The drive towards thinner, lighter, has driven the evolution of laptops and more energy-efficient projects. Still, in recent years these requests have come together in what could be the perfect expression of laptop design, “The Ultrabook.” What exactly determines this category? In general, best ultrabooks weigh 3 pounds or less, have 14-inch or smaller screens, use more powerful Intel processors, and offer enough battery life to survive for almost the entire day at work. Today, the best ultrabooks are faster than ever, are suitable for travel, and come with a variety of features and display resolutions large enough to meet everyone’s needs.
Best Ultrabooks in 2020 List
You may have seen laptops of this breed called ultrabooks or stream books, but these are primarily attempting to attribute a brand to the same ultra-portable base model. The design always returns to the same essential elements: thin, light, and long-lasting. Let’s have a look at the best ultrabooks that you can buy right now.
Apple MacBook Pro 13
The Apple MacBook Air may be the most portable macOS laptop, but the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is the most versatile and the best ultrabook right now. Thanks to its smart configuration options, it can serve as an everyday ultraportable for a frequent independent traveler or rich student, a platform for light to medium video and photo editing, and many applications in between. Key enhancements to Apple’s latest model include more processor cores and wires (the biggest deal, for most people considering upgrades), better security, and a customized keyboard and display.
At first glance, the for 13-inch MacBook Pro looks identical to the version Apple introduced. It’s a sleek, ultra-portable, silver, or space-grey aluminum-clad version that has produced many clones, such as the near-death ringtone Huawei MateBook X Pro. Unlike many Windows machines, there are no Intel stickers that affect the aluminum finish, although Intel technology supports system operation. At 0.59 by 11.97 by 8.36 inches (HWD) and 3.02 pounds, the dimensions and weight are averages for a high-end 13-inch ultraportable.
On the other hand, screen quality is excellent, thanks to the same Retina display that has graced Apple’s ultra-portability for a few years. With a standard resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels, this panel is incredibly bright, and thanks to In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology, image quality remains unchanged even when viewed from extreme angles. Inside is a new 2.7 GHz quad-core, eight-wire Intel Core i7 “Coffee Lake” CPU whose clock speed can reach 4.5 GHz, as well as 16GB RAM and up to 2TB PCIe NVMe solid-state drive.
The new MacBook Pro includes Bluetooth 5.0, compared to version 4.2 of the old version. The 802.11ac Wi-Fi is unchanged, as is a port selection: four USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports and a 3.5 mm audio connection. Four Thunderbolt 3 ports are more than most MacBook Pro competitors, but you’ll need to buy an adapter to connect nearly all of your parents’ peripherals. The MacBook Pro lasted 8 hours and 43 minutes on our battery test. Read our Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch review
Dell XPS 13
Dell XPS 13 has remained our favorite and one of the best ultrabooks in recent years thanks to its beautiful, almost limitless display, lightweight, and sleek design. Now, after several generations of holding onto the same chassis, Dell’s premium laptop has a new design with slimmer dimensions and a beautiful white-and-gold color scheme. In other enhancements, the XPS 13 9370 also offers an optional 4K screen, a better webcam, support for GPUs, and a cooling system that promises stronger, lasting performance.
When you look at the latest generations of the XPS 13, you can’t separate them unless you’ve looked at the CPU sticker on the deck. The XPS 13 9370 stands out with its new optional gold-white color scheme, along with a slightly slimmer and lighter profile. Dell also sells the 9370 in the traditional silver and black aesthetics of the XPS 13.
We tested the Dell XPS 13 9370 with both a 3840 x 2160 (4K, Ultra HD) touch-screen and a 1920 x 1080 non-touch screen. Both models offered impressive clarity, color quality, and sharpness, although the 4K display was noticeably better. The high-end model had a Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB RAM, a 1 TB SSD, and a 4K touch-screen, while the standard model had a Core i5-8250U processor, 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 1080p non-compatible touch-screen. From surfing the Internet to light gaming and writing parts of this review, both versions of the XPS 13 9370 have handled everything we’ve done with them without a hitch.
Unfortunately, Dell had to drop to 0.46 inches when slimming down the XPS 13. The standard USB Type-A ports and full-size SD card reader that has appeared on all previous generations. On the left side of the XPS 13, you’ll find two Thunderbolt 3 ports that can charge the laptop or connect to high-speed peripherals. There is also a Noble lock and a battery gauge, which indicates the charge level of a series of five white lights.
The XPS 13 9370 with a 1080p non-touch screen ran our battery test for 12 hours and 37 minutes, with continuous surfing over Wi-Fi. The model with the 4K display lasted approximately 8 hours and 53 minutes. Read our Dell XPS 13 review
Asus ZenBook 13 UX333FA
A premium laptop doesn’t have to break the bank. Just look at the ZenBook 13 UX333FA from Asus, which has a powerful 8th Gen Core i5 processor and an absurdly good battery life, all packed into a beautiful chassis for a very reasonable price of $849. That’s hundreds less than competing systems like the Dell XPS 13. However, there are some drawbacks, including the schematic screen of this device, the short keyboard platform, and the bad speakers. Nevertheless, the ZenBook 13 is a reliable top laptop that is sold at an affordable price.
The shiny golden Asus logo in the center of the cap of the ZenBook 13 is like a raindrop falling in the middle of a calm, royal blue aluminum ocean, creating a symmetrical ripple effect over the entire lid. It was fascinating – until I held it in my hands for a little over 5 minutes and noticed that it was forgiven for fingerprints. The lid of the ZenBook 13 extends along the hinge, so when I lifted the top, the keyboard raised a little as if trying to greet me. The font of the keyboard and the edge of the hinge are soaped in fashionable rose gold.
The 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080, glossy panel of the ZenBook 13 is colorful but on the weak side. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-8265U processor with 8GB of RAM, the ZenBook 13 is shredded by 40 Google Chrome tabs and three 1080p YouTube videos without even stuttering. That makes it one of the best ultrabooks in 2020 that you can get.
I also found that the near bezel-less screen is incredibly refreshing compared to those on laptops that refuse to cut at the bottom. Although the ZenBook 13 is thin and light, it has room for a USB Type-A port and even an HDMI port. The left side has a power connector, an HDMI 1.4 port, a USB 3.1 port, and a USB Type-C port, while the right side has a microSD card slot, a USB 2.0 port, and a headphone jack. Although it has a solid selection of ports, we regret that there is no Thunderbolt 3 on this chassis. Check out our Asus ZenBook 13 UX333FA Review
HP Spectre x360
The original HP Spectre x360 was a hit when it debuted, and we liked the 2016 model even better. It’s back again this year and loves what we like, but with a refined design and a super-sharp 4K touch-screen. In addition to the UHD screen, the latest HP Spectre x360 13 USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 offers lots of fast SSD storage and a new color scheme. Considering the updates to what was already our first choice for the best ultrabooks in 2020.
The Spectre x360 13 is truly ultra-portable and is seriously slim and light. The new Spectre x360 13 retains the compact form of its predecessor and has the stylish aesthetics of the non-convertible HP Specter 13. On our test unit, this means a state-of-the-art anodized aluminum housing with a steel grey and copper color scheme. The cutter cuts off the edges of the system and is used in several places as an accent. HP uses a similar design approach to the 15-inch Spectre x360 we tested earlier this year, and it looks sharp in both situations.
The Spectre x360 is available in both Full HD and 4K resolution. Our rating unit has a 13.3-inch 4K touch-screen, and the image on the 4K screen is seriously sharp with vivid colors. Despite its small size, the Spectre x360 is reasonably fast. The 2.7 GHz Core i7-7500U processor, 512 GB SSD and 16 GB memory ensure spicy charging times across the board. I saw no delay after splitting my screen between a 1080p YouTube video and a dozen Chrome tabs, including Giphy, Slack, TweetDeck, and Google Docs.
The Spectre x360 bundles today’s and tomorrow’s ports, with two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the right and a boxy USB 3.1 port on the left, next to the headphone jack. We are also happy to see that HP has given a microSD memory reader to this current version because this card port was missing in the previous model. Because it is a convertible, the Spectre x360’s fingerprint reader and the power and volume buttons can be found on the edges next to the ports.
The Spectre x360 battery should last most of the day, but other systems last longer. During our battery test, which is conducted continuously over Wi-Fi on the Internet, this HP lasted 8 hours and 26 minutes. Read our HP Spectre x360 Review
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Microsoft sets the bar for the 2-in-1 laptop market with the Surface Pro line and started to push the market further with even more laptop-like Surface Book. After a year with an iterative upgrade, the full-fledged sequel arrived in the aptly named Surface Book 2. This beautifully designed device can do it all while maintaining the distinctiveness of disconnecting the screen from the keyboard, while now being a legitimate tool for delivering gaming laptop and near-workstation performance levels.
It is immediately clear that the core design of the Surface Book 2 has not changed from the previous model. That’s okay because the original magnesium alloy was one of our favorite aspects. It’s still thin, relatively light, and has an expensive feel that reassures you that you’re getting value for money. The striking dynamic pivot hinge is back and leaves a gap between the screen and keyboard when the system is closed. That can bother someone worried about debris coming between the two, but that risk is relatively minimal, and it offers versatility when detaching the tablet.
Whether you’re docking or working in tablet mode, the whole experience revolves around the PixelSense screen. Luckily, it’s a beautiful screen with a resolution of 3,240 x 2,160 in a 3:2 aspect ratio with a contrast ratio of 1,600:1 and multitouch with 10 points. As mentioned before, this model is fully loaded and has an Intel Core i7-8650U processor (an eighth-generation, Kaby Lake R chip), 16 GB memory, and the Nvidia GTX 1060. These specifications are again more in line with those of last year’s “performance-based” Surface Book (including a GTX 965M and a Core i7 Skylake CPU) than the original, but the Surface Book 2 is a notch above.
The keyboard is comfortable, with backlit keys that are satisfying to tap, quiet with a pleasant journey without getting tired. On the left, there are a pair of USB 3.1 ports and an SD card reader, and on the right, there is a USB Type-C port, and a patented Surface Connect port. The re’s another Surface Connect port on the bottom of the tablet so that you can charge it on its own. The headphone jack is located on the right side of the tablet, which is not very convenient because you have some cable play.
With the base connected, Surface Book 2 will run all day and then a few. It took 13 hours and 7 minutes on our battery test, which surfs the web continuously over Wi-Fi with a fixed brightness. Read our Microsoft Surface Book 2 Review
Apple MacBook Air
The once-popular and one of the best ultrabooks in 2020, the MacBook Air, finally gets the job it needs most. Yeah, that high-resolution Retina display Apple gave the MacBook Pro in 2012 has finally arrived on MacBook Air. That’s just one of many, many changes: this new MacBook Air also offers users a Touch ID sensor for biometric security, super-fast SSD storage, great sound, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. Apple’s latest laptop is also better for the environment because it’s made from 100 percent recycled aluminum.
The curves of the lid and bottom of the new MacBook Air, as well as the edges of the screen, are tapered compared to previous years. This makes the MacBook Air look like a sibling – not a long-lost relative – on the MacBook Pro and the 12-inch MacBook you’d like to buy now. The Air’s iconic wedge design is intact and helps distinguish it from those other laptops. While the Air is sold in traditional silver and a new shade of gold, the model we’ve tested is a Space Gray that looks pretty attractive.
Apple made these new MacBook Airs from 100% recycled aluminum, but you couldn’t see it on the device. This processed metal looks and feels just like the material Apple used for the previous MacBooks. The MacBook Air features two high-speed Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left side for much faster data transfer, with a headphone jack on the right. This may be an upgrade from the MacBook’s single, slower USB Type-C port, but compared to most competitors, it lacks Type-A USB ports.
The 2560 x 1600 pixel Retina display is the real star of the new MacBook Air, offering sharp detail and solid colors. The MacBook Air now comes with an Intel Core i5-8210Y processor. Y-Series processors are known to deliver less than the best performance seen in the unmistakable 12-inch MacBook. Learn more about this latest Macbook in our Apple MacBook Air review
Lenovo Yoga 920
The Yoga 920 is the first time I see a convertible hybrid ultrabook that doesn’t shave a bit on the performance side. Yes, there have been improvements in technology in recent years, but if you’re someone who wants soft-as-butter computing on a smaller PC, you’ll love it. The Yoga 920 offers stable build quality and some quality changes that make it one of the smoothest Windows notebooks I’ve had the pleasure of using. This is one of the best ultrabooks in 2020 that you can buy right now.
Lenovo’s yoga setup has always been the unofficial face of the hybrid laptop scene, and the Yoga 920 replaces the already pretty good Yoga 910, albeit with a host of improvements ranging from subtle design changes. A little redesigned keyboard changed the location of the webcam – to paradigm-changing enhancements that we’ll discuss in a bit. None of the changes made make a significant difference to the overall aesthetics of the laptop. With the lid closed, the Yoga 920 usually seems indistinguishable from some slim laptops.
Our evaluation unit has a standard 13.9-inch touch-screen with a resolution of 1980×1080, but a 4K version is also available. The screen has fantastic viewing angles and incredibly sharp colors. The Yoga 920 includes an Intel Core i7-8660U processor that operates at 1.8 GHz. The evaluation unit supplied to us comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD, both of which can be updated. If it’s just the old computing power you’re looking for, you don’t have to worry about upgrading anything.
The Yoga 920 has quite a combination of ports for a system that’s so thin. The left side contains two Thunderbolt 3 ports, which can be used to charge or connect high-speed peripherals and docks. The right side of the laptop includes a USB 3.0 port for connection to traditional USB devices, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack. The re’s also a one-button fingerprint reader, so you can use Windows Hello to log in with just one touch of the OS.
The Yoga 920 offers an impressive battery life so that you can leave your charger at home. The 2-in-1 lasted 12 hours and 22 minutes on our battery test, which requires continuous Internet via Wi-Fi.
HP Envy 13
The new HP Envy 13 was everything I hoped it would be the new Apple MacBook Air: fast, attractive, and affordable. The company gave us an even better version this year, with a more elegant design, a bright and vibrant display, and first-class speakers. Combine all this with long battery life (on the 1080p version), a comfortable keyboard, and a reasonable price, and it becomes hard to understand why anyone would buy the latest Apple MacBook Air over the Envy 13.
I don’t remember the last time I discussed an Envy, Spectre, or EliteBook that Apple’s MacBook design wasn’t ashamed of. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, the Envy 13 features a sleek, silver-colored metal frame with a stylish chrome-plated HP logo in the center of the lid. Open the lid, and you’ll find an interior resembling that of the beautiful Spectre x360. The most striking resemblance is the triangular pattern on the speaker grill just above the keyboard.
The 13.3-inch Full-HD 1080p non-touch display on the Envy 13 base is as good as the 4K touch option, if not better. Although both touch panels are very sharp and clear, the FHD version is even livelier than the higher resolution panel. When I watched a trailer for Mulan’s live adaptation, I saw the intricate floral pattern in the traditional warrior coat and the small beads on her helmet. Mulan’s battle robe was a vivid red, contrasting with a bare, snow-covered landscape. Read more in our HP Envy 13 Review
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
Surface Laptop 3 is a new beginning for the traditional Microsoft laptop series. This year debuts a more substantial, 15-inch model with a metal-coated chassis and AMD processors. What hasn’t changed is the attractive appearance and remarkable portability of Surface Laptop 3. As such, this slim device is one of the thinnest and lightest 15-inch laptops I’ve ever seen, yet it has retained the beautiful design of its predecessors. Many things make it one of the best ultrabooks.
Microsoft cast a spell that stretched Surface Laptop 3 into a 15-inch machine without making it thicker than its 13.5-inch predecessors. The result of this trick is an ultra-portable laptop with a large screen. The Surface Laptop 3 has the refined aesthetics of its Surface siblings but is now available in an all-metal version. I liked the metal finish better than I expected.
The Surface Laptop 3 has a beautiful 15-inch touch-screen (not the standard 15.6 inches) with a resolution of 2496 x 1664 and an aspect ratio of 3:2. If you’re used to the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, 3:2 screens are longer but narrower (more square), making them ideal for viewing documents and websites. Videos are slightly shorter (expect black bars above and below).
On the left side of Surface Laptop 3, there is a USB 3.1 Type-A port, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack. The only connection on the right side of the Surface Laptop is the Surface Connect port for charging via a magnetic power cable (like Apple’s retired MagSafe) and for connection to the Surface dock. View our Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Review
Acer Swift 7
Acer has pushed the boundaries of laptop design in all directions between the lightweight Swift 5 and the monstrous Predator Helios 700. Now it’s better with a laptop we fell in love with last year: the Swift 7. This year, like its predecessors, the Swift 7 has an impossibly thin chassis that you’ll want to show off to all your friends. And while portability is the Swift 7’s main highlight, this attractive laptop also offers a stunning 14″ screen and surprisingly long battery life. This is the thinnest and one of the best ultrabooks in 2020.
Manufacturers bragged about how their laptops were comparable to the size of a traditional notebook. Acer can better compare its latest flagship to sheets of paper. I can go on about the incredible slimness of Swift 7, but this is a case of “You have to see it for yourself to believe it.” A better comparison can be made between the Swift 7 and a modern smartphone; Google’s new Pixel 4XL and the Apple iPhone 11 Pro are both 0.3 inches thick. Add a thick case to those phones, and they can even stand above Swift 7.
I enjoyed watching videos and surfing the Internet on Swift 7’s 14-inch 1080p touch-screen. Thin bezels caught my eye in the side panel, which greeted me with fairly vivid colors and decent clarity. As I watched a trailer of Jumanji: The Next Level, Kevin Hart’s saturated red scarf stood out against the lush green jungle. The screen contained enough detail to see individual strands of white hair in Danny DeVito’s beard and the nasty fangs of an angry mandrill whose face had natural shades of blue and red.
To make such a thin design possible, Acer equipped the Swift 7 with a low-power Y-series CPU. Especially the Intel Core i7-8500Y. Given the low-power chip, I expected the Swift 7 to slow down during my field trials, but the laptop pulled along without too much effort. I noticed a short skip when loading animations on a web page, but otherwise, I had no problems surfing the web, even with 15 Google Chrome tabs open and four 1080p video streams in the background. Read more in our Acer Swift 7 Review
If you are willing to choose one of the best ultrabooks that not only illustrate the style but also the class, the list above of Best Ultrabooks can be very useful to eliminate those, you are not interested in. However, the list is not permanent, as every week we have new names coming in the list. One of the most vital things to consider when buying your option in the category of the best ultrabooks is to examine the features and specifications thoroughly and also to see if they meet your requirements or not.
I hope you like our list of Best Ultrabooks.