Ultrabooks best: Best Ultrabooks and Premium Laptops 2023

HP Spectre x360 13.5 Review: Do-It-All Device

Tom’s Hardware Verdict

The HP Spectre x360 13.5 is an attractive 2-in-1 convertible with a lovely OLED design, a sharp webcam and a strong port selection for its size. HP has to cut down the amount of preinstalled software, which makes the premium laptop feel far less luxurious.

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    Thunderbolt 4 and USB Type-A ports

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    Distinguished, mature design that also lets you upgrade storage

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    Colorful, 3:2 OLED display

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    Solid performance, webcam and audio

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When you use the same tool for work and your personal life, as more and more of us do these days (though that may not be the best idea!), you need it to do everything well. Few achieve that. But the HP Spectre x360 13.5 ($1,249. 99 to start; $1,749.99 as tested) is the rare jack-of-all-trades that cuts few corners as a do-it-all device.

It isn’t the most powerful laptop out there — in fact, HP is using a 15W Intel U-series processor here, which seems to help with battery life. But those who use spreadsheets and text documents, browse the web and do nothing more strenuous than some photo editing should be fine.

The slim design boasts its fair share of ports (not including the dongle that comes in the box), a crisp OLED display, a high-resolution webcam and decent battery life (considering that display, anyway). Frankly, there’s very little for me to say negatively about it. In the premium space, this Spectre x360 is one of the best ultrabooks that I’ve tested in the past few months.

  • HP Spectre x360 13.5 (13.5-inch Intel Core i5) at HP (US) for $949.99

HP has made one handsome laptop. The Spectre x360 13.5 is simple and clean, with a few flourishes to make it feel like a fashion item, not just hardware. The Spectre’s recycled aluminum chassis feels premium in the hands.

We tested it in «nightfall black» with brass accents, though you can also get it in silver or a dark blue. HP’s logo reflects off the lid in the light gold color, which also highlights the edges of the device. It’s especially noticeable on the back edges of the laptop, which are cut flat to fit ports.

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When you open the laptop, you’ll see that the 13.5-inch, 3:2 display has thin bezels on the side, though HP left more room on the top and bottom, presumably to fit the 5 megapixel camera. Considering how much screen real estate you get with the taller aspect ratio, I can take a bit of bezel. The right side of the screen is magnetized so you can attach an included stylus for storage.

The backlit keyboard has a large, striking font on it, with the exception of an empty space for the fingerprint reader. That fingerprint reader worked quickly and accurately when I couldn’t use facial recognition because I was wearing a mask. The spacious touchpad also has the same brass trimming as the rest of the notebook.

With a pair of 360-degree hinges, the Spectre can be folded all the way back into a tablet. You can also put it in tent mode or balance it on the keyboard with the stand up to use as a display. The 3:2 aspect ratio helps here. I find it far more natural to use that shape screen as a tablet compared to a typical 16:9 display.

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Despite how thin the Spectre is, HP has crammed a few ports into it. On the right side, there are a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports — one on the side and one on the cut off corner. The left side has a USB Type-A port, which HP fit in with a drop-jaw hinge, as well as a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the corner. I admire HP for cramming USB Type-A in there, as many thin laptops have gone exclusively to USB Type-C. That being said, it can be finicky to get peripherals in there.

HP also includes a surprisingly premium USB-C hub, with two more USB-A ports and an HDMI port as well as a USB-C for pass-through charging. It has a short, braided cable (The power supply also has a braided cable, which feels premium. It should be at this price point!)

The Spectre weighs 3.01 pounds and measures 11.74 x 8.68 x 0.67 inches. It felt perfectly reasonable in my backpack (in HP’s included sleeve, a nice touch). The Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7, a rival convertible, is 3.09 pounds and 12.5 x 9.06 x 0.6 inches. The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 (7420), a mid-range convertible with the same processor as the Spectre,  is 12.36 x 8.95 x 0.7 inches and 3.46 pounds. Apple’s MacBook Air, a clamshell laptop with a fanless design, is 2.7 pounds and 11.97 x 8.45 x 0.44 inches. 

HP Spectre x360 13.5 Specifications

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CPU Intel Core i7-1255U
Graphics Intel Iris Xe (integrated)
Memory 16GB DDR4-4266
Storage 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
Display 13. 5-inch, 3000 x 2000, 3:2, OLED touchscreen
Networking Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211, Bluetooth 5.2
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4, microSD card slot, USB Type-A, 3.5 mm headphone jack.
Camera 5MP with privacy shutter, IR
Battery 66 WHr
Power Adapter 65 W
Operating System Windows 11 Pro
Dimensions (WxDxH) 11.73 x 8.68 x 0.67 inches (297.94 x 220.47 x 17.02 mm)
Weight 3.01 pounds (1.37 kg)
Price (as configured) $1,749.99

Productivity Performance on the HP Spectre x360 13.5

We tested the HP Spectre x360 with an Intel Core i7-1255U, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD. HP’s choice of a U-series processor here suggests that the company is focused on keeping the Spectre cool and quiet. This is the same CPU we saw in the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1, while the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7, which is also a slim 2-in-1, went with a higher-wattage Intel Core i7-1260P. We’re also tossing in Apple’s MacBook Air with M2 into the test pool, which is also quiet, because that system doesn’t have a fan at all.

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On Geekbench 5, an overall performance test with an emphasis on the CPU, the Spectre notched a single-core score of 1,668 and a multi-core score of 7,243. The Lenovo Yoga 9 Gen 7  with a Core i7-1260P traded blows with the Spectre, scoring slightly higher on single-core (1,722) and slightly lower on multi-core (7,150). The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1, with the same processor as the Spectre, was very similar on single-core (1,693) but behind on multi-core performance (6,527). Apple’s M2 showed off, winning on both single-core (1,932) and multi-core (8,919) performance. 

HP’s convertible copied 25GB of files at a rate of 1,363.29 MBps. The Yoga was faster here (1,506.89 MBps). The MacBook Air was a bit slower (958.85 MBps), while the Inspiron, at 404.86 MBps, dragged in comparison.

We use Handbrake to have laptops transcode a 4K video to 1080p. It took the Spectre 10 minutes and 33 seconds to complete the task, coming out ahead of the Yoga and its higher-wattage CPU (12:18), but in a rare victory, the cheaper Inspiron was faster (9:59) than its Windows counterparts. The MacBook Air, with its M2 chip, won out at 7:52.

To stress test the Spectre, we ran the demanding Cinebench R23 benchmark 20 times on a loop. The laptop started by putting up a score of 6,619.97, before dropping to the low 6,000s, where it would spend most of the test. There were a few drops to the mid-to-low 5,000’s, which likely coincided with when I heard the fans ramp up.

The Core i7-1255U’s two performance cores ran at an average of 2.36 GHz, while the eight efficiency cores averaged 1.84 GHz. The CPU package measured an average of 67.08 degrees Celsius.

Display on the HP Spectre x360 13.5

The Spectre x360 has a 13.5-inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio to show as much of your work as possible. It’s great if, like me, you write a lot and want to see more of your work. It also means less scrolling as you read. We tested HP’s 3000 x 2000 OLED display which is bright and vivid, though the company also has 1080p touch screens.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The screen isn’t quite 4K, but I used it to watch one of our test films, the 4K short Tears of Steel. A very early scene features two characters, one dressed in dark clothes, the other in neon blues and pinks. Those colors stood out against the deep blacks, as well as out-of-focus greens from leaves in the background.

HP’s panel covers 124% of the sRGB color gamut, and 87. 7% of the DCI-P3 gamut besting the non-OLED competitors, though falling short of the exceptionally vivid Yoga 9i (198% and 140.1%, respectively).

But the Spectre, at 355 nits of brightness, beat the Yoga’s 352 nits. The MacBook Air, however, was the most luminous at 489 nits. When we put a white square on a black background, which occasionally boosts brightness in select areas on OLED screens, the Spectre’s selection climbed to 362 nits.

Keyboard, Touchpad and Stylus on the HP Spectre x360 13.5

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The Spectre has clicky, responsive keys, but I wish the travel were a bit deeper. Still, on the Monkeytype typing test, I reached 114 words per minute with 98% accuracy. That’s about as good as I tend to do.

The power button is on the keyboard, to the left of the delete key. A simple tap won’t turn the machine off, thankfully. Perhaps the only other big issue is that HP has opted for half-height up and down arrow keys. I much prefer an inverted-T shape, which I’ve seen HP use on other laptops, like its Victus gaming lineup.

HP’s 4.9 x 3.1-inch touchpad, surrounded by brass accents, is big and smooth. There’s plenty of room to comfortably perform Window’s four-finger gestures, like swipes between virtual desktops. It’s comfortable, and accurate. The stylus has a new home on the right side of the display. (On this laptop’s predecessor, the Spectre x360 14 that we reviewed in 2021, it attached magnetically to the left side of the keyboard). This reminds me a bit of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The pen, the HP Rechargeable MPP 2.0 Tilt Pen , is decent. It’s round with a flat edge (that’s the one that attaches to the screen) with two barrel buttons. The top slides up to reveal a USB-C port for charging, which is far more convenient than replacing batteries. As someone who takes notes more than drawing, I’d prefer something a bit thinner. But you need very little pressure to get a response (HP claims nine grams on its website), and in sketching apps, tilting the pen allows for shading.

Audio on the HP Spectre x360 13.5

The speakers on the Spectre x360 continue HP’s long partnership with Bang & Olufsen. It’s been fruitful, and I feel the Spectre continues on trend.

Arlo Parks’ «Softly» was crisp and clear on the Spectre. It got loud enough to fill my apartment (others get louder, but this is plenty for when I’m sitting in front of it and using it), and the vocals, keys and synths were all clear. The drums could use a bit more kick, though the low-end is often an issue on laptops.

There are some equalizer changes you can make in the included Bang & Olufsen audio control app, and some patience with the bass section did boost the percussion a little bit.

I preferred the sound of the bottom firing-speaker hitting my desk as opposed to being in tablet mode, when the speakers fire against the lid, but the difference isn’t terribly stark.

Upgradeability of the HP Spectre x360 13.5

Consider me pleasantly surprised. I’ve reviewed a number of HP laptops that were effectively unrepairable without professional help because screws were placed beneath adhesive strips. When I checked the Spectre x360 13.5’s service manual , I was surprised to find those strips (which are still there on the Spectre x360 14) don’t need to come off to open the laptop.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Four Torx screws secure the bottom cover to the computer. (The service guide says that they’re Phillips head screws. They are not). The screws closer to the hinges are longer than those near the front of the laptop, so be sure to keep them separate and remember what goes where.

With those removed, you can use a pry tool to gently separate the base from the rest of the laptop.

When you’re in, you’ll see that the m.2 2280 SSD can be removed and replaced, as can the network card and the battery. The SSD is underneath a copper heatsink held down by a pair of Phillips head screws, while the networking card is under an adhesive, papery heat shield. HP has gone with soldered memory on this laptop.

There is a small bit of empty space to the right of the battery. It makes me wonder whether this could have been designed with either a larger battery, or perhaps a motherboard with room for another storage drive. But hey, at least you can get into this Spectre at all.

Battery Life

The Spectre x360 ran for 10 hours and 12 minutes on our battery test, in which we have laptops browse the web, stream video over Wi-Fi and run OpenGL tests, all with the screen set to 150 nits of brightness.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

This was more than two hours longer than the Lenovo Yoga 9i, which I suspect may be partially because of the Spectre’s lower-wattage processor. This is also a pretty strong number for an OLED laptop, as those screens really suck up juice. Dell’s budget Inspiron 14 2-in-1 lasted only 7:52. The MacBook Air did the best on our test at 14:06.

Heat on the HP Spectre x360 13.5

In any position, the Spectre shouldn’t be too hot to handle. We took our skin temperature measurements while running our Cinebench stress test to see how hot the Spectre x360 gets under an intensive workload.

At the center of the keyboard, between the G and H keys, the laptop measured 37.4 degrees Celsius (99.5 degrees Fahrenheit). I could feel the heat on my hands, but I wouldn’t say the laptop was unusable. The touchpad was chillier at 31.8 degrees Celsius (89.24 degrees Fahrenheit).

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

On the bottom of the laptop, the hottest point measured 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 degrees Fahrenheit), towards the back, though most of the laptop was cooler.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Webcam on the HP Spectre x360 13.5

HP seems serious about the webcam on the Spectre x360. It’s a 5MP lens with dedicated software for making adjustments. HP calls this «GlamCam,» and it’s nestled in the HP Command Center app.

The camera works quite well. At my office desk, which is well-lit from nearby windows and fluorescent lights, I could make out a ton of detail in the camera, from individual hairs on my head to bags under my eyes from not sleeping great the night before.

GlamCam has an auto-frame feature that’s designed to keep you in the camera frame while you move around, similar to Apple’s Center Stage on the iPad. I don’t tend to move from my desk much during calls, but in testing it out, I did find that while it typically worked, the motion could be a bit jarring. It was also less likely to follow me around while I was wearing a facemask and using the laptop in public — I suspect it’s looking for an entire face.

There’s also lighting correction, which made extremely subtle changes at my well-lit office desk. At home, I have some bright windows behind my desk. While HP’s software couldn’t stop that light from appearing harsh, it did adjust the tone a bit so that the contrast wasn’t so intense.

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The one that made the most difference was the appearance filter, which «retouches» your face. I found that on steps two and three (step one appeared to be my regular face), it noticeably removed small wrinkles and bags under my eyes. In fact, the third step seemed a bit fake. The step was also extreme, and smoothed out other details, like hairs. I even looked like I had fewer eyelashes.

I’m of two minds about this. If it makes someone feel more comfortable, great, but I also am not sure that it should be up to laptop companies to perpetuate these standards of appearance. That being said, no one is making you use any of these features, and they’re off by default.

There’s a built-in camera shutter, which you can activate by pressing a dedicated button on the keyboard. The infrared sensors let you log in with Windows Hello facial recognition, which worked flawlessly for me except for the times I forgot to disengage the privacy shutter.

Software and Warranty on the HP Spectre x360 13.5

There are over 13 pieces of software with the name «HP» in it preinstalled on the laptop, and that’s on top of promotional trials for Dropbox, ExpressVPN, McAfee LiveSafe, McAfee WebAdvisor and others. Some of these even have bookmarks in the Edge browser, which is something you typically see on much cheaper notebooks, not premium ones.

Some of it, like the HP Command Center can be useful. It lets you pick from different power plans and has some camera customizations under the HP GlamCam tab. I think other apps, like an app to adjust pen settings to and to pick between different display modes should be built in here.

Other apps include HP Quickdrop to move files between your laptop and phone, Concepts for drawing and sketching, Duet to put your PC screen on another device and Palette, which helps sort and match photos. Some of these, like Concepts, have in-app purchases for more tools (in that app, it’s a wider variety of brushes). It’s effectively an entire creative suite between your phone and the Spectre, but it’s a lot to be preinstalled.

HP sells the Spectre x360 with a one-year warranty. Extended services can be purchased if you buy the laptop from HP’s website.

HP Spectre x360 13.5 Configurations

We tested the HP Spectre x360 13.5 in black with an Intel Core i7-1225U, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and a 3000 x 2000 OLED touchscreen. That runs for $1,749.99 at Best Buy and is also available as a custom configuration from HP’s website.

The laptop starts at $1,249.99 (though is on sale for $1,199.99 as of this writing) in silver with an Intel Core i5-1235U, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage and a 1920 x 1080 touchscreen.

Other options include a «nocturne blue» chassis (changing colors from the default silver on HP’s website costs an extra $10), up to 32GB of RAM, a 1080p screen with privacy features and up to 2TB of storage. It costs $2,029.99 maxxed out.

The HP Spectre x360 13.5 is a classy, capable 2-in-1 with a decent number of ports, a colorful OLED screen and a sharp, high-resolution webcam. While HP opted for Intel’s 15W U-series processors rather than the more powerful 28W P-series option in some competitors, most users won’t want for performance

Among premium Windows ultraportables, the Spectre’s biggest competition is the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7, a 14-inch convertible 2-in-1, which uses the 28W parts and in some use cases outpaces the Spectre in performance. The Yoga also has a brighter, more vivid OLED display. But the Spectre comes with a stylus, which the Yoga doesn’t, has longer battery life and is surprisingly easy to upgrade storage with down the line. The Spectre, at the moment, seems a bit easier to buy. Several configurations, including the Yoga 9i we reviewed, have been out of stock at Lenovo and other retailers as of late.

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Apple’s MacBook Air reigns on battery life and in some performance use cases, and if your priority is thinness, it may make sense for you. But the Spectre x360, with its convertible design and touch screen, has a number of features that laptop lacks. If the Spectre x360’s $1,299.99 starting price is too much for your wallet, the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is cheaper, and we liked it.

But pound-for-pound, the HP Spectre x360 13.5 is among the best ultrabooks we’ve tested of late. If you want to balance performance, battery life and ports with a sharp webcam and a gorgeous display, the Spectre has it all unequivocally.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom’s Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom’s Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter: @FreedmanAE

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9

TechRadar Verdict

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon delivers outstanding performance in an incredibly thin, lightweight, and stylish package, showing once again why the X1 Carbon is one of the best Ultrabooks ever made – if you’re willing to pay for the best.

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Two minute review

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is the latest refresh of one of the most popular business laptops out there and this year’s model shows why it’s such a desirable machine. For those who need to get outstanding performance on the go in a highly portable (and stylish) package – whatever the cost – the X1 Carbon needs to be the first laptop you pick up and consider.

When it comes to the design of the X1 Carbon Gen 9, Lenovo further refined its already phenomenal predecessors by adding 11th-gen Intel processors and Intel Evo-certification, providing the outstanding performance, battery life, start up time, and security features that the Evo-certification entails. 

What remains the same are all of the parts we like about the X1 Carbon line, including the lightweight carbon fiber chassis with its super-slim profile, outstanding keyboard, top-notch security features, top-firing speakers, and enough ports to embarrass many of the best Ultrabooks on the market that claim you can only fit one or two USB Type-C ports onto a chassis so thin.

The 14-inch display is fantastic, even at 1200p, and multi-touch support is worth the upgrade as the ThinkPad X1 Carbon can still fully open to 180 degrees to lay flat on a table, making it easy to collaborate with colleagues when needed.  

The 4K display is also an option, but honestly, at this size you’ll barely be able to tell the difference, so you’d be better off putting that extra money towards more RAM, which will make this even more of a powerhouse that it already is.

We can’t leave off without noting that the battery life on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 far surpasses its rivals, like the Razer Book 13, Dell XPS 13, and even its siblings like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano. 

This is an all-day, away-from-an-outlet ultrabook that can easily go the entire day moving from conference room to conference room at major conventions without missing a beat. What’s more, you’ll only need 15-30 minutes plugged in to get another few hours of battery life out of the X1 Carbon thanks to its rapid charge battery.

All this comes at a cost, however, and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon definitely isn’t cheap. It’s also not for professional, especially creatives. The integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics are great for modest video playback and conferencing, light multimedia creation like slideshows for a presentation, or working with documents, spreadsheets, and databases. Without a discrete GPU, it will struggle with creative workloads, especially the more heavy duty work like video editing and encoding.

When all is said and done, though, if you are a business professional who expects to be on the move far more often than not and you need one of the best business laptops you can find, then you should be taking a long hard look at the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 and asking if its rivals really even come close to matching it.

(Image credit: Future)

  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 at Lenovo USA for $1,475.40

Price and availability

Spec Sheet

Here is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
Screen: 14-inch, 16:10 (1920 x 1200p), up to 500 nits, touchscreen
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Ports: 2 x USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 4 w/ DispayPort, Data, and Power transfer), 2 x USB Type-A, 1 x HDMI 2. 0, 1 x 3.5mm microphone/headphone combo jack, 1 x Kensington lock
Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
Camera: 720p IR with physical privacy shutter
Weight: 2.49 lbs (1.13 kg)
Size (W x H x D): 12.38 x 8.72 x 0.59 ins (314.5 x 221.6 x 8.72 mm)
Battery: 57Whr

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is available now in the US, UK, and Australia, starting at $1,426, £1,499, and AU$2,089, respectively.

In the US, the base model starts out with an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor running Windows 10 Home, 8GB LPDDR4X RAM, 256GB PCIe SSD, 720p webcam without IR, and a 14-inch 1200p display (16:10) with up to 400 nits brightness. In the UK, the base model is slightly different in that it comes loaded with Windows 10 Pro, 16GB LPDDR4X RAM. 

The Australia base model is also slightly different from the US base model in that it comes with an Intel Core i5-1145G7 processor instead of the i5-1135G7, and it only comes with a 1-year warranty, rather than a 3-year warranty that covers the US and UK models.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is also very customizable through Lenovo’s site, so you have a lot of options to choose from. The configuration we tested runs about $2,008 / £1,869 / AU$2,868.

The maximum currently available configuration in the US, meanwhile, has an Intel Core i7-1185G7 with vPro running Windows 10 Pro, 32GB LPDDR4X RAM, a 1TB PCIe SSD, and a 14-inch, 16:10 4K non-touch display with up to 500 nits of brightness for $2,715. The UK and Australia models can max out at 2TB PCIe SSD with the same specs otherwise for £2,669 / AU$4,592.

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(Image credit: Future)

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is as pretty as it has ever been, thanks to its carbon fiber chassis and modest but stylish presentation. The all-black carbon fiber lid with its ThinkPad X1 logo in the corner (with a familiar red LED dot above the ‘i’) definitely has a different aesthetic than a MacBook Air, but that’s definitely a point in its column. If this laptop could wear a tie, it would, and it would look damn good in the process too.

(Image credit: Future)

Like with pretty much every Lenovo laptop keyboard, the X1 Carbon is a dream to type on, with excellent key travel, roomy key spacing, a responsible cursor button and mouse buttons over the trackpad, as well as a responsive trackpad for those of us who could never quite get the hang of the bright red button on most business laptops.

(Image credit: Future)

All those roomy keys doesn’t get in the way of putting a pair of top firing speakers on either side of the keyboard deck, giving remarkably good sound quality for a laptop this size. If Lenovo can do it, so can everyone else, and we really wish they would.

(Image credit: Future)

Speaking of other Ultrabooks whining that they can’t fit something onto a chassis so small, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is just 0. 59-inches thick (8.72 mm), yet somehow manages to squeeze in not just two USB Type-C ports like a lot of recent ultrabooks, but two USB Type-A ports and an HDMI 2.0 connector in addition to a Kensington lock and a 3.5mm combi jack. What’s everyone else’s excuse?

(Image credit: Future)



Here is how the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
GeekBench 5 Single core: 1,537; Multi core: 5,506
CineBench33: 5,389
PCMark10 Home: 5,168
3DMark Night Raid: 15,633; Firestrike: 4,644; Time Spy: 1,771; Blender Fishy Cat: 10 minutes 47 seconds; Classroom: 21 minutes
Battery Life (PCMark10 test): 15 hours 07 minutes
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 10 hours 04 minutes

An Ultrabook this thin and light shouldn’t have this kind of performance, not really. While it’s graphics performance is a bit underwhelming compared to more powerful – and bigger – laptops, among Ultrabooks its only real challenger is the Asus ZenBook 13 (2021), which is running a Ryzen 7 5800U processor. 

On certain benchmarks that rely heavily on multicore performance, like PCMark 10, GeekBench 5, and CineBenchR23, the AMD processor in the ZenBook 13 is unquestionably better. 

In CineBench, the ZenBook 13 scored an impressive 7,773 to the X1 Carbon’s 5,389; in GeekBench 5’s the ZenBook 13 put up a 6,824 to the X1 Carbon’s 5,506; and in PCMark 10, the ZenBook 13 scored 5,963 to the X1 Carbon’s 5,168. 

The ZenBook 13 also beat the X1 Carbon by a healthy margin in our creative benchmarks using Blender, with the ZenBook 13 rendering Fishy Cat and Classroom roughly 30% faster.

Meanwhile, the X1 Carbon is still well ahead of just about any other rival Ultrabook on these same tests, even those running the same i7-1165G7 processor like the Razer Book 13, and on every other benchmark, the X1 Carbon trounces the ZenBook 13 by an equally wide margin.

What this ultimately means is that while the ZenBook 13 is going to be a better multitasker overall and is definitely going to chew through multiple concurrent workloads, when it comes down to brass tacks and you need to put some serious computing power into your work for an extended stretch, the X1 Carbon is going to get you across the finish line quicker.

Battery life

When it comes to battery life, there’s no question that the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is about as good as a laptop battery life gets without running an ARM chip – and even then, it’s competitive against the newest MacBook Air running the ARM-based Apple M1 chip.

The fact that the X1 Carbon’s only real competition here is an entirely different processor architecture build around energy efficiency pretty much speaks for itself. Against its rival Intel or AMD processors, the X1 Carbon squeezes more life out of its 57Whr battery than we thought possible. 

It lasted 15 hours and seven minutes, on average, during our PCMark 10 battery test, with the ZenBook 15 falling more than an hour short at 13 hours 50 minutes even with a significantly larger 67WHr battery.  

Last year’s Dell XPS 13, meanwhile, managed just 11 hours 47 minutes, and the Razor Book 13 made it 11 hours 42 minutes, both with batteries roughly comparable (though still smaller) than the X1 Carbon’s.

All we can say is we have no idea where the X1 Carbon is getting that extra juice from, but you love to see it.

(Image credit: Future)

Webcam and microphone

We’re not yet at the point where 1080p cameras are standard for laptop webcams, so the 720p webcam on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is par for the course. It’s not something we can really fault the ThinkPad X1 Carbon for since it’s an industry wide problem and we’ve collectively decided that thinner bezels were better than a higher resolution webcam.

For what it is, it’s fine for teleconferencing thought proper lighting will be tricky. You can upgrade to an IR 720p camera that you can use with Windows Hello to log in effortlessly as well, and is probably worth the investment. 

It’s always, always, worth noting that the webcam has a physical privacy shutter that you can slide over the webcam. Even for a basic consumer laptop at this point, a physical cover for your webcam should be non-negotiable, but for a business laptop, it’s a deal breaker. Fortunately, Lenovo has been well ahead of its rivals in this regard and we’re happy to see that trend continue.

The microphone array for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, meanwhile, is clear enough to carry us through during meetings and interviews, but there’s not much to note here as laptop microphones are never going to be as good as a professional mic set up.

Software and features

Fortunately, there wasn’t much in the way of bloat on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9, which we honestly didn’t expect anyway owing to it being a much more premium business laptop.

There are a host of security features that pretty much come standard with the ThinkPad line, including Windows Hello and fingerprint log in, and for the sake of future-proofing, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon does come with TPM 2.0 so it’s ready for Windows 11 when that releases later this year.

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…

You want a high performance Ultrabook
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is about as powerful an ultrabook as you’re going to find to get you through your work day.

You want style and portability
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is gorgeous to look at as well as to touch, and it’s incredibly light weight makes it about as simple to take with you in a bag as any Ultrabook we’ve tested. 

You want a battery that will go the distance
At just over 15 hours in our general use testing, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s battery life is about the best you’re going to find outside of ARM-based laptops.

Don’t buy it if…

You’re on a budget
All of these goodies come at a price, so if you’re not looking to spend a lot of money, you should probably look elsewhere.

You are a creative professional
With integrated graphics, this laptop really can’t handle a creative’s workload beyond the most basic photo editing.  

You want a bit more flair in your laptop design
We love the look of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, but there’s no mistaking this for anything but a strictly business-with-a-capital-B laptop.

  • These are the best laptops of 2021

John (He/Him) is the US Computing Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Twitter at @thisdotjohn

Currently playing: The Last Stand: Aftermath, Cartel Tycoon

Best Ultrabooks 2022 | TOP-10

Review of the best ultrabooks from HowTablet.

still believe that ultrabooks remain the most expensive laptops on the market.
market, as in the distant 2010, but everything has changed. Some of the most
lightweight and stylish ultrabooks remain the most affordable when it comes to
about the price. Of course, there are also premium options for those who want and can afford
to allow, for example, Dell XPS 13. But one of the most
ultrabooks sold, the Acer Swift 3 OLED, for example, remains one of the
the most accessible. nine0008

Most of the best budget laptops fall into the Ultrabook category, as they use high-quality materials like machined aluminum and magnesium alloy, the latter being lighter than the former but still strong enough. They also tend to use some of the best processors on the market, including Intel Alder Lake mobile processors with a great balance of power and economy.

This also means that Ultrabooks are among the best laptops for study as they effortlessly handle productivity tasks while being thin and light so you can carry them around all day. For the same reasons, some of them are included in the best laptops for work. nine0008

However, choosing the best ultrabook can be a daunting task given
the number of options available. Therefore, we have compiled a ranking of the best of those that
have been tested by our editors to help you make a choice based on
budget and needs. Due to the fact that Black Friday generates a lot of
discounts, a well-chosen ultrabook is more important than ever before.

Editor’s Note (November, 2022): Several new Ultrabooks have been added to our rankings this year, including the 2022 model of the ever-reliable HP Specter x360 and the new redesigned Dell XPS 13. nine0008

Black Friday discounts continue to grow, we recommend looking for great deals,
if you are looking for a new and thin lightweight windows laptop. However, the latest model
Dell XPS 15 remains the best in class — this ultrabook
closest to perfection.

Best Ultrabooks of 2022

1. Dell
XPS 15 (2022)

The best Ultrabook, without a doubt.

Processor : Intel Core i7-12700H | nine0005 Graphics : Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti | RAM : 16 GB DDR5 | Screen : 15.6-inch (3456 x 2160) 3.5K, 60Hz | Drive : 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD.


  • Superior performance;
  • Quality design;
  • Long run time;

Cons :

  • Not the best choice for gaming;
  • High performance models are expensive; nine0052

Dell XPS 15 (2022) is an ultrabook that can seduce
even ardent Mac fans. With the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, it can easily handle all your creative and productive work
loads, even if its performance is not enough for AAA games. Except
moreover, it is indeed an aesthetically pleasing laptop that sets
standard for Windows laptops, thanks to a convenient support for
wrists made of carbon fiber and a strong body.

And yet
price gets out of control very quickly when you start looking at configurations
with decent performance, the version from our review has a decent
value for money for premium ultrabooks. The latest XPS 15 features
with a stunning 3.5K resolution panel and a significant array of ports, making
its one of the best laptops we’ve tested this year. nine0008

Read the full Dell XPS 15 (2022) review.

2. HP Elite Dragonfly G2

Lightning strikes twice for HP.

Processor : Intel Core i3 — Core i7 (11th generation) | Graphics : Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM : 8 GB — 32 GB | Screen : 13.3″ BrightView LED FHD (400 nits) — 13.3″ BrightView UHD HDR-400 (550 nits) | Drive : Up to 2TB SSD. nine0008

Pros :

  • Great design;
  • Comfortable keyboard;
  • Good screen;


  • Expensive laptop;
  • USB-C ports on one side only;

HP Elite Dragonfly second generation held status
one of the best ultrabooks. Impressive HP Business Notebook
returns from
redesigned design, long battery life and
functional 2 in 1 solutions. Of course, now it is more powerful than ever before,
with 11th Gen Intel Core processors, Intel Iris Xe graphics, and now a 4K panel upgraded from
previous Full HD models. nine0008

you will find something to love him for, Dragonfly came incredibly close to becoming perfect
laptop for work and business from all that HP has released — and it can be yours if
you can afford its price, which is quite high. However, since
it is designed for professionals, it is definitely worth the investment. Unfortunately,
the later G3 proved to be a little disappointing, but that doesn’t detract
status of Elite Dragonfly G2 as first-class

Read the full review of the HP Elite Dragonfly G2.

3. HP Specter x360 (2022)

HP is not lightning, it strikes twice in the same place.

Processor : Intel Core i5 — Core i7 (12th generation) | Graphics : Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM : 8 GB — 16 GB LPDDR4X | Screen : 13. 5″ 3K2K (3000 x 2000) UWVA OLED | Drive : 256 GB — 2 TB SSD.

Pros :

  • Great design;
  • Long battery life;
  • Bright OLED display;

Cons :

  • OLED display raises the price;
  • Touchpad sensitivity questionable;

The HP Specter x360 has been one of the
of our favorite laptops, and the 2022 model is no different. HP
Specter x360 (2022) with 12th generation Intel Alder Lake processors delivers a significant performance boost
with updated Intel Iris integrated graphics
Xe that is better than ever before. We would even say that
this is the best 2 in 1 laptop on the market right now. nine0008

still features impeccable design and stylish case with diamond
finishes these laptops are known for, making the x360 one of the most attractive
ultrabooks ever made, not to mention superb quality
assemblies. And while it’s definitely an expensive car, you get great
additional features, including powerful security options with amazing
decent Bang & Olufsen speakers. If you care about aesthetics
as well as performance and overall quality, this ultrabook is the best choice
For you. nine0008

Read the full HP Specter x360 (2022) review.

4. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9

Best Ultralight Ultrabook.

Processor : Intel Core i5 — Core i7 (11th generation) | Graphics : Intel Iris Xe | RAM : 8 GB — 32 GB | Screen : 14″ (1920 x 1200, 16:10) — (3840 x 2400) Touch | Drive : 256 GB — 1 TB SSD.

Pros :

  • High performance;
  • Long battery life;

Cons :

  • Integrated graphics are a bit weak for creative workloads;

Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 9 is not only one of Lenovo’s best laptops, it’s also one of the most powerful ultrabooks around. Continuing the concept of predecessor laptops such as the X1 Carbon, it combines performance and features, all in a lightweight and beautiful body. It’s hard to ask for anything better in the battery department, so those looking for a professional machine to work on the go will appreciate the Ultrabook’s additional features. nine0008

And while it’s not great at graphics-intensive creative tasks, most workloads run smoothly with an 11th Gen Intel Core processor with integrated Iris Xe graphics, coupled with 8GB of RAM (up to 32GB). Plus, the ultrabook is Evo-certified, so you can rest assured that it’s a quality laptop, not to mention the security features.

Read full Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 9 review.

5. Asus ZenBook 13

The best AMD based Ultrabook.

Processor : AMD Ryzen 7 5800U | Graphics : AMD Radeon | RAM : 16 GB | Screen : 13.3″ OLED FHD (1080p), 400 nits | Drive : 1TB PCIe SSD.

Pros :

  • Gorgeous OLED display;
  • High performance CPU;

Cons :

  • Radeon graphics leave much to be desired;

ASUS is pushing rival Ultrabooks up to speed with the new ASUS ZenBook 13. If its stunning OLED display doesn’t win you over with vibrant colors, you’ll probably be succumbed to long battery life beyond the capabilities of most competitors. Its performance covers most of the user needs, but the graphics performance sags a little, even in comparison with the Intel Iris Xe. nine0008

Other downsides are the lack of a 3.5mm headphone port and Thunderbolt 4 support. However, if those issues don’t stop you, you can get the multitasking specialist in the ZenBook 13, which can last for hours on a single charge.

Read the full ASUS ZenBook 13 review.

6. LG Gram 17 (2021)

Power and performance epitomized.

Processor : Intel Core i7 (11th generation) | nine0005 Graphics : Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM : 16 GB LPDDR4X | Screen : 17″ WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS LCD | Physical Memory : Up to 2TB NVMe SSD.

  • Pros of : Opening hours | Excellent screen | Very light;
  • Cons : Expensive | The screen is susceptible to glare;

Work and business laptops are back in 17-inch format, led by the award-winning LG Gram 17, an amazingly thin and light laptop. It returns in 2022 to be better than ever before, refreshing the configuration with new components, including 11th Gen Intel processors with Iris Xe integrated graphics, and dual USB-C based Thunderbolt 4 ports. nine0008

Long battery life is back with a stunning picture display, but the price is right. And make no mistake, the Gram 17 is worth it if you want the best performance with the portability of an ultrabook, but a larger screen size.

Read the full LG Gram 17 (2021) review.

7. Surface Laptop 4

The best Surface Ultrabook.

Processor : AMD Ryzen 5 4680U — Intel Core i7 (11th Gen) | nine0005 Graphics : Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM : 8 GB — 32 GB | Screen : 13.5″ PixelSense Touch (2256 x 1504) | Drive : 256 GB — 1 TB.

Pros :

  • Comfortable keyboard;
  • Beautiful screen;

Cons :

  • Microfiber easily attracts dirt;

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is the pinnacle of Microsoft computing. This is a beautiful ultrabook that looks great and gives a lot of fun to its users with a very comfortable keyboard and an amazing PixelSense screen. Like most of the best ultrabooks, it is limited in the number of ports. nine0008

Alcantara keyboard adds comfort and style to typing, but the same material attracts dirt. Still, this is an amazing laptop for long-term use, especially with a long battery life (although this time is lower than advertised, but still 13 hours on a full charge).

Read the full Surface Laptop 4 review.

8. Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro

Samsung’s second generation MacBook rival. nine0006

Processor : Intel Core i5 — Core i7 (12th generation) | Graphics : Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM : 8 GB — 16 GB LPDDR5 | Screen : 15.6″ AMOLED Full HD (1920 x 1080) | Drive : 256 GB — 512 GB.


  • Amazing battery life;
  • Excellent AMOLED display;
  • Ultra light and elegant design;


  • Higher spec models are expensive;
  • The Samsung ecosystem may annoy some users;

Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro
improves the original
design of Galaxy Book Pro in almost every aspect,
offering the market a worthy competitor to the MacBook Air. One
one of the most outstanding aspects of laptops is the amazing battery life
performance combined with a remarkable AMOLED display that provides
incredible brightness. nine0008

to this excellent day-to-day performance thanks to the Intel 12th processor
generations, all in the very lightweight design of a full-featured ultrabook designed
for traveling. Samsung fans will be happy to know that the Galaxy Book2 Pro
very good
integrates with smartphones, tablets and other Samsung devices within the «ecosystem

9. Lenovo ThinkBook 14S Yoga

Amazing 2-in-1 hybrid.

Processor : Intel Core i5 — Core i7 (11th generation) | Graphics : Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM : up to 24 GB DDR4 3200 MHz | Display : 14″ IPS FHD (1920 x 1080) glossy 300 nit touch | Drive : Up to 1TB PCIe SSD.


  • Excellent performance;
  • Integrated stylus;

Cons :

  • Average battery life; nine0052

Lenovo’s latest release is the ThinkBook 14S Yoga Ultrabook, which is built to be a rugged convertible with a range of great features and amazing performance, not to mention a 2-in-1 hybrid form factor, and a stylus that’s not something common to most laptops.

You’ll find a lot to love about the Lenovo ThinkBook 14S Yoga, starting with its excellent value for money, although it’s admittedly not perfect. Battery life, for example, doesn’t match the competition. However, this does not prevent him from being one of the best hybrid ultrabooks. nine0008

Read the full Lenovo ThinkBook 14S Yoga review.

10. Acer Swift 3 OLED (2022)

Incredible 14″ ultrabook.

Processor : Intel Core i7-12700H | Graphics : Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM: 16 GB LPDDR5 | Screen : 14-inch 2.8K OLED SlimBezel Adobe 100% | Drive : 1 TB.


  • Excellent price tag;
  • Gorgeous HDR OLED display;
  • Excellent keyboard and touchpad;
  • Incredibly powerful processor;

Cons :

  • Average battery life;
  • Medium quality webcam;
  • Limited availability;

Acer 3 Swift OLED is the continuation of one of the best laptops
on the market and this update will not disappoint fans in the slightest. And
as long as it’s a touchpad like Acer Swift 3 or Acer
Swift 5, the main feature is the magnificent OLED display, which also
supports HDR. nine0008

the sleek and thin body belies the incredible performance of the processor,
one of the best ultrabooks have offered in recent years. And performance
GPU is not inferior, ensuring that you will be able to work and
play with ease. In addition, the incredibly affordable price tag makes the ultrabook
awesome offer.

Read the full Acer Swift 3 OLED (2022) review.

is an ultrabook?

differ from classic laptops in that they are usually machines
premium class, made from the finest materials, powered by powerful
processors with the best integrated graphics. These high performance
laptops traditionally run on Intel processors, as they were originally developed
as an alternative to the Apple MacBook based on Windows. The term «Ultrabook» is an abbreviation
from «ultra mobile laptop» and was coined by Intel. nine0008

When looking for the best ultrabook, you want something thin (less than 2.4 cm thick), ideally with an Intel processor and an SSD (Solid State Drive). Ultrabooks need to be light but powerful, so you need to have increased portability and the ability to run any software you can think of, including video editing, programming, or the Microsoft Office suite.

an SSD in an ultrabook is very important, because based on Intel Smart Response, the files and applications used run on
a fast solid state drive that makes your laptop run faster,
than a normal laptop. If you need to multitask regularly,
you might consider switching to an ultrabook with a 4-core processor — the more
processor cores, the more capable it is in multitasking
simultaneously. nine0008

fit for games?

This question is simple, and the answer is no. Possibly, depending on the specifications.
your ultrabook and the types of games you want to play. overwhelming
most ultrabooks run on integrated graphics, which means that
graphics tasks run directly on the CPU, while system RAM
memory is used as video memory.

ultrabooks are equipped with dedicated graphics with separate video memory, such as Dell
XPS 15 (2022), which is at the top of the rankings. These ultrabooks
can handle games, but don’t expect them to play the newest
games at maximum graphics settings without dropping framerates. nine0008

Ultrabooks that do not have dedicated graphics (most of the Ultrabooks in our ranking are equipped with integrated Intel Xe graphics) will generally have difficulty playing games, unless they are indie games or older games that are not particularly demanding on graphics. If you really want to play the latest games, consider one of the best gaming laptops instead.


Best ultrabooks, top 9 ranking of good ultrabooks in 2022-2023