In the words of the inimitable Bob Dylan: ‘the times, they are a-changin’. For laptops, that means they’re getting thinner, lighter, and more importantly faster than ever before. Nothing represents this truth more than the best Ultrabooks. No thicker than 0.8 inches (2cm) and packing the best SSDs and processors, these space-age laptops are as much about performance as they are about portability. With the best Ultrabooks, you don’t need to worry about your battery dying, or your computer freezing, while on the road.
Essentially, the best Ultrabooks were created by Intel to give the MacBook Air a run for its money when it dominated the scene in 2011. Now, in 2018, the MacBook Air has more competition than it knows what to do with – it’s a wonder it hasn’t been updated in three years. Perhaps that’s why the best Ultrabooks have gained so much traction recently. All running Windows 10 and coming from a wide range of manufacturers, the best Ultrabooks bear distinct innovation we haven’t seen from Cupertino in a minute.
And, now that Intel is officially producing Core i9 laptop CPUs, the best Ultrabooks stand to get even better in the near future.
In the search for the best Ultrabook ever conceived, we’ve narrowed our picks down to a modest 10. From makers you’ve heard of, like HP and Dell, to those you may not be as familiar with, such as Huawei, we have reviewed all of these laptops below for their designs, performance, battery life and value, so that you can determine for yourself what makes for the best Ultrabook. In the end, your choice and your preferences overrule ours anyway.
- Ultrabook not for you? These are the best laptops across every category
1. Dell XPS 13
The best laptop on the planet, Dell's latest Ultrabook is a masterpiece
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
2. 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
3. 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
4. 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
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
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