A certain fruit-inspired brand is currently dominating the market when it comes to lightweight laptops, but that doesn’t mean that other brands aren’t hot on their tail. While Samsung are developing technology to not just match, but over take the iPhone, Intel, too, have come up with highly innovative alternatives in the PC world that’ll give the Macbook a run for its money. So let's take a dive into the best ultrabooks and what to look out for when buying one...
- Boost your Ultrabook memory with our picks of the best external hard drives
- Not sure if an Ultrabook is right for you? Check out our round up of the best tablets
- Check out our round up of the best 13 inch laptops here
Intel intend for Ultrabooks to deliver a compromise between performance and portability when it comes to laptops and as such, there’s some pretty strict guidelines that manufacturers have to comply with. With the correct ratio of screen size and thickness as one, and a speedy Ivy Bridge processor and an Intel integrated graphics as the other major components, Ultrabooks are just the ticket for the everyday user.
When looking for the best Ultrabook for you, you’ll need to consider details such as the amount of storage it provides (our top pick, the Dell XPS 13, offers up to 512 GB of storage) and is probably handy if you’re used to packing your hard drive full of programs, applications, high-res files and movies.
Typically, Ultrabooks are available with 13.3 inch, 13.5 inch and 14 inch displays, so if you’re looking to watch films and TV shows, you may want to consider going for the bigger option. Aside from that, the everyday user will probably need to consider the battery life of their Ultrabook, especially if they’re always on the go for work - our Dell pick offers up a massive battery life of up to 18 hours.
We’ve researched the best Ultrabooks on the market right now that are available to purchase from retailers, such as Currys, John Lewis, Very and Amazon. While an Ultrabook is certainly a worthwhile investment, it is an expensive one, so it’s handy to know that both Very and John Lewis offer a 0% APR credit account if you’re looking to spread the cost.
1. Dell XPS 13
An incredible all-rounder that will take a hefty dent out of your pocket
Best for: Processing power | Operating system: Windows 10 | Storage: 512GB SSD | Screen size: 13.3” | Battery life: Up to 18 hours | Weight: 1.2kg
The Dell XPS has been built with processing speed in mind, and thanks to the 521MB of memory, you can keep all of your files stored in one place- great if you’re a graphic designer constantly working on hi-res files or a movie fanatic with a big library. Thanks to the UltraSharp Quad HD display, you’ll be able to see graphics, movies and TV shows in high definition, with the 400 nit display giving you freedom to watch anywhere, no matter the lighting conditions. With plenty of connectivity options, hooking up your everyday devices shouldn’t be a problem, while its design certainly makes it a looker to be seen out and about with.
2. Microsoft Surface
Combining style, portability and performance, this Ultrabook is great for the everyday
Best for: Portability and performance | Operating system: Windows 10 | Storage: 128GB SSD | Screen size: 13.5” | Battery life: Up to 14.5 hours | Weight: 1.25kg
If you took a look at our first pick and thought ‘I just don’t need all that’, then our Microsoft Surface offering could be the Ultrabook for you. Featuring the Intel Core i5 dual core processor rather than the i7 processor, its performance isn’t quite matching, however this would only be noticed if you’re used to working with demanding software. With a slightly bigger HD 13.5 inch screen and Dolby Audio sound, this is the ideal Ultrabook for those who like to watch films and TV shows on the go. With a good memory size and a decent battery life, this Ultrabook is the perfect choice for the everyday user.
3. Asus ZenBook 3
I rival to our first pick, with a few additional bells and whistles
Best for: Work | Operating system: Windows 10 | Storage: 512GB SSD | Screen size: 14” | Battery life: Up to 9 hours | Weight: 1.3kg
This Ultrabook is for those looking for the best of the best. It matches our first pick for processing power and storage, so it’s ideal if you’re used to working with demanding software or large files. Featuring a 14” screen, this Ultrabook is potentially better for viewing presentations, films etc, however that extra couple of millimeters has upped the weight of it. While it doesn’t offer touchscreen technology like our first pick, for those that love a bell and whistle will fancy Windows Hello, which unlocks the PC with your fingerprint.
4. HP Spectre 13
A great contender for our second pick
Best for: Efficiency and reliability | Operating system: Windows 10 | Storage: 256GB SSD | Screen size: 13.3” | Battery life: Up to 8 hours | Weight: 1.11kg
If you’re looking for a stylish everyday computer that is up to the task of the occasional bit of heavy processing, this one could be ideal. While it features the latest processing power, the RAM isn’t quite so much as other high performing ultrabooks, which means running demanding software or large files may be less smooth. However, it does make the running of everyday software incredibly efficient. With a carbon fibre exterior, the HP Spectre is super lightweight, plus it’s stylish.
5. Razer Blade Stealth
Super-cool laptop designed with gamers in mind
Best for: Gamers | Operating system: Windows 10 | Storage: 256GB SSD | Screen size: 13.3” | Battery life: Up to 9 hours | Weight: 1.33kg
Gamers looking for a decent Ultrabook that doesn’t cost them the sum of a couple of months’ rent should take a look at the Razer Blade Stealth. We mean, you only have to look at the name to know it’s going to have some pretty cool features up its sleeve - the i7 processor and 16GB of RAM are just a couple of them. With a QHD touch screen and support for the Razor core external desktop graphics enclosure, this laptop should allow gamers to get the most out of their favourite PC games on the go.
6. Lenovo Yoga 920
An awesome all in one that also teams up as a tablet
Best for: All-in-one | Operating system: Windows 10 | Storage: 256GB SSD | Screen size: 13.9” | Battery life: Up to 12 hours | Weight: 1.38kg
While you can use this device as either a tablet or a laptop, Lenovo certainly haven’t compromised on the techy stuff. With an i5 processor and 256GB of memory, there’s plenty of space for you to download apps, software, films and games, whether it’s for keeping the kids entertained on a long journey or using it when you work from home. With a 13.9” screen, it’s one of the biggest on our list, and thanks to the touch screen technology, you can use it alongside a pen, great if you’re often drawing graphics on the go. This laptop come tablet is a good all-rounder, but if you’re a designer looking to run demanding software or a gamer looking to get the most out of the graphics, there are better machines out there.
A tablet device can rival even the best of laptops, check out our round-up of the best 10 inch tablets for more portable device inspiration.