The best Ultraportable laptops you can buy. PC Advisor reviews the best portable laptops you can buy in the UK in 2016. Best Ultrabook reviews.
As well as being easy to transport, an ultraportable laptop needs to be able to cope with the ever-increasing demands of those who are constantly on the move. PC Advisor reveals the UK's best ultraportable laptops 2016. Here are our reviews of the best ultraportable laptops. See also: best laptops of 2016.
16 best ultraportable laptop reviews
- Reviewed on: 17 February 15
- RRP: £1000 inc. VAT
The Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro is a lightweight ultraportable that can convert into a Windows 8 tablet. Don't be misled by the name – the Yoga 3 Pro is far from a professional notebook, foretold by Lenovo's choice of Windows consumer operating system. Overall battery life is better than budget laptops although we had hoped for more like 10 hours with the novel low-power processor. Overall system performance was impressive given the low clock frequency, with graphics potentially sufficient to run some Windows games at lowest settings.
Read our Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro-1370 review.
- Reviewed on: 4 February 14
- RRP: £1522 inc VAT
The sturdy Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series is generally excellent, with rapid components, extensive connectivity, a good screen and comfortable keyboard, but it can’t quite become the ultimate office Ultrabook: the battery life can’t match the MacBook Air’s longevity, and its £1522 price makes it pricier too.
Read our Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series review.
- Reviewed on: 9 June 15
- RRP: £1978 inc VAT
The Precision M3800 is Dell’s take on the ‘Ultrabook’ portable workstation notebook. It’s made from a mixture of materials, and has an undersized battery in order to stay fashionably trim. In its favour, the quad-core processor and midrange pro-certified graphics chipset provide useful performance, and without too much histrionics from the cooling fans. This year’s model now has a UHD 4K display although this still serves to exaggerate problems in some Windows programs, while the overly reflective touchscreen facility results in a heavier panel with poorer viewing that drains the battery faster. For professional users even more so than with consumer laptops, we here question the real worth of a touchscreen on a laptop. Ultimately the Dell’s circa-3 hour battery life means the M3800 is seriously compromised as a mobile productivity tool. If you don't mind staying tethered to the mains, it is a good clothes horse.
Read our Dell Precision M3800 review.
- Reviewed on: 14 April 15
- RRP: £749 (128GB model), £899 (256GB model). More expensive build-to-order options available
Available at the same price as last year, the new 11-inch MacBook Air has the same super-fast storage as before, and around 10 percent increase in processor performance. Gaming performance was always borderline, and now we find it no better and even fractionally slower. But overall battery runtime increased by almost a third in our tests, a very useful upgrade on the already very decent 10 hour-plus battery life of the previous generation.
Read our MacBook Air (11 inch, early 2015) review.
- Reviewed on: 23 July 15
- RRP: £1200 inc VAT
Lenovo has successfully shrunk its standard business notebook down to what was once known as the sub-notebook category, and is now a more commonplace size as laptops benefit from the push toward miniaturisation. Its Broadwell-generation Core i5 processor maintains performance for office duties and helps preserve usable runtime of almost 7 hours from its minimal 24Wh battery. Ergonomics are good thanks to the familiar dished-key keyboard and an option for IPS display. It may fall short of competitors like the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display in terms of screen quality, price, longevity and sheer performance, but for business users that demand a trackpoint interface, smart card slot or TPM module, the ThinkPad X250 has all the right business credentials.
Read our Lenovo ThinkPad X250 review.
- Reviewed on: 22 February 16
- RRP: £1499 inc VAT
The Asu ZenBook Pro UX501 is a laptop that looks great on paper, if you’re not turned off by its price. It has plenty of power, high-quality build and an ultra-high resolution screen matched with a touchscreen. And it can even play games. It’s everything many people want in a laptop. However, a few little niggles stop it from being the MacBook Pro 15 and Dell XPS 15 killer you might be hoping for. First, the screen’s dated architecture limits the impact of the high resolution in most environments. It’s incredibly reflective on two different levels. That the CPU fan is a little irritating and the touchpad very loud are very minor points, but combined with the screen issue make for a laptop not quite up there with the very best. You can afford to be picky when you have this much money to spend.
Read our Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 review.
10. Lenovo Yoga 900
- Reviewed on: 26 February 16
- Buy for From £1199 inc VAT (model reviewed £1499)
The Lenovo Yoga 900 is a laptop that really asks you to believe in its design style. After all, it doesn’t come cheap and for the price you can get a laptop with much more power if you’re not out for something immensely portable. That’s where this laptop excels: portability. As well as being slim, light and all-round lovely, the smart hinge lets it sit where most other laptops just can’t. The battery should last through a full day’s work as well. The trackpad can feel fiddly and the display isn’t perfect, but if you’re feeling flush this is one of the top ultraportables around.
Read our Lenovo Yoga 900 review.
- Reviewed on: 16 December 15
- Buy for £899.99 inc VAT
At around £900 the ZenBook UX303U approaches the build finesse but lacks the unbeaten battery of the similarly priced MacBook Air, although it can claim faster processor performance and a superior full-HD matt display. This latest ZenBook is a well-balanced, smart and powerful Windows notebook.
Read our Asus ZenBook UX303U review.
- Reviewed on: 22 January 16
- Buy for From £639 inc VAT
A very decent laptop replacement, and an okay tablet, the Surface Pro 3 is undeniably impressive. If you need a single device to do everything we can't think of any better device. And when you consider the cost of buying a discrete laptop, tablet and desktop PC the Surface Pro 3 is priced to shift. The question remains as to whether people want a single device rather than multiple gadgets that are better at their individual tasks. Microsoft's latest results suggest that Surface Pro 3 is winning hearts and minds. Has it won yours?
Read our Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review.
- Reviewed on: 30 June 16
- RRP: From £749 inc VAT (model tested £1079)
There is a great deal to like and rave about the Surface Pro 4. The design is thinner and lighter for starters. The screen is awesome, there's plenty of power available, the new Surface Pen is better and the Type Cover is a vast improvement on the last one. However, the design is inherently awkward at times, it's more expensive that a lot of laptops and the Type Cover, which you'll pretty much need, isn't included lowering the value.
Read our Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review.
- Reviewed on: 11 March 16
- RRP: £649 inc VAT
The Asus ZenBook UX305CA is a sensible, perhaps predictable upgrade to the UX305 we looked at last year. It has newer CPU, and a much higher-resolution screen. However, it remains a seriously portable, expensive-feeling laptop that really isn’t that expensive. That you can get this grade of machine for £600 (at the time of writing) shows that while Apple’s pricing has improved, companies like Asus still have the edge. A big, sharp, shiny edge. The Core M CPU limits the crowd of people this laptop will suit perfectly. But that it still feels fast for everyday tasks and the fact it will last all day with that kind of use makes it ideal for those who find themselves hopping between meetings or cafes as part of their daily grind. If you’re looking for something to use mostly at home, you might want look for something with a little more power and a screen with slightly higher contrast, though.
Read our Asus Zenbook UX305CA review.
5. HP Envy 13
- Reviewed on: 25 February 16
- RRP: From £649 inc VAT (model reviewed £799)
The HP Envy 13 gets a lot of things right. The design, the trackpad, the performance and the screen are all very good. Using this laptop is a real delight in most respects, its physical portability is fantastic and it has clearly been designed with a sensible budget in mind. It’s a good buy. There are a few issues, though. Unless use is very light, battery life is disappointing and the build quality is slightly less impressive than it at first appears – there’s some flex to the body, making it a bit less luxurious than you might expect looking at photos. Given the excellent combination of features, performance and value though, it’s only the battery life you need to really stop and think about before buying. The Asus UX305 lasts longer, and while that laptop lacks a backlit keyboard and some of the HP’s raw power, that might be enough to justify switching teams.
Read our HP Envy 13 review.
- Reviewed on: 15 December 15
- RRP: From £849 inc VAT
The Dell XPS 13 9343 stands as a shining beacon of hope in the world of Windows laptops, a compact laptop that outdoes the obvious competition in some key respects like screen quality and near-borderless display. Here is a 13.3-inch laptop that takes up little more space than an 11.6-inch model. Poor thermal management needs to be improved, while a non-touchscreen version could answer other outstanding issues.
Read our Dell XPS 13 9350 review.
- Reviewed on: 22 April 15
- RRP: £849 (with 128GB storage), £999 (with 256GB)
After some extensive testing, we found the MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2015) to be little different overall to the 2014 model. The Thunderbolt 2 update will prove useful for connecting to high-resolution UHD displays, and a few percent of added processor power is never unwelcome. But hoped-for improvements in graphics performance and battery longevity did not arise in our testing, in spite of a new Intel processor which was expected to shepherd benefits in both areas. Launched at the same price as last year’s model it still deserves attention as one of the finest ultraportable laptops available - doubly so now that its flash-drive speed has shot up another 100 percent - and it will remain the more affordable option in lightweight notebooks when the new MacBook launches this month.
Read our 13-inch MacBook Air (early 2015) review.
- Reviewed on: 13 January 15
- Buy for 2116
Most ultraportables we test are dumbed-down MacBook Air clones with cheap construction and low-grade components. That's why it makes a particularly refreshing change to find a Windows laptop that not just matches but surpasses Apple's popular ultraportable in a key area like screen quality. The price is much higher than even the Retina-display 13-inch MacBook but if you must have a laptop built for Windows that can make a statement in build quality and top-class components, check out EliteBook Folio 1040 G1.
Read our HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 review.
- Reviewed on: 30 March 15
- Buy for From £999
While it looks just like every Retina-screened 13-inch MacBook before it, the Early 2015 revision is streets ahead of earlier models. Its storage speed is up to double the already ground-breaking speed of the 2013 model. The new Force Trackpad brings tangible benefits in touch control, with an intelligent coprocessor that helps interpret our digital movements. And the Broadwell processor, with other running changes too, has spearheaded just about the greatest upgrade any mobile computing user could ask for, namely insanely long battery life. Improvements in graphics performance were less emphatic in our tests, but at least always positive changes. The world’s finest 13-inch notebook is now unassailable, especially given it’s kept the same sub-£1000 price point as its predecessor.