The Best Ultrabooks Under $800

There’s no easy way to put it. A $800 Ultrabook is going to come with compromises. The best Ultrabooks show up at prices above $1,000, but you can still get a decent Ultrabook for under $800. I’ve done my best to identify the best value for your money when it comes to Ultrabooks under $800, but you have to realize that some corners had to be cut in order to get the lower price and make sure that you can live with the compromises made. Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at the best Ultrabooks under $800.

Best Ultrabooks Under $800 - Sony Vaio T13

Sony Vaio T13 Ultrabook

Price as configured: $799.99
Processor: 3rd Gen Intel Core i5-3317U Processor
Display: 13.3″ Glossy LED Display (1366 x 768)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000
Storage: 500GB + 32GB MLC Hybrid Hard Drive
Memory: 6GB (4GB Fixed + 2GB removable)
Reviews: Engadget | PCWorld | Laptop Magazine

At 3.45 pounds and 0.71-inches thick, the Sony Vaio T13 isn’t the thinnest or lighted laptop, but this allows it to offer better port selection than some of its competitors. The Sony Vaio T13 features an ethernet jack, HDMI and VGA ports, a SD card slot, and two USB ports (1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0). The Sony Vaio T13 doesn’t excel in any one area, but it does a good job covering all of its bases. The trackpad is pretty responsive, but the keyboard is pretty bad. Viewing angles on the display are poor and the screen is glossy. The sound won’t get any parties started. Oh, and you’re getting a hybrid drive instead of a full SSD. While there are a lot of areas of improvement, it doesn’t seem that the Sony Vaio T13 has any deal killers.

Best Ultrabooks Under $800 - Lenovo Ideapad U310

Lenovo IdeaPad U310

Price as configured: $799.99
Processor: 3rd Gen Intel Core i5-3317U Processor
Display: 13.3″ Glossy LED Display (1366 x 768)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000
Storage: 500GB HD + 32GB SSD
Memory: 4GB
Reviews: TheVerge | Engadget | HotHardware

The beauty of the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 is one of the most apparent aspects of this Ultrabook when first laying eyes on it. Unlike many other Ultrabooks, the IdeaPad U310 keeps the same height throughout the chassis rather than opting for a wedge-like design. The keyboard functions well, as does the glass clickpad. However, the fan noise can get quite loud and you’re still getting a hybrid drive and a glossy screen. But if you’re shopping for an Ultrabook under $800 and you type a lot, this may be your best bet.

Best Ultrabooks Under $800 - HP Envy TouchSmart 4

HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4t

Price as configured: $824.99 (I know, technically not under $800)
Processor: 3rd Gen Intel Core i5-3317U Processor
Display: 13.3″ Glossy LED Display (1366 x 768)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000
Storage: 500GB HD + 32GB SSD
Memory: 4GB
Reviews: Laptop Magazine | NotebookReview | ConsumerReports

Starting to notice a pattern? Most of the Ultrabooks at the $800 price point some with the same specifications. They have the same processor, the same amount of RAM, the same hybrid storage configuration, and the same display. Really, the Ultrabook isn’t yet built to provide an optimal performance at the $800 price point, and it seems like that shows in each laptop. The design of the HP Envy TouchSmart 4 is slick looking, but its display and keyboard have the same faults as the other laptops in this round-up. One place where the Envy TouchSmart 4 does excel is audio. This Ultrabook is assist by Beats Audio, which means it sounds better than the typical Ultrabook, but it’s not going help you rack up any noise violations. Going beyond the audio, this Ultrabook sets itself apart from the others in this round-up with its touch-enabled display. This will allow you to use touch in Windows 8, the way that the Windows 8 UI is meant to be navigated.

Conclusion

Overall, if you’re shopping for an $800 laptop, I think you might be best served saving up an extra $200 and going for a much better Ultrabook, or simply buying a better laptop that isn’t quite as thin and light. The corners that have to be cut with current Ultrabooks to get to the $800 price point result in a less than optimal computing experience. The above list includes the best Ultrabooks under $800, but none of these would ever be considered for the list of best Ultrabooks under $1,000. The quality difference between an $800 Ultrabook and a $1,000 Ultrabook is fairly significant. You need to look at your requirements and determine whether these Ultrabooks will fulfill your needs, or if something different is in order.

2 Responses to “The Best Ultrabooks Under $800”

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  1. Mike says:

    I’m a big fan of Apple products bought used or at their refurb store. I’ve found that most Apple users are obsessed with keeping their products pristine, so buying used has never been a problem for me! It is easy to pick up a like-new Macbook Air for under $800!

    • Will says:

      Great point Mike! I agree, a use MacBook Air can be a great choice. Apple users on average absolutely take better care of their products than PC users (maybe it’s because they pay more on average up-front? not sure). I’ve purchased a refurbished laptop in the past (a Dell Latitude) and had no issues and it was in great shape when I got it (most business laptop refurbished units are laptops that have simply been returned by businesses but cannot be sold as new).

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