If you’ve been waiting ever-so patiently to upgrade your ultrabook, now is a better time than ever to start shopping for the best value ultrabook in 2017!
As Intel’s latest 7th-generation Core processors begin to roll out to the masses, the new processors offer upwards of 15% more power while cutting their battery usage in half, meaning you can tear through reports at work or games online for hours at a time without worrying about finding a plug in between. Other factors that make these ultrabooks better than the rest for the value is their increased hard drive space (no less than 128GB SSD), their faster RAM (1866MHz LPDDR3 or above), and at least 8 hours of battery life on a single charge.
All those factors considered, we’ve come to the conclusion that the best rated value ultrabook is the refreshed 2018 Dell XPS 13. This is a laptop that continues to dominate the ultrabook space with precision engineering and a level of quality unlike anything else, often surpassing even Apple both in beauty and power combined.
Best Value Ultrabook 2017
|Dell XPS 13||HP Spectre x360 13t||Acer Aspire S 13|
|Rank||#1 - Editor's Choice/|
Best Value Ultrabook
|#2 Pick||#3 Pick|
|Display||1920 x 1080||1920 x 1080||1920 x 1080|
|Battery Life||Up to 12hrs||Up to 15hrs||Up to 11hrs|
|CPU||2.4GHz Intel |
|2.4GHz Intel |
|RAM||8GB LPDDR3||8GB LPDDR3||8GB LPDDR3|
|Storage||128GB SSD||256GB SSD||256GB SSD|
|Weight||2.7 pounds||2.85 pounds||2.87 pounds|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
How We Choose the Best Value Ultrabook
When we talk about the ultrabook category, the idea of value is definitely a fleeting one. All that said, in this space it’s all about getting the most bang for the bucks you do end up spending, so what does all that mean?
Well, first you should understand what is an ultrabook?
Next, it’s important to know that our top two choices in the category include the absolute latest in Intel’s processor lineup: the 7th-gen “Kaby Lake” CPUs. The company says users can expect about a 12-14% boost in power from these chips over their Skylake-based predecessors, all while saving around 10% more battery to power them throughout the day.
Next there’s RAM, which should be at least 8GB of LPDDR3 or above, while the hard drive has to be at minimum a 128GB SSD (all three models include a 256GB upgrade option as well). Last there’s the screen, which needs to be at least 1920 x 1080 resolution to ensure you have as much real estate as possible to get all the productivity you need out of your best value ultrabook.
Why You Should Buy the Best Value Ultrabook
As is the case with any technology, the world of ultrabooks is a rapidly evolving beast that never stays in one place for any longer than it has to.
There have been a number of significant upgrades that have hit ultrabooks in 2016, namely the upgraded hard drives and the newer processors. Not only that, RAM capacities and speeds have also gone up quite a bit, so if you’ve been waiting for over two years to upgrade there’s never going to be a better time to jump on that train than now.
#1 Pick Dell XPS 13/Editor’s Choice
Price: $999.99 | Features: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-7200U CPU, 12-hr battery life, 13.3″ full-HD screen
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Kaby Lake brings the Dell XPS line of ultrabooks into the future.
As though it should come as any kind of surprise, once again the Dell XPS 13 tops our list of the best value ultrabooks of 2017.
With their recent upgrade to the all new line of 7th-generation Kaby Lake processors, the latest XPS ultrabooks are faster and more power efficient than ever, a real feat considering how long they lasted on a single charge before. The model we’ve featured comes with a 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-7200U CPU, 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM clocked to 1866MHz, and a 128GB SSD.
Technically there is a cheaper option that starts at $799 with only 4GB of RAM and an i3-7100 clocked to 2.1GHz, though we recommend the $999 version if you plan on doing any serious work in the near future while using the best value ultrabook of 2017!
#2 Pick HP Spectre x360 13t
Price: $1049.99 | Features: 2-in-1 hinge, 1920 x 1080 13.3″ touchscreen display, 15hr battery life
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The HP Spectre x360 wins on almost pure sex appeal alone.
Value aside, it’s hard to look at the new line of HP Spectre x360 ultrabooks and not want one to show off to all your friends just for the sake of having the sexiest looking laptop at the coffee shop.
HP was never one to release any laptops or ultrabooks that I found particularly attractive, but none of that really seemed to matter as soon as I laid eyes on this downright gorgeous piece of ultra-mobile kit. With sleek, svelte lines and a nearly bezel-less 13.3″ touchscreen display, this 2-in-1 has the power and the brains to make itself a must-have on any tech geek’s Christmas list.
Read More: Best Ultrabooks
In true HP fashion you actually get a decent set of specs for not a lot of cash, too. The included i7-7200U is the same as what we found on the Dell, and although the HD Graphics 620 chip may not be much to write home about, it’s still plenty for the average user and will still handle 4K video output with some help from the Kaby Lake upgrade.
#3 Pick Acer Aspire S 13
Price: $669.99 | Features: 0.57″ thick, 8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM, 13.3″ FHD screen
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Acer Aspire S 13 is perfect for anyone who likes their ultrabooks thin, light, and cheap.
Last up we come to the true “value” pick of the bunch, the Acer Aspire S 13. The Aspire line of ultrabooks are a go-to choice for thousands of road warriors who need an upgrade in this category, and the S model is no different.
At just $669 this is far and away the cheapest option here, but that discounted price comes at a compromise. The Acer Aspire S 13 unfortunately only includes last year’s 2.3GHz Skylake-based Intel Core i5-6200U processor, but fret not, because it more than makes up for what it lacks there with its stunningly razor-thin profile of just 0.57 inches. It’s also feather-light at 2.87lbs, and still manages to include all our minimum requirements on the side like a 256GB SSD, 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and 11 hours of battery life.
If you need a fast, light, and ultra-portable ultrabook that can take a beating and look great doing it, it’s pretty obvious what is the best value ultrabook for you!
Most Important Features
- In true ultrabook fashion, all the choices we’ve listed here weigh in on the scales at less than 3lbs each, with the Dell XPS 13 taking the title at a mere 2.7lbs.
- Don’t worry though, the HP Spectre x360 follows closely behind at 2.85lbs, while the Acer Aspire S 13 tips the scales as the “heaviest” at 2.87lbs.
- Ultrabooks are made to go wherever you need them to, and last at least 8 hours on a single charge thanks to Intel’s pre-mandated requirements that every laptop must meet if it wants the honor of calling itself “ultra”.
- As anyone who’s owned a laptop sporting anything less than 1920 x 1080 resolution can attest; getting work done on a low-res screen can be a frustrating, hair-thinning experience for even the most seasoned road warriors among us.
- With a full-HD display you have more room for more windows at a time, making it simple to keep multiple programs running simultaneously side-by-side.
- And last but certainly not least, there’s the price of your next value ultrabook.
- On a purely pound-for-dollar basis, the Aspire S 13 is obviously the clear winner, but we’d also suggest giving both the XPS 13 and Spectre a second look in case you aren’t satisfied with the price.
- Both models have multiple budget configurations available, which at least in the case of the XPS, can bring the price all the way down to a cool $799 out the door.
Mistakes or Things to Avoid
Don’t buy more than you need: The first rule in value shopping is to always buy exactly what you need, and don’t spend a dime on an extra spec more. All three models included on this list have multiple configurations that can change the price of the unit wildly, anywhere from $799 up to $2500 in some situations, so be sure you custom-tailor your next ultrabook to fit right in the range of specs-to-price that first you best.
Don’t get one for gaming: As great as these ultrabooks are for getting work done quickly and efficiently, they’re going to slog hard if you try and do any serious gaming on them. Because most of their cost is put on the processor and battery, the GPU is generally the first spec to take the biggest hit when it comes to cutting down on costs.
What Else You Should Think About
Now that you know everything you need to about the best value ultrabook for 2017, what else do you need to know about the world of ultrabooks and everything they have to offer?
If you’re still not sure whether or not you want to splurge on an ultrabook or if a Chromebook might do the job just as well for a fraction of the cost, you should check out our showdown between the two types in Ultrabooks vs. Chromebooks. Also, there’s tons of lighter, cheaper options to choose from in the Lightest Ultrabooks of 2019, and if the HP Spectre x360 is your style but you want more selection, we’ve got you covered with the Best 2-in-1 Ultrabooks of 2019.
No matter what you need, picks like the Dell XPS 13 continue to shine bright as a well-built, solid all-around choice for anyone that needs a workhorse to get them through the day and won’t need to get plugged in for another charge until well into the night.