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What is an Ultrabook?

Updated on April 19, 2013

Ultrabooks - The New Laptop Category

You may have heard the term Ultrabook. What is an Ultrabook? Well, it's a new kind of laptop defined by Intel. Read this article to find out more about Ultrabooks and whether your next laptop should be an Ultrabook.

I'll explain what an Ultrabook is - and what it isn't. And why Ultrabooks are going to be so popular in 2012.

An Ultrabook is a Thin and Quick Laptop

The quick version

Basically, an Ultrabook is a thin laptop that's very portable but still very capable and is designed to start up very quickly. Ultrabooks have a sleek design. They're the alternative to the MacBook Air and on more recent technology.

Ultrabooks are fairly new. Let's take a quick look at some of the Ultrabooks that are available to buy in early 2012. (We'll be seeing newer ones come out throughout the year.)

First Generation Ultrabooks

Most of the first generation Ultrabooks have a screen size of around 13 inches. They run the latest Intel processors available in early 2012 (Sandy Bridge.) Ultrabooks tend to be mid-priced laptops in the $750 - $1500 range.

Acer Aspire S3-951-6646 Ultrabook with 13.3-Inch HD Display

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ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH52 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Ultrabook (Silver Aluminum)

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Lenovo U300s 108026U 13.3-Inch Ultrabook

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Kindle Fire, Full Color 7" Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi

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Basically an Ultrabook takes some of the best features of tablet PCs and combines them with a laptop form factor. Tablets have been getting all the attention recently, they're very portable and convenient. You can add a keyboard to many tablets but you still have a small screensize and a tablet operating system.

A lot of people do need a proper keyboard, bigger screen and a PC operating system to get work done, but they're drawn to the lightweight tablets that have a very quick startup time and long battery life. The Ultrabook aims to fill that gap and be the laptop that you can take with you.

Acer Aspire One AOD257-13685 10.1-Inch Netbook (Espresso Black)

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Netbooks have been popular as small laptops that you can take anywhere. But they are small. It's not easy for someone with big fingers to type quickly on a Netbook keyboard and the screen size is too small to be used as a regular laptop.

The Ultrabook gives you a larger and more powerful laptop that's pretty much as portable. Ultrabooks can be just as light as a Netbook while offering a larger screen and higher specification.

Ultrabook Key Features

  1. An Ultrabook is Thin Less than 0.8 inches (21mm.) Many will be much slimmer than that.
  2. An Ultrabook is lightweight - Under 3,1 pounds (1.4 kg.) This makes Ultrabooks portable and convenient to take with you. A viable and more capable alternative to a tablet or Netbook for mobile computing.
  3. An Ultrabook has a long battery life - 5 hours battery life is the minimum. Many will offer 8 hours battery life for a full day's work.
  4. Ultrabooks use the latest Intel processors. In 2011 and early 2012 this means Sandy Bridge. From 2Q 2012 we'll start seeing Ultrabooks with the Ivy Bridge mobile processor. And looking ahead to 2013 we'll get the Haswell processors. Basically these processors keep offering improvements in power consumption and performance.
  5. Most Ultrabooks have a 13" Screen. We will see larger Ultrabooks, but most will have a screen size of around 13" measured across the diagonal.
  6. Ultrabooks offer Ultra-fast start up Now that tablets are everywhere, people are used to being able to start work as soon as they pick up a device. Ultrabooks will offer a much faster startup and rapid suspend/resume.
  7. Ultrabooks offer hardware based security Intel have developed Intel Anti-Theft Technology and Intel Identity Protection Technology to be exposed by Ultrabooks.
  8. Ultrabooks are intelligent Ultrabooks so more behind the scenes to offer a faster, more convenient experience. They use Intel Smart Response to detect frequently used files and make them quick to access. And they use Intel Smart Connect to synchronize email and update software even when the device is asleep. (At last!)

Intel Ultrabook (R)

The Ultrabook Definition

Intel make the chips inside many PCs and laptops - you've probably seen the Intel inside logo. Intel has to work hard to be a visible brand - they're products are pretty well hidden from consumers!

Intel have registered the term Ultrabook and defined industry standard for what products can use the Ultrabook name.

Source: Wikipedia: Ultrabook

Source: Intel: Ultrabook

Source: Intel: Ultrabook Device Technologies

The Ultrabook - Intel Video

Who Needs an Ultrabook?

So who is an Ultrabook useful for?

Small business owners who need to take a laptop with them while they're on the move. For example a mobile photographer or independent financial advisor.

Students and teens who need a machine that they can get work done on but have to spend a lot of time carrying it between classes or round to friends houses.

Mobile workers who travel to a lot of meetings, or just like to work in a coffee shop.

Commuters who travel by train or bike and need to take their laptop with them.

Home users who want more than a tablet so that they can update their blog and do their paperwork - but want a laptop that looks great and can easily be taken on family trips and vacations.

The Ultrabook fills the gap between tablet users who mostly want to passively consume media and play a few games, and those who really use a high-end laptop as a desktop replacement and want a very high specification and large screen and are less concerned about portability.

Thanks for Visiting

What is an Ultrabook?

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