11 best ultraportable laptops of 2015: The best ultrabooks you can buy - best ultraportable laptops reviewed
The 11 best ultraportables laptops you can buy in the UK in 2015
By Andrew Harrison | PC Advisor | 12 May 15
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.
It's a shame that the EliteBook doesn't include a solid-state drive that can really make the most of its powerful processor and GPU, but this is still a well-designed and versatile laptop that will appeal to many business users. The high-quality display is particularly suitable for presentations, while its sturdy design, security features and battery life will appeal to anyone that spends a lot of time out on the road.
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.
The Acer Aspire S3 has a lot going for it, including an attractive, slimline design and high-quality IPS display. It also provides good performance for an Ultrabook in this price range, thanks to its hybrid storage drive and nVidia graphics. Battery life was respectable rather than outstanding, and some people might prefer to trade features such as the touch-screen and nVidia GPU for a longer-lasting battery.
The MSI GS60 2PE Ghost Pro has enough power to handle current games, and it’s got the screen quality to match – and all while costing less than the Gigabyte P35W v2, which has a poorer screen but a tad more gaming power. The storage, keyboard and speakers all impress, but this slimline gaming laptop struggles for longevity and has poor thermal performance. It’s thin and impressive, but be aware about the MSI’s limitations before spending any cash.
The new ZenBook is a great home for Intel’s new Core M processor, which proved up to basic daily tasks in Windows with no obvious lag in the interface. Good battery life and decent screen quality are further plus points to a well-made case with a familiar design to Apple fans. At a price of £650 this is an attractive package as a carry-anyway Windows laptop.
The Toshiba Kira cannot approach the outstanding battery life of its Apple rivals. It does manages to combine good overall speed and a high-resolution display with a truly ultraportable design. That's a difficult trick to pull off, and it makes the Kira one of the most attractive Windows Ultrabooks currently available.
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.
It won't break any speed records, but the HP Spectre 13 is a smart, attractive Ultrabook that can give Apple's MacBook Air a run for its money. The HP's slimline design, high-quality display and reasonable battery life help ensure that it earns its keep when you're out and about. And, of course, there's that over-sized trackpad, which is a small but worthy innovation that makes it just that little bit more comfortable to use than many of its rivals.
This revised 13in MacBook Air is a little bit faster in general speed, a lot faster in graphics speed – if only catching up with 2010’s Air – but with approaching an hour of extra battery life. We also appreciate the even quieter fan. This is the original ultrabook, and with extra details and quality touches it still beats all Ultrabooks we’ve seen so far.
The essential specifications of the 13in Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display closely follow the groundbreaking original 15in version. Reduced size here necessitates integrated-only graphics, as well as a more efficient dual-core rather than quad-core processor. But this choice of components really delivers, and crucially in a state-of-the-art 13in notebook that takes the second-finest laptop display money can buy – beaten only by the 15in Retina model of the Apple MacBook Pro.