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Best Ultrabooks 2021: the top thin and light laptops reviewed

Best Ultrabooks 2021: the top thin and light laptops reviewed

It’s not just style that defines the best Ultrabooks. They may look like status symbols, but these laptops pack some impressive power and battery life in a tiny package. They’re elegantly designed, as well. It’s no wonder professionals and creatives, particularly commuters and digital nomads, are drawn to these machines.

Coupled with their style is plenty of substance, as the best Ultrabooks are loaded with the best processors and SSDs, offering a remarkable amount of performance. Since the components are so power efficient, these svelte portables also provide quite the battery life. No matter if you’re looking to get through all your work on one charge, do some light photo or video editing, or make it to the end of an essay, one of these may be perfect for your needs.

Though the best Ultrabooks are more expensive than typical laptops, they’re worth the extra investment. And, to help you find the ideal choice for your next device, we’ve collected our top picks right here. So, read on to find your new favorite laptop.

The best Ultrabooks at a glance

  1. Dell XPS 15
  2. HP Elite Dragonfly
  3. HP Spectre x360 (2020)
  4. Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)
  5. Asus Matebook 13
  6. Surface Laptop 3
  7. Lenovo Yoga C940
  8. Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019)
  9. Microsoft Surface Book 3
  10. Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701

Dell XPS 15

(Image credit: Dell)

1. Dell XPS 15 (2020)

The ultimate laptop has arrived

Specifications

CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5 – i7

Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti

RAM: 8GB – 64GB

Screen: 15.6″ FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 15.6″ UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display

Storage: 256GB – 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe

Reasons to buy

+Amazing speakers+Beautiful display+Comfy keyboard

Reasons to avoid

GTX 1650 Ti is a little weak

The Dell XPS 15 might just be incredible enough to tempt hardcore Mac users. It’s easily the best Ultrabook in 2021, and in a lot of ways, the best laptop (period). Combining staggering power in a stylish thin and light chassis, this laptop doesn’t hold back when it comes to internals and features that improve your computing experience overall. Among those amazing features are a gorgeous bright display with 500 nits of brightness, an extremely comfortable keyboard, impressive speakers, and a terrific trackpad. We’re not saying that this laptop is perfect, but our coveted 5 out of 5 rating should speak for itself.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15

HP Elite Dragonfly

The HP Elite Dragonfly tops many of our lists this year, including the best Ultrabooks list. (Image credit: HP)

2. HP Elite Dragonfly

The best Ultrabook for the traveling professional

Specifications

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7

Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620

RAM: 8GB – 16GB

Screen: 13.3″ diagonal Full HD touch display – Full HD touch Sure View display

Storage: 256 GB SSD

Reasons to buy

+Impeccable design+Excellent battery life

Reasons to avoid

Pretty expensive

If you’re a traveling professional, and you’re looking for the best of the best this 2021, then you will be hard-pressed to find anything that will rival the HP Elite Dragonfly. Garnering our coveted five-star rating, this laptop tops many of our lists this year, including the best Ultrabooks list. It’s no surprise, as it delivers a deadly combination of incredible features like a sublime keyboard and amazing speakers, raw power, portability, a beautiful design and a long battery life. Admittedly, it’s pricier than many of its competition; but if you’ve got the funds, it’s worth every penny.

Read the full review: HP Elite Dragonfly

HP Spectre x360 (2020)

(Image credit: HP)

3. HP Spectre x360 (2020)

HP’s flagship 2-in-1 gets a refresh

Specifications

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7

Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics

RAM: 8GB – 16GB

Screen: 13.3″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS BrightView micro-edge WLED-backlit multitouch – 13.3″ diagonal 4K (3840 x 2160) UWVA BrightView micro-edge AMOLED multitouch

Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+Stylish and high-quality finish+Great all-around performance+Built-in security features are useful

Reasons to avoid

Battery life takes a hitCan run hot at times

HP’s beloved and highly praised 2-in-1 is back with a vengeance, this time with more powerful components like the 10th-generation Intel Core processors and Intel Iris Plus graphics. Of course, that impeccable 2-in-1 design and pristine gem-cut chassis are back, as are its security features and Bang & Olufsen speakers. That killer combination makes it, now more than ever, one of the best Ultrabooks out there. Is it a wonder that this is one of our favorite laptops of 2021? If you care about aesthetics as much as you do performance and overall quality, this is the laptop for you.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 (2020) 

Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

(Image credit: Dell)

4. Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

Dell does it again

Specifications

CPU: Up to 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7

Graphics: Up to Intel Iris Xe Graphics

RAM: Up to 32GB 4267MHz LPDDR4x

Screen: 13.4″ FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 13.4″ UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display

Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe

Reasons to buy

+Stunning design+Gorgeous 16:10 display+Excellent battery life

Reasons to avoid

Sound quality is just OKPricey

At this point, we doubt that the Dell XPS line can do anything wrong. Its yearly updates have consistently made it to our best laptops list, and they’re only getting better. The Dell XPS 13 (2020) is not only a gorgeous piece of kit. It also comes, as expected, with excellent performance, a stunning display and long battery life, alongside a few others. Much like its predecessor, it’s a pricey investment – but that is barely reason enough for us to discourage Ultrabook fans. This is among the best Ultrabooks of 2021, and it’s worth every penny.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 (2020) 

ASUS ZenBook 13

(Image credit: ASUS)

5. ASUS ZenBook 13

The same light, durable and affordable workhorse

Specifications

CPU: 10th-gen Intel Core i5 – i7

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce MX250

RAM: 8GB – 32GB

Screen: 13.3″ (16:9) LED-backlit FHD (1920×1080) 60Hz Anti-Glare Panel

Storage: up to 2TB PCIe SSD

Reasons to buy

+Blends sleek and ultra slim design with MIL-STD-810G durability+Outstanding external speakers+Great battery

Reasons to avoid

UnderpoweredWired headphone usage requires included dongle

With the next-generation Asus ZenBook 13, portability takes centerstage. It weighs just under three pounds, and has a sleek, ultra-slim design. Yet, that doesn’t take away from it durability and longevity. It’s one of the most durable ultrabooks out there, and it’s battery life is just exceptional. That’s even without mentioning its outstanding external speakers that’s truly impressive for a laptop this thin. Unfortunately, some sacrifices needed to be made – namely, in power and storage. So, only invest if you need something for general use.

Read the full review: Asus ZenBook 13

Surface Laptop 3

(Image credit: Microsoft)

6. Surface Laptop 3

Longer-lasting than most

Specifications

CPU: Quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i5 – i7

Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics

RAM: 8GB – 32GB

Screen: 15” 2496 x 1664 PixelSense Touch Display

Storage: 128GB – 1TB

Reasons to buy

+Excellent battery life+Exciting AMD flagship debut

Reasons to avoid

Far too few portsLacking in power

With an impressive, reasonable price tag and some of the best battery life we’ve experienced in a 15-inch laptop, the Surface Laptop 3 certainly has a lot going for it. That also includes the fact that it’s got a great look and feel, as well as a weight that surprisingly light for a product its size. Performance-wise, it certainly knocks it out of the park. While it isn’t the most powerful 15-inch laptop out there, it has Intel’s 10th-generation chips and the Iris Plus graphics. That’s more than enough to make it one of the best Ultrabooks out there for 2021.

Read the full review: Surface Laptop 3 

Lenovo Yoga C940

(Image credit: Lenovo)

7. Lenovo Yoga C940

The Lenovo Yoga is back and it means business

Specifications

CPU: up to 10th-generation Intel Core i7

Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics

RAM: up to 16GB

Screen: 14” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, touchscreen, glossy, 400 nits –14″ UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS, touchscreen, glossy, HDR 400, 500 nits

Storage: up to 2TB SSD PCIe

Reasons to buy

+Excellent design+Great performance+Comfy keyboard

Reasons to avoid

ExpensiveBattery life

The Lenovo Yoga C940 is a stunning laptop. It’s clear Lenovo spared no expense in its design, making a gorgeous looking portable. But, it also comes with plenty of power under the hood. Rounding the experience is a comfortable keyboard, a rotating soundbar with 2 additional speakers, touch pen as well as a TrueBlock Privacy Shutter. While it’s not a perfect computer – the battery life is not quite up to par – it more than holds its own against the competition, with Lenovo offering a stylish and powerful Ultrabook that’s perfect for any digital nomad.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga C940

Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019)

(Image credit: Razer)

8. Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019)

Lightweight Razer style, now in white

Specifications

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i7

Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics – GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q

RAM: 16GB

Screen: 13.3″ FHD Matte w/ 4.9mm slim side bezel – 13.3″ 4K Touch w/ 4.9mm slim side bezel

Storage: 512GB SSD

Reasons to buy

+Top-notch build quality+Runs quietly+Battery life is solid

Reasons to avoid

Decidedly expensiveLimited storage spaceLacks a discrete GPU

The “world’s first gaming ultrabook” doesn’t just talk the talk; it also walks the walk as one of the best Ultrabooks 2021 has to offer. Razer has spruced up its Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook with the latest internal components without affecting its super-quiet operation. Packed with a 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and better graphic options, 13-inch laptop delivers and much better than its predecessor. In fact, it might just be the best gaming experience we’ve ever had on integrated graphics with the Iris Plus configuration. Round that out with extremely quiet fans, low thermal power, extended battery life and that delightful Mercury White color, and we are sold.

Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) 

Microsoft Surface Book 3

(Image credit: Microsoft)

9. Microsoft Surface Book 3

An extremely premium piece of kit

Specifications

CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G7 – i7-1065G7

Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with Max-Q Design

RAM: 8GB – 32GB 3733Mhz LPDDR4x

Screen: 13.5-inch 3000 x 2000 (267 PPI) – 15-inch 3240 x 2160 (260 PPI) PixelSense Display

Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB PCIe SSD

Reasons to buy

+Beautiful design+Comfortable keyboard+Gorgeous screen

Reasons to avoid

Weak U-series processorTiny trackpadLackluster speakers

In many ways, the Surface Book 3 is an example of just how far the best laptops have come in just a few short years. It has an extremely premium piece of kit – with one of the best displays we’ve used in a laptop, a keyboard that will put the MacBook Pro’s new Magic Keyboards to shame, and a hybrid design with a removable screen. At less than an inch thick, and only 12.3 x 9.14 inches for its 13-inch model and 13.5 x 9.87 inches for its 15-inch version, this is also among the best Ultrabooks 2021 has to offer. Unfortunately, it’s held back by a weaker processor (next to its rivals), lacklust speakers and a high price tag. Still, it’s an excellent portable, if you’ve got the money for it and don’t.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 3

10. Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701

Power and beauty

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 – GeForce GTX 2080 Max-Q (8GB GDDR6 VRAM)

RAM: 8GB – 24GB

Screen: 17.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 144Hz panel with G-Sync

Reasons to buy

+Super thin+Tons of performance

Reasons to avoid

Very expensive

These days, the best gaming laptop manufacturers are scrambling to craft the thinnest gaming laptop packing raw power. Right now, the one that might be leading the charge is the Asus ROG Zephyrus S17. At just 0.7 inches thick, this is the best Ultrabook for gaming.

It’s a beast of a laptop, boasting an Intel Coffee Lake Core i7 chip, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics and 16GB of RAM. That means you can play any PC game under the sun on Ultra, and also take it with you wherever you go – ideal for travelers with a penchant for gaming. Plus, it’s packed with RGB lighting that’ll dazzle just about anyone.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701

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