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What is an ultrabook: the future of thin and light laptops

Updated on November 6, 2011

The term

Perhaps you’ve heard of a device called “Ultrabook” in the recent time, and you are wondering “what is an ultrabook?” Well is a term used by Intel to define a new class of ultra portable laptops. The ultrabook has very interesting characteristics: is very thin (less than 0.8 inch/20 mm thickness), is lightweight (no more than 3.1 pounds/1.4 kg), has a long battery life (from 5 to 8 hours or more), an ultra-fast start up, uses flash-based SSD, Intel's graphics sub-system HD 3000 and a low voltage Intel processor, but probably the most interesting characteristic is the affordable price because the base model for this kind of ultra portable laptop is under 1.000 USD.

Macbook Air - the first real ultrabook
Macbook Air - the first real ultrabook

Intel planned 3 phases for the ultrabook, the first one will take place in late 2011 and includes all the characteristics above but the most important one is the incorporation of a new CULV (Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage) processor called Sandy Bridge (Nehalem's successor). The second phase is programmed for 2012 and consists in changing the Sandy Bridge with the CULV IvyBridge processor that should be 30% better in integrated graphics performance and 20% better in CPU performance, the phase two ultrabook will also support USB 3.0 and PCI Express 3.0.The third phase ultrabook is going to be released in 2013 using a new CULV Intel processor called Haswel that will succeed the Sandy Bridge and will have a new advanced power saving system.

If you haven’t figured out what is an ultrabook good at? and you are thinking “is thin and light, just like a tablet so why not buy a tablet instead?” well the tablet does a good job on the entertainment aria but is not really recommended for the work aria while the ultrabook does a good job in both situations, one of the advantages of the tablet is the touch screen that could be very useful in some cases, but is not excluded that the touch screen feature will appear on ultrabooks in the future time.

Ultrabook or tablet

What would you rather have: an ultrabook or a tablet?

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Final words

So if you plan to have an ultrabook in his first phase you should have the best ultrabook that fits your needs, although the dimensions and the configurations may vary from one manufacturer to an other, one thing is for sure, all of them will use the Intel Sandy Bridge processor and you can chose which one you want from a large variety of models but the recommended ones are these, the Core i5-2467M (1.6 GHz), the Core i5-2557M (1.7 GHz), the Core i7-2637M (1.7 GHz) and the Core i7-2677M (1.8 GHz).

The ultrabook is going to represent 40% of the consumer laptop market segment, according to Intel’s estimations, and looking at what is an ultrabook, what can he do and how much it costs there is a good probability that Intel’s estimations will be real.

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