The consumer laptop market has had its ups and downs in the last 15 years. For a while, it seemed like a race to the bottom, with manufacturers of all types cranking out cheap laptops that weren’t pleasant to use. Thankfully, the days of netbooks and cheap Dells are now in the past. Laptops are cool again— not to mention much more functional.
The shift toward more powerful, more attractive laptops started with something called the Ultrabook. And today, in 2021, some of the best consumer laptops available are in this category.
If you’re looking for an upgrade that’s both sleek and svelte, consider upgrading to an Ultrabook. And if you do, make sure to pick up an extended warranty
on that beautiful new machine.
Below are four of the best Ultrabooks you can buy in 2021. But first, a definition of terms.
What Is an Ultrabook?
Originally, the term Ultrabook referred to laptops or notebooks that lacked a CD or DVD drive. By dropping that physical drive, manufacturers could make laptops that were much thinner and lighter. But these days, it’s almost impossible to find a laptop with a physical disc drive. Pretty much everyone followed the trend that Ultrabooks started. (It turns out that thinner and more attractive laptops sell better than thicker, ugly ones. Who knew?)
These days, Ultrabook still refers to a laptop that’s thinner and lighter, but also typically more premium than a standard laptop. To qualify as an Ultrabook, a laptop needs to be sleek and attractive but retain a high level of performance.
So if you’re looking at a laptop that’s thin, attractive, premium and powerful, chances are it’s an Ultrabook.
Best Ultrabooks for 2021
If you’re looking to upgrade your laptop experience in 2021, going with an ultrabook is a great choice. Here are some of the top ultrabooks available in the first half of 2021.
LG Gram 16
There’s lightweight, and then there’s the LG Gram 16
. This impressively light machine is no lightweight, though. With 11th-gen Intel Core i7 processors, Intel Evo certification, Intel Iris Xe graphics, and a 16-inch WQXGA screen with DCI-p3 99% color gamut, this machine is a beast in a tiny package.
You also get up to a whopping 22 hours of battery life here. The only downside is price. The machines in the Gram line will cost you.
M1 MacBook Air
Chances are, you already know whether you want a Mac or a PC. This review won’t try to convince you of one or the other. If you’re leaning toward a Mac, the Ultrabook in the lineup is the MacBook Air
. Last year, Apple made waves by introducing the M1 MacBook Air, powered by Apple’s own custom silicon.
The M1 is insanely powerful
, eclipsing even high-end desktops in terms of processing power. And the chip in the MacBook Air is essentially the same as the one in the higher-tier MacBook Pro. It’s an insane amount of processing power in a slim and relatively affordable package.
If you’re picking up a new Mac, get the M1. And if you want a Mac Ultrabook, get the MacBook Air.
Dell XPS 15
TechRadar is bullish
on the Dell XPS 15
, calling it by far the best Ultrabook of 2021 and maybe even the best PC laptop. The keyboard is a joy to type on, audio quality is far superior to most speakers on thin laptops, and the display is gorgeous, with up to 500 nits of brightness. These are all things that you just don’t hear about Ultrabooks very often, but somehow Dell has done them all in the same machine.
The 2020 models still had 10th-gen Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, but an update to the 11th-gen sometime soon would surprise no one. Base models include integrated graphics, but an upgrade to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti is available.
All told, the Dell XPS 15 is simply a fantastic Ultrabook.
HP Spectre x360 14
If you want your Ultrabook to also be in two-in-one, the HP Spectre x360 14
is likely the best option available today. This unique device features a 13.5-inch display in a unique 3:2 format, making the device more flexible for use in tablet mode.
The clicky keyboard is easy to use, and the Core i7 processor will keep you cranking for years to come. Best of all, the device works beautifully in laptop mode, folded flat in tablet mode, or in several tent-style positions.
For a luxurious viewing experience, upgrade to the OLED model.
Ultrabooks Are Expensive. Protect Yours with an Extended Warranty from Upsie
Ultrabooks are beautiful machines, but they’re also expensive. An extended warranty from Upsie
is the perfect solution, giving you protection and peace of mind should something happen to your brand-new machine. Accident protection is included, so even if the damage is your fault, you’re covered!
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