Best Ultrabooks 2018

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Best Overall

Dell XPS 13

Editor's Choice

The XPS 13 is the near-perfect ultraportable, offering a gorgeous, 13.3-inch InfinityEdge display with practically no bezels and up to 12.5 hours of battery life. The 8th-Gen Intel Core processor provides plenty of power for work and play, and this system ran cool during our testing. You do have to sacrifice some ports for the thin profile on this 2.65-pound system, and the webcam's positioning could be better, but, overall, this is the Ultrabook to beat. And it's now more affordable with a starting price of $899.

Dell XPS 13 Review

Best Ultrabooks 2018
Product: Use Case: Rating:
Dell XPS 13 Best Overall 4.5 out of 5
Huawei MateBook X Pro Best MacBook Alternative 4.5 out of 5
Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 Best Design 4 out of 5
Acer Swift 7 Thinnest Laptop 4 out of 5
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Best for Business 5 out of 5
Lenovo Yoga C930 Best 2-in-1 4.5 out of 5
Dell XPS 15 Best 15-inch 4.5 out of 5
Apple MacBook Air (2018) Best MacBook 3.5 out of 5
  • Best MacBook Alternative

    Huawei MateBook X Pro

    Editor's Choice

    If you like the look and feel of Apple's MacBooks but you want a better keyboard and more ports, Huawei's 14-inch MateBook X Pro has you covered. This 2.9-pound system packs a serious punch with its 8th-Gen Core CPU and Nvidia graphics, and it lasts nearly 10 hours on a charge. We also like that this system includes both USB-A and USB-C ports, and that the sharp 3000 x 2000-pixel display is a touch screen.

    Huawei MateBook X Pro Review

  • Best Design

    Microsoft Surface Laptop 2

    Editor's Choice

    Microsoft's wonderfully minimalist Surface Laptop 2 is more than just a sleek notebook with an elegant lid that comes in a stylish black colorway. It also packs a sharp, bright 13.5-inch touch screen, speedy 8th Gen Intel CPU performance and an Alcantara fabric deck around the keyboard. Its 9-plus hours of battery life is another feature worth boasting about. Getting the Surface Laptop 2 in that black, sleeker burgundy or blue costs extra, but you also get twice as much SSD storage.

    Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 Review

  • Thinnest Laptop

    Acer Swift 7

    Editor's Choice

    The Acer Swift 7 is so thin that you'll wonder how this laptop squeezed in a battery, and yet this 0.35-inch system lasted over 9 hours on our tests. The design isn't just slim, it's very light at 2.6 pounds. Other highlights include LTE support for staying connected on the go, a vibrant full HD 14-inch display and a surprisingly comfy keyboard. Just don't expect a lot of power from its 7th generation Y series CPU.

    Acer Swift 7 Full Review

  • Best for Business

    Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

    The ideal Ultrabook for productivity, the 2.5-pound ThinkPad X1 Carbon packs everything you could want in a take-anywhere business laptop. That includes a world-class keyboard with deep travel, a fast quad-core Core i5 processor and an epic 11 hours of battery life. You'll get less endurance from the optional HDR screen, but that panel is simply draw-dropping.

    Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Review

  • Best 2-in-1

    Lenovo Yoga C930

    The Lenovo Yoga C930 improves on the best 2-in-1 with an even sleeker design that swaps the watchband hinge for a soundbar, so you'll get great sound in any mode. There's also a built-in slot for the included stylus and webcam cover. Other highlights include over 10 hours of battery life, a vibrant 13.9-inch screen and a swift Core i7 CPU. 

    Lenovo Yoga C930 Review

  • Best 15-inch

    Dell XPS 15

    The Dell XPS 15 is one of the most powerful 15-inchers around, thanks to its Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti graphics. We also like its slim, modern industrial design, incredibly thin bezels and rich display. The webcam placement could be better, but when you add in over 11 hours of battery life you have a winner.

    Dell XPS 15 Review

  • Best MacBook

    Apple MacBook Air (2018)

    Apple took the MacBook Air and shaved down its size, weight and bezels, all while adding a sharp new Retina display. This 13.3-inch laptop lasts over 9 hours on a single charge, and packs other perks like a Touch ID sensor and Apple's T2 chip for SSD encryption. Also, while this laptop is smaller than it's ever been, its speakers pack a big punch, with enough sound to fill a large room.

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.
  • Nine+ 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.

Whatever Ultrabook you choose, you should always prioritize functionality over design. Some systems trade battery life, performance or keyboard quality for bragging rights and an ever-so-slightly thinner chassis. Don't do the same.