- Consumer Electronics & Personal Gadgets
Best Ultrabooks – Top Rated Ultrabooks 2014
This short guide will teach you all you need to know about ultrabooks and will help you make the right decision if you’re interested in buying one.
First of all, Ultrabook is an Intel trademark term used to describe the new generation of laptops which had to be thinner, powered by Intel Core processors, and would have increased portability and longer battery life than other laptops.
Ultrabooks have been around since 2011, when Intel announced the concept at Computex. According to the latest standards required by Intel, the new ultrabooks must include touchscreens and run Windows 8.
Ultrabooks are meant to be a direct competitor to the tablet PCs, which lately gained a significant share of the mobile computing market. The main advantage over tablets is the processing power, a powerful processor and plenty of RAM memory, which is the same as of a desktop PC, allowing you to run the same complex software applications that you could usually run only on your desktop PC.
2.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache
256GB PCIe-based flash storage; 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L onboard memory
13.3-inch (diagonal) Retina display, 2560x1600 pixel Resolution; LED-backlit with IPS technology
Intel Iris Graphics; 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking
Mac OS X Mavericks, Up to 9 hours of battery life
Apple MacBook Pro 13.3-Inch with Retina Display
While the Macbook Pro is not really an Ultrabook, it remains one of the top choices among customers when it comes to thin and light laptops.
The newer version of Macbook Pro features the latest generation of Intel Core i series processors which gives you some performance boost and you get onboard graphics which is pretty close to the best Intel integrated graphics so far. The processor will also boost the battery life up to 9 hours.
If you don't mind just a little bit of weight, this laptop is certainly small enough to carry around every day, especially if you need a higher resolution than 1080p.
Macbook pro comes with latest version of Mavericks OS pre installed so you get the new features in the new operating system.
13.3" Full HD widescreen CineCrystal™ LED-backlit display: (1920 x 1080) resolution; 16:9 aspect ratio
4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4500U Processor 1.8GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 3.0GHz
8GB DDR3 Memory
Intel® HD Graphics 4400 with 128MB of dedicated system memory
256GB SSD drive
Acer Aspire S7 13.3-Inch Touchscreen Ultrabook
Acer Aspire S7 was one of the first laptop specifically build with Windows 8 in mind, with a very thin and light design, a touchscreen display covered on the back by a gorilla glass panel instead of aluminum or plastic.
The new version of the S7 comes with an Intel 4th generation processor, also known by the codename Haswell. What it gives you is not such a big increased performance over the previous generation, but it gives you much better battery life of up to 7 hours.
If you're looking for an ultrabook that will stand out of the crowd but still be very useful, and be super thin and light, and if you're willing to pay a little more for the latest generation Intel Core i series CPUs, then you should definitely take a look at the newest Acer S7 13-inch ultrabooks.
Intel Intel Core i5-4200U 1.6 GHz
8 GB DDR3
256 GB Solid-State Drive
13.3-Inch Screen, 2560x1440 pixels
Windows 8, 8-hour battery life
ASUS Zenbook UX301 13.3-Inch Touchscreen Ultrabook
Zenbook UX301 is Asus' flagship ultrabook packing the latest Intel Haswell chips, an ultra high resolution touchscreen display and a very nice looking gorilla glass covering the lid.
There are a lot things to like about this ultrabook, like the ultra sleek body, the awesome screen the good keyboard and trackpad.
The configuration packed inside can easily handle everything you throw at it, from browsing to multimedia content and games, and the battery can hold you up to 8 hours for typical use.
Asus Zenbook 301 is an option you have to consider if you're after a premium 13-inch Haswell laptop.
Things to check before buying an ultrabook
If you’re looking to buy an ultrabook there are a few things that you should know first. The following is a short checklist that will help you make a good decision and be happy with your choice.
The Display – The size can vary from 11 to 15-inches but the most popular sizes are 11.6 and 13.3-inches. The newest ultrabooks feature touchscreen displays, with IPS technology for wider viewing angles and have a native resolution of 1920×1080 pixels.
Graphics – Most ultrabooks rely on Intel HD graphics which is enough for most daily tasks, but you should consider models with dedicated graphics if you plan to use them for gaming or to run graphics-intensive applications.
Processor – As I’ve said earlier all ultrabooks are powered by Intel Core processors, either Intel i3, i5 or i7 CPU. The thing to check here is if the processor is a 2nd (Sandy Bridge), 3rd (Ivy Bridge) or 4th (Haswell) generation.
RAM – A good thing about ultrabooks is that most of them pack at least 4GB of RAM, enough for light tasks such as web browsing, movie watching, video chatting, email and office suite. If you’re going to run resource-heavy applications simultaneously, for image or video processing, then consider getting 8GB of RAM.
Storage – For faster boot times and fast execution times, the ultrabooks come with flash storage, usually a solid state drive of 64, 128 or 256 GB. I would recommend going for the 128 or 256GB option, as the 64GB option can prove to be quite easy to fill with just the operating system and a few programs like Adobe and Office suite. For file storage, such as movies, music and photo files an 500GB or 1TB HDD will suffice.
Optical Drive – For a slimmer and lighter design, many manufacturers have dropped the optical drive. This should not be necessarily an issue for most of us, the data transfer is done generally on USB sticks nowadays. The operating system can also be installed with bootable USB sticks. The only reason for which you may need an optical drive is if you still need to read/write from DVDs or Blu-Ray discs.
Connectivity – Wi-Fi comes with any ultrabook, some will even include Bluetooth connectivity.
Other features – HD webcam, card readers, built in speakers
Input/ Output Connectors – Make sure to check that all the connectors you need are there: Audio, VGA, HDMI, USB 3.0 port.
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