Modern Nomad is a weekly column dedicated to mobile gear, must-see world destinations, tips for life on the road, and traveling better through technology.
Apple’s MacBook Air has long been the gold standard for sleek, fast, ultraportable travel laptops. But a new crop of PC laptops from Dell, Asus, and Lenovo is providing some fierce competition. Here are three of the best ultrabooks currently on the market:
Dell XPS 13
Dell has been quietly stepping up their game for the last decade and their latest XPS 13 ultrabook is a stunner. Entry level models start at just $799, but the upgraded variations are true, full-fledged laptops capable of photo and video editing. The midrange model is configured with Intel’s Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB solid state hard drive. A top-of-the-line version takes the hardware a step further with an i7 processor and a 256GB solid state drive. As the world’s smallest 13” laptop, it packs a near-borderless, infinity display into an 11” chassis. The Quad HD+ touchscreen is arguably the most crisp, beautiful laptop monitor on the market.
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Asus ZenBook UX305
While they may not always be breaking new or innovative ground with their products, Asus has become synonymous with affordability and reliability. Their ZenBook UX305 is no exception. With a 100% metal chassis, 256GB SSD hard drive, and excellent battery life, it’s plenty durable for life on the road. At 1.2cm thin and a hair over 2.5 pounds, it’s the thinnest and lightest laptop with a 13” QHD+ display on the market. The kicker is that it’s available starting at just $699 USD, which also makes it one of the most affordable, full-power ultrabooks available.
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro
For travelers who value portability, style, and sleek looks over sheer computing power, Lenovo’s Yoga 3 Pro is the company’s flagship ultrabook. Its convertible “yoga” form factor with a new, all-metal watchband hinge is its best selling point, ensuring 100% adaptability to your workflow. Set it up as a traditional laptop or fold the screen back 180 degrees to use as a full-featured, touchscreen tablet. At just under $1,200 USD, it’s one of the priciest entries in the ultrabook category. But it’s also among the lightest, thinnest Windows laptops with one of the best displays on the market today.