The best ultraportable PCs: our buyer’s guide for 2021

Ultrabooks or ultraportable PCs are for those who want a very thin laptop without compromising on power. Imposed by Intel, they are becoming the standard in the laptop market. If you want to buy a new ultrabook, here are the best models available in 2021.

Dell XPS 13
Dell XPS 13 2021

Most hybrid laptops fall into the category of ultrabooks. But the latter encompasses a more complete line of devices, including classic laptops with a slimmer look. These are for those who have not yet succumbed to the charm of the 2-in-1 with screen or detachable keyboard. here is our Buyer’s guide to the best ultraportable PCs you can buy in 2021.

Selection of the best ultraportables available for purchase in 2021

Since their appearance in 2011, ultrabooks have redefined the laptop market with their sleek, slim design. Today, these computers continue to seduce a market fiercely competing with ever larger smartphones and ever more efficient tablets, like the Surface Pro 7, but also the iPad Pro 2021. Ultraportables also now include the convertible sub-family, which have also found their audience.

See also: Best gaming PCs: which tower should you choose in 2021?

While the term is not widely used anymore, it is generally accepted that an ultrabook is a compact laptop that offers decent performance and is not too thick. Obviously, an ultraportable must be light, in the 1.2 to 1.6 kg. It must also be able to slip into a bag without too much hassle. Here is our selection of the best ultraportables of the moment.

⭐️ The editorial team’s Apple selection: 13-inch MacBook Air (with M1 chip)

13-inch MacBook Air with M1 chip
13-inch MacBook Air with M1 chip

The king of ultraportables is back this year – or rather since September 2020 – with a brand new model equipped with an incredibly powerful chip, the M1. At just 1.29 kg, the new MacBook Air is 12 inches wide and ranges from 0.41 to 1.61 cm high. It is also equipped with a 256 GB SSD and a Retina display with True Tone display. The Touch ID is still there, very handy for unlocking your Mac and confirming your passwords online by simply putting your finger. The Force Touch touchpad is still as comfortable as ever. We will always denote, however, the presence of only two Thunderbolt & USB 4 ports (two more would not have been refused).

This MacBook Air M1 features the new Magic Keyboard, which corrects many problems encountered on older models, which were all equipped with the now obsolete butterfly keyboard. And if it was possible to deplore the performance on Intel MacBook Airs, the integration of the Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine solves the problem. In addition to being powerful, the M1 chip unleashes the autonomy of the MacBook Air up to 20 hours. It can be used without any noise since this MacBook Air is also without a fan, the M1 chip does not need to be cooled. At this price, the new MacBook Air has simply become a must-have for all aficionados Apple brand laptops.

  • Format : 13,3″
  • CPU : Puce Apple Silicon M1
  • RAM : 8 Go
  • Height: 0.41 to 1.61 cm
  • Storage: up to 512 TB (SSD)
  • Autonomy: Up to 20 hours
  • System: macOS Big Sur
  • Weight: 1,29 kg
  • Price: from 1,129 euros

⭐️ Editor’s Windows selection: Dell XPS 13 9310 (2021)

Dell XPS 13 2021
Dell XPS 13 2021

The Windows equivalent of Apple’s MacBook Air has a name: the Dell XPS 13 9310, vintage 2021. If the Dell XPS no longer need to find a place on the podium of ultrabooks, this new version XPS 13 ticks very many boxes. It is equipped with an 11th generation Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor (12MB cache, up to 4.8GHz), 8GB of 4267MHz LPDDR4x RAM and a powerful 256GB SSD A true signature of the brand, several choices are possible for the purchase on almost all of the components. The graphics part is provided by an Intel Iris Xe graphics card, which is quite efficient for running a few games without too many compromises (forget on the other hand Cyberpunk 2077 in ray tracing, 4K and 60 IPS).

There is also a screen InfinityEdge FHD + display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, in 13.4 ″. Non-tactile but anti-reflective, practical for working outdoors. This can be rotated 360 degrees. The webcam is also now positioned at the top. In terms of connectivity, there are 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports and 1 headphone port (headset and microphone combo). Anyway, it’s hard to do better with ultraportables under Windows 10. This new Dell XPS 13 is once again essential for all users accustomed to Windows in search of an ultraportable at the same time reliable , efficient and affordable.

  • Format : 13,4″
  • CPU : Intel Core i7-1185G7 (et +)
  • RAM : 8 Go (et +)
  • Height: 1,48 cm
  • Storage: up to 2TB (M2 PCIe NVMe)
  • Autonomy: Up to 14 hours
  • System: Windows 10 Home 64 Bits
  • Weight: 1,2 kg
  • Price: from 1,249 euros

Huawei Matebook D16 2021

Huawei Matebook D16 2021
Huawei Matebook D16 2021

Let’s move on to a slightly larger screen now – but for a contained thickness -, with Huawei offering its new Matebook D16 from 2021. It features an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor coupled with 16 GB DDR4 3200 MHz and a 512 GB SSD (in PCi-Express). We find a screen of 16.1 ″ in Full HD almost without any borders which offers a screen occupancy rate of 90%. The graphics are provided by a Radeon Vega 6 from AMD. In terms of connectivity, this Matebook D16 is equipped with a USB 3.0 Type C port, an HDMI output, two USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port and a headphone output.

This ultraportable can be interesting for owners of a Huawei smartphone since it has the Huawei Share functionality, which offers multi-screen continuity. How? ‘Or’ What ? Just place your Huawei smartphone on the NFC sticker of the MateBook D16 2021 to combine the two devices into one, without an internet connection. Small bonuses: it is equipped with a Hall sensor, a gravity sensor and a fingerprint sensor to unlock it safely.

  • Format : 16,1″
  • CPU : AMD Ryzen 5 4600H
  • RAM : 16 Go DDR4 3200 MHz
  • Height: 1,84 cm
  • Storage: 512 Go SSD
  • Autonomy: Up to 8 hours
  • System: Windows 10 Home 64 Bits
  • Weight: 1,74 kg
  • Price: from 899.99 euros

HP Spectre x360 13

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HP now offers the Specter x360, available in 13 ″, but also in 14 ″ and 15 ″. Its processor is an Intel Core i7-1065G7. There is a convertible 360-degree screen that allows you to work in laptop, easel or tablet position. It incorporates two HP speakers with HP Audio Boost technology and sound optimization signed by Bang & Olufsen.

Its touchscreen is full HD IPS 13.3 edge-to-edge (Corning Gorilla NBT which is scratch resistant). It is also anti-reflective. There is also 8 GB of RAM in DDR4 and a 1 TB PCIe SSD hard drive. Its autonomy is quite important since it will hold according to HP up to 19 hours and 15 minutes. Its price is also contained since it is available under the bar of 1,500 euros.

  • Format : 16,1″
  • CPU : Intel Core i7-1065G7 (1.3 GHz base frequency, up to 3.9 GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, 8 MB cache, 4 cores) + Intel Iris Plus graphics
  • RAM : 8 Go de mémoire SDRAM LPDDR4 3200 MHz
  • Height: 1,84 cm
  • Storage: disque SSD PCIe NVMe M.2 de 1 To
  • Autonomy: Up to 7 p.m.
  • System: Windows 10 Home 64 Bits
  • Weight: 1,3 kg
  • Price: from 1,249 euros

Razer Blade Stealth 13 2020

Razer Blade Stealth 13 2020
Razer Blade Stealth 13 2020

Are you a PC gamer but always on the go? Do you need a lot of power for your work, but also a small laptop? Here is the latest Razer Blade Stealth 13. It is equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics card, an 11th generation Intel Core i7 processor, a matte Full HD 120 Hz screen with thin bezels. In short, everything you need to play recent games in good conditions. However, be careful with prolonged gaming sessions with the computer on your knees since it tends to heat up.

Despite its characteristics, the Stealth 13 does not forget to be portable. With a weight of just 1.41 kg and a thickness of 15.3 mm, this ultrabook is both light and robust since its unibody frame is made of anodized aluminum. It is also equipped with 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports, 2 USB-A ports and an HD webcam integrating Windows Hello. The keyboard further features Razer Chroma RGB lighting to create an immersive gaming experience.

  • Format : 13,3″
  • CPU : 10th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 Quad-Core Processor + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q GPU (4GB GDDR6 VRAM)
  • RAM : 16 Go
  • Height: 1,53 cm
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Autonomy: Up to 6 hours
  • System: Windows 10 Home 64 Bits
  • Weight: 1,54 kg
  • Price: from 2 199 euros

Huawei Matebook X Pro 2020

Huawei Matebook X Pro 2020
Huawei Matebook X Pro 2020

If you like Huawei, prefer screens 14 ″ and smaller and are on a tight budget, here is the Matebook X Pro 2020. Its screen is probably one of its strongest points, since it is equipped with ‘A sumptuous 13.9-inch LTPS touchscreen with 91% screen occupancy, 3000 x 2000 resolution, and a peak brightness of 450 nits. The processor is your choice: i7-10510U in 1.8 GHz or i5-10210U in 1.5 GHz. The same goes for the RAM and the storage part where it is possible to select between 8 and 16 GB LPDDR3 at 2133 MHz and a 512 or 1 TB NVMe PCIe SSD.

This sober and powerful ultrabook will have something to seduce many users, since there is a backlit chicklet keyboard, a power button with fingerprint sensor and a touchpad with support for Multi-Touch gestures. Its autonomy is also more than correct since it reaches 13 hours in video playback. This is not the last model but the previous vintage, which saves a few hundred euros before it is definitely no longer in stock.

  • Format : 13,9″
  • CPU : 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10510U, 1.8 GHz Quad Core (Turbo boost up to 4.9 GHz) or 10th Generation Intel Core i5-10210U, 1.6 GHz Quad Core (Turbo boost up to 4.2 GHz) )
  • RAM : 8 Go ou 16 Go LPDDR3 2133 MHz
  • Height: 1,46 cm
  • Storage: 512 Go ou 1 To NVMe PCIe SSD
  • Autonomy: Up to 13 hours
  • System: Windows 10 Home 64 Bits
  • Weight: 1,33 kg
  • Price: from 1,499 euros

To go further, do not hesitate to consult our guide to buying the best hybrid laptops of the moment.

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