Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons

The best 14 and 15.6-inch portable laptops and ultrabooks of 2017

By Andrei Girbea , updated on May 20, 2017

While there are quite a few excellent compact ultrabooks out there, many of you still prefer full-size laptops with large screens and enough power to smoothly handle your daily demands.

However, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t say no to a full-size laptop that’s actually thin and light, as long as it still meets the requirements and falls within the right budget. And here’s where this post comes into play, as a detailed list of what I consider to be the best 14 and 15-inch ultra-portable laptops available in stores these days.

Finding the right choice isn’t going to be just a walk in the park though, as the offer is vast, but in order to make your life a little easier I’ve split the available suggestions into a couple of different sections:

You can go through the entire post for the complete picture of what’s available out there, or just read the subsections of interest. You’ll find a wide selection of units in each of them, enough to accommodate all demands and expectations. You’ll also find links towards our detailed reviews where those are available and links towards user-reviews and the latest discounts on each specific model. Keep in mind there’s a fair chance you will find products that might initially look outside your budget selling for less at the time you’re reading this article, so those links are sure worth a look.

Affordable all-round laptops (under $600)

This section includes the best large-screen all-round laptops you can get for under $600, devices capable of handling everyday tasks and even games, to some extent. Expect to get great specs for the money, but don’t expect premium build quality, excellent craftsmanship or fancy features.

Acer Chromebook 14 and 15

If you want a simple, fast and inexpensive computer for daily tasks and especially Internet related activities, you should consider these Chromebooks.

The Acer Chromebook 15 is the most affordable option, starting at around $220. This kind of money will get you a fanless Celeron hardware platform, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, a decent 15.6-inch IPS FHD screen and a rather small 32 Wh battery, yet enough to keep this going for around 6-8 hours of use on a charge. All these are tucked inside a rather chunky body that weighs 4.8 lbs, with plenty of ports on the sides and a fairly good non-backlit keyboard.

Overall, the Chromebook 15 is one of the simplest laptops that actually work great, as long as you understand what a Chromebook can and cannot do. You can speck it with more RAM and storage space, and even so it’s only going to cost around $300. Follow this link for more details and the latest pricing updates.

The Acer Chromebook 15 gets a rather bulky and heavy plastic body, but you're not going to find anything else like it for under $250

The Acer Chromebook 15 gets a rather bulky and heavy plastic body, but you’re not going to find a more capable full-size laptop for under $250

The 14-inch Chromebook is a more compact and more premium device. It gets an aluminum chassis and is more portable, weighing 3.4 lbs, but the IO was somewhat sacrificed for the aesthetics and this laptop lacks an SD card-reader. The keyboard is still non-backlit and the screen uses an IPS FHD panel.

The hardware is mostly similar to the one on the 15-inch model, with a minimally faster Celeron processor, but 4 GB of RAM are included on the base model and the battery is larger, 48 Wh, enough for 10+ hours of use on a charge.

The Acer Chromebook 14 is slightly more expensive than the Chromebook 15, but its $270 starting price is well justified by what it offers, making this an excellent buy for those on a really limited budget. Follow this link for more details, user reviews and the latest prices.

The Acer Chromebook 14 offers fast hardware, an ISP display and an aluminum body, but is heavier and less portable than the other options

The Acer Chromebook 14 offers fast hardware, an ISP display and an aluminum body, but is heavier and less portable than the other options

Acer Aspire E15 series

Acer offers a bunch of competitive 15-inch laptops with affordable prices, and you should have several of their series on your shortlist, like the Aspire E5-573G, E5-574G and E5-575G.

They are all built from hard-plastic, share a similar non-backlit keyboard and either a TN HD or a TN FHD matte non-touch screen. Hardware wise, these are powered by Intel Broadwell, Skylake or Kaby Lake dual-core processors with up to 16 GB of RAM with various types of storage and a 37 or 45 Wh battery; most options also get Nvidia GT 940M or 940MX graphics chips.

The Aspire E15 E5-575G is the most interesting configuration at the time of this article, selling for under $600 and including a Core i5 processor, Nvidia GT 940MX graphics, 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD, plus the FHD panel. Follow this link for up-to-date info on prices and configurations and check out our review of the E15 E5-573G for a more in depth analysis of this series.

The Acer Aspire E5 offers modern hardware and mid-level Nvidia Graphics in an affordable package

The Acer Aspire E15 offers modern hardware and mid-level Nvidia Graphics in an affordable package

Asus F556/X556 series

This is Asus’s latest line of affordable 15-inch laptops, and the naming is extremely confusing because they are listed as the F556 in the US and the X556 in Europe and other regions.

The F556s/X556s are full-size notebooks with a 15.6-inch screen available with either a TN HD or FHD panel, Intel Skylake or Kabylake Core U hardware, up to 12 GB of RAM and 38 Wh batteries, all tucked inside multi-colored plastic cases that weigh around 5.1 lbs. Asus offers versions with Nvidia 920/940 dedicated graphics (F556UJ, F556UB) and models that rely on Intel HD graphics solutions only (F556UA).

The F556s/X556s start below $550 at the time of this post, for a base model with a Core i5 processor, the FHD screen, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB of SSD and 1 TB of HDD storage. Lower specked configurations are available for less. Follow this link for more details, user reviews and up-to-date prices and configurations.

The F556s (US) or X556s (Europe) are Asus's offer in the 15-inch affordable laptop segment

The F556s (US) or X556s (Europe) are Asus’s offer in the 15-inch affordable laptop segment

HP Pavilion 15 series

The Pavilions are HPs entry-level laptop lines. The Pavilion 15 is their popular 15-inch model, available in a few different colors and entirely built out of plastic. It weighs 4.8 lbs, bundles an internal optical drive, a 41 Wh battery and backlit keyboard.

Hardware wise, the Pavilion 15 is built on the latest Intel Core U or HQ platforms, with up to 16 GB of RAM and optional Nvidia 950M graphics on the higher end configurations, plus either a HD TN or a FHD IPS screens.

The Pavilions are also competitive in terms of pricing, with base Core i5 models selling for under $500 and more compelling options with Core i7 processors, Nvidia graphics and the IPS screen going for around $600 at the time of this update.

Follow this link for more details and potential discounts.

The Pavilion 15s offers solid specs and are more affordable than the competition

The Pavilion 15s offers solid specs and are more affordable than the competition

Dell Inspiron 3000 and 5000 series

The Dell Inspiron 3000s are some of the better full-size clamshell laptops you can get for a very limited budget. They are durable built, despite having an all plastic case and chassis, they are fairly fast and easy to upgrade, if you decide to get a lower-end model and want to add more RAM or an SSD later.

The 15-inch model bundles an internal optical drive, but it’s rather bulky and heavy, weighing 5.25 pounds, while the 14-inch version is actually much more portable, weighing 3.9 lbs. Both variants settle for 1366 x 768 px TN displays, with options for matte non-touch panels or touchscreens. Both also get a 40Wh battery which is going to offer around 4-5 hours of use on a charge.

We reviewed the base Inspiron 15 3000 model 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 solid choice for the money. That base model sells for under $400, while the Core i5 configurations go for around $500. Follow this link for more details, as well as updated prices and potential discounts. The 14-incher starts at around $250, but Dell only bundles it with low-power Celeron/Pentium processors and limited amounts of eMMC storage.

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 5000 series takes a step-up in terms of build quality and design, as these laptops are lighter, slightly more compact and available in a silver color scheme with a brushed-aluminum lid-cover. They also include an optical drive and backlit keyboard, which the 3000 series lacks. Besides these, potential buyers still have to settle for HD TN screens on the lower end versions of these laptops and 40Wh batteries, while higher end models get an IPS FHD display.

The Inspiron 15 5000 starts at around $500 for a Core i3 configuration, while a beefier everyday model with a Core i5 CPU, 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB HDD sells for around $600. Follow this link for more configurations and up-to-date prices at the time you’re reading this post.

Dell also offers an 2-in-1 version of the Inspiron 15 5000, with a slightly slimmer and lighter body, a 360-degrees convertible touchscreen and a 42 Wh battery. These models start at around $600. You’ll find more about the Inspiron 15 5000 2-in-1 via this link.

The Inspiron 15 5000s are sleeker, better equipped and available in both a clamshell and a convertible form-factor

The Inspiron 15 5000s are sleeker, better equipped and available in both a clamshell and a convertible form-factor

The best 2-in-1 convertibles

This section includes 14 and 15-inch laptops with touchscreens that can flip to 360-degrees in one way or another.

HP Spectre x360 15 and Envy x360 15

The 15-inch Spectre x360 is my favorite convertible with a full-size screen, but it’s also a fairly expensive product and it might not fit everyone’s budget (don’t worry, we have more affordable suggestions down below).

The Spectre’s all-metal body is sturdy-built and light for a 15-inch 2-in-1 notebook, weighing just 4.2 lbs, and that’s one of its strong selling points, as it makes it easier to carry and hold than other similar computers. Others are the screen, available with either a FHD or an UHD IPS panel, but also the comfortable backlit keyboard with wide keys and no Numpad, the large and precise trackpad and the hardware inside. This laptop is built on Intel Core U platforms with up to 16 GB of RAM, SSD storage and a 64.5 Wh battery. There’s no option for dedicated graphics, so you shouldn’t get it for gaming, but it will handle all sorts of daily activities smoothly.

So overall the Spectre x360 15 is a solid all-round computer for daily use and an option for those who don’t mind paying extra for premium looks and construction, as HP charges between $1100 and $1500 for this device, based on configuration. You’ll probably find ti cheaper online though, follow this link for more details and updated configurations and prices.

If you’re looking to pay less for a good 15-inch 2-in-1 and don’t care that much about portability, you should check out the HP Envy x360 15 instead. This device gets similar hardware specs, a FHD IPS screen, a backlit keyboard and a 48 Wh, but also a bulkier and heavier plastic case with some aluminum inserts (5.1 lbs, 0.93″ thick) and a starting price of around $750. Follow this link for more details.

The HP Spectre 15 is a premium 15-inch convertible, but its high price might put it out of reach for many potential buyers

The HP Spectre 15 is a premium 15-inch convertible, but its high price might put it out of reach for many potential buyers

Lenovo Yoga 710 series

This is Lenovo’s line of mid-range 14 and 15-inch convertibles, with devices that strike that desired balance between size, specs and price.

The Yoga 710 14 is the more portable option of the two, with an aluminum case and a total weight of 3.55 lbs. It gets a backlit keyboard, a solid set of ports on the sides and an IPS FHD display that rotates to 360-degrees on the back, while the hardware includes Intel Core U platforms with either SSD or HDD storage, optional Nvidia GT 940MX graphics and a 53 Wh battery.

The 14-inch Yoga 710 is a really good allrounder with very few flaws and it sells $800 and up. Follow this link for more details.

A redesigned 15-inch Yoga 710 is also available in stores, with a thin aluminum body and a total weight of 4.2 lbs. This computer does somewhat sacrifice the IO for the slim profile, but otherwise it’s another great pick for those of you who need a 15.6-inch display in a convertible form-factor. The features and specs list is identical to that of the Yoga 710 14, with similar hardware, a FHD screen and 53 Wh battery, but this bigger option is not available with dedicated graphics at the time of this update.

The Yoga 710 15 also sells for a bit less than its smaller sibling, with a mid-range configuration with a Core i5 CPU, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD going for around $750. Follow this link for more details and updated configurations and prices.

The Yoga 710 14 and 15 offer solid specs for the money, including dedicated Nvidia graphics, and are lighter than most other laptops in their classes

The Yoga 710 14 and 15 offer solid specs for the money, including dedicated Nvidia graphics, and are lighter than most other laptops in their classes

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1

This one is Dell’s alternative for the Yogas above, aiming at the same mid-range buyers that want a good 15-inch convertible for around $800.

On paper, it check most of the needed boxes, with modern Core U hardware, DDR4 RAM support, SSD storage, a FHD 360-degrees IPS display, a slim metallic body that weighs 4.6 lbs. However, Dell only put a 42 Wh battery inside, which is just too small for a 15-incher, and I’ve seen some complains about the keyboard’s feedback, the dim panel and even the lack of quality control, with some units failing just days after they were bought.

That doesn’t mean this Inspiron 15 7000 can’t be a good pick, but I do advise you to buy from reputable places that allow easy returns, just in case you draw a short stick. Follow this link for more details and updated configurations and prices.

Toshiba Satellite Fusion L55W

The Toshiba Satellite C55 is one of the best selling 15-inch laptops in the world, and that’s because it’s overall a good pick with solid features and an affordable price.

A little over $600 can get you a Core i5 configuration with 8 GB of RAM and 1 TB HDD, a FHD IPS touchscreen, a 45 Wh battery, backlit keyboard and decent ports. Core i3 models are cheaper. The L55W is of course a convertible, but at the same time it’s mostly built out of plastic and not the most rugged out there, but that’s acceptable considering what you’ll be paying for it. Follow this link for more details, up-to-date configurations and potential discounts.

The Toshiba Satellite Fusion L55W offers fairly fast hardware and a 15.6-inch convertible display for under $500

The Toshiba Satellite Fusion L55W offers fairly fast hardware and a 15.6-inch convertible display for under $600

Asus Transformer Book Flip and Vivobook Flip series

The Asus Transformer Book Flip, or the Asus Flip 15.6 as it’s called in some regions, is another affordable 15-inch convertible with a 360-degrees display.

My full review of the TP500LA version is available over here. I tested a basic version with a rather poor HD screen, but Asus also offers it with a superior FHD display and that’s the one you should search for.

The TP500LA bundles Core U processors and the cheapest Core i3 configurations sell for as little as $500, while Core i5 versions with 8 GB of RAM, 1 TB HDDs and the FHD screen sell for around $650. Follow this link for more details and potential discounts.

That kind of money buys you an aluminum body, a decent keyboard/trackpad, a fair selection of ports and a 48 Wh battery. There’s no optical drive on the TP500 series, but Asus does offer a TP550 model in some regions which includes an optical drive and is still a hybrid, but is also heavier, larger and entirely made out of plastic. And since we’re talking about variations, Asus also has a Transformer Book TP500LN version in stores, with dedicated Nvidia graphics.

The TP500 is a 2-in-1 convertible 15 incher with an excellent price

The TP500 is a 2-in-1 convertible 15 incher with an excellent price

Lenovo Flex series

The Flexes are Lenovo’s take at the affordable 14 and 15-inch convertible.

Just like the Asus and Toshiba notebooks above, these include a 360-degrees flipable touchscreen, with a 1920 x 1080 px IPS panel for both versions and metallic bodies. The specs list is filled up with a variety of Intel Core configurations, up to 8 GB of RAM and HDD/SSD storage, a 52.5 Wh battery and fairly good backlit keyboards. There are no optical drives, but the 15-inch version can be paired with AMD Radeon R7 460 graphics.

Both these series start at around $500 for Core i3 configurations with 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB HDD. Higher end models include Core i5 and i7 processors, up to 8 GB of RAM and SSD storage, with prices between $600 and $1000, but both lines can be found discounted online, as you’ll see from this link.

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga series and X1 Yoga

Lenovo’s ThinkPad Yoga 460 is a sturdily built convertible with solid specs and a fair price.

It gets a strong and simple looking outer case, good the IO, a backlit Lenovo AccuType keyboard and a reinforced 360-degree convertible display, while on the inside you’ll find Core U hardware, an IPS WQHD panel and a 53 Wh battery, all tucked inside a 3.9 lbs package.

The Yoga 460 starts at around $1000, but some older versions can be found for less. Follow this link for more details and potential discounts at the time you’re reading this post.

Those with a bigger budget at hand who’d rather get a thinner and lighter 14-incher should check out the ThinkPad X1 Yoga which is a convertible with similar specs that weighs just 2.8 lbs and still meets the durability requirements expected from a ThinkPad. The X1 Yoga starts at around $1400, and higher end models can be specked with an OLED display, among others. Follow this link for more details.

The ThinkPad Yoga 460 is one of the most interesting Skylake ultraportables that we know of at the time of this update

The ThinkPad Yoga 460 is one of the most interesting Skylake ultraportables that we know of at the time of this update

The best gaming and high-performance options

The devices in this section sell for over $1000, but offer the best features and specs you can expect to get on a laptop these days. In other words, these are the best portable full-size laptops, with high-resolution screens, powerful internals and premium chassis. A more detailed list of gaming ultraportables is available over here, or in this lists of notebooks with Nvidia 1060 and 1070/1080 graphics.

Razer Blade 14 and Razer Blade Pro

The Blades are pretty much the norm in terms of gaming ultra-portables of the moment, with powerful hardware, high-end features and premium construction.

The Blade 14 is a compact 14-incher that weighs between 4.15 and 4.3 lbs (the version with a non-touch display is lighter) and is about 0.7 of an inch thick. It gets two choices of displays (FHD matte or QHD+ touch), a chroma backlit keyboard, a quad-core Intel HQ processor, up to 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, M.2 SSD storage, Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics, a 70 Wh built-in battery and solid IO, including HDMI 2.0 and TB3.

The Blade 14 isn’t cheap though, albeit it sells for less than in the past years, for $1799 and up (follow this link for more details, updated configurations and potential discounts), but if you want a highly portable gaming machine that’s built well and performs smoothly with daily use and games, this is one of your best bets. Our own Derek owns a Blade 14 and you can find his review right here.

The Razer Blade Pro is a larger device, with a 17-inch display. The latest update comes with an UHD touchscreen, a mechanical keyboard with chroma keys, a quad-core processor, up to 32 GB of RAM and Nvidia 1080 graphics, with a starting price of $3799 (you could check for some potential discounts though).

The Razer Blades are some of the best portable gaming laptops of the moment

The Razer Blades are some of the best portable gaming laptops of the moment

MSI GS63 Stealth Pro and GS43 Phantom Pro

Weighing 3.9 lbs, the MSI GS63 is the lightest and one of the most compact 15-inch gaming ultraportables you could get these days, as you can read in our detailed review.

This laptops offers latest generation quad-core Intel processors, Nvidia 1060 graphics, a few different screen options (including a 120 HZ one) and an excellent SteelSeries keyboard, all tucked inside a thin and light body. However, in order to keep the weight down, MSI only put a 57 Wh battery inside the laptop and the build quality is only average, as the sheets of metal and plastic used for the case are rather thin. The GS63 does perform great though and it’s an overall solid pick in this sub-section.

It starts at around $1800 these days, for a beefy configurations with a Core i7 HQ processor, the Nvidia 1060 graphics and SSD storage. Follow this link for up-to-date configurations and prices at the time you’re reading this post.

The MSI GS60 is light and compact, yet packs powerful hardware and an excellent keyboard

The MSI GS63 is light and compact, yet packs powerful hardware and an excellent keyboard

The GS43 Phantom Pro is a more compact version of the GS63 mentioned above, and you can read all about it in our detailed review.

In very few words, it bundles the same Core i7 HQ processors and Nvidia 1060 graphics, but in a smaller, yet thicker and actually a little heavier 14-inch package. This laptop weighs 4.1 lbs and includes a 14-inch IPS matte FHD display, a Steelseries keyboard and a 61Wh battery. The base version starts at $1499, and you can find more about the available configurations via this link.

The MSI GS40 packs the latest Intel HQ processors with Nvidia 970M graphics

The MSI GS44 packs the latest Intel HQ processors with Nvidia 1060 graphics

Asus FX502VM, ROG Strix GL502VM and GL502VY

Asus offers some of the best priced devices in this category, including what’s at the time of this post the most affordable 15-inch laptop with Nvidia 1060 graphics, the FX502VM. It starts at around $1250 and for that kind of money you’ll get a Core i5 HQ processor, Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics (the 3 GB VRAM version though, not the 6 GB version that’s available on most other notebooks), 16 GB of RAM and HDD storage, plus a backlit keyboard and FHD matte screen. You can find more about this unit by following this link.

If you’d rather spend a little more and get more powerful hardware, the Asus ROG Strix GL502VM gets you a Core i7 HQ processor, the Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB chip, up to 32 GB of RAM and a 1 TB HDD for around $1350. This laptop is however a little bulkier and heavier than the FX502 model, and gets a FHD screen with GSync, which means it’s better suited for gaming, but the battery life is sacrificed. Follow this link for more details,, updated configurations and user reviews.

If the GTX 1060 graphics are still not enough for your needs, Asus also offer the ROG Strix GL502VS, which gets you the exact same specs as the VM above, but with Nvidia GTX 1070 8 GB graphics and with a 256 GB SSD included with the base configuration. This version weighs 5.7 lbs and starts at around $1650, which makes it one of the most affordable GTX 1070 notebooks out there. Follow this link for more details on the GL502VS.

Asus offers some of the best priced 15-inch laptops with Nvidia 1060 and 1070 graphics

Asus offers some of the best priced 15-inch laptops with Nvidia 1060 and 1070 graphics

Gigabyte P35X

Gigabyte offers a few portable and laptops these days, although they are only available on select markets.

The Gigabyte P35X sparks the interest as the lightest 15-incher with dedicated Nvidia 1070 8GB graphics. It weighs 5.3 lbs and is about .9″, so it’s not as thin or light as some of the other options here, but that’s understandable considering the hardware inside. The P35X gets a Core HQ processor, up to 32 GB of RAM, triple-storage options, an internal optical drive as well as a 75Wh battery. For the screen buyers can choose between a FHD or UHD IPS panel, but there’s no GSync option and this laptop also lacks a Thunderbolt 3 port.

On the other hand, Gigabyte could have done a better job with the keyboard and overall build quality. But you should be able to deal with these if you want the performance and don’t have an infinite budget at hand, as the P35X starts at around $2100. Follow this link for more details and potential discounts.

If you’re looking for a 17-incher, Gigabyte also offers the P37X series, and oversized version of the P35X with similar specs and a total weight of around 6 lbs, and on the other hand if you’re on a tighter budget you can also consider the bulkier Gigabyte P55W, which comes with Nvidia 1060 graphics.

The Gigabyte P35X and P37X are some of the lightest and most compact laptops with Nvidia 1070 graphics

The Gigabyte P35X and P37X are some of the lightest and most compact laptops with Nvidia 1070 graphics

Other laptops worth mentioning here are the Gigabyte Aero 14 (14-incher with Nvidia 1060 graphics) or the Aorus X5 (compact 15-incher with Nvidia 1070 graphics), as well as the others gathered in this article.

Best all-round (multimedia) options

This section includes a few different all-round laptops with traditional form-factors, with both portable options and those picks that will offer the best specs and features for the money, while sacrificing portability.

Give me the features, I don’t care about the size

If you want a 15-inch laptop with fast modern hardware, dedicated graphics, a good screen and a fair price, but you don’t mind a slightly bulkier body and heavier weight, then this section is for you.

There are many such all-round multimedia notebooks worth buying, and we’re going to list them below based on their starting prices, with links to our reviews and other sources with more details, updated configurations and prices. They share a few common traits, including the Intel HQ hardware platform, Nvidia 960M/1050 graphics and IPS FHD screens, but each have their particularities, their pros and their cons.

  • HP Pavilion 15 Gamer – starts at under $750, Core i5 and HDD on base model, 5.3 lbs and plastic body, 48 Wh battery;
  • Dell Inspiron 7559 Gamer – starts at under $800, plastic case, rather heavy (5.9 lbs, 1″ thick), 74 Wh battery, only a Core i5 processor and no SSD included on the base configurations, not the best keyboard;
  • Asus ZX53VW – starts at under $800, Core i5 HQ CPU and SSD on base model, 5.5 lbs and plastic body, 48 Wh battery;
  • Acer Aspire V15 Nitro – starts at $800, Core i5 HQ CPU and HDD on base model, more portable than most others – 4.9 lbs and .9″ thick, 52.3 Wh battery, Thunderbolt 3 port;
  • Lenovo Y700 – starts at around $850, Core i7 HQ and SSD included on the base model, heavy for its size – 6.2 lbs and 1″ thick, 50 Wh battery
  • Asus ROG GL552VW – starts at around $950, plastic case with metallic lid, weighs 5.7 lbs and is 1.36″ thick, Core i7 CPU on the base model but not SSD, 48 Wh battery;
  • MSI GE62 Apache Pro – starts at $999, plastic chassis with metallic lid and interior, Steelseries keyboard, Core i7 CPU, 16 GB RAM and HDD on base model, weighs 5.3 lbs and is 1.06″ thick, 51 Wh battery;

There’s also small subclass of multimedia laptops built on Intel Core U hardware with similar Nvidia 960M/1050 graphics, and these are the options to take if you’d rather get a thinner computer that you plan on mostly using for daily tasks, if you care about long battery life in such daily use scenarios or if your budget doesn’t allow to reach for the Intel HQ configurations above.

Among them you should check out the Asus K501UW series (4.4 lbs, plastic case, Core i7 U processor, SSD storage, Nvidia GTX 960M graphics, 48 Wh battery, TN FHD matte screen), with a starting price of under $900 and geat marks and reviews from previous buyers (mode details via this link), as well as the premium Zenbook UX510 (3.9 lbs, all-aluminum case, IPS FHD screen, 48 Wh battery), which starts at around $1000 and we’ve reviewed in depth over here.

Dell XPS 15 with Infinity Display

The XPS 15 is a mix of premium construction, compact form-factor and powerful specs, but these come at a price.

On the inside it bundles Core HQ processors, Nvidia dedicated graphics and a few different combinations of storage drives and batteries (up to 97 Wh), while on the outside this laptop looks and feels excellent. It’s built out of thick sheets of aluminum and smooth carbon-fiber, the narrow bezel around the screen stand as proof of its small footprint and so does its keyboard without a NumPad section. But despite these the XPS still packs a good keyboard and solid IO on the sides, including a Thunderbolt 3 connector.

You’ll find more about this laptop from our detailed review, which actually focuses on the tiny details and issues you’ll want to be ware of before deciding to buy one, and hopefully won’t scare you away.

We mentioned earlier that the XPS 15 isn’t cheap, but it actually starts at $999. However, that will only get you a Core i3 configuration with integrated graphics, 8 GB of RAM and a HDD, plus a FHD screen and the 56 Wh battery. If you want the Core i7 CPU, the Nvidia graphics, SSD storage, the UHD touchscreen or the 97 Wh battery, you’ll have to pay between $1500 and $2000 for it. Follow this link for more details, as well as the latest configurations and potential discounts at the time you’re reading this section.

Dell's XPS 15 with Infinity Display is more compact than most other premium 15-inchers

Dell’s XPS 15 with Infinity Display is more compact than most other premium 15-inchers

Apple Macbook Pro 15 with Retina Display

The Macbook Pro is for sure one of the most impressive thin-and-light 15-inch laptops of the moment and should be on every list of premium 15-inch all-rounders.

The latest version of the 15-inch Macbook Pro weighs 4.02 pounds, is 0.63″ thick and gets an aluminum unibody construction. On the inside you’ll find a 15.4-inch IPS 2880 x 1800 display with a 16:10 aspect ration, Intel quad-core processors with Iris HD graphics (optional AMD Radeon dedicated chips on some configuration), up to 16 GB of RAM, fast PCI-E SSDs and a 76Wh battery.

However, compared to the previous Macbooks, this latest iteration only offers Thunderbolt 3 IO – four slots (so you’ll need adapters for most peripherals), a low-travel keyboard with Butterfly switches and a Touchbar instead of the classic function keys, as well as Apple’s awesome force trackpad that we’ve also seen on the Macbooks. These particularities, alongside the fact that the amount of RAM is only limited to 16 GB and the high prices, might steer some of you towards something else.

The base version of the Macbook Pro starts at $2400 and you can find more details about the available configurations from Apple’s website, but keep in mind that if you’re OK with buying a preconfigured model, you’ll usually find these cheaper in other webstores.

Apple's 15-inch Macbook Pro is thinner and lighter than ever before, buts it particularities, IO and high price might steer you towards something else

Apple’s 15-inch Macbook Pro is thinner and lighter than ever before, buts it particularities, IO and high price might steer you towards something else

 

Asus Zenbooks UX501/G501

Asus have offered high-end 15-inch Zenbooks for a while, and these these days they simultaneously sell a Zenbook multimedia line, with a raw-aluminum finishing, called the Zenbook Pro UX501, and a very similar ROG G-line, with a black and red theme and a few internal tweaks here and there, called the ROG G501.

Both are thin and fairly-light 15-inchers with IPS matte displays, built on Intel quad-core platforms and Nvidia dedicated graphics (960M at the time of this update, but GTX 1050 updates are due in the near future) dual PCI-E storage solutions and up to 32 GB of RAM. I’ve reviewed the Pro UX501 in this post, in case you’re interested in more details.

Both versions start at under $1500 for some solid configurations (quad-core processors, 16 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSDs, Nvidia 960M graphics and a FHD panel). Just keep in mind to stay away from the 4K screen which displays highly innacurate color and look for the options with a FHD panel, if available in your region.

Follow this link for more details and potential discounts on the multimedia Zenbook Pro UX501 or on the black/red gaming themed ROG G501.

 

The 15 inch Haswell Zenbooks: NX500 and GX500, from left to right

The 15-inch Asus premium options, the UX501 (left) and the GX501 (right)

The best business notebooks and workstations

When it comes to business notebooks we’re looking at computer with simple/sober aesthetics, very good build quality, excellent keyboards and features like vPro, TPM and fingerprint-readers. These are mostly meant for business environments, but they can do well for individual use as well, if within your budget. There are a few different models to consider here and I’ll tell you a few things about each of them below:

  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon more details and discounts – the X1 Carbon has the looks, the build quality, the performance, the keyboard and the screen required from a top-of-the-line ultrabook. The latest generation gets a traditional form-factor with a thin and light 14-inch body, weighing 2.6 lbs. Previous versions were 2-in-1s, but these were more recently with the ThinkPad X1 Yoga line. You’ll have to compromise on battery and IO to some extent when going for one of these, plus the X1 Carbon is expensive, with the base configuration starting at around $1200 and beefier versions getting close to 2G.
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T470 – more details and discounts – this is Lenovo’s standard clamshell business notebook and bundles the hardware and the features you’d expect from a work-computer, with a big battery. There are several options available, with the largest having a capacity of 95 Wh, enough for around 15 hours of daily-use. Despite that, the T470 is still compact and fairly light (3.5 lbs), gets an excellent keyboard and solid IO, and starts at around $800.
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T470s – more details and discounts – the more portable version of the T470, weighs 2.9 lbs, is thinner and starts at $1000.
  • Dell Latitude 14 7000 – more details and discounts – an alternative for the Lenovo T400 lines, these laptops are available in a few different configurations, and top tier models include matte FHD matte screens, good IO, the latest Intel Core U hardware and a 55Wh battery. The Latitudes are on the pricey side though, with the cheapest Core i3 models starting at around $1100. You should also check out this article for my impressions on the Latitude 12 and 14-inchers.
  • HP EliteBook Folio 1040 series – more details and discounts –  unlike the dark-colored devices above, the EliteBook Folios get a crude aluminum body, so they could appeal for those who want the traits of a business machine in different clothes. These are also available a in a bunch of different configurations and include an excellent keyboard, Core U hardware and a 45.6 Wh battery in 3.15 lbs bodies. The Folios are very expensive though, starting at $1250 for basic configurations, and that could kill them for regular customers.
  • Fujitsu Lifebook U9054– this 14-incher weighs 2.9 lbs and gets a sturdy magnesium chassis and case. It bundles the latest Intel Core U hardware inside, a WQHD+ IGZO touchscreen and a 45 Wh battery. The slightly awkward keyboard and the throttling under load are however tough to accept on a computer that sells for between $1500 and $3000.

You should also check out this post for more options on business ultrabooks with internal 4G/LTE connectivity.

Wrap up

There you have it, these are some of the best 14 and 15 inch ultrabooks you should consider these days. They are thinner and lighter than regular laptops, they offer the performance required by your daily activities and more (multimedia, games, demanding software) and they last for quite a few hours on each charge.

You’ve got plenty of options to choose from from, with or without touchscreens, with or without dedicated graphics, with premium metallic bodies or more affordable price tags. So if you do want one of these larger format ultrabooks, you should find one in this article.

Just in case you haven’t found what you were looking for, these posts might also help:

I’m constantly updating this list of the best 14 and 15 inch ultraportables and I’m also here to reply to your questions and help you in any way possible, so if you do want to ask something or add to the post, the comments section is open

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.

204 Comments

  1. Tim

    June 1, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Wow that is a lot of work you have done to build the lists and maintain them.
    Thank you so much.
    I will keep an eye on here, looking for just the right fit for me. Unfortunately it is a challenge but I expect that soon there will be a system to fit so I will just check back regularly.

    Price – not the issue
    Processor – i5/i7 7th generation
    Display Size – 14/15 inch
    Display Resolution – 1080p (4K isn't important for me as battery life is higher priority)
    Battery – 6+ hours of real world use not what manufacturers state
    Weight – low if possible such as 1-1.4kg
    USB – minimum 2 with Thunderbolt support preferred to drive 2 external monitors more easily
    Memory – 16GB
    Storage – 512GB SSD
    Keyboard – backlit – no need to separate numeric keypad

    At the moment I am looking at the ASUS B9440, LG GRAM, ASUS Zenbook 3 Delux UX490UA, Lenovo Yoga 910.

    None fit everything but they are getting there, so please keep up the great work you are doing.

    • Mark

      June 13, 2017 at 2:19 am

      who wins? :)

  2. Vicki

    June 18, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Thank you for focussing on weight. Now that most airlines stipulate laptops in luggage, weight becomes crucial for everyone not just us wimps with OOS elbows and wrists, so really appreciated the weight info. Been hunting for an under 2k laptop with large screen for a longtime.
    Apteryx

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