Ultrabooks or ultraportable notebooks are especially thin, lightweight laptops with sleek designs. They are driven by special processors produced by Intel. These processors are part of Intel’s three-stage plan to revolutionize the way laptops are designed and manufactured. The idea is to produce a laptop that can sit somewhere between a netbook and a conventional laptop – ultra thin and lightweight, but with much larger screen sizes and better performance capabilities compared to a netbook. Ultrabooks have just started hitting the market, and initial reviews are positive. However, if you’re thinking of switching to one, you need to carefully consider the pros and cons of Ultrabooks.
• Design – Ultrabooks are super sleek, beautiful laptops. Ultrabooks are extremely thin, coming in at less than 21 mm thickness. You will be the envy of all your friends.
• Portability and screen size – At between one and 1.5 kg, Ultrabooks are very lightweight, with little compromise on screen sizes. Screens typically measure between 11.1” and 13”, offering plenty of real estate for the road warrior.
• Speed – Ultrabooks typically come with solid state hard drives, which are faster than the conventional spinning hard drive. The new Intel Rapid Start Technology also allows systems to boot up in seconds.
• Performance – Compared to netbooks, Ultrabooks show a significant step up in terms of performance. It’s got ten times the processing power, and also comes with built in video decoding and encoding hardware.
• Battery life – Ultrabooks have a low power mode, reducing the drain on battery life, and allowing it to perform like or better than a netbook. Because booting up the machine is faster than a conventional laptop, this will also drain less battery life.
• Cost – Ultrabooks are designed to be the fashionable, “In” thing in computing and manufacturers will charge a premium for this. A regular lightweight laptop can cost half as much as an Ultrabook.
• Performance – As with any laptop, its performance can only be measured by what you need to get out of it. If you will only be using an Ultrabook for checking your email, surfing the internet, and regular office work, it will have more than enough processing power for your needs. However, if you want something more out of your computer, for example enhanced graphics for gamers, the Ultrabook will not be up to speed.
• Storage space – Ultrabooks are designed to work with solid state hard drives, but the storage capacity of these drives are notoriously small compared to a regular hard drive. Most Ultrabooks will only provide 128 GB of storage space. Because Ultrabooks are designed to be sealed units, you will not be able to replace the drive, meaning you will have to carry a portable hard drive, thus adding to the weight.
• Connectivity – Many things have to be sacrificed for the Ultrabooks ultrathin profile. You will not find a CD drive on an Ultrabook and things like HDMI or VGA connections will be a luxury.
• Sealed Units – Ultrabooks are designed to be sealed units, meaning that you cannot, for example, carry and swap out a spare battery pack. You won’t be able to tinker with its memory, and even if you do, the warranty if void. If the disk fails, you’ll have to bin the whole laptop.
Ultrabooks are a great option for the road warrior or the fashion conscious with no budget concerns. Performance-wise, it has more than enough power to satisfy the average user and battery life is comparable to that of a netbook. However, storage space and connectivity may be an issue, and make sure you know what you’re getting into with a sealed unit.