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.
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.
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.
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.