Best Ultrabooks Under $1000 – 2018 Hybrid & Detachable Picks

Why bother picking a laptop over a desktop if you’re going to get a heavy, bulky machine?

The whole point of a laptop is portability, and that’s what you get when you decide to buy an ultrabook.

Not all ultrabooks offer the same features however, and they can have a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and weights.Wondering which one is the best for your needs?

We’ve found the top 5 best ultrabooks available in 2018 in nearly every possible style — and they are all under $1,000 to boot!

Picking The Best Ultrabook Under $1,000

In many ways, choosing an ultrabook is essentially the same as looking at any other type of portable computer.

You’ll want the same basic specs in terms of CPU speed, amount of RAM, and overall SSD size as when shopping for any other device.

There are few key differences to keep in mind though.

Ultrabooks tend to have different options in screen sizes, as well as in the number of ports available, than with your typical laptop model.

There’s no one industry-standard weight or size that determines whether a device is called an “ultrabook” either.

All of our contenders listed below are under 4 pounds, with some as light as a mere 2 ½ pounds in overall weight!

You can utilize our buying guide below to make sure you pick the right model, or instead just dive straight into our list of the top 5 contenders for best overall ultrabook!

NBN’s  cheat sheet

Top pick

Asus VivoBook S

In 2018, if you want an extremely well-rounded ultrabook that offers a wide range of features at a great price, your best bet is the Asus VivoBook S. Despite the tiny size, you still get a dedicated graphics card an an amazing CPU with that model.

If you don’t care about a graphics card and just want the lightest unit around, take a look at the Acer Switch instead. With its detachable keyboard, that model is just as useful as the Microsoft Surface but at a much lower price point.

The Contenders For Best Ultrabook Under $1,000

Asus VivoBook S

  • Very high end processor
  • Dedicated graphics card
  • Small storage capacity
  • No touch screen

Should this be your choice?

Need a super light and thin laptop, but aren’t willing to give up extras like a graphics card or backlit keyboard? When you need to have it all, the VivoBook S should be your top pick for the best portable notebook under $1,000!

When you aren’t willing to compromise on any of the hardware specs, the Asus VivoBook S is the way to go.

Ultrabooks are typically going to use integrated graphics to save space. That’s not the case here, as you get a dedicated card for gaming or using video editing software.

This particular model also strikes an amazing balance between slim design and screen size.

At 14 inches, you get way more display area than with most ultrabooks, but the VivoBook S is still far lighter than most laptops.

With the Nano Edge bezel, you get more viewing space than with most units. Whether you are staring at spreadsheets, watching Netflix, or playing games, you’ll appreciate the wider screen.

For a slim and light model, there are a surprising number of extra features pack in as well. If you crave benefits like a fingerprint reader and backlit keyboard, you’ll be very satisfied picking this option.

The biggest draw is easily the processor, however. This 8th gen, i7 Intel CPU will easily handle any task you care to throw at it without ever skipping a beat.

Hardware specifications for Asus VivoBook S
ProcessorIntel Core i7-8550U (Quad Core, Up to 4.0GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce MX150 (2GB)
Display14″ Full HD Nano Edge Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life7 hours
Weight3.2 lbs

2018 Lenovo Yoga 720

  • Flex hinge design
  • Extremely thin and lightweight
  • Fewer ports than other models
  • Compact keyboard

Should this be your choice?

Want your ultrabook to have a touch screen a hybrid 2-in-1 design? If you also need a killer processor and great screen quality, the Yoga 720 should be your top choice for an ultra portable notebook.

For the pro-touch screen crowd, the Yoga 720 is where you should put your most attention.

Lenovo has redefined what “thin” and “lightweight” mean here, with a touch screen laptop that’s just over half an inch thick.

They aren’t kidding when they call it the Yoga either! It can in fact fold all the way around to sit up in tent mode.

If you prefer marking your laptop like a tablet with your finger or a stylus, you won’t find a thinner, lighter option for a 2-in-1 machine.

You still get some very high end specs despite the extremely compact design, however. With this combo of CPU, RAM, and solid state drive, you are going to be very satisfied with the overall speed.

Of course, to arrive at such a small form factor, Lenovo did have to strip out a few features.

You still get the backlit keyboard, but unfortunately there’s no HDMI port. The keyboard is also quite compact, designed more like a Chromebook than a full laptop keyboard.

Once you get used to the smaller key design though, there really aren’t many downsides to the Yoga 720.

Hardware specifications for 2018 Lenovo Yoga 720
ProcessorIntel Core i5-8250U (6MB Cache, Quad Core, Up to 3.40GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 620
Display13.3-Inch FHD Touch Screen Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life8 hours
Weight2.87 lbs

Huawei Kepler MateBook D

  • High quality touch screen display
  • No bloatware
  • Limited port options
  • No fingerprint reader

Should this be your choice?

Love the design and features of a MacBook but want to stick with Windows? Huawei’s ultra slim MateBook D should easily be your top pick for an ultrabook machine!

The entire Huawei computer lineup currently revolves around ultra thin and light options. Unfortunately, most models from this manufacturer will run you well over $1,000.

The exception to that rule is the Kepler MateBook D, a 14” ultrabook with an extremely high end display and a very reasonable price tag.

Buyers consistently mention how the MateBook D features a  similar design to the Apple MacBook Air, but in a Windows version.

While still quite lightweight, the MateBook D is housed inside a sturdy metallica body. You also get a wide, comfortable touchpad that is frequently missing from other ultrabook models.

If you’ve considered Huawei units on the past but been turned off by some of the design peculiarities, you can rest easy here.

This model resolves on the of the main complaints from other MateBooks — the webcam is finally positioned at the top rather than the bottom.

Want to know the best part?

You get the Signature Edition of Windows 10, which means absolutely no bloatware bogging down your solid state drive.

Hardware specifications for Huawei Kepler MateBook D
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 5 2500U
RAM8GB DDR3 RAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsRadeon Vega 8
Display14-Inch IPS Touch Screen Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Signature Edition
Battery Life8 hours
Weight3.46 lbs

Acer Switch Alpha 12

  • High resolution screen
  • Stylus included
  • No dedicated graphics card
  • Extremely compact keyboard

Should this be your choice?

Looking for a design similar to the Surface Pro but want to spend well under $1,000? This should be your top pick for a high performance ultrabook!

For the ultimate in portability and low weight options, you may want to consider a laptop with a detachable keyboard.

Like a 2-in-1 machine, these are essential hybrid tablet / laptops, but they weigh even less since the keyboard comes off entirely.

At 12 inches in diameter, you get enough viewing space to be comfortable while still dropping several pounds off what you’d expect from a laptop.

The screen is easily one of the highlights of the Acer Switch, as it features an even higher resolution screen than our other contenders.

With the included stylus and removable keyboard, the Switch can compete with (or even beat) the Surface Pro in terms of design and specs. It does all that a fraction of the cost, though.

Hardware specifications for Acer Switch Alpha 12
ProcessorIntel Core i7-6500U (2.5 – 3.1GHz)
RAM8GB DDR3 RAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 520
Display12-Inch QHD IPS Touch Screen Display, 2160 x 1440 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Battery Life8 hours
Weight2.76 lbs

Apple 13.3″ MacBook Air

  • Amazing battery life
  • Excellent screen quality
  • Low storage capacity
  • No touch screen

Should this be your choice?

Want a thin and light laptop with the high quality Apple design? Your only model to consider should be the 13 inch MacBook Air!

While there are plenty of Windows machines in the ultrabook category, we haven’t forgotten about the Mac crowd!

For the thinnest, lightest MacBook experience, there’s no question you want the 13 inch MacBook Air.

When it comes to quality and performance, it just doesn’t get much better than Apple’s signature portable notebook.

There are a few potential downsides to note by going this route, however. Most notably, the solid state drive is quite small, so you’ll need to store most of your data in the cloud.

If you don’t mind up the price above a grand, you can get this same model in a 256GB SSD version, however.

Sadly, if you want Apple’s iconic touch bar attachment, you’ll also have to be willing to bump up will above the $1,000 price point.

Those two issues aside, this is a killer portable notebook for the price tag.

Apple has been cracking down on third party sellers of MacBook products at sites like Amazon lately however, so pick this one up at the sub-$1,000 price while you still can!

Hardware specifications for Apple 13.3″ MacBook Air
ProcessorIntel Core i5 (3MB Cache, Up to 2.9GHz)
RAM8GB DDR3 RAM
Storage128GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 6000
Display13.3-Inch Display, 1440 x 900 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemMac OS
Battery Life12 hours
Weight2.98 lbs

What Features Do You Lose By Picking An Ultrabook?

The extremely lightweight and thin designs of ultrabooks are very handy for carrying a device around all day, but there are trade offs to keep in mind.

First and foremost, don’t even expect to find anything with an optical drive. There’s just no room for a DVD-RW in an ultrabook.

When you trim out extra space, you further lose room for other components that some laptop users take for granted.

For instance, a standard 15 inch laptop typically has room for both a solid state drive (for quick booting) and a standard hard drive (for storing date).

With an ultrabook, you typically only get the SSD. That means your get great performance, but won’t have much physical storage capacity.

If you intend to pick an ultrabook, be ready to store most of your data on an external drive, or look for an online storage site.

The small screen sizes and extremely sleek designs also necessitate a change to the keyboard layout.

In most cases, an ultrabook won’t feature the 10 key segment on the side of the keyboard. They also typically condense down a few keys, so it does take time to get used to the compact style.

Finally, since there’s less room to fit in components, you often get fewer ports with an ultrabook. Some will still include the HDMI, while others ditch it entirely.

In some cases, you may not even get the normal complement of USB-3 ports and instead just get a single USB-C.

Are There Any Ultrabooks Meant For Gaming?

In general, ultrabooks and gaming machines aren’t compatible designs.

The main problem resides in the graphics card, which adds weight and bulk on its own. A gaming laptop also needs extra room for fans to cool that card so it doesn’t overheat.

The Asus VivoBook S listed above actually would actually be an acceptable pick for most gamers, however.

While it’s dedicated graphics card isn’t cutting edge by any means, it will run most games at medium settings.

If you want more graphical power however, there are a few options worth considering in the ultrabook realm. To stay thin and light, these machines utilize the Max-Q design and end up under 5 pounds.

Unfortunately, they will nearly all will cost you significantly more than $1,000.

If you want a gaming machine and a lightweight machine at the same time, you can’t expect to find anything available on a small budget.

There is one notable compromise between those two extremes worth noting, however.

Although it is slightly heavier than our contenders listed above, the MSI GL62M 7RD-1407 is significantly lighter than most high end gaming laptops.

At a mere $700, it’s an absolute steal of a thin and light gaming machine

Besides Thin Design, What Are The Other Benefits Of An Ultrabook?

Cutting the weight nearly in half from a standard laptop is a huge bonus to an ultrabook, but there are in fact other reasons to consider this type of machine.

When you cut down the screen size to 11 – 14 inches, a laptop doesn’t have to use nearly as much power to keep the display lit.

Why does that matter?

Because you get significantly increased battery life over a normal portable notebook.  Since they tend to have fewer parts than larger laptops, even more battery life is saved.

In general, you can expect an ultrabook to last from 8 – 10 hours on the low end. Some smaller models can even boast up to 14, which is a huge bonus over any other type of device.

Find The Right Machine For The Best Price

After comparing our five contenders for the best ultrabook available under $1,000 in 2018, did you find the perfect model to fit your needs?

Be sure to leave us a comment below if you decide to buy any of these units, and let us know if you’ve seen any other ultrabooks under $1,000 that should have made the list!

Having trouble deciding? Tell us what you intend to use your laptop for and we’ll help you pick!

Andrew knows how hard it is to find the right laptop, that’s why he aims to deliver best know-hows to people in needs.

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