Best Ultrabooks 2021: the top thin and light laptops reviewed

iPhone, laptops, the Apple Watch, and more in 2021
RyDesk

iPhone, laptops, the Apple Watch, and more in 2021

What separates the best Ultrabooks from the regular laptops? This category of portables, perched at a loftier spot on the market, is a classier breed, touting an ultra thin, ultra sleek and ultra lightweight form factor often without compromising on performance and battery life. And, they make the rest of the laptop world look and feel like those lumbering laptops from the 90s.Combining style and substance in a svelte package, the best Ultrabooks are more than just status symbols. They’re the perfect tools for many professionals and students, especially those in the creative sphere. Beyond aesthetics, they come with a lot of power for demanding tasks – often packing the best processors, graphics cards, and SSDs – and a lot of juice for a long day of work ahead.So, while they might be on the pricier end, the best Ultrabooks are worth the extra investment. 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 your piece for the New Yorker, one of these first-rate Ultrabooks is perfect for your needs.

Dell XPS 15

(Image credit: Dell)

1. Dell XPS 15 (2020)

The ultimate laptop has arrived

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

Amazing speakers
Beautiful display
Comfy keyboard
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.

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

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

Impeccable design
Excellent battery life
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.

HP Spectre x360 (2021)

(Image credit: HP)

3. HP Spectre x360 (2021)

This year’s model is a brilliant 13-inch laptop

CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Xe 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

Gorgeous design
Excellent battery life
Fans can get noisy
Pricey

The HP Spectre x360 has been one of the best laptops for years now, and the 2021 model is no different. Now coming with 11th-generation Intel Core processors, which offer a decent performance boost, and feature better integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, the HP Spectre x360 (2021) is better than ever. It still features the impeccable 2-in-1 design and pristine gem-cut chassis that these laptops are known for, meaning that the HP Spectre x360 (2021) is one of the best looking Ultrabooks ever made, and when it comes to build quality. While it’s certainly pricey, you’re getting some excellent extras, such as formidable security features and Bang & Olufsen speakers. If you care about aesthetics as much as you do performance and overall quality, this is the best Ultrabook for you.

Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

(Image credit: Dell)

4. Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

Dell does it again

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

Stunning design
Gorgeous 16:10 display
Excellent battery life
Sound quality is just OK
Pricey

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.

LG Gram 16 (2021)

(Image credit: LG)

5. LG Gram 16 (2021)

The king of ultra lightweight laptops is back

CPU: up to 11th-generation Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM: up to 16GB | Screen: 16-inch WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) IPS LCD | Storage: 1TB SSD

Extremely light
Excellent battery life
Expensive

The LG Gram is back, this time with a 16-inch display version that gives the ultralight line an even more portable alternative to the much-lauded 17-inch. This model comes with the Intel Evo certification, as well as impressive features like a DCI-P3 99% color gamut, up to 22 hours of battery life, and speakers with DTS:X Ultra support. Plus, that screen will give you plenty of real estate without the whole laptop being too massive. If you have the budget, you’ll want to consider this if you’re looking for the best Ultrabook.

Surface Laptop 3

(Image credit: Microsoft)

6. Surface Laptop 3

Longer-lasting than most

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

Excellent battery life
Exciting AMD flagship debut
Far too few ports
Lacking 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.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano

(Image credit: Lenovo)

7. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano

Ultra light and surprisingly powerful

CPU: up to 11th-gen Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM: 8GB – 16GB LPDDR4x | Screen: 13.0″ 2K (2160 x 1350) IPS, anti-reflective, anti-smudge, touchscreen with Dolby Vision | Storage: 256GB – 1TB PCIe SSD

Sleek design
Incredibly light
Excellent display
Limited ports
Keyboard layout

Even its limited ports and small trackpad cannot hold the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano back. One of the best Ultrabooks we’ve ever tested, this portable is not only the lightest laptop we’ve ever tested, but also surprisingly powerful considering how sleek it is. Excellent features abound as well, with the likes of a crisp 2K 16:10 touchscreen, a physical webcam shutter and advanced biometrics of the fingerprint scanner adding to its value and making it worth its steep price. At least if portability and performance are your top priorities.

Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019)

(Image credit: Razer)

8. Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019)

Lightweight Razer style, now in white

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

Top-notch build quality
Runs quietly
Battery life is solid
Decidedly expensive
Limited storage space
Lacks 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.

Microsoft Surface Book 3

(Image credit: Microsoft)

9. Microsoft Surface Book 3

An extremely premium piece of kit

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

Beautiful design
Comfortable keyboard
Gorgeous screen
Weak U-series processor
Tiny trackpad
Lackluster 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.

10. Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701

Power and beauty

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

Super thin
Tons of performance
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.

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