Every year like clockwork, laptop makers bring newer models of their flagship thin and light laptops to India with the latest CPUs. This year though, this whole process was marred by long and unwanted delays. Subsequently, due to various reasons, most of these latest laptops miss out on the newest Intel Core 8th gen processors. The end result is that most ultrportables available today in India are refreshed models with older 7th gen Intel processors or older models with minor spec bumps. In either case, you aren’t getting the best of what is available overseas. Nonetheless, of the thin range of ultrabooks available today, here are our top picks.
While there is no industry wide defined parameter for thin and light laptops, we believe that laptops in this category should be lightweight. Hence, for the Zero 1 Awards and going forward, only laptops weighing 1.5 kilograms or lesser will be considered in this category.
2017 Zero1 Award Winner: Lenovo Ideapad 720s (13-inch)
While there weren’t many thin and light options to choose from this year, the best among the few was the Ideapad 720s. It is now better looking, has a sturdier build, rocks a fingerprint scanner, but ends up with similar specifications as its predecessor. That said, there are subtle differences in performance between this machine and its predecessor.
Lenovo has turned down the Intel HD 620 graphics on this machine, which we believe has helped the machine to be more reliable. The dual fan cooling solution in this slim chassis is now less noisy at full chatter and the heat management has also improved. Beyond that, the performance offered by the Intel Skylake i7-7500U is snappy as always and the laptop can easily take on all kinds of day-to-day tasks you may want to throw at it.
The best thing we like about the Ideapad 720s is that even though it is a thin and light laptop, it doesn’t compromise on ports. You still get two USB type-A 3.0 ports along with two USB Type-C ports with one supporting Thunderbolt. The 7-8 hours of battery life is just as good as last time and while the keyboard is good, Lenovo’s new touchpad is far better than the one we used last year on the Ideapad 710s.
Best buy & Runner up: Asus ZenBook UX430UQ
Running just behind the Ideapad 720s, we have the Asus Zenbook UX430UQ. The UX430 is a 14-inch machine, which is essentially crammed in a 13-inch laptop chassis. Asus has done so by slimming down the side bezels, just like the Ideapad 720s. This has also helped it to maintain weight and at just 1.25 kg it is less heavier than many 14-inch laptops we have currently in the market. It offers a similar performance as the Ideapad 720s as it is also powered by the same Intel Core i7-7500U processor.
Apart from the larger display, Asus also managed to cram in a full-size SD card reader along with a micro HDMI port in a 0.63-inch thick chassis. The only thing we think is missing from the I/O array is Thunderbolt support but USB 3.1 is more than enough. As for battery life, the 50 Whr battery of the UX430 offers a similar battery performance as the Ideapad 720s and hence can easily go through a normal work day.
The best part is that, it has more storage, a fingerprint scanner and a slightly lower price tag making it the better buy in the category.