Ultraportable laptops are designed for those people who prioritize portability and battery life over performance, but want something more powerful than a Chromebook. Given the small footprint inherent in the design, there’s bound to be sacrifices made in order decrease size and weight, so it really comes down to how much you’re willing to give up in order to acquire a laptop that’s shaved off a few millimeters from its profile.
For the most part, ultraportable laptops come with Intel Core i5/i7 processors, a minimum of 4GB of memory, and at least 128GB SSD for storage. There are, of course, always exceptions to this rule. For example, Apple’s MacBook uses an Intel Core m3 processor, which is its ultra-mobile CPU. Prices for a capable ultraportable laptop range anywhere from $500 up to as much as $2,000 depending on specs and manufacturer. Don’t get overwhelmed when looking at specs and prices, because unless you are going to edit a lot of video or use resource-intensive programs, then most mid-range ultraportables will be just fine.
Based off a combination of my personal testing experience, price, battery life, specs, and aesthetics, these are the best Ultraportable Laptops on the market.
Dell XPS 13 (2017)
Priced just shy of $800, the Dell XPS 13 9360 comes equipped with respectable specs. It includes an Intel Core i5-7200U processor, 8GB LPDDR3 RAM, and a 13.3-inch (1920×1080) FHD touchscreen display, and a 128GB SATA SSD for storage. If storage poses an issue, keep in mind the XPS 13 also has an SD card reader for additional space. As for portability, you are looking at a device that’s 11.98 x 7.88 x 0.6-inches and weighs a scant 2.9-pounds. Small enough to slide into a backpack without weighing you down. Note the newer versions of this laptop are USB-C only, so pick an older one for maximum compatibility.
For those who don’t need a machine capable of routinely chewing on high-res video or multi-layer Photoshop creations, Apple’s MacBook is powerful enough to get the job done. Pushing its 12-inch Retina (2304×1440) display is an Intel Core m3 processor, with 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and a 256GB PCIe SSD. The $1,229 MacBook is incredibly thin and weighs very little. Specifically, the MacBook is 11.04 x 7.74 x 0.52-inches and 2.03-pounds. Just be prepared to begin living life with a single USB-C port, used for everything from charging the darn thing to using an external display or connecting your phone — it’s a struggle at first.
HP Spectre 13t
The HP Spectre 13t is one fine-looking laptop. The metal housing barely adds any weight, yet serves as an added layer of protection from an accidental drop. There are several different configurations available, but the one linked here boasts an Intel Core i7-7500U, 8GB LPDDR3 RAM, 256GB PCIe NVME M.2 SSD, and a 13.3-inch (1920×1080) FHD display. More than enough to get through most workloads and not break a sweat. At 2.45-pounds and measuring 8.83 x 12.03 x 0.41-inches, it’s small enough to fit into even the thinnest of laptop bags.
Microsoft’s own Surface Laptop is powerful, looks good, and comes in four different colors. The cloth covered interior isn’t going to be for everyone, but I happen to like it. One possible downside is the fact the Surface Laptop comes with a stripped down OS, Windows 10 S, instead of a full-fledged Windows 10. You can, however, upgrade to Windows 10 through the Microsoft Store for a little extra money. For $925 or so, the Surface Laptop comes with an Intel Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. For a few hundred dollars more, you can up those specs to 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. As for portability, the Surface Laptop falls right in line with other portables: 12.13 x 8.79 x .57-inches and 2.76-pounds.
For a more budget-friendly ultraportable option, look no further than the ASUS ZenBook. Currently priced at $749, ASUS surprisingly didn’t sacrifice much in order to hit a lower price point. This particular model has an Intel Core i5-8250U, 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and a 256GB SATA SSD. With a 13.3-inch (1920×1080) display, the overall size of the ZenBook falls right in line with its competitors, and at 2.64-pounds it’s super light. Asus promises “all-day” battery life as well.
Acer Swift 7
Say what you want about the Acer Swift 7’s “luxury gold” paint job, but there’s no denying it’s astonishingly thin at just 9.8mm thick. This allows it to be a featherweight contender, tipping the scales at a mere 2.48lbs. You’re not going to be doing any gaming on this thing obviously, but Acer says the battery is good for up to 9 hours of light lifting, so it should be good for full day’s worth of office tasks. The 13″ 1080p IPS panel doesn’t include a touchscreen, but it’s covered in Gorilla Glass, so it can handle the road warrior lifestyle just fine.SOURCE: IGN.com