• Slide_1_titleWhile the Intel-stamped Ultrabook brand of thin and light PCs have been around for a few years now, it wasn’t until last year that OEMs tried in earnest to make Ultrabooks that would appeal to the business market. So in 2013 we covered the top 10 Ultrabooks for business to put the new form factor through its paces. Even then, seven of those laptops were really consumer-grade hardware wearing a professional’s mask. For 2014, things are different.

    Intel’s fourth-generation Haswell processor are more powerful, thermally efficient and more power efficient. There’s enterprise-friendly features such as docking station compatibility, vPro-enabled CPUs, replaceable batteries and upgradeable RAM. Plus, the combination of touchscreens and Windows 8.1 professional offers a compelling mixed-use hybrid model of computer.This year’s Top 10 includes the Acer TravelMate P645, Apple MacBook Air (2014), Dell Latitude E7240, Dell XPS 13, HP EliteBook 840 G1, HP EliteBook 1040 G1, Lenovo ThinkPad T440s, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2014), Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and Toshiba Portégé Z30-A. Take a look.

Acer TravelMate P645

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Specs: 14? anti-glare LED backlit display, either HD (1366 x 768, TN) or 1920 x 1080 (IPS) • 1.6 GHz Core i5-4200U CPU (no vPro), 1.9 GHz Core i5-4300U – 2.1 GHz Core i7-4600U CPU • 2 GB AMD Radeon HD 8750M • 4 GB or 8 GB of DDR3 RAM • 120 GB – 256 GB SSD • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n • Security Features: Intel vPro and TPM 1.2 • 32.8 x 23.5 x 2.08 cm (12.9 x 9.3 x 0.80 in) • 1.50 kg (3.3 lb) • Windows 8 Pro 64 w/Windows 7 Pro downgrade (pre-installed) • 2-year warranty • Models from $900 – $1,500.

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Apple 13-inch MacBook Air 

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Specs: 13.3? 1440 x 900 TN LED backlit screen • 1.4 GHz Core i5-4260U CPU (no vPro) to 1.7 GHz Core i7-4650U CPU (no vPro) • Intel HD Graphics 5000 • 4GB or 8GB of DDR3 RAM • 128GB to 512GB SSD • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac • Security Features: OS security features only • 32.5 x 22.7 x 1.7 cm (12.8 x 8.94 x 0.68 in) • 1.35 kg (2.96 lb) • OS X Mavericks • 1-year warranty (upgradable) • Models from $1,100 – $1,700.

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Dell Latitude E7240 

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Specs: 12.5? LED backlit display, either anti-glare HD (1366 x 768, TN), or FHD (1920 x 1080, IPS) touchscreen • 1.7 GHz Core i3-4010U CPU (no vPro) – 2.1 GHz Core i7-4600U CPU • Intel HD Graphics 4400 • 4 GB or 8 GB of DDR3 RAM • 500 GB HD or 128 GB – 256 GB SSD • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac • Security Features: Dell Data Protection & Encryption, FIPS 201-certified smart card and fingerprint readers, FIPS 140-2-certified TPM 1.2, Intel vPro • 31.05 x 21.1 x 2 cm (12.2 x 8.3 x 0.79 in) • 1.36 kg (2.99 lb) • Windows 8 Pro 64 (8.1 Pro pre-installed on touch model) w/Windows 7 Pro downgrade (pre-installed on non-touch model) • 3-year warranty • Models from $1,425 – $2,828.

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Dell XPS 13 

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Specs: 13.3? IPS touchscreen FHD display (1920 x 1080) • 1.7 GHz Core i5-4210U CPU (no vPro) – 2.0 GHz Core i7-4510U CPU (no vPro) • Intel HD Graphics 4400 • 8 GB of DDR3 RAM • 128 GB – 256 GB SSD • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac • Security Features: TPM 1.2 • 31.6 x 20.5 x 1.8 cm (12.4 x 8.1 x 0.7 in) • 1.37 kg (3.03 lb) • Windows 8.1 Pro 64 • 1-year warranty • Models from $1,382 – $1,682.

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HP EliteBook 840 G1

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Specs: 14? anti-glare LED backlit display, either HD (1366 x 768, TN), HD+ (1600 x 900, TN) or 1920 x 1080 (IPS), HD+ touchscreen optional • 1.6 GHz Core i5-4200U CPU (no vPro) – 2.1 GHz Core i7-4600U CPU • Intel HD Graphics 4400 (optional 1GB AMD Radeon HD 8750M) • 4 GB or 8 GB of DDR3 RAM • 500 GB HD or 180 GB – 256 GB SSD • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac • Security Features: Smartcard and fingerprint reader, HP BIOS Protection, HP Drive Encryption, HP Secure Erase, Intel vPro and TPM 1.2 • 33.89 x 23.7 x 2.1 cm, 2.25 cm for touch model (13.34 x 9.33 x 0.83/0.89 in) • 1.58 kg, 1.78 kg touch (3.48/3.92 lb) • Windows 8 Pro 64 (pre-installed on touch model) w/Windows 7 Pro downgrade (pre-installed on non-touch model) • 3-year warranty • Models from $1,000 – $1,850.

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HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1

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Specs: 14? anti-glare LED backlit display, either HD+ (1600 x 900, TN) or FHD (1920 x 1080, IPS), touchscreen optional • 1.6 GHz Core i5-4200U CPU (no vPro) – 1.7 GHz Core i7-4650U CPU • Intel HD Graphics 4400 or 5000 • 4 GB or 8 GB of DDR3 RAM • 128 GB – 256 GB SSD • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac • Security Features: Smartcard and fingerprint reader, HP BIOS Protection, HP Drive Encryption, HP Secure Erase, Intel vPro and TPM 1.2 • 33.8 x 23.35 x 1.59 cm (13.31 x 9.19 x 0.63 in) • 1.49 kg (3.3 lb) • Windows 8.1 Pro 64 (pre-installed on touch model) w/Windows 7 Pro downgrade (pre-installed on non-touch model) • 3-year warranty • Models from $1,440 – $2,280.

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Lenovo ThinkPad T440s

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Specs: 14? anti-glare LED backlit display, either HD+ (1600 x 900, TN) or FHD (1920 x 1080, IPS) or FHD Touch anti-glare (1920 x 1080, IPS) • 1.6 GHz Core i5-4200U CPU (no vPro) – 2.1 GHz Core i7-4600U CPU • Intel HD Graphics 4400 • 4GB or 8GB of DDR3 RAM • 500 GB HD or 180 GB – 256 GB SSD • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac • Security Features: Smartcard and fingerprint reader, Intel Anti-Theft protection (AT-p), Intel vPro and TPM 1.2 • 33.1 x 22.6 x 2.06 cm, 2.3 cm for touch model (13.03 x 8.89 x 0.80/0.90 in) • 1.58 kg, 1.72 kg for touch model (3.5/3.8 lb) • Windows 8.1 Pro 64 (pre-installed on touch model) w/Windows 7 Pro downgrade (pre-installed on non-touch model) • 3-year warranty • Models from $1,250 – $2,050.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 

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Specs: 14? anti-glare LED backlit display, either HD+ (1600 x 900, TN) or WQHD (2560×1440, IPS), optional touchscreen • 1.6 GHz Core i5-4200U CPU (no vPro) – 2.1 GHz Core i7-4600U CPU • Intel HD Graphics 4400 • 4GB or 8GB of DDR3 RAM • 128 GB – 512 GB SSD • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac • Security Features: Fingerprint reader, Intel vPro and TPM 1.2 • 33.1 x 22.7 x 1.96 cm, 2.01 cm for touch model (13.03 x 8.94 x 0.77/0.79 in) • 1.27 kg, 1.43 kg for touch model (2.8/3.15 lb) • Windows 8.1 Pro 64 (pre-installed on touch model) w/Windows 7 Pro downgrade (pre-installed on non-touch model) • 3-year warranty • Models from $1500 – $2,550.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 3

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Specs: 12” LED backlit display 3:2 Full HD plus (2160 x 1440, IPS) • 1.5 GHz Core i3-4020Y CPU (no vPro) – 1.7 GHz Core i7-4650U CPU • Intel HD Graphics 4400 or 5000 • 4 GB or 8 GB of DDR3 RAM • 64 GB – 512 GB SSD • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac • Security Features: Intel vPro and TPM 1.2 • 29.2 x 20.1 x 1.4 cm (11.5 x 7.93 x 0.55 in) including Type Cover • 1.09 kg (2.41 lb) including Type Cover • Windows 8.1 Pro 64 • 3-year warranty • Models from $980 – $2,130 (including Type Cover).

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Toshiba Portégé Z30-A

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Specs: 13.3? LED backlit display anti-glare HD (1366 x 768, TN) • 1.6 GHz Core i5-4200U CPU (no vPro) – 2.1 GHz Core i7-4600U CPU • Intel HD Graphics 4400 • 4 GB or 8 GB of DDR3 RAM • 128 GB – 256 GB SSD • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac • Security Features: Smartcard and fingerprint reader, Toshiba EasyGuard Technology, Intel vPro and TPM 1.2 • 31.6 x 22.7 x 1.79 cm (12.44 x 8.94 x 0.7 in) • 1.2 kg (2.64 lb) • Windows 8.1 Pro 64 w/Windows 7 Pro downgrade (pre-installed) • 3-year warranty • Models from $1,300 – $2,000.

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While we are not formally ranking the Ultrabooks in this article, and we do think all these notebooks are great machines (otherwise we would not have included them in a top ten list), there are a few that stand out.

If you are looking for the best balance of portability vs. practicality, then you cannot go wrong with either the Lenovo T440s or HP EliteBook 840 G1. They are both still thin and light enough to be called Ultrabooks, but still have a lot of ports, removable batteries and user access to their internals for easy upgrades. If you want something a little smaller with a similar balance, and are not concerned with price, then the 12-inch Dell Latitude E7240.

If it is the ultimate in portability you are looking for, then the Surface Pro 3 would be something to look at. Yes, as a notebook it has more compromises than any machine in this list, but it is still up to the task, and has some compelling features none of the other Ultrabooks have, such as great Pen input.

As for value for money, the Acer P645 is a great choice. No, it is not the sleekest looking Ultrabook in this list, nor it is the thinnest or most durable, but it does come with an excellent set of specifications, including discrete graphics and lots of ports for a very good price, even if you max it out.


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Alex Davies
IT professional & freelance tech writer. Founder of The Art of the Gadget. PC gamer, indie comics fan & cinephile. Sometimes curmudgeon.