The best Ultrabooks 2023: best thin and light laptops

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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Dell XPS 15 on green background
(Image credit: Future / Dell)
Editor's Note: February 2023

With the announcement of the new Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro 360, and Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra, there are plenty of new candidates for best ultrabook of 2023.

Powered by new 13th-gen Intel Core mobile processors, these new ultrabooks from Samsung definitely put the company on our radar as a major laptop manufacturer, something that really wasn't the case that long ago. But how will these new laptops hold up against the likes of the Acer Swift 3 OLED (2022) or the HP Spectre x360 (2022)? We'll know soon enough once we get these models in for review, so stay tuned!

- John Loeffler, US Computing Editor

The best Ultrabooks make for excellent travel companions for professionals who want to work on-the-go. These premium thin and light laptops provide a balance between power and portability, and they'll keep you productive on work trips, on conferences, or if you want to squeeze in a bit of work while traveling. 

Plenty of the best laptops are a part of the Ultrabook category since they tend to use some of the best processors on the market and are made of high-quality materials in their construction like machined aluminum and magnesium-alloy. So, if you're hoping to invest in one, options abound – especially with those new CES 2023 releases joining the fray.

The good news is that Ultrabooks are no longer the most costly, premium laptops around. There are plenty of lightweight Ultrabooks with refined designs that are surprisingly affordable - like the Acer Swift 3 OLED, which bundles a gorgeous screen and high-end components in a competitively priced package. This means that Ultrabooks can serve as incredible student laptops

Also among the best business laptops around, the best Ultrabooks are worth considering if you're upgrading from your old laptop this year. And, since we've tested most of them, we can help you find the most ideal one for you.

We've put together a list of the very best Ultrabooks we've reviewed below. Browse at your leisure and purchase with confidence, no matter your needs and budget, and when you've made your choice, we also have the best prices available handy so you can score a deal.

The best Ultrabooks 2023

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The Dell XPS 15 against a white background

(Image credit: Dell)
The best Ultrabook, hands down

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-12700H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
RAM: 16GB DDR5
Screen: 15.6-inch 3.5K (3,456 x 2,160), 60Hz
Storage: 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent performance
+
High-quality design
+
Amazing battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Not quite great for gaming
-
Higher-spec models get expensive fast

The Dell XPS 15 (2022) is the kind of Ultrabook that might tempt any Mac fan out there to make the switch. With up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, it can handle all of your creative and productivity workloads with ease, even if it can be a little underpowered for high-end gaming. It’s also a really aesthetically pleasing device, setting the standard of what a well-designed Windows laptop can look like with its carbon-fiber wrist rest and sturdy chassis. 

Although the pricing can get a tad out of control once you start looking at the higher-spec models, the version we reviewed offers solid value for money for a premium Ultrabook. The latest XPS 15 also rocks a gorgeous 3.5K display and a good selection of ports, making it one of the best laptops we've tested this year.

Read the full Dell XPS 15 (2022) review

The HP Elite Dragonfly G2 against a white background

(Image credit: HP)
Lightning strikes twice for HP

Specifications

CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i3 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB - 32GB
Screen: 13.3-inch diagonal BrightView LED FHD, 400 nits – 13.3-inch diagonal BrightView LED 4K UHD HDR-400 550 nits
Storage: up to 2TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Great design
+
Comfortable keyboard
+
Excellent screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
USB-C ports on only one side

The second-generation HP Elite Dragonfly has kept its status as one of the best Ultrabooks. HP’s impressive business laptop is back with its smart design, great battery life, and 2-in-1 prowess. Of course, it’s more powerful now than it’s ever been, touting 11th-gen Intel Core chips, Intel Iris Xe graphics, and now a 4K display, upgrading from its previous Full HD models.

There’s a lot to love here, and it might just be as close to being the perfect business laptop as any manufacturer has made so far - if you can afford it, since the price is undeniably high. However, as it is meant for professionals, it’s definitely worth the investment. Unfortunately, the more recent G3 proved to be a bit of a let-down, but that doesn't detract from the Elite Dragonfly G2's status as a top-notch Ultrabook.

Read our full HP Elite Dragonfly G2 review

HP Spectre x360

(Image credit: HP)
The best 2-in-1 Ultrabook

Specifications

CPU: 12th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB – 16GB LPDDR4X
Screen: 13.5" 3K2K (3000 x 2000) UWVA OLED
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous design
+
Excellent battery life
+
Vibrant OLED screen

Reasons to avoid

-
OLED display drives up the price
-
Touchpad sensitivity is a bit iffy

The HP Spectre x360 has been one of our favorite laptops for years now, and the 2022 model is no different. Now coming with 12th-generation Intel Alder Lake processors, which offer a serious performance boost, and featuring better integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, the HP Spectre x360 (2022) is better than ever. We'd go so far as to say it's the single best 2-in-1 laptop on the market right now.

It still features the impeccable design and pristine gem-cut chassis that these laptops are known for, making it one of the best-looking Ultrabooks ever made with an excellent level of build quality to boot. While it's certainly pricey, you're getting some excellent extras, such as formidable security features and surprisingly decent Bang & Olufsen speakers. If you care about aesthetics as much as you do performance and overall quality, this is the best Ultrabook for you.

Read our full HP Spectre x360 (2022) review

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 against a white background

(Image credit: Lenovo)
The best ultra-lightweight Ultrabook

Specifications

CPU : 11th gen Intel Core i5 - i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 8GB - 32GB
Screen: 14-inch, 16:10 (1920 x 1200p) - (3840 x 2400), touchscreen
Storage: 256GB - 1TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible performance
+
Fantastic battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Integrated graphics struggle with creative workloads

Not only is the Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 9 among the best Lenovo laptops but it’s one of the best Ultrabooks out there as well. Keeping with what made its predecessors so good, the X1 Carbon packs in a lot of power and features in a thin, light, and stylish package. Its battery life can’t be beaten so professionals needing a portable to take on the road will appreciate all that extra juice. 

And, while it isn’t ideal for creative projects, it handles productivity tasks like a pro, thanks to that 11th gen Intel Core CPU and Intel Iris Xe graphics, not to mention at least 8GB of RAM (upgradable to 32GB). On top of that, it’s Evo-certified so you know it’s a quality machine, not to mention brimming with security features.

Read our full Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 9 review

The Asus ZenBook 13 against a white background

(Image credit: Asus)
The best AMD-powered Ultrabook

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800U
Graphics: AMD Radeon
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch OLED FHD (1080p), 400 nits
Storage: 1TB PCIe SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous OLED display
+
Decent CPU performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Radeon graphics are bit underwhelming

Asus takes the Ultrabook concept to the next level with the Asus ZenBook 13. If the gorgeous OLED display doesn’t win you over with its bright and vibrant colors, then maybe the battery life will, which runs circles around most of the competition. And, it has enough power to tackle most of your computing needs, though its graphics performance leaves something to be desired, especially compared to Intel’s Iris Xe. 

Unfortunately, it's also missing a headphone jack or Thunderbolt 4 support. However, if those aren’t dealbreakers, this device is a multi-tasking champ that will last through hours and hours of use.

Read our full Asus ZenBook 13 review

The LG Gram 17 (2021) against a white background

(Image credit: LG)
A productivity powerhouse

Specifications

CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB LPDDR4X
Screen: 17-inch WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS LCD
Storage: up to 2TB NVMe SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent battery life
+
Large, high-quality display
+
Very light

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Subject to screen glare

Laptops for work are re-joining the 17-inch fray and leading them is the much-lauded LG Gram 17, whose amazingly thin and light form factor has won awards and makes it among the best Ultrabooks on the market. It’s back and better than ever, with more powerful internals like the 11th-generation Intel chips and the Iris Xe graphics as well as two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports. 

The long battery life and stunner of a screen are back, though as is its steep price tag. It’s worth it though if you want the power and portability of Ultrabooks yet also need a bigger screen.

Read our full LG Gram 17 (2021) review

Asus Zenbook Pro 15 Flip OLED in stand mode on a white background.

(Image credit: Asus)
An incredible - but elusive - Ultrabook

Specifications

CPU: Up to 12th-gen Intel Core i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics / Intel Arc A370M 4GB
RAM: 16GB LPDDR5
Screen: 15.6-inch, 2.8K (2880 x 1620) OLED Touch Display
Storage: Up to 1TB M.2 SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible lightweight design
+
Great keyboard, touchpad, and display
+
Solid productivity performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Webcam could be a bit better
-
Availability is patchy at best

What a laptop! Yes, the Asus Zenbook Pro 15 Flip OLED blew us away in our review, where it demonstrated excellent performance inside a seriously high-quality chassis. A comfortable keyboard and trackpad plus a good selection of physical ports make using this Zenbook in laptop mode a cinch, and the glorious 2.8K OLED touchscreen is fantastic for tablet-mode shenanigans.

We were so close to delivering a perfect score for this Ultrabook, but unfortunately the current stock situation is rather muddled, making the Zenbook Pro 15 Flip OLED hard to find inside the US while it's apparently completely unavailable in other territories at present. Hopefully this changes, and we can give it a more wholehearted recommendation soon!

Read our full Asus Zenbook Pro 15 Flip OLED review

Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro

(Image credit: Samsung)
Samsung's second-generation MacBook rival

Specifications

CPU: 12th Gen Intel Core i5 - i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB – 16GB LPDDR5
Screen: 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) AMOLED
Storage: 256GB – 512GB

Reasons to buy

+
Amazing battery life
+
Gorgeous AMOLED display
+
Ultra-lightweight and sleek design

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher-spec models are pricey
-
Samsung ecosystem will be annoying for some users

The Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro refines the original Galaxy Book Pro in just about every aspect, finally becoming a serious competitor to the MacBook Air. One of its most outstanding aspects is an amazing battery life, paired with a truly stunning AMOLED display that offers incredible vibrancy and brightness.

Add in great everyday performance courtesy of a 12th-gen Intel CPU and a super-lightweight design, and you have a fully-featured Ultrabook that’s made for the road. Samsung fans will be excited to know that the Galaxy Book2 Pro integrates very well with Samsung smartphones, tablets, and other devices under the 'Galaxy Ecosystem' - though be advised that if you don't already have other Samsung products, the included software might feel more like bloatware.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro review

The Lenovo ThinkBook 14S Yoga against a white background

(Image credit: Lenovo)

9. Lenovo ThinkBook 14S Yoga

An excellent 2-in-1

Specifications

CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: up to 24 GB DDR4 3200MHz
Screen: 14.0” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, glossy, touchscreen, 300 nits
Storage: up to 1TB PCIe SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Great performance
+
Garaged stylus 

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life is just OK

Lenovo’s latest release, the ThinkBook 14S Yoga, is a solid and affordable convertible that comes with some great features and a terrific performance – not to mention that coveted 2-in-1 design and a garaged pen, which doesn’t come standard on every hybrid. 

There’s a lot to love here, starting with its great price-to-performance ratio, even though admittedly, it isn’t perfect. That battery life, for example, is no match to the competition. Still, this is among the best hybrid laptops out there.

Read our full Lenovo Thinkpad 14S Yoga review

a silver laptop with a logo on the screen

(Image credit: acer)
An incredible 14-inch Ultrabook

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-12700H
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB LPDDR5
Screen: 14-inch 2.8K OLED SlimBezel Adobe 100%
Storage: 1TB

Reasons to buy

+
Well-priced
+
Gorgeous OLED screen and HDR
+
Excellent keyboard and touchpad
+
Incredibly powerful CPU

Reasons to avoid

-
Lackluster battery life
-
Average webcam
-
Terrible availability

The Acer 3 Swift OLED is the follow-up to one of the best laptops ever made, and this refresh doesn't disappoint in the slightest. Though it's not a touchscreen like the Acer Swift 3 or Acer Swift 5, its main draw is its gorgeous OLED display that also supports HDR.

Its sleek and slender chassis belies an incredible CPU performance, which has some of the best we've seen from an Ultrabook in years. And the GPU performance is no slouch either, ensuring that you can work and play with ease. Plus the incredibly affordable pricing makes it an absolute steal for what it offers. 

Read our full Acer Swift 3 OLED (2022) review


What is an Ultrabook?

Ultrabooks differ from traditional laptops because they’re premium notebooks, made with the best material, lightning fast processors, and impressive graphics. These high-quality laptops traditionally run on an Intel processor and were originally marketed as the Windows-powered alternative to Apple’s MacBook. The term 'Ultrabook' is short for 'ultramobile notebook', and was coined by Intel.

When you’re looking for the best Ultrabook, you want something thin (less than 1 inch thick), ideally with an Intel processor, and equipped with an SSD (solid state drive). Ultrabooks are meant to be lightweight but powerful, so you want something that has great portability and is capable of running any software imaginable, whether it’s video editing, programming, or the Microsoft Office Suite.

The SSD in an Ultrabook is important because, with use of Intel Smart Response, used files and apps run on fast SSD storage, making this laptop run faster than a regular laptop. If you need to multitask regularly, you might want to consider upgrading to at least a quad-core Ultrabook - the more cores a processor has, the more capable it is of running multiple programs at once.

Are Ultrabooks good for gaming?

The short answer here is no. The long answer is: maybe, depending on the specs of your Ultrabook and the types of games you want to play. The vast majority of Ultrabooks run on integrated graphics, which means that they perform graphical tasks directly on the CPU with system RAM used as video memory.

Some Ultrabooks do have a discrete GPU with its own dedicated video memory, such as the Dell XPS 15 (2022) at the top of this list. Those Ultrabooks should definitely be able to cope with gaming, but don't expect to be running anything at maximum graphical settings without taking a serious hit to your framerates.

Ultrabooks that don't have a proper GPU (most in this list use Intel's Xe integrated graphics) will generally struggle in games, unless you're only playing 2D indie games or older titles that aren't graphically demanding. If you really want to play the latest games, consider one of the best gaming laptops instead - or a thin and light gaming laptop, if you want to keep a svelte form factor.

Christian Guyton
Editor, Computing

Christian is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing Editor. He came to us from Maximum PC magazine, where he fell in love with computer hardware and building PCs. He was a regular fixture amongst our freelance review team before making the jump to TechRadar, and can usually be found drooling over the latest high-end graphics card or gaming laptop before looking at his bank account balance and crying.


Christian is a keen campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights and the owner of a charming rescue dog named Lucy, having adopted her after he beat cancer in 2021. She keeps him fit and healthy through a combination of face-licking and long walks, and only occasionally barks at him to demand treats when he’s trying to work from home.

With contributions from