The ZenBook 13 is most similar to the HP Spectre x360 13 when it comes to ports, with two USB-C ports, one USB-A connection, an HDMI socket and a microSD card slot. (Sorry, no headphone jack on this one. ) It also supports WiFi 6 (a feature that most flagships are just starting to incorporate) and it has an IR camera for Windows Hello.
We’re also happy that the $999 base model comes with 8GB of RAM (double the memory in the base XPS 13), although we wish it also included a Core i5 processor rather than Core i3.
The latest model has the new Magic Keyboard that Apple introduced in the 16-inch MacBook Pro and suffice to say, it’s far more comfortable and precise than the controversial butterfly keys of yesteryear.
The model we reviewed had a 1080p touchscreen, but HP gives you the option to outfit the Spectre x360 13 with a 4K AMOLED panel — a good choice for creatives and streaming aficionados (just be prepared for shorter battery life).
Its edges hold two USB-C ports for charging and data, a USB-A port (!!! ) and a microSD slot. The machine’s 14. 5-hour battery life makes it even more versatile, as it lasts an entire work or school day with juice left to spare.
It’s never been easier to recommend the MacBook Air and that’s mostly thanks to improvements Apple made in the 2020 model.
It doesn’t rock a Touch Bar like MacBook Pros do, but it does have the TouchID fingerprint sensor for quick logins. We clocked 11. 5 hours of battery life in our testing, so the Air should be able to last through a full day’s work and then some.
Unsurprisingly, Apple only included a headphone jack and two Thunderbolt 3 ports — dongle life will persist for the time being.
While the MagLev keyboard on the XPS 13 2-in-1 isn’t terrible, we’re happy that Dell kept the traditional scissor mechanism on the standard clamshell model.
It previously had only 4GB of RAM (which we’d never recommend), but now the $999 model has a 10th-gen Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.
HP also included an IR camera for Windows Hello, a Precision touchpad and a few more ports than you’d expect to see on an ultraportable of this size.
It also helps that the base model includes a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and an FHD touchscreen for just over $1,000.
They tend to be made from metal, carbon fiber or a mix of the two, and their enclosures are usually just thick enough to include the latest Intel or Ryzen processors, large batteries and enough RAM and storage for most people’s needs.
The overall design of the ZenBook 13 is quite nice — it measures 13. 9mm thick, weighs just over 2. 5 pounds and its metal body meets the MIL-STD-810G military standard for durability.
It’s hard to find a truly budget-friendly ultraportable in part because size and weight are two of the most obvious areas to make compromises in the name of cost cutting.
We at Engadget define an ultraportable laptop as one that weighs less than three pounds and measures less than 0. 75 inch thick at its widest point.
You’re almost guaranteed to get a couple Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C ports on the newest notebooks, but some have already abandoned the USB-A standard, which is a shame.
A Core i3 processor is less than ideal for a daily driver, so we recommend choosing a model with either a Core i5 ($1,099) or Core i7 ($1,399) processor instead.
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