The best Ultrabooks 2018: top thin and light laptops reviewed

Best Ultrabooks

The best Ultrabooks are a great example of how the times are changing in the laptop world. They keep getting thinner, lighter and faster, packed with the best SSDs and processors you can find in the best laptops today. These futuristic computers are just as much about portability as horsepower. You shouldn’t need to worry about your Ultrabook freezing in the middle of an important project, or running out of battery on a flight.

Essentially created by Intel to stick it to the MacBook Air when it dominated the scene back in 2011, the best Ultrabooks took over in a big way. In 2018, Apple’s thin and light Air is no longer relevant, thanks to these gorgeously svelte Windows 10 Ultrabooks. The best Ultrabooks, then, will bear distinct innovation that we haven’t seen from Apple in a while.

Now that we’ve seen the best laptops of Computex 2018, we can’t wait to get our hands on all the best Ultrabooks of late 2018 and beyond – mostly the touch-screen madness at the hands of Asus.

With this list, we looked for the best Ultrabooks you can buy in 2018, and narrowed it down to just ten. From brands that have dominated the PC market for years, like HP and Dell, to those that have recently entered the market, like Huawei, we’ve reviewed all of these laptops below for their designs, performance, value and battery life, so that you can decide for yourself what makes the best Ultrabook for you.

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

Every once in a while, an Ultrabook comes along that completely wipes the floor with everything that came before. The Huawei MateBook X Pro is one such Ultrabook. This gorgeous piece of technology packs high-end components into an eloquently designed package that puts even the MacBook to shame. And, with a 3K touchscreen, the Huawei MateBook X Pro has a display that is as gorgeous as its chassis.

Read the full review: Huawei MateBook X Pro

  • This product is only available in the US at the time of this writing. UK and 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 only 2.67 pounds (1.21kg) and measuring a mere 0.3 inches thick at its thinnest point, the Dell XPS 13 is the essence of the best Ultrabooks. You won’t find that it’s the cheapest option by any means, especially as the more affordable Intel Core i3 configuration no longer exists. However, at least before the Huawei MateBook X Pro, the Dell XPS 13 is a prime example to how the best Ultrabooks should work. It wields the latest 8th-generation Intel Core i 5 and i7 CPUs, obviously, but it also packs a trio of USB Type-C ports and the option of an Alpine White finish that we absolutely love. 

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

3. 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

4. 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 

When you lay your eyes on the HP Spectre 13 for the first time, you might be blinded by its sheer beauty. HP has taken the already-beautiful Spectre, and spruced it up with gold trim and packed it with internal specs that blow the competition out of the water. One of the first Ultrabooks packing a quad-core CPU, the 2017 Spectre 13 more than doubles the CPU performance of most of its competitors. It comes at the cost of battery life, but clocking in at just under 6 hours – the battery is still passable. 

Read the full review: HP Spectre 13 

5. 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

Razer has to deal with the common misconception that it’s solely a gaming laptop and peripheral company, a reputation it subverted when it introduced the Blade Stealth back in 2016. And, if you’re unconvinced, the latest edition 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 delivers is worth the compromise. 

Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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 2-in-1 – the Surface Laptop is a full-on traditional laptop (with a touchscreen) designed by the Microsoft hardware design lab. From the Italian imported Alcantara fabric material decorating the keyboard to its beautiful 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. And, keep your eye out – we’re expecting the Surface Laptop 2 sometime in 2018. 

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Laptop

10. Acer Swift 7

Thin, light and handsome, if a bit 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

As the world’s thinnest laptop, it’s not surprising that the Acer Swift 7 isn’t exactly packed with ports. However, it’s unfair to judge this Ultrabook by its pair of USB-C ports alone. Rocking a 7th-generation Core i5 Y-Series processor isn’t exactly a powerhouse, but it doesn’t need to be – especially when it nails aesthetics as well as it does. Despite its short-lived battery life, the Acer Swift 7 is still one of the best Ultrabooks around – especially if you tend to travel a lot. 

Read the full review: Acer Swift 7

  • This product is only available in the US at the time of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Asus ZenBook 3 

Watch the video below for the top 7 things to consider when buying a laptop. 

Gabe Carey also contributed to this article