The best ultrabooks do not compromise on speed and power or rugged reliability despite being characterised by an exceptionally low profile and lightweight components and materials.
Technically these thin-and-light are defined by its power-sipping design, so that you get maximum battery performance out of a highly portable form factor.
Our favourite feature of the best ultrabooks is the interesting array of materials used across all these models including lightweight magnesium alloys and even carbon fibre on the latest Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano.
Rest assured that we have rigorously tested all of these products to expose their strengths and weaknesses, so you can make an informed choice of the best ultrabook to suit your workstyle.
Best ultrabooks at a glance
- Dell XPS 15 (2020)
- HP Elite Dragonfly
- HP Spectre x360 (2020)
- Dell XPS 13 (2020)
- Asus ZenBook 13
- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano
- Acer Swift 3
- Asus VivoBook S14 S433
- Huawei Matebook D15
The Dell XPS 15 might just be incredible enough to tempt hardcore Mac users. It’s easily the best Ultrabook in 2020, 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
If you’re a traveling professional, and you’re looking for the best of the best this 2020, 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’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 2020? 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)
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 2020, and it’s worth every penny.Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 (2020)
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
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 2020.
Read the full review: Surface Laptop 3
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.
Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano
For some years running the Swift 3 has featured as our low-priced ultrabook hero product. That is, it has all the most important hallmarks of a top-class ultrabook, but costs far less than others. This latest model does not disappoint with a choice of Intel i5 or the battery-saver AMD Ryzen 5 processor in a lightweight (1.3kg) aluminium body and a battery that runs well past seven hours.
The full HD 14-inch screen won't match up to the market leaders, but it's perfectly sharp and its colours are still vibrant. For a 14-inch design the keyboard never feels cramped, and the keys are properly responsive with some decent travel. And, despite its beautiful Ultrabook lines you still get as decent set of ports including two USB, one USB-C and HDMI Out.
Read the full review: Acer Swift 3
Priced well above a mid-range laptop this is still a lot of thin-and-light computing for your buck. It comes pretty close to what we would consider a perfect trade off of price, build and performance and would have ranked higher on this list if pricing was a bigger consideration.
We loved the compact shape and the inhand feel of the diamond cut and beveled edges, and the all-aluminium alloy chassis and bodywork.
The keyboard is remarkably spacious for its small footprint, and the key travel was very comfortable too for marathon typing sessions. We also like the fingerprint sensor built into the trackpad which speeds up logins and access to web sites and services. As a nice bonus you can get an optional Nvidia MX250 gaming graphics chip which will easily handle most modern games, albeit with some settings turned down.
Read the full review: ASUS VivoBook S14
Although newly arrived in South Africa Huawei's laptops have been very well received all over the world. This one certainly cuts a fine figure with its chiselled edges, all-aluminium body shell and thin bezels around the brilliant 15,6-inch screen.
It's powered by the battery-efficient AMD Ryzen 5 which compares with Intel's i3 but it's a true ultrabook through and through which boots in around 10 seconds and weighs just 1.4kg. Despite the low profile it has a generous complement of useful ports and is very well priced indeed at R13,500.
Read the full review: Huawei Matebook D15