If you’re looking for the thinnest and lightest PC laptops on the market, you’ll often find them labeled as “Ultrabooks.” A brainchild of Intel, the Ultrabook specification means that a notebook has long battery life and svelte chassis. The category is very broad and includes many models at different prices and form factors, including hybrids that double as tablets for the ultimate in versatility. You’ll also find high-end machines with super-sharp, quad HD screens and speedy SSDs. Here’s our list of the Top Ultrabooks today.
The 2015 edition of the Dell XPS 13 squeezes a 13-inch screen into a chassis the size of an 11-inch notebook by using the world's thinnest bezel. In addition to its svelte form factor, this consumer Ultrabook has an optional WQHD touch screen (or standard full HD panel), an SSD and the latest Intel Broadwell processor. Add in a purported 15 hours of battery life and we have a winner.
With the ZenBook UX305, you get an Ultrabook that packs an Intel Core M CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid state drive into an elegant all-aluminum body -- for just $699. The UX305 also features a 13.3-inch display with a matte screen for super-wide viewing angles and easy outdoor visibility. And with its fanless design, there's no noise to disturb your work or Netflix binge session.
Lenovo's Yoga 3 Pro is the most versatile Ultrabook yet -- and also the sleekest. This 2-in-1 hybrid sports an elegant watch band-style hinge that makes it a cinch to change from laptop to tablet mode, or use it in tent mode. Plus, the Harmony software presents appropriate apps as you switch modes. The Yoga 3 Pro weighs just 2.6 pounds but packs a brilliant 3200 x 1800-pixel touch screen and fairly speedy Core M CPU.
At 1.73-pounds, Lenovo's upcoming LaVie Z is the lightest 13-inch laptop ever, but doesn't skimp on specs. This $1,299 laptop sports an Intel 5th Generation Core i5 or Core i7 CPU, a full HD screen and a speedy SSD. There's also a folding convertible model of the Lavie Z that will cost $1,499 and weigh a slightly-higher, 2.04 pounds. Both models are set to lighten your wallet in May.
One of the thinnest and lightest Ultrabooks yet, the EliteBook 1020 is just 0.62 inches thick and weighs just 2.68 pounds, making it more svelte than the Dell XPS 13 and the MacBook Air. Inside the aluminum chassis is a 12.5-inch quad HD display, Intel Core M processor and a Synaptics ForcePad, which uses pressure to register clicks. Business users will like the EliteBook’s fingerprint reader, docking port and durability, but we wish the battery lasted a little longer.
The longest lasting laptop yet, the ThinkPad X240's 6-cell battery provided an astounding 20.5 hours of juice in our tests. The smaller 3-cell battery yields a still impressive 7:40 of runtime. We also love the X240's comfortable keyboard with elongated palm rest, durable design and wide viewing angles from the IPS display.
NOTE: The updated version of this laptop, the ThinkPad X250, will launch within the next few weeks. It will have the same design, but offer dedicated TrackPoint buttons and an Intel 5th Generation Core (aka Broadwell) processor that promises longer battery life.
One of our favorite Ultrabooks has gone quad HD. The 3-pound Acer Aspire S7 features a powerful 4th generation Intel Haswell processor, a fast 128GB SSD and a new super-sharp 13-inch screen that packs 2560 x 1440 pixels. The new S7 doesn't last as long on a charge as its predecessor, but it's still one of the most striking systems in its class.
NOTE: A new Intel 5th Generation Core Series-powered version of the S7 is launching in early 2015.
Combining elegant good looks with Windows familiarity, Samsung's ATIV Book 9 Plus should be on your short list of Ultrabook options. It features a supersharp, 13.3-inch, 3200 x 1800-pixel touch screen, and is powered by an Intel Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM with a 128GB SSD. It even lasts 8 hours on a charge.