If you want a gorgeously designed, properly powerful, and super-slim portable ultrabook, the HP Stream...
Ultrabook Reviews For 2018
If you want the latest ultrabook reviews and recommendations on the web for the best ultrabook, look no further than our guides and reviews on all things ultrabooks and laptop. If you need something that’s fast, light, and portable enough to fit in any bag, then an ultrabook could be the perfect choice for you!
What Is An Ultrabook?
As we’ve explained in many of articles, the difference between a notebook and an “ultra” notebook all comes down to Intel. Several years ago, the company put out a challenge to all laptop manufacturers, asking if they could make a laptop that was light, fast, and lasted more than 9 1/2 hours on a single charge of the battery. If so, they could earn the right to call their device an “ultrabook” under Intel’s guidelines, which are designed to provide a standard in the industry for business and creative professionals alike.
To be called an ultrabook, a laptop must be no thicker than 23mm top to bottom, boot from sleep in less than three seconds, last 9 hours or more on one charge, and run on an ultra-efficient processor family like the latest sixth-gen Intel Core-U Skylake processors.
Best Ultrabooks for 2018
|Dell XPS 13||Lenovo |
|Asus ZenBook |
|Macbook Air||Microsoft Surface
|Rank||#1 - Editor's Choice||#2||#3||#4||#5|
|Display||3200 x 1800||2560 x 1440||1920 x 1080||1366 x 756||3000 x 2000|
Core M 5Y10
|1.6GHz dual-core |
Intel Core i5
|RAM||8 GB||8 GB||8 GB||4 GB||8 GB|
|View on |
|View on |
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What Price Should You Expect To Pay For An Ultrabook?
Because of the strict requirements and the premium hardware necessary to make the grade, ultrabooks are almost always pricier than their standard laptop competition. On the low end of the spectrum you should expect to spend no less than $850 for a 2016 model, while other speedier and lighter ultrabooks can go for as much as $2,500. There are dozens of models in the ultrabook family designed to suit everyone's needs, so be sure to shop around before you make any final decisions on what style is best for you!
Which Are The Leading Ultrabook Brands?
The best ultrabooks on the market today just so happen to be produced by many of the same leading manufacturers in the world of regular old laptops, including Dell, Acer, Asus, and Toshiba. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses in different departments (Dell's XPS line has the best screens, for example), and ultimately which is right for you will depend on the feature you plan on using your ultrabook for the most.
Features to Look For When Buying a New Ultrabook
Portability: Ultrabooks are made for portability from the get-go, so if you don't care about how slim, heavy, or portable your laptop is, a regular laptop would probably be a little easier on your wallet. The design ethos of ultrabooks mean they're perfect for anyone who's on the road a lot and needs something they can pull out of their bag and get typing within seconds.
Keyboard/Trackpad: If you have the chance, you should go down to your local electronics store and actually get your hands on the ultrabook you want before making the final purchase. Most ultrabook keyboards and trackpads are high enough quality to take a daily beating, but some can still feel a little "cheap" to the touch.
Power: Right now, the only guideline in place for the actual hardware specs on an ultrabook is that the CPU must be a certain speed and run at a particular rate of efficiency. Other than that, the size of the RAM and onboard storage can be anything, which means you're never quite sure what you're going to get unless you pay close enough attention to the spec list at checkout.
Weight: Technically Intel hasn't set any guidelines in the weight category for ultrabooks, but it still matters if you plan on taking your laptop in a sidebag or backpack. Many of the best models in their class won't shove above the 4lb mark, and any added heft beyond that should probably send you shopping somewhere else.
Screen Quality: Unfortunately, because Intel hasn't put any strict guidelines on how good an ultrabook's screen should be, many manufacturers will skimp on it to save money on other parts. Be sure when you're shopping for an ultrabook that you check not only the resolution of the screen (1920 x 1080 minimum), but also the display technology that powers it. IPS LED is the preferred choice.
Ports: If there's one area that a lot of ultrabooks still come up short on, it's the number of available ports to plug external devices into. Ports add two things: thickness and weight, which means that when an ultrabook manufacturer is looking for ways to cut either, ports are usually first on the board. If you have a lot of external hard drives or want to use a USB wireless adapter, you might be better off looking somewhere else.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
The most frequent slip up that people make when buying an ultrabook, is automatically assuming that a higher price automatically means better quality. Some of the best ultrabooks we've tested are under the $1,000 mark (like the Dell XPS 13), and a lot of manufacturers have taken advantage of the "ultrabook" certification to sell laptops that technically meet the minimum requirements set by Intel, but wouldn't be considered a "good" laptop by anyone else's standards.