Ultrabooks vs. Laptops

The laptop was one of the most important innovations in personal computers. The earliest models may have been simple and kind of clunky, but they could do almost as much as a standard desktop PC. Today’s laptops are much like standard desktops, yet their portability makes them far more useful. People take laptops almost anywhere and, as long as they have enough battery life, they do all that a much bigger and allegedly “better” computer can do.

Like computers, laptops have advanced over the years. Recently, they’ve faced stiff competition from tablets and powerful smart phones. Some people have claimed that devices such as the iPad represent the future of computers. Meanwhile, others argue that laptops still remain popular and relevant thanks to some innovations, not the least of which is the ultrabook. An ultrabook is a specific category of “designer” laptop with more business-friendly features similar to those of a tablet. It is also noticeably thinner and lighter than most laptops, combining the portability of a tablet with the versatility of a more “traditional” computer. Ultrabooks were first developed by Intel in 2011. Newer models released by Intel include more features such as touch screens and detachable keyboards that further blur the line between laptops and tablets.

What Makes a Laptop an Ultrabook

The specifications of what qualifies as an ultrabook seem to change as Intel develops new innovations for their products. In 2011, the ultrabook specifications included a thickness of less than 20 millimeters, a high-performance and low-voltage Intel processor, storage in the form of solid-state drives (or SSDs) and a battery life of eight hours or longer. Unfortunately, ultrabooks are often more expensive than laptops. While a cheap, no-frills laptop can be purchased for as low as $300, most ultrabooks cost around $1,000. They have become less expensive in recent months, with some models being comparable in price to laptops.

Comparing Ultrabooks to Laptops

Technically, an ultrabook is a lighter and more high-tech version of a laptop, but there are a few significant differences between the two machines. Most of these differences relate to how each machine is used. Business professionals who tend to travel a lot may prefer an ultrabook for its more business-friendly apps / features and its greater portability. Ultrabooks are incredibly thin and light, making them easier to store and carry. The solid-state drive of an ultrabook is also far less likely to become damaged over time than a laptop’s hard drive, making it a much better form of data storage. Ultrabooks also have between five and six hours of battery life, making it ideal for those who take their device on the go.

Though ultrabooks can be useful, there are still some benefits to having a high-end laptop. Laptops tend to have better graphics, making them preferable for those who like to play the latest and most graphics-intensive games. Many laptops also have built-in broadband capability while most ultrabooks rely on Wi-Fi. Laptops also have built-in CD/DVD drives, a feature that ultrabooks usually lack.

While ultrabooks are incredibly useful for those who want a reliable device to run their business applications, there are still some good reasons to choose a more “traditional” laptop instead. In the end, the choice between a laptop and an ultrabook comes down to what you need to do with your new computer. If you want an all-purpose computer that can play the latest games as well as surf the Internet, you’re better off with a laptop. If you need a reliable, portable device that can be taken on business trips, go with an ultrabook. As always, think carefully before making your purchase!

Vince McDermott has a lifelong passion for technology and actively contributes articles on topics such as the tech industry, gadgets, gizmos, computer software, laptops, accessories such as the kensington ipad keyboard case, video games and other topics too.