The best Ultrabooks of 2017: top thin and light laptops reviewed
Update: Waiting for a MacBook Air successor? The latest entry on our list draws inspiration from Apple’s thin-and-light without feeling like a knock-off. Read on to number 3 find out more about the Asus ZenBook UX310!
Although they were originally conceived to compete with the likes of Apple’s MacBook Air, Ultrabooks now stand on their own as unique, Intel-based laptops that are thin and light and feature long-lasting battery life that puts the Windows laptops of yesteryear to shame. A lot of Ultrabooks not only measure in at under an inch thick, but they’re also capable of carrying out tasks rather swiftly, thanks to their routine inclusion of Core “i” processors.
There’s a ton of variety, too, when it comes to the best Ultrabooks. The wide range of ports and configurations offered by the Dell XPS 13 are rivaled by the aesthetically pleasing and business-focused Asus AsusPro B9440UA. Likewise, there are 2-in-1 laptops that double as Ultrabooks, such as the HP Spectre x360 and Microsoft’s own Surface Book. Whatever your needs may be, you can be certain that one of the below top Ultrabooks will meet them.
However, with all the options that you’re faced with, it can be a tough call determining the Ultrabook that will get you through your daily undertakings. Whether you demand an Ultrabook that’s powerful and resilient or simply one that lasts all day, we’ve gathered the best Ultrabooks for every situation. Each one has undergone thorough testing as part of our review procedures, allowing for the most informed recommendations we can give.
1. Dell XPS 13
The best laptop on the planet, Dell’s latest Ultrabook is a masterpiece
CPU: Intel Core i5 – 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: 128GB – 512GB SSD
The new, 7th-generation Intel Core i-powered Dell XPS 13 is nothing short of a miracle, in terms of both design and pricing. Once again, Dell has done the universe a favor by squeezing a 13.3-inch display into a measly 11-inch figure, and weighing in at only 2.9 pounds (1.29kg), the XPS 13 is blessed with extravagance.
The Dell XPS 13 not only bears a lengthy battery life exceeding 7 hours in accordance with our in-house movie test, but it does so with a virtually bezel-less InfinityEdge display. What’s more, not only is the starting cost of the laptop relatively low, but the Dell XPS 13 is sold in a variety of different flavors, all the way up to an i7-7700U model. And to top it all off? It comes in Rose Gold.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
2. HP Spectre x360
An ultra-light Ultrabook now with Kaby Lake performance
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Among the first to sport 7th-generation Kaby Lake processors, the HP Spectre x360 is more than a CPU upgrade. Sure, the 2-in-1 zips by faster than it did last year, but it’s also thinner and lighter than it was before – not to mention more stylish. From the revamped HP logo on the outer shell to the higher quality keyboard, the Spectre x360 is a force to be reckoned with.
With the better battery life and improved performance, of course, some unwanted change for some. Two USB Type-C ports are present while only one traditional, USB Type-A port is onboard. Sure, this equates to better transfer rates, but it also necessitates the need for an onslaught of new cables and peripherals.
The Spectre x360 is a thrifty little Ultrabook no matter what your use case, made even better by the recent addition of a 4K display option paired with an optional 1TB of SSD storage.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360
3. Asus ZenBook UX310
A truly excellent ultrabook at a very agreeable price point
CPU: Intel Core i3 – Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 940 MX | RAM: 2GB GDDR3 VRAM | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 512 GB SATA3 M.2 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. Take the Asus ZenBook UX310, for example, the long awaited follow-up to the ZenBook UX305 to which we awarded our editor’s choice stamp last January.
Sporting a 7th-generation Intel Kaby Lake processor (with some configurations comparable to the top-notch Dell XPS 13) and an all-aluminum shell, this truly a candidate for the MacBook Air’s throne. That’s thanks in no small part to the Asus ZenBook UX310 housing all the latest ports, including USB Type-C, and the option of a gorgeous QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) display, complete with 178 degrees of rotation and a serious case of the anti-glare.
Read the full review: Asus ZenBook UX310
4. 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
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
5. Acer Aspire S 13
One of the most affordable ways to get into Ultrabooks
CPU: 6th Gen Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 4 – 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) touchscreen | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
The Acer Aspire S 13 may not win prizes for being the thinnest nor the lightest Ultrabook around, nor does it offer more than 10 hours of battery life. But it’s an impressive machine none the less with speedy and reliable performance. It’s nearly as affordable as the Asus ZenBook UX305 and the touchscreen comes standard, something you won’t find on most budget Ultrabooks.
Read the full review: Acer Aspire S 13
6. Acer Swift 7
Thin, light and handsome, if not 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
It’s no surprise that the world’s thinnest laptop doesn’t come without its own share of port shortages; however, it’s also unfair to judge the Acer Swift 7 by its pair of USB-C twins alone. Sporting an Core i5 processor from Intel’s 7th-gen Y-series lineup (previously Core M), the Swift 7 is by no means a powerhouse, but it doesn’t need to be, really.
The Acer Swift 7 is a testament to just how luxurious a laptop can look and feel without facilitating a lofty price tag. It also serves as a reminder that everything looks better in gold. Though admittedly short on battery life, clocking in at only 5 hours and 41 minutes in our in-house movie test, the Acer Swift 7 soars areas such as portability and style.
Read the full review: Acer Swift 7
7. Lenovo Yoga 910
Elegance meets horsepower with this hardy 2-in-1
CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.9-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
The Lenovo Yoga 910 is a fine example of a laptop that takes two steps forward and one step back. It may be heavier and colder to the touch than the Yoga 900, no thanks to its aluminum finish, but it’s also substantially more stylish. Not only that, but Lenovo even managed to keep the same frame size and fit a larger, 14-inch screen inside it.
As a result, it’s still not perfect, but the Yoga 910 is – rest assured – a clear upgrade over its predecessor. Because it’s wholly adorned with sharp angles galore, the Yoga 910 is a feat in fashion. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it’s outfitted with a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and the option of a 4K screen. Unfortunately, even though the battery is larger, these changes leave longevity underwhelming.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 910
8. HP Spectre
Thin, powerful and delightfully chic
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS UWVA WLED | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
One glance at the HP Spectre, and you’d think it belongs in a mansion. As if looks weren’t enough, this gilded machine is actually more powerful than the latest MacBook and for a lower price at that.
You won’t find laptops thinner than this and with an optional Intel Core i7 configuration to the trio of USB-C ports, it’s supremely capable and not to mention future-proof. Even when it only boasts a 1080p screen, it renders deeper blacks and brighter colors than most.
If there were ever a such thing as a MacBook killer, it would be called the HP Spectre – front and center, folks.
Read the full review: HP Spectre
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