Here are the best ultrabook laptops you can buy. PC Advisor reviews the very best ultraportable laptops you can buy in the UK in 2016. Best Ultrabook reviews.
Ultrabook buying advice
Buying an ultraportable laptop is really no different than any laptop, except that your priorities are likely to be different. Since you're reading this, you're probably after a laptop that's light and will last a long time away from the mains.
However, other people want an ultrabook that's powerful and can handle demanding applications without breaking your back when you carry it around. You'll find laptops catering for both types here.
And if you're after more in-depth buying advice which covers information on warranties, screens, storage and processors, see our main best laptops guide.
Some compromises are inevitable if you want a thin and light laptops, though. There's less space for a battery, so it's typical to find shorter runtimes. But some companies have overcome this with clever packaging, such as the MacBook Air.
Another factor is efficient hardware, so a newer processor is likely to sip rather than guzzle power. The same goes for other components. But you should always read our reviews to find out how long a particular laptop lasted in our tests as you can't rely on specifications and it's unwise to go only by manufacturers' claims.
Thin laptops tend to have shallow key travel, so if you need a laptop to do a lot of typing then, again, read our reviews as they're the only way (short of hunting down the machine in a shop) to find out whether a keyboard is a joy or a pain to use.
Many ultrabooks use low-power processors which are better for battery life, but may not have much power for running Windows apps. Our benchmarks sort the speed demons from the sluggards.
Price is, of course, the other consideration and there are always compromises if you have a tight budget. Screen quality tends to improve with budget, and if you can afford it it's well worth seeking out a laptop with an IPS - rather than TN - screen. The odd IPS screen can be found on a budget ultrabook, though, such as on the Asus UX305CA.
Screen size is the other main consideration, but it's very much a personal thing. Some people are perfectly happy with a smaller screen (11-12in) while others can't work on anything smaller than a 15in screen. If you're unsure, you'll need to head to a laptop shop and try a few out before spending any money.
Best ultrabook reviews
- Reviewed on: 30 March 15
- RRP: 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.
- Reviewed on: 22 July 16
- Buy for From £1,079
It’s a business laptop, there’s no escaping that. But our time with the Dell Latitude 13 7370 was great - it’s probably the most accessible business laptop out there, with a form factor that everyone can get along with. If you are a small business owner and you need a laptop to hook up to a monitor in your home office but also take on a business trip and not need a plug all day, then this is one of the computers you should be considering. You might not even need or want another laptop for personal use either, which goes a long way to justifying the high price.
Read our Dell Latitude 13 7370 review.
- Reviewed on: 5 August 16
- RRP: £1299 inc VAT
The HP Spectre 13 is desperate to appear a laptop of the future, and that comes with substantial pros and cons. Its supreme portability is quite wonderful, and while its design may polarise, it certainly is fancy. There's substance too, with a surprisingly powerful CPU for a laptop this thin and solid build in the keyboard and trackpad. Its message is a little confused, though. The processor courts enthusiasts, but that's exactly who's likely to be most annoyed by the lack of memory card slot and a traditional USB port. There's an audience for the Spectre 13, but if you've not signed-up to a wireless way of working yet you may want to think twice.
Read our HP Spectre 13 review.
- Reviewed on: 22 April 15
- Buy for £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: 9 August 16
- RRP: £549 inc VAT
The Lenovo Yoga 11 710 is a great little device for those who travel a lot or who have no need for a big laptop. This is one of the best alternatives to the 12-inch MacBook, a truly tiddly machine that offers better value than Apple, not to mention a touchscreen and an ultra-flexible hinge. It's not powerful, but that's not the point. The trackpad, like several of Lenovo’s recent models, is not perfect. But given the great value on offer here it’s worth persevering with.
Read our Lenovo Yoga 710 11" 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.
7. 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: 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.
- Reviewed on: 24 December 15
- RRP: From £1029 inc VAT
The Dell XPS 15 is a great all-rounder laptop. Come to it expecting superlatives, especially the version tested, and you may come away disappointed. However, it is very versatile indeed. It offers a powerful CPU, a competent discrete graphics card, a screen happy with the outdoors and a frame that's light and slim given the rest of the spec. It can do everything pretty well, without the power compromises of an ultra-skinny laptop, or the portability ones of a workstation. Some will be disappointed with the stamina, but it's actually rather respectable given the processor. It's a laptop that's good at just about everything, bar lasting absolutely ages between charges.
Read our Dell XPS 15 9550 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: 22 January 16
- RRP: 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: 16 December 15
- RRP: £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.
13. Lenovo Yoga 900
- Reviewed on: 26 February 16
- RRP: 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: 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.
- 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.