They are thin, light, very stylish and often able to last a whole day on batteries. And despite their small size, these laptops have enough power enough for all standard applications.
But not all devices are equal, whether it is design, performance or autonomy. Here are our criteria to help you choose your ultraportable.
Memory: Aim for 8 GB of DDR, at least 256 GB for SSD
Windows 10 requires a minimum of 4 GB of RAM to operate correctly. It is the amount of RAM that you can find on machines around 500 euros. If your budget allows it, we recommend that you opt for an ultraportable with at least 8 GB of RAM, which will guarantee optimal fluidity for all types of applications.
All recent ultraportables include ultra-fast but small, SSD storage modules: only 128 GB at the entry level, 256 GB for most machines, 512 GB or 1 TB on the very high-end. The minimum requirement for a Windows 10 machine, in our opinion, is 256 GB.
Connectivity: be careful with the plug set!
Another weakness of ultraportable laptops is that their connectivity is generally much less abundant than that of ordinary laptops. It is the downside of miniaturizing cases: they have become so thin that some outlets become impossible to fit!
It is the case with the Ethernet network socket, which is not available on most machines and is compensated by the wireless Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules. The HDMI socket is also disappearing, sometimes replaced by a Mini DisplayPort output.
The ultraportable type: a 13.3-inch, 1.3 kg case
In merchant jargon, an ultraportable is a PC weighing less than 2 kilos and equipped with a screen of up to 15 inches. An ultrabook is an even thinner and lighter machine: up to 1.5 kilos, no more than 14 inches for the screen.
Intel, which is the originator of the term “ultrabook,” adds a criterion of thinness: an ultraportable must not exceed 18 mm thick for the case for a 13.3-inch model or 21 mm thick for 14-inch models.
Autonomy: more than 8 hours on average
While not all ultraportables are speed champions, they are outstanding marathon runners, with battery-powered running times that are much longer than those of conventional laptops.
We have to take with a grain of salt the figures announced by the manufacturers, who are generally very optimistic. But according to our measurements, recent ultraportables are indeed able to follow you during a long working day or a long train or plane journey.
The ideal screen? A 13.3-inch Full-HD, 3:2 aspect ratio
The vast majority of recent ultraportables come with 13.3-inch screens. This type of panel offers a good compromise between compactness and working comfort. There are many ultraportable even smaller, equipped with 12-inch or 10-inch screens, whose weight is often less than a kilogram but it takes a particular motivation to work for a long time on such small screens – and keyboards!
All screens of recent ultraportables, from 500 euros, display at least in Full-HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), a definition that is well suited to the current office or entertainment applications. The best way to work, in our opinion, is a panel in 3:2 format. 3:2 screens are particularly excellent for displaying web pages.