|Dell XPS 13||Lenovo |
|Asus ZenBook |
|Macbook Air||Microsoft Surface
|Rank||#1 - Editor's Choice/Best 13-inch Ultrabook||#2 - Best Business Ultrabook||#3 - Best Budget Ultrabook||#4 - Best Ultrabook Under $1,000||#5 - Best 2-in-1 Ultrabook|
|Full Review||Dell XPS 13 Review||Lenovo LaVie X Review||ASUS Zenbook UX305 Review|
|Display||3200 x 1800||2560 x 1440||1920 x 1080||1366 x 756||3000 x 2000|
|Battery Life||Not specified||Up to 7hrs||Up to 8hrs||Up to 9hrs||Up to 12hrs|
Core M 5Y10
|1.6GHz dual-core |
Intel Core i5
|RAM||8 GB||8 GB||8 GB||4 GB||8 GB|
|Storage||230GB SSD||256GB SSD||256GB SSD||128 GB PCIe-based|
|256GB PCIe3.0 SSD|
|Weight||2.8 pounds||1.87 pounds||2.6 pounds||2.38 pounds||3.48 pounds|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
So what’s the best ultrabook in 2019? There are a number of models that deserve a shot at the title, and we’ll be taking you through the major contenders and letting you know what you need to consider when planning for the purchase of your next ultrabook. Keep reading to get a look at the most important features, read an ultrabook comparison, and learn the tricks that will ensure that you choose a computer that you’ll be happy with well into 2019 and beyond.
That being said, the top ultrabook in 2019 can’t be defined by any one aspect, as our ultrabook reviews reveal. And here’s why: Intel introduced the category in 2011 to compete with the MacBook Air, the lightweight laptop which was dominating the market at the time. Intel has its own list of specifications for the kinds of laptops that can use the trademarked “ultrabook” branding (including that it must have an Intel Core processor), but in truth the definition of an ultrabook is still fairly fluid in the minds of most consumers.
So what’s the best ultrabook for 2019? Read on in our guide to find out!
- 1 #1 Pick Dell XPS 13 – Editor’s Choice/Best 13″ Ultrabook
- 2 #2 Pick Lenovo LaVie Z Ultrabook – Best Business Ultrabook
- 3 #3 Pick Asus ZenBook UX305 Ultrabook – Best Budget Ultrabook
- 4 #4 Pick Macbook Air – Best Ultrabook Under $1,000
- 5 #5 Pick Microsoft Surface Book – Best 2-in-1 Ultrabook
- 6 Key Factors To Consider
- 7 Mistakes or Things to Avoid
- 8 Most Important Features
- 9 Which Ultrabook is Right for You
#1 Pick Dell XPS 13 – Editor’s Choice/Best 13″ Ultrabook
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Dell XPS 13 combines sexy style with serious performance to top the list of our best ultrabooks for 2019.
Offering a basic model and a touchscreen version, the Dell XPS 13 is one of the best ultrabooks out there for its price. Both models are very lightweight and have a beautiful 3,200 x 1,800 display.
Dell claims that the battery can last up to 15 hours, an impressive length of time. The performance of the machines is stellar, with its 2.2GHz 6th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU and 8 gigabytes of RAM. Especially nice is that the cost of the machine is on the lower end, especially for ultrabooks of its caliber.
#2 Pick Lenovo LaVie Z Ultrabook – Best Business Ultrabook
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Lenovo LaVie Z is an ultra-light ultrabook that still manages to pack some serious punch underneath its feather-heavy hood.
If there’s anything you should know about the Lenovo LaVie Z, first and foremost it should be its distinction as the lightest ultrabook in the world…but it’s also a very, very good computer. The screen rocks a beautiful 2560 x 1440 resolution, and it’s also strong performer with a 2.40GHz Intel Core i7 and 8GB of DDR3L SDRAM.
Read: Best Chromebooks of 2019
The lack of a touchscreen and its shorter max of nine hours of battery life are the biggest things standing in the way of perfection, but the Lenovo LaVie Z is certainly a fine piece of machinery in its own right thanks to its light frame and extreme portability.
#3 Pick Asus ZenBook UX305 Ultrabook – Best Budget Ultrabook
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Zenbook UX305 combines a feather-light weight profile with long-lasting battery power.
This ASUS ultrabook needs to be consider with one thing in particular in mind: its low price. The starting model of a ZenBook is a pithy $629. That obviously means, though, that you’ll have to sacrifice in performance and many other features.
Its resolution isn’t high, it doesn’t have a touchscreen, its battery life is only up to 8-10 hours… all that shouldn’t necessarily discount it, though, given that its a solid machine for its price. If you’re on a budget, this might be the best ultrabook you can find. We’re giving this our award for best ultrabook for the money.
#4 Pick Macbook Air – Best Ultrabook Under $1,000
Price: $949.00 | Features: OSX operating system, 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM, 128GB PCIe SSD storage
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Macbook Air is the original ultrabook, and the best fit for the OSX faithful.
The original ultrabook branding started as a way to compete with this device, but it feels wrong not to include the still very relevant MacBook Air in a discussion about the category of computer that it revolutionized. While it doesn’t have a touchscreen option and the screen isn’t full-HD, the MacBook Air does have the benefit of being the most road-tested model out there, given that it was the first of its kind, and both its hardware and software are dependable thanks to Apple’s continued dedication to putting out products that (almost) always work exactly the way you expect them to, straight out of the box.
If the OSX operating system and the other downsides mentioned above aren’t deal breakers, then the MacBook Air should absolutely be near the top of your list. And, for as low as $949, even those “deal breakers” might stop feeling like such big obstacles to get past. This gets our award for best ultrabook under $1000.
#5 Pick Microsoft Surface Book – Best 2-in-1 Ultrabook
Price: $1,334.99 | Features: 2-in-1 convertible tablet, 13.5″ 3000 x 2000 screen, 128GB onboard SSD
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Surface Book is a workhorse of an ultrabook that transforms into any kind of machine you want it to, right when you need it the most.
The monster in the ultrabook category, the recently released Microsoft Surface Book, may be the priciest laptop on this list, but its cost might be a bit more validated by its impressive set of features and specs. It’s one of the best performers out there with a 2.1GHz Intel Core M processor and 8 GB of RAM, all working behind a gorgeous 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense touchscreen display that doubles as a portable tablet.
Downsides include the shorter battery life (especially without the keyboard), the heavier weight and of course the massive price point (starting at $1,334) – but if you have cash to spend, this the Microsoft Surface book definitely needs to be one of the first ultrabooks you look at before making your final purchase.
Key Factors To Consider
Weight: Consumers are consistently surprised by how light most ultrabooks are. Ultrabooks are made to be convenient and comfortable in the hand, and if lifting or carrying an ultrabook feels like a burden, that ultrabook is at least a little bit of a letdown in the weight category.
Durable Build: Ultrabooks are meant to last. Their portability should not sacrifice their durability – and if you take care of it properly – a solidly constructed ultrabook should last you a minimum of three years.
Speedy Startup: Ultrabooks are renowned for taking a lot less time to start up than your average laptop. Cold boot times for ultrabooks are around <10 seconds, though that figure can vary depending on the device.
Mistakes or Things to Avoid
There are some common errors people make when purchasing technology that are especially pertinent when buying an ultrabook.
For example, the assumption that the most expensive item is going to be your best-option is a wrong one. Even if you have extra money, the answer isn’t always to spend it right away. The cost leader in the ultrabook category is overwhelmingly the Microsoft Surface Book, but it’s also heavier than most other ultrabooks and doesn’t drastically improve on many other features over the more affordable laptops.
Another misstep is honoring branding above all else. In this case, that can mean two things: One, it can go for caring too much about the official ultrabook label. That shouldn’t be a primary concern, since some of the best options in the laptop space aren’t necessarily “ultrabooks”, but still manage to run light and speedy without Intel’s blessing. Second, it can also be obsessing over the prestige of the company that makes the device. While that can definitely be an early indicator of quality, it should not be considered an absolute guarantee (read: Apple).
You also shouldn’t let yourself believe that a single factor (except perhaps the price) is an immediate deal breaker. You have to look at all the pros and cons of each spec before making your final choice. Essentially, you should be open-minded and do your due diligence before choosing the ultrabook that will best serve your needs.
Most Important Features
- All ultrabooks are known for being incredibly light, so does the difference in weight really matter? To some, yes.
- While a few extra ounces in a messenger bag isn’t likely to break anyone’s back, it is nice to have a laptop that feels ultra-portable. For that reason, the weight of the ultrabook is an aspect that might be worth considering when making a purchase.
- Ideally, the weight should be around or under three pounds in total.
- The screen resolution can be important if you want to watch a lot of video on your ultrabook or look at high resolution photos.
- If it’s important that your pictures are crisp and your videos are high definition, then you should factor in the display when considering the best ultrabook for your needs.
- Ultrabooks are all known for having long-lasting battery lives, but it’s still advantageous to be able to squeeze a few extra hours out of your computer.
- Those few hours can make a huge difference on a long flight. The maximum time an ultrabook can go without a charge tells you how dependent you’ll be on a power source and where you can take the computer on the go.
- In order to earn the ultrabook badge from Intel, a laptop needs to have a minimum rating of at least nine hours of battery life.
- A touchscreen is becoming a more and more common component of ultrabooks. The Microsoft Surface Pro and its more expensive cousin, the Surface Book, are probably the most prominent examples, but the trend has also taken off among the official, Intel ultrabooks as well.
- A touchscreen can be a more intuitive way to interact with your machine, giving you the ability to do such things as write on your screen and complete certain functions faster, so the inclusion of one could very well make the difference when deciding on an ultrabook.
- Naturally, you want a product that runs fast, doesn’t crash on you often and is in general an enjoyable piece of technology to use. That depends on hardware such as the RAM, processor, disk speed and disk size.
- Understand what kind of performance you need based on your personal needs. Some people need every feature available, but you might need a lot less.
- In the end, most decisions ultimately come down to dollars and cents. Ultrabooks, and especially ultrabooks with a touchscreen or a detachable tablet, are usually pretty pricey, and the more expensive models can get really expensive. That said; sometimes it might be worth giving up a feature you were coveting, since one sacrifice could potentially save you hundreds of dollars in features that would otherwise go unused.
- In general, ultrabooks can cost everywhere from under $700 for a lower-tier model, to more than $3,000 for the top of the line.
Which Ultrabook is Right for You
And now that you’ve read a summary of what an ultrabook is, seen the tips for picking out the right one, and gotten a look at the ultrabook reviews themselves: now is the time to make a decision on the best ultrabook for you. Understand what factors matter most in your choice, weigh the pros and cons, and figure out what you’ll ultimately (pun not intended) be most comfortable with in 2019.