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Best Ultrabooks 2020: Lightweight and travel laptops

When a laptop is designated an Ultrabook you can trust that it will be thin and lightweight yet offer long battery life. But as these ultraportable laptops grow in popularity, it becomes more difficult to choose the right one. Fortunately, we've done the hard work for you and ranked the best Ultrabooks on the market. 

If you need a work machine, see our best business laptops rankings. Or if you're a student, we've put together a list of the best laptops for college. Upcoming Ultrabook devices are looking to make innovative changes to the category, like the Samsung Galaxy Book S. Other incoming Ultrabooks to keep on your radar include the redesigned Dell XPS 13 and Samsung's Galaxy Chromebook, both of which were announced at CES 2020. 

The best Ultrabooks

1. Dell XPS 13 (Late 2019)
2. HP Envy 13 (2019)
3. Apple MacBook Air (2019)
4. HP Spectre x360 (Late 2019)
5. Lenovo Yoga C940 (14-inch)
6. HP Elite Dragonfly
7. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (7th Gen)
8. Dell XPS 15 (2019)
9. LG Gram 17
10. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (4th Gen, 2019)

The Dell XPS 13 is the best overall Ultrabook.

The ultimate portable laptop, Dell's XPS 13 packages fast performance in a compact, premium chassis.  (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

1. Dell XPS 13 (Late 2019)

The best overall laptop

CPU: Intel Core i3/Core i5/Core i7 (10th Gen) | GPU: Intel UHD | RAM: 4GB/8GB/16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 11.9 x 7.8 x 0.5 inches | Weight: 2.7 pounds

Outstanding performance
Slim, lightweight design
Improved webcam
Bright, vivid 4K display
Battery life could be better (on 4K model)

The best Ultrabook you can buy, the Late 2019 XPS 13 is identical to the previous model but now packs 10th Gen processors. Those chips, especially the six-core Core i7 CPU, offers a significant boost in performance over 8th Gen processors. 

The 4K model we tested has a gorgeous 13.3-inch InfinityEdge display -- with practically no bezels -- and now the 'nosecam' webcam is no longer, as Dell's engineers managed to fit it in the notebook's top bezel, which is still super-thin. If you want long battery life, opt for the 1080p model as the 4K version lasted just under 8 hours on a charge, a decent if below-average result. 

See our full Dell XPS 13 (Late 2019) Review

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At under $1,000, the HP Envy 13 is the best Ultrabook value around. 

2. HP Envy 13 (2019)

The best value laptop

CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620/Nvidia GeForce MX250 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 12.1 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds

Attractive, portable chassis
Fast performance
Bright display
Poor battery life (on 4K model)
No Thunderbolt 3

Starting at $799, the new HP Envy 13t is our favorite sub-$1,000 thanks to its sleek, portable design, bright 4K and 1080p display options, and fast performance. New to the 2019 model is a webcam kill switch and fingerprint sensor for those who value security and privacy. And unlike its predecessor the latest Envy 13 has great speakers.  

See our full HP Envy 13 (2019) Review

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If you want to run macOS, the MacBook Air is the best Ultrabook from Apple. 

3. Apple MacBook Air (2019)

The best MacBook

CPU: Intel Core i5 (Y-series) | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 617 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel | Size: 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds

Crisp Retina display
Elegant gold chassis
Thin and lightweight chassis
Strong speakers
Underwhelming performance
Only offers USB-C ports

The 2019 MacBook Air is almost identical to last year's refreshed version, but that's not a bad thing. Returning are a gorgeous 13.3-inch Retina display (now with True Tone), powerful speakers and a slim, elegant chassis with narrow display bezels. The only major changes to its impressive predecessor are some tweaks to the Butterfly-style keyboard and, most importantly, a lower price (now starting at $1,099). 

See our full MacBook Air (2019) Review

Offering beauty and brawn, the HP Spectre x360 13 is the best 2-in-1 Ultrabook. 

Offering beauty and brawn, the HP Spectre x360 13 is the best 2-in-1 Ultrabook.  (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

4. HP Spectre x360 (Late 2019)

The best 2-in-1 laptop

CPU: Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 12.1 x 7.7 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 2.7 pounds

Stunning, ultraportable design
Epic battery life
Bright, vivid display with thinner bezels
Fast overall performance
Lots of bloatware
Shrill speakers at max volume
Runs a bit warm

The Spectre x360 13 is the best 2-in-1 laptop ever. Updated with a 10th Gen CPU and a more modern design, the Spectre x360 13 is improved in almost every way over its excellent predecessor. Highlights of this laptop include a stunning design, a bright 1080p display, epic 13+ hour battery life and fast overall performance. 

See our HP Spectre x360 13 (Late 2019) review

Lenovo's Yoga C940 (14-inch) refines a proven formula, making it one of the best Ultrabooks around.

Lenovo's Yoga C940 (14-inch) refines a proven formula, making it one of the best Ultrabooks around. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

5. Lenovo Yoga C940 (14-inch)

An excellent 2-in-1 laptop

CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-1065G7 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: Up to 16GB | Storage: Up to 2TB | Display: 14-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 12.6 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3.1 pounds

Slim, premium design
Beautiful 4K display
Fast performance
Crisp, dynamic speakers
Below-average battery life (on 4K model)
Stylus is difficult to remove
No SD card

With the Yoga C940, Lenovo took a proven formula and refined it. Subtle design improvements, longer battery life (up to 11:46) and refreshed 10th Gen Intel processors make the Yoga C940 a worthy successor to last year's excellent Yoga C930.

As you'd expect from a Yoga-series laptop, the C940 has a premium, ultra-portable chassis and a unique hinge that doubles as a soundbar speaker. As a 2-in-1, that hinge can rotate 360-degrees to convert the Yoga C940 into a proper tablet. When it comes to viewing content, the Yoga C940's 1080p and 4K displays are crisp, vibrant and bright -- just beware, the UHD display drains the battery.

For all the basics it gets right, my favorite things about the Yoga C940 are its extra features. Those include a webcam cover (no more need to buy tape), a slot for the included stylus and a fingerprint sensor.

See our Lenovo Yoga C940 (14-inch) review.

HP Elite Dragonfly

A new business laptop from HP, the Elite Dragonfly is the best 2-in-1 Ultrabook for business.  (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

6. HP Elite Dragonfly

Best business 2-in-1 Ultrabook

CPU: Intel Core i3/i5/i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: Up to 2TB | Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 12 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.2 pounds

Gorgeous, lightweight design
Extremely long battery life
Comfortable keyboard
Solid performance
Bright, vivid display
Audio needs some tuning

HP's Elite Dragonfly redefined what it means to be a business laptop. This stunning laptop has a breathtakingly gorgeous chassis that flaunts a unique dark-blue finish.

 The design is as practical as it is attractive; The Elite Dragonfly has flexible hinges that convert the laptop into a tablet, and at 2.2 pounds, it's one of the most portable 13-inch laptops around. 

You'll somehow need to take your eyes off the Elite Dragonfly's aluminum body to appreciate its bright and vivid 13.3-inch display. But the Elite Dragonfly's greatness doesn't stop there. The laptop also has a surprisingly comfortable keyboard, fast performance and a host of security features, including an IR camera, a fingerprint sensor and MIL-SPEC-810 rated durability. 

See our full HP Elite Dragonfly review 

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Lightweight, durable and powerful, Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the best business Ultrabook. 

7. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (7th Gen)

The best business laptop

CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD | Display: 14-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.5 pounds

Attractive, lightweight chassis
Best-in-class keyboard
Long battery life (on 1080p model)
No microSD card slot
4K model has short battery life
Top configs get pricey

The ideal Ultrabook for productivity, the superlightweight ThinkPad X1 Carbon (7th Gen) packs everything you could want in a take-anywhere business laptop. That includes a world-class keyboard with deep travel, a fast 8th Gen processor and impressive battery life. You'll get less endurance from the optional HDR screen, but that panel is simply draw-dropping.  

See our Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (7th Gen) review.

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If you want crazy amount of power in a small package, go with the Dell XPS 15, the best 15-inch Ultrabook. 

8. Dell XPS 15 (2019)

The best 15-inch laptop

CPU: Intel Core i9-9980HK | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650/Intel UHD 630 Graphics | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 1TB m.2 NVMe PCIe SSD | Display: 15.6 inches, 1080 or 4K | Size: 14.1 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 4.5 pounds

Striking 4K OLED display
Great overall and graphics performance
Webcam in the right place
Slim, attractive design
Below-average battery life

The Dell XPS 15 is one of the most powerful 15-inch laptops around, thanks to its 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics. We also like its slim, modern industrial design, incredibly thin bezels and saturated display. And now the webcam has finally returned to its rightful place above the screen, though battery life on the 4K model could be better.  

Read our full Dell XPS 15 (2019) review

lg gram 17 ultrabook best pick

The featherweight LG Gram 17 is easily the best 17-inch Ultrabook on the market. 

9. LG Gram 17

The best 17-inch laptop

CPU: Up to Intel Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 Graphics | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 17-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel | Size: 15 x 10.5 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 2.95 pounds

Lightest 17-inch laptop ever
Very long battery life
Bright, vivid display
No discrete graphics
Keyboard quirks
Slow SSD

The LG Gram 17 is an engineering feat, as it crams a 17-inch 2K display into a design that's under 3 pounds. That's the lightest big-screen laptop ever. You also get nearly 12 hours of battery life, plenty of ports and a comfy keyboard along with solid Core i7 performance. It's a big pricey at $1,699, and the SSD could be faster, but overall this laptop is a winner.

See our full LG Gram 17 review

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (4th Gen, 2019)

Among the best 2-in-1 Ultrabook laptops is the excellent Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga.  (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

10. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (4th Gen, 2019)

The best 2-in-1 business laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TBGB | Display: 14-inch, 1080p | Size: 12 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3 pounds

Bright, vivid 1080p display
Slim, durable aluminum chassis
Best-in-class keyboard
Long battery life
Not available in carbon fiber
No SD card reader
Last-gen CPU

Lenovo took a chance with the ThinkPad X1 Yoga --- the first metal ThinkPad --- and it paid off. While we still love the signature matte-black carbon-fiber found on most ThinkPads, the aluminum and magnesium ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a gorgeous change of pace. Not only does it have a slim design, but this convertible 2-in-1 flaunts a bright display and offers a best-in-class keyboard and long battery life. You also get loads of extra goodies, like a built-in stylus slot and webcam cover. 

See our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (4th Gen, 2019) review.

How to choose an Ultrabook

The word "Ultrabook" officially refers to notebooks that meet Intel's strict standards for weight, thickness and usability. These days, nonbusiness laptops rarely carry the chipmaker's official Ultrabook label, but many people still use the term to describe superthin and light laptops of all kinds.

We've listed our favorite Ultrabooks on this page. If you're shopping for one, consider the following:

  • Three Pounds or Less: If you want a system that's really easy on your arms, look for one that's under this threshold.
  • 9+ Hours of Battery Life: What good is a highly portable laptop if you need to re-charge it every few hours? Look for systems that lasted at least 9 hours on the Laptop Mag Battery Test.
  • The Right Ports: Decide what ports you absolutely need, before you buy. Some Ultrabooks only have USB Type-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports, while others have a mix of both next-gen and legacy connectors.
  • Touch or Non-Touch?: If you're buying a 2-in-1, a touch screen comes standard. However, if you're getting a clamshell laptop, touch may cost extra and could drain battery life.