short-lived

CPU: Intel Core i5-7Y54 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD 1,920 x 1,080 | Storage: 256GB SATA SSD

Beautiful design
Excellent feel
Middling battery life
No keyboard backlight

It’s no surprise that the world’s thinnest laptop doesn’t come without its own share of port shortages; however, it’s also unfair to judge the Acer Swift 7 by its pair of USB-C twins alone. Sporting an Core i5 processor from Intel’s 7th gen Y series lineup (previously Core M), the Swift 7 is by no means a powerhouse, but it doesn’t have to be, either, when it looks this damn good. Despite being short-lived in the battery life department, the Acer Swift 7 thrives.

Read the full review: Acer Swift 7

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Microsoft Surface Laptop.

8. Lenovo Yoga 910

Elegance meets horsepower with this hardy 2-in-1

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.9-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Substantially larger screen
Rocking speakers
Heats up (and gets loud) fast
Disappointing battery life

As a follow-up to the Yoga 900, we couldn’t have asked for better than the Yoga 910. Shaking up the style of its predecessor completely in favor of an all-aluminum unibody shell, this is a 2-in-1 laptop that’s as fashionable as it is utilitarian. Though it’s heavier and colder to the touch, the fact that Lenovo decided to keep the Yoga 900’s same frame size and fit a larger 14-inch screen inside it is a design marvel. 

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 910

9. Huawei MateBook X

One of the MacBook Pro’s greatest rivals

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 13-inch, 2,160 x 1,440 | Storage: 256GB – 512GB

Fantastic design
Great audio capabilities
High price
Limited connectivity options

Embellished with the looks and price of a 12-inch MacBook, you’ll be surprised when you find out the MateBook X is more of a Pro when it comes to performance. Donning full-fledged “U” series Intel Core i processors, this Ultrabook is more than the Chinese knock-off you might have assumed it to be. It’s made by Huawei after all, the third biggest smartphone maker in the world, and with the MateBook X, it’s hoping to replicate that success with its laptops as well.

Read the full review: Huawei MateBook X

  • This product is only available in the US as of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the HP Spectre.

Best Ultrabooks

10. HP Spectre

Thin, powerful and delightfully chic

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS UWVA WLED | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD

Tasteful glitz and glam
Tactile keyboard
Below average battery life
Spongy trackpad

One glance at the HP Spectre, and you'd think it belongs in a mansion. As if looks weren't enough, this gilded machine is more powerful than the latest MacBook and for a lower price at that. You won't find laptops thinner than this and with an optional Intel Core i7 configuration to the trio of USB-C ports, it's supremely capable and not to mention future-proof. We only hope you don’t mind a laptop that cranks up the heat a notch as it’s battery life hastily boils away.

Read the full review: HP Spectre

  • Watch the price go down on your favorite Ultrabook this Black Friday

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article