The newest breed of laptops to hit the shelves is now extremely light, thin, and powerful. Dubbed by Intel as ultrabooks, these laptops are designed to offer convenience without compromising quality. Unlike the more portable netbooks, ultrabooks are built with more powerful processors and longer battery life without the weight. The concept was first introduced by Intel in 2011, but its popularity with consumers picked up only in 2012 when many realized they can now get the same sleek features of a Macbook Air without the hefty price tag. But with almost all major laptop brands creating their own version, it’s almost impossible to decide which one to buy.
Choosing the right ultrabook for will depend much on which feature is valued most. Here are some tips to guide consumers in finding the right ultrabook to fit the bill.
1. Storage Capacity
For those who prefer speed and performance, a solid state drive (SSD) is the best option. However, SSD drives are more expensive and have lower capacity, typically at only 160GB. Ultrabooks with the traditional hard disk drives are built with a 320GB capacity but are significantly slower than SSDs. If you want the best of both worlds, hybrids are available that sport both HDDs and SSDs. Hybrids are optimized by having the operating system stored in the SSD along with more frequently used programs.
2. Screen Size and Resolution
The earliest ultrabooks launched had a 13-inch screen size similar to the Macbook Air. But newer models now come with 14-inch and even 15- inch screens. But what may be more important than size is the ultrabook’s resolution. Displays with larger pixels offer more detail but will certainly cost a bit more. It would also be advisable to check the viewing angles of the screen. Some models now offer the option to tilt the LCD monitor as far back as 180 degrees.
3. Ports and Slots
Since a typical ultrabook is thinner than 2.1cm, different brands have come up with various combinations of ports and slots. It will depend on what a user is willing to live without. Those who frequently integrate other gadgets with their laptop will prefer one with an SD card slot while ultrabooks intended for corporate use will be better with a VGA port for projectors and Ethernet port for wired internet connections. The bigger sized ultrabook can usually accommodate a DVD drive, but the smaller ones will not have the room for one.
4. Battery Life
Most ultrabooks have sealed batteries that can’t be replaced or come with extended batteries. Some brands boast of a 24-hr battery life but this is hardly the case. It’s best to look for reviews in the net that show test results on battery use. One that runs longer than 6 hours are good bets, but there are brands like Lenovo and HP that have the juice for as much as 7 hours.
5. Design and Build
To make the ultrabook light, different brands use lightweight materials for the case. It is best to choose one that is sturdy and durable. The best ones are made of carbon fiber and/or aluminum and most have touchpads without buttons. With or without buttons, it’s important to test the touchpad and choose one with a better touch response and more gestures. Again, it would be good to read through reviews to get an expert’s opinion on the touchpad quality.
Since the first batch of ultrabooks have just been released it is expected that upcoming models may offer much improved features as different brands scramble to secure a larger market share. If your laptop can still hold for a few months, you may see a new wave of ultrabook models that may trump the current batch with an even longer battery life or enhanced display resolution.