Best ultrabooks and portable lightweight laptops in 2021 – complete guide

Best ultrabooks and portable lightweight laptops in 2021 – complete guide
By Andrei Girbea , last updated on November 24, 2021

Here at we’ve reviewed hundreds of ultrabooks and portable lightweight laptops over the last decade, of all kinds and from all brands. Throughout this guide, I’ll tell you which are our favorite current options and why, so it will be easier for you to choose the laptop that would best fit your needs and budget out of the multitude of available models.

I’ll primarily cover ultrabooks in this article, compact and light-weight laptops meant for everyday use and productivity, but I’ll also touch on some of the full-size good-value buys, especially since most of these are also fairly portable these days.

With the multiple types of lightweight compact laptops out there, I’ve split this guide into a few different sections, based on their overall size, capabilities, and pricing; there’s a Table of Contents below that will point you towards the section of interest. I tried to keep things as simple as possible, with only the best options mentioned in each category, but I’ve added links towards our reviews and more detailed guides that go over each subtopic in-depth, in case you’re interested in more variants or details.

I also mention that we update the article several times a year, or when something remarkable comes out, and if you need more guidance or have any questions, there’s a comments section at the end of the post where you can get in touch with us.

That aside, please account for the fact that thorough testing and analysis take a lot of time and effort, thus if you’ll find the article helpful, I’d appreciate you supporting our independent journalism endeavor. Sharing the post with your friends, disabling your adblocker, or buying from our links greatly helps us continue what we do here.

Table of contents – Best 2021 ultrabooks

Besides these, all our reviews are available in this dedicated section.

The best premium ultraportables

This section goes over our recommendations on premium thin-and-light ultrabooks with the latest hardware specs and modern features. We’re only looking at traditional clamshell formats here, as we’re also covering 2-in-1 models with convertible touchscreens in a following section.

Dell XPS 13 – the complete ultra-compact option

The XPS 13 has been my ultraportable of choice for a few years now (here’s my initial review) and the recent variants have improved on the original model in multiple ways.

In fact, there are many reasons why the XPS 13 is one of the most appreciated ultrabooks on the market right now. The small 13-inch form-factor with tiny bezels, the sturdy and lightweight build, the excellent display options, the performance and battery life, the Thunderbolt connectivity, or the fair inputs and audio quality are some of them. All these combined make the XPS 13 hard to beat for those of you who highly value portability, as long as it’s within your price range and as long as you don’t run into any quality-control issues.

The latest iterations of the XPS 13 further refines its predecessors. Dell put 16:10 screens on these latest XPS 13 ultrabooks, in matte or touch variants, updated the hardware specs, and further improved the cooling design and power profiles, allowing to easily juggle with the performance, thermals, and noise levels according to your need. They’ve also updated the keyboard and clickpad, which were in dire need of a revamp. The 52 Wh battery and the miniaturized IO haven’t changed, though.

The XPS 13 is available in many configurations, starting at just under $1000 MSRP for an i3/8GB RAM/256 GB SSD model that can still handle everyday use well enough. Higher tier configurations add in a FHD+ or UHD+ touchscreen, more powerful processors, and extra memory and storage space, with the i7/16 GB RAM/512 GB SSD/FHD touch model going for ~$1450 at the time of this update. Keep in mind that Dell runs discounts and sales often, but at the same time their notebooks tend to be more expensive than the competition outside the US, and that will affect their value in some markets.

Follow this link for up-to-date details on the available XPS 13 configurations and potential discounts in your region, or this link for all our reviews of the Dell XPS 13 lineups.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and X1 Nano – the business ultrabooks

The X1 Carbon is still Lenovo’s flagship premium ThinkPad ultrabook, alongside the ultra-compact, but not as powerful, ThinkPad X1 Nano.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon( reviewed here) is a 14-inch laptop, thus somewhat larger than the XPS 13, but actually a bit lighter due to it being made out of magnesium alloys. It also offers what most consider the iconic ThinkPad design, keyboard, clickpad, and TrackPoint, as well as a more diversified IO, more hardware and 16:10 display configurations, a larger 57 Wh battery, and some extra business features (IR sensor, TPM, vPro CPUs, etc).

At the same time, though, the X1 Carbon is more expensive than the XPS 13 in most regions, is only available in a single color (the classic black ThinkPad design), and even with the updated speakers, is no match for the audio quality of the XPS. Furthermore, while the latest XPS 13 and X1 Carbon models are both built on the same Intel Core hardware platform, the XPS 13 tends to outperform the X1 carbon in sustained demanding loads, as explained in our reviews. Both are excellent snappy computers with daily use and multitasking, though, and you’re not going wrong with any of them.

Still, too bad there’s no AMD option on any of these premium chassis, as that’s only available on the more mainstream ThinkPad T14s and Dell Inspiron 13 models.

Anyway, follow this link for up-to-date details on the available ThinkPad X1 configurations and potential discounts, or this link for all our reviews of the ThinkPad lines.

As for the ThinkPad X1 Nano (reviewed here), this one is a less-powerful hardware implementation that favors portability thanks to its sub-1-kilo (2.1 lbs) total weight, more compact 13-inch 16:10 display, and minimalistic USB-C IO, but otherwise, this is still a ThinkPad in most ways. If you need a highly portable premium ultrabook for everyday multitasking, this X1 Nano is one of the better options out there, but if you’d be alright with a slightly larger chassis, the X1 Carbon and the XPS 13 remain the more versatile ultrabooks.

The X1 Nano also sells at a premium over the X1 Carbon or the XPS 13, starting at $1500, and that might put it out of reach for many of you. Follow this link for more details.

Apple MacBooks – the unmatched daily drivers

Apple have offered portable 13-inch versions of both the popular MacBook Air and the more powerful MacBook Pro for many years now, but as of 2020/2021 these are available with Apple’s own silicon (M1 and later), and that proved to be a major game-changer for the MacBook lineup in comparison to most of the Windows laptops out there.

In fact, unless you prefer the Windows environment or must use a Windows laptop for specific workloads (or games), or perhaps you’d prefer either a more compact, a more powerful hardware implementation, or a matte/convertible touchscreen in an ultrabook, there’s little reason not to go with an Apple MacBook for daily use these days. Windows ultrabooks still win with their diversity and some specifics and features that are not available on MacBooks, but these MacBooks are very hard to beat as premium daily drivers.

Aside from the excellent design and build quality, the now excellent inputs with the updated key switches, the nicely balanced Retina displays, and the smooth hardware/software integration, Apple silicon MacBooks are now also more powerful and more efficient than their Intel-based predecessors. That means they run cooler and for longer with everyday casual use; in fact, they keep completely silent with light loads, but also that they are a lot faster with workloads that choke the previous MacBooks and most of the Windows ultrabooks. There are countless videos on Youtube showing how smoothly these MacBooks handle Photoshop, After Effects, CAD, Premiere, or Davinci Resolve.

Furthermore, these MacBooks are even more enticing for those already in the Apple ecosystem. The phone, the watch, the earbuds, the laptop, all work seamlessly together and make your digital life easier. Not necessarily better, but easier nonetheless.

As for the two laptop variants that we recommend, the Air is the more affordable model and completely fanless, while the Pro is slightly more powerful, includes a higher-quality display, larger battery, a touch bar, and extra Thunderbolt ports, but also sells for more.

Right now, I’m all in on the MacBook Air as an excellent value daily driver, starting at $999 MSRP without considering discounts, while the MacBook Pro 13 is less convincing to me at $1299+. That will most likely change once that touted MacBook Pro 14 comes out, though. In the meantime, follow these links for more details on the MacBook lineup, updated configurations, and potential discounts: the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro.

Asus ROG Flow X13 – the gaming ultrabook

After many years at the top of this sub-niche, the Razer Blade Stealth 13 has been decrowned by the Asus ROG Flow X13 as the most capable performance and gaming ultrabook on the market right now, mostly thanks to the more advanced AMD and Nvidia platforms that power the Flow, but also because of how well balanced this Flow X13 series is in its niche.

Somehow Asus managed to put an 8Core Ryzen 9 processor and an RTX 3050Ti dGPU inside a compact 13-inch chassis here, without sacrificing the build quality, inputs, ergonomics, thermals, or battery life. On top of all these, the Flow X13 is a convertible with a 360-degree 16:10 120Hz touchscreen and is also more affordable than the top-tier Stealth laptops of this generation. Follow this link for updated configurations and prices in your region, and this one for our more detailed look at this series.

A unique particularity of the Flow X13 is also the fact that it is the first Asus laptop compatible with the ROG XG Mobile GPU enclosure, which includes higher power RTX 3070 and 3080 Nvidia mobile graphics chips and hooks up to the laptop through a proprietary connector. Combined, the two offer the same kind of GPU performance and gaming experience that you can expect from the beefiest gaming laptops of this generation, if that’s something you are interested in and you’re willing to pay around 3K USD for the two.

I’m more blown away by the ROG Flow X13 as a stand-alone ultraportable, though, and the unmatched versatility it provides in a sub-3-lbs format, both with casual everyday use and especially with sustained workloads and games, where the Ryzen 9 is no match for any of the Intel platforms currently available.

Asus ROG Flow X13 ultrabook and XG Mobile eGPU

I must also add that the Flow X13 is not the only powerful 13/14-inch ultraportable on the market right now, and we’ll go over some of the other such options in the dedicated section that goes over performance/gaming ultrabooks, further down, including the Asus Zephyrus G14 and the Razer Blade 14.

Acer Swift X – the value performance option

This year, the Acer Swift X (reviewed here) replaces last year’s popular Lenovo’s IdeaPad/Yoga Slim 7 as the best-value performance ultrabook available in stores at the time of this update, the best balanced multi-purpose ultraportable that you can get for around 1000-1200 USD/EUR.

The Swift X is pretty much an updated and significantly more powerful version of the popular Acer Swift 3 series, powered by AMD Ryzen APUs and the same kind of Nvidia RTX 3050Ti graphics also available in the Flow X13, on the top-tier configuration, or by a GTX 1650 dGPU on the mid-range models. Acer redesigned the internals and implemented a slightly thicker chassis to accommodate the cooling module required by this sort of hardware in a 14-inch chassis, while the design lines, inputs, IO, and screen options are borrowed from the Swift 3 14 inch models.

That means you’re only getting a FHD 60Hz screen option here with a middling 350-nits 100% sRGB panel, as well as not the kind of finesse, materials, audio quality, or typing experience available on the more premium ultraportables. But the overall value and performance offered in this 3.1 lbs laptop for only around $1100 in the US (for the top Ryzen 7 5800U + RTX 3050Ti configuration) are unmatched by any of the competitors available at the time of this update.

Follow this link for more details on the Acer Swift X series, as well as the latest configurations and prices.

Things might change once the Asus VivoBook Pro 14X becomes available in stores, with the superior thermal design and nicer OLED 90Hz screens, but for now, the Swift X is my recommendation in this sub-niche.

I’ll also still leave the Lenovo IdeaPad/Yoga Slim 7 in here, both the 2020 model with Ryzen U and a FHD 16:9 display, which should be quite affordable these days if you can still find it in stock, but especially the 2021 IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro (reviewed here). This one gets full-power Ryzen H processors with Vega graphics and no dGPU options, but also an updated 16:10 high-res screen with 90Hz refresh rate and good response times for the 14-inch segment.

These IdeaPad/Yoga Slim series lack the kind of dedicated graphics available in the Swift X and other recent launches, but I do prefer their build, display options and overall ergonomics over the Swift X.

Follow this link for updated configurations and prices, and this one for our detailed review.

Lenovo Ideapad Slim 7 review

Honorary mentions

Given the multitude of excellent premium ultrabooks out there, I’ve also put up together this list of honorary mentions in this segment, with links towards our detailed reviews and guides.

You might want to consider these for specific features and traits that might not be available with our recommendations above, such as certain screen formats and types of panels, certain design choices, longer battery life, or more affordable price tags in your region, as the Dell XPS and Lenovo ThinkPads tend to get very expensive in some countries, making other brands more competitive there.

  • Asus Zenbook seriesreviews – ultra-compact 13 and 14-inch ultrabooks available in a multitude of screen sizes and formats; mostly premium builds and very good inputs, full-size IO; middling hardware implementations of the latest Intel and AMD platforms and 60+Wh batteries;
  • Asus ExpertBook B9 seriesreview – sub 1-kilo 14-inch business laptop with modern specs, IPS screen, big battery, and uncompromised IO and business features;
  • Dell Latitude 7000 13/14 – configurations and prices – Dell’s alternatives for the ThinkPad X1 line, excellently crafted business models with 13/14-inch screens, solid features, and big batteries; tend to get very expensive;
  • Microsoft Surface Laptop configurations and prices – compact 13.5-inch and 15-inch ultrabooks with 3:2 high-resolution screens, modern hardware, and excellent keyboards, all tucked inside portable unibody designs; small batteries and limited availability;
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X13 and T14sreviews – 13/14-inch business ultrabooks, value alternatives for the X1 Carbon and X1 Nano, with mostly similar traits, but increased dimensions/weight;
  • LG Gram seriesreviewsconfigurations and prices – compact and ultralight 13/14/16 and 17-inch ultrabooks with matte screens, good inputs, and large batteries; not as sturdily built as other premium options;
  • Samsung Galaxy Book Pro series – ultralight 13 and 15-inch laptops with Intel hardware and big batteries, available as clamshell or 2-in-1 convertibles;
  • Razer Book 13review – premium 13-inch ultraportable with 16:10 display and the iconic Razer build quality; bit heavy and on the expensive side.

And don’t forget this section only touches on premium clamshell ultrabooks, and we’re also covering the value options and the 2-in-1 convertibles further down.Soem of the other premium options: Asus ZenBook S13, MS Surface Laptop and LG Gram

The best-value ultrabooks and thin-and-light laptops

While the market offers compact laptops that range from between several hundred to several thousand dollars, most of you are looking to maximize the return of your money, and my years of experience show me that the sweet spot for that is somewhere in the $700 to $1200 price range or local equivalents in your area.

Shopping at the higher limit of that budget would allow you to get versatile mid-specced variants of some of the premium ultrabooks mentioned earlier (such as the Apple MacBook Air, Dell XPS 13, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon) and the full-size performance options (such as the Asus ZenBook Pro, Dell XPS 15, HP Envy 14/15 lineups or Razer Blade 14/15) that we’re going to cover in the next section.

There are, however, some excellent-value options to consider at the lower-end as well, in the $500 to $1000 price range, and we’ll go over them down below, listed alphabetically. We’re looking at both Windows ultrabooks and some excellent-value Chromebooks.

Acer Swift 3 and Chromebook Spin 713

The Acer Swift 3 is one of the best-selling lineups of thin-and-light laptops for the last many years, and for good reason, as Acer were able to refine this series into mature and uncompromised products, while still keeping the prices down and competitive.

The Swift 3 series is available in a multitude of options, with screen sizes ranging from 13 to 16-inches, and they all deliver good specs and connectivity, backlit keyboards, and fair-quality displays, but without pushing the boundaries into the more premium section, which means these Swift 3s might lack the finesse and some of the features available in more expensive laptops.

We’re reviewed most of the Swift 3 models and generations over the years, and you’ll find our articles over here.

The Chromebook Spin 713, on the other hand, is one of the best-value premium Chromebooks on the margin, a portable 13-inch product with snappy hardware, long battery life, and a productivity-oriented 3:2 high-res touchscreen. If you’re OK going with a Chromebook as your main computer, this here is one of the best options in that segment, at around $650 at the time of this update. Our review of the Chromebook Spin 713 is available here.

Asus ZenBook 13 OLED

The Asus ZenBook series is a slightly more refined, but also more expensive, alternative to the Acer Swift lineup. In fact, Asus offers their own series of mid-range ultraportable with their VivoBooks, but I feel that the ZenBook 13 OLED earns its place in this section over all the other Asus ultrabooks at this point.

Available with a punchy OLED screen and either Intel or AMD hardware, the ZenBook 13 is an ultra-compact laptop that punches above its class in construction quality, display quality, and battery life. Of course, its small format leads to a slightly cramped keyboard and not the most powerful implementation of the Intel/AMD platforms, but if you’re after a tiny daily driver and don’t have oversized hands and fingers, this right now is one of the best options in its class.

You’ll find more about it from our detailed review of the ZenBook 13 OLED series.

Dell Inspiron series

These Dell Inspiron laptops are more affordable alternatives to the XPS 13 series, and at the same time unique in their own way.

There are multiple Inspiron models and configurations out there, but the ones that draw my attention in this class are the competitive 15-inch Inspiron 15 5155 convertible with AMD hardware, reviewed over here, and the versatile 14-inch Inspiron 14 5410 series, a more powerful and competitively priced alternative for the Acer Swift 3 and Lenovo Ideapad 14 lineups.

HP Envy 13/14 and Pavilion Aero 13

HP have been constantly pushing and improving their laptop lineups over the last years, and they end up with three value mentions in this section.

The Envy 13 is an excellent-value 13-inch ultrabook and alternative for the Asus ZenBooks or the Dell XPS/Inspiron lineups. It tends to be very competitively priced in most regions, at around $700-$800 for mid specced configurations, as well as nicely made, compact, and equipped with an alright FHD 400-nits IPS screen, latest hardware platforms, and a 51 Wh battery.

The Envy 14 is a slightly larger and more powerful laptop, with a 14-inch 16:10 FHD+ display and Intel U + Nvidia GTX 1650Ti specs. These make it a viable alternative for the Acer Swift X, nicer built and with a better display, but not as powerful in multitasking and demanding loads.

Finally, the Pavilion Aero 13 (reviewed here) is the most affordable of these HP laptops, the lightest at just 2.2 lbs (1 kilo), and also arguably the faster in daily use and multitasking, as this is built on the latest AMD Ryzen hardware specs. It also offers a nice 450-nits 16:10 FHD+ matte screen, but comes with a rather small battery and is not as nicely made as the Envy models. Even so, this is a very competitive budget ultrabook these days and a solid alternative for the ZenBook 13 and the Envy 13 lineups.

You’ll find more about HP laptops from our reviews and coverage over the years.

Huawei MateBook 14 and D 15

While not available worldwide, Huawei Matebook laptops tend to punch outside their price segments where they are, based on our reviews.

Huawei offers both budget and premium Matebooks, such as their fanless MateBook X illustrated down below, but for me, the better value is in their more inexpensive products, such as the 15-inch all-around MateBook D 15 and their more portable MateBook 14 models. The latter offers AMD hardware, a nice-quality metal chassis, good inputs, and a 3:2 high-res IPS display for a very competitive price over here in Europe. Just make sure you’re OK with the ethics of buying a Huawei laptop.

Lenovo IdeaPad 5 and Chromebook Flex 5

While alphabetically last in this section, Lenovo make some of the most competitive mid-tier and budget ultrabooks right now, with the AMD-powered IdeaPad 5 (clamshell) and Ideapad Flex 5 (convertible) series starting at as low as $600 over here, and the even more affordable Chromebook Flex 5 going for less than $400, as still the best-value Chromebook of its generation in our Chromebook top.

You’ll find more about the two Windows-running IdeaPads from our reviews linked above. They’re both sturdily made, uncompromised in any major way, and both powerful and efficient at the same time. But they’re also plagued by subpar screen choices, IPS panels, but with dim brightness and washed-out colors. These screens are OK for a budget product, but still enough to make me recommend you to save up extra for any of the other options mentioned earlier that offer a nicer display, if possible.

The Chromebook Flex 5 doesn’t get an excellent display either, but is also a much cheaper device at sub $400 and pretty much unbeatable as a whole at that level.

The best gaming ultraportables

We’ve already thoroughly covered this topic in a separate article, so follow this link for our detailed guide on gaming ultrabooks.

In just a few words, though, gaming ultraportables are compact and light-performance laptops with capable processors and graphics. Most of these are full-size devices with 15 to 17-inch screens, but with compact designs.

The best options include premium ultraportables such as the Razer Blade 15 Advanced, Asus ROG Zephyrus M16, Acer Predator Triton 500, or the MSI GS66 Stealth Thin, but also good-value full-size notebooks like the Lenovo Legion 7 or the Acer Predator Helios 300. As for the 17-inch models, I’d turn my attention to the Alienware X17, Asus ROG Zephyrus S 17, the Gigabyte Aero 17, or the Razer Blade 17. All these have been reviewed here on the site.

Those interested in even smaller and lighter options should consider some of the available 13 and 14-inch gaming ultrabooks, such as the compact Asus ROG Flow X13 and Razer Blade Stealth 13, the value mid-tier 14-inchers such as the Acer Swift X, the Asus VivoBook Pro 14X or the HP Envy 14, as well the 14-inch gaming notebooks with more capable graphics such as the Razer Blade 14 or the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14.

As mentioned, follow this link for our detailed guide on gaming ultrabooks, or this one for a wider coverage of the thinnest and lightest 14/15-inch laptops out there.

The best portable gaming laptops on the moment

Productivity laptops for work, creators, or programmers

This section caters to those among you in need of a portable and powerful laptop for complex workloads and school tasks, the kind you could not properly run on most of the ultra-compact devices mentioned in the previous sections of the article. These recommendations are meant for university students, engineers, programmers, architects, and creatives, but still with a portable and slim form-factor in mind.

For sure, the gaming/performance ultraportables already covered above make for excellent all-around work&play devices. However, most of those laptops are primarily gaming-focused and thus prioritize performance over fan-noise and fast high-refresh-rate screens over the color coverage (100% DCI-P3 or AdobeRGB) and image fidelity that you might require in your creative endeavors. And here’s where the options in this class come in handy, which offer power profiles better optimized for everyday use and work, even if this does take a toll in performance on the thinnest designs, high-gamut high-resolution displays, as well as certain software and hardware optimizations meant to enhance your productivity.

Dell XPS 15/17, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme, and HP Envy 15

These three lineups have dominated the premium 15-17 inch segment of portable performance laptops for the last years, and still are the better options in this sub-niche to consider, as long as they fit within your budget and you understand and accept their quirks. And as long as you’re not specifically looking for an AMD laptop, as these are all still Intel exclusive.

They are primarily built with portability and ergonomics in mind, so don’t offer the same kind of hardware specs or thermal designs available with gaming notebooks. In fact, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme is the most powerful option here, toping at an Intel Core i9 configuration with RTX 3080 MQ graphics, but both limited in performance by the compact design over what they would deliver in beefier products.

So the Dell XPS 15 and the HP Envy 15 are both premium 15-inch ultrabooks, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme gets a slightly bigger 16-inch 16:10 display in its latest iteration, and the XPS 17 is available with a 17-inch 16:10 display. Here are the rest of their important specs and particularities:

  • Dell XPS 15 – compact aluminum build, Core H hardware and up to RTX 3050Ti MQ graphics, 15.6-inch 16:10 FHD+/UHD+ IPS screen options, matte or touch, up to 86 Wh battery, starts at 1.81 kg / 4 lb, front speakers;
  • Dell XPS 17 – compact aluminum build, Core H hardware and up to RTX 3060 MQ graphics, 17-inch 16:10 FHD+/UHD+ IPS screen options, matte or touch, up to 97 Wh battery, starts at 1.85 kg / 4.1 lbs, front speakers;
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme – magnesium ThinkPad build, Core H hardware and up to RTX 3080 MQ graphics, 16-inch 16:10 QHD+/UHD+ IPS screen options, matte only, 90 Wh battery, starts at 1.81 kg / 4 lb, front speakers, most expensive option;
  • HP Envy 15 – compact aluminum build, Core H hardware and up to RTX 2060 MQ graphics, 15.6-inch FHD IPS or UHD AMOLED screen options, 83 Wh battery, starts at 2.2 kg / 4.8 lbs, front speakers, more affordable than the XPS 15.

As the most recent design of this selection, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme is the arguably most interesting choice here, with its only obvious drawback being the lack of any touch or OLED screen choices. It’s also the most expensive, though. I haven’t properly reviewed it yet, so make sure to look into more details before jumping on this one, so you’ll know what to expect in terms of performance, thermals, and overall value. The clip below sheds some light on potential quirks to further look into.

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, VivoBook Pro 16X, and StudioBook 16

Asus gets an entire panel in this section with their OLED models targeted towards creators.

The VivoBook Pro 16X is a newer launch and it’s in here because it pairs a competent hardware platform with one of these new-gen 16-inch OLED displays, in a mid-priced product that sells for less than the premium models mentioned earlier. I’ll be reviewing this in the very near future and will update the article, but in the meantime, you should know that Asus puts a Ryzen 9 HX processor in this chassis and mid-tier RTX 3050Ti graphics, alongside 4K+ 16:10 OLED touch panels with 400-nits of brightness and 100% DCI-P3 coverage, plus a 96 Wh battery.

The ZenBook Pro Duo is not a new design, but is still one of the very few laptops to offer two screens in a 15-inch laptop chassis. It’s somewhat dragged down by the Intel-hardware implementation being not as competent as the AMD-based ROG Zephyrus DUO, which also gets a faster GPU and better cooling, as you’ll find from my review. However, that one is not available with the high-res high-gamut OLED screen that you’re getting on the ZenBook.

Oh, and if you like the dual-screen design but don’t plan on spending 2-4 K on your laptop, Asus also offers a regular ZenBook Duo 14-inch model that we’ve reviewed here. It’s smaller and more affordable, but also less powerful.

Finally, the ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED is Asus’s new flagship creator lineup, meant to take on the MacBook Pro and the XPS 15 heads-on.

This one is Intel exclusive, but can be configured with Core i9 and Xeon processors, GeForce RTX 3070 or RTX 3000/5000 professional studio graphics, a 90Wh battery, as well as a 16:10 matte panel available with either a 4K+ OLED or a QHD+ IPS panel. This is also coming for review in the near future, and I’ll update this section once I get to spend more time with it.

Asus ZenBook Pro DUO and StudioBook Pro 16

Asus ZenBook Pro DUO and StudioBook Pro 16

Apple MacBook Pro 16

An updated MacBook Pro 16 with Apple M1x/M2 silicon is expected in the next few weeks, and I’ll update this section when available.

In the meantime, follow this link for the latest details on the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

These aside, I’d also consider laptops such as the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED, the unique Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel, or the portable MSI Creator 16Z in here. However, we haven’t properly reviewed the latter two yet to be able to properly judge their worth, while the former is mostly a gaming laptop with a 4K OLED screen, so might not meet the design, portability, and construction expectations of this niche.

Some of the premium performance ultrabooks: Apple MacBook Pro, Asus ZenBook Pro Duo and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Finally, the creators among you might want to consider some of the newer generation Studio-branded options available, with the latest Nvidia RTX A3000 to RTX A5000 graphics and optimized drivers and software support. Follow this link for all our Studio RTX notebook reviews.

2-in-1 convertible ultrabooks

Hybrids are modern devices with convertible or detachable touchscreens, and they can be used as either regular notebooks or as tablets. We’ve covered this topic in-depth in this separated article about the best 2-in-1 laptops, which you should head over to if primarily interested in a convertible over any of the other ultrabooks in this article, but we’ll also quickly go through our top recommendations down below.

First, though, you need to be aware that there are mainly two kinds of 2-in-1s: stand-alone tablets that can act as laptops when hooked to an external dock or keyboard-folio, and regular laptops with 360-degrees convertible screens. The latter are more versatile in notebook format, especially when used on the lap, and tend to get larger batteries, faster hardware, and more ports, while the former are highly portable and excellent tablets, but less practical when not on a flat sturdy surface.

Tablets: Microsoft Surface Go, Surface Pro, and iPad Pro

Microsoft makes some of the best Windows tablets out there, with the compact and affordable Surface Go and the powerful Surface Pro series.

The Surface Go is a 10-inch tablet with a high-resolution 3:2 touchscreen, fanless Core Y hardware, and a base selling price of around $400 at the time of this update (plus ~$100 for the Keyboard Folio). It’s compact, lightweight, and rather inexpensive, which makes it an awesome mini-computer for school or travel companion. It runs Windows S by default but can be upgraded to regular Windows for extra functionality. Follow this link for more details.

The Surface Pro is a much more powerful and capable device, able to handle daily multitasking and demanding chores, in a lightweight and compact magnesium chassis. It gets a 13-inch 3:2 touchscreen with smaller bezels, Intel Core U hardware (fanless in the i3/i5 variants on the Pro 5-7 generations, fan-cooled on all versions of the Pro 8), and a larger battery, but with a starting price between $799 to $1099 for a mid-tier configuration. The keyboard and pen are not included and cost roughly $150 extra combined. Follow this link for more details.

Finally, the iPad Pro makes its way into this section as well, as a competent choice for graphics artists and creators. It’s a lot more versatile than in the past, with the latest hardware and software updates, and includes an excellent screen with pen support, for the same budget you’ll pay for a fully accessorized Surface Pro. Of course, it’s not a Windows tablet and can’t run the things you can run on the Surface devices, but has its own software advantages and integration with the Apple ecosystem. Follow this link for more details.

Premium convertibles: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, HP Spectre x360, and Lenovo Yoga 9i

All these lineups of premium 2-in-1s have been available for a while now, and incrementally updated over the years.

The HP Spectre x360 is available in either a 13-inch or a 15-inch variant, both reviewed here on the site. The Spectre x360 13t makes more sense as a convertible, due to its smaller build, but the x360 15t offers faster hardware, a larger battery, and improved IO. Both are premium computers and bundle the latest and greatest in terms of features, connectivity, and everyday user experience in their niche. They also emphasize on their excellent screens, with high-resolution wide-gamut panel options on both sizes, as well as OLED variants.

The Lenovo Yoga 9i is available in 14 and 15-inch variants. The smaller model is not as portable as the Spectre or the XPS 13, but is still within a few millimeters and tens of grams. It does get a large battery, a larger UHD screen, and excellent audio, with part of the speaker system integrated within the hinge. The 15-inch Yoga 9i is a completely different beast though, with Core H and dedicated GTX hardware, thus more powerful than the 15-inch HP and Dell models. Both Yogas are however more expensive than their direct competitors.

Finally, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is a lighter and smaller 13-inch convertible with a 16:10 500-nits IPS touch display. The thinner and smaller construction makes it more portable than the other options, but only leaves room for a smaller battery and more cramped keyboard, though, and fairly warm chassis temperatures with demanding loads. Thus, the XPS 13 2-in-1 makes for an excellent convertible ulrtabook, but the Spectre and the Yoga should be the go-tos if you need the extra performance and longer runtimes.

Follow this link for a more thorough list of recommended 2-in-1 laptops and hybrids.

Convertible Ultrabooks: Hp Spextre x360, Lenovo Yoga C940 and Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

Convertible Ultrabooks: HP Specter x360, Lenovo Yoga C940 and Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

Top affordable convertible: Asus Chromebook Flip

Much like the Surface Go, the Asus Chromebook C434 is a competent all-day convertible laptop, but in this case, a Chromebook built on ChromeOS. That makes it well suited for browsing, streaming, text-editing, and everything else Internet-based, as well as a snappy overall computer with excellent battery life, much like all the other flagship Chromebooks of this generation.

The Chromebook Flip C434 is available for around $450 at the time of this update. Follow this link for more details.

If you’d rather get an affordable Windows 2-in-1, I’d look into some of these options: Acer Spin series, Asus ZenBook Flip, Dell Inspiron 2-in-1, or the Lenovo Flex series. I’d especially turn my attention to that recent Lenovo Flex 14 based on AMD Ryzen hardware, a great value option in its niche, as long as you can live with a lower-quality IPS screen.

Fanless ultrabooks and tablets

If you want a completely silent computer without a fan inside, fanless passively-cooled options are the ones for you. Just keep in mind that most of these passively-cooled models are not going to be as powerful in sustained loads and multitasking as the beefier platforms with more competent active cooling.

The Apple MacBook Air with the proprietary Apple silicon (M1 or later) is by far the go-to fanless multipurpose ultrabook to get these days and the exception to the rule mentioned above, as it’s at the same time both faster and more efficient than the Intel variants of the MacBook Air or most of the available Windows ultrabooks. And even the MacBook Pro 13 runs completely silent for most of the time, with its fan only kicking in with demanding workloads.

MacBooks aside, most of the competent Windows models are not fanless, with the exception of the lower-tier variants of the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet and the Huawei MateBook X 13-inch ultrabook. There are however a few fanless Windows mini-laptops and tablets to consider, such as the compact Surface Go tablet or the inexpensive Asus Vivobook L210 (11-inch) and L410 (14-inch)/L510 (15-inch) notebooks.

Plus, if you’d be fine with a Chromebook, the Google Pixelbook Go, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet series, or the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook are all amazing-value options for everyday use, and all passively cooled.

Finally, we’ve also compiled a complete list of fanless ultraportables in this separate article if you’re interested in a deeper dive into this topic.

This is the Apple Macbook 12

This is the Apple Macbook 12

Wrap-up – what’s the best ultrabook?

Ultrabooks have come a long way over the years.

The hardware is more powerful and more efficient these days, and alongside came new form factors and features, as well as improvements on all the fundamentals that make for a competent laptop: build quality, inputs, screens, IO and connectivity, and battery life, among them. As a result, there are now many excellent ultrabook options to choose from.

As for what’s the best ultrabook for you, that’s for each one of you to decide. You know what you want and value in a laptop, so go through the options in this article and pick the one that best fits your needs and budget.

And if by any chance you haven’t found what you were looking for in this massive post, you could also check out these other articles on the site:

Last but not least, you can check out the reviews posted here on the site and our thorough comparisons, or get in touch in the comments section if you need any help with your decision, have any questions, or just want to add something to this article.

Keep in mind that we’re updating this list of recommended ultrabooks and portable lightweight laptops every three to four weeks, if not more often. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Disclaimer: Our content is reader-supported. If you buy through some of the links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of 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.


  1. Jan Pinxter

    July 24, 2017 at 7:57 am

    As I read your udate, se below:

    Update: As of late 2016 there’s a new version of the HP Spectre x360 available, with a more compact and lighter body, Intel Kaby Lake hardware and two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and you can read all about it in our in-depth review. Spoiler alert: it’s an excellent 13-incher, but it no longer offers a digitizer and pen support like the previous version.

    Pity it is not really updated yet having now support of an active pen and, optionally, a 4K/UHD display, although at least in Europe!

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 24, 2017 at 8:03 am

      Yes, this article is in need of a rehaul, I'm sorry for the misinformation, working on it.

  2. Carina Potgieter

    August 9, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Hello Andrei,

    I have to commend you on your excellent use of language and clear, unambiguous writing style. I shy away from many review sites because of their poor language, which simply does not instil (British English :)) confidence. Thank you also, for not alienating the man in the street, like me, with heaps of confusing jargon.

    I am urgently looking for a new computer for work purposes – possibly a 15" laptop to use in conjunction with a wide screen on my desktop at times. My requirements are, roughly:

    – SILENT operation
    – Soft-touch responsive keypad (spill-proof would be great!) or even chiclet
    – Relatively fast processing speed supporting latest software
    – Large screen
    – If possible fanless, with SSD
    – A computer which will NOT overheat easily (I work very long hours)
    – Matt screen, preferably
    – If possible, number pad
    – I am not a gamer, so I won't need elaborate graphics, nor will I need a touchscreen

    I am from South Africa (different model types here) and have been looking at middle-of-the-range computers, such as the HP Envy 15 (Core i7, 12 gig RAM, 512 SSD, fanless, with number pad, USB-C slot and Windows 10). I have, however, previously had HP machines and found them to overheat easily. Does this happen with the Envy too? I don't want a repeat of the same problem! If so, what can you recommend? Any other computers?

    In South Africa, Dell has better after-sales service than HP, which is also a consideration for me.

    Also, I have back problems and was wondering about the strain caused by working on a laptop with a desktop screen further away. Is this a problem?

    Kind regards

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 10, 2017 at 3:26 am

      Hi, thank for the kind words. You didn't mention a budget, that would have been very helpful, but you do say mid-range and I'll work with that.

      What I can tell you is that there are no 15-inch fanless options that I can think of, and the thinner the laptop, the hotter it would get. I don't have a lot of experience with HP laptops lately, they are not that widely available over here. Could be good options, ut I suggest looking for reviews on and other websites, I can't share any insiders.

      I would also suggest checking on the mid-level Dell Inspiron laptops, series 5000 and 7000, should check most boxes. Lenovo makes some good 15-inchers as well, their IdeaPad 320, 510 and 710 lines. The Asus Zenbook Pro UX550 could be an option if you want something nicer and more powerful, as well as the Dell XPS 15, but these are expensive. Not sure if any of these are available down there, but check them out.

      • Pinxter

        August 10, 2017 at 4:05 am

        The new Matebook X might be a good fanless option too although just 13". Have a look:

      • Andrei Girbea

        August 11, 2017 at 3:17 am

        Yes, thanks for the suggestion. I'd wait for reviews first, there's plenty that could go wrong on such a build. But Huawei made some pretty interesting WIndows devices in the last year, so this can be good too.

      • Jan Pinxter

        August 11, 2017 at 4:36 am

        The many reviews I read sofar were pretty positive, except maybe the battery time its limited connectivity and no touch panel but ultraslim (less than 1/2 inch), gorgeous display and no fan but still having proper Intel® Core™ i7-7500U processor.
        Looking forward to your review Andrei!

  3. Aaron

    August 24, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Hi, any recommendations of a laptop which is suitable for students to make notes for long hours yet powerful enough for games like Dota 2? It will be best if it is light enough to carry around whole day (around 3.5 lbs). Preferably Asus products or similar design. I can afford price range below $800. Thank you for your help.

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 26, 2017 at 4:12 am

      I'd get at least a laptop with Nvidia 940MX for Dota 2 so that means the Zenbook UX303UB or perhaps the UX410UQ, if available in your region. Not sure if you can find them in your budget though.

  4. antoine amanieux

    November 18, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    great site, very useful thanks.
    i had one suggestion : try to add rough estimates of numbers of units sold because we want to buy a machine a lot of people also bought.
    1/ for the wisdom of the crowd that will translate good choice into high sell number (we are all unique but 80% of our "jobs to be done" are the same)
    2/ we will always at one time come upon a problem due to hardware/firmware/software conflicts and when you buy a laptop a lot of people also bought you increase your chances of googling a right answer to your problem if a lot of people had the same problem on the same machine.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 20, 2017 at 5:44 am

      Hi, that would be helpful, but unfortunately there's no way I can add it, as nobody provides such info.

  5. Ahmed

    December 28, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    Love how you break down the categories, quite helpful.

    I'd like to ask about the Lenovo yoga e11, please. I have three options right now: one with a n3160 processor, another with an n3150, and a third with an m5y10c. I looked up the processors online and am getting mixed messages, which one is best? My main use for this unit will be remotely accessing my workstation which (i.e. the workstation) will be running fairly intense graphics.

    Many thanks,

  6. Tora

    December 29, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Hello Andrei!
    Thank you for a great site with thorough reviews that are easy to understand.
    I am looking to buy an asus zenbook 3, but then I noticed that all the zenbooks were described as too fan active, which worries me. I live in Sweden but dont mind ordering from outside and waiting for delivery.

    Budget: 1100 euro.
    Mostly quiet.
    Doesnt have to handle games at all, but multitask for example tor guard and around 15 browser windows and powerpoint.
    Max weight 1.6 kg, the lighter the better.
    No need for a backlit keyboard, but I like low resistance keys.
    Not apple.
    Matte screen.
    I dont care what it looks like.

    I need to buy it on sunday 31st at the latest, and I completely understand if you dont have time to answer so fast. Thank you so much!

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 2, 2018 at 7:04 am

      Hi, sry for the late reply, something like the new Zenbook UX331 or the Zenbook UX430 should meet your requirements fine. You'll probably get the i5 configuration with 8 GB of RAM for that kind of money, though.

  7. Dimonoid

    April 12, 2019 at 11:57 am

    I am looking for a laptop weighting 1.0-1.2kg with touch screen and resolution quad hd or greater(1080p is not enough for me). The diagonal must be 14 inch or greater. Also I need a great battery life at least 8-10 hours.

    I was looking at the lg gram 17, but it does not have touchscreen, and it is a little too heavy.

    Thinkpad x1 yoga 3rd gen is also too heavy, as it is whole 1.4 kilograms, and I heard it's battery is bad.


    • Andrei Girbea

      April 12, 2019 at 1:25 pm

      That's not realistic.

      You'll need a big battery for that kind of battery life, I'd say at least 60 Wh, preferably more. And a big battery + touch + 14-inch screen add up on the weight. You can go through this list, it doesn't include all the latest launches, but it's a starting point: .

      My first choice for what you need is probably the Surface Pro (yes, it's smaller, I know), with the Lenovo Yoga 920/930 as a second, but you'll have to compromise on some of those requirements.

  8. Hong

    June 10, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    I am looking for an ultrabook which can support Microsoft office (for business emails), wifi and for watching movies.

    My budget is ~$1000. Please recommend a few models for me.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 11, 2019 at 10:43 am

      there are many that can fit within that budget, go through he options int eh article and find the one that best fits your needs. I'd recommend something with a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD.

  9. Yury

    June 15, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    why microsoft surface laptop is not on the list?
    isn't it the option to consider among thin and light laptops?

  10. Jeanette

    July 22, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Andrei, Thank you for a lovely site with lots of info, unfortunately it confused me more. I am going overseas shortly but still need to keep up with my e-mails, making payments and use a couple of Document files while away. Also need some space for saving photos. I do not want to take my Lenovo G50-30 as it is too big and heavy. What should I look for?

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 22, 2019 at 2:15 pm

      Hi, a budget would help in proving any recommendations, as well more details on certain features that you might want: long battery life, premium construction, touchscreen, etc etc.

      • Jeanette

        July 22, 2019 at 7:53 pm

        Hi, Battery life is important, construction – should withstand everyday wear and tear and travelling. Size and weight is important – smaller/lighter, touchscreen not that important but would like to work with cordless mouse. It should also not be sluggish.

      • Andrei Girbea

        July 22, 2019 at 9:36 pm

        Jeanette, you still didn't mention a budget

      • Jeanette

        July 23, 2019 at 12:07 am

        Budget is not a problem.

      • Andrei Girbea

        July 23, 2019 at 10:32 am

        I that case, I'd go with one of the best ultraportables out there:
        – Dell XPS 13 9370 – small, light, excellently crafted, good battery life, matte opt touch screen options, miniaturized ports
        – Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon – bit larger, different design, better keyboard, full-size ports
        – Huawei MateBook X Pro – excellent touchscreen with 3:2 aspect ratio (taller than most screens), good battery life
        – Huawei MateBook 13 – smaller and more compact, similar 3:2 screen, shorter battery life
        – Asus Zenbook S13 UX392 – compact and small, miniaturized ports, more affordable than the others

        On top of that, aim for at least a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage.
        You'll find reviews for all of these on the site, have a look and narrow down the one you like best.

  11. rob

    November 4, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    ok andrei, new category.

    -BYOD for office and work from home. Haul to the work office 2-3 days a week and haul to home office 2-3 days a week, only use as a literal laptop a handful times per year, but often enough that any present-day iteration of a slab PC like the old XPS 18 is a non-starter.

    -Valued attributes:
    * USB-C PD for universal docks in office and home (no dell/hp/lenovo proprietary docking solutions that have zero legs for personal use)
    * 14-15" display. 13" and smaller screens are useless when combined with desktop monitors, and 17" displays refuse to leave empty space in the chassis making them too heavy.
    * thermals. workflows that dip into a variety of intensive processes like video renders, code compiles, data/user modeling, high quantity shell pipeline looping. all together, something like 5% of the time but more time-important than the 95% of menial tasks. I hate modeling something that completes in under 5 minutes, then extrapolated expectation is wrong because thermal throttling kicks in when the real processing happens. workloads don't happen often enough to run them in an on-demand cloud solution.
    * weight. nothing over 5-6 lbs. every day even if it's only a couple hundred yards a day wears on you over the years.

    -low/zero value attributes:
    * all inputs; keyboard-trackpad-touchscreen, mic-speakers-camera, i/o ports that aren't named usb-c or tb3.
    * turbo performance over 2-5 minute workloads. workload assumption is anything that invokes turbo will run 15-60 minutes at a time, and anything that doesn't will bore any CPU/GPU in this system to death.
    * thinness. as a proxy for weight, sure fine whatever. but as a literal measure, I don't care about thin chassis at all. I actually would go out of my way to find a thicker chassis if it was a similar weight as the thermals would inherently improve.
    * battery life. 3 hours is more than enough. always plugged in to a wall anyway, and the only time I'm not plugged in is literally because I'm too lazy to plug in for a 2 hours meeting even though a power outlet is available.
    * budget. if it's too expensive I just won't buy it, but I'm alternating between gamer/media laptops and 2-in-1s over the past 6-7 years so ballparking it should be over $1k and less than $2k US.

    -comp to current daily driver.
    current driver x360 (2017) convertible 15-bl1xx, i7 8550u, 16gb ram, some SSD who knows. it's fine, but the thermals ssssuck. I don't need a heavy 15 inch tablet mode so clamshell would be fine in a new system. it's not heavy but at 4.1 lbs I wouldn't want to go a ton heavier unless there was an amazing performance advantage. I don't really game anymore so as long as it plays terrible freemium mtx junk and 10 year old stuff on low res that's good enough for me.

  12. Colin

    November 28, 2020 at 10:22 am

    Hi Andrei,
    Thanks for this extensive work !
    Have you ever mind reviewing the Honor MagicBook series ?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 28, 2020 at 11:55 am

      I haven't' so far because the Honor lineup of laptops is not available over here. However, those are very similar to the Huawei laptops and we've reviewed a couple of them. They're pretty solid value in their niches. Let me know if you're interested in one model in particular and I will come back with impressions based on the Huawei counterpart, if I've reviewed it.

  13. Colin

    November 28, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    @Andrei, thanks for your comment.
    I'm thinking about buying the MagicBook Pro 16, which comes with 16 GB of RAM and a Ryzen 4xxx processor.
    It will basically have to manage large number of tabs in Firefox or Chrome, simultaneously with raw photos post-processing in Lightroom, and occasionnally light video editing.
    It would be great if it can do this without being always plugged to power outlet.
    I cannot see any competitor at this price point, but I may be missing some ?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 28, 2020 at 8:21 pm

      That chassis is used by Honor and Xiaomi, and unfortunately, I don't have any hands-on experience with it, so I can't comment on the performance when unplugged. For what is worth, there's an in-depth review over here on NBC:

      I'd suggest getting it from a store that allows returns, that shouldn't be a problem if you're in the UK/US. Give it a try, see how it works for you, and return if not satisfied. Based on my experience with the 14/15-inch models from the Chinese brands, I think this should be fairly solid. Not sure about that fan noise that Notebookcheck mentions in their article, that could be deal-breaker but no way to tell without trying it in person.

  14. Colin

    November 28, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks a lot for your inputs.
    I'll take a look at this review by NotebookCheck.
    Here in France, we can buy Honor products from which, I think is directly operated by the brand, and apply the European obligation to accept returns for 14 days.
    So your idea may be the best, just try and see :-)
    Thanks again

  15. Maria

    January 7, 2021 at 12:17 am

    Hi Andrei,
    I've had a read through some of your reviews- thank you! I'm very torn about what laptop to get for the past few weeks and I'm desperate. Ultimately I need something that is light, handles basic web browsing, MS office, emails, netflix etc (plus a few programmes for grad school), and beautiful (sorry to be vain haha!) without breaking my bank account. I was tempted to get the Acer Swift 3 but then read your review where you mentioned you found the keyboard to be a little cramped which put me off it.
    My old Asus Zenbook Flip UX360U has breathed it's last breaths and it was actually the perfect laptop for me. Light, had an incredible keyboard, pleasant to use and powerful enough for me. Terrible speakers but that's not a priority for me. What would you recommend? I can live with paying £800max. Many thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 7, 2021 at 9:28 am

      The recent Swift 3 14-inch models should be fine for what you need. Aim for at least a core I5 processor (preferably the newer i5-1135G7), 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB SSD.

      The Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 and Asus VivoBook 14 are also good options, especially the former. These aside, since you're in the UK you could also consider the Huawei MateBook 13 2020, with the 3:2 screen. Bit small battery, but good keyboard/clickpad and nice build/design.

  16. Maria

    January 7, 2021 at 9:47 am

    Thank you for getting back to me so quickly, I really appreciate it! I'll look into the ones you recommended.
    Ultimate priority for me is size, battery life and comfortable typing/using experience. It's a bit of a problem because I can't actually check out the laptops in real life before buying it due to the lockdown!
    I think I'll skip the huawei matebook despite the keyboard, purely because you mentioned the battery not being as good.
    Is the swift 3 14inch not as cramped keyboard wise as the 13.5inch model? Did you find it easier to use?

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 7, 2021 at 9:53 am

      This is the latest 14-inch Swift 3: . Not my favorite keyboard, but fine. Mind that what you'll find in shops comes with the backlit keyboard, which I like better than the non-backlit model on that review unit.

      Still, out of the three mentioned, I'd say the Lenovo gets the best keyboard, with the Asus coming second and this Acer coming last. If you can find that Ideapad Slim 7 within your budget, that's what I'd go with. You'll find reviews for all of these here on the site.

      Since you're in the UK, you should also consider buying from stores that allow easy returns, just to be on the safe side in case you're not entirely satisfied with your purchase.

  17. Ariella Knopp Warner

    February 22, 2021 at 9:35 pm

    You have one of the best sites for reviews I've found. Thank you! I'm searching for a new laptop, and while your reviews helped, I'm still a tad lost. I use Adope apps for video and photo editing, hobby right now, I do a lot of writing, video meetings, multitasking, often a lot of browsers and apps open at once. I currently run an older i7, 1TB ssd, 16gb ram, HP Spectre 2017. It didn't hold up as well as I'd like, and the screen is going on it already, it runs extremely hot when I'm barely doing more than browsing. I paid a lot for it at the time. I'd like to pay less than 1500 or less USD for my new laptop, which is half of what I spent for the current one. I do light gaming, and not very often. Ultimately I would like the option, but it doesn't have to be the newest fastest gaming laptop. This will be my work/play laptop so I have to be able to do whatever I need. Any help or suggestion would be great.

  18. LB

    April 15, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    DELL Inspiron 13 (7306) 2 in 1, COD: DI7306UI71165G716GB32GB512GBW3Y vs ASUS ZenBook S UX393EA-HK001R, pe care il recomanzi, amandoua fiind cam la aclesi pret. Care ar fi mai fiabil? Avantaje si dezavantaje?
    Ar face fata la lucrat cu baza de date statistice in fisiere excel sau word de marimi mari cca 100 MB, pline de tabele si formule si grafice? Am dell latitude e6540 face fata cu greu la astfel de fisiere. Trebuie sa fie ultraportabil ca munca acasa si apoi il plimb dupa mine. Multumesc.

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 15, 2021 at 1:43 pm

      Please keep it to English. Both should be fine, I'd go with the Asus for that larger screen though.

      Not sure about the performance, though, the i7-1165G7 might not be ideal for that kind of use. If possible, get the laptop, give it a try, and return if not good enough. Something Like a Lenovo IdeaPad Slim with a Ryzen 7 4800U or Ryzen 7 5700U might be better for those kinds of tasks.

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