The vast majority of ultraportable laptops available in the last years have been built on Intel Core U hardware-platforms, with options for dual-core processors with and without HyperThreading.
And while I find that the Kaby Lake hardware generation provides solid performance for everyday tasks like browsing and editing texts and watching movies, especially when paired with the right amount of RAM and the fast SSDs available these days, there’s still only that much a dual-core CPU can do in terms of multitasking and intense multi-core loads.
This changes as of Q3 2017 with the introduction of the Intel KabyLake-R (Refresh) line which includes the first low-voltage quad-core processors Intel is going to put in portable laptops. These are part of Intel’s 8th generation of chips, thus they get a 8 after the dash in the denomination, but they are in fact a revised version of the Kaby Lake architecture and nor the Coffee Lake or the Cannon Lake series, both scheduled for the future.
We’re not going to get in depth on the performance of these quad-core Core U notebook-processors in this post, will save that for other articles (here’s the one that covers the Core i5-8250U, with more updates to come). We will however mention below the CPUs that are part of the KabyLake-R series and their particularities, and then we’ll jump to the main topic of the article, the list of Core U quad-core ultraportable laptops you will be able to find in stores in the months to come.
First of all, these are the Core U Kaby Lake R processors that we’re aware of at the time of this post (to be updated).
- Core i5-8250U – 1.6 GHz base clock with up to 3.4 GHz Turbo, HyperThreading, 6MB L3 cache – $297;
- Core i5-8350U – 1.7 GHz base clock with up to 3.6 GHz Turbo, HyperThreading, 6MB L3 cache – $297;
- Core i7-8550U – 1.8 GHz base clock with up to 4 GHz Turbo, HyperThreading, 8MB L3 cache – $409;
- Core i7-8650U – 1.9 GHz base clock with up to 4.2 GHz Turbo, HyperThreading, 8MB L3 cache – $409.
They share a few common traits, like the 15 W TDP, 14 nm lithography, support for up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory and the Intel HD 620 graphics chip integrated within the die. The increased number of cores is the strong selling point here, while the graphics inside is the same as on the standard KabyLake dual-core options, just capable of running a little faster.
You will however notice that the base clocks of these quad-core CPUs are much lower than those of the existing dual-core Kaby Lake processors, but that compensates by Turbo speeds, so performance per core is pretty much on par with the Core i5-7200U or i7-7500U. Multi-core performance gets a major boost though. We already spent some time with laptops built on this platform and can confirm the fact that the quad-cores show 30 to 60% gains in benchmarks and certain demanding loads, but we can’t share anything else for now.
Price wise the quad-core CPUs are only marginally more expensive than the dual-cores ($281 for i5-7200U, $297 for i7-8250U; $393 for i7-7500U, $403 for i7-8550U), so the newer configurations won’t cost an arm and a leg. There is however one important question that remains to be answered in reviews, and that’s how will these quad-cores perform thermally and acoustically in these thin-and-light laptops that were already running pretty hot with dual-core builds, as well as whether they’ll be able to consistently maintain their Turbo Speeds in continuous loads. Stay around for details in our future tests.
Knowing all these things, let’s jump to the actual list of laptops built on these quad-core ULVs, available below. Details are still very scarce for now, but the list is a continuous work in progress and we’re constantly updating it. However, if you spot anything that’s not in here and it should be, please tell us about it in the comments section at the end.
|Acer Aspire 5 A515||clamshell||15.6″ TN HD / IPS FHD matte||Core U w/ Nvidia MX150||48 Wh||2.1 kg / 4.6 lbs||$799|
|Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N||convertible||13.3″ IPS touch||Core U w/ Intel UHD 620||54 Wh||1.5 kg / 3.3 lbs||$799|
|Acer Swift 3 SF314-52||clamshell||14.0″ IPS||Core U w/ Nvidia MX150||48 Wh||1.7 kg / 3.75 lbs||$799|
|Acer Swift 3 SF315-51G||clamshell||15.6″ IPS||Core U w/ Nvidia MX150||48 Wh||2.1 kg / 4.6 lbs||$699|
|Asus VivoBook S410UN||clamshell||14.0″ IPS matte||Core U w/ Nvidia MX150||42 Wh||1.45 kg / 3.2 lbs||–|
|Asus VivoBook S406UA||clamshell||14.0″ IPS mattte||Core U w/ Intel HD 620||39 Wh||1.2 kg / 2.7 lbs||–|
|Asus Zenbook 13 UX331UN||clamshell||13.3″ IPS mattte / touch||Core U w/ Nvidia MX150||50 Wh||1.13 kg / 2.5 lbs||–|
|Asus Zenbook UX430UAR||clamshell||14.0″ IPS FHD matte||Core U w/ Intel UHD 620||50 Wh||1.25 kg / 2.75 lbs||–|
|Asus Zenbook Flip S UX370||convertible||13.3″ IPS FHD touch||Core U w/ Intel UHD 620||39 Wh||1.1 kg / 2.42 lbs||–|
|Asus Zenbook Flip UX561UN||convertible||15.6″ IPS FHD touch||Core U w/ Nvidia MX150||52 Wh||1.9 kg / 4.2 lbs||–|
|Asus Zenbook Flip UX561UD||convertible||15.6″ IPS FHD / UHD touch||Core U w/ Nvidia 1050||52 Wh||2.1 kg / 4.65 lbs||–|
|Dell Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1 (5379)||convertible||13.3″ IPS FHD touch||Core U w/ Intel UHD 620||42 Wh||1.7 kg / 3.71 lbs||$799|
|Dell Inspiron 13 7000 (7370)||convertible||13.3″ IPS FHD matte/touch||Core U w/ Intel UHD 620||38 Wh||1.40 kg / 3.1 lbs||$799|
|Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1||convertible||13.3″ IPS FHD touch||Core U w/ Intel UHD 620||42 Wh||1.75 kg / 3.86 lbs||$879|
|Dell Inspiron 15 5000 2-in-1 (5579)||clamshell||15.6″ IPS FHD touch||Core U w/ Intel UHD 620||42Wh||2.2 kg / 4.85 lbs||$749|
|Dell Inspiron 15 7000 (7570)||clamshell||15.6″ IPS FHD/UHD touch/matte||Core U w/ Nvidia 940MX||42 or 56 Wh||1.99 kg / 4.4 lbs||$799|
|Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 (7579)||convertible||15.6″ IPS FHD touch||Core U w/ Nvidia 940MX||42 Wh||2.65 kg / 5.84 lbs||$849|
|Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 (7773)||convertible||17.3″ IPS FHD touch||Core U w/ Nvidia MX150||56 Wh||3.0 kg / 6.6 lbs||$999|
|Dell XPS 13 9370 (?)||clamshell||13.3″ IPS FHD matte or QHD+ touch||Core U w/ Intel UHD 620||60 Wh||1.3 kg / 2.7 lbs||$799|
|HP Envy 13||clamshell||13.3″ IPS FHD matte or QHD+ touch||Core U w/ Nvidia MX150||57.8 Wh||1.42 kg / 3.15 lbs||–|
|HP Envy 15||clamshell||15.6″ IPS FHD touch||Core U w/ Intel UHD 620||52 Wh||2.05 kg / 4.5 lbs||–|
|HP Envy 17||clamshell||17.6″ IPS FHD touch||Core U w/ Nvidia MX150||55.8 Wh||3.05 kg / 6.7 lbs||$1100|
|HP Envy x360 15t||convertbile||15.6″ IPS FHD touch||Core U w/ Nvidia MX150||55.8 Wh||2.17 kg / 4.8 lbs||–|
|HP Pavilion 15||clamshell||15.6″ HD/FHD matte||Core U w/ Intel UHD 620||41 Wh||1.90 kg / 4.2 lbs||~$600|
|HP Spectre Pavilion x360 14t||convertible||14.0″ IPS touch||Core U w/ Nvidia 940Mx||41 Wh||1.72 kg / 3.8 lbs||–|
|HP Spectre x360 15||convertible||15.6″ IPS UHD touch||Core U w/ Nvidia MX150||79 Wh||2.00 kg / 4.42 lbs||$1279|
|HP ProBook 440||clamshell||14.0″ HD/FHD matte||Core U w/ Intel UHD 620||48 Wh||1.65 kg / 3.6 lbs||–|
|HP Spectre x360 13||convertible||13.3″ IPS FHD touch||Core U w/ Intel UHD 620||57.8 Wh||1.29 kg / 2.85 lbs||–|
|HP Spectre Pro||clamshell||13.3″ IPS FHD||Core U w/ Intel UHD 620||38 Wh||1.2 kg / 2.65 lbs||–|
|Lenovo IdeaPad 320s 15-inch||clamshell||15.6″ IPS FHD||Core U w/ Nvidia 1040 (?)||52 Wh||1.90 kg / 4.2 lbs||$699|
|Lenovo IdeaPad 520s||clamshell||14.0″ IPS FHD touch||Core U w/ Nvidia 940MX||52 Wh||1.70 kg / 3.75 lbs||–|
|Lenovo Legion Y720||convertible||15.6″ IPS FHD glossy||Core U w/ Radeon MX550 / MX560||60 Wh||3.2 kg / 7.1 lbs||–|
|Lenovo Miix 520||tablet + folio||12.2″ IPS FHD touch||Core U w/ Intel UHD 620||39 Wh||~2.25 kg / 2.77 lbs||$999|
|Lenovo Yoga 920||convertible||13.9″ IPS FHD/UHD touch||Core U w/ Intel UHD 620||70 Wh||~1.3 kg / 3.0 lbs||–|
|Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro||clamshell||15.6″ IPS FHD glossy||Core U w/ Nvidia MX150||60 Wh||1.95 kg / 4.3 lbs||$1199|
Here’s a short glossary of the terms mentioned above:
- clamshell: traditional computer whose screen closes on top of the keyboard and does not flip into any sort of tablet mode;
- convertible: 2-in-1 laptop whose screen rotates or converts to a tablet mode (or similar), but cannot be detached from the base;
- detachable: 2-in-1 laptop whose screen detaches from a solid base and can be used independently as a tablet;
- tablet + folio: stand-alone tablet paired with matching keyboad-folio;
- slider: 2-in-1 laptop whose screen slides up and down on top of the body and reveals a keyboard hidden underneath.
- Resolutions: HD ( 1366 x 768 px), WXGA+ (1440 x 900 px), HD+ (1600 x 900 px), FHD (1920 x 1080 px), WUXGA (1920 x 1200 px) FHD+ (2160 x 1440 px), retina (2304 x 1440 px), QHD (2560 x 1440 px), WQXGA (2560 x 1600 px), QHD+ (3200 x 1800 px), UHD (3840 x 2160 px) – also see this post;
That’s about it for now, but like I said earlier, we’re constantly updating this list and adding new ultraportble laptops built on Intel KabyLake-R / Coffee Lake quad-core Core U processors. The comments section below is also open for any suggestions and questions, and we’re around to help out if we can.