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Best ultrabooks 2022: Top rated ultra-portable laptops

Trusted Reviews tests and ranks the best lightweight laptops to help you find the ultrabook to suit your budget and needs.

If you’re frequently taking your laptop to and from the office, then you’ll want something as light and slender as possible. This is where our best ultrabook roundup comes in. 

While the term ‘ultrabook’ was initially coined by Intel, it has since been adopted by the wider market to refer to any laptop that is noticeably light and thin. As a result, we’ve made sure to include laptops, even if they’re using an AMD or Apple chip. 

For our best ultraboost list, we’ve included high-scoring laptops with a maximum screen size of 14 inches, while ruling out any portable that’s either thicker than 20mm or weighs more than 1.5kg.

Our team of experts have reviewed countless laptops that meet this criteria, but we’ve picked out the very best options here to help narrow down your search. Every laptop we’ve reviewed has been tested for at least a week. We’ve not only taken into consideration the design, but also tested the performance via benchmark software and measured the screen quality with professional equipment.

Can’t find an ultrabook you like enough to buy? No need to worry, as we’ll be updating this list on a regular basis as more and more laptop reviews are published on our website.

And if you’re happy to buy a laptop that doesn’t meet the ultrabook criteria, then check out our Best Laptop, Best Student Laptop, Best MacBook and Best Gaming Laptop pages too.

Best ultrabooks at a glance

How we test

Learn more about how we test laptops

Every laptop we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality, performance, screen quality and battery life. 

These include formal synthetic benchmarks and scripted tests, plus a series of real world checks, such as how well it runs the most frequently used apps. 

We also make sure to use every laptop we review as our primary device for at least a week to ensure our review is as accurate as possible.

Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED

Best overall ultrabook
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Pros

  • Excellent performance, even for gaming
  • Dazzling OLED screen
  • Remarkably thin and light
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Poor port offering
  • Can run hot and loud under strain

The Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED is the closest laptop we’ve reviewed to being the perfect ultrabook. It weighs just under 1kg, is only 14.9mm thick and features an OLED display despite having a reasonable price. 

The OLED screen offers dazzling contrast, and a high resolution of 2880 x 1800. This makes this Asus laptop an amazing choice for watching video. The screen is also accurate enough for content work if you want to do some casual Photoshop work. 

We were also impressed by the excellent productivity performance here, seeing an even better result than the MacBook Air M1. Newer portables powered by Apple and Intel have leapfrogged this Asus laptop in terms of CPU performance, but few have bettered its impressive battery life, which our tests show to be 13 hours.

Our only major concern with this laptop is its port offering since it lacks USB-A connections, but that’s a common theme with all of the ultrabooks laptops on this list. And while the Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED may be difficult to find right now, it’s certainly worth the wait given its all-round quality. 

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full Review: Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED Review

Apple MacBook Air M2 (2022)

Best Apple-made ultrabook
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Pros

  • Fantastic performance
  • Sleek, updated design
  • Excellent keyboard and trackpad
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Expensive starting price and upgrades
  • More colours would have been nice
  • The M1 version remains an excellent buy for less

It should come as no surprise that the latest MacBook Air is the very best ultrabook that Apple has to offer. It measures in at just 11.3mm, making it the skinniest laptop on this list and ensuring it’s extremely easy to slide inside your bag. 

And with the power of the new M2 chip, our benchmark results show that it not only flaunts breakneck processing speeds, but also has enough graphics power for entry-level video editing. If high performance power is a requirement, the MacBook Air is one of the very best ultrabook options. 

Apple has also given its design a refresh, with a sleeker design than its predecessor, and the inclusion of MagSafe charging connectors so your laptop won’t go flying off your desk if someone trips on the power cable. The screen is excellent too, and while it lacks the vibrancy of an OLED panel, still boasts a high 2560 x 1664 resolution and 500-nit brightness.

The only major drawback for this laptop is its price, with a base cost of $1199/£1249. But you can of course opt for the MacBook Air M1 instead, which has most of the same features and yet is available at a more affordable price. 

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full Review: Apple MacBook Air M2 (2022) Review

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2

The best 12-inch ultrabook
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Pros

  • Fantastic value for money
  • Extremely portable design
  • Smooth performance for basic tasks
  • Better battery life than the original

Cons

  • Low-resolution display
  • Lack of keyboard backlight
  • No fingerprint scanner on base configuration

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 is a tiny laptop, with a screen size of just 12 inches. This arguably makes it the most portable laptop on this best ultrabook list, even if it isn’t quite the lightest or thinnest. 

But the most appealing factor of the Surface Laptop Go 2 is its price, making it the most affordable laptop on this list by a considerable margin. With a similar price to a Chromebook, this is an excellent choice for both students and those on a budget. 

Why is this laptop so cheap? Well, our benchmark results show it’s the slowest laptops on this list (but still fine enough for productivity tasks) while the low screen resolution makes it a poor choice for those who like to watch the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus on their laptop.

But considering the low price and its superb portability prowess, the Surface Laptop Go 2 is still a fantastic option for those looking for one of the best ultrabooks laptops available. 

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full Review: Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 Review

Acer Chromebook Spin 513

Best Chromebook ultrabook
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Pros

  • Super-light and portable design
  • Sharp display with decent colours
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Whisper-quiet performance

Cons

  • Flat speakers
  • Mediocre performance
  • No keyboard backlight

A few years ago, it was near impossible to find a Chromebook that’s as skinny and lightweight as some of the very best ultrabooks, but that’s changing. The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 weighs just 1.2kg, making it one of the lightest laptops on this list. 

Such an ultra-portable design has been achieved thanks to the innovation of the Snapdragon 7c processor. Our performance benchmarks show it’s one of the weaker laptops here, yet still offers a smooth performance when carrying out simple tasks such as browsing the web and streaming video.

During testing, we were also impressed with the flexible hinge that allows you to fold the screen back so it takes the form of a makeshift tablet. We found it to be very useful to swap between the two forms, whether you need to write an essay or watch an episode of Stranger Things while tucked up in bed. 

We did admittedly find the ChromeOS software to be limited compared to Windows, especially when we wanted to download obscure software. But if you want a simple, streamlined experience, then we strongly recommend checking out the Acer Chromebook Spin 513. If you like the idea of ChromeOS, it’s also worth having a look at our Best Chromebook list.

Reviewer: Reece Bithrey
Full Review: Acer Chromebook Spin 513 review

Asus ROG Flow X13

Best gaming ultrabook
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Pros

  • Superb, versatile design of laptop and dock
  • RTX 3080 delivers great gaming speed
  • GTX 1650 is a solid eSports chip
  • High-quality display

Cons

  • Laptop and dock design won’t suit everyone
  • Laptop is sometimes too hot
  • Middling battery life
  • Minimal laptop connectivity

It may seem odd to see a gaming laptop make an appearance on a ‘best ultrabook’ list, but Asus has managed to make the ROG Flow X13 so compact that it comfortably meets the criteria, weighing just 1.3kg and measuring in at 15.8mm tall.

Our benchmark tests show that this is not the most powerful gaming laptop around, which is no surprise given its dinky dimensions and the fact it’s powered by a low-end GTX 1650 GPU.

But Asus is also giving you the option of bundling it with a ROG XG Mobile external GPU, which provides the power of an Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU when plugged in. The benchmark results improved dramatically once plugging in the eGPU, seeing a gaming performance similar to some of the very best gaming laptops that we’ve reviewed. 

Pairing this ultrabook with an eGPU is admittedly very pricey, but it’s well worth the cost for those people who fancy a laptop for both on-the-go productivity and AAA gaming. Alternatively, you could opt for the Asus ROG Flow Z13 instead, which also features support for the eGPU, but takes the form of a tablet instead for even more portability prowess.

Reviewer: Mike Jennings
Full Review: Asus ROG Flow X13 review

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FAQs

What is an ultrabook?

Intel originally coined the word to represent light-weight Windows laptops with a speedy performance provided by Intel Core chips. But the term has since been adopted by the wider market to represent any productivity laptop that is light and slender. For this list, we’ve set our own criteria: every laptop needs to have a screen size 14-inches or smaller, weigh no more than 1.5kg and to be thinner than 20mm when closed. Both MacBooks and Chromebooks can be included as long a they meet that criteria.

What is an ultrabook good for?

Ultrabooks are great for on-the-go work, since they’re light and small enough to carry around in small bag. If you frequently take your laptop to work or university, you’ll want an ultrabook that doesn’t add unnecessary weight.

Can you game on an ultrabook?

Ultrabooks are usually not built for gaming, as dedicated GPUs generally weigh a lot. There are of course exceptions, such as the Asus ROG Flox X13, but you still not going to get a high-end gaming performance by opting for an ultrabook. You can still use cloud-streaming services such as GeForce Now, Google Stadia and Game Pass Ultimate though.

Specs compared

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Trusted Reviews test data

PCMark 10
Cinebench R23
Geekbench 5 single core
Geekbench 5 multi core
3DMark Time Spy
CrystalDiskMark Read speed
CrystalMarkDisk Write Speed
Brightness
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Contrast
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PCMark Battery (office)
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Borderlands 3 frame rate (Full HD)
Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (Full HD)
Dirt Rally (Full HD)

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