The best Ultrabooks 2018: top thin and light laptops reviewed

Best Ultrabooks
These are the top 5 Ultrabooks that we've reviewed so far, always updated

The best Ultrabooks, especially if you’re in college or you spend a lot of time in a coffee shop, are the ultimate status symbol. While everyone else has big and bulky Chromebooks or budget laptops, you’ll whip out a much thinner, lighter and more powerful machine packed with the best SSDs and processors you can only find in the best laptops.

These modern thin and light machines are as much about portability as sheer horsepower. You don’t need to worry about your Ultrabook freezing in the middle of an important project, or running out of juice while on the road.

So, we thought it’d be best if we took the time to gather up the best Ultrabooks you can buy today. From brands that you know like Dell and HP, to those you might not be familiar with like Huawei, we reviewed all of these thin and light laptops for their designs, performance and battery life.

Luckily, you don’t need to worry about breaking open that piggy bank for the best Ultrabooks. Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be here any time now, and you’re going to be able to find some tempting Black Friday laptop deals from brands like Dell and Apple. And, as always, be sure to stay tuned to TechRadar for all your holiday shopping needs. 

1. Huawei MateBook X Pro

The new ‘best Ultrabook’ of 2018

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce MX150 (2GB), Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch 3K (3,000 x 2,000; touch) | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD

Gorgeous design
Fantastic performance
Weird webcam placement

Sometimes, we’ll come across an Ultrabook that completely destroys everything that came before. The Huawei Matebook X Pro is one of these Ultrabooks. This gorgeous laptop brings high-end components into an elegantly-designed package that puts even the MacBook Pro to shame. And, with its 3K touchscreen, the Huawei MateBook X Pro has a display that’s just as nice to look at as the chassis. It’s really the best Ultrabook you can buy today. 

Read the full review: Huawei MateBook X Pro

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Dell XPS 13  

2. Dell XPS 13

Ol’ reliable takes another crack at triumph

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080; non-touch) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800; touchscreen) | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD

Centered IR webcam
Gorgeous new design
Steeper starting price
White option is pricier

Weighing just 2.67 lbs (1.21kg) and measuring just 0.3 inch at its narrowest point, the Dell XPS 13 is the essence of the best Ultrabooks. It’s not the most affordable option, but the Dell XPS 13 is a perfect example of what the best Ultrabooks can do. It wields 8th generation Kaby Lake Refresh processors, obviously, but it also features three USB Type-C ports and the option of a gorgeous Alpine white finish.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

3. Surface Laptop 2

Microsoft’s premium Ultrabook

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | Screen: 13.5-inch 2,256 x 1,504 PixelSense Display | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD

Quad-core processing
Beautiful new color option
No Thunderbolt 3

The original Surface Laptop was one of the best Ultrabooks when it first came back, though it was held back from true greatness due to its relatively weak hardware and Windows 10 S. However, in 2018, the Surface Laptop 2 has come back with a vengeance – bringing stronger quad-core processors and the full-fat version of Windows 10. It’s through these core improvements that the Surface Laptop 2 is able to bring the purest Windows 10 experience on a laptop, at a price that won’t make you gasp in horror. 

Read the full review: Surface Laptop 2

4. Lenovo Yoga 920

Perfecting the craft of hybrid laptops

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | Screen: 13.9-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Lovely design
Decent power
Keyboard still annoys in tablet form
Fans can be loud when they kick in

Few Ultrabooks are as brilliantly designed as the Lenovo Yoga 920, a 2-in-1 laptop that’s as illustrious to look at as it is to use. In contrast to its nearest competitors, such as Microsoft’s Surface Book 2, it’s also a far less expensive endeavor. For the modest price you pay, you’re getting a gorgeous, all-metal finish that can be flipped inside out for extended functionality. It also houses the latest 8th-generation Intel processors, just in case speed was a concern.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 920

5. HP Spectre 13

Bringing quad-core with style

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD

Beautiful design 
Powerful hardware 
 Light on ports 

From the moment your eyes meet the HP Spectre 13, you’ll be impressed by its sheer beauty. HP has taken the already luxurious Spectre and dialed the design up to eleven with gold trim and packed it with internal specs that blow the competition out of the water. One of the first Ultrabooks rocking an 8th-generation Kaby Lake Refresh chip, the 2017 Spectre 13 more than doubles the CPU performance of most of its competitors. This added performance comes at the cost of battery life, but clocking in at just under 6 hours – the battery life is still passable.

Read the full review: HP Spectre 13 

6. Razer Blade Stealth

Don’t be fooled: this is more than a gamer’s laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 12.5-inch UHD (3,840 x 2,160) – 13.3-inch QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB PCIe SSD

Larger, brighter display
Subtler aesthetics on gunmetal version
Shorter and shorter battery life
No 4K display option in sight

For years, Razer has had to deal with the misconception that it’s just a gaming laptop and peripheral company – but those days are over now that the Razer Blade Stealth is here. And, if you’re unconvinced, the latest version of the Razer Blade Stealth may change your mind by turning into a 13.3-inch, QHD+ beauty. There’s no longer the option for 4K, but the performance this Ultrabook is capable of is more than worth that compromise. 

Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth

7. HP Spectre x360

The versatile and venerated people pleaser

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) touch panel | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Stylus included
Stunning speakers
Weak hinges
Annoying keyboard layout

Rarely does a company think of everything when designing a laptop, but for what it’s worth, the HP Spectre x360 comes surprisingly close. It’s a 2-in-1 convertible laptop, which by default makes it not for everyone. Still, for those right-brained users out there, it comes bundled with a Windows Ink-compatible stylus, unlike the vast majority of hybrids. That would mean very little if the HP Spectre x360 didn’t have great sound and visuals, though it evidently does.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360

8. 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

9. 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

10. Lenovo Yoga 730

Thin, portable, affordable

CPU: Intel Core i5 - i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8 - 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS (multi-touch, anti-glare) | Storage: 256GB - 512GB PCIe SSD

Budget-friendly 
Powerful enough 
Short battery life 

If you’re looking to get your hands on an entry-level Ultrabook that can get some work done, without spending a fortune, the Lenovo Yoga 730 should be at the top of your list. Sure, it doesn’t have the longest battery life, but with how much (or how little) this device will set you back, it’s a worthy trade off – especially considering the speedy SSD, quad-core processor and 8GB of RAM you’re getting at the entry level. For anyone on a budget, the Lenovo Yoga 730 is certainly one of the best Ultrabooks around right now.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 730 

  • Looking for back to school gear? We’ve picked out the best deals for you

Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article