10 Best Ultrabook (Lightweight Laptops) 2020
As times get more demanding, and travel becomes an intrinsic part of being, laptops are also evolving accordingly. The marketplace now abounds in lightweight laptops that offer terrific power and display. In fact, these devices are so sleek and portable that it is almost unbelievable how performance-oriented and well-suited to business and entertainment they can be. In 2011, Intel first started calling these devices Ultrabook. Today, Ultrabooks have been launched by most leading tech giants and computer manufacturers, such as Apple, Dell, HP, Microsoft, ASUS, Razer and Acer.
Back in the 1940s, when the first computer (ENIAC) was invented, it was a fantastically implausible idea ever to be able to carry a computer with you. Those machines weighed close to 27,000 Kg — a tad heavier, should we say, than the baggage you’re willing to tow along. But times have changed and how, and several excellent modern-day lightweight laptops or “ultrabook”” weigh as little as 3 pounds. That’s only as much as a pair of boots or a thick hardcover book!
Indeed, one of the greatest technological innovations since the invention of the first computer has been compact, path-breaking chip design. The capability to fit more – features, processors, the works – in less.
The face of the computer marketplace has changed beyond recognition in the last decade. From once being dominated by hefty, stationery desktops that derived their power from their bulk, the market now abounds in robust but feather-light laptops, notebooks and tablets.
Leading laptop makers, from Microsoft and Apple to ASUS, Acer, LG, HP and Razer are increasingly committing themselves to mobility and agility. They are finding solutions to tenuous problems that once accompanied computer design, problems that could be solved only by bigger and heavier components. Now, laptops come with speedy response and efficient handling of day-to-day tasks, even when they are the size of your favorite novel.
Cloud computing and storage let you carry massive files minus the body ache. Displays are bright and beautiful, and docking stations allow you to expand horizons when you’re at home or in the office. Simply put, you have the potency of a full-sized beast of a computer in the niftiness of a laptop that can travel the world with you. To top it all, many of these innovative machines also look the part — utterly stylish and chic.
- Why Lightweight Laptop?
- Why Ultrabooks Are All the Rage
- Quick Tips for Buying an Ultrabook
- Our Picks: 10 Best Ultrabook 2020
- 1. Dell XPS 13 9300 – Best Ultrabook Ovarall
- 2. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – Best Ultrabook Under $1000
- 3. HP Elite Dragonfly – Best HP Lightweight Laptop
- 4. Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook – Best Gaming Ultrabook
- 5. Acer Swift 5 SF514-54T-76PY – Best Budget Ultrabook
- 6. Apple Macbook Air
- 7. ASUS ZenBook 13 UX334FLC – Best ASUS Lightweight Laptop
- 8. Lenovo Flex 14 – Best Ultrabook Under $500
- 9. Acer Swift 3 SF314-57-59EY – Best Budget Lightweight Laptop
- 10. HP Stream 14-ds0040nr – Best Cheap Lightweight Laptop Under $200
- Quite an impressive array of lightweight laptops, eh?
Why Lightweight Laptop?
Wait a minute, though. How important, really, are lightweight laptops? Does their utility extend beyond the contemporary fad to carry the world with oneself and stay forever connected to the “network”?
To answer that, one need only look at the swiftly changing dynamics in homes, workplaces and lifestyles. Offices now extend from one end of the globe to the other; people take up remote and freelancing positions that need them to be attuned, to be able to work from varied geographical terrain.
Traveling is an integral part of many jobs; the number of people mesmerized by wanderlust is also on the rise. In these fascinating times of collaboration and momentum, staying glued to a cubicle, working on a desktop that detests movement, is a severely limiting proposition.
Lightweight laptops offer the ease of portability and accessibility, often fitting into purses and being adaptable to multi-format use (say, tablet or notebook). To be able to commit to an on-the-go population, such laptops are designed with extra durability and a display undeterred by the elements.
They also have specially crafted features for glitch-free sharing and security. But their best quality is their very core: processing mettle and storage. Superior lightweight laptops succeed in a happy tradeoff wherein portability and power coexist.
The price range of ultrabooks is vast and alluring. As a smart consumer, though, it would serve you well to view the price tag with a pinch of salt and assess the purchase as a package. While some entry-level ultrabooks may be available for even under $500, getting a mid-range ($900 to $1250) or premium (above $1250) system will be lucrative in the long run.
The extra bucks go towards a more robust processor (say, an Intel eighth-generation Core over Celeron), a speedier SSD over eMMC storage, and a high-resolution full-HD, ultra-HD or 4k screen. If you seek a lightweight laptop for business or extensive travel, as opposed to using it only as a family-entertainment device, it is worthwhile going the extra mile.
Why Ultrabooks Are All the Rage
In recent times, Ultrabooks have become wildly popular. They have also garnered a premium reputation; many are available at steep prices over $1000. Unifying these laptops is a common thread: they are all under one-inch thick and are infused with the latest technology in processing, build and speed.
When you own an Ultrabook, you can be assured of good boot speed, a predisposition to portability and ease of unplugged usage. Since this kind of flexibility has become ingrained in the fabric of contemporary living, it is no wonder that Ultrabooks have become highly coveted.
Quick Tips for Buying an Ultrabook
While buying an Ultrabook, keep the following tips in handy:
- Clearly identify the purpose of your purchase. You can find Ultrabooks designed for gaming, campus life, business, etc. The specifications will vary based on the core purpose of your computer. For instance, if you primarily need a gaming Ultrabook, getting one with a refresh rate of at least 60Hz will be important.
- Get an Ultrabook with SSD storage. This is critical in light of responsiveness and fast read/write speeds. Even if you settle for a mid-range configuration, try to seek a device that offers an SSD. The difference in overall user experience will be considerable.
- Check that the laptop offers a long battery life. Most laptops in this league can run on a single charge for more than eight hours.
- Ensure that the computer is sturdy but lightweight and compact. Ideally, you should aim for a body weight under 4lbs and a thickness of less than 1”.
- The Ultrabook should be well-connected. Typically, look for USB ports; if you can find a Thunderbolt port, you can look forward to quick data transfer and rapid charging.
- Don’t compromise on the display. You will be traveling with this laptop and staring at the screen for hours on end. It helps to have a vivid, pleasing display with a rich color gamut, an IPS panel and an optimal screen resolution. Some Ultrabooks offers brightness up to 500 nits and color saturation of 100% sRGB. A narrow-bezel monitor is usually preferable since it delivers better screen-to-body ratios for immersive multimedia sessions.
- Get a laptop with extra portability features. For example, if your budget allows it, look for a backlit keyboard, a touchscreen or a fingerprint reader for secure login.
Our Picks: 10 Best Ultrabook 2020
For the customers, the outcome of this shift in perspective has been delightful. As of 2020, there exist numerous choices for a mobile computing companion, and the price points, too, have considerably come down.
Let’s look at the ten best ultrabooks 2020 that you can acquire in 2020, and what they each bring to the table.
1. Dell XPS 13 9300 – Best Ultrabook Ovarall
This laptop offers the best of both worlds—performance and portability. So, while it is fitted with 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD, it also boasts of a lightweight chassis weighing 2.65lbs and measuring only 0.58” in thickness. It delivers many other mobility-friendly features as well, such as an inbuilt lid sensor, multi-device integration (through Dell Mobile Connect) and fingerprint-based login via Windows Hello.
The Dell XPS 13 9300 offers an FHD+ monitor with a brightness of 500 nits and an engaging screen to body ratio of 91.5%. You can choose to get a 4K Ultra HD+ screen too; this comes with a 90% DCI P3 color gamut. Thanks to Waves MaxxAudio Pro, the audio output is exemplary.
Bonus: This Dell Ultrabook comes with a unique webcam that has a 4-element lens and temporal noise reduction. Here’s to comfortable video calls on the go!
2. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – Best Ultrabook Under $1000
Beautiful to behold and available in tone-on-tone colors like cobalt-blue and platinum, this laptop also travels well.
It weighs all of 2.79lbs and can run on a single charge for about 11.5 hours. Not only that, but it also supports quick-charging—up to 80% in one hour—and this liberates you from the need to stay plugged in. A rich assortment of connections, including USB-C and USB-A ports, permits you to plug into external displays, keyboards and other peripherals.
That said, this laptop is by no means scanty on power. It is fueled by an Intel Core i5 processor and comes with 8GB RAM and a 128GB SSD. This is adequate for standard computing activities like checking your e-mail, penning down notes and accessing multimedia content. Plus, you can enjoy the easy familiarity of Windows as you work, from Microsoft Edge and OneDrive to Office 365.
3. HP Elite Dragonfly – Best HP Lightweight Laptop
A perfectly gorgeous lightweight laptop from HP’s stables is the 13” HP Elite Dragonfly.
It is designed to impress with a jaw-dropping display and superior build specifications.
You get an iridescent dragonfly blue finish, a magnesium chassis weighing under 1kg (2.2lbs) and a monitor with 1000-nit brightness. HP has used diamond-cut accents for this laptop, which lend it a stylish appeal sure to grab eyeballs. Build-wise, this device is highly flexible. You can operate it in many modes like laptop, tablet, tent and media.
Beyond the look-and-feel, HP has also infused this Ultrabook with some stupendous mobility features. For instance, you get a privacy camera with a shutter, an integrated privacy screen for working in crowded settings, and multi-factor authentication for topnotch security.
The processing chamber is steered by an Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. You can use it comfortably as a business laptop well-suited to extensive travel.
4. Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook – Best Gaming Ultrabook
Driven by an Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor, 16GB RAM and a 256GB SSD, this device adapts well to modern gaming titles. You can enjoy rich imagery on the FHD monitor with a 100% sRGB color gamut and a refresh rate of 60Hz. Since you get eight hours of battery backup, it is possible to game while on the go.
Razer has ensured that this laptop is suitable for the rigors of travel. It is built with a durable, anodized aluminum frame that weighs only 3lbs. The profile of this computer measures 0.6”, which makes it simple to slide it into backpacks and get going.
Note: You don’t get a dedicated GPU with this laptop. Instead, it uses Intel Iris Plus. However, the A/V experience is absorbing—quite a commendable feat for a mobile laptop in this form factor.
5. Acer Swift 5 SF514-54T-76PY – Best Budget Ultrabook
A 14” laptop driven by an Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor and offering up to 11 hours of battery life, it is perfect for hectic lifestyles.
Although the RAM support is a tad low at 8GB, you get up to 512GB of storage (SSD).
The FHD display comes with a color gamut of 72% NTSC and a brightness of 300 nits. This ensures that your multimedia content gets rendered well, even though this is a budget purchase under $1000. Here is the best part: the monitor has a brilliant screen-to-body ratio of 86.4% and a narrow-bezel design of 0.15”. You can look forward to engaging multimedia sessions with minimal external interference.
Living up to its identity as an Ultrabook, this computer has a lightweight chassis of 2.18lbs and a thin profile of only 0.59”. It also supports Wake On Voice (WoV) that lets you activate your laptop through speech recognition.
6. Apple Macbook Air
This glorious device comes with a Retina display infused with True Tone technology.
With 48% more colors than earlier models and amazing text clarity, this laptop guarantees an excellent viewing experience. On the processing front, an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD bring you the power to handle both day-to-day tasks and more intensive endeavors like wireless streaming and multimedia editing.
Apple has endowed this Macbook with plenty of pro-portability features. The battery can last up to 12 hours on a single charge. You can avail of a unique Touch ID that lets you securely access sensitive data on the go. The specially designed keyboard, with a butterfly mechanism, provides a stable typing experience. Despite its power-packed persona, this laptop is lightweight and sleek at 2.75lbs.
7. ASUS ZenBook 13 UX334FLC – Best ASUS Lightweight Laptop
This 13.3” laptop is fuelled by an Intel Core i7-10510U CPU, 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD.
This is a configuration that can conveniently support business people, students and travelers alike. A unique feature of this computer is its “Screenpad”—a 5.65” interactive touchscreen trackpad that lets you multitask like a pro. This is handy when you are working with multiple tabs, apps, etc., and need to switch back and forth quickly.
Display-wise, ASUS has got things down pat. The FHD monitor uses a narrow-bezel design that limits distortion and interference. The sound department is superior too, enhanced further by the “ergolift” hinge that also boosts the typing experience and heat dissipation. ASUS has built this Ultrabook to be durable but lightweight; it adheres to MIL-STD-810G standards but weighs only 2.8lbs and is 0.7” thick.
8. Lenovo Flex 14 – Best Ultrabook Under $500
It is driven by an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U CPU, 12GB RAM and a 256GB SSD.
While the processing prowess is on the lower side, it is ample for regular activities like note-taking, checking e-mail and browsing the internet. The HD monitor supports 10-point touch and offers a brightness of 220 nits. Note: The stylus needs to be purchased separately.
A huge advantage of this Ultrabook is its long battery life of eight hours. Add to that the quick recharge technology that can charge your device to 80% in a blink, and you have the freedom to work wherever you are. Also, since this laptop is quite lightweight at 3.52lbs and has a thin profile of 0.7”, it fits easily into backpacks.
9. Acer Swift 3 SF314-57-59EY – Best Budget Lightweight Laptop
Driving this laptop is an Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD.
On one charge, this device can last for up to eleven hours—terrific battery backup for people with travel-oriented lifestyles.
Display-wise, this Ultrabook packs quite a punch. The FHD monitor has an IPS panel and a screen-to-body ratio of 84%. The IPS panel makes a big difference to overall visual comfort: it lets you view distortion-free imagery from multiple angles. The screen, built according to a narrow-bezel design (0.17”), lends itself well to multimedia experiences.
This budget Ultrabook travels excellently. The chassis weighs about 2.62lbs and is 0.6” thick. You can also enjoy a backlit keyboard and Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 to work smoothly outdoors. The latter offers consistent internet connectivity to stay connected on the run.
10. HP Stream 14-ds0040nr – Best Cheap Lightweight Laptop Under $200
Run by an AMD A4-9120E CPU, 4GB RAM and 32GB of storage, this device is based on Windows 10 Home (in S Mode).
The familiar Windows operating system comes with several advantages, such as free access to Office 365 Personal for a year and 1TB of storage space on OneDrive. The extra memory makes it easy to stock all your important files and data even though the basic configuration of the laptop is low.
This stylish rose-pink laptop also offers strong security through the Bios recovery and protection module. A unique HP endeavor, this module keeps your laptop safe from unauthorized access and any other system-related issues. With a 3.2lbs weight and a vertical-brushed body pattern, this is a good-looking Ultrabook that almost belies its price.
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Quite an impressive array of lightweight laptops, eh?
For enthusiasts of swift, on-the-go computing, 2020 is turning out to be a spectacular year. The marketplace is choc-a-bloc with lightweight laptops that can beautifully — and productively —partner with you for personal and professional endeavors.
While choosing a ultrabook for your needs, you’d be well-advised to consider not only the price point and the dimensions, but also the capacity of the computer in terms of processing power, storage, security and resilience. When weighing your options, look for a device with superior display and graphics and better device support.
Lightweight laptops are in perfect contrast with the cold, distant computers of yore that were operated only by a select few and designed never to be uprooted. Ultra-portable-books are pulsating, eager to see the world, and built to be more buddy than baggage. Choose one that advocates a lifestyle similar to yours, and who can tell, perhaps the leanness of these mean machines will inspire us all to follow suit.