The best 15.6 and 14-inch portable laptops and ultrabooks of 2020

By Andrei Girbea , last updated on November 18, 2020

While there are quite a few excellent compact ultrabooks out there, many of you still prefer full-size 15-inch laptops with large screens and enough power to smoothly handle daily tasks, workloads, and even games.

However, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t say no to a full-size laptop that’s actually thin and lightweight, as long as it still meets the requirements and falls within the right budget.

We’ve tested most of the laptops available in stores these days, of all kinds and from all brands, and in this article, we’ll tell you which are in our opinion the best 14 and 15-inch ultra-portable laptops you can buy.

There are many good options, and in order to make it easier for you to find that specific device that best suits your needs and budget, we’ve split the article into a couple of 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 selection of units in each of them, with links towards our detailed reviews and links towards Amazon pages, where you can find user-reviews and updated configurations/prices for each specific model. Keep in mind that products that might initially look outside your budget might actually sell for less at the time you’re reading the article, so those links are definitely worth a look.

Thin and light all-round (multimedia) laptops

This section includes portable all-around laptops with traditional form-factors, modern specs, and features.

Due to the number of options, we’ve listed our recommendations below, with only a few of their important traits and links to our detailed reviews and articles, where you can find more about them.

If you’re not interested in an ultraportable notebook, we’re going to cover high-performance gaming models, convertibles, and budget notebooks in further sections.

Among the many 14-inch multimedia variants, these are on our lists (ordered alphabetically):

  • Acer Swift 3 lineup – all-rounders, Core U hardware, optional Nvidia MX150 or MX150 Max-Q graphics, IPS matte screens with small bezels, fast keyboard, 48 Wh batteries, from 1.35 kg / 3 lbs, competitively priced;
  • Asus Zenbook 14 lineup – ultra-compact all-rounder, Core U hardware, Nvidia MX150/MX250 graphics, IPS matte/touch screens with tiny bezels, 50 Wh battery, from 1.1 kg / 2.4 lbs, competitively priced;
  • Dell Inspiron 15 5000 – all-rounder based on AMD Ryzen hardware, very well priced, IPS-like screen, 42 Wh battery, 1.4 kg/3.9 lbs
  • Huawei Matebook X Pro – ultra-compact all-rounder, Core U hardware, high-res IPS touchscreen screen with 3:2 aspect ratio, minuscule bezels, TB3 ports, 57.4 Wh battery, 1.32 kg / 2.95 lbs, good value, but more expensive than most alternatives;
  • Huawei MateBook D 14 – much more affordable alternative of the X Pro, 16:9 display, AMD Ryzen hardware,57.4 Wh battery, 3.3 lbs
  • Lenovo IdeaPad 720s – all-rounder, a bit heavier than the bunch, Core U hardware, optional Nvidia MX150 graphics, IPS matte screen, small bezels, TB3 port, 56 Wh battery, 1.5 kg / 3.4 lbs, competitively priced;
  • LG Gram 14 thin-and-light notebook, Core U hardware, Intel UHD 620 graphics, IPS matte screen, minuscule bezels, 60 Wh battery, ultra-light at 0.99 kg / 2.19 lbs,  good price;
  • MSI Prestige PS42 – ultra-compact all-rounder, Core U hardware, full-power Nvidia MX150 graphics, IPS matte screen with small bezels, 50 Wh battery, 1.2 kg / 2.6 lbs, competitively priced;
  • MSI Modern 14 – ultracompact gaming notebook, an updated version of the PS42, Core U hardware and Nvidia GTX 1650 MQ graphics, IPS matte screen with small bezels, 50 Wh battery, 1.2 kg / 2.6 lbs, competitively priced;

These aside, if gaming is not on your interests list and portability is an important criterion, you should definitely consider the existing 13-inch options on the market, as well as some of the good business ultraportables that some may prefer as daily-drivers, if within budget, like the Dell Latitude 7490, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon or the Thinkpad T480s /T490s, which we’ll cover in-depth in a further section.

Some of the 14-inch options: Huawei Matebook X Pro, Asus Zenbook UX430 and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Some of the excellent 14-inch options: Huawei Matebook X Pro, Asus Zenbook UX430 and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

The choice of a full-size 15-inch multimedia notebook is a bit more difficult, but most options can be split into two camps: More Portable/ Less Powerful and Less Portable / More Powerful.

First, we’ll cover our recommendations in the former subsection, the thinnest and lightest 15-inch notebooks with an emphasize on the compact form-factor, smooth everyday experience, and long battery life, but not the best picks if you’re also running demanding chores and games:

  • Acer Swift 3 15 – Core U hardware, Nvidia MX150 graphics, IPS FHD matte screen, small bezels, metallic build, 48 Wh battery, 1.8 kg / 4.0 lbs, more affordable than most alternatives;
  • Asus Vivobook S15 – an updated version of the VivoBook S510, Core U hardware, optional Nvidia MX150 graphics, IPS FHD matte screen, small bezels, metal build, 42 Wh battery, 1.75 kg / 3.8 lbs, competitively priced;
  • Asus Zenbook UX534 –  Core U hardware and GTX 1650 MQ graphics, IPS FHD matte or UHD touch Pantone screen, tiny bezels, premium metallic build, 71 Wh battery,  1.65 kg / 3.7 lbs, more expensive;
  • LG Gram 15 – highly portable, Core U hardware, Intel UHD 620 graphics, IPS FHD glossy non-touch screen, small bezels, metallic build, TB3, 72 Wh battery, 1.1 kg / 2.43 lbs, competitively priced;
  • Samsung Notebook 9 – highly portable, Core U hardware, optional Nvidia MX150 graphics, IPS FHD glossy screen, small bezels, magnesium build, 1x TB3, 75 Wh battery, 1.3 kg / 2.8 lbs, rather expensive;
  • Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro – Core U hardware, Nvidia MX150 graphics, IPS FHD matte screen, small bezels, metallic build, 60 Wh battery, 1.95 kg / 4.3 lbs, more affordable than most alternatives.
Some of the 15-inch thin-and-light all rounders: Dell Inspiron 7000, LG Gram 15 and Samsung Notebook 9

Some of the 15-inch thin-and-light all-rounders: Dell Inspiron 7000, LG Gram 15 and Samsung Notebook 9

Then, if you’d rather get a more powerful computer that can handle both everyday use and demanding loads, but the premium build and thin form-factor are still among your main priorities, these higher-end multimedia ultraportables should be the ones for you:

  • Apple Macbook Pro – Core H hardware, optional Radeon Pro and Vega graphics, 15.4″ glossy retina screen, aluminum unibody construction, 4x TB3 ports, 84 Wh battery, starts at 1.83 kg / 4.05 lbs;
  • Asus Zenbook Pro UX550 and Zenbook Pro UX580 – Core H hardware, optional Nvidia 1050 / 1050 Ti graphics, 15.6″ matte or touch FHD/UHD screen, all-metal build, 2x TB3 ports, 71 Wh battery, starts at 1.8 kg / 3.97 lbs for the non-touch version, the UX580 get a secondary screen within the trackpad;
  • Dell XPS 15 – Core H hardware, Nvidia 1650 Max-Q graphics, 15.6″ matte FHD or touch UHD screen, metal and carbon fiber build, 1x TB3, 56 or 97 Wh battery,  starts at 1.85 kg / 4.1 lbs for the non-touch version with 56 Wh battery;
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme – Core H hardware, Nvidia 1650 Max-Q Graphics, matte FHD or touch UHD screen, standard ThinkPad looks, features and construction, 2x TB3 and dual-storage, 80 Wh battery, starts at 1.75 kg for non-touch version;
  • Lenovo ThinkPad P1 – workstation version of the X1E, with Quadro graphics and otherwise identical in every way. Might sell for less than the X1E.
  • Lenovo Yoga S740 – very similar to the XPS 15 and ThinkPad X1E in terms of specs, but more affordable. A new lanch at the time of this update, so look into reviews for more details on the performance and thermals.
And some of the premium 15-inch options: Dell XPS 15, Asus Zenbook UX580 and HP EliteBook 1050

And some of the premium 15-inch options: Dell XPS 15, Asus Zenbook UX580 and HP EliteBook 1050

The best gaming and high-performance laptops

The devices in this section can handle games and most other demanding chores that require a powerful CPU and GPU. We’ve split them into two categories, those that offer the best performance for your buck, but with little fluff and fancy features, and the nicer more compact options with modern features, but matching price-tags.

Bang for the buck options

In this section we’re not going to care much about size and portability, but rather look for value, the best performance and traits we can get for our money. There are many good variants you can consider, and we’ll only mention the better options and link to our detailed articles and reviews for in-depth analysis.

At around $700 to $900, your attention should turn towards the Acer Nitro 5, Asus Vivobook Pro, Asus TUF Gaming FX505, or the Lenovo Legion Y530, fairly compact full-size laptops with Core H and GTX 1050/1050Ti graphics, IPS screens, backlit keyboards, proper IO and averagely sized batteries.

These computers can handle taxing loads and FHD gaming with medium/high settings, but you’ll have to up the budget if you’re after configurations with an i7 processor, more RAM, and dual-storage, and also look into reviews to find out more about each unit’s performance, thermals and various quirks. There’s an ampler list of GTX 1050/1050Ti laptops in this detailed article.

Some of the better budget gaming laptops: Asus TUF FX505, Acer Nitro 5 and Lenovo Legion Y530

Some of the better budget gaming laptops: Asus TUF FX505, Acer Nitro 5 and Lenovo Legion Y530

At around $1000 you can reach for GTX 1060 powered laptops with improved gaming abilities, but the cheapest variants include i5 processors with little RAM, have rather dim screens and not necessarily the most appropriate cooling implementations for this kind of a GPU. Devices like the Lenovo Legion Y530, Dell Gaming G7 or the Acer Aspire 7 should be on your list here.

There is however better value in the mid-range segment of GTX 1060 laptops, with nicer builds, brighter screens with high-refresh rates and small bezels, improved configurations, adequate cooling, and larger batteries. The Acer Predator Helios 300 and Xiaomi Mi Gaming are some of the most affordable options here, or you can step up to the Lenovo Legion Y730, Alienware 15, Asus ROG GL504MSI GE63 Raider and GE65 Raider, or some of the existing Clevo/Sager/Schenker bare-bones. More about all these options in this article.

You could also look into the existing GTX 1070 laptops if you’re an enthusiast gamer, but the 15-inch versions are rather expensive and that chip makes more sense inside a 17-incher with extra space for cooling. You’ll find a detailed list of 15 and 17-inch GTX 1070 laptops in here.

Better value GTX 1060 options: Lenovo Legion Y730, Acer Predator Helios and Asus ROG GL504

Better value GTX 1060 options: Lenovo Legion Y730, Acer Predator Helios and Asus ROG GL504

Portable 14 and 15-inch gaming notebooks

If size and weight matter and you’re willing to spend extra for a more portable computer, there are a lot of nicer laptops for you out there.

We’ve covered this subject in-depth in this article, so we’re not going to reiterate it here again. Just follow the link for the available options and our recommendations. In very few words, though, our top picks at the time of this latest update are the Asus Zephyrus M and S, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced, the MSI GS65 Stealth and the Gigabyte Aero 15, each with their strong points and their quirks. You’ll find out why from here.

The best 2-in-1 convertibles

We’ve covered this topic in-depth in a different dedicated article that you should check out if you’re primarily interested in a 2-in-1 laptop, but we’ll also mention the better 14 and 15-inch options with convertible touchscreens in this section.

At the mid-range and more affordable ends, you’ll get to choose among a handful of devices built on Core U hardware with or without dedicated graphics, FHD IPS touchscreens, mid-level builds, averagely sized batteries, and standard features. These are the better picks:

  • Acer Spin 5 – 15-inch convertible with FHD touchscreen, dim panel; Core U hardware and GTX 1050 graphics, but with some performance issues; 48 Wh battery; fairly chunky and heavy, at 2.25 kg/5 lbs; competitively priced;
  • Dell Inspiron 15 7000 – 15-inch convertible with FHD/UHD touchscreen; Core U hardware and optional MX150 graphics; 42 or 56 Wh battery; updated design and fairly portable, at 2kg/4.4 lbs;
  • HP Envy x360 15 – 15-inch convertible with FHD/UHD touchscreen, dim panel; Core U hardware and optional MX150 graphics, or AMD Ryzen hardware; 56 Wh battery; compact metallic build, but rather heavy at 2.17 kg/4.8 lbs;  rather expensive;
  • Lenovo Flex 14/15 –  14/15-inch convertible with FHD touchscreen, fairly dim panel; Core U hardware; 45 Wh battery – 52Wh for 15-inch model; fairly compact and average quality plastic build, but light at 1.7 kg/3.7 lbs (14-inch model); competitively priced;
  • Lenovo Yoga 730 – 15-inch convertible with FHD touchscreen, mid-quality panel; Core U hardware and GTX 1050 graphics, but with some performance issues; TB3; 52 Wh battery; fairly compact and well built – 1.8 kg/4.2 lbs; competitively priced.
Some of the mid-tier options: Acer Spin 5, HP Envy x360 and the Lenovo Flex 14

Some of the mid-tier options: Acer Spin 5, HP Envy x360 and the Lenovo Flex 14

On the other hand, if you can spend more, at the higher-end you’ll find a lot of interesting options with premium builds, high-resolution screens, powerful hardware, and nifty features. These are the options to consider:

  • Asus Zenbook Flip – 15-inch convertible with FHD/UHD touchscreen, Pantone UHD panel; Core U hardware and GTX 1050 Max-Q graphics; 57 Wh battery; ultracompact and well built, fairly light at 1.9 kg/4.3 lbs;
  • Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 – 15-inch convertible with FHD/UHD touchscreen, good panels; Core G hardware and Vega graphics, good performance; interesting low-travel keyboard; 2x TB3; 75 Wh battery; compact, premium build – 2 kg/4.4 lbs; expensive;
  • HP Spectre X360 15 – 15-inch convertible with UHD touchscreen, good panel; Core G or Core U/MX150 hardware, good performance; TB3; 84 Wh battery; premium build, but a bit heavy at 2.1 kg/4.6 lbs; expensive;
  • Microsoft Surface Book 2 15 – 15-inch detachable with high-res 3:2 screen, N-trig digitizer, good panel; Core U hardware and optional GTX 1060 graphics in the base; great keyboard; 86 Wh battery; premium build – 1.9 kg/4.2 lbs; gets very expensive;
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga – 14-inch business convertible with FHD/WQHD screen, excellent high-res OELD panel; Core U hardware; 2x TB3; 54 Wh battery; good build quality and compact form-factor – 1.4 kg/3.2 lbs; gets expensive;
  • Samsung Note Pro 9 15 – 15-inch convertible with FHD screen, good panel; Core U hardware; 54 Wh battery; well built, but not as nice as the other options; compact and light – 1.7 kg/3.7 lbs; fair price.
And some of the premium 2-in-1s: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1, Microsoft Surface Book and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

And some of the premium 2-in-1s: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1, Microsoft Surface Book and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

Affordable all-around laptops (under $600)

This section includes the best large-screen all-around laptops you can get for under $600, devices capable of handling everyday tasks and even games, to some extent. Expect to get good specs for the money, but don’t expect premium builds, 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-based activities like browsing, movies, music, email or document editing, you should consider these Chromebooks.

The Acer Chromebook 15 is the most affordable option, going for around $250 to $300. This kind of money will get you a fanless Celeron hardware platform, 4 GB of RAM, 16 to 32 GB of storage, a 15.6-inch IPS FHD screen and a rather small 32 Wh battery, yet enough to keep this going for around 5-6 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, front-facing speakers and a fairly good non-backlit keyboard.

An updated version with a slimmer and lighter construction and updated hardware is also available, for a little under $400, but for most, there’s probably better value in the cheaper variant. Follow this link for more details and the latest pricing updates.

Overall, the Chromebook 15 is one of the simplest laptops that actually work well, as long as you understand exactly what a Chromebook can and cannot do.

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. The latest model gets an aluminum chassis and a more portable build (weighs 3.4 lbs), upgraded hardware, a 48 Wh battery that delivers around 8 hours or real-life use on a charge, a backlit keyboard and glass trackpad, as well as an IPS FHD screen with optional touch. Older versions are a tad larger and don’t get the backlit keyboard.

The Acer Chromebook 14 starts at $349, making another excellent buy for those on a really limited budget, and the older variants sell for under $300. Follow this link for more details, user reviews, and the latest prices.

The latest 14-inch Acer Chromebook is smaller and better specked

The latest 14-inch Acer Chromebook is smaller and better specced

Affordable all-around laptops

This section includes full-size Windows laptops that sell for under $600 and can handle everyday use, multitasking, and some light gaming.

As a general rule, at the time of this post I would recommend buying a laptop built on a latest-generation Core i3/i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and if possible, SSD storage. You’ll also find a fair bit on devices with Pentium/Celeron processors and just 4 GB of RAM, but those CPUs are rather slow and that amount of RAM is hardly enough for modern browsers and multitasking, that’s why I advise getting a Core i3/i5 CPU and 8 GB if you plan to keep the laptop for a few years. There are also a few interesting AMD powered options out there to consider, but towards the upper price limit of this section.

As far as the storage goes, an SSD is going to make your laptop much faster than if it came with a regular HDD, but you can settle for an HDD if an SSD configuration is outside of your budget, as you’ll be able to upgrade that in the future, if you want to.

With all these in mind, all the major OEMs offer a computer in this segment. In the around the $400 budget you’ll find Core i3 laptops with 8 GB of RAM, HDD storage, HD screens with TN panels, rather small batteries, and mostly non-backlit keyboards, in devices like the Lenovo IdeaPad 330, Acer Aspire E15 or the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 series.

At around the $500 mark you’ll find slightly more powerful laptops with Core i5 hardware, IPS screens and backlit keyboards, both in upgraded configurations of the lines mentioned earlier, but also in devices like the Asus VivoBook series, Acer Aspire 5, Dell Inspiron 15 5000, Lenovo ThinkPad E series, the HP Pavilion 15 or the premium Asus C302 2-in-1 Chromebook.

And then if you’re willing to spend around $600, at this level you’ll find laptops with nicer and smaller builds, bigger batteries, SSD storage, optional Nvidia MX150 graphics and a few options with convertible touchscreens.

Follow this link for a longer list of good laptops in the $500-$600 range, with updated prices and user reviews.

Just some of the good affordable laptops out there

Just some of the good affordable laptops out there

The best business notebooks and workstations

Business notebooks are either workstations with powerful hardware, designed for heavy workloads on the go, or all-rounders with simple aesthetics, sturdy builds, excellent keyboards and features like vPro, TPM, LTE connectivity and fingerprint-readers. These are mostly meant for business environments, but you consider them as daily drivers as well, if they meet your requirements and fall within your budget.

There are a few different models to consider among the many business all-rounders, and we’ve listed them below. We mostly recommend 14-inch notebooks in this section, due to their increased portability and reduced weight, but some of these are also available with 15-inch screens in case you just want a larger display.

  • Asus Pro P5440 – more details – thin-and-light laptop with MIL-graded magnesium build, an excellent keyboard, a matte IPS screen, punchy speakers a the performance to handle daily activities. Gets a 50 Wh battery, complete IO (without TB3 though) and is overall more affordable than the competition.
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon more details – review – 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, compact bezels and a total weight of just 2.5 lbs. Previous versions were 2-in-1s, which is now a feature of the ThinkPad X1 Yoga line. You’ll have to make very few compromises with these laptops, and the limited IO and rather mediocre speakers are two of them. The X1 Carbon is however expensive, with the base configuration starting at around $1250 and beefier versions getting close to $1700-$1800.
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T480 – more details – this is Lenovo’s standard clamshell business notebook and bundles the hardware and the features you’d expect from a work-computer, as well as a huge up to 96 Wh battery. The T480 is slightly chunkier and heavier than the other options in this selection, starting and 3.5 lbs and going to about 4 lbs for the 96 Wh battery variant, but is also more affordable, starting at around $800 for the basic models.
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T480s – review – the more portable version of the T480, weighs 2.95 lbs, gets a 57 Wh battery, is thinner and starts at $1200.
  • Dell Latitude 14 7000 – more details – Dell’s alternative for the Lenovo T400 lines, these laptops are highly configurable and top tier models include bright FHD screens with matte IPS panels, good IO, the latest Intel Core U hardware and a 60 Wh battery. The Latitudes are on the pricey side in most regions.
  • HP EliteBook Folio 1040 series – more details – a design change from most other business laptops, these get an aluminum unibody construction, but with similar build quality and sturdiness. They are also available multiple configurations and include an excellent keyboard, multiple matte or touch screen options, modern Core U hardware and a 67 Wh battery in a compact shell that weighs around 3.2 lbs. The EliteBook Folios are also on the pricey side.

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

Some of the business options: Lenovo ThinkPad T480s, Dell Latitude 7000 and HP EliteBook 1040

Some of the business options: Lenovo ThinkPad T480s, Dell Latitude 7000 and HP EliteBook 1040

As far as workstations go, our recommendations for thin-and-light options with fast processors (up to Core i9 and Xeon) and professional grade Nvidia Quadro graphics are the following:

  • Dell Precision 5000 – workstation variant of the Dell XPS 15, with up to Intel Xeon processors, 32 GB of RAM and Nvidia Quadro P2000 graphics;
  • Lenovo ThinkPad P1 – 15-inch laptop with 100% aRGB 4K display, up to Intel Xeon processors, 64 GB of RAM and Nvidia Quadro P2000 graphics;
  • MSI WS65 – workstation variant of the MSI GS65 Thin, with the same build and characteristics, but up Core i9 processors, 32 GB of RAM and Nvidia Quadro P4200 graphics.

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 most 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, 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 large-format ultrabooks, you should find one in this article.

However, 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, get in touch in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Our content is reader-supported. If you buy through some of the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I've been covering mobile computers since the 2000s and you'll mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site.

230 Comments

  1. mark

    August 18, 2016 at 9:39 am

    i dont think i can buy gs63 yet.. at least not here in europe. and gigabyte is out of the picture. I also read the xps15 review and after a short research Its out of the list because of many bugs reported. how about the asus zenbook ux510uw? i added that to the list, together with lenovo ideapad y700. If I could just get the macbook with a better video card.. but 2gb card will fall short for most modern games right? thank you for your help

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 18, 2016 at 10:35 am

      The GS63 is not yet available, you’d have to wait till early October for it, maybe a little sooner. The UX510UW isn’t available either, I have a review scheduled but it’s going to take around 3 more weeks til I get to it. Should be available Late September too.

      Opinion on the Ideapad Y700 are kind of mixed up. I haven’t properly tested it, so can’t share much about hidden flaws. If you’re looking at this class though, you could also consider the MSI GE62 and Acer Aspire V15 VN5-592G Nitro. Also, MSI GS60 and Asus GL502VT with faster graphics, although these might be outside budget.

      The rMBP is a great device, but not that much for gaming and the hardware in it is old, Apple haven’t updated the series since Spring 2015 if I’m not mistaken. They are bound for an update in the next few months.

  2. Tommaso Santojanni

    August 22, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Hello Andrei,

    After years of bliss with a Vaio VPCSA, I need to look for a new laptop as my Sony died on me. Would you offer your expertise and time to suggest me 3 alternatives that cover these requirements (in order of importance):

    50% RELIABILITY (if no statistic data is available then disregard this requirement)

    20% Least possible weight 1.5KG MAX (I like thin too, if possible but not a requirement)
    10% Display quality (watching films)
    10% Keyboard & touchpad quality (must be backlit and I need to feel the “click”)
    10% Build quality

    Must have:
    Minimum Display size 13″ but preferably 14″ or, better, 15 as long as under or near 1.5Kg
    Minmum memory: 500GB
    Minmum RAM: 8GB
    Memory Type: SSD
    CPU: i7/5th (or better) or equivalent i5
    Win 10 (better pro)

    I categorically refuse to be imprisoned into Apple system, so please do not include any of their products in your recommendations.

    Again compliments for your excellent posts and for your advice.

    Tommaso

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 22, 2016 at 6:26 pm

      Do you also have a budget in mind? There are a few good 14-inch options and I’m looking at the Lenovo Carbon X1, Lenovo THinkPad T460s, Dell latitude 14 7000 and a few others, as mentioned in this post which was recently updated, but you didn’t mention your budget so I can’t tell if these are what you’re looking for or not :)

      • Tommaso

        August 22, 2016 at 11:45 pm

        3,000$ is the budget but I can go a bit higher for a really light, slim and solid 14″ or 15″ laptop. 1.5kg is the goal. I am tempted by the Zenbook 3 UX390 because of its weight and thin profile. I’m just afraid that it’s too small.

      • Andrei Girbea

        August 23, 2016 at 7:19 pm

        Then those mentioned in thew previous comment are within your reach. 15-inchers in that weight are hard to find. There’s a list of the lightest ones here: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/4219-the-lightest-ultrabooks/

        As for the Zenbook UX390, it’s really small. I’d say check it out first before committing, or you can check out the Macbook in an Apple store, it’s the same size.

  3. Ben Ben

    September 19, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    Hi Andrei,
    Thank you for the amazing article!

    Would you mind giving me a recommendation on a laptop I can use for photoshop editing, 14-15.6 inch touch screen and fhd with ok battery life under 900$?

    I’m so confused from the list :(

    Thank you very much in advance
    -Ben

  4. Andy K

    October 24, 2016 at 12:37 am

    Hi Andrei,

    Big fan of your works! I'm looking for a laptop for day to day use and some light gaming (Fifa Manager 14), but I'd like a bit more power behind it to make sure it's running smoothly. Any recommendations?

  5. Kristian

    December 9, 2016 at 3:23 am

    Hello,
    I'm in process of choosing a new laptop and so far nothing suits me well enough.
    Budget: 1500$
    Purpose: Graphic/Industria design, Photoshop, 3Ds Max, Music creation (FL Studio)…

    I'm not a gamer. I need something light and thin, but with a nice large screen. Preferably touch. And a good pergormance (battery life doesn't matter much.).

    I'm really into Asus UX510 (no touch) or UX501 (a little over my budget). Also I was considering Dell Inspiron 15z or 17z.

    What would you suggest?

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 9, 2016 at 11:43 am

      I'd get something with a Core i7 HQ processor and at least 16 GB of RAM. Dedicated graphics come included by default and NVMe storage is also appreciated. You'll also want a good screen.

      That means the UX510 shouldn't be on the list. The UX501 is an option, just stay out of the models with an UHD screen. Can't comment on the Inspirons, they're pretty solid options, but not that protable imo.

      I'd also consider devices like the MSI GS60 (or the newer GS63 if you can find it somewhere withign the budget) or the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition, which is fairly thin and not very heavy. The Dell XPS15 is another great option, but probably outside your budget. None of these has a touchscreen, except for the Dell.

      • Kristian

        December 9, 2016 at 1:52 pm

        Thaks for a quick reply, Andrei! It's nice to see a working website.

        I guess I decided to stick with the new Inspiron 17z. It has pretty much all the bells and whistles I was looking for. Newest i7, 16Gb of RAM, 512Gb of SSD storage, Graphic card is, too, efficient in my opinion (Geforce 940MX) It's not a GTX, but I guess it'll do it's job well enough (I'm not gonna play anything anyway…) Also, even if it's not an ultraportable, It's not that heavy compared to what I tried in the past. And comes with a big screen. Haven't seen a 2-in-1 convertible this big yet. And has a 3.1 C port, which is nice. Never had one. I heard you can stick an external (eGPU) graphic card into it and amplify graphic performance, is it true?

        Anyway, If I get this semi aluminium beauty, I'd gladly comment on it here. Say, share my user expirience… :D

      • Andrei Girbea

        December 10, 2016 at 4:27 pm

        Great, your feedback on the 17z would be greatly appreciated.

      • Kristian

        December 18, 2016 at 10:36 am

        So, here I am.
        Got my Dell on Friday.
        Man, I've literally never been this impressed by a new computer! First thought when i boot it up was – damn, 1500 $ is cheap for this guy!
        So a brief review – for someone who has been using a smartphone for more than a year only, having a laptop (or a hugeass 17,3 inch glass touch panel) is amazing.
        The laptop is fast! Very fast. Windows Hello speeds upmthe start up time.
        Build quality is great! Metal casing makes it feel sturdy. And it's relatively light.
        Screen is Gorgeous! As gorgeous as on my phone. And touch is precise.

        You can definitely have some work done on it. As well as some relax. music plays loud and clear as well.

        Also – here you can seethe true power of windows 10. It feels more intuitive on 2-in-1 than a conventional laptop. I barely used a touchpad or a keyboard since i got it. :D

        So for me – I suggest everyone looking for a new generation of laptops to get this Big beauty. ;)

  6. Ann

    January 2, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    I'm also looking for a new laptop. Wanted to ask your advice. I'd like to get a 14 inch, but slightly smaller would be OK too. Wanted to get a i5 or i7. I am only surfing the internet and using Office (Excel, Word, and PP). I handle a lot of files, so I don't think I want to get a Chromebook. My head/eyes are very sensitive to light and flicker. I'm concerned about the additional glare on the glossy screens and the 2 in 1s. I think a matte display would be better for me. I was eyeing the Lenovo T460, but the price didn't drop since Thanksgiving and it's expensive. Am also considering the Acer Swift 3, which seems to meet the basic requirements at half the price. Any other suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Ann

  7. Hieu

    February 26, 2017 at 4:55 am

    Hi Andrei,
    I am an architect and considering buying a new laptop workstation really soon to replace my old desktop. I do light CAD drafting and medium use of Revit on my projects as well as some photoshop. I am torn between the Dell Precision 15 5510 and 15" HP Zbook Studio, by the way I read your review on the Precision 5510 very informative but could not find any on the HP Zbook Studio. I am currently using 2-23" Apple CinemaHD monitors with 1920 X 1200 native resolution and like to keep them
    My budget is $2000
    My consideration for the configuration:
    i5 6300 HP or i7 6700HQ
    NVIDIA Quatro M100 or Equivalent
    256GB SSD
    16 GB RAM
    I certainly appreciate your recommendation. I like the physical design of both models.
    Regards
    Hieu

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 27, 2017 at 9:44 am

      Hi, unfortunately I can't comment on the HP Zbook because I've never tested or seen one in action, it's not available in my country. There should be good reviews on sites like netbookcheck.net and also a forum thread on notebookreview.com, perhaps you can find more details there. The Precision is a nice option, but if you've read the review carefully, it throttles at certain high loads, so you are trading some performance for the form factor. Just make sure you're fine with this particular and important, imo, aspect :)

      • Hieu

        February 27, 2017 at 2:38 pm

        Hi Andrei,
        Thank you very much for your reply.
        I am not sure what "throttle" means if it impacts the performance of the laptop.
        Would the Dell XPS 15 suitable for light AutoCAD /Revit works?
        Regards

        Hieu

      • Andrei Girbea

        February 27, 2017 at 5:27 pm

        Throttling is explained here: http://www.computerhope.com/jargon/p/procthro.htm . Due to reaching high temperatures, the CPU runs at lower clock frequencies for a while, thus i doens't perform as well as it can. That usually happens with thin format notebooks. The XPS 15 is similar, but we're working on a review of the Kaby lake XPS 9560 model, should be available in about a week or so. We'll talk about any potential issues there.

  8. Anna

    March 15, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Hi!

    I am looking for a 15 inch or higher laptop that is the best, the newest technology. Price does not matter. Could you, please, recommend something? :-)

    • Charlie

      March 16, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      I got myself a Dell inspiron 17z touch 7779. And couldn't be any happier.

      • Andrei Girbea

        March 16, 2017 at 2:51 pm

        Hi Charlie. That's a very nice laptop and unfortunately I never got the chance to spend time with it myself. Would you be interested in sharing some thoughts and pictures with us? I'd put them in a dedicated post (like this one: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/9207-samsung-ativ-book-9-spin-review/ ) and I'm sure many other readers would find it very useful. If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, please let me know and I'll get back to you on email.

      • Charlie

        March 16, 2017 at 3:00 pm

        Definitely, Andrew! I'll be glad to help people find more information about it and help dell with sales ;)
        What would you like to know?

      • Andrei Girbea

        March 16, 2017 at 3:07 pm

        Thank you. I'll get in touch by email.

  9. Marc

    March 25, 2017 at 10:05 am

    This is a great and detailed review with nearly the full gamut of great ultrabooks. Should readers consider the ASUS Zenbook UX430 as well? In my opinion, that is the best ultrabook for build quality, aesthetic, performance, and value.

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 28, 2017 at 6:57 am

      Yes, for sure, it's one of the better 14-inchers out there and will be included in the next major update.

  10. Dv

    April 6, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Tough week of deadlines and my 4yr old DELL Laptop Inspiron 13z (i13z-8864sLV) Intel Core i3 3rd Gen 3217U (1.80 GHz) 6 GB Memory 500 GB HDD Intel HD Graphics 4000 13.3" Windows 8 was damaged and not worth repairing. I'm looking for a replacement below $400, max $500, 13" or 14", less than 3.5 lbs, primarily for Internet and word processing work but with enough storage. Would you have recommendations. Have wasted 2 days searching. Need to decide asap.

  11. 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? :)

  12. 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

  13. Andre

    July 31, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Hi, I'm trying to replace my 15 inchmac after that I have had for about 4 years. However, apple has gotten way too expensive with their 15 inchers so I was wondering which do you think is better the 15.6 360 spectre or the 15 xps?

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 1, 2017 at 4:57 am

      The XPS is faster, built on Intel HQ processors and with dedicated graphics. It's a great laptop, but you're payign premium or the looks and has its share of flaws. We have a review here on the site for more details.
      The Spextre x360 is built on slower Intel U processors and is a convertible.

      If you need a computer for everyday use (browsing, movies, texts, etc), both will do fine. For more demanding loads, I'd get the XPS or another laptop with a quad-core processors and 16 GB of RAM.

  14. luis

    September 23, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Andrei.
    Great list you've got there. So much choice for everyone. Or, at least, for almost everyone. I feel there's something missing. Not your fault, though.
    A machine I'd call "the 15-inch MBA". It'd have a core i5 8250u CPU, 8-16GB of RAM, 250-500GB of SSD, a 15-inch full-hd screen with small besels (like xps15) and a 80-90Wh battery. 2 TB3 ports supporting charging, 2-3 USB-A ports, card reader and headphone slot.
    Just that. No DGPU, no 2,5" HDD slot. That'd be my dream machine. Sadly, no OEM thinks it'd be profitable to build such machine.

    In the bigger body, there'd be space for a better keyboard, and the machine would run cooler than smaller ultrabooks. And I bet it could get into 1,5-1,7kg, which wouldn't be sooooooo much.

    Ok, enough with thhis rant.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 24, 2017 at 5:31 am

      That sounds like a very solid option, and hopefully we'll see some devices that come close, but probably with much smaller batteries. I look forward for an updated version of the LG Gram 15, for instance. Not sure about other OEMs, as far as I can tell the KB-R quad-cores are mostly bundled with smaller laptops or entry level 15-inchers. Still, with Coffee Lake and Canon Lake in Q1 2018, we should see some interesting new options.

      • luis

        October 2, 2017 at 1:10 pm

        Hi Andrei. Unfortunately, if OEMs keep doing what they've done these years, you're right. But if it doesn't get a bigger battery, it'd not be sooo interesting to me. If it gets just around 55-60Wh battery, I'd prefer the ux330ua or the xps 13 which also get the same battery but are smaller.

        About the LG gram 15, LG sacrifices everything just to market it as the lightest 15" laptop.

        For example, if asus or dell took the ux330ua or the xps13, made them bigger so they could fit a 15" screen and filled the space inside with a bigger battery, it'd be enough. If they put a slightly better keyboard on it, it'd be perfect.

        There are big, heavy, powerful laptops and there are smaller, not so heavy but still powerful laptops (like some MSI and Razer 14" which I don't remember the model names).
        So I don't understand why any of the OEMs sells a relatively light machine with the longest battery of the market.

      • Roee Mazor

        November 2, 2017 at 1:17 pm

        I would definitely buy this 15" ultrabook!

    • D Pao

      October 1, 2017 at 5:45 am

      Hi, Luis.
      Just wondering what is this "15in MBA" laptop name?

      • luis

        October 2, 2017 at 12:59 pm

        Hi D Pao. It was just a name I made up to try to sumarize the machine I was thinking of. Something with a ULV CPU, no DGPU and loads of battery, like the 11" and 13" mackbook airs but with a 15" screen so it could fit a better keyboard and even more battery capacity, while running cooler than smaller laptops.

  15. Jana

    November 19, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Hi Andrei,
    I have owned four laptops since the late '90s: 1 Apple, 2 HPs and 1 Asus. I like the Asus I have now, but it's old, slow, and the screen has broken away from the body (!) so it's time for a new one. I have bought previous laptops by just going to a shop and explaining what I want and getting it. Now I'm reading so many online reviews that I'm at a standstill. As soon as I think I've decided on one, I read a review with cons that put me off. Maybe you can help. I use my laptop as my main computer, for personal and work business. The Asus I've had for about four or five years is Q501LA (mine doesn't seem to have the A on it), 15.6" screen. My main job is writing, so I want a keyboard you would recommend as 'excellent'. Just so it's easy to type. A good touchpad is good, too, but I usually use a USB mouse anyway. I had an HP that overheated so badly it burned my hands and I had to get rid of it. I am happy with this Asus as it stays cool, and there is never fan noise or noise of any other kind (also important). For work sometimes I have to have videos playing as well as about 15 tabs open in my browser. So graphics are more important now than they used to be. My computer hangs a lot these days. This screen is 'anti-glare' but not matte. It's also important the screen is clear and easy to read. I do not care if it's touch screen or not, or if it's a 2-in-1 or not.
    The reviews of yours I have read have led me back and forth to Lenovo Yoga, the Dell you seem to mention a lot (XP.. woops, forgot the number, brain fried), and Asus computers I've looked a lot at the ZenBooks, VivoBooks, multimedia laptops, basically the whole line. Then I read reviews and am confused again.
    Can you help at all? Feel free to email me privately or ask here for more information. I really appreciate your time if you can help. Sorry if I'm rambling. I've been at this for ages and feel like I've actually got TOO much choice.
    Oh, price max is around 1,500 USD, and it'd be nice to have a separate number pad, but not essential. I would like something relatively light. I don't travel a lot with my laptop, but occasionally I need to. Durable is good!
    Thanks, I'll stop now!
    Jana

    • Jana

      November 19, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      PS… I don't want a gaming machine or one that has the look of a gaming machine (though I have been tempted by their specs!). I'm a writer/editor, not a gamer. I just have to access a lot of videos and websites at once sometimes. thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 20, 2017 at 5:53 am

      Hi, a few ideas:

      1. The whole keyboard experience is very subjective. I for one prefer short travel keyboards lately, but with stiff clicks. Unfortunately each laptop OEM uses a few different keyboards on their machines, so I can't recommend a certain brand and be sure you'd like the keyboard. It's best you give these a try in a physical shop if possible, once you narrowed your options.
      2. As far as your requirements and hardware go, I'd look for one of the newer laptops with an Intel core i5-8250 or i7-8550u processors, preferably 16 GB of RAM and SSD storage (256 or 512 GB). You can get these within your budget. There's a list of such devices here: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/17655-kabylake-r-laptops/
      3. You don't need dedicated graphics if you don't play games.

      Try to narrow down your options from that list, read a few reviews, and get back if you need help selecting between a few final options. There's no perfect laptop, each has pros and cons, but some are better than others and your budget will allow you to pick one of the best models. Hope this helps.

      • Jana

        November 21, 2017 at 5:24 am

        Andrei, thank you very much for taking the time! I'll have a look!
        -jana

  16. Anas

    January 31, 2018 at 2:32 am

    Hi Andrei,
    thank you very much for your excellent review and listing such kind of laptops, I am very interested in Asus ux530, but when I want to enter the link I found Asus ux430, any help plz!

    • John

      February 26, 2018 at 6:34 am

      Me too..

  17. Mary

    February 4, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Hello Andrei,

    This list is most impressive given the time you must spend compiling it. Thank you. Wonderiing if you can help me. I’ve been looking for over a year, and like someone said above, am worried I’ll buy the wrong one. I’m looking for a laptop that I can work remotely very part time with a couple of business clients, and then personal finance etc. I want a number pad as I do bookkeeping. Then would like ssd i5+, long battery life, and trying to stay under 1000. Can you help?

    Thank you,
    Mary

  18. M. M. Arsiwala

    February 21, 2018 at 2:16 am

    I am planning to buy Dell XPS 13 i5 (7th Gen) for my daily use. I need complete portability along with good battery life. My use is going to be only browsing, drafting agreements on microsoft word and movies, etc. Suggest me is my choice good enough or should I consider any other laptops too? I am not considering the 8th Gen i5 processor since my usage is very less and I dont think I need that much of processor.

  19. Pedro

    May 6, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Hi,

    I am REALLY considering the Samsung Notebook 9 15" (not the 2-in-1) i7-8550U for $1300 instead of the Dell XPS 15 because of the weight difference…. Do you think it is worth it?

    As a PhD in engineering who codes and writes a lot, I need a big screen and the 2.7 lbs Samsung offers is quite tempting… Battery life seems to better than the XPS 15 too.

    Could you tell something about the Samsung 9 15"?

    Thanks! Great work on this list!

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 7, 2018 at 9:59 am

      I don't have any experience with Samsung laptops lately, so no, I can't tell much more than you'll find online about this one.

  20. Mark Augstine

    October 7, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    HP Spectre X360 series is one of the best laptops ever made, along with the Asus Zenbook UX433 and Asus Swift 3

  21. Shane Maguire

    October 30, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    Great comparison. Though are you sure the version of the MX150 in the Lenovo 720s is the Max-Q version? Other users online have used diagnostic tools and it seems to come with the full powered version.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 30, 2018 at 8:28 pm

      Hi. You're right, the 720s gets the full-power version of the MX150. Thanks for pointing it out.

  22. Saran

    November 25, 2018 at 2:31 am

    I have a question about the screen size.
    I'm used nearly 6 years to a 15.6" inch screen, but noticed that 14" nowadays are really competitive and I can get the same specs and a slightly more portability. Which is good for me as a student. But I don't also go for a small one, cause streaming isn't nice on small screens.
    So my question is, shall I go for a 14 incher, even I'm used to a 15.6"?
    Will the difference gonna be big and noticeable, or wouldn't I even notice?!
    I'm really struggling with the size decision..
    Thanks for any help! :)

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 25, 2018 at 1:48 pm

      Ie'd say the difference is noticeable, a 15.6 inch screen is 34.5 x 19.53 cm, while a 14-inch screen is 28.6 x 14.5 cm . If the budget allows, you can look for a 15-inch laptop with narrow bezels, that should be a sweetspot between overall footprint and screen size. There are many such devices out there these days

    • Emmanuel victor

      June 7, 2019 at 5:54 pm

      So between the Asus Vivobook s15 and the lg Gram which is better

      • Andrei Girbea

        June 10, 2019 at 12:04 pm

        The Gram is a better product imo, but I'd reckon it's also more expensive

  23. Dave P

    March 18, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    All I want is a 14" laptop / netbook whose BIOS allows legacy drive (IDE) use and that has XP drivers — not everyone is interested in learning a new OS every 36-months, and I don't really want to dredge through all the knackered old VAIOs to find something that uses XP

    Does anyone know from experience what the latest and greatest XP-compatible laptop was (the Precisions by Dell spring to mind, but the Ebay parasites usually want £400 for these decade-old laptops), and I read repeatedly about XP netbooks — 14", 2GB RAM and 1.6 GHz or more is all that is required.

    Any hardware recommendations?

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