Ultrabooks are the newest breed of laptops defined by Intel to feature high performing processors with optimized battery life in reduced sizes. These are laptops with less than 2.1 cm thickness and weight of less than 1.5 kg. Unlike the more portable netbooks, ultrabooks have medium-sized cases that can operate complex software and graphics. These are slim beauties with power and the newest models to be released will make choice a difficult one for consumers.
1. Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon
Much like any Thinkpad model that came before the X1 Carbon, it is made for business with a simple design devoid of any flair. This time around, the new version of the X1 has a luxurious carbon-coated body and is considered the lightest Thinkpad ever with a 14-inch display at a mere 1.36 kg and no thicker than 0.74 inches. It is powered by an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor with Intel HD 4000 graphics. The basic model comes with 4 GB memory and a 128 GB solid state drive. It bears the same sturdy and durable construction that the Thinkpad is known for without the bulk of the other models. Other features include 3G connectivity, 8-hr battery life, and a glass track pad considered to be the most responsive in the Lenovo line. At a starting price of $1,249, it is probably one of the best ultrabooks to be released to date.
2. Dell Inspiron 14z
Dell’s version of an ultrabook is much cheaper starting at $700, powered by a second generation Core i3 processor. However, Core i5 and Core i7 Ivy Bridge options are available at a higher price tag. It is one of the heavier ultrabooks at 4.1 lbs owing to the fact that it offers an optical disc drive. It comes with storage options of 320GB – 500GB with an additional 32GB SSD. While not as sleek and luxurious as the X1 Carbon, it is considered to be the more student-friendly among the new batch of ultrabooks.
3. Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A
The look and feel of the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A does not stray much from its predecessors with its spun metal lid and metal chassis. It comes with a 13.3-inch IPS display and weighs only 2.9 lbs and only 0.3 inch thick. The basic model costs $1,069 with an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor, 4GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD. Though the ultrabook feels sturdy, the lid seems wobbly which may be attributed to the fact that it is one of the thinner ultrabooks among the new brands coming out.
4. Toshiba Satellite U840W
The Toshiba Satellite U840W is the most uncommon among the new ultrabooks with its 14.4-inch display at 21:9 aspect ratio – much like the ratio of a movie theater screen. It sports a machined aluminum design, a backlit keyboard, chrome-ringed feet, and Harman Kardon speakers. It runs on Ivy Bridge processors and choice of storage to either an HDD or a 256 SSD. Despite its unusual length, it is lightweight and only 0.5-inch thick. The entry level model is priced at $999.
5. Sony Vaio T13
Sony’s first ultrabook is targeted for students with its low price and stylish design. The Sony Vaio T13 comes in a silver brushed aluminum design with a 13-inch display and Ivy Bridge Processors (US version). Though only 0.71 inch thick, it appears to be chubbier than other ultrabooks, weighing about 3.45 lbs. With an entry level price of $770, it’s one of the more mediocre models among the new ultrabooks. Still, it is a decent ultrabook for Sony’s first step into the market.
Though no new feature stands out for this new wave of ultrabooks, the more innovative models are expected to come out in another year or so. Future ultrabooks are expected to have touchscreen controls, voice recognition, and a new processor code-named Haswell. Until then, the prospect for ultrabooks appears bright and this new breed of notebook is definitely here to stay.