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Last updated: 02/21/2020

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Nowadays, the majority of us have a computer at home — be it desktop or laptop. The kind of performance we look for depends on our needs, and many brands and models are available to offer the features required by various types of users. This means that you can always find the right computer for your personal needs.

In the following guide, we want to help you know more about ultrabooks. You’ll discover different models with great value for money, and we’ll delve into why these compact laptops can be so useful to you. When you’re done reading our article, you should feel confident and informed enough to make your very own purchase stress-free.

Key Facts

  • Think about what you’re looking for in an ultrabook. Keep in mind that evaluating different products carefully will help you choose a quality device at a reasonable price.
  • While ultrabooks are somewhat smaller and lighter than standard laptops, they don’t skimp on technology and performance. Some models feature Intel Core i5 processors, 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, 256 GB SSD hard disks and dedicated graphics card for no more than $700.
  • Connectivity is undeniably their strength: they offer Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB 3.0 ports. Certain ultrabooks also include USB-C and HDMI ports, as well as microSD card slots.
  • The autonomy and useful life of their batteries are very good, with mid-range models generally offering more than enough in those aspects.

Our Selection of the Best Ultrabooks on the U.S. Market

Ultrabooks are fascinating devices that maximize the possibilities of laptops while minimizing their size. Many offer fantastic performance and powerful technology, and have become more accessible financially. High-end models are no longer the only options, with something available for virtually every budget. Pay attention to our selection of the best products out there in the section below:

Best Ultrabook Overall

Asus laptops stand for quality, so it’s no surprise to see the ZenBook 13 being Amazon’s Choice This model features a 13.3-inch Full HD screen, an Intel i7 processor reaching up to 4.6 GHz, a 16 GB Intel HD Graphics 620 graphics card, and DDR3 RAM of 16 GB. In addition, it has a huge 512 GB SSD hard drive to store everything you need. Connectivity-wise, it has various USB ports, an HDMI and a MicroSD reader.

Best Gaming Ultrabook

You might think ultrabooks aren’t designed for gaming, but Razer has done it right with its Blade Stealth 13. With an Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card and 16 GB of RAM, this laptop lets you play virtually any video game, as well as use more demanding programs. It has a battery life of 11 hours, and its light weight makes it the ideal companion for on-the-go gaming sessions.

Best Budget-Friendly Ultrabook

Asus’s VivoBook 15 is one affordable ultrabook, but that doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing on quality. Its processor has a maximum clock frequency of 3.6 GHz, the Full HD screen measures a great 15.6 inches and it has 8 GB of RAM. This budget-friendly laptop is ideal for work, as it integrates a 128 GB SSD as well as a 1 TB HDD hard drive. In addition, the VivoBook 15 comes with a one-year accidental damage protection.

Best 2-In-1 Ultrabook

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a truly versatile ultrabook, that you can equally use for work and leisure. One of its most attractive features is its battery that can last up to 17 hours in video playback. With an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and an SSD of 156 GB, this model can easily run demanding professional software. Its detachable PixelSense touchscreen allows you to turn this laptop into a tablet in a matter of seconds.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Ultrabooks

An ultrabook is perfect for you if you’re looking for a compact and easy-to-carry computer that offers quality performance for various types of users. As you’ve discovered in the previous section, a wide variety of models are available on the American market. This means that you can find the one that best suits your needs if you know what you’re looking for.

handsome guy using an ultrabook

Ultrabooks are very light and easy to carry.
(Source: Rido: 51077700/ 123rf.com)

What is an ultrabook exactly?

This is how Intel named a series of laptops released in 2011 to compete against Apple’s MacBook Air. Nowadays, the term has become generic and is used by many brands, and ultrabooks can offer Intel, AMD, or other processors. That being said, these laptops do need to respond to various criteria in order to be called like this — although there are naturally slight exceptions.

Ultrabooks must have a thickness between 18 mm and 21 mm, and be very light. Their screen rarely exceeds 14 inches, and they feature quality Wi-Fi connection and USB 3.0 port. These laptops also have low voltage processors, an SSD hard disk, a heat-dissipating metal housing, long-lasting batteries and quick start via Intel Rapid Start.

Alexis OhanianAmerican Internet Entrepreneur

“To join in the industrial revolution, you needed to open a factory; in the Internet revolution, you need to open a laptop.”

While the majority of ultrabooks are sold for less than $1,000, you can now find more expensive models. This is due to the fact that these laptops have taken a huge leap forward in terms of performance. While the basic characteristics of ultrabooks have remained the same, their quality has evolved and they are much more powerful than they originally were.

What are the advantages of having an ultrabook?

These laptops offer many benefits, and most manufacturers now market different ranges of products. This is why you’ll have so many options to choose from. In the following table, we’ve listed the main advantages and drawbacks of this recent type of laptop to help you make up your mind:

Advantages
  • Smaller dimensions
  • Full HD screens up to 14&#8243
  • Lightweight
  • Quick start
  • Powerful processors
  • Metal casing
  • SSD hard disk
  • Connectivity
Disadvantages
  • Some models are expensive
  • Lower storage capacity
  • No CD/DVD reader

What do SSD hard disks offer?

The speed of ultrabooks is one of their main characteristics, and that’s because they mount an SSD hard disk (Solid-State Drive). They are much more effective than HDDs (Hard Disk Drive) but also have certain drawbacks. We’ve listed them below, as well as their advantages:

Advantages
  • Higher data transfer speed
  • Instant OS start
  • Longer battery life
  • Silent
  • Very little heating
Disadvantages
  • More expensive
  • Less storage capacity

What can I do with an ultrabook?

The majority of ultrabooks are equipped with Intel i5 or i7 low-voltage processors. This means that you can use them for much more than simply browsing the Internet or basic work tasks. These devices actually allow you to watch videos in high definition and even use certain editing programs.

These laptops are designed to be easily transported without negatively influencing their performance when carrying out different tasks. They also offer great connectivity, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB 3.0, and HDMI ports. Overall, their technology and performance are far superior to that of netbooks, and more than match that of standard laptops.

Can I play games on my ultrabook?

This will mainly depend on the kind of graphics card that your laptop features. You will only be able to play 2D or simple games if you have an integrated graphics card. That being said, you can find more powerful devices on the market, which will allow you to play more demanding video games.

In that regard, you’ll have to be very careful and make sure that the ultrabook you pick has a dedicated graphics card powerful enough for this. You can often find models with Nvidia GeForce graphics of at least 2 GB, such as the GTX 1050. While it is fairly basic, it will give you the possibility of playing certain games with good graphic detail.

girl using a computer

Ultrabooks start up quickly.
(Source: Belchonock: 97712064/123rf.com)

Why don’t ultrabooks have CD or DVD players?

This specific characteristic of ultrabooks can be considered to be one of their few weaknesses. They lack players due to the lack of space, which is caused by the fact that lightness is prioritized. On the other hand, these laptops offer very complete connectivity, including at least one USB 3.0 and in some cases USB-C ports.

If you really need a CD player, you always have the option to purchase an external one and connect it to one of the ultrabook’s ports. Nowadays, various manufacturers sell readers/burners at affordable prices. As you can see, this so-called problem has a quick and easy solution.

How efficient is the battery of an ultrabook?

One of the main qualities that people look for when buying a laptop is the ability to transport it without it being a headache. Ultrabooks are designed specifically for this: not only because of their small size and lightness, but also because they integrate technology that consumes little energy, while generally including long-lasting batteries.

While it naturally depends on the manufacturer and the model you choose, the majority of ultrabooks on the market feature smart batteries that maximize their performance. There are also built-in programs — in Asus models, for instance — that will protect the useful life of the laptop depending on whether you use the battery or the power supply more often.

Boy using laptop on a sofa at home

Ultrabooks integrate SSD hard disks.
(Source: Belchonock: 96494184/ 123rf.com)

Shopping Criteria

You now know about the main aspects of these laptops, as well as the requirements they must meet to be called ultrabooks. In addition to this information, you should keep in mind that there are several key factors to evaluate when the time comes to make your purchase. We’ll discuss the five most important in the section below.

Budget

This is naturally one of the very first criteria that come to mind before any kind of purchase. If we’re being very honest with you, ultrabooks aren’t the cheapest type of laptops. Intel’s original idea when creating ultrabooks was to keep them under $1,000, but their development and evolution have led this to be untrue for some models.

That being said, you won’t have to invest this amount to obtain a powerful device. As we mentioned earlier, they aren’t simply designed to be small and compact. They should also provide high performance and diverse possibilities within a fairly broad price range. Note that certain brands offer better value for money than others.

Businesswoman hands typing on laptop

The higher data transfer rate of their hard disks are an advantage for ultrabooks.
(Source: Rido: 41263304/ 123rf.com)

Processor and RAM

As you now know, the majority of processors are from Intel. However, the development of ultrabooks means that you can also find models with AMD processors mounted, among others. Intel Core seventh-generation i5 and i7 (and onwards) are currently the most commonly used. Regardless of which you choose, you should know that both processors are low voltage despite being very efficient.

When it comes to RAM memory, you will generally find ultrabooks with mid-range 8 GB DDR3 or DDR4. This is actually more than enough to obtain good performance. More advanced models sometimes feature 12, 16, or 32 GB DDR4 of RAM. While you can also find ultrabooks with less RAM, we encourage you to opt for at least 8 GB.

Hard Disk

As we discussed earlier, ultrabooks integrate SSD hard drives that offer faster data transfer rates and drastically reduce the startup time of the operating system. This is why these laptops also feature the Intel Rapid System.

These hard drives also ensure that your programs can load quickly, regardless of how demanding they are. Since this system is different from HDD, you won’t hear any clicking sounds and they offer the great advantage of warming up very little. Most models incorporate 128 to 256 GB hard drives, but you can also find some with more storage.

Graphics Card

The majority of ultrabooks come with an integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics card, which will be more than enough if you want a laptop for normal use without delving into the world of video games. It will be quite a different story if you do want to play; you’ll need a model with a dedicated graphics card of at least 2 GB, such as the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050.

Blank screen laptop computer on wood table

Ultrabooks have very powerful processors.
(Source: Teerawut Masawat: 36193124/ 123rf.com)

Screen

Virtually all current ultrabooks available on the market have Full HD screens — many of which are tactile. Originally, all models were meant to be tactile, but the rapid market growth of these laptops has led to the appearance of different ranges. You will notice that the size of their screens generally fluctuates between 13.3 and 14 inches.

Summary

Ultrabooks that have good value for money will offer you fantastic performance, as long as you take your personal needs into account. As you noticed in our selection of products, you can find quality options for less than $600, while the most powerful models can easily exceed $2,000. This means that you won’t have to invest that much to get a quality device.

Don’t forget to consider the key specs when purchasing your own; these include the processor, RAM memory, hard disk, graphics card, screen, and connectivity options. The vast majority of them will perfectly meet your expectations since they are manufactured by leading brands that have joined the ultrabook market.

We hope that our shopping guide on these powerful little laptops has helped you make a decision. If that’s the case, feel free to share the article on your social media. You can also leave us a comment in the section below!

(Source of featured image: Ammentorp: 44972554/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

As a literature and translation licensee and avid traveler, language has always been at the heart of my daily life. A freelance translator since 2014, I love to delve into a variety of topics that contribute to my professional and personal development. My favorite things in life? Maté in the morning, soccer with friends, and old school hip hop.