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Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons

Best ultrabooks and portable laptops under $1000 (or $600) in 2016

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , updated on November 12, 2016

If you’ve reached this post, you’re probably after an modern laptop and don’t want to spend a lot of money on it. I’ve split the article in two main parts, with a list of the best ultra-portables you can get for under $1000 these days, as well as a selection of great notebooks that sell for $600 or less, and both should help you in your search.

These laptops meet all the requirements of a modern thin-and-light ultrabook, which means they are sturdily built and yet portable, pack modern Intel hardware and are powerful enough to handle everyday activities, but are also able to last for 5+ hours on each charge. However, keep in mind that the lower your budget is, the more compromises you’ll need to make.

Note: Excuse me for interrupting, I'm gathering my favorite Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on ultraportable laptops over here, if you're interested.

But hey, no laptop is perfect, and if you’re after a budget-friendly ultrabook, you’ll just have to compromise here and there in order to choose the computer that best suits your needs, taste and wallet.

With that in mind, let’s have a look at the best budget ultrabooks you can get these days. In order to make your quest for the right device easier, I’ve split the post into several different sub-sections:

Best ultrabooks under $600

You can get these brand new ultrabooks for less than $600 right now and some for under $500, as long as you shop for them online and/or hunt down the occasional discounts.

Full-size laptops with 14 and 15-inch screens

You’ll have to sacrifice the weight, the materials used for the case and to some extent the screen quality if you aim to get a modern full-size laptop in this price-range, but there are still a fair number of options available out there that are worth buying.

Acer Aspire E15 series

Acer’s 15-inch Windows laptops are known for their highly competitive prices, so there should be no surprise you’ll find a few Acer recommendations in this section, and their Aspire E15 series gets excellent reviews from buyers and perhaps the most value-for-the-buck out of all options available out there at the time of this update.

There are a few different configurations in stores, and all share a few common traits: well built hard-plastic cases with aluminum interiors, good IO and non-touch FHD displays with TN panels (pretty dim and with average to poor viewing angles, but IPS options are also available on some higher-end models). The screen is hard to swallow in this day and age, but as long as you plan to keep these computers mostly indoors and look at them straight-on, you should be able to live with them. If you can afford to pay extra though, I do suggest going for an IPS screen.

What sets the multiple variants apart is the hardware inside, as you can find units with Core i3/i5 or i7 CPUs, with or without dedicated graphics and with or without SSD storage.

If you’re after a basic and inexpensive option, i’d suggest going for a Core i3 configuration with Intel graphics, and the Aspire E15 E5-575 fits right in and starts at under $350. It only gets a non-backlit keyboard, 4 GB of RAM and a 1 TB HDD, but those can be easily upgraded if you want to.

On the other hand, if you do want a backlit keyboard, a faster processor, more RAM and dedicated graphics, then the Aspire E15 E5-575Gs are the ones to look for, with Core i5/i7 processors and Nvidia 940MX graphics, good enough to handle many games launched in the last years at FHD resolution with medium details. These versions are available for around $550 with a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD at the time of this update, or $699 with a Core i7 CPU, but you do get better value for your buck with the former option.

Follow this link for more details on the Aspire E15 variants, users reviews and updated configurations and prices.

If you’re looking for an even better bargain, you might still find the older Aspire E 15 E5-573G series in stores with Broadwell/Skylake hardware and Nvidia 940M graphics. Follow this link for up-to-date info on prices and configurations at the time you’re reading this post, and check out my detailed review of this model for more in depth details.

The Acer Aspire E15s are made out of plastic and come with TN screens, but offer otherwise excellent features for their price

The Acer Aspire E15s are made out of plastic and come with TN screens, but offer otherwise excellent features for their price

Dell Inspiron 15 3000 and 5000 series

The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 is another decent full-size modern laptop you can get for a limited budget. It is durable built, despite having an all plastic case and chassis, it offers good performance and it’s very easy to upgrade, in case you buy a base model and decide to add more RAM or replace the storage later on. It also includes an internal optical drive.

On the other hand, the laptop is rather bulky and heavy, weighing close to 5.3 pounds, and you’ll have to settle for a poor 1366 x 768 px TN display, in either a matte or a touch variant. Besides those, the 40 Wh battery inside is small, as it can only offer around 4-5 hours of daily use on a charge.

We reviewed the a base model of the Inspiron 15 3000 with a Core i3 processor here on the site, in case you want to read more about it, and it turned out to to be a great buy for the money. These base model sells for under $350 right now, while the Core i5 configurations go for a little under $500. Follow this link for more details, as well as updated prices and potential discounts.

The basic Dell Inspiron 15 3000 is not a looker, but offers plenty for the money

The basic Dell Inspiron 15 3000 is not a looker, but offers plenty for the money

The Inspiron 15 5000 is Dell’s step up in terms of build quality and design, as it is thinner, comes with a silver color scheme and a brushed-aluminum interior, but also a backlit keyboard and FHD screen option (still TN though), which the 3000 series lacks.

The latest versions of the Inspiron 15 5000 start at $599 for a Core i3 KabyLake configuration with 8 GB of RAM, 1 TB HDD configuration and the same 15-inch HD touchscreen as on the lower-end model. You will find some of the previous versions greatly discounted though, and you should follow this link for more configurations and up-to-date prices at the time you’re reading this post.

The Inspiron 15 5000 gets the more premium looks and a backlit-keyboard, while it's only marginally more expensive

The Inspiron 15 5000 gets the more premium looks and a backlit-keyboard, while it’s only marginally more expensive

 Acer’s 14 and 15-inch Chromebooks

Chromebooks are the cheapest way to get an IPS screen on a full-size laptop these days, but the options for Chromebooks with 14 and 15-inch displays are limited. Acer offers some though, and both series are appreciated and selling for between $230 and $300.

However, before going for one of these it’s imperative to understand exactly what a Chromebook can do and how it’s different from a regular Windows computer. I have a detailed article on this topic here and a selection of the best Chromebooks here, but in very few words, a Chromebook does well if you have accent to the Internet and most or your activities are web related: browsing, emails, Youtube and other streaming services, online documents editing, etc. On the other hand, a Chromebook is seriously crippled when used offline.

Back to these two Acer models, the Chromebook 14 gets a 14-inch IPS FHD display, a silver metallic exterior, a quad-core fanless CPU, 4 GB of RAM and weighs 3.4 lbs. It starts at around $250 and you can find more about it via this link.

The Chromebook 15 gets a 15.6-inch IPS FHD display, but its case is made out of plastic and much heavier (4.9 lbs), plus the hardware inside is a little slower and more focused on efficiency, with a dual-core Intel CPU and 2/4 GB of RAM. This model is available in Black or White though and it’s a little cheaper than the 14-inch variant, as you can see by following this link.

Overall though, if a Chromebook fits your requirements, I feel the 14-inch Acer variant is the one to get, as it is an excellent mix of build quality, portability, performance and an inexpensive price.

A Chromebook is an excellent and inexpensive computer if your activities are mostly web related, just make sure you understand how it's different from a regular Windows laptop

A Chromebook is an excellent and inexpensive computer if your activities are mostly web related, just make sure you understand how it’s different from a regular Windows laptop

Acer Aspire R14 – the 14-inch 2-in-1

Acer’s Aspire R14 is one of the very few modern 2-in-1s you can get in this price range, since the base models with a Core i3 processor, 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB HDD sell for around $500, while the Core i5 models are about $100 more expensive.

The Aspire R14 has a few other aces downs its sleeve, aside from the price, like the pretty good keyboard, the excellent battery life (thanks to the 53Wh battery inside, huge for its class) and the upgrade-friendliness, as both the RAM and the storage drive can be easily upgraded on this unit. On the other hand, you’ll have to make due with a rather poor 14-inch HD TN screen, an all plastic case with quite a few glossy elements and a fairly hefty weight of 4.4 pounds, but also the fact that this laptop’s case gets hot quite easily under load.

You should check out our detailed review of the Aspire R14 for the full impressions and follow this link if you’re interested in up-to-date prices and configurations at the time you’re reading this post.

The Aspire R14 is one of the most affordable 14-inch 2-in-1s out there

The Aspire R14 is one of the most affordable 14-inch 2-in-1s out there

Other devices you can consider in this category are the Asus F556 and X556 lines, the Toshiba Satellite C55 series and the Asus Vivobook Flip 15-inch laptops if you can still find them in stock, or the HP Pavillion 15 notebooks, albeit not all configurations will fit the sub-$600 budget.

Portable and ultraportable options (10 to 13 inchers)

This section is reserved for the more portable options you can get for under $600 these days, but if you’re in the market for a compact laptop, you should also check out our dedicated posts on the available 13-inch options, as well as this post on the 11.6 inch and smaller models.

Chromebooks

We’ll mention these first, before getting to the Windows options, as there are many great 11 to 13-inch Chromebooks in the $150 to $300 price range available in shops, and if they fit your requirements, you’re not going to find similar value in another type of modern notebook. Just make sure, and I cannot stress this enough, you understand what a Chromebook can and cannot do. This article explains that in depth, and this list analyses the best Chromebooks available at the time of this update.

Ultra-compact traditional laptops with Windows

There are a few different 11-inch mini laptops running Windows that sell in the $150 to $300 price range.

These are built on low-power Intel platforms, with 2-4 GB of RAM and 32 to 64 GB of storage, great as travel companions or notebooks for kids, and able to deal alright with basic activities such as browsing, music, email and video content. However, these aren’t the most reliable computers you can find, their screens are usually pretty bad (dim TN panels) and their quality control isn’t very good either. That means you can get a unit that works as expected, or you can get a defective one or it can break fast, so make sure to buy from reputable stores that allow returns and offer solid post-sale services.

Some of the devices worth mentioning in this class are the Asus X205TA (review here, more details here), the updated and better specked Asus E200 series, the colorful HP Stream 11 or the more sober 11-inch Lenovo laptops.

The compact Windows 2-in-1s and tablets

If you’re willing to spend a little more, somewhere between $200 and $400, you can get a few different compact 2-in-1s with touchscreens and convertible or detachable form factors. These are also built on low-power Intel platforms and can only handle basic daily activities, but are usually better built and pack touchscreens with IPS panels. Among these, the most popular series and models in this segment are:

  • the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 – a 2-in-1 convertible line with an 11-inch screen that rotates to 360 degrees. The latest Inspiron 11 3000 sells for between $200 and $450 based on configuration (more details via this link), is available in a few different colors and offers Intel Celeron, Pentium or Core m3 hardware, with up to 4 GB of RAM, a 2.5″ bay for storage and a 32 Wh battery. The screen can be a deal-breaker though, as it only gets a TN panel.

dell-inspiron-11-3000

  • the HP Pavilion X360 11 and 13 – these are HP’s alternative for the Inspiron 11, available with either an 11 or a 13-inch display and IPS panels in both cases.

The 11-inch model gets Intel Pentium or Core m3 hardware, up to 8 GB of RAM and either a 34 or a 41 Wh battery, so it is specs-wise a step-up from the Dell. But at the same time is is a little bulkier, heavier and more expensive, starting at around $400. Follow this link for more details.

The 13-inch variant comes with Intel Core i3 hardware, up to 12 GB of RAM, a 41 Wh battery and either an HD or a FHD IPS touchscreen. It sells for $550 and up and you can find more about it from here.

 

The HP Pavilion x360 is a good alternative to the Dell Inspiron 11 3000

The HP Pavilion x360 is a better specked, but also more expensive, alternative to the Dell Inspiron 11

There are a few other similar 11-inchers you can consider if you are able to still find them anywhere, like Acer Aspire R11 (review – 2-in-1 with a big battery, but rather bulky and heavy), the Lenovo Flex 11 , also known as the Yoga 300 in some markets ( a cheap 11-incher with a TN panel, plastic case and a total weight of around 3 lbs), the Toshiba Radius 11 (11-inch hybrid with TN panel and good construction, sells for around $350) or even the Asus Transformer Book T200 (review). And you can also read this article dedicated to 11-inchers and other ultra-compact notebooks.

If you’re able to extend your budget closer to the $600 limit, you should also check out convertibles like the HP Spectre 12 X2 (review – 12-inch tablet with Core M hardware, great screen and solid construction) or the Asus Transformer Pad T300 Chi (review – similar to the Spectre 12 X2, but with rather short battery life), and you might even find a 13-inch Dell Inspiron 13 7000 convertible if you search well enough (review of the previous generation).

Best ultrabooks under $1000

There’s are a lot of ultrabooks selling for between 600 and 1000 bucks these days, and we can’t even hope to cover all the good ones in this post, but we’ll mention some of the better ones below. There are two main directions you can follow if you’re shopping withing this budget: either get a mid-range laptop with a solid configuration, or tap into the premium class and get the entry-versions of some of the best laptops out there.

14, 15 and 17-inch full-size ultrabooks

When it comes to full-size laptops, $1000 can get you even some of the best devices out there, especially if you hunt down sales and discounts. You’ll find these high-end options mentioned in this article that cover the 14 and 15-inch segment in depth.

On the other hand, you might want to focus on getting more beefier specs for your money, in which case you’ll be interested in the suggestions in this post, that include fast processors, dedicated graphics, SSD storage and good screens, tucked inside well built bodies.

Dell Inspiron 15 7559

If you’d rather get a laptop with excellent specs and a low price than an ultraportable, this Dell must be on your list. Just keep in mind it’s big and heavy (5.7 lbs).

What makes this one pop is its excellent price for what you’re getting inside, which is an Intel Core HQ processor, up to 32 GB of RAM, dual-storage, Nvidia GTX 960M graphics, a 74 Wh battery, a 15-inch IPS display and a backlit keyboard. The screen is glossy despite the fact that it doesn’t support touch and the keyboard is rather shallow, but performance wise this Inspiron is hard to beat, especially since it sells for $799 and up.

That kind of money is going to get you a Core i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a regular HDD, but you can add an SSD and more RAM and still end up paying less than on other computers with similar specs. Follow this link for more details, user reviews and updated configurations and prices.

The Dell Inspiron 7559 is bulk and heavy, but offers great specs and features for its price

The Dell Inspiron 7559 is bulky and heavy, but offers great specs and features for its price

 

Asus K501UW

This laptop is thinner and lighter (4.4 lbs) than the Inspiron 7559, gets a metallic case and despite these, is also a solid multimedia computer than can handle games.

It packs the same Nvidia GTX 960M graphics chip inside, just like the Dell above, but it’s built on an Intel Core i7 U platform, which means it’s going to be slower in demanding chores and heavy multitasking, but will last longer on a charge with daily use and will still perform admirably with everyday activities and games, especially since the default configuration includes a 512 GB SSD. The specs list is filled in by a 48 Wh battery, 8 GB of RAM (upgradeable to 16 GB), a backlit keyboard and a FHD matte display, with what unfortunately looks like a TN panel though.

All these for around $850, so there’s no surprise this has been one of the best selling 15-inch laptops on Amazon in the weeks prior to this update, scoring solid marks and reviews with its previous buyers. Follow this link to read those review and check out the latest configurations and prices.

asus-k501

Lenovo Flex series

Lenovo’s Flex series (also known as the Yoga 500/510 in some regions) consists of thin, light and well priced convertibles. There are both 14 and and 15.6-inch models in this line and they offer, among others, latest-generation Core i3/i5 and i7 processors, 1080p IPS panels, backlit keyboards, up to 8 GB of RAM and 1 TB HDD storage, plus 45 Wh batteries. Both models are convertibles with 360-degrees screens and both are mostly made out of plastic, with metallic palm-rests.

The 15-inch version gets a few extras though, like a NumPad keyboard and optional Nvidia 920M or 940M graphics. It’s also larger and heavier, weighing roughly 5.0 lbs, while the 14-inch version weighs 4.3 lbs.

As for the price, a Core i5 configuration with 8 GB of RAM and a 500 GB HDD is going to cost around $650 on both of these, and surprisingly the Flex 14 is usually a bit cheaper than the 15-inch model. Higher specked versions go past $1000 in both cases.

Follow this link for more details on configurations and up-to-date prices.

The Flex 3 14 and 15 are Lenovo's most affordable 2-in-1s

The Flex 14 and 15 are Lenovo’s most affordable full-size 2-in-1s

Other options

$1000 also allows you to choose between many other mid-range multimedia notebooks with Core HQ processors and Nvidia 960M or 1050 graphics, similar to the Asus and Dell units mentioned earlier. They’re not the most portable options, but they offer solid performance and features for the money. Among these, you should turn your attention towards the Asus ROG GL552 (15-inch) and GL702 series (17-inch), the MSI GE62 Apache Pro (15-inch), the Lenovo Y700 (15-inch) or the Acer Aspire V15 and V17 Nitros.

You can also aim for mid-range 17-inchers like the Lenovo IdeaPad Z70, Dell Inspiron 17 7000 or the Toshiba Satellite S75, or look at convertibles like the Dell Inspiron 15 and 17 2-in-1s, Lenovo Edge 15 or the Toshiba Satellite Fusion L55W. Your options are pretty much limitless as long as portability is not your main concern and don’t want the thinnest and lightest laptop out there.

13-inch portable laptops

If you’re after a very good 13-inch ultrabook, $1000 can buy you base-level versions of the ultra-compact Dell XPS 13, the convertible HP Spectre X360, the sleek Asus Zenbook UX330 series or even the base version of the Apple Macbook Air, to name just some of the top options.

On the other hand, if you’d rather get better specs for your money, or you’d rather spend less, there are some other options you should consider instead.

  • Asus Zenbook Flip UX360CA – reviewlatest discounts a slim and light 2-in-1 with Core M hardware, a 13-inch IPS touchscreen and a metallic construction. This series is fanless and comes with M.2 SSDs, thus is completely quiet, and it’s able to deal with everyday tasks as long as you keep multitasking to basic levels. The UX360CA lacks a backlit keyboard though, but its starting price of $699 and otherwise solid configuration could be enough to get past this aspect. If you do want a backlit keyboard though and more powerful Intel Core U hardware, you should check out the newer Zenbook UX360UA instead.
  • Lenovo ThinkPad 13 – more details – a tradition clamshell 13-incher with sober looks and sturdy build quality, as you’d expect from a ThinkPad. It’s built on Core U hardware with up to 16 GB of RAM, SSD storage and a 42 Wh battery, and it doesn’t get a backlit keyboard. The base versions start at around $550, but you should expect to pay around $800 for a Core i5 CPU, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD configuration and an IPS screen.
  • Asus Zenbook UX305UA  / UX306UA – reviewlatest discounts this Zenbook is a great choice if you’re after a modern clamshell laptop with a matte display. The UX305UA is the Skylake model in the series, with the UX306UA being its KabyLake update. Both bundle Intel ULV hardware with up to 16 GB of RAM and SSD storage, a FHD or QHD+ IPS display and a large 56-57 Wh battery, all tucked inside a 2.8 lbs aluminum shell. They also feature a backlit keyboard. Prices start at around $750 for a Core i5 configuration with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage. If you’re interested in a similar device, but with a touchscreen, you should check out the Zenbook UX303 series, with a starting price of around $830 at the time of this update.
  • Asus Transformer Book Flip TP300 and Q302LA reviewlatest discounts a well priced 13-inch convertible with ULV hardware and an IPS FHD touchscreen, but a bit bulky and heavy for its class (3.7 lbs). Metal is used for most of its case and it is cheaper than other options in this list. The TP300 is available in silver, while the Q302LA and Q304 models can be found in black in some stores around the world.
  • Dell Inspiron 13 7000 series – reviewlatest discountsDell’s alternative to the Asus mentioned earlier, with more or less similar features: Intel ULV hardware, an IPS FHD screen, a backlit keyboard and plenty of ports, in what I believe it’s an overall better looking case. Dell did cut the corner where it came to battery though and only put a 43H one on this unit, and that translates in rather short battery life (around 5 hours).
  • HP Envy 13 – more details – another series of 13-inch convertibles with Intel Core U hardware, but slimmer and lighter than the two above, weighing around 2.9 lbs. It includes a backlit keyboard and a 45 Wh battery. The base models start at around $800 with a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD.
The Asus TP300 2-in-1, the Dell Inspirin 13 7000 2-in-1 and the fanless Asus Zenbook UX305FA, from left to right

The Asus TP300 2-in-1, the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 and the fanless Asus Zenbook UX305UA, from left to right

12, 11 and 10 inch mini-laptops

This article covers the 11-inch or smaller ultraportables in depth, but if you want a short-list of high end devices you can get for under $1000, well, here you go:

  • Lenovo Yoga 710 11 – a sleek convertible with a 360 degrees screen. It’s built on an Intel’s Core M platform with 4 or 8 GB of RAM and various amounts of SSD storage. Includes an 11.6-inch IPS 1920 x 1080 px touchscreen and a 34 Wh battery, all tucked inside a slim and light (2.6 lbs) plastic body. The available configurations sell for between $600 and $900 at the time of this post, and they will probably get cheaper down the line. Follow this link for more details.
  • Apple Macbook Air 11  – the 11-inch version of the Macbook Air is one of the most powerful mini computers on the market, as it is built on Intel processors with Iris graphics, up to 8 GB of RAM and fast PCIe SSD storage. On top of that, the MBA 11 includes a backlit keyboard, a large battery and is both light (2.4 lbs) and sturdy, but owners will have to live with a rather poor TN panel, the lack of an SD card reader and an outdated hardware platform. The Macbook Air 11 starts at under $700 at the time of this update. Follow this link for more details and updated configuratiosn and prices.
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – The Surface Pro is a compact tablet a magnesium shell, a 10.8-inch touchscreen with digitizer and pen support and Intel Core M and Core U hardware, so it’s mostly designed as a long-lasting companion (expect 7-8 hours between charges) that cna handle daily tasks and some demanding loads when really needed. The base model starts at around $750 with Core M hardware and a Core U version sells for around $900, but you’ll also have to pay around $100 extra for the keyboard folio. Follow this link for more details.
The Macbook Airs are some of the best, and surprisingly, the most affordable premium ultra-portables of the moment

The Macbook Airs are some of the best, and surprisingly, the most affordable premium ultra-portables of the moment

Wrap up

At the end of the day, there are a lot of good devices available for under $1000 these days  and quite a few decent ones selling for under $800, under $600 and even under $500, that most of you looking for a mid-range laptop should be able to find something that will fit your needs and budget between the suggestions mentioned in this article.

You’ll still have to make some sacrifices if you go into the lower tiers, that’s true, but you can find something good no matter what your budget is, as long as you have correct expectations.

Most of the units mentioned in this posts will handle everyday activities like browsing, watching movies, listening to music or working on documents very well. Many will also do fine as laptops for school, laptops for your kids or secondary inexpensive travel notebooks. And some will do fine as business or light-gaming machines. So you’re definitely not without options.

Now, if you need more help in your quest for the ideal ultraportable, you might also want to check these other articles on the site:

Or get in touch in the comments section, I’m around to help out.

Keep in mind that I’m constantly updating this list of budget ultrabooks under $1000, adding new models as they hit the stores and taking out the older versions when they become obsolete. If you happen to spot any mistakes though or any machines that should be in here and are not, I’d appreciate to hear from you in the comments.

Andrei Girbea, aka Mike, Editor-in-Chief and a huge fan of mobile computers. Since 2007, I've only owned smaller than 12.5" laptops and I've been testing tens, if not hundreds of mini laptops. You'll find mostly reviews and guides written by me here on the site.

218 Comments

  1. Sajid

    November 11, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Hello Andrei, this is an amazing article, thank you.
    I need a laptop for business use, I travel a lot so would appreciate a lighter version, most of my work is on office, lots of emails with office attachments etc.
    Currently using a thinkpad edge 15 inch, budget is around $800, what are my options?

  2. Jerry

    November 22, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Hi Andrei, I am thankful for you hard work to make a list like this.
    I am currently looking for a fairly fast and powerful laptop to do some video editing some photoshop and do on. I would like the nvidia grafics card in it, touchscreen, i7 processor, a 15 inch screen and my budget would be under 1100 dollars.

    Thank you.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 23, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      Does it have to be an ultraportable? If not, check out the Asus G551 series, Lenovo’s Y50s and there are also a few Acer models as well with GTX 850M graphics or higher within your budget

  3. Abdul

    November 27, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Need your opinion in purchasing a laptop –
    Option 1: Acer Aspire V7 482PG , Core i5, NVidia GT750M 4Gb DDR3, 8Gb RAM, 1080p IPS touchscreen laptop refurbished for $510
    Option 2: Thinkpad Yoga 14, Core i5, NVidia GT840M 2Gb, 8Gb RAM, 1080p IPS touchscreen laptop for $880

    What would your preference be?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 27, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      I’d get the Yoga if the budget is not vbery important. Better built, better looking, 2-in-1 form factor, more recent graphics, new. If you’re on a tight budget though, that Acer looks solid for the money.

  4. Vibhu

    December 30, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Hi Andrei,

    1.Can you please suggest me a Laptop within $700. I want best video & audio performance in this range, good gaming experience and bit of office work as well. ( this is going to be my new year Gift for my self :D)

    2. Which one is better HP or Levovo??

    3. Which is better 14, 15 or pavillion??

    Looking forward to your reply. Cheers Mate. Happy New Year.

  5. arnie

    January 17, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Hi
    Thank you very much for your post.i’m looking for a 13″, and I’m having some trouble to choose between the Asus ux303la and Toshiba z30-a-1D0. Both cost around 900€.the Asus just have 6gb RAM and 128gb SSD and the Toshiba has 8gb RAM and 256gb SSD.they both use I5. The Asus is better on the sound and the Toshiba is better on image. I’ll use the computer to work and to see some movies occasionally (mkv). Could you give me your opinion? I saw that you don’t mention the Toshiba Z30 in your post.
    Thanks

  6. monika

    January 21, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    This is a very useful article. Thanks for putting it together. I am planning to buy a ultraportable 13 inch laptop for office purpose. No gaming butq would be extensively working on microsoft office, pdfs, big word docs. Cud u plz suggest somethng under 1000
    Dollars..thanks a lot

  7. Jone

    February 14, 2015 at 1:45 am

    I am planning to get one laptop from USA. It will be mainly for my wife and 7 year old son. It will be mainly used for casual browsing, movies, some word processing and low end games.

    I am considering the below spec:
    1. Budget max $450 (Happy if I get for lesser also )
    2. Touch not required (as touch increases the price)
    3. Min of 4 GB RAM and 256 GB hard disk
    4. Screen-size between 13″ to 15″
    5. Best value for money
    6. Processor – Intel Core i3 onwards
    7. Lighter the better
    8. Would prefer: HP, Dell, Asus, Toshiba, Lenovo. May be Acer also.
    9. Do not prefer the flip and convertibles.

    Please could you suggest few options? I

    • John

      June 10, 2016 at 3:51 am

      You should use an Hp laptop and it matches your specs pretty close
      -AMD dual core
      -500 gb of ram
      -4gb of ram
      -no touch
      -not convertible
      It looks nice and it only costs 430 dollars for the specs. Heres the link
      amazon.ca/Hewlett-Packard-Laptop-Dual-Core-Windows/dp/B016LKDSZ6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1465530530&sr=8-2&keywords=hp+laptop

  8. chris

    February 19, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    I am having trouble deciding between ultrabooks. I am looking for something around $1000 or $1200, 13 inch, that has long battery life (I travel alot) and the ability to use photoshop and occasional video editing. Also I want all metal construction or the equivalent as I am moving around a lot and it will take some bumps. Right now, I am between a 13in MacBook Air (8gigs ram, i7) or the Aspire s7. Also looked at the xps 13. I am not really sure how much value to put on a touch screen; I think the only benefit would be in apps like photoshop no? Thanks for your help in advance (and cheaper options are always appreciated)

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 19, 2015 at 9:32 pm

      The touchscreen won’t help much with Photoshop, as most of these screens are optimized for finger use, like on an iPad. They’re ok ti switch between apps, select certain things, etc.

      You’re looking at the right devices. The MBA offers unbeatable battery life. The XPS 13 2015 would be second in my list as well. Then I’d have devices like the Aspire S7 and maybe the Asus Zenbook UX301LA.

      If you’re interested in battery life, you could pick a device with Broadwell hardware, could make a difference. The MBA hasn’t been yet updated to this new platform, but all the Windows laptops were.

      • chris landis

        February 20, 2015 at 6:30 pm

        Thanks! Yes I figure it is worth it to go with the latest and greatest as I need my compu to last me for at least 3 years…. Speaking of, what would your opinion be on buying the MBA now vs waiting for the rumored retina version.

        I’m leaning towards the Mac due to the bang to buck ratio, and I figure I should learn Apple OS at some point. Plus the ability to also run windows means its kind of the best of both worlds, right?

        • Andrei Girbea

          February 21, 2015 at 2:10 pm

          Well, you’re not going to get the same battery life or touchpad experience with Windows, but it can run it nonetheless.

          If you’re not in a hurry, you could wait. The Macbook updates are scheduled for March from what the latest rumors are saying. And when those pop out, these current MBA models should get a slight price cut.

  9. keith

    February 25, 2015 at 2:33 am

    I am looking at the dell xps 13. Do you think it is worth the extra $$ to buy a signature model from the Microsoft store?
    Thanks

    • keith

      February 25, 2015 at 2:37 am

      Besides looking at the xps 13, I am also interested in the Acer v15 nitro.
      Which is better for the $$.
      Thanks

      • Andrei Girbea

        February 25, 2015 at 2:50 pm

        The Nitro is a different kind of laptop. You need to set your priorities straight and decide based on those.

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 25, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      Well, I own an XPS 13 Signature Edition and I’m pretty happy with it. You can find my review here on the site.

  10. Marcus

    March 1, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    I have narrowed it down to these two: Dell Inspiron 13 7000 i5 or the Asus TP300LA Signature Edition…any advice or tips on either of these? Thanks

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 2, 2015 at 8:38 am

      I’ve reviewed both these laptops here on the site, check out the posts for more details, in the reviews section.

      The Dell is slightly better built imo and looks a bit better. However, I’ve heard reports that its rubbery coating is wearing off in time, as well as reports of ghost touches on the screen.

      The TP300 has a slightly poorer keyboard, but a larger battery. It’s also a bit bulkier, but should be cheaper.

      • Marcus

        March 2, 2015 at 12:07 pm

        Thanks for the feedback. Guess my search will continue. My budget is about 1,000 and I wanted something portable and with no less than a fhd screen and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a 2 in 1. Screen size I wanted to keep it between 13 and 15 inches and processor no less than an i5. Any reccomendations? Thanks

        • Andrei Girbea

          March 2, 2015 at 12:19 pm

          Those are good options. The Dell XPS 13 with the i5 CPU and 8 GB of RAM will also fit your budget, the FHD version, and it’s a good device.

          • Marcus

            March 2, 2015 at 5:14 pm

            I appreciate the feedback and your time. I went to best buy and they showed me the Asus Q502LA-BBl5t12. I was wondering if you know anything about this one? The person I spoke with just said they sold a lot of this 2 in 1. Thanks

          • Andrei Girbea

            March 2, 2015 at 6:52 pm

            see my review of the Asus tp500, it’s the same model, but the Q502 is black, not silver.

  11. Diego Avila

    March 2, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Andrei,

    Looking for a laptop that will be able to run programs like SPSS and MPlus (basically, statistical analysis – minimum reqs around 1 GHz processor, 1GB Ram). Budget around $750 or less. Not as concerned with touchscreen, but portability for travel is nice. Long battery life would be bonus, but not necessary.

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 3, 2015 at 8:55 am

      Hi Diego. You should squeeze a Core i5 and maybe 8 GB of RAM inside that kind of money in a device like the Dell Inspiron 13 7000, Lenovo Yoga 2 13 or the Asus TP300LA. If you want something even cheaper and smaller, the COre i3 powered version of the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 could be a nice option for under $500.

  12. Stefan Borcea

    March 10, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Hi Andrei, I need to buy a laptop,and I am a little bit confused;it is for family use ,work,pictures,downloads ;the budget is up to 1000$ ;it has to be good for a long term acquisition.

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 12, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Screen size? DO you want something slim and light, or a regular sized laptop?

  13. Katy

    March 11, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Andrei,

    I am trying to decide between the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 and the Asus flip TP300la. On Amazon, the Dell is about $70 more than the Asus and I don’t see a huge difference between the two. Any ideas?

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 12, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      WEll, the Asus has a bigger battery and perhaps a slightly better trackpad. The Dell looks and feel better imo, but it’s not without its fair share of issues. I’ve tested both these laptops, you can find them in the reviews section.

  14. Michael

    March 15, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    I am looking for an 13″ ultrabook with 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD and good battery life as a very portable work machine – i.e. processing power is not a priority as long as it can run Office, browsers, and the occasional video etc, although of course many web pages are beasts these days. Touchscreen and tablet features are not important either. But at least the battery (possibly other parts too) will have to be replaceable by the user without warrantee implications. I can’t believe how many machines these days are designed to be thrown away after 2 years. Anyway, the idea is that with an external monitor and a mouse it could also be a desktop PC substitute. I’ve been looking at Dell Inspiron 7000 13″. Any other suggestions? Oh, and it can’t be anything from Apple. I have issues with their attitude. Thanks.

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 16, 2015 at 5:25 pm

      Well, that Dell and the Lenovo Yoga 2 13 and Asus TP300 are swimming in the same waters.

      The Asus Zenbook UX303LA and the Dell XPS 13 2015 are more premium options, but pricier. Battery is replaceable on all these computers, if you’ll be able to find a spare one ofc. You’ll have to take the back plates apart for that though, so it’s not a basic operation, but it doesn’t require advanced technical skills either.

      • Michael

        March 16, 2015 at 8:49 pm

        Both the UX303LA and the XPS 13 2015 are interesting. For some reason the XPS is more appealing (and you kept it!), and it’s only slightly more expensive that the Inspiron 7000 13″ (and very significantly cheaper than the UX303LA). Dell don’t make it clear they are selling the 2015 model, but the one they are selling comes with ‘5th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-5200U Processor (3M Cache, up to 2.70 GHz)’. That’s the new one, isn’t it? Many thanks.

        • Andrei Girbea

          March 16, 2015 at 8:52 pm

          Yes, that’s the new one. You can also tell by the small screen bezel. The previous versions had a larger one.

          • Michael

            March 21, 2015 at 12:02 pm

            I nearly ordered an XPS 13, when I thought I would Dell about battery and SSD swapping. They say this is a fixed config machine and you can’t change anything. Only they can. Battery costs £70-90 but they wouldn’t give me cost of labour/p&p and estimated time wasted for a simple battery swap. I made my thoughts clear to them and reminded them other manufacturers can do swappable batteries on theirs ultrabooks. The new levels of designed obsolescence are shocking.

          • Michael

            March 21, 2015 at 12:29 pm

            I forgot to say I know you can replace the battery (assuming you can find one), SSD and more, by removing a few screws (and there is a myfixguide page for that too), but Dell are clearly not happy with us doing it.

          • Andrei Girbea

            March 23, 2015 at 3:44 pm

            Most manufacturers aren’t from what I know. Some (like Asus) will even void warranty if you replace the SSD. I’m not sure if that’s the case with the XPS 13, these policies seems to vary from region to region.

          • Michael

            June 7, 2015 at 12:18 pm

            Readers may wish to know that the SSD for Dell XPS 13 does not support hardware encryption. Software encryption impacts on performance of course. Without any SSD encryption, the SSD can be removed and read as normal on another computer.

            More importantly, I went ahead and ordered one. They messed up my order at least three times and the machine would be delivered more than a month late. Fortunately, I had given them a deadline and when I cancelled the order eventually, they had to give me full refund on my Amex. That took them another two weeks after repeated reminders from me! With their zero stock policy, Dell have a very serious structural business model problem, particularly when the slightest thing goes wrong — they simply can’t address missed orders until the next shipment from China. Their staff were trying to be helpful, but there was nothing they could do. In short, it’s not just the hardware that counts. Customer support and even delivery are very important, but people may wish to gamble.

  15. Matt

    March 18, 2015 at 2:17 am

    Hey, I’m looking for a good laptop for college in the fall. My budget is sub-$1000. I’d like to be able to do some gaming, besides the general college stuff, so something that could run a game like skyrim would be great. I dont need max settings. Just low-mid with a good fps. Should I look at an ultrabook, or go for something bulkier?

  16. vilma

    April 3, 2015 at 5:03 am

    Hi, great reviews!
    How are the 4th and 5th gen different and does an 8RAM is much faster than a 4RAM.
    I’m looking for a fast/light/slim/durable laptop. I’m a working mom on the run and use my computer everywhere (office, home, even in the car and outdoors). I multitask all the time. Now I have open 40+ internet tabs open including 2 tv channel streaming live, in 2 web browsers, 4 excels and 2 powerpoint files and pictures. no video games. I barely turn it off. My last laptop was 11″ Asus (slim/light) that felt and screen crack but work fine after removing touch screen feature until motherboard burned out. It cost less than $500 USD 1.5 years ago. Although more expensive and bigger I think I will have to settle for Dell I7347-10051 LSV or do you have a better sugestion for me?

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 3, 2015 at 8:18 am

      The I7347 is a good buy overall, but make sure to read my review and others’ , cause it’s not without some shortcomings. Alternatives in the same price-range would be the Asus TP300 / Q302 series or the Lenovo Yoga 2 13 (with Haswell).

      The only major difference between 4th and 5th gen Intel hardware is the graphics, with the Intel HD 5500 being considerably faster than the HD 4400. That’s going to be mostly visible in games though and not in other daily activities. On the other hand, RAM is important, so I’d advice to go for 8 GB if possible.

      • vilma

        April 4, 2015 at 9:38 am

        Thanks! The Dell I7347 i5, 8G price drop to $600 and the Asus and Levano are $150-$300 more. I have got used to low battery life, but I’ll have to keep an eye for the trackpad. I appreciate a lot your prompt response and your excellent reviews and help!!!

        • vilma

          April 9, 2015 at 6:12 pm

          I got it and I find it too big and heavy specially to use it as a tablet. Unfortunately, I’m not able to find a smaller laptop 8RAM core i5 for a similar price. Although I found surface pro 10″ 4RAM for $523 amazon.com/gp/product/B00BE5T2TA/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1DCUPUVBU7LFA But I’m concern it will not be as fast and practical to use on the lap.
          What concerns me the most about the Dell is that it is hot all the time. I cannot use it as a laptop because it burns my lap, even closed as a tablet: the hot air coming from the sides burns me. I hear the fan/processor all the time that it is on. Is this normal?
          thank in advance for all your savvy advices.

          • Andrei Girbea

            April 9, 2015 at 11:15 pm

            It shouldn’t be that noisy and hot. Perhaps it’s running updates or something?

            On the other hand, yes, this thing is heavy.

            If you’re willing to sacrifice performance to some extent, check out the Asus T300 Chi, it might be what you want. But read the review here on the site first, battery life and temperatures are something to keep an eye on.

            I don’t think that Surface Pro is worth that kind of money, it’s an older model with quite a few quirks. The Surface Pro 3 on the other hand, that’s a great machine, BUT it’s more expensive.

  17. Tom Hartley

    April 12, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Hi!

    Thanks a lot for the article! It’s really helpful! Could you possibly give me your verdict on these laptops? I’ve tried to narrow it down..it’s hard!

    Dell 15 7000 – for some time I’ve been wanting a well priced UHD laptop, and this I think is the only one. However it seems from a few youtube videos that 15″ laptops possibly aren’t suited to anything above FHD yet? It seemed to make the icons, etc. fairly small? So I may be thinking just a FHD :)

    Lenovo U430

    Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 2/3 14 or Lenovo Flex 2

    Asus N550JK or Asus V551, or Asus TP500LA

    I’m wanting it for studying but also multimedia tasks, and my budget is around £600-700 (sorry I’m British :S)

    Thanks a lot!

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 14, 2015 at 10:07 am

      I wouldn’t get a screen above FHD on a budget laptop. Besides the scaling issues you’ll get with 3rd party app, the hardware also needs to push more pixels, thus lower-end specs will struggle more than with a lower res screen.

      That being said, among those you chose, I’d personally look at the Lenovo Yoga 3 14 , Yoga 2 13 or one of the Asus laptops. The latter I’ve tested here on the site or on tlbhd.com, you can check out my detailed reviews for info. And are you sure the ThinkPad Yoga 14 is withing your range, as you said?

  18. Sajeed

    May 8, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    My requirements: a ‘thin’ laptop with great display,above average graphics,power for designing software,backlid keboard,14/15 in display,good battery life.
    Please please suggest me for which laptop should i go!

    • Sajeed

      May 8, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      And not too price too

  19. Luke Byrd

    May 21, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    Im looking for a ultra-portable laptop for under 1,000 , i need a lot of battery life, and a good screen and keyboard what should i get?

  20. JOY

    June 1, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Hi Andrei,
    I’m looking for a 14 inch laptop with matt screen (non touch), light weight around 1.7 kg (3.7 pounds) for intensive office work and internet. I need a comfortable and as big keyboard as possible. silence and cooler whith 4 hours battery. was thinking about dell vostro 5480 but couldn’t find any review about it (dell service in Israel is consider to be very good) but open to other brands as well. Does an integrated battery is considered an advantage or disadvantage? and what is the true work hours of 3 cell battery?
    would appreciate your help and recommendations,
    Joy

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 1, 2015 at 9:59 am

      I haven’t reviewed that Dell and haven’t reviewed a Vostro in a long time, so can’t say much about it. The 3-cell battery has a capacity of 51 Wh so it should be fairly good. The screen though is a 1366 x 768 px TN panel from what I can tell, which sucks. You should also consider Lenovo’s THinkPad 14 inchers, those can be equipped with IPS panels and might be more affordable.

      • JOY

        June 1, 2015 at 11:41 am

        Thank you Andrei for the quick response. do you have in mind more models that can can fit my specifications?
        Joy

        • Andrei Girbea

          June 1, 2015 at 3:54 pm

          What’s you max budget?

          • JOY

            June 3, 2015 at 8:16 am

            my max budget is 1500$

          • Andrei Girbea

            June 3, 2015 at 3:09 pm

            Hmm, that should allow all sort of options. Check out the Lenovo ThinkPad T450s and maybe the X1 Carbon 3rd gen .

  21. Jared

    June 17, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Andrei, your website and reviews have been a great resource for my girlfriend and I.

    She is looking for a 2-1 ultrabook for $1000 or less that has atleast a 13inch ips screen, above average battery life, good keyboard, decent storage, atleast i5, and lighter than 5lbs.

    We’ve narrowed it down to the Yoga Pro 2 13, the Thinkpad 13 but the battery life and storage space offered is lackluster.

  22. Jared

    June 18, 2015 at 2:24 am

    Upon further research we’ve added the HP Spectre x360 T13 and Dell Inspiron 7000 13 Special edition to the list of options. What do you think of those, Andrei? Both have great battery life and great screens but I’m worried about ghost touching with the Dell and both supposedly get over 100 degrees on bottom easily.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 18, 2015 at 10:03 am

      Out of all these I’d get the HP Spectre X360, it’s the better of them all but also the most expensive.

      The Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro offers the best bang for the buck, but it has some issues with screen colors and potential wi-fi disconnects and fan noise. You should look into them.

      The Dell 13 7000 is the most affordable of the bunch and a good machine overall, but it’s also heavier and has some issues with ghost touches.

      Bottom point, no device is perfect, just make sure you know what to expect from each of them. A quick search on Google by “Product name problems” should be revealing. DOn’t expect things to be as bad as they might seem, happy buyers don’t usually post their feedback online. But like I said, it’s best to know what to expect in a worse case scanario.

      • Jared

        June 18, 2015 at 11:13 pm

        Thanks for the swift reply, Andrei.

        Still haven’t made any headway between the spectre and inspiron 7000. Both are neck and neck almost and I think we’ve nixxed the yoga pri 2 since the resolution is so high and it has so few ports as well as lower tech wifi capabilities.

        I feel like we’re running out of options! The price point for the pro 2 sure is attractive on Lenovo’s site right now. (i7 for $899)

        Have any other suggestions? the latitude is too expensive and the other ultrabooks in the spectre class just don’t seem to measure up..

        Battery life, screen quality, & storage are uber important, as well as upgradebility.

        Thanks again.

        Jp

        • Andrei Girbea

          June 20, 2015 at 8:20 am

          WEll, no, those are your best picks. The Asus TP300 and the Lenovo Yoga 3 14 are alternatives to the Inspiron 7000, but the HP plays in a slightly different class and it’s really tough to outmatch right now.

  23. Jared

    June 19, 2015 at 12:35 am

    I think it bears mentioning that the inspiron I speak of is the 7000 special edition which has a significantly better battery life and no mention of an awful trackpad.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 20, 2015 at 8:22 am

      I wouldn’t say significantly better. It’s still the same size as on the 2014 model and while the Broadwell CPUs are more efficient, don’t expect to gain more than 30 to 60 minutes on daily tasks. Also, I don’t think they changed the trackpad.

      Still, my biggest concern for the 7000 are potential ghost touches and uneven back-lightning. You might want to look into those

  24. vilma

    June 20, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Hi! I’m looking for a extremely light, small, strong and portable laptop that will last some years for my 8 year old daughter to take everyday to school. The school suggested a chromebook but I consider is not worth it. The Toshiba radius 11 seems to be the best value with 4/500G and 2 in 1 although the price and weight (2.9#) are a little higher. On the other hand is Asus transformer (2.4#) 2g/32 flash which has the best size/portability and is touch but I’m afraid I will not be able to run my Office 2010. Although it comes with 1yr Office 365 but I don’t want to have to buy a license every year, Also, since is for a girl using it at school I’m concern about it falling and the 2 pieces flying away. Yesterday’s price drop is making me rethink about this option. What do you think? I also considered Asus X205TA-SATM0404G (2.14#) and HP stream 11-d001dx which seem a little more sturdy, but no touch screen.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 22, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      Hmmm, I would have suggested either the Asus X205 or the Hp Stream 11 as well, as they are simpler and rather inexpensive.

      If you do want a touchscreen though the Asus T Book T100TA is your best pick under $250. Some of the older versions came with Office Home and Student for life, maybe you can find one of those versions, although I don’t know if they are sold anymore.

  25. vilma

    June 22, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Hi!

    Basically my main concern is: in a year when Office 365 (that comes with the ASUS Transformer Book – Intel Atom Quad-Core Z3735E 1.33GHz Processor, 2GB Memory, 32GB SSD) expires I can uninstall it and install office 2010 and it will run without problems.

    thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 22, 2015 at 8:34 pm

      Office 2010 will run fine on those Atom processors as long as you keep thing simple and don’t open large excel files or presentations. You’ll just need to make sure the license allows you to install the software on multiple computers. I assume you already have it on another and you then plan to put it on the TBook as well, right?

  26. Kate

    July 1, 2015 at 3:46 am

    Hello Andrei,
    Your site is most informative as i am looking to purchase an ultra book.
    Can you please advise if you have much information on the Australian ‘Leader’ range?
    Thank you in advance.
    Regards
    Katie

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 1, 2015 at 8:25 am

      Hi Katie. I’m going to need more from you. Do you have a screen size in mind? And what to you plan to use is for? Also, what’s you max budget?

  27. Suzanne

    July 11, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    Your site is great. I’m acually wondering if you could give me some advice. I’m looking for a 13 inch ultrabook that costs under €1000,- wich would be a ultrabook of about 800 US Dollar, due to lower prices in the US. I’m still a highscool student, but going to university next year. This means that it has to be portable and it has to offer great all-round performance. So what’s the best I can buy?

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 13, 2015 at 5:35 pm

      If 800 USD is your top budget I’d aim for something with a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and SSD storage. I’d look at the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, Lenovo Yoga 3 14, Asus Transformer Book TP300, Dell XPS 13 7000 series and, if you’re willing to sacrifice performance for portability and a noiseless experience, the Asus Zenbook UX305FA.

      Each has some shortcomings, so make sure you read reviews in advance so you’ll know what to expect.

      • Francesco

        July 24, 2015 at 7:43 am

        Hi Andrei, i’m also in the same situation as Suzanne, speaking about budget and performance requirements.
        I’m reading a lot about the Yoga and Yoga pro lines. I’m also reading quite a lot about the general “disappointment”, so to speak, about the new Pro 3, specifically in comparison to the previous one.
        I see you are also suggesting the Yoga 3 14…which would be quite perfect for me…a little bigger and probably cheaper than the Pro…do you find the same “compromises” as when you were comparing the Pro 3 with the Pro 2 or you would definitely suggest it as a good choice?

        • Andrei Girbea

          July 24, 2015 at 8:40 am

          Hi Francesco,

          The Yoga 3 Pro is built on lower-power hardware than the usual ultrabooks. The platform is called Core M and it’s usually found in more affordable fanless computers. The Y3P is nor affordable, nor fanless. It’s also meant for light use. But it is light and sleek. So if you don’t mind paying premium and only plan to use this for simple daily chores, it could be an option to consider.

          The Yoga 2 Pro is going to be somewhat faster, despite having an older generation processor. It’s heavier, a bit thicker and has a poorer screen (search for Yoga 2 Pro screen problems and you’ll see exactly what yo expect – it’s basically a problem with color accuracy).

          The Yoga 3 14 is even bigger and significantly heavier, but much more affordable. It’s a mainsteam device and not a premium option like the others.

          If you want a capable 2-in-1 with powerful hardware, aim for the HP Spectre x360 right now, if you can get it within your budget.

  28. Jonathan

    August 4, 2015 at 4:17 am

    Hello Andrei!

    By the way, great post, lots of top quality information.

    Right now I’m in high school and I’m willing to buy an ultrabook/laptop because of mine stopped working this summer.

    I’m looking for a 15′, Intel i5 Core (latest generation if possible), with 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. No need to be 2 in 1.
    One aspect that really matters for me is the display resolution. I do think that FullHD (1920 x 1080) is fine for its size. As an extra, I’d like a powerful battery that can take at least 8 hours of writing, composing, browsing, watching videos, and use Office without a problem. My budget is around $800 but not more than that.

    Thanks! I’ll be looking forward for your reply. Keep doing top quality content and reviews.

  29. Jonathan

    August 4, 2015 at 4:27 am

    Oh! And I almost forgot, I’d like it to have a DVD Disc Drive so that I can download content that my school gives us via DVD. Thanks!

  30. Bibs

    August 6, 2015 at 7:13 am

    Hello,
    I’m currently entering my senior year and I know that I will be needing a light, portable, good performance laptop with a long battery life (8+). I will mainly be using it for some online college courses, as well as studying, and researching along with some light browsing. Im looking at the Asus Zenbook UX305FA, however, I’m concerned about the lack of dvd drive and the screen quality. My budget is under $720. Could you offer any choices because I’ve done my research and I only ended up with the Asus Zenbook UX305FA, when I realized that I should get help from an expert so I could make the best choice. I need this laptop to last me 4 or more years

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 12, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      The screen should not be a concern and the lack of an optical unit is pretty much a given on such a thin and light computer. You can buy an external USB powered DVD drive for under $50 and use that when needed.

      The UX305FA is great for the money, but keep in mind it’s not very powerful. In fact, it’s mostly made for casual everyday activities and won’t handle complex tasks or serious multitasking.

  31. Keti

    August 20, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Hello,
    The site is great and the posts are really helpful!
    I am starting college this year so I’ ll need an ultrabook. The budget is up to 300$. I want it to support Office 2010 and way not with a touchscreen. Any ideas?
    Thank you in advance!

  32. John

    August 29, 2015 at 5:00 am

    I’m dying to know what this will tell me!

    Quote:

    *I’m currently working on completely updating this post. Please come back in a day or two for the final version.

  33. Rodrigo Soares

    September 4, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Hi there. First of all, thanks for this nice informations about laptops.
    I would like to ask your advice for the following: i am interested in buying an ultrabook for the following tasks: general daily use, like e-mail and internet, and to check on my favourite game, world of warcraft (for this task, i don’t mind the graphics or resolution, since i can play more seriuosly on my desktop when i want, will just use the ultrabook to see my daily stuff ingame). My budget is € 1.000,00, so what do you recommend? Thanks in advance.

  34. Howard

    September 6, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    What are my choices for ultrabook, with backlit keyboard and internal dvd/cd drive, if any? Thanks

  35. Muude

    September 13, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Hi Andrie
    Am So confused bro and am now on my sophomore year in computer science, university.
    i need a laptop which is convertible and light, and pretty battery life and in less $1000.
    suggest me one brooo
    am commenting this soo late but i have to.

  36. Sara

    September 17, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Hi Andrei,

    I hugely appreciate your website! I have practically spent every hour of the past 3 days researching which computer to buy, and I have found your website to be enormously helpful. And yet, I have come to no conclusion due to my lack of computer knowledge.
    The candidates I have selected are far too many, I seem to find a problem with all of them, and I find myself reading the same things over and over. What confuses me most is the myriad of processors! I can’t judge how fast the various computers are. I hope it’s OK that I am now asking you for concrete recommendations.
    I know in technology-ignorant terms what I’m looking for:
    I want it to be small, light, and FAST. I don’t do gaming or programming, I just want it to respond fast when i browse the web, edit documents and run other programs while listening to music or watching videos, all at the same time, and I want to be able to use it a lot without it overheating or getting slow. I also want it to cost less than 1000 USD.
    Those are my requirements. Other priorities are that a noisy fan would bother me and I’d like the touchpad to be cooperative.
    I don’t care about design and looks, I don’t need a high resolution screen (in fact, I’ve ben trying to find out if there is a less hyped version of the Dell XPS 13?), and the speakers don’t need to be good since I’ll have speakers or headphones plugged in when I need the sound.
    I don’t know about form. I’m reluctant to get a convertible or a hybrid since I’m afraid that this fancy style will either compromise my top priorities or shoot the price up. But if that’s not the case, then I’m open to those. I’ll be perfectly happy with a clamshell though.

    I know I’m asking a lot to have you give me private computer-purchase-aid, and I really hope I am not wasting your time. Would you be willing to take the time to help me out with this?

    All the best,
    Sara

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 18, 2015 at 10:47 am

      Hi Sara.

      You’re saying you want this to be small, but how small? I’d reckon a 13-incher (laptop with a 13-inch screen) would be OK? If yes, then your best bets would be the Dell XPS 13 and the HP Spectre x360. I have similar requirements from my laptop and I ended up choosing the XPS for the compact form factor. It’s a good laptop, but to be frank I don’t know if I’d buy it again. You might want to read this post: http://www.ultrabookreview.com/8142-8-months-dell-xps-13/ . I’m not saying it’s not a good buy, but there are these tiny aspects that you might bump into.

      As for the HP, this article should help: http://www.ultrabookreview.com/8042-hp-spectre-x360-review/ . The spctre is a convertible, gets a touchscreen and a better keyboard and battery. It’s larger and heavier though.

      Both of these are available for around $1000 with a Core i5-5200U processor, 8 GB of RAM and 128/256 GB SSD. This config should be enough for what you need. Get the 8 GB of RAM and the 256 GB SSD, 4 GB of RAM are not enough for smooth performance and the models with only 128 GB of storage space will quickly run out of space. The Dell seems to be a bit more expensive right now, but hunt for deals and you should get it under 1G.

      If you’re willing to go with something even smaller, then I’d suggest the Macbook Air 11 . You’ll compromise on screen quality, but the performance and battery life are top notch. You mgith struggle to find a config with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB Storage, but you could look at refurbished units on Apple’s Store, those are usually pretty good deals.

      At the end of the day, keep in mind there is not such thing as the perfect laptop, so you’ll have to compromise here and there with any of the available options.

      • Sara

        September 19, 2015 at 11:51 am

        Thank you for your reply, Andrei, I appreciate it! I might get back to you again if I have a specific question or two :)

      • Sara

        September 21, 2015 at 11:13 am

        hey, i’m here again.
        i have a couple more questions. which processor should i go for? what i have read has led me to avoid the M and Y ones, and to look for U-types of either haswell or broadwell, and also for the i5-ones. am i right to do this, or would i3 still be fast enough?
        also, the dell xps 13 is definitely on my mind, but i would get something cheaper if i can find it as good. i mean, the screen is not my priority, so i don’t want that to be what i pay extra for.
        13 inch is the largest i would go. the dell appeals to me because it is small despite its screen size. so if there are any of the smaller (and perhaps cheaper?) ones that you would recommend for my needs, i’d be happy to know!
        another question: do you know which of these computers it is possible to buy without an operating system on it? that would save me a lot of money and i would like to do that if possible. i just haven’t been able to find any information on where and how and which ones… :)
        thank you once again!
        sara

        • Andrei Girbea

          September 21, 2015 at 12:17 pm

          I would get the Core i5 processors. Not sure about how you can buy these without an OS, they might be available that way in some regions. the Dell for instance comes with Ubuntu and that’s free.

          • Sara

            September 29, 2015 at 10:44 am

            Would you say it’s a big disadvantage to get HDD instead of SSD? I’m asking because I have found two similar configurations of the same laptop with this as the only difference and the HDD much much cheaper…

          • Andrei Girbea

            September 29, 2015 at 11:08 am

            Speed is greatly helped by SSDs. Laptops with HDDs are slower and noisier (HDDs have spinning components). Besides these, HDDs require more energy than SSDs as well, thus laptops with SSDs will last a bit longer on a charge.

  37. muude

    September 20, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Andrei Girbea
    this is my second time that i am asking you for suggestion.
    man am so confused what to buy which is worth it, so bro any laptop which is thin, light, pretty good battery life, convertible and touch screen under $1000.
    I am computer science student.
    it will mean so much alot to me if u suggest me, and i will appreciate it bro thank you.
    #sorryformyenglish.

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 20, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      the HP Spectre X360 would fit your needs really well. The Acer Asprie R13, Dell Inspiron 13 7000, Asus TP300 and the Lenovo Yoga 3 14 are other options you could consider.

  38. Bilal

    September 24, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Hi andrei (are you romanian btw?),
    thanks for the articles, just wanna ask your suggestion on something…i would like an ultraportable laptop no bigger than 13.3″ (could be 2-in-1 or a simple laptop)…im gonna be using it daily for work which includes general browsing, word processing etc and a but of photo editing on photoshop too
    my price range is around £300, what would you suggest?

    Regards
    Bilal

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 24, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      Hi, your budget is really limited and I don’t think you can get anything that would cope well with Photoshop within that budget. I’d aim for at least a Core i3 processor, Asus, Acer, Dell, Lenovo and HP might have something for you but I’m not very familiar with the UK market.

  39. Bilal

    September 25, 2015 at 1:13 am

    What do you think of something like this for example?
    amazon.co.uk/dp/B00ZUGXO34

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 25, 2015 at 7:38 am

      Never heard about that brand and it has no reviews. I’d stay away.

  40. adir haziz

    September 30, 2015 at 1:46 am

    hey, i am looking for a new laptop and hope you could help me find the right one for me in attractive price.
    the new laptop will be used mostly for school needs, and i will take him with me to school.
    allso i will use him for watching movies, programing in visual studio, editing in photoshop and maby light games.
    i think what i need in the laptop is:
    – good battery
    – 14-13 inch screen
    – not very heavy
    – run the softwares i need for programing and editing.
    – can connect hdmi
    – around 250 gb storage

    i prefer 2 in 1 laptop but if there is better one for my needs that not 2 in 1 its ok

    my budget is 800-550$

    thank you for your time!

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 30, 2015 at 11:26 am

      You’ve got many articles that will help you narrow down your options here on the site. Please go through them and I can then help you with he final decision.

      • adir haziz

        September 30, 2015 at 11:39 am

        i read them all and still dont know who is the best for me.. that why i asked you.

        i considered the tp300la with the i7,but he cost a little bit to much for me..
        therefor i was thinking maby to go with the zenbook 303, but i dont sure if he can run the softwares i need.

        so can you help me find 2 in 1 laptop that portable for school, have good battery and can run my softwares smoothly around 650$?

  41. Miso

    November 24, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Hello.
    Thank you for the article. It was very informative.
    I am a college student studying computer science and I am looking for a laptop that will be good for programming. I will be using mostly eclispe and IntelliJ for Java and Scala.

    I am considering the Dell i7559
    amazon.com/Dell-Inspiron-i7559-763BLK-Full-HD-GeForce/dp/B015PYYDMQ/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

    I also like to play games too so I think it might be good.
    I have seen some other laptops with similar specs and price with the main difference in CPU. How does an i5 skylake compare to an i7 broadwell?
    My budget is $800.
    Please let me know if you have insight/advice.
    Thank you.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 25, 2015 at 8:42 pm

      Hi, that’s a good pick for the money, especially since you get that IPS screen as well.

      The Core I7-4710/4720HQ is overall faster than the Core i7-6300HQ and gets HyperThreading, which the Core i5 lacks. So it will perform better in multithread tasks. How much more expensive ar those Core i7 options?

  42. Daniel

    May 7, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Hello,
    I came across this because I am on a tight budget.
    I’m looking for a laptop that’s thin+light and has a 1080p screen.
    I’m only using it for word and videos so I won’t need anything that fast.
    The Skylake ultrabooks seem good with the iGPUs but they are still quite pricey.

    Would you know any cheaper models (doesn’t have to be 2016) that would be good?

    Thanks

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 9, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      well, how tight? I’m going to need a number :)

      • Daniel

        May 9, 2016 at 8:01 pm

        Well I’m looking at £300, used, refurb or new.

        People say a thin laptop with a 1080p screen is £600 new but I really find it hard to believe, I don’t need crazy specs or anything.

        Just 1080p, 13.3″-15.6″, thin and light.
        By thin I’m thinking macbook/zenbook/sony vaio pro 13
        As long as it doesn’t look like an alienware that’d be nice too :)
        Thanks

        • Andrei Girbea

          May 9, 2016 at 8:10 pm

          Well, that’s unrealistic. You can’t get a Macbook like body and a 1080p IPS screen for that much in a new device. It’s not going to get you a thin and light 15 incher either.

          I would suggest something like an used Asus UX31A or the Lenovo Yoga 13 with a Core i5-3317U processor, perhaps you might find some on ebay, but there are risks to buying such old computers.

          Personally, I’d save up for something like this: amazon.co.uk/ASUS-Zenbook-Notebook-Integrated-Graphics/dp/B019KZVESM/ref=sr_1_2 , or maybe the older UX305FA model, if you can find it anywhere.

          • Daniel

            May 12, 2016 at 9:57 am

            The Lenovo laptops are going for a reasonable price. Especially the yoga 2 pro, yoga 500 and yoga 13.
            Would you advise against any of these?
            Thanks

          • Andrei Girbea

            May 12, 2016 at 11:50 am

            Not really, they are pretty solid options. You might want to read a few reviews before buying though, as each has some shortcomings.

  43. Roe

    July 11, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Hi,
    I’m looking for a Acer ultrabook.
    I have found those 3 on Amazon that are o.k for my budget.. for around $300. Can you please tell me which one should I buy?

    Thank you!

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 12, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      They are the same. The Aspire S3 is an old laptop with quite a few flaws, so you should read a few reviews and know in advance what to expect/.

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