There are a lot of different specs and features that give ultrabooks the right to call themselves “ultra” over regular laptops, but perhaps one of the most unsung aspects is what brought you to our list of the best portable ultrabooks of 2017.
When creating this list we considered both the power and battery life of the ultrabooks in the marketplace, but also wanted to make sure that the top picks were also some of the smallest and lightest possible so they’re ultra-easy on the arm to lug around.
All the picks in this list are at most 3lbs or less, and don’t have screens larger than 13.3″ across. This ensures they won’t take up a large footprint on a desk, and also won’t weigh down a bookbag, briefcase, or backpack when you’re already hauling around extra gear and need to save all the weight you can. All these factors in mind, it’s pretty hard not to choose the HP Spectre x360 13 ($1,159) as our #1 pick.
This model absolutely knocks it out of the park on every metric, including its versatile 2-in-1 hinge that lets you cut its overall dimensions in half if you feel like tucking the keyboard away underneath for ultimate portability on the fly.
- 1 Best Portable Ultrabook
- 2 How We Choose the Best Portable Ultrabook
- 3 Why You Should Buy a New Portable Ultrabook
- 4 #1 Pick HP Spectre x360 13/Editor’s Choice Best Portable Ultrabook
- 5 #2 Pick Dell XPS 13
- 6 #3 Pick Lenovo IdeaPad 710S
- 7 Most Important Features
- 8 Mistakes or Things to Avoid
- 9 What Else You Should Think About
Best Portable Ultrabook
|HP Spectre x360 13||Dell XPS 13||Lenovo IdeaPad 710s|
|Rank||#1 - Editor's Choice/|
Best Portable Ultrabook
|#2 Pick||#3 Pick|
|CPU||2.7GHz Intel |
|2.7GHz Intel |
|RAM||8GB LPDDR3||8GB LPDDR3||8 GB DDR3L|
|Display||1920 x 1080||1920 x 1080||1920 x 1080|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 620||Intel HD Graphics 620||Intel HD Graphics 620|
|Battery Life||Up to 10hrs||Up to 10hrs||Up to 8hrs|
|Storage||256GB PCIe SSD||256GB PCIe SSD||512GB PCIe SSD|
|Dimensions||12.03 x 8.58 x 0.54 inches||11.98 x 0.33 x 7.88 inches||12.09 x 0.55 x 8.43 inches|
|Weight||2.85 pounds||2.7 pounds||2.4 pounds|
|Price||[amazon_link asins='B06XHCW43N' template='PriceLink' store='best-portable-laptop-20' marketplace='US' link_id='6ac85745-4bce-11e7-b2ab-173b6c1ebec0']||[amazon_link asins='B015PYYPFG' template='PriceLink' store='best-portable-laptop-20' marketplace='US' link_id='7b43dac7-4bce-11e7-a66f-e357a9195c85']||[amazon_link asins='B01LNOEYSK' template='PriceLink' store='best-portable-laptop-20' marketplace='US' link_id='8713aff3-4bce-11e7-a371-c198df70cd82']|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
How We Choose the Best Portable Ultrabook
As we mentioned in the previous section, although specs and power were important considerations in compiling our list of the most portable ultrabooks on the market, first and foremost we were looking for anything that shaved down a little weight and size on the edges.
Luckily, those two sides of the coin don’t have to be mutually exclusive these days. Thanks to Intel’s latest 7th-generation Core i CPUs, all the ultrabooks on this list can pack in smaller batteries (less weight) and fewer fans (less bulk) thanks to the ultra-efficient, ultra-cool Kaby Lake CPUs.
Read More: What Is an Ultrabook?
Another main feature that helps to save on space without sacrificing any power is the aforementioned 2-in-1 style, which takes any full-sized ultrabook and cuts everything in half.
That way if you’re either working with limited desk space or just need something that you can literally take with you on the go (much like a tablet), convertible ultrabooks make it simple with a flip of the keyboard to the back. Not all the picks we have listed her employ the hinge, but it’s still something you should keep an eye on if portability is your main priority.
Why You Should Buy a New Portable Ultrabook
Likely one of the best candidates for a new portable ultrabook are students. With individual textbooks that can often weigh 15lbs or more on their own, having an ultrabook that barely adds another ounce to that already-overbearing load of supplies can make it much easier for them to get around campus without having to visit the chiropractor in between every class. Plus, with the smaller overall footprint students will also be able to whip out their laptop and notebooks at the same time without crowding their fellow classmates in a lecture hall.
Others who might benefit include engineers or IT staff who constantly need to be running between one department and the next around their building. The light hand feel, quick boot-from-sleep times, and ultra-fast SSDs will ensure that you can get in, out, and on to the next technical meltdown in a matter of minutes (instead of hours). This increases overall productivity and ensures you’re never stuck in one place for too long while you zip around the office!
#1 Pick HP Spectre x360 13/Editor’s Choice Best Portable Ultrabook
Price: Check Price | Features: 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, 0.5″ thick, 2.87lbs
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Powerful and ultra-portable, the HP Spectre x360 shines.
At a mere 0.5″ thick, 2.85lb, and equipped with a 2-in-1 convertible hinge, it simply doesn’t get any more portable than the latest HP Spectre x360 13.
Read More: Best 2-in-1 Ultrabook
HP has truly changed the game for good with the release of the new Spectre x360 line, incorporating Apple-esque design with powerhouse specs like 512GB of SSD storage, 16GB of LPDDR3 SDRAM, and of course, the brand new Intel Core 2.7GHz i7-7500U CPU.
With all those beefy specs it’s hard to believe this laptop weighs as little as it does and takes up barely any space, which is why we couldn’t help but name it the best portable ultrabook 2016!
#2 Pick Dell XPS 13
Price: Check Price | Features: 2.7lbs, 13.3″ InfinityEdge display, 256GB PCIe SSD
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Dell XPS 13 continues to revolutionize ultrabook portability.
But maybe you’ve been burned by HP too many times in the past, and a Samsung ultrabook is more your thing?
Well unfortunately we’re still waiting for Samsung to actually release their first line of ultrabooks equipped with Kaby Lake CPUs, but in the meantime the new Dell XPS 13 will have to do!
Read More: Ultrabook vs. Laptop
The XPS 13 is no slouch, obviously, and can stand toe-to-toe with Samsung any day of the week. Offering one of the most beautiful screens in the business thanks to its InfinityEdge display inside a case that would make even the top Samsung designers a little jealous, Dell continues to hone their flagship ultrabook that redefined the genre just a few short years ago.
If you’re looking for a bit of extra style with your substance, the Dell XPS 13 is the best portable ultrabook to get.
#3 Pick Lenovo IdeaPad 710S
Price: Check Price | Features: 15.6″ 1920 x 1080 display, 8GB DDR3L SDRAM, 2.3GHz Core i5-6200U CPU
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Lenovo IdeaPad 710S is a portable powerhouse that you can pack to go anywhere.
Last but not least we come to the king of portability, the company who basically invented the “ultraportable” laptop as we know it in the ThinkPad line: Lenovo.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 710S may not be a part of the manufacturer’s quintessential lineup of ThinkPad devices, but that’s because this is the next evolution of laptop in nearly every way imaginable. The IdeaPad 710S impresses on the processing front with the help an Intel Core 2.7GHz i7-7500U CPU, but where it really shines is the addition of a 512GB PCIe SSD.
For anyone who’s owned a PCIe SSD before, you know just how insanely fast they make everything from loading up a presentation to getting to your favorite photos and videos live. If you want a highly-customizable, endlessly tweakable monster of a machine that could just about fit in your pocket if it wanted to, look no further than the Lenovo Ideapad 710s.
Most Important Features
- Ultrabooks are made to be portable, light, and fast. This has been Intel’s vision for the brand from the beginning, and the weight of a device matters just as much to the company as anything else.
- None of the ultrabooks on this list weigh anything more than 3lbs, with the closest model being the touchscreen version of the XPS 13 at 2.9lbs out the door.
- Sometimes it can be hard when you’re caught in the limbo between wanting a portable ultrabook and one that will actually last a decently long time between charges.
- The more battery cells you pack into an ultrabook, the heavier it gets. Luckily thanks to Intel’s mandated specs, all the laptops listed here have a minimum battery life of at least 8 hours.
- One of the biggest benefits to choosing a convertible ultrabook (or even a plain old laptop) over the clamshell-style competition is the ultimate sense of portability that comes along with it.
- Convertibles let you turn an ultrabook into an ultra-powerful tablet in an instant, meaning you can either use the screen in one hand while you draw with the other, or just type directly on the screen in case of extra-tight quarters.
- Of course, this wouldn’t be a list of the best portable ultrabooks without addressing the core metric that makes them portable in the first place: their dimensions.
- Kaby Lake CPUs have made it easier than ever for manufacturers to make their newest ultrabooks ultra-slim, which is why none of the choices on this list are any thicker than 0.6″ top to bottom.
- Ultra-thin means ultraportable, and it also makes 2-in-1 usage much easier to keep in the hand without feeling uncomfortable over longer periods of time.
Mistakes or Things to Avoid
Don’t go ultra-portable unless you really need it: It’s tempting to have the slickest, slimmest, and smallest ultrabook of all your friends, but unless that’s your main priority, it’s probably better to check out one of our best value ultrabooks instead. When you’re not as concerned with portability you can squeeze a heck of a lot more power out, all at a lower cost than ultraportables demand upfront.
Skimp on larger screens: Although it may be tempting to shoot for a 15″ screen on an ultrabook so you can really take advantage of all their extra power, all that extra display space will only weigh you down in the long run. Not only is the screen itself heavier with added materials, you also need to consider the fact that a larger screen means a larger footprint, which can hurt the whole “portable” goal quite a bit.
What Else You Should Think About
Now that you’ve read off our list for the best portable ultrabook picks of the year, are there any other things you should consider before making your final buy?
Well, it never hurts to find out more about the product category you’re purchasing in, which is why I recommend checking out Ultrabooks vs Chromebooks to find out if there’s a Chromebook that could meet your portability needs at a fraction of the cost. Don’t forget to check out the Best Chromebooks of 2019 either, where only the slimmest and sleekest laptops made the cut.
It’s not hard to see why the HP Spectre x360 13 made it to the top of our best portable ultrabook list, thanks not only to its stellar set of specs and drop-dead gorgeous display, but also an ultra-thin, ultra-light (and ultra-portable) profile to boot!