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The best Ultrabooks in Australia for 2021: top thin and light laptops reviewed

UPDATE: Apple snatches top place in our Ultrabook roundup thanks to the incredibly impressive M1 chipset. As we settle in for the 'wo...

UPDATE: Apple snatches top place in our Ultrabook roundup thanks to the incredibly impressive M1 chipset.

As we settle in for the 'work at home' long-haul, it's never been more important to have access to a powerful Ultrabook that can handle any task you throw at it. 

We can largely thank Apple and its MacBook Air for the Ultrabook trend we're seeing. Where large, clunky laptops aren't sleek enough, and thin, portable tablets aren't powerful enough, the Ultrabook shines.

A unibody chassis packed with some of the best SSDs, processors and battery life available to devices this size, the Ultrabook is a thin and portable marvel that'll let you get on with your business, browsing or buffering without the lengthy wait times.

With TechRadar's extensive reviewing and lab testing, we've got a strong idea of what's going to cut it in today's Ultrabook landscape, and on this page we've ranked the best of the best so that you can find yourself a bargain on the cream of the crop.

Whether you're chasing the well-known brands like Apple, Dell, HP, Microsoft and Lenovo, or some surprise entrants like Huawei and Razer, we've got you covered.

Best Ultrabooks in Australia at a glance

  1. Apple MacBook Pro (M1, 2020)
  2. Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)
  3. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
  4. Dell XPS 15 (2020)
  5. HP Spectre x360 (2020)
  6. MacBook Air (2020)
  7. Microsoft Surface Book 3
  8. MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)
  9. Razer Blade Stealth 13
  10. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
  11. Hp Elite Dragonfly
  12. Lenovo Yoga C930
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Amazon Boxing Day sales

(Image credit: Apple)
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MacBook Pro deals sales

(Image credit: Apple)

1. Apple MacBook Pro 13 (M1, 2020)

The best ultrabook of 2021

CPU: Apple M1 | Graphics: Integrated 8-core GPU | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD | Dimensions: 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56cm; W x D x H

Silent to use
Amazing battery life
No new design
Fanless design could impact performance

While the most recent MacBook Air is arguably the laptop in Apple's latest lineup to benefit most from the brand new M1 chip, the MacBook Pro's upgrade makes it the most compelling ultrabook the tech giant has ever offered. Well and truly a household name at this stage, the MacBook Pro hasn't seen the top of our list in a long time due to a relatively low value prospect, but ditching Intel and designing its own chip has changed that dramatically. With the best performance-to-battery life ratio we've seen on an Apple laptop to date, the Pro is classy, stylish, powerful, and comfortably portable. Where the Dell XPS 13 previously reigned, the MacBook performs better for its price, has a gorgeous display, and can now run iOS apps natively.

If you've been a Windows fan to date, this could be the machine that makes you jump ship, but the Dell XPS 13 below is still a great option if you're defiant.

Read the full review: Apple MacBook Pro (M1, 2020) review

Dell XPS 13 9310

(Image credit: Dell)

2. Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

Return of the king

CPU: 11th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Xe | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Screen: 13.4-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 4K (3840 x 2160) | Storage: 512GB – 1TB SSD

Gorgeous design
Big CPU and GPU boost
Excellent battery life
Expensive

This is the second XPS 13 that Dell has released this year (also known as the 9310, being more recent than the 9300 launched earlier in 2020), and thankfully it does a lot more to offer excellent value for Aussies than its predecessor. This 'New XPS 13' packs in the 11th-gen Intel Core processors as well as as the superbly impressive Iris Xe integrated GPU – an upgrade that almost doubles its graphical prowess. This means that, not only is the XPS 13 9310 a great option for business and everyday use with its gorgeous, sleek design and powerful innards, but it's now viable for casual gamers. It's also sporting the upgraded 'Infinity Edge' display which dramatically reduces bezels and the overall size of the unit. There's no doubt this is the best Windows laptop on the market, and if Apple hadn't pulled a rabbit out of its hat with the M1 chip in its MacBook Pro above, then it'd still be sitting pretty at position #1.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020) review

Asus Zephyrus G14

The Asus Zephyrus G14 is an absolute beast of a laptop. (Image credit: Asus)

3. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

The ultimate blend of work and play

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS – 9 4900HS | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 | RAM: Up to 32GB | Screen: 14-inch Non-glare Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS-level panel, 120Hz – 14-inch Non-glare WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS-level panel, 60Hz | Storage: 512GB / 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0

Best battery life in a gaming laptop
Excellent performance
Thin and light
No webcam
Fans can get loud

We know, this is technically a gaming laptop, but for those that want to balance work and play, there's little else out there that's better value than the Zephyrus G14 right now. It's worth noting that it's missing a webcam and a Thunderbolt 3 port, so if that's a concern this isn't for you, but its solid battery life, compact form, and powerful specs do a fine job at balancing everything that you'll need from a laptop. This is an absolute beast for performance, with its AMD Ryzen 4000 processors and Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card, best-in-class battery life that will last you all day long, a fast display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a lightweight, ultrathin design. The best part is that you’re getting all that without burning a hole in your pocket. Don’t get us wrong; it isn’t cheap. However, for a laptop this impressive, we’re surprised Asus isn’t asking for more.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 

Dell XPS 15

(Image credit: Dell)

4. Dell XPS 15 (2020)

Expensive, but certainly worth it

CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti | RAM: 8GB – 64GB | Screen: 15.6" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 15.6" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display | Storage: 256GB – 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe

Amazing speakers
Beautiful display
Comfy keyboard
GTX 1650 Ti is a little weak
Expensive in Australia

Dell's XPS series is the closest the Windows world has come to that MacBook elegance, and this year's XPS 15 might just tempt a few more conversions. While it’s quite comfortably one of the best Ultrabooks this year, its price in Australia isn't quite as appealing as in other regions. With that said, you'll be getting plenty of punch if you do invest thanks to its meaty internals, not to mention its gorgeous bright display with 500 nits of brightness, extremely comfortable keyboard, impressive speakers, and terrific trackpad. We’re not saying that this laptop is perfect (the price in particular is a sore point), but our coveted 5 out of 5 rating should speak for itself.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15

HP Spectre x360 (2020)

(Image credit: HP)

5. HP Spectre x360 (2020)

HP’s flagship 2-in-1 gets a 2020 refresh

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS BrightView micro-edge WLED-backlit multitouch – 13.3" diagonal 4K (3840 x 2160) UWVA BrightView micro-edge AMOLED multitouch | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Stylish and high-quality finish
Great all-around performance
Built-in security features are useful
Battery life takes a hit
Can run hot at times

HP’s beloved and highly praised 2-in-1 is back with a vengeance, this time with more powerful components like the 10th-generation Intel Core processors and Intel Iris Plus graphics. Of course, that impeccable 2-in-1 design and pristine gem-cut chassis are back, as are its security features and Bang & Olufsen speakers. That killer combination makes it, now more than ever, one of the best Ultrabooks out there. Is it a wonder that this is one of our favorite laptops of 2020? If you care about aesthetics as much as you do performance and overall quality, this is the laptop for you.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 (2020) 

MacBook Air (2020)

(Image credit: Future)

6. MacBook Air (2020)

New and improved for 2020

CPU: 1.1GHz Intel Core i3-1000NG4 (dual-core, 4 threads, 4MB cache, up to 3.2GHz) | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 8GB (3,733MHz LPDDR4X) | Screen: 13.3-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 Retina True Tone display (backlit LED, IPS) | Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD | Dimensions (H x W x D): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.61cm

Lower price of entry
New 10th generation processors
Improved keyboard
Screen colours a little muted
Battery life only OK
Webcam still just 720p

Addressing a number of complaints we’ve had about previous releases of Apple’s affordable thin and light laptop – particularly its keyboard on last year's model – The MacBook Air (2020) feels like a considerable step up almost every area of note. Gone are the old butterfly switches, which were too shallow for many people, and prone to failing if debris, such as dust and crumbs, fell between the keys, and in its place is the new Magic keyboard, which first appeared with the MacBook Pro 16-inch. Thanks to the long-overdue inclusion of new components, Apple's 2020 MacBook Air has received a decent uptick in performance, too, making it an easy Ultrabook to recommend.

Read the full review: MacBook Air (2020)

Microsoft Surface Book 3

(Image credit: Microsoft)

7. Microsoft Surface Book 3

An extremely premium piece of kit

CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G7 – i7-1065G7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with Max-Q Design | RAM: 8GB – 32GB 3733Mhz LPDDR4x | Screen: 13.5-inch 3000 x 2000 (267 PPI) – 15-inch 3240 x 2160 (260 PPI) PixelSense Display | Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB PCIe SSD

Beautiful design
Comfortable keyboard
Gorgeous screen
Weak U-series processor
Tiny trackpad
Lackluster speakers

In many ways, the Surface Book 3 is an example of just how far the best laptops have come in just a few short years. It has an extremely premium piece of kit – with one of the best displays we’ve used in a laptop, a keyboard that will put the MacBook Pro’s new Magic Keyboards to shame, and a hybrid design with a removable screen. At less than an inch thick, and only 12.3 x 9.14 inches for its 13-inch model and 13.5 x 9.87 inches for its 15-inch version, this is also among the best Ultrabooks 2020 has to offer. It doesn't necessarily have the strongest processor when compared to many rivals on this list, so you'll need to weigh up this delightful form factor against your more intensive computing needs.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 3

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)

(Image credit: Future)

8. MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)

No longer a compromise?

CPU: 1.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 – 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 – 655 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) 2560 x 1600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology | Storage: 128GB – 2TB SSD | Dimensions (H x W x D): 0.59 x 11.97 x 8.36 inches

Good build quality
Thin and light design
Decent performance
Excellent battery life
Expensive
No option without Touch Bar
Same Butterfly keyboard switches

The 13-inch MacBook Pro 2019 has perhaps received the biggest update out of the three MacBook revisions that Apple rolled out in 2019. Next to the MacBook Pro 15-inch and the MacBook Air 2019 models, the MacBook Pro 13-inch has certainly come out the winner. In terms of upgrades from previous models, the inclusion of updated components and Apple's Touch Bar are arguably the most notable, this all makes the new MacBook Pro 13-inch (2019) feels less like a compromise for those who don't want to shell out for a larger and more expensive model. If you’re looking for a compact MacBook Pro that still offers plenty of oomph, the MacBook Pro 13-inch (2019) is the one for you.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)

9. Razer Blade Stealth 13

Don’t be fooled: this is more than a gamer’s laptop

CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch | Storage: 256GB

Larger, brighter display
Subtler aesthetics
Solid build
A touch expensive
Lacks discrete GPU

Razer has to deal with the common misconception that it’s solely a gaming laptop and peripheral company, a reputation it subverted when it introduced the Blade Stealth back in 2016. And, if you’re unconvinced, the latest edition of the Razer Blade Stealth may change your mind. 

Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth

(Image credit: Future)

10. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Longer-lasting than most

CPU: Quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Screen: 15” 2496 x 1664 PixelSense Touch Display | Storage: 128GB – 1TB

Excellent battery life
Exciting AMD flagship debut
Far too few ports
Lacking in power

With an impressive, reasonable price tag and some of the best battery life we’ve experienced in a 15-inch laptop, the Surface Laptop 3 certainly has a lot going for it. That also includes the fact that it’s got a great look and feel, as well as a weight that surprisingly light for a product its size. Performance-wise, it certainly knocks it out of the park. While it isn’t the most powerful 15-inch laptop out there, it has Intel’s 10th-generation chips and the Iris Plus graphics. That’s more than enough to make it one of the best Ultrabooks out there for 2020.

Read the full review: Surface Laptop 3 

HP Elite Dragonfly

(Image credit: HP)

11. HP Elite Dragonfly

One of the best Ultrabooks for the travelling professional

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB - 16GB | Screen: 13.3" diagonal Full HD touch display – Full HD touch Sure View display | Storage: 256 GB SSD

Impeccable design
Excellent battery life
Pretty expensive

If you’re a traveling professional, and you’re looking for a plenty-capable machine, then the Elite Dragonfly from HP is certainly a solid choice. In other regions, the pricing make this a no-brainer and a fairly safe list-topper, but in Australia the price puts it a bit of a disadvantage. Regardless, it delivers a deadly combination of incredible features like a sublime keyboard and amazing speakers, raw power, portability, a beautiful design and a long battery life. Admittedly, it’s pricier than many competing laptops, but if you’ve got the funds, it’s worth every penny.

Read the full review: HP Elite Dragonfly

Lenovo Yoga C930

12. Lenovo Yoga C930

A 2-in-1 laptop experience with little to no compromise

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: up to 16 GB DDR4 | Screen: 13.9-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: up to 2 TB PCIe SSD

Strong build quality
Robust feature set
Excellent battery life
Weak graphics performance
Pricey upgrade options

The Lenovo Yoga C930 has many of the makings of the best ultrabook – from a whopping 14.5 hours of battery life and dual Thunderbolt-enabled USB-C ports to internal components that will breeze through those daily productivity tasks. That’s without even mentioning a 2-in-1 that offers form versatility so you can squeeze in some light gaming and movie-watching post-productivity. It has a few cherries on top as well, namely the integrated self-charging stylus and the fab speaker system.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga C930



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