Question [buying help] High-end 13" ultrabook with very long battery life?

technologist

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Hi there,

I need a new business laptop which I can use for travelling and remote work. I have the Lenovo P15 Gen 2 as a "desktop" computer but the machine is too chunky and too heavy for regular travels. I also have an M1 MBP13 and whilst I love the hardware quality and how iPhone and MBP work together, I simply cannot deal with the Office for Mac, especially excel.
Below the filled out questionnaire, but in a nutshell the Ultrabook needs to run on Windows, should not be bigger than 13", needs to have excellent battery life, and good performance multi-tasking (office 365 with teams and working on heavy excel files).
A few machines that come to my mind are:
  • Zenbook S 13 OLED AMD 6000
  • Yoga 6 AMD 5700u
  • Lenovo XPS 13s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3
Many thanks!


1. What is your budget?
Open to any budget, but I was thinking something around £2k ($2.4k) excl. VAT

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
13" (14" is already to wide) and as thin and light as possible (considering other factors as well).

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Ideally 4k (OLED)

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
no/

5. How much battery life do you need?
As long as possible! Battery life is extremely important. I can go almost 2 days with my M1 MBP which is just incredible. Most laptops just go for around 6-8h which is just a no-go for me.

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
No

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Primarily Office 365 multi-tasking (sometimes even multiple microsoft accounts running on Chrome or Edge as I have several businesses) and heavy excel models.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
1tb

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
no

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Around 2-3 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
None, USB and USBC is sufficient

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
I am indifferent, but it needs to be a Windows based machine.

13. What country do you live in?
I can buy from anywhere but the business is based in the UK

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I care a lot about durable build quality (comparable with Apple MBP), good keyboard (as I am typing a lot), high-end screen (ideally OLED), finger-print reader.
 

Aeacus

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Nighthawk117

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If you want a good quality light and portable ultrabook then my first port of call would be the Dell XPS 13:
https://www.dell.com/en-uk/shop/laptops/new-xps-13/spd/xps-13-9315-laptop/cn93407cc

£1,849.01 gets you the i7 1250U (10 cores), 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD and13.5" UHD screen. I wouldn't personally opt for the UHD screen though because you will get better battery life with the lower resolution screen.

The Dell XPS Plus is very powerful (up to 14 core P CPU) but runs hotter, doesn't have a physical function row (to make space for extra cooling) and you can expect worse battery life. I would caution against OLED screens, they look amazing but tend to offer worse battery life, have a risk of image burn in (software can mitigate this) and can cause eye strain. I don't know the details of the Dell XPS Plus OLED panel or the Zenbook S but it's common for laptop OLED panels to use PWM to control the brightness level, essentially the screen flicks on and off very fast rather than simply lowering the power going into the display to make it appear dimmer. This wouldn't necessarily be a problem but I've seen a number of laptops where it does this at a frequency of 60hz, essentially flickering 60 times per second, that's far too low and for some people it can give them headaches.

Looking at notebookchecks review of the 2021 XPS 13 OLED, it flickers at 240hz which is the highest I've seen for OLED, but still on the low side. You can find the details under 'Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)':
https://www.notebookcheck.net/Dell-XPS-13-9310-OLED-Laptop-Review-Is-It-Better-Than-IPS.541450.0.html
 

Nighthawk117

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I also like the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 units, they are a good choice for a durable work notebook. The XPS is perhaps the prettier of the two but that's subjective. There's also the new Lenovo Thinkpad Z13 but that's pushing the budget.
 

technologist

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Thanks for the feedback. I do like the Thinkpad z13. but overall I am a bit underwhelmed by Lenovo's and Dell's quality. That said, it appears to me that the Dell XPS has pretty poor efficiency (performance might be good, but in most tests the battery did not seem to last for even 10 hours).

I have looked at a few more reviews and it appears those are the ones with best performance efficiency. What do you think? I have also checked which ones of those support LTE or 5G.

  • HP Dragonfly G3 (5G and decent spec, battery seems to run long but does HP make good laptops?)
  • Zenbook S 13 OLED AMD 6000 (no LTE)
  • Zenbook 14 (no LTE)
  • ASUS ExpertBook B7 Flip (supports 5G, but how is the performance?)
  • Asus ExpertBook B9450 (unfortunately does not support 5G or LTE)
  • Yoga 6 AMD 5700u (no LTE and not really convinced)
 

Nighthawk117

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Interesting what you say about Lenovo and Dell, I'm typing this on a Lenovo right now. May I ask if you've handled any of the higher end machines from either?

Bare in mind there are two XPS machines, the XPS 13 with a U CPU and the XPS 13 Plus with a P CPU. The former should give you better battery life. Also higher resolution screen options like 4K will drain the battery faster than a 1920 x 1200 screen.

Subjective but my picks from that list would be:
  1. HP Dragonfly G3
  2. Zenbook S 13 OLED
  3. Asus ExpertBook B9450
The Asus ExpertBook B7 Flip seems like a nice laptop, however I can't see it available with the newer 12th gen CPU's. I wouldn't buy last years CPU's now, not in the price range your talking about. You want Intel 12th gen or AMD Ryzen 6000. The more power you buy the longer it will last.

I can't actually see the HP Dragonfly G3 or Zenbook S 13 available anywhere for purchase but those are the two most impressive laptops in the list.

I would ignore the Zenbook 14 and Yoga 6, your not going to be satisfied with those.
 

technologist

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Thanks for the feedback. Do you think HP hardware quality is good?

You might be right about the XPS Plus' performance but based on my research battery life seems to disappoint with 5-7h of run time (Source 1, Source 2)

I have the Lenovo P15 Gen 2. Performance is decent but battery life is a joke. Before, I had a Dell Precision and hardware quality was poor (the battery expanded and pushed the keyboard out of the frame).
I also have the M1 MBP13 and it is probably the best notebook I have used to date in terms of performance and power efficiency as well as compatibility with the Apple Ecosystem (you can easily use your Airpods with youur phone and Macbook without the need to manually reconnect) . However, parallels desktop is just a nightmare to use and for someone who is tied to using Microsoft applications and is reliant on using shortcuts for efficiency, it just simply does not make sense to use MacOS.
 
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Nighthawk117

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Thanks for the feedback. Do you HP hardware quality is good?

You might be right about the XPS Plus' performance but based on my research battery life seems to disappoint with 5-7h of run time (Source 1, Source 2)

I have the Lenovo P15 Gen 2. Performance is decent but battery life is a joke. Before, I had a Dell Precision and hardware quality was poor (the battery expanded and pushed the keyboard out of the frame).
I also have the M1 MBP13 and it is probably the best notebook I have used to date in terms of performance and power efficiency as well as compatibility with the Apple Ecosystem (you can easily use your Airpods with youur phone and Macbook without the need to manually reconnect) . However, parallels desktop is just a nightmare to use and for someone who is tied to using Microsoft applications and is reliant on using shortcuts for efficiency, it just simply does not make sense to use MacOS.
I wouldn't have any concerns about HP's quality personally, but the Dragonfly laptops do tend to be quite expensive. I wouldn't get the XPS Plus, as you say battery life is poor, I would only consider the standard XPS 13. If you want performance the Zenbook S 13 is a better option with it's Ryzen 7 6800U. The Lenovo P15 and Dell Precision are workstations, any of these 13" and 14" laptops will beat them in battery life.

The battery issue you mention isn't specific to Dell, it can happen to any laptop:
https://www.reddit.com/r/mac/comments/pqz2g2 View: https://www.reddit.com/r/mac/comments/pqz2g2/bulge_on_bottom_of_m1_macbook_pro/

https://macpaw.com/how-to/macbook-battery-swelling
 

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