HOW WE TESTED
The Pcworld team puts each and every Windows laptop through a series of benchmarks that test GPU and CPU performance, battery life, and so on. The idea is to push the laptop to its limits and then compare it against others we’ve tested.
Pcmark 10: Pcmark 10 is how we determine how well the laptop handles general-use tasks like web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, and so on. It’s how we simulate everyday use in a specific time frame.
Handbrake: Handbrake is more intensive than Pcmark 10. It measures how long a laptop’s CPU takes to encode a beefy 30GB file. This is more like a stress test.
Cinebench: Cinebench is a brief stress test of the CPU cores. It does this by rendering a 2D scene over a short period of time. This benchmark shows us how well the CPU splits the workload.
3Dmark: 3Dmark checks if 3D performance remains consistent over time by running graphic-intensive clips. These benchmarks are used on gaming laptops.
Video rundown test: To gauge battery life, we loop a 4K video using Windows 10’s Movies & TV app until the laptop dies. If you’re a regular traveler, you’ll want a battery that can last longer than a full workday.
Ultraportables are known for being travel-friendly machines due to their slender profiles. However, there’s more to them than their minuscule size. If you’re considering buying an ultraportable but don’t know where to start, we’ve assembled an easy-tofollow FAQ section. We’ll go over everything from battery life to specifications.
FAQ What’s an ultraportable?
Simply put, an ultraportable is a laptop that’s compact and lightweight. They usually weigh about 3 pounds and the screen size is 14 inches or smaller. They’re designed for people who take their laptop with them wherever they go. However, as a way to reduce the size of these machines, laptop manufacturers often eliminate USB ports and connectors.
How much power do I need?
For everyday use, we recommend a 12th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. That’s zippy enough for spreadsheet work, checking e-mail, and so on. If you fancy yourself a power user, we’d suggest springing for a 12th-gen Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage. There aren’t too many ultraportables out there with discrete graphics, as that would add significant heft to a slimmed-down machine.
What about battery life?
When it comes to ultraportables, battery life is one of the more important aspects to consider. Whether you’re traveling for work or personal reasons, you don’t want to be stuck with a dead laptop. We’d recommend a laptop that can last anywhere from 12 to 14 hours on a single charge. That’s more than a full workday.