Top 5 Slimmest Ultra Portable Laptops – no thicker than a magazine, we look at the thinnest 12 and 13-inch ultrabooks

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We look at five of the slimmest, most thinnest ultra portable laptops in the market. And if you thought ultra portables are reserved for devices with 12-inch displays, you will be pleasantly surprised that the thinnest ultrabook is actually a 13-inch device.

Move over MacBook Air and MacBook 12, here are the world’s thinnest and slimmest ultrabooks and they look every inch as luxurious as Apple’s laptops if not more. Starting with HP Spectre 13, measuring only 10.4mm followed by ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390 measuring 11.9mm. Not far off the mark at third place is again from ASUS, this time the ZenBook UX305 and the new UX330 both measuring just a bit more at 12.3mm. Lenovo Yoga 900s takes fourth place with 12.8mm thin and at just 0.1mm more is Samsung Notebook 9 13 at the number five spot at 12.9mm thin.

It’s hard to deny the MacBook 12 a spot on our list seeing that its height measures from  3.5 – 13.1 mm given its tapered design so we have added this under our bonus section. And, since we are honoring the tapered design, we might as well look at other tapered laptops that are equally as thin, the Dell XPS 13 starts at 9mm – 15mm and MacBook Air 13 which was once a slim laptop now measuring 17mm high, although the slimmest point is only 3mm.


Top 5 Slimmest Ultra Portable Laptops in the World

Here is a quick run down of our list. We also take a look at ultra portables with tapered design to give it that super slim look.

1. HP Spectre 13 or HP Spectre Pro 13 G1 Laptop – 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) – SLIMMEST

2. ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA – 12.5-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)

3. ASUS ZenBook UX305 (and UX330) – 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) or QHD+ (3200 x 1800)

4. Lenovo Yoga 900s 12.5-inch WHD (2560 x 1440)

5. Samsung Notebook 9 – 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)

BONUS:


1. HP Spectre 13 or HP Spectre Pro 13 G1 Laptop – 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) – SLIMMEST

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The world’s slimmest or thinnest laptop is also the best looking with new shades that HP likes to call Dark Ash Silver and Luxe Copper. Underneath the slim interior is a powerful Intel Core i7-6500U Dual Core 6th generation processor clocking at 2.5GHz with Turbo Boost frequency up to 3.1GHz, 8GB of RAM and 512GB or SSD storage. To enable the performance from a powerful processor in a tight space, HP use breakthrough hyperbaric cooling technology from Intel that actively draws cool air in to the laptop rather than just venting heat out. Combined with dynamic power settings, the laptop stays cools even at peak performance. Crafted from premium grade aluminium and high-tech carbon fibre, the Spectre measures only 10.4mm thin and weighs less than a kilogram.

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Everything about the Spectre scream quality, the display is covered edge-to-edge with Corning Gorilla Glass for durability and scratch resistance, the keyboard is backlit and the trackpad is made of glass while the hidden hinge folds flush when the laptop shuts to give it a clean, nearly hingeless look. Other features include HP Audio Boost for maximum volume with clarity and dynamic sound, Full HD IPS vibrant display with cripst picture and ultra wide viewing angles, Bang & Olufsen treatment – custom tuning by the specialist to bring sound to life. With all that packed in the slimmest chassis currently in the market, the laptop stilll manages a whole 9 hours of battery life.

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Intel® Core™ i7-6500U Processor Dual-core 2.5 GHz / 3.1GHz with Turbo Boost 4 MB cache | 8GB RAM memory | 512GB PCIe SSD storage | Windows 10 | 3 x USB Type-C port all support charging, high speed data transfer and external display. Two offer Thunderbolt data transfer with speed up to 40gbs | up to 9 hours battery life

  • Height: 1.04 cm x Width: 32.5 cm x Depth: 22.94 cm.Weight: from 1.11kg

2. ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA – 12.5-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)

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In the second place is the ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390. Lighter than even the MacBook 12-inch, the ASUS ZenBook 3 weighs 910 grams. A solid contender to the MacBook 12. Everything about the ZenBook screams quality with precision components and elegantly crafted details, the ultrabok is lighter, thinner and stronger with all metal unibody enclosure measuring only 11.9mm high using the world’s most compact hinge measuring only 3mm high. The edge is finished with a 2-phase anodizing process giving it a stunning gold highlight. It comes with a full size backlit keyboard (19.8mm distance between the center of each key equivalent to most desktop keyboards) and powerful four speaker audio system developed with audiophile specialists Harman Kardon. Available in three different colours Rose Gold, Royal Blue and Quartz Grey.

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The 12.5-inch display at Full HD resolution has a wide viewing angle of 178˚ with a narrow bezel of 7.6mm and contrast ratio of 1000:1. The wide 72% NTSC colour gamut makes for more vivid and lifelike colours. ASUS fine-tuned the display parameters to ensure superb colour accuracy and using ASUS Tru2life Video, offers real time video enhancement to automatically optimises the apperance of every pixel for better contrast and sharpness. There is a fingerprint sensor on the top right corner of the touchpad that lets you login to the laptop via Windows Hello.

Intel Core i7 Processor up to 3.1GHz | 16GB RAM 2133Mhz memory | 1TB PCIe Gen 3 SSD Storage (3X Faster than SATA3 SSD) or 512GB SATA3 or 512GB PCIe Gen 3 SSD | Windows 10 Pro | 12.5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 LED backlit | USB-C port | up to 9 hours battery life 40Wh Li-Polymer Batter | Fast charging 60% in 49 mins | Fingerprint scanner

  • Height: 1.19 cmWidth: 29.6 cm x Depth: 19.12 cm. Weight:  910grams

3. ASUS ZenBook UX305 (and UX330) – 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) or QHD+ (3200 x 1800)

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Another entry from ASUS, this time with a 13.3-inch display, available in both Full HD or QHD+ with 3200 x 1800 pixels with chassis made from aluminium alloy, the UX305 is an ultra slim 12.3mm thin and lightweight 1.2kg machine. It has the same battery life is the MacBook Air 13 of up to 12 hours on the UX330 and 10 hours on the UX305. Available in three shades the silky smooth Ceramic White, Tactile Aurora Metallic or classic Obsidian Stone with signature spun-metal finish. The new UX330 is available in Rose Gold or Quartz Grey, also finished with ZenBook’s iconic spun-metal, a fine series of concentric circle moving form the center to the edge of the laptop with a tapered wedge at the front. The UX330 is thicker at 13.5mm thin at the highest point.

asus-zenbook-ux305

Powered by Intel Core M processor, Intel Core M 6Y30 up to 2.2GHz or Intel Core M 6Y54 up to 2.7GHz, the laptop is fast enough to crunch through everything yet requires no active cooling, making it a fanless and silent laptop. Heat is dissipated through ultra-thin 0.5mm diameter heatpipe made from chromium-copper alloy. There is plenty of connectivity options with three USB 3.0 ports, 1 micro HDMI, 1 SD 2-in-1 card reader, 1 microphone-in jack and 1 headphone out jack. The new UX330 has two USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB-C Gen 1 port, 1 micro HDMI and 1 SD card reader.

asus-zenbook-ux305-aspect

Intel Core M Processor | 4GB/8GB memory | 128GB/256GB/512GB SSD Storage |  13.3-inch 16:9 QHD+( 3200 x 1800)/Full HD (1920×1080) | Windows 10 Pro | 3 x USB 3.0, 1 combo jack | 1 x micro HDMI and 1 AC adapter plug | Built-in Stereo Speaker | up to 10 hours battery life

  • Height: 1.23 cm x Width: 32.4 cm x Depth: 22.6 cm. Weight: 1.2kg

4. Lenovo Yoga 900s 12.5-inch WHD (2560 x 1440)

At fourth place is the Lenovo 900s, the smaller 12.5-inch version of the bigger Lenovo 900 convertible-hybrid laptop with a 13.3-inch display. The 900s is thinner and lighter in design using the reliable watch band inspired hinge first seen on the 900. The device managed an amazing 10.5 hours of battery life, better than others here with the same display size. It has a bright and crisp display with QHD+ resolution and IPS technology and a comfortable full size keyboard in an ultra slim and luxurious design with a powerful Core m7 under the hood. The innovative 360-degree hinge allows for different modes the Yoga is famous for, check out the four different modes, laptop, stand, tent or tablet in the gallery below. For connectivity the 900s includes a USB-C port, a USB 3.0m 1 DC-in that doubles as a USB2.0, audio combo jack and supports optional Active Pen stylus input. The only concern that some has is the big bottom bezel, but all is forgiven with the one of a kind beautiful watch inspired hinge.

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The YOGA 900S supports digitizer pens with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity (Lenovo Active Pen sold separately). Write with the confidence that your notes and sketches will be accurately represented. And say goodbye to fat, bulky lines and accidental marks from palm contact for a flawless writing and drawing experience. The speakers deliver rich stereo sound with Dolby Hme Theater standard for immersive audio experience. It also weighs just under 1kg making it both ultra thin (1.28cm) and ultra light (999grams)

lenovo-laptop-yoga-900s-front

Intel Core i7 processor (6th generation) | up to 8GB LPDDR3 memory | up to 256GB PCIe SSD | 12.5-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) IPS Touch Display | 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 3 with Video Output (Type C), 1 DC-in with USB2.0 function, 1 Audio Combo Jack | Stereo Speakers with Dolby Audio Premium | up to 10.5 hours battery life

  • Height: 1.28 cm x Width: 30.5 cm x Depth: 20.8 cm  | 12.01″ x 8.19″ x 0.5″. Weight: Starting at 2.2 lbs (999g)

5. Samsung Notebook 9 – 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)

Fifth place goes to the third 13-inch ultra portable in our line-up. The Samsung Notebook 9 ultra portable with 13.3-inch is thin and looks smart albeit a little plain.  A bigger 15-inch Samsung Notebook 9 is also featured in our line up below with equally impressive dimensions and weight. The 13-inch weighs less than the MacBook Air 13 and has a Full HD display. Under the hood it is spots an Intel Core i5 processor (6th generation), 8GB of memory and 256GB SSD storage. It uses a sleek premium forged metal frame with the rest of the body engineered from aluminium and magnesium alloy making it weigh less than 1.2kg or 1.12kg to be precise. The design is a little bland given that all other laptops here comes with cutting edge design complete with all metal unibody contruction.

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Intel Core i5 processor (6th generation) 2.3GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz  | 8GB RAM memory | 256GB SSD storage | Windows 10 Home | 13.3-inch 16:9 Full HD (1920 x 1080) display | 1 mini VGA, 1 Type D Micro HDMI, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 Microphone In | 1 Headphone Out | up to 10 hours battery life

  • Height: 1.29 cm x Width: 31.37 cm x Depth: 21.8 cm (12.35″ x 8.6″ x 0.53″) Weight: 2.5lbs (1.16kg)

BONUS I: Apple MacBook 12 – 12-inch LED with IPS (2304 x 1440) – TAPERED

macbook-12

Who can ignore the MacBook 12 when it comes to the slimmest and the thinnest. Now in its second iteration with slight speed bump, more shades with Rose Gold being an option now, and faster flash storage, the MacBook 12 can be ordered with 1.1GHz Dual Core Intel Core m3 processor with Turbo Boost up to 2.2GHz or the more desirable, faster 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core m5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz. Both models come with 8GB memory and 256GB and 512GB SSD storage respectively. The MacBook is lightest second only to ASUS ZenBook 3. The tapered design makes it look ultra slim just like the MacBook Air. The thinnest edge measures only 0.35cm while the highest point measures 1.31cm. It adopts the 6th generation Intel processors for fanless and silent design and like most 12-inch laptops managed up to 10 hours of battery life per charge. The 12-inch retina display with 2304 x 1440 pixel resolution boast edge to edge glass cover that brings everything into focus like those found on MacBook Pro.

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Apple’s unmistakable design and engineering DNA is all over the new MacBook with its all metal unibody chassis and anodized finish. First with a new chiclet keyboard now adopted by the new MacBook Pro 2016, the full size keyboard is designed from ground up with butterfly mechanism to replace the conventional scissor mechanism that is know to wobble around the edges. The butterfly mechanism is wider and has a single assembly made from stiffer material making it more stable and responsive. That’s not all, the trackpad also supports Force Touch for a responsive, uniform click no matter where you press the surface. Force sensors detect how much pressure is applied and react accordingly. A haptic feedback gives you a better sense of touch producing tactile vibration. Unfortunately, there is only one USB 3.1 Gen 1 port that support everything from charging to Display and USB 3.1. You will need to buy adapters for VGA or HDMI video output. New Rose Gold MacBook below.

macbook-select-rosegold

1.1GHz Dual Core Intel Core m3 processor Turbo Boost up to 2.2GHz or 1.2GHz Dual Core Intel Core m5 processor Turbo Booost up to 2.7GHz | 8GB memory | 256GB or 512GB PCIe-based on board flash storage | 1 x USB-C (up to 5Gbps) | up to 10 hours battery life | Available in Silver, Gold, Space Grey or Rose Gold.

  • Height: 0.35–1.31 cm (0.14–0.52 inches) x Width: 28.05 cm (11.04 inches) x Depth: 19.65 cm (7.74 inches). Weight: 0.92 kg (2.03 pounds)

BONUS II: Dell XPS 13 – 13.3 inch QHD+ (3200 x 1800) – TAPERED

The biggest feature of the XPS 13 is the InfinityEdge display, with near zero bezel around the display making the device the smallest 13.3-inch laptop in the market. For the display two resolutions are available, Full HD at 1920 x 1080 pixel or UltraSharp QHD+ at 3200 x 1800 resolution, a resolution so high, its only matched by Lenovo Yoga 900 and bettered by Surface Book’s Pixel Sense display.

Even with a 13.3-inch display it weights only 1.22kg and measures 9-15mm high, one of the lightest and thinnest laptops around. The UltraSharp™ QHD+ resolution has ultra wide viewing angle up to 170°, offers 400 nit brightness and achieves a colour gamut of 72% and a contrast of 1000:1. An optional touch screen is also available.

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The other feature that makes it stand out is the amazingly long battery life of up to 18 hours 14 minutes (with FHD display). The laptop has Thunderbolt 3 multi-use port for charging or connecting multiple devices including up to two 4K displays and data transfer rate up to 40Gbps. Design wise, the XPS 13’s chasis is cut from a single block of aluminium, uses Corning Gorilla Glass NBT on the QHD+ display and carbon fiber around the palm rest area.

dell-xps-13

Intel 6th Generation Core i5 or Core i7 procesor. Core i5-6200U 3MB cache, up to 2.8GHz speed | 8GB LPDDR3 1866MHz memory | 256GB PCIe SSD Storage |13.3-inch QHD+ (3200 x 1800) InfinityEdge touch display | up to 18 hours battery life | 2 USB 3.0, 1 Thunderbolt 3, 3-in-1 Card Reader, Noble Lock Slot

  • Height: 0.9-1.5 cm (0.33 – 0.6″) x Width: 30.4cm (11.98″) x Depth: 20.0cm (7.88″). Weight: 1.2 kg (2.7lbs) non-touch, 1.29kg (2.9lbs) touch

BONUS III: Apple MacBook Air – 13.3-inch LED (1440 x 900) – TAPERED

At the point of writing, the MacBook Air is the most affordable MacBook one can buy. Apple has quietly retired the MacBook Air 11 leaving only the MacBook Air 13. This is not entirely a bad thing as there must be a decline in demand for the smaller MacBook Air. Being a MacBook Aif fan myself and a proud owner of the MacBook Air 13, I can see how this will be popular for those who do not want to spend big bucks on the new MacBook 12 or new MacBook Pro 2016 only to spend more on adapters given its lack of ports. It is also the longest lasting laptop outlasting the MacBook 12 and MacBook Pro 2016 by 2 hours per charge, 12 hours in total.

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So we know we get 2 extra hours and a handful of ports, but what are we missing. What you do not get on the MacBook Air is the retina display and the Force Touch trackpad. Both MacBook 12 and MacBook Pro (13-inch or 15-inch) have Retina displays and Force Touch trackpad. And, the new MacBook Pro does come with faster processors and weighs just slightly more 20 grams more to be exact comparing the 13-inch devices.

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But whatever the task, fifth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors with Intel HD Graphics 6000 are up to it. The lack of a Retina display meant the processor and graphics are not caught up redrawing those mega pixels as it only has to worry about 1440 x 900, the screens native resolution, a saving on processor cycles. From editing photos to browsing the web, everything happens ultra-fast with onboard flash storage and plenty of memory at 8GB upgraded from 4GB. The starting storage does take a hit at 128GB or 256GB and configurable to 512GB while MacBook and MacBook Pro starts from 256GB. Another positive with the MacBook is it still uses the MagSafe 2 Power adapter and power port which is more convenient to attach and safer if someone were to trip on the cable as the port just snaps off the laptop rather than taking everything with it.

macbook-air-13-side

1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz with Intel HD Graphics 6000 (configurable to 2.2GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 (TB up to 3.2GHz) | 8GB memory | 128GB or 256GB PCIe-based flash memory (configurable to 512GB) | Thunderbolt 2 port (up to 20GBps) digital video output with Native Mini DisplayPort output, 2 x  USB 3.0 and SDXC card reader | Dual mic, Stereo speaker and headphone combo

  • Height: 0.3–1.7 cm (0.11–0.68 inches) x Width: 32.5 cm (12.8 inches) x Depth: 22.7 cm (8.94 inches). Weight: 1.35kg (2.96 pounds)