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Update: While we had previously recommended the Huawei MateBook 13 and the Huawei MateBook X Pro in the top two places, the ongoing trouble the company faces with the US Government casts a great deal of uncertainty on the degree of support its products will receive into the future. As such, we recommend the excellent Dell XPS 13 in their stead.
We can largely thank Apple and its MacBook Air for the Ultrabook trend we're seeing. Where large, clunky laptops aren't sleek enough, and thin, portable tablets aren't powerful enough, the Ultrabook shines.
A unibody chassis packed with some of the best SSDs, processors and battery life available to devices this size, the Ultrabook is a thin and portable marvel that'll let you get on with your business, browsing or buffering without the lengthy wait times.
With TechRadar's extensive reviewing and lab testing, we've got a strong idea of what's going to cut it in today's Ultrabook landscape, and on this page we've ranked the best of the best so that you can find yourself a bargain on the cream of the crop.
Whether you're chasing the well-known brands like Dell, HP, Microsoft and Lenovo, or some surprise entrants like Huawei and Razer, we've got you covered.
- The best laptops in Australia: our picks of the top laptops on sale now
- The best 2-in-1 laptop in Australia: find the best convertible for your needs
If you want to know exactly what to consider before buying an Ultrabook, check out our video below:
Weighing in at a measly 1.21kg and measuring just 76mm thick, the Dell XPS 13 is the epitome of an Ultrabook, and it has the reputation and power to back up the 'Ultra' part too. You won’t find that it’s the most affordable Ultrabook, but it's one of the most well-balanced option in Australia right now, with a healthy portioning of power and portability. It wields the latest 8th-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs, obviously, but it also rocks three USB Type-C ports and the option of an Alpine White finish that we’re absolutely in love with.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
For years, HP’s Spectre line of Ultrabooks and 2-in-1 laptops has been about blending elegance with performance. The 2019 HP Spectre x360 15 is no different. It deserves a high place on our best 2-in-1 laptops list for packing an 8th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics and 8GB of RAM in its base configuration. This 2-in-1 can handle pretty much anything your everyday workload throws at it – and then some (like a bit of light gaming, for example) – while looking like royalty. Bear in mind that the Spectre x360 is a bit big and heavy for a 2-in-1, so you likely won’t be using it in tablet mode that often. Put it in tent mode instead, so you can watch some movies on its spectacular 4K display.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 15T (2019)
Our pick for the pinnacle of laptops you can buy in Australia for 2019 would be the Huawei MateBook 13, were it not for the ongoing issues the company faces. Like the MateBook X Pro before it, the MateBook 13 packs some of the latest components and tech into a nifty lightweight package at an affordable price. It's this deft balance that would give it the slight edge over the reigning champ, the Dell XPS 13, if it weren't for the unknown future of support for the device.
Read the full review: Huawei MateBook 13
The Huawei MateBook X Pro's recent arrival had put it firmly in the top place of our Australian ultrabook list, but its been bested by its more affordable successor, and recent controversies cast doubt on the future of its support. This gorgeous laptop brings high-end components into an elegantly-designed package that puts even the MacBook Pro to shame – all this on a decent battery life to boot. And, with its 3K touchscreen, the Huawei MateBook X Pro has a display that’s just as nice to look at as the chassis. It’s really the best Ultrabook you can buy today.
Read the full review: Huawei MateBook X Pro
The Lenovo Yoga C930 has many of the makings of the best ultrabook – from a whopping 14.5 hours of battery life and dual Thunderbolt-enabled USB-C ports to internal components that will breeze through those daily productivity tasks. That’s without even mentioning a 2-in-1 that offers form versatility so you can squeeze in some light gaming and movie-watching post-productivity. It has a few cherries on top as well, namely the integrated self-charging stylus and the fab speaker system.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga C930
While we acknowledge that Intel's Ultrabook specification is basically the Windows response to Apple's MacBook Air, it wouldn't be fair to not give Apple right of reply in this field. The latest MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is a sleek beast, offering some excellent and reliable performance with its quad-core CPU, and while you will be paying the kind of premium you'd expect from Apple, there are few Ultrabooks out there that get the balance of design and user experience quite as right as the MacBook Pro.
Read our full review: MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (13-inch, mid-2018)
When you lay your eyes on the HP Spectre 13 for the first time, you might be blinded by its sheer beauty. HP has taken the already-beautiful Spectre, and spruced it up with gold trim and packed it with internal specs that blow the competition out of the water. One of the first Ultrabooks packing a quad-core CPU, the 2017 Spectre 13 more than doubles the CPU performance of most of its competitors. It comes at the cost of battery life, but clocking in at just under 6 hours – the battery is still passable.
Read the full review: HP Spectre 13
Razer has to deal with the common misconception that it’s solely a gaming laptop and peripheral company, a reputation it subverted when it introduced the Blade Stealth back in 2016. And, if you’re unconvinced, the latest edition of the Razer Blade Stealth may change your mind by turning into a 13.3-inch, QHD+ beauty. There’s no longer the option for 4K, but the performance this Ultrabook delivers is worth the compromise.
Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth
Rarely does a company think of everything when designing a laptop, but for what it’s worth, the HP Spectre x360 comes surprisingly close. It’s a 2-in-1 convertible laptop, which by default makes it not for everyone. Still, for those right-brained users out there, it comes bundled with a Windows Ink-compatible stylus, unlike the vast majority of hybrids. That would mean very little if the HP Spectre x360 didn’t have great sound and visuals, though it evidently does.
Read the full review: HP Spectre x360
Anyone familiar with Apple’s thinnest and lightest laptop would be wise to compare the Asus ZenBook 3 to the 12-inch MacBook. The similarities are obvious, but one look at the specs and the differences stand out too. Adorned with the choice of a U-series Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, the ZenBook 3 is awfully powerful considering it’s less than half an inch thick and weighs two pounds. The port selection is sparse, but ultimately it’s well worth the sacrifice, as it's one of the best Asus laptops on the market.
Read the full review: Asus ZenBook 3
It’s no secret that Apple has all but neglected the MacBook Air recently, but in some cases a Windows Ultrabook can be just as good, if not better. Take the Asus ZenBook UX310, for example, the long awaited follow-up to the award-winning ZenBook UX305. Donning a 7th generation Intel Kaby Lake processor, a 178-degree rotating QHD+ screen, a USB-C port and an all-aluminium shell, this truly is a candidate for the MacBook Air’s throne.
Read the full review: Asus ZenBook UX310
The original Surface Laptop hit the streets nearly two years ago, and while it was a fantastic Ultrabook, it was held back by relatively weak hardware and Windows 10 S. Thankfully, Microsoft rolled out the Surface Laptop 2 in late 2018, bringing quad-core processors and the full-fat version of Windows 10. Its through these core improvements that the Surface Laptop 2 is able to bring the purest Windows 10 experience on a laptop – not to mention, join the ranks of the best ultrabooks on the market – at a price that won’t make you flee in the opposite direction.
Read the full review: Surface Laptop 2
If you’re looking to get your hands on an entry-level Ultrabook that can get some work done (without spending a fortune), the Lenovo Yoga 730 should be at the top of your list. Sure, it doesn’t have the longest battery life, but with how much (or how little) this device will set you back, it’s a worthy trade off – especially considering the speedy SSD storage, quad-core processor and 8GB of RAM you’re getting at the entry level. For anyone on a budget, the Lenovo Yoga 730 is certainly one of the best Ultrabooks around right now.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 730
- Looking for a new laptop? Check out the ultimate laptop buyers guide
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