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best ultrabooks

The Best Ultrabooks in 2021

Author: Robert Wilson

Electronics & Peripherals Expert

Mac Book Pro and Mac Book Air came out on top in most of the Ultrabook tests. However, they are also ultra-expensive. The American review portal the Wirecutter (New York Times) therefore only tested ultrabooks that run with Windows.

Our excellent consumer portal has also analyzed hundreds of customer ratings for the evaluation of several external tests and gives you the ultrabooks that are not only chic and light, but also in terms of their battery life, speed, keyboard, screen, equipment and the price-performance ratio make most buyers – yes, you can say – HAPPY.

Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook

 Our Pick
Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook
416 Reviews
Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook
  • Performance for work and gaming: NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (25W)…
  • Designed for mobility: Up to 13 hours long battery life…
  • Thin Bezel full HD display: Visually stunning matte full HD…
  • Power by Razer Chroma: Keyboard featuring single zone RGB…
  • Complete connectivity: Includes Thunderbolt 3, USB C, USB A,…

ASUS UX534FTC-AS77 ZenBook 15

ASUS UX534FTC-AS77 ZenBook 15
969 Reviews
ASUS UX534FTC-AS77 ZenBook 15
  • 15.6 inch wide-view 4K UHD 4-way NanoEdge bezel display with…
  • Innovative ScreenPad: 5.65-inch interactive touchscreen…
  • Latest 10th generation Intel Core i7-10510U Quad Core…
  • Fast storage and memory featuring 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD and…
  • Works with Amazon Alexa Voice Service that helps you with…

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo UX581

 Our Pick
ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo UX581
448 Reviews
ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo UX581
  • ScreenPad Plus: 14 inch 4K matte touchscreen, giving your…
  • 15.6 inch 4K UHD NanoEdge touchscreen glossy main display
  • Latest 9th generation Intel Core i7-9750H Quad Core…
  • Detachable palm rest and ASUS active stylus pen included
  • Fast storage and memory featuring 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD with…

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen 20QD0005US

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen 20QD0005US
8 Reviews
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen 20QD0005US
  • Processor Manufacturer: Intel
  • Processor Type: Core i7
  • Processor generation: 8th Gen
  • Processor model: i7-8565u
  • Processor speed: 1. 80 GHz

One Netbook One Mix 3 PRO

One Netbook One Mix 3 PRO
17 Reviews
One Netbook One Mix 3 PRO
  • [Powerful Core & Large Capacity 512GB SSD] Within Its sleek…
  • [Amazing Display] Opening our One Mix 3 PRO [Platinum…
  • [Tablet/Laptop 2 in 1] Supporting 360-degree YOGA Design,One…
  • [Unique Design] Support Fingerprint Lock.Support 4096 level…
  • [Pocket Ultrabook on the go!] 8.4 inches IPS Touch Screen…

ASUS F512JA-AS34 VivoBook 15

ASUS F512JA-AS34 VivoBook 15
5,285 Reviews
ASUS F512JA-AS34 VivoBook 15
  • 15.6 inch Full HD (1920×1080) 4-way NanoEdge bezel display…
  • Compatible with Google Classroom; run Google Classroom on…
  • Latest 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU (4M Cache, up to…
  • 8 GB DDR4 RAM and 128 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Ergonomic backlit keyboard with fingerprint sensor activated…

Frequently Asked Questions: Ultrabooks

What is an ultrabook?

The name Ultrabook was launched in 2011 by the US chip manufacturer Intel. It describes a certain class of laptops that are faster, lighter and more powerful than normal laptops. In order for a device to be called an Ultrabook, it must meet certain minimum requirements. Initially only a few devices were labeled Ultrabook, today there are several hundred models from different manufacturers on the market.

The price range of the devices ranges from a few hundred dollars for an ultrabook that is suitable for beginners to models that cost well over 1,000 dollars , but leave little to be desired. You can find out which ultrabook is best for your purposes from our Ultrabook Test, which we publish on our website.

What are the requirements for an ultrabook?

In order for a laptop to be officially called an ultrabook, it must meet very specific requirements of the chip manufacturer Intel. The most important of these is the requirement that an Intel processor must be installed in the device. Haswell processors (4th generation processors) are currently used. In addition to the processors, there are other specifications for the hardware.

Dimensions

If the display is smaller than 14 inches, the housing must not be thicker than 20 millimeters. For displays of 14 inches and larger, the thickness of the (closed) housing must not be more than 23 millimeters.

Display

The display must at least allow playback in the “Full HD” standard. This corresponds to a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels or a little more than 2 million pixels. In addition, the display must be a touchscreen, like a tablet.

Speed (Booting)

There are also clear guidelines from Intel for this. If the ultrabook is started from hibernation, it should not take more than 3 seconds to become operational.

To start from standby, it even needs less than 3 seconds to be ready for use. The short “wake-up time” is achieved through the use of SSD hard drives.

Security

An ultrabook must have a number of built-in security measures. This includes, for example, the standard equipment with devices for protection against theft (e.g. lockable housing), against use by unauthorized persons (e.g. fingerprint scanner) and against attacks from the Internet.

Antivirus and anti-malware programs must be installed for this. The mere presence of the safety devices is not enough; they have to be activated upon delivery.

Battery

This point is particularly important. Compared to normal laptops, ultrabooks are characterized by particularly long battery life. For example, the device must be able to play back videos or films in HD resolution for at least 6 hours. This type of application consumes a lot of energy. If the operating system Windows is installed, a device must be able to work idle for at least 9 hours before it can be called an ultrabook.

Other requirements

A device that can be called an Ultrabook must have an Intel Wireless Display (WiDi). The technology makes it possible to reproduce what is happening on the ultrabook’s screen on another compatible device (e.g. laptop or television). At the same time you can surf on the ultrabook.

Another requirement is the presence of voice control. In order to be able to meet this requirement, a suitable two-way microphone must be installed.

At least one connection must support the USB 3.0 standard (fast USB).

At the start, messages such as new emails or postings in social networks are automatically retrieved.

How does an ultrabook work?

The “secret” behind the compact dimensions, long battery life and short response times is called SSD. The abbreviation means Solid State Drive. The solid state drive forms the hard drive of the ultrabook. The operating system and all important data are stored on it. Actually, the term drive is misleading because SSDs have no moving parts.

Compared to conventional HDD type hard disks, which consist of coated disks and read / write heads rotating at high speed, nothing moves in SSDs. The data is stored on semiconductor materials.

Most of the time, high-purity silicon is used for this. This has a number of advantages:

  • low energy consumption
  • long lifetime
  • low susceptibility to failure
  • large storage capacity with little space requirement

The Ultrabook benefits from these advantages. Another factor behind the increased performance of these super laptops are the Haswell processors from Intel, which are used in the latest generation of devices. The processors require less voltage than conventional components. This significantly reduces power consumption.

As a positive side effect, these powerful processors generate less waste heat during operation, which reduces the demands on the cooling system.

In essence, an ultrabook is nothing more than an ordinary laptop with the most advanced technology used in its components.

What are the advantages & use cases of an ultrabook?

Compared to a conventional laptop or notebook, an ultrabook has a number of advantages:

  • compact design
  • large storage capacity
  • long battery life
  • mobile data transmission often integrated
  • Operation with keyboard possible

Ultrabooks target the same group of consumers as tablet PCs. This is also shown by our Ultrabook Test. They are light and compact and many models have integrated modules with which the user can access the mobile Internet. In addition to the usual UMTS standard (3G), there are also top models that can go online with LTE (4G). 

This makes mobile surfing almost as fast as surfing using a classic DSL connection. Ultrabooks are intended for users who are often on the go and who need a light and handy computer, but with which they can work at home just like with the desktop PC.

From a technical point of view there are no disadvantages. The only practical disadvantage of the devices is their high price. Good Ultrabooks cost far more than 1,000 dollars, some even a lot more.

What types of ultrabooks are available?

The devices are divided into 3 categories, touch ultrabooks, convertibles and detachables.

Touch Ultrabooks

In our Ultrabook Test, we also examined devices in this category. What makes them special is that they are equipped with a touchscreen, which considerably simplifies operation.

The user can, for example, start programs by touching the corresponding symbol on the desktop with his finger. Zooming and reducing the size of images are also possible in this way. In the case of a touch ultrabook, the keyboard is firmly attached to the housing.

Common display sizes are 13.3 and 14 inches. The main memory in the majority of devices has a capacity of 4 to 8 GB, while the hard disk in current models can store up to 256 GB. However, the storage capacity is constantly growing and will soon reach that of normal laptops.

Advantages

  • Work like a normal laptop
  • Touchscreen for ease of use
  • powerful with small dimensions

Disadvantages

  • high price
  • Keyboard cannot be removed and interferes with operating the touchscreen
  • Touchscreen with limited functions

Convertible Ultrabooks

Devices in this category also played an important role in our large Ultrabook Test. Convertible ultrabooks are equipped with a full keyboard. The keyboard can be retracted by folding it down, rotating it or using a sliding mechanism and the device transforms into a tablet PC.

Common display sizes for ultrabooks in this category are 12.5 and 13.3 inches. The display can show photos and videos in at least full HD resolution. Convertible Ultrabooks are particularly suitable for users who want to use a tablet PC in addition to a laptop.

Advantages

  • can be used as a tablet or laptop
  • suitable for both work and surfing
  • high resolution display

Disadvantages

  • relatively small display size
  • high price
  • prone to failure due to folding mechanism

Detachable Ultrabooks

This category of Ultrabooks represents a mixture of laptop and tablet PC. That is why the devices are also called Hybrid Laptop. The name of the computer already reveals what they are about. It refers to the keyboard, which is not permanently attached to the computer but can be removed if necessary.

Because the display has a touchscreen, it can be used like a tablet PC. Detachable Ultrabooks are suitable for users who in most cases prefer surfing with a tablet, but have to write longer texts from time to time. The keyboard is ideal for this.

Advantages

  • saves the purchase of two devices
  • can be used for both work and play
  • larger display than tablets

Disadvantages

  • low performance
  • high weight
  • few connections
  • real computer programs can only be used to a limited extent

How are ultrabooks tested?

Various factors played a role in our Ultrabook Test. The most important include:

CPU

The processor is the component that receives and processes the data. Only processors from Intel may be used in ultrabooks. The latest devices use 4th generation Broadwell and Haswell processors. These processors have 2 or 4 cores with a clock frequency between 2 and 3 GHz. The processors work at low voltage and use less energy.

Dimensions

This means the diagonal of the display. Ultrabooks with display sizes of 13, 3 and 14 inches are the most common. Smaller devices with a diameter of 11 inches or larger devices with a diameter of 15 inches are rather rare. In principle, the size of the display has no influence on the function or performance of the computer.

In practice, however, larger displays are more popular because details are easier to see on them. Apps are also easier to use on large displays. On the other hand, devices with a smaller display are more handy and cheaper.

Resolution

It is measured in pixels and indicates how many pixels make up the representation on the display. The higher the resolution, the more details you can see on the display and the more you can enlarge the representation. Ultrabooks have a resolution of at least 1920 x 1080 pixels.

This corresponds to the Full HD standard in television technology. The representation on the display is made up of more than 2 million pixels in Full HD. There are also ultrabooks with displays that offer four times this resolution. The higher the resolution, the more computing power is required.

Hard Drive

The hard drive is one of the most important parts of the ultrabook. The computer not only stores data on it, but also the operating system and other files that are required for work. The capacity of the hard drive is specified in gigabits (GB). Most ultrabooks have SSD hard drives.

These storage media are characterized by fast access times to the stored data and low power consumption. Some models also have hybrid drives, a combination of a conventional hard disk drive and an SSD. Because of their many advantages, SSDs are becoming increasingly popular.

Devices with a capacity of 256 GB are most common. Smaller devices have 128 GB of storage capacity. Ultrabooks with an SSD hard drive that can store 512 GB are also becoming more and more popular.

RAM

The RAM is an important part of the ultrabook. It ensures that the processor is supplied with a steady stream of data that it can process. It has a kind of buffer function and ensures that the computer runs quickly and smoothly. A large amount of RAM is particularly required for applications in which large amounts of data must be processed quickly.

These are mainly high definition videos and games. The amount of RAM is also specified in gigabits (GB). The majority of ultrabooks have 4 or 8 GB of RAM. Top models even have 16 GB of RAM.

I/O

Ports are used to connect external devices to the computer. Ultrabooks must have at least one USB 3.0 port to officially belong to this category of computers. With USB 3.0 connections, data can be transferred much faster than with USB 2.0 or even 1.0. The maximum speed is 500 MB per second.

The same rule applies to Ultrabooks as to all computers: the more connections, the better. In addition to USB ports, a good ultrabook should have at least one HDMI port. A slot for a card reader is also very useful.

WiFi Compatibility

Even the best computer is of little use without an internet connection. Integrated WLAN modules, which are part of the minimum equipment of all models, ensure this in the ultrabooks. In addition, some devices also have modules with which access to the mobile Internet is possible.

They correspond to the parts that are built into tablet PCs. Depending on the version, you can use it to surf either in the UMTS network (3G) or in the fast LTE network (4G). UMTS is completely sufficient for normal websites and emails. However, if you want to watch films online or make video calls on the go, you need an ultrabook with 4G standard.

What should I look out for when buying an ultrabook?

To say that the ultrabook market is booming is an understatement, it is exploding. When the first generation was introduced in 2011, there were few models.

Today, on the other hand, you can choose from almost 1,000 different devices. The range is amazingly wide. While devices for beginners are available in retail for a little more than 200 dollars, top models cost ten times as much, more than 2,000 dollars.

That is why we recommend that you use our Ultrabook Test for purchase advice in order to find the most suitable model for you.

Features

The term Ultrabook is linked to compliance with certain minimum standards set by Intel. This means that consumers know what at least they can expect from the device. The wide price range is explained by the different features of the devices. In principle, the better the equipment of the device, the higher the price.

Of course, you can’t expect the same performance from a device that costs a few hundred dollars as one that costs around 2,000 dollars. Which ultrabook is right for you depends on what you plan to use it for and how big your budget is.

Display

The larger the display, the easier it is to see images on it. However, this also makes the ultrabook more cumbersome and expensive. On the other hand, if the display is small, the price goes down and the device is more handy, but it is difficult to see images on the tiny screen and operating the icons on the touchscreen becomes a test of patience. The most popular are displays with a diagonal of 13.3 and 14 inches.

They represent a good compromise between the quality of the display, price and handiness of the device. Ultrabooks with an anti-glare display hardly show any annoying reflections when viewed. On the other hand, the contrast is usually higher with reflective displays. You have to decide for yourself which variant you like better.

Hard Drive

Prefer devices with an SSD drive. They are fast, robust and require little electricity. You should choose the capacity as high as possible. The most popular are ultrabooks with hard drives of 256 GB. But models with 128 GB storage capacity are also sufficient for the average user. On the other hand, you should keep your hands off devices with smaller hard drives. They cost less, but their storage capacity is limited.

You will usually find such devices in the entry-level class. You have a hard disk with 32 GB capacity. This corresponds to an average USB stick or a memory card, but is not sufficient for serious work with the computer.

RAM

In principle, the same applies to the main memory as to the hard disk: the bigger the better. Most often you will find models with 4 or 8 GB capacity. This is sufficient for almost all applications, for example for a smooth display of videos in HD. However, you will also find devices with 2 or even 1 GB storage capacity on the market. This is far too little for data-intensive applications and not recommended.

WiFi Compatibility

All devices have an integrated WLAN module to access the Internet. Whether or not an additional module for mobile surfing makes sense for you depends on how you use your ultrabook. If you mainly work at home, you can safely do without it, especially since this additional function drives up the price of the device.

If, on the other hand, you travel a lot and use your ultrabook for work and surfing, you cannot do without a UMTS or LTE module because there are not WiFi hotspots everywhere.

Operating System

When buying, make sure that the device of your choice is running the latest version of the operating system in question, because even the best operating system is only good as long as updates and updates are available. Most Ultrabooks use Microsoft Windows. The latest is Windows 10.

Computers with Windows 8 or Windows 7 are cheaper, but how long these outdated systems will be supported is uncertain. In addition, many apps with outdated operating systems no longer run properly or not at all.

Optical Drive

If you like to burn CDs or DVDs yourself, smaller Ultrabooks are out of the question for you. In devices with displays under 14 inches, there is usually no space for an optical drive. If you do not want to do without it, you have to choose a larger model, which is usually more expensive.

Additional Equipment

The equipment of the Ultrabooks usually includes 3 USB ports, at least one of which must support the fast USB 3.0, an HDMI port, webcam, an integrated microphone and a socket for connecting headphones.

Some models also have Bluetooth (very useful if you want to quickly send photos or videos from your smartphone to the ultrabook) and an integrated card reader for memory cards. The better the equipment, the more versatile you can use the ultrabook.

Ultrabook vs. Laptop vs. Convertible

All 3 types of mobile computers have their advantages and disadvantages that make them particularly well suited for certain groups of consumers.

Ultrabook

Its advantages are obvious. It is characterized by long battery life and high computing power. The latest technology is used in the ultrabook, which means that the devices run quickly and economically. Their only downside is the price, which is still high, at least for top of the range models.

However, as technical development advances, it will decrease in the long term, which means that the advantages of the ultrabook, which we were already able to demonstrate in our ultrabook test, will come into their own.

Laptop

The laptop is the classic among mobile computers. However, the devices are not state-of-the-art. They only have a relatively short battery life and are not very suitable for mobile surfing.

Nevertheless, they are a full replacement for a desktop PC. Their technology is mature and they convince customers above all with their good price-performance ratio.

Convertibles

This is used to describe devices that are in the middle between ultrabook and tablet PC. Convertibles use the same technology as ultrabooks, except that the keyboard can be folded away or removed. The devices are usually smaller and less powerful than an ultrabook or laptop, but clearly superior to a tablet PC.

Their great advantage is that they accommodate two devices in one housing, so to speak. If necessary, you can work with a convertible like with an ultrabook or laptop and surf on the couch after work like with a tablet.

Ultrabook Accessories

If you frequently use your ultrabook to write long texts, an external keyboard is a useful accessory because it protects the integrated keyboard of the ultrabook. Good external keyboards are available for a few dollars, while replacing a built-in keyboard is expensive and time-consuming. The external keyboard is connected to a USB socket. When it is worn out, it can simply be replaced with a new one.

If the ultrabook does not have an illuminated keyboard, a small LED light is very helpful. It is connected to a USB port on the computer and emits bright light for writing. At the same time, it is small and compact enough to be taken with you when traveling.

There are also powerful mini fans, which can also be connected to a USB socket on the ultrabook and ensure a pleasantly cooling wind when working or surfing without disturbing other people.

Ultrabook Alternatives

One of the alternatives to ultrabooks are the MacBook Air devices from Apple. They are comparable to ultrabooks in terms of dimensions and performance, but not exactly cheap.

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, you can try the Google Chromebooks. These are small and light computers that contain little hardware and are therefore affordable. Your strength lies in cloud computing. Important data is stored in the cloud (Internet). Therefore, these computers only work properly if they have access to the Internet.

Google Chromebooks use the free operating system Google Chrome OS, a Linux distribution.

If you don’t have too high demands in terms of performance, a netbook is also an option for you. Although the devices have long been said to be dead, they are still in production. Entry-level models cost less than 200 dollars.

Last product update on 2021-09-23 | Source: Amazon Affiliate