As Bob Dylan sang: ‘the times, they are a-changin’. When it comes to laptops, it means they’re getting lighter, thinner and more importantly, faster than ever before. Nothing signifies this fact more than the best Ultrabooks. Under an inch thick and featuring the best processors and SSDs, these new-age notebooks are as much about portability as raw performance. With the best Ultrabooks, you don’t need to worry about your computer freezing in the middle of an important project, or running out of juice while traveling.
The best Ultrabooks were essentially created by Intel to give the MacBook Air some much-needed competition when it was on top of the world in 2011. Fast-forward to 2018, and the MacBook Air is all but irrelevant in a world ruled by the best Ultrabooks. All running Windows 10, and coming from a wide range of manufacturers, the best Ultrabooks bear distinct innovation that we haven’t seen from Apple in a minute.
And, now that the Windows 10 April Update is live, and Intel has even released a graphics driver update to coincide with its release, the best Ultrabooks are about to become even more powerful and energy efficient.
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.
- Ultrabook not for you? These are the best laptops across every category
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
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
2. Dell XPS 13
Ol' reliable takes another crank 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
Weighing only 1.21kg and measuring a mere 0.3 inches thick at its thinnest point, the Dell XPS 13 is an Ultrabook at its most essential. 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, the Dell XPS 13 is a gorgeous testament to what a thin-and-light notebook can do. It wields the latest 8th-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, of course, but it also packs a trio of USB Type-C ports and the option of an Alpine White finish that we can’t get enough of.
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
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. 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
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
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
There’s a common misconception that Razer only makes gaming laptops. Although the company attempted to subvert this impression when it first introduced the Blade Stealth in 2016, those unconvinced may finally have their minds changed this year. The latest rendition of the Razer Blade Stealth turns a 12.5-inch display into a 13.3-inch, QHD+ beauty. There’s no longer the option for 4K, but the performance this Ultrabook delivers is well worth the compromise.
Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth