Tired of lugging around a bulky notebook to the office, meetings and coffee shops? There exists an entire subgenre of super-slim laptops coined by the multinational technology giant Intel. Known as Ultrabooks, these sleek, powerful laptops could be your next upgrade for work, especially if you're used to a Microsoft Windows way of life.
How is an Ultrabook different from other laptops?
With so many manufacturers vying to meet the criteria for an Ultrabook model, you might be wondering how they're any different from other thin laptops in the market. We spoke to Muhammed Shameer, an IT support technician with Dubai-based repair store Techmate Computers, who's been in the industry for 16 years.
"The Ultrabook was defined by Intel in 2011. It's a thin, lightweight laptop that can be 0.8-inch-high maximum, with a performance that's higher than most. Ultrabooks were introduced to compete with Apple's MacBook models," explained Shameer.
Some popular laptops, such as the ASUS Zenbook, Lenovo IdeaPad and Dell XPS, all meet the stringent Ultrabook requirements. They must run on a low-power Intel chip with the graphics card integrated into the CPU (central processing unit), offer a long battery life (up to eight hours), and 'wake up' a mere three seconds after sleeping.
Who is an Ultrabook for?
Since an Ultrabook offers more performance for less power consumption, Shameer says that they're perfect for media professionals and designers, who frequent heavy graphics software, like Adobe Photoshop. "It's also great for people who travel a lot for work and carry their laptops to presentations," he added.
Before we head on to shop for an ultra-thin computer, make sure the storage and memory suit your needs. "Some models don't have an upgradeable built-in RAM and storage, so check if it's possible to do so, to futureproof your machine for years to come," said Shameer.
Another factor to consider is the laptop's warranty. Since Ultrabooks can be very costly to repair and their parts rare, Shameer urges shoppers to get an extendable warranty, wherever possible.
According to our expert, Ultrabooks that enjoy great popularity in the UAE are the HP Spectre x360, Acer Swift 3 and 5, ASUS Zenbook and HP Elite Dragonfly. We've listed these out with other best-rated subnotebooks on Amazon. Get a Prime subscription to pocket your favourite one with free, fast delivery, while it's discounted.
1. Best Overall: Acer Swift 3 OLED
- Runs on 12th Gen Intel i7 chip
- Gorgeous OLED screen
- 1TB storage and 16GB RAM
- FHD (full high definition) front camera
- Two Thunderbolt 4 ports
- Battery life could be better
- Keys might be difficult to read
Weighing a little over a kilogram, the Acer Swift 3 is comparable to carrying a book, says Shameer. Our pick offers top-of-the-line specifications - from the 14-inch 2.8K OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen to 1TB worth of storage space and 16GB RAM. Based on the Intel Evo platform, this Swift 3 runs on the 12th Gen i7 processor, and it's integrated with Intel's Iris Xe graphics. All of this translates to super-fast wake-up times, eight hours of battery life and easy portability at a height of just 0.7 inches. You can also expect next-gen connectivity, with two Thunderbolt 4 ports and one HDMI port, powered by Wi-Fi 6E. Those who attend important work calls over video will love the 1080p front camera resolution, and audio software that reduces noise in the background. Granted, with the incredible scope for storage, memory processing and power-hungry OLED, the battery life may be less than stated. Reviewers note other cons: the silver keyboard can be hard to read, and the speakers are just decent. However, these are negligible for the amazing performance it offers, with quiet fans. Buyers use it to code, game and operate second and third monitors via the Thunderbolt docking station.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh369.80 for 12 months with select banks.
2. Best Two-in-One: HP Elite Dragonfly G2
- Touchscreen with tablet capabilities
- Runs on 11th Gen Intel Core i7
- Integrated privacy screen
- Super-slim profile at 0.6 inches
- Two Thunderbolt 4 ports and one HDMI port
- Only 1080p screen resolution
The HP Elite Dragonfly G2 is pricier than most Ultrabooks, but for good reason. It's a two-in-one notebook PC that pivots on a 360-degree hinge to become a tablet in an instant. The 13.3-inch full high-definition display is naturally a touchscreen, too, and offers privacy when viewed from the side. This notebook runs on the 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with the Intel Iris Xe graphics, powering 16GB RAM and 512GB storage space, which is less than the Swift 3 but still impressive for a laptop that weighs a mere 980 grams. Withaudio by Bang & Olufsen, video calls are crisp in any environment. You'll find two Thunderbolt 4 ports and an HDMI port on the notebook, for all media- and programming-related workloads. Reviewers attest to how slim this 0.6-inch laptop is, with incredible speeds. You might want to browse more two-in-one laptops here.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh509.66 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh539, a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh617, and a two-year damage protection with a one-year extended warranty for Dh787.
3. Best for Media Pros: ASUS Zenbook 14" OLED
- 2.8K OLED screen that's Pantone-validated with deep blacks
- 1TB of storage space
- Harman Kardon sound with Dolby Atmos
- Dedicated mute and camera shield buttons
- Two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two HDMI ports and one microSD card reader
- Long, double-digit battery life
- No USB-A ports
A 14-inch OLED laptop at this price is a steal. The ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED is faster than a notebook running on an 11th Gen i7 processor, thanks to the 12th Gen i5 chip. It supports a beautiful 2.8K NanoEdge display that's validated by Pantone itself, and has an impressive 0.2-millisecond response time. The screen may not flip back for a tablet experience, but it does lay flat at 180 degrees for easy sharing. Measuring 0.66 inches in height, this ultra-slim laptop comes with 8GB RAM and a whopping 1TB of storage space. What stands out about the Zenbook series is the ASUS number pad on the trackpad for a more spacious, full-sized keyboard. Dedicated keys toggle the mic on and off, and shield the webcam whenever necessary. We also love the fully outfitted audio specs, with sound crafted by Harman Kardon and surround sound enabled by Dolby Atmos. There are more options for connectivity, as well, with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two HDMI ports and one microSD card reader. Do note, however, a port for USB-A devices doesn't exist. Reviewers highlight the sound quality, sharp display, military-graded durability and fast performance.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh270.01 for 12 months with select banks.
4. Best for Work: Lenovo Latest Gen 8 ThinkPad X1 Carbon 14"
- 1TB storage with 16GB RAM
- Military-grade robust shell
- Rapid charging
- Privacy screen with privacy webcam cover
- Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers
- Some specs are not as latest as aforementioned models, such as Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI 1.4
- Battery may be lower than stated
An enterprise Ultrabook for daily work tasks that require a robust computer, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 is a solid choice. It's powered by the 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and has withstood 12 military-grade tests. The laptop offers everything you need to power through a full workday - from the 13.5-hour battery life to an HD 720p webcam with a privacy cover. Like the Zenbook, the X1 Carbon Gen 8 carries a Dolby Atmos speaker system, with four 360-degree mics to cancel noise. As part of security measures, the laptop's electronic privacy filter turns the screen black for any onlookers. Connectivity options include two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB-A ports and an HDMI port. Engineering students and business professionals in the reviews love the powerful but lightweight experience they've had with the X1 Carbon. Check out more business laptops here.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh477.76 for 12 months with select banks.
5. Best Design: Samsung 14” Galaxy Book3 Pro
- Runs on the latest 13th Gen i7 chip
- 3K AMOLED screen has a 120Hz refresh rate
- Thinnest frame on this list
- Great integration with the Galaxy smartphone
- Dolby Atmos speakers
- Battery life is lower than stated
- Can get warm
The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro is, perhaps, the closest Windows alternative you will get to a MacBook Air, in terms of design. Experience stunning clarity on the 14-inch 3K (same as 2.8K) AMOLED display, powered by the latest 13th Gen Intel Core i7 processor. Book3 Pro boasts the highest refresh rate at 120Hz, compared to other models on this list. It's also the thinnest, measuring 0.4 inches in height. The connectivity options are a practical cocktail of everything you might need - two Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI, a USB-A port and a microSD card slot. Get on full-HD video calls with colleagues and leave the headphones behind with four Dolby Atmos-powered speakers. Since it's a Samsung PC, you can expect an optimised connection with your Galaxy smartphone, meaning you can call, text and access mobile apps on the big screen. Samsung promises a battery life of up to 16 hours, though reviewers come up with an average of seven hours. Video and sound quality are excellent for casual editing purposes, they add.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh451.62 for 12 months with select banks.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.