Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons

Best ultrabooks under $800 (or $1000) in 2015

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , updated on July 7, 2015

If you’ve reached this post, you’re probably after an ultrabook and don’t want to spend a lot of money on it. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the best ultra-portables you can get for under $1000, $800 and $600 these days, and you can read all about them below.

Now, these laptops check all the Intel imposed ultrabook requirements, so they are still good looking, thin, fairly powerful and able to last for a few hours on each charge. However, the lower your budget, the more compromises you’ll need to make with your potential device, and that includes the materials used for the cases, the overall build quality, the screens, the performance and a few other features.

But hey, no laptop is perfect, and if you’re after a price-conscious ultrabook, you’ll have to learn to accept these shortcomings and choose the machine that best suits your needs, taste and wallet-size.

With that in mind, let’s have a look at the best budget ultrabooks you can get these days. Keep in mind that I’m mostly including modern notebooks here, powered by Intel’s Haswell platforms or later, with only a few older exceptions that are still worth considering today.

Best ultrabooks under $600

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

Asus Vivobook X200LA / K200MA / X202E

The Asus Vivobook X200LA (or S200LA as it’s known in Europe) is one of the the most interesting such cheap ultraportables. It’s a compact machine (1 inch thick, weighs roughly 3 lbs), packing only an 11.6 inch touchscreen with a TN 1366 x 768 px panel, but the overall image quality is not utterly bad.

The whole thing is built from plastic, but it’s fairly solid and sturdy. Inside you’ll find a Intel Core i3 Haswell processor, 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB HDD, so not the most powerful hardware platform, but enough for casual everyday tasks. Of course, swapping the regular HDD for an SSD will make the whole thing a lot faster, and it’s easy to do that yourself. On top of that, there’s a 3 Cell battery on this Vivobook, which unfortunately is only enough for about 4 hours of daily use on this configuration.

The Asus Vivobook S200LA sells for roughly $499 these days (an you might find it even cheaper online), which is a pretty good price. The screen quality and the short battery life do draw it down though, but you’ll hardly find anything similar for this kind of money.

Asus Vivobook S200LA - 11.6 incher with Intel Haswell hardware inside, for under $500

Asus Vivobook X200LA – 11.6 incher with Intel Haswell hardware inside, for under $500

If you don’t need the Haswell hardware though and only plan on using the computer for basic everyday activities, you’ve got better options, like the :

If you do need the extra power though, the S200LA is a great buy.

The Vivobook X202E series is the S200LA’s predecessor, similar in most ways, with a few exceptions: it is powered by an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i3 processor, its case is mostly made from metal, it only features a 2 Cell battery and is available in a Light Silver color scheme, while the newer model goes in a few different colors. But it sells for around $450 or even less, which might be enough to get it on your radar. I did test the X202E a while ago, and you can find my detailed review over here, if interested.

And while we’re speaking of Asus laptops, you might want to have a look at the Vivobook S400CA (14 incher, IvyBridge hardware – detailed review over here) and the sleek Zenbook UX32A (13.3 incher, aluminum body, IvyBridge hardware – detailed review here), as you’ll find several configurations on both of these for under $500.

Other laptops that go for between 500 and 600 bucks these days are the:

  • Lenovo IdeaPad U310 (detailed reviewlatest discounts) – 13 inch laptop – you’ll get a Core i5-3317U processor, with 4 GB of RAM and 500 GB of storage for roughly $590 right now;
  • Toshiba Satellite E55T (latest discounts) – a larger 15 incher with a touchscreen, that weighs about 4.7 pounds; the Core i5-4200U CPU (Haswell!) with 4 GB of RAM and a 500GB HDD sells for under $600;
  • Acer Aspire S3 (detailed reviewlatest discounts) – a first generation ultrabook, but still, a thin and light 13 incher that goes for about $450, for a Core i3-2367M configuration, with 4 GB of RAM and a 320 GB HDD, which might be good enough for basic use.

The Lenovo Flex 2 14 and 15 series also starts just under $600 for the base configuration that includes a Core i3-4010U processor, 4 GB of RAM and hybrid storage. If you opt for beefier processors and specs though, you’d have to pay more, but even so, the Flex 2 laptops are some of the most affordable out there, which is in fact their major selling point. The other is the convertible screen that goes all the way back around its hinges to 270 degrees, which means that it doesn’t go completely flat, thus you won’t be able to use these devices as tablets, like you can with the Lenovo Yogas and other similar form-factor laptops.

That aside, the Flex 2 laptops are made from plastic, are rather bulky, don’t last very long on a charge (roughly 5 hours) and stick to HD TN panels, albeit touchscreens. If you’re willing to live with these shortcomings, than the Flex 2s could be the right ultrabooks for you. If not, you’ve got better alternatives, but you’ll have to pay extra for them, as you’ll find out below.

$600 can get you the base versions of the Lenovo Flex 2 14 or 15, convertible ultrabooks with toushcreens and Haswell hardware, but also with a few shortcomings

$600 can get you the base versions of the Lenovo Flex 2 14 or 15, convertible ultrabooks with touchcreens and Haswell hardware, but also with a few shortcomings

Best ultrabooks under $800

There’s a fair offer of ultrabooks selling for between 600 and 800 bucks these days. You can either get a modern Haswell laptop, but settle for an entry-level configuration or/and a rather poor screen and bulky body, or you can get some of the previous generation premium IvyBridge devices, but compromise for poorer performance and battery life. The choice is yours.

14 and 15 inch full-size ultrabooks

I’ve covered these laptops in depth in this detailed article that speaks both about the affordable 14/15 inchers and about the premium options, and you should definitely check it out if you’re after a computer in these size-classes.

As a quick recap though, you could look at the:

  • Acer Aspire E1-472, E1-572 and E1-572P  – entry level ultrabooks, without or with a touchscreen (the 527P model), starting at about $600.
  • Lenovo Flex 2 14 and 15 series  – already mentioned above.
  • Asus Vivobooks V451  and V551 (reviewed here) – thinner and sleeker than the ones above, with aluminum-cast bodies, touchscreens, a DVD-RW (on the 15 inch model) and options for dedicated graphics. Core i5 and i7 Haswell configurations with 8 GB of RAM and Haswell hardware sell for under $800 these days.
  • Asus Transformer Book Flips TP500 series – you’ll hardly find a 15 incher comparable to this one right now, as the TP500LA is a convertible with a Yoga-like form factor. Its case is made from metal, Intel Haswell hardware motorizes it with options for dedicated graphics and it comes with a FHD IPS touchscreen. The Core i5 configuration with 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB HDD sells for under $800 and you can find more about this laptop from my detailed review also available here on the site.
  • Lenovo IdeaPad S510P – a simple and affordable clamshell laptop with a 15.6 inch non-touch display , plastic body and a DVD-RW. Core i5 Haswell configurations are available for a bit over 600 bucks.
  • Lenovo U430 – one of my favorite 14 inchers, with a sturdy body, excellent keyboard and good hardware options. It’s available with or without a touchscreen, with or without Nvidia dedicated graphics and can go for about 5 hours of daily use on a charge. Intel Core i5-4200U combos with 4 GB of RAM and 500 GB HDDs sell for under $700, while the Core i7-4500U models sell for around $750. See this link for more details and potential discounts.
  • Dell Inspiron 5000 and 7000 series – slightly heavier 14 and 15 inch laptops with metallic cases, options for FHD IPS screens and large batteries. Worth your attention especially if you’re living in the US, where Dell’s customer support and after-sale services are good, compared to others.
A few affordable 15 inchers: the Acer E1-572 (left), the Lenovo S510P (middle) and the Dell Inspiron 7000 (right)

A few affordable 15 inchers: the Acer E1-572 (left), the Lenovo S510P (middle) and the Dell Inspiron 7000 (right)

Higher end configurations of all these laptops above will get to roughly $900-$1000, with some exceptions, and will include Intel Core i7 Haswell U processors, 8 GB of RAM and even SSD storage in some cases.

13 inch portable laptops

This post gets in depth with all the available 13 inch ultrabooks, but there’s also another quick recap below:

  • Lenovo IdeaPad U330 – this is the 13 inch version of the IdeaPad U430 mentioned before. It’s also available with or without a touchscreen and packs Haswell hardware, but it seems to be in short supplies in some regions, so it might be discontinued soon, it it weren’t already by the time you’re reading this post.
  • Asus Vivobook Q301 LA/LP – this Asus Vivobook is more widely available an roughly $650 (or even less) will get you a Core i5-4200U CPU / 6GB of RAM / 750 GB HDD configuration. You’re also getting a touchscreen with an HD TN panel and a metallic body, but Asus did sacrifice the battery size on this device, as you’ll find out from my detailed review.

You might also find the base versions of the Asus Zenbook UX303LA, Lenovo Yoga 2 13, Dell Inspiron 13 7000 or the Asus Transformer Book Flip TP300 for under $800, the ones bundled with Intel Core i3 Haswell processors, but those are only available in some regions and the Core i5 configurations sell for over 800 bucks, so we’ll talk about them in the next chapter.

There are also a few older laptops you could consider buying, and I’d personally look at the Asus Zenbook UX32A (reviewed here) and the UX31A (reviewed here) , the affordable Lenovo IdeaPad U310 (reviewed here) and the Dell XPS 13 2013. Keep in mind that these are all running on Intel IvyBridge hardware, so they won’t last as long as the newer Haswell powered machines do on each charge.

12, 11 and 10 inch mini-laptops

This post covers 11 inch or small ultrabooks in depth, but if you want the short-list, well, here you go:

  • Dell XPS 12 – a 2-in-1 convertible with a 12.5 inch FHD IPS touchscreen which flips inside its own frame, with Haswell hardware and excellent build quality. Core i5-4200U CPU / 4GB of RAM / 128 GB SSD configurations are available these days for under $800.
  • Lenovo Yoga 2 11 – another convertible whose 11 inch screen rotates 360 degrees around its hinges. It’s available with either Intel BayTrail hardware or Intel Haswell Y processors, 4 GB of RAM and various types of storage, with prices ranging from $500 to $800. See my detailed review of the Yoga 2 11 for more details.
  • Dell Inspiron 11 3000 – similar in many ways to the Yoga above, the Inspiron 11 3000 is somewhat cheaper than Lenovo’s unit and packs a larger battery and more full-size ports, which do make it one of the most interesting 11 inch affordable convertibles available right now.
  • Dell XPS 11 – just another 11.6 inch hybrid with a few aces down its sleeve: the XPS 11 is very light/thin (2.5 lbs, 0.6 inches) and packs an 11.6 inch QHD touchscreen with an integrated digitizer and pen-support, which could make it ideal for school, taking notes and sketching. It is only powered by Intel Haswell Y processors, packs a 40Wh battery and only lists a limited number of ports on its sides, but nor these or its higher starting price (roughly $750 for the Core i5 / 4 GB RAM / 128 GB SSD config) drag it down. Its abysmal keyboard and typing experience might though, so you should really look into it if the XPS 11 checks all the other right boxes.
The XPS 11 is sleek, light and features-stuffed, but its keyboard might be enough to steer you away from it quickly

The XPS 11 is sleek, light and features-stuffed, but its keyboard might be enough to steer you away from it quickly

Best ultrabooks between $800 and $1000

If you’re willing to expand your budget somewhat, you’ll find a bunch of other good laptops in this section, on top of the higher-specced versions of some of the devices mentioned in the previous chapter.

14 and 15 inchers

  • Acer Aspire V7 482PG and 582PG – the higher end 14 and 15 inch Acer clamshell ultrabooks, the V7s offer metallic bodies and a nice-looking design, but also solid features and specs , with list prices ranging between $850 and $1100. The 15 inch model includes Haswell hardware, a Full HD IPS touchscreen, dedicated Nvidia graphics and a 53 Wh battery, all tucked inside a 4.8 pounds body, while the 14 incher is even lighter. See this link for more details and potential discounts.
  • Lenovo Y40 – this is one of the few ultraportables that you can get for under 1G able to handle games. The Y40 comes with a 14 inch screen (and a poor TN panel that might actually break it for many of you), but beastly specs: an Intel Core i7-4710U processor, 8 GB of RAM, hybrid storage and an AMD Radeon R9 275M graphics chip configuration can be yours for just under $900.
  • Acer Aspire R7-582 –  a solid built 15 incher with a convertible touchscreen and digitizer/pen support, Haswell Hardware, Nvidia dedicated graphics and a weird form-factor. This one does seem to be in short supply lately though, so it might be a bit difficult to track down.
Acer's offer in this price-range is hard to beat: the sleek Aspire V7-582PG (left) and the convertible Aspire R7-582 (right)

Acer’s offer in this price-range is hard to beat: the sleek Aspire V7-582PG (left) and the convertible Aspire R7-582 (right)

13 inchers

  • Asus Transformer Book Flip TP300 and Q302LA – a solid priced 13 inch convertible with Haswell hardware and an IPS FHD touchscreen, but a bit bulky and heavy for this class. Even so, metal is used for most of its case and it is cheaper than its rivals. The TP300 is available in silver, while the Q302LA can be found in black in some stores around the world. Check out my review of this series for more details.
  • Lenovo Yoga 2 13 – Lenovo’s alternative to the Asus above and the updated iteration of the original Yoga, this device also offers Haswell hardware and an IPS FHD touchscreen, but only in a plastic shell. As a result, it is somewhat more compact and lighter than the Transformer Book Flip, but it’s also slightly more expensive. However, Lenovo does offer the Yoga 2 13 in a bunch of different configurations, which can’t be said about Asus’s 2-in-1 for the time being.
  • Dell Inspiron 13 7000 series – Dell’s alternative to those two mentioned before, packing Haswell hardware and an IPS FHD screen, but also an excellent keyboard and plenty of ports, in what I believe it’s a much 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. But on the other hand this Dell is affordable. Check out my review for more details.
  • Macbook Air 13 2014 – if it weren’t for the screen, we could say that this is by far the best 13 inch ultraportable of the moment. It’s sleek and solid built, it packs a good keyboard and trackpad, it bundles more-powerful Haswell processors than most ultrabooks, with Intel Iris graphics, and lasts longer than any other 13 incher on a charge (12-13 hours of daily use).

On top of that, the base configuration is listed at $999, but you can find it cheaper online, which makes the Macbook Air more affordable than most other premium 13 inch devices.

Its 1440 x 900 px screen with a TN panel might steer you towards something else though, as well as the necessity to get a Windows computer, in case you’re running software that does not work properly on Macs. See this post for a detailed comparison between the Macbook Airs and the top-tier ultrabooks.

  • HP Spectre 13T-3000 – one of the few premium 13 inchers selling for under $1000, the HP Spectre 13T is sleeker, lighter and better built than many of the other devices in this category, while packing top tier features. See this post for its strong-points and quirks.
  • Asus Zenbook UX303LA/LN – the 2014 Zenbook series is almost without flaws. It offers a metallic case, a Full HD IPS touchscreen, a few different Haswell configurations and a 50 Wh battery, plus leaves room for user upgrades, something not many other similar 13 inchers allow.

On top of that, the UX303LA, the model that relies entirely on the Intel HD 4400 graphics, is cheaper than similarly configured Macbook Airs or HP Spectre 13Ts, while the UX303LN offers Nvidia 840M graphics and all the other goodies for under $1000. See my detailed review of the Zenbook UX303LN for more details and my comparison between the LA and the LN models.

Some of the best 13 inch ultrabooks you can get for under $1000: the Lenovo Yoga 2 13 (left), the HP Spectre 13T-3000 (middle) and the Asus Zenbook UX303LA (right)

Some of the best 13 inch ultrabooks you can get for under $1000: the Lenovo Yoga 2 13 (left), the HP Spectre 13T-3000 (middle) and the Asus Zenbook UX303LA (right)

You could also look for discounts on the premium 13 inch ultrabooks discussed in this post, like the Dell XPS 13, the Toshiba Kirabook 2014, the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, the Acer Aspire S7, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus, the Asus Zenbook UX301LA and so on.

12, 11 inch or smaller notebooks

  • Macbook Air 11 2014  – the 11 inch version of the Macbook Air, built on Intel Haswell processors with Iris graphics, but with a smaller battery (should last 8-9 hours on daily use), lower resolution screen and fewer connectivity options (no SD card card) than the 13 inch model. It is however cheaper, starting at $899, and you’ll will find it discounted online.
  • Sony Vaio Pro 11 – one of the lightest ultrabooks out there, tipping the scales just under 2 lbs, the Vaio Pro 11 sells these days for under $1000, but some units are plagued by annoying Wi-Fi problems.
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 – are the cheap ultrabooks good enough for you?

The first thing you might ask yourself is whether a budget ultrabook is worth your money or not. I’d say yes, you will find plenty of good devices for under $1000 these days, and some decent ones if you want to pay even less and you’re OK with somewhat sacrificing the lightweight and some specs and features.

In the end, it’s up to you to choose what’s best fits your needs, your taste and your wallet size. Most of the units mentioned above will do fine as portable everyday computers meant to deal with browsing, watching movies, listening to music and some work. Many will also do fine as laptops for school, laptops for your kids or secondary inexpensive notebooks you’ll just use when traveling. And one or two can even go as business or light-gaming machines.

If you need more help in your quest for the ideal ultra-portable, you might also want to check these other articles on the site:

Anyway, that’s about it for now. I’m constantly updating this list of budget ultrabooks under $1000, adding new models as they become available. In the meantime, leave a comment if you have anything to add to this post, if you have any questions or need help deciding what you should get, I’ll be around here to reply.

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.


  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

    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.

  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

  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?

    • 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 $$.

      • 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


    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


    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


    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,

    • 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?

        • 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.


        • 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


    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.


    • 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.

    • 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.

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