Monday, January 21, 2013

Ultrabook Review















The ultrabook is the PC's answer to consumers who are demanding ever-more-portable electronic devices. Intel has defined the requirements for this new laptop design, and manufacturers are making new notebooks with a slim form factor, lightweight design and high-end specs for a relatively low cost. If you're sick of packing around a laptop that's anything but portable, you need to check out the ultralight ultrabooks in our comparison and free yourself once and for all from heavy hardware. Our top picks are the Macbook Air, the Toshiba Protégé and the HP Envy 14 Spectre. For more information, see our articles on ultrabooks.
When you weigh the difference between your old laptop and a new ultrabook, the sheer physical difference is evident. And besides the obvious physical advantages of having a personal computer that weighs less than 3 pounds and is barely thicker than a half inch, these devices have more than five hours of battery life and will start up from sleep mode in less than four seconds. Kiss your slow, clunky laptop goodbye and make room (though it doesn't need much) for the all new ultrabook.

Ultrabooks: What to Look For

Because Intel has set the minimum requirements, there are a few things you can expect in any ultrabook. Notebooks with a display smaller than 13.3 inches max out at 18mm thick, and those with displays larger than 14 inches much be thinner than 21mm. All of these units will be remarkably thin, but other design elements can vary significantly. These are such things as battery life, screen resolution, startup time and overall aesthetics. You want performance without sacrificing design and more features without adding much weight. Here are the categories we used to rank the best ultrabooks available.
Performance
As with any type of electronic device, you want something that performs the simple, everyday tasks you need it to. On top of that, expect to find an ultrabook that doesn't slow down your CPU. You shouldn't have to sacrifice speed for sleek design, and most of the computers we reviewed run at quick speeds from 1.6GHz to 2.9GHz. And if you are computer savvy, you can easily set these CPUs to run, consistently, at higher speeds.
Design
The whole premise of ultrabooks lies in their slim, light, minimalist design. The chic designs we've seen could fit in at a Paris fashion show as easily as they fit in your backpack. The design also includes screen resolution. The top products have the ability to give you high-resolution viewing with deep colors and rich textures.
Features
These devices are lightweights, but they aren't light on features. Look for ones that come with standard wireless function, Bluetooth capability and built-in, high-def webcams. There are also more extensive features such as security tools and fingerprint readers.

Memory & Battery Life
All the ultrabook laptops are packed with enough RAM to ease your mind. When it comes to storage, though, these sleek computers don't come with huge hard drives. One of the ideas of these ultra thin notebooks is to remove the dependency on hard disks and move to the Cloud. This is the large online database where you can store music, movies and more.
As far as battery life goes, these small laptops come with enough battery life to let you watch multiple movies, or go on Facebook for hours, without being tethered to an outlet. And to be classified as an ultrabook, the device has to have at least five hours of battery life.
Help & Support
It's always nice to have a company backing a product you've purchased. You may need some technical help or have an issue you need some help troubleshooting. Many manufacturers have websites with user forums where you can chat with other consumers, and some have live support features where you can talk to a professional, just in case you need extra-quick help.
When you combine all of these features in a sliver-thin notebook, you get an ultrabook. Many companies are packing screens with high-definition clarity that would be phenomenal on any display, but it's unbelievable on a screen that is 8mm thick. Outstanding features and portable design make the perfect combination for anyone who wants increased mobility and the newest technology.


Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Toshiba Satellite U845-S406 HP Envy 14 Spectre MacBook Air Asus Zenbook UX31 HP Envy 4 Dell XPS 13 Samsung 900X3A Lenovo IdeaPad U300s Lenovo U310 Novatech nFinity N1401
Toshiba Satellite U845-S406 HP Envy 14 Spectre MacBook Air Asus Zenbook UX31 HP Envy 4 Dell XPS 13 Samsung 900X3A Lenovo IdeaPad U300s Lenovo U310 Novatech nFinity N1401
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Lowest Price
Visit Toshiba Satellite U845-S406
$768.69
Visit HP Envy 14 Spectre
$1,079.65
Visit MacBook Air
$948.00
Visit Asus Zenbook UX31
$949.99
Visit HP Envy 4
$669.99
Visit Dell XPS 13
$1,199.99
Visit Samsung 900X3A
$875.00
Visit Lenovo IdeaPad U300s
$925.00
Visit Lenovo U310
$738.00
Visit Novatech nFinity N1401
$889.45
Ratings 9.859.239.208.538.408.387.837.707.507.13


 
Performance
Processor Intel i5-3317U Intel i5-2467M Intel i5-2467M Intel i5-2557M Intel i3-3217U Intel i5-2467M Intel i5-2467M Intel i7-2677M Intel Core i5-3317U Intel i3-2367M
Processor Speed 1.7 GHz 1.6 GHz 1.7 GHz 1.6 GHz 1.8 GHz 2.30 GHz 1.6 GHz 1.8 GHz 1.7 GHz 1.4 GHz
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 4000 Intel HD 3D Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4000 Intel HD Graphics 3000 Intel HD Graphics 4000 Intel HD Graphics 3000 Intel HD Graphics 3000 Intel HD Graphics 3000 Intel HD 4000 Integrated Graphics
Audio Integrated SRS Premium Sound 3D Beats Audio Integrated Bang & Olfusen ICEpower SonicMaster Beats Audio Waves MaxxAudio 4 Integrated HD Premium Surround Integrated HD Premium Surround Dolby Home Theater Integrated
Design
Rapid Start









Screen Resolution 1366 x 768 1600 x 900 1366 x 768 1600 x 900 1366 x 768 1366 x 768 1600 x 900 1366 x 768 1366 x 768 1366 x 768
Screen Size (Inches) 14 14 11.6 13.3 14 13.3 13.3 13.3 13.3 14
Thickness (Inches) 0.80 0.79 0.27 at the front 0.66 at the rear 0.35 0.78 0.23 at the front 0.70 at the rear 0.64 0.60 0.70 0.71
Width (Inches) 13.5 12.88 11.8 13.3 13.38 12.4 12.9 12.8 8.8 13.11
Depth (Inches) 9.1 8.7 7.56 8.9 9.28 8.1 8.9 8.5 13.1 9
Weight (Lbs) 3.9 3.97 2.38 3 3.98 3 2.88 3 3.75 2.75
Features
Memory Card Reader









Wireless









USB Ports 3 2 2 2 3 2 2 2 3 3
Webcam









Built-in Mic









Bluetooth









HDMI Port

 






Multi-Touch Keypad


 


 

Spill Resistant Keyboard
 
       
Backlit Keyboard


 


  
Fingerprint Reader
         
Memory & Battery Life
Memory 6GB DDR3 8GB DDR3 4GB DDR3 4GB DDR3 4GB 4GB DDR3 4GB DDR3 4GB DDR3 4GB 4GB DDR3
Storage 500GB 256GB 128GB 128GB 500GB 256GB 256GB 256GB 500GB 128GB SSD
Battery Life (Hours) 7.88 9 5-7 7 8 9 7 8 7 7
Help & Support
Warranty 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 3 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year