The laptop market is simply huge nowadays – there are so many models to choose from that you start to get tired by all the details. But the future of laptops seems to lie in Intel’s Ultrabook design, which are basically ultra-slim laptops with a long battery life and a performance level comparable to the current mid-range laptops.
That’s actually a pretty impressive feat, and it only became possible recently with the new low power processors from Intel, but the prices are definitely not bad for what you get – in fact, Intel is aiming for most consumer Ultrabooks to cost under $999. If you’re looking for a new laptop, whether it’s for work or personal use, you should definitely pay attention to Ultrabooks, and below I’ve listed 5 of the most attractive models that are currently on the market:
1. Asus ZenBook UX31
The ZenBook UX31 is one of the most attractive Ultrabooks, especially if you want to get the best display. The UX31 has a very nice 1600×900 pixels screen, which is great for work and entertainment – you won’t find it on any other mainstream Ultrabooks, that’s for sure. The other specs are great, as well: the laptop uses Intel’s Core i7 ULV processor and has the option of 4 to 8 GB RAM, as well as a 128 or 256 GB SSD inside. The build quality is top notch, with the ZenBook being made of aluminum and magnesium throughout.
2. HP Folio 13
HP’s Folio 13 is the poor man’s Ultrabook – it’s the most affordable one you can find at only $700. Despite the plastic construction and being slightly thicker and heavier than other Ultrabooks, the Folio 13 does not disappoint when it comes to hardware performance – it’s just as fast as most of the other Ultrabooks thanks to the 128 GB SSD, Core i5-2467M CPU and 4 GB of RAM. As an added plus, the Folio 13 has a backlit keyboard, Ethernet jack and a 6 cell battery that lasts up to 9 hours – worth the extra thickness, I think.
3. Toshiba Portege Z830
Toshiba has wowed everyone with the Z830 – it’s a very well built, powerful Ultrabook that costs less than any other competitor in the same class. The high quality metal housing is very slim and light, and the Core i7 processor, 4-6 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB SSD will provide all the performance you might need. It even has an Ethernet jack and a backlit and spill-resistant keyboard, but what really amazes everyone is the sub-$1000 price.
4. Lenovo IdeaPad U300s
Lenovo has several models in the new U series, but the U300s is the only true Ultrabook. It’s very slim at 15mm and light at 1.32 kg, and it has pretty much everything you need for a comfortable experience. The housing is all metal, although it’s not a unibody design and there’s some flex in the display lid (which is extremely thin!). The performance is on par with all the other Ultrabooks on this list, thanks to the Core i5 or i7 processor, 4-6 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB SSD. It’s a great choice if you like Lenovos, but the price is not as attractive as the Z830 or Folio 13 above.
5. Apple MacBook Air 13-inch
Intel may have coined the Ultrabook term and specifications, but it is the MacBook Air that actually started the whole ultra-slim laptop trend – this machine has been around for a couple of years already. The latest model has everything it needs to easily compete with any Ultrabooks, including a very nice 1440×900 pixels display, Core i7 processor, 128 or 256 GB SSD and 4 GB of RAM, plus the trademark Apple unibody design, which is still the sturdiest on the market. The price is actually comparable to other Ultrabooks – the Air is only $100 more expensive than the extremely similar ZenBook UX31, so if you like Apple products, the investment is definitely worth it.
There are plenty more Ultrabooks coming to the market in the following months, and by the end of the year, we’ll have more than enough of them – especially if the rumors about the new MacBook Pros being Ultrabooks competitors turn out to be true. But if you can’t wait and need a new laptop now, the above models are a great choice for any purpose.