Microsoft

Best Ultrabook of 2018 | Windows Central


Best overall:
Microsoft Surface Book 2

Modular design and powerful hardware make this a versatile machine.

See at Microsoft Store

With two sizes to choose from — 13 and 15 inches — and a bevy of configuration options available, Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 (starting at about $1,200) is the best Ultrabook on the market today. The modular design allows you to detach the display and use it as a tablet, though together with the keyboard it has enough power to act as a true desktop replacement.

Bottom line: For a powerful desktop replacement with a modular design and beautiful display, you have to go with the Surface Book 2.

One more thing: We’ve reviewed both the 13-inch and 15-inch Surface Book 2 models.

Why the Surface Book 2 is the best Ultrabook

To cover a larger user base, Microsoft decided to release two different sizes for their Surface Book 2. The 13-inch model is cheaper but doesn’t quite have as much power, while the 15-inch model is available with maximum hardware. Get inside up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor (CPU), 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and add an NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card (GPU) with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM. This is a lot of power, allowing you to use the Surface Book 2 in many different situations.

Both displays have a 3:2 aspect ratio, though the 13.5-inch display has a 3,000 x 2,000 resolution and the 15-inch display has a 3,240 x 2,160 resolution. Detach from the keyboard to use the display as a tablet, and take advantage of the Surface Pen for a great inking experience.

You’ll get about 10 hours of battery life from the 15-inch model and about 11 hours from the 13-inch mode, enough to get you through a workday without carrying around a charger. An IR camera for Windows Hello is nestled above the display, and the touchpad and keyboard only complement everything else.

Buy Surface Book 2 at Microsoft Store

Runner-up (Notebook):
Dell XPS 13

See at Dell

The XPS 13 9370 has one of the best designs around. Its chassis is slim and light, and the 13.3-inch display has almost no bezel at all. Choose 4K touch or go with 1080p to save a few dollars (configurations start at about $1,000). For internal hardware, get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD.

Runner-up (Convertible):
HP Spectre x360

See at HP

HP’s Spectre x360 13t isn’t only beautiful, it’s also functional. It’s compatible with the HP active pen (perfect for when the laptop is in tablet mode), and the 13.3-inch display can be had in either 1080p or 4K. Inside, get up to 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, up to 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD. Baseline models of this convertible laptop start at about $990.

Best gaming:
Razer Blade

See at Amazon

Razer’s 14-inch Blade gaming laptop is set to be overshadowed by the new 15-inch model, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cash in on the older model. There are a number of configurations to choose from, but for about $1,800, you can grab a 1080p display, 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Add that to the NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM, and you have one fine gaming device.

Best 2-in-1:
Microsoft Surface Pro

See at Microsoft

The Surface Pro’s kickstand and modular design allow you to use it in a number of scenarios, making it a less-expensive Surface alternative to the Surface Book 2. You still get Surface Pen compatibility and a beautiful 12.3-inch display with a 2,736 x 1,824 resolution, plus you can now add LTE connectivity to the mix. Configurations start at about $799, but you can get up to a 7th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Don’t forget to add a Type Cover to the mix!

Best notebook:
LG gram 15Z980

See at Amazon

The gram is one of our favorite laptops, thanks to its light design that has proven durability. Despite the 15-inch model weighing only 2.41 pounds (1,095g), you get a full keyboard with number pad, 1080p touch display, and a great selection of ports, including Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI. Configurations start at about $1,250, but get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD.

Best convertible:
Lenovo Yoga 920

See at Lenovo

This beautiful all-metal convertible has a watchband hinge, 14-inch 4K touch display that can be used in tent, stand, or tablet modes, and it has a fingerprint reader for quick Windows Hello logins. Inside, get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. Configurations start at about $1,200.

Best mobility:
Samsung Notebook 9 15

See at Amazon

The Samsung Notebook 9 might not get the attention it deserves, but this 15-inch laptop is one of the best around. It weighs in at 2.76 pounds (1.25kg) and is 0.6 inches (1.5cm) thick, yet it has inside an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB PCIe SSD, and a GeForce MX150 dedicated GPU. The display is set at 1080p, and it has a battery that will last about 10 hours on a single charge. Expect to pay about $1,430 for this laptop.

Best for students:
Microsoft Surface Laptop

See at Microsoft

If you love the Surface line and just need a standard notebook with a 13.5-inch touch display, the Surface Laptop is probably what you’re looking for. The display has a 3:2 aspect ratio with a 2,256 x 1,504 resolution, and the keyboard and touchpad are surrounded by luxurious Alcantara fabric for smooth typing. Inside, get up to an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Prices start at about $800, and you can choose from four colors at checkout.

Best business:
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

See at Lenovo

If you love the X1 Carbon but would like something convertible, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (starting at about $1,250) should no doubt appeal to you. The 14-inch HDR display with 2,560 x 1,440 resolution is downright gorgeous, and you’re getting a standard ThinkPad keyboard to work with. Inside, get up an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8560U vPro CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD.

Best MacBook twin:
Huawei MateBook X Pro

See at Amazon

Huawei’s Pro version of the MateBook X brings a thin and light chassis along with a 13.9-inch touch display with a stunning 3,000 x 2,000 resolution. There’s almost no bezel to be seen, and the 3:2 aspect ratio makes it seem much larger than it really is. For about $1,500, you can get inside an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a dedicated NVIDIA MX150 GPU. If you like the look of a MacBook but want to stick with the OS you know and love, definitely consider this laptop.

Best executive:
HP Spectre 13t

See at HP

The HP Spectre 13t starts at about $1,050, but you’d swear it costs a lot more. It has some of the finest lines of any laptop on the market today, and it weighs in at 2.45 pounds (1.11kg). Choose from either 1080p or 4K for the touch display, and take advantage of Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C 3.1 ports. Inside, get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD.

Conclusion

There are plenty of excellent Ultrabooks to choose from based on a number of different usage scenarios, but if you have the cash, the Surface Book 2 is about the best you’ll find.

Best overall:
Microsoft Surface Book 2

Modular design and powerful hardware make this a versatile machine.

See at Microsoft Store

Updated May 25, 2018: I’ve refreshed this list with a few new options to ensure you’re still getting the best Ultrabooks around.





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