Best Ultrabook Of 2018

The Surface Book 2 offers the best combination of features, design, and performance hardware inside, beating out a few other picks that nevertheless make great alternatives.

Our pick

Microsoft Surface Book 2

The best Ultrabook for most people

With two sizes to choose from — 13 and 15 inches — and a bevy of configuration options available, Microsoft's Surface Book 2 is the best Ultrabook on the market today. The modular design allows you to detach the display and use it as a tablet, though together with the keyboard it has enough power to act as a true desktop replacement.

Who should buy this Ultrabook

The Surface Book 2 is an all-around top choice for anyone who wants a versatile desktop replacement in the form of a modular Ultrabook. The touch display detaches from the keyboard and touchpad, delivering a phenomenal tablet experience (especially when coupled with the Surface Pen), and together you have a productivity machine with comfy keyboard and large Precision touchpad.

Plenty of performance options, including 8th Gen Intel Core processors (CPU) and NVIDIA graphics (GPU), mean you can get as much (or more) done here as you would on a standard desktop PC.

Is it a good time to buy this Ultrabook?

Yes. The Surface Book 2 is Microsoft's premier Surface device released November 2017. It's using 8th Gen Intel Core CPUs and 10-Series NVIDIA GPUs, which are both top-of-the-line.

8 reasons to buy:

  • Received a perfect score in our review.
  • Plenty of hardware configuration options available.
  • Enough power to replace a desktop.
  • Gorgeous hi-res touch display with 3:2 aspect ratio.
  • Durable modular design for added versatility.
  • NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU for the gamers out there.
  • All-day battery life.
  • Premium keyboard and touchpad make productivity easy.

2 reasons not to buy:

  • There is an alternative if you're looking for a standard notebook.
  • There is a far cheaper alternative if you don't need high performance.

You don't need to sacrifice performance for size

Both sizes of the Microsoft Surface Book 2 have a 3:2 aspect ratio, though the 13.5-inch display has a 3,000 x 2,000 resolution and the 15-inch display has a 3,240 x 2,160 resolution. Detach from the keyboard to use the display as a tablet, and take advantage of the Surface Pen for a great inking experience.

The 13-inch model is cheaper but doesn't quite have as much power, while the 15-inch model is available with maximum hardware. Get inside up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and add an NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM. This is a lot of power, allowing you to use the Surface Book 2 in many different situations, including gaming and multimedia editing.

You'll get about 10 hours of battery life from the 15-inch Surface Book 2 model and about 11 hours from the 13-inch model, enough to get you through a workday without carrying around a charger. An IR camera for Windows Hello is nestled above the display, and the touchpad and keyboard only complement everything else.

Alternatives to the Microsoft Surface Book 2

The Dell XPS 13 (about $1,650) is an alternative option if you don't need an Ultrabook with a modular design. You're still getting a 13.3-inch 4K display, 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD, all contained in one of the slimmest and best looking bodies on the market.

Runner-up

Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 is a classic clamshell Ultrabook best suited for anyone who doesn't need the modular design of the Surface Book 2.

The CHUWI Lapbook 12.3 (about $420) is an alternative Ultrabook option for those who just want to browse the internet, watch videos, and do a bit of typing. Despite the low price, you're looking at a 12.3-inch display with a 2,736 x 1,824 resolution, Intel Celeron N3450 CPU, 6GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage.

Budget pick

CHUWI Lapbook 12.3

The CHUWI Lapbook 12.3 is an ultra-cheap Ultrabook option for anyone who doesn't need high performance.

The HP Spectre x360 13t (From about $950) is an alternative convertible option for those who like to use their Ultrabooks in tent, stand, or tablet modes alongside the conventional notebook mode. The 13.3-inch touch display with FHD or 4K resolution is gorgeous and supports inking, plus you're getting an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16 GB of RAM, and up to a 1 TB PCIe SSD.

Alternative with convertible design

HP Spectre x360 13t

The HP Spectre x360 13t is a fine Ultrabook choice for anyone who prefers a convertible design.

The Razer Blade 15 (from about $1,900) is an alternative Ultrabook option for those who are focused on PC gaming. There are a number of configurations to choose from, with up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H CPU with six cores, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an NVIDIA GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU. All that behind up to a 15.6-inch 4K touch display? Yes, please.

Alternative for PC gamers

Razer Blade 15

The Razer Blade 15 is the perfect Ultrabook for those who plan on using it primarily for PC gaming.

Bottom line

For many people, the Surface Book 2 is a perfect mix of design, features, function, and performance. There are, however, a number of alternatives that might be better suited to your specific needs.

The team that worked on this guide

Daniel Rubino is executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.

Derek Kessler is Managing Editor for Mobile Nations, where he covers tech across the spectrum. He got his start a decade ago writing about Palm and hasn't stopped since. In his desk drawer you will find way too many phones. Derek also does a fair bit of technical work (including this fancy page); he's @derekakessler on Twitter, if you dare.

Cale Hunt is a full-time writer for Windows Central, focusing mainly on PC hardware and VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and when he has some free time you can usually find him practicing guitar or reorganizing his ever-growing library. If you hear him say "Sorry!" it's only because he's Canadian.

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