What is an ultrabook?

Laptops: What is an ultrabook?

  • What is an ultrabook?
  • What are the benefits of ultrabooks?
  • What are the downsides of ultrabooks?
Ultrabooks have been a hot topic recently and we’ve already seen launches from major manufacturers including Samsung, HP and Dell, but what exactly is an ultrabook?

What is an ultrabook?

Intel coined the phrase ‘Ultrabook’ and set out specifications manufacturers have to conform to in order to be able to call their laptop an ultrabook. Ultrabooks must be less than 18mm thick and the slim design means internal parts, such as the battery and the motherboard, all have to be redesigned to fit.

According to Intel, more than 75 ultrabook designs are coming in 2012 in a variety of screen sizes and styles. So what might the ultrabooks of the future bring?  Intel hints at touchscreen devices and convertible devices that can turn into tablets. One thing’s for sure, we’ll definitely be seeing more of them.

Read the latest ultrabook reviews from our lab tests to find the best models from Asus, Samsung, HP, Dell and all the major brands.

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What are the benefits of ultrabooks?

Dell XPS 13

Ultrabooks aim to be slim, stylish and powerful

Ultrabooks aim to give users everything in terms of portability and power, with few compromises. The models we’ve seen are much lighter and slimmer than a traditional laptop, generally weighing only around 1.5kg.

They look good, too; design is key to these premium models and is aided by the use of quality materials like aluminium, magnesium alloy and carbon fibre.

On the inside you’ll find the latest Intel Core i processors for processing. They commonly use solid state drives (SSD) rather than traditional hard disk storage too – or some a combination of both. This should mean you get much faster speeds when transferring data. You should be able to expect a reasonable battery life of at least five hours, but some manufacturers are promising up to nine – enough for all day use.

What are the downsides of ultrabooks?

One of the major downsides is the price. While some ultrabooks are a little more affordable, the great majority of ultrabooks cost around £1,000.

Some features are missing due to the slim form factor – probably the most noticeable is the lack of an optical disk drive on most models. And although SSD storage is fast it doesn’t give you as much space – most only go up to 128GB as anything more will cost a lot more money.

Most ultrabooks we’ve seen so far have a rather similar design, not a major downside, but it would be nice to see a bit more variation in the next generation of models.

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