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  • mayankleoboy1 - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Ultrabooks -- Shiny Things For The Stupid Reply
  • di1in - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Just because you didn't need them (or can't afford), does not mean others don't. Reply
  • SetiroN - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    After being seduced by the hype and getting an UX31A zenbook prime, I can only agree with him.
    Similar performance to $400 laptops for 4 times the price with a weight and battery life that still leave something to be desired.

    I'd much rather have a standard i3 (which performs better) than those overpriced ULV cpus, in a thicker laptop that takes advantage of it with a seriously hefty battery and acceptable dedicated, switchable graphics.

    Shiny things for the stupid - or overly rich. Apple products in a taiwanese package.
    Spending $1500 to still have absymal performance and the same kind of battery life just for the sake of some thinness is ridiculous, especially considering that they're not really all that incredibly more portable than standard 13".
  • karasaj - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Why would you buy an ultrabook if you need more performance and heavy graphics... there's a reason MBA and iPad's became popular, and it isn't because of their price per performance. Reply
  • SetiroN - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I'm not sure what post you've read, but nowhere did I say I needed more performance or heavy graphics.
    As most people, you read what you want to read instead of trying to understand other people's perspective.

    I'll try and help you: what I said is that
    there is no reason to pay 4-5 times the price just to have a fashion item, because a normal 13" with an i3 could allow for a much larger battery and a dedicated GPU (which doesn't mean a 680m as you thought, just something more acceptable than the absymal HD4000) at a fraction of the price of high end ultrabooks while maintaining similar portability; Ultrabooks aren't really all that more portable because their battery still lasts 4 hours while weight and thickness aren't lower enough to justify the price. Nor does the cheap e-IPS screens that they market as if were EIZO while in reality they just cost just a little more than TNs.
    If you need your CPU to consume less power, you can configure a power profile that lets any Ivy Bridge CPU consume the same kind of low power of the overpriced ULV processors that Intel is so willing to shove down our throats.

    You pay for FASHION, not real added value.
    The reason MBAs and Ipads became popular is that they offer good enough performance while being STILISH, regardless of their cost.
    A smart buyer that doesn't care about making an impression with their laptop would save $500 and get the same thing half an inch thicker, while improving graphics performance in the process.
  • Nvidiaguy07 - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Im sure i can pay much less for a big clunky piece of crap, but lugging around something like that - with many inferior parts isnt just about style.

    -sent from my 13" macbook air
  • aahjnnot - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    You make the mistake of assuming that everyone is like you.

    Like many people, I have absolutely no interest in gaming so performance on my 13" MacBook Air is more than adequate. It launches applications instantaneously, resumes from suspend in a few seconds and is even fast enough for light video editing.

    Of far more importance is the weight (it's light enough for me not to care about carrying it), the battery life (enough for an evening on the sofa), the screen quality and resolution and cool operation (my sperm don't care if it's on my lap).

    If you think I bought it as a FASHION statement, you're an extraordinarily bad student of human behaviour.
  • Ananke - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I got $250 Asus made Pentium laptop, which is actually lighter than MBA, has decent build quality and allows me to do with ease the same what you are doing with your MBA :). ..The guy is right, ultrabooks are overpriced fashion statements, that command huge profit margin - the only reason manufacturers introduced them and still trying to market so desperately. The reality is that almost nobody buys them, and the pace of sales of ultrabooks actually decreases. These are the same as Aston Martins - beatiful things, but with very limited number of customers.
    Now, if a nice equipped ultrabook is sold at regular price of $300 , that's different story.
  • aahjnnot - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Does the $250 Asus have an SSD? Does it have more than 1280x768 screen resolution? Does it have 5+ hours battery life? Is it slim as well as light?

    If so, I'm impressed. If not, it sounds as if it meets your requirements perfectly, but it doesn't meet mine.

    We're all different. But to assume that someone else is driven by fashion is extraordinarily naive. I looked long and hard for an alternative to the MacBook Air, but, at the time, I couldn't find any equivalent on the market. I personally couldn't care less about fashion, but I'm happy to pay good money top get the features that are important to me.
  • rickjr82 - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    Also, what about the touchpad and keyboard? I do a lot of development work on my machine and don't want to put up with something that isn't reliable or easy to use.

    I looked all over for a well reviewed laptop with an ssd and high screen resolution and would have much rather spent $600 than $1099 for my MBA, but I couldn't find anything.
  • EnzoFX - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    What about build quality? Those cheap laptops are cheap for a reason. They'll last you maybe two years lol. Let alone the merits of portability and usability (What's the point of some bit laptop that you will hate using because it's built so cheaply and it has shitty kb/trackpad/screen, etc). Reply
  • kyuu - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    What you say might hold some weight if other laptops had better battery life than expensive ultrabooks. They don't. Unless you're getting a sheet battery or a gigantic battery that bulges out the bottom.

    Also, ULV chips really perform pretty much on par with standard laptop chips. I did some research on a particular ULV i5 that was in an ultraportable (though not quite an ultrabook) versus the standard LV i5 that was also an option. My finding was that the ULV i5 had pretty much equal performance in all respects to the standard LV i5, it just drew less power and had a price premium. Not really surprising considering ULVs are generally the same chips as the standard ones, they're just binned to get the ones that run at lower voltages.
  • SetiroN - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I'm not using the MBA as an example, we're talking ultrabooks. Apple's ultraportable admittedly is a better option, but no ultrabook is on par with it on multiple sides so considering were're talking ultrabooks, I couldn't care less that you're posting from your macbook air (as if the idiotic smartphone tapatalk signatures weren't enough, btw).

    As I said, I have an UX31A (the top version with the 1080p screen, i7 and 256Gb SSD), and it's nowhere near worth the price premium.

    - the screen is good, but it's a common e-IPS that's not worth $500. Also, 1080p is overkill (and 16:9 is just stupid at small diagonals, give me a freakin' 16:10 display FFS) and not prone to desktop usage

    - the ULV i7 performs well, but it's not better than a normal voltage i3 3110m. I find myself limiting the CPU frequency on the go to retain that 1 more hour of battery and I could achieve exactly the same with said i3: at their low power states, 800-1200MHz, they run at the same voltage and consume the same amount of power, something I hadn't considered before

    - build quality isn't all that good: the hinge becomes slightly loose over time and the screen gets damaged over contact with the keyboard border when closed). Yeah, it's made out of an aluminium unibody, but it's absolutely not solid, it easily bends and honestly compares to a normal plastic chassis. Macbooks' sturdiness is way above this

    - the trackpad SUCKS

    - despite the ULV chip, it's still relatively noisy under even slight load

    -at 1.4Kg and 18mm, it's not that much more portable than normal 1.8Kg 25mm 13inchers

    And that's arguably the best ultrabook on the market I'm talking about here.

    So yeah, current ultrabooks are all about style and milking customers.
    Unfortunatly Intel and the industry are pushing towards them enough that the great alternative that could easily be possible nowadays doesn't exist.
    A more average 13" chassis (Thinkpad 430, Vaio 13s) has equal or better quality than this Asus ultrabook and could easily pack a configuration such as this:

    1600x900 non-TN screen
    i3 3120m
    GF 620m or better
    70Wh battery
    128GB mSATA SSD + 2,5" HDD

    for $700 less than the $1500 I paid for my ultrabook

    But no, manufacturers need to follow fashion, stay within Intel's ultrabook specs and push pricey stylish designs, leaving consumers without a smarter option to buy.
  • Shadowmage - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I have a Lenovo Yoga, which I bought for $825 shipped off Amazon. It has a 1600x900 13" IPS touchscreen, high quality Lenovo keyboard, and quite decent touchpad. Also, it weighs around 3.4lb and 17mm thin.

    A Thinkpad T430 costs just a hundred dollars less and is more than 1lb heavier, a larger form factor (14" vs 13"), and doesn't have the touchscreen (which is surprisingly useful).

    It's not form over function, this is actually a best-in-class machine.
  • arswihart - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    The trackpad rocks on the UX31A with the latest non-Asus Elantech drivers (I forget the driver number). I use them along with Google TouchFreeze (disables touchpad when typing), and I'm extremely happy with the touchpad.

    The ASUS touchpad drivers worsen accuracy and sensitivity. They fool you into upgrading to them by incrementing Elantech's driver version number, as if Elantech developed the drivers. Instead, ASUS is hacking on them and making them worse.

    Personally I love my UX31A, if you don't need a bunch of CPU power and can deal with the 4GB RAM, it's really a beautiful device with a display that is second to none. Battery life is acceptable but agreed it's not great.
  • arswihart - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    I agree the model you bought (i7 with 256GB SSD) is a waste of money. The base model has essentially identical performance and is a few hundred bucks cheaper.

    So, I can see how the UX31A sucks for people like you who bought the expensive version.
  • JNo - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    "I'm not sure what post you've read, but nowhere did I say I needed more performance or heavy graphics."

    But you did say:

    "I'd much rather have a standard i3 (which performs better) than those overpriced ULV cpus, in a thicker laptop that takes advantage of it with a seriously hefty battery and acceptable dedicated, switchable graphics."

    You may not have shouted it out directly but I think most would agree that any normal person would infer that you actually find your ultrabook lacking at times and could appreciate some more grunt. You may not *need* it but there' s an implication that it wouldn't go amiss. Maybe you should read your own post more carefully before getting too snarky in your reply...
  • SetiroN - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    You're right, I apologise for coming out too sour. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    Hey, what do you think you're doing!? This is the Internet. You NEVER, EVER apologize on the Internet! Man, when will people ever learn?

  • althaz - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    No, you pay for portability, screen quality, build quality and battery life. As an added bonus you can pretty frequently also get a huge boost to everyday speed and performance with an included SSD (the best thing about ultrabooks).

    I don't give a shit about graphics in my portable PC (the HD4000 is no slouch, btw, it's not the integrated graphics of old), I've got a desktop with a 4Ghz i5 and OC'ed GTX670 with 16Gb of RAM for when I want performance.

    I can't take my desktop on the train though. But with an ultrabook (I'll be picking one up that is also decent as a tablet as well, thinking the Samsung transformer-esque model with ULV i5 and 128Gb SSD) I can do my University assignments on the train (I work full-time so it's the perfect opportunity to get stuff done) and I can take it hiking or camping as well as watch a movie or read an e-book with it at home. I can also browse the web whilst sitting on the couch or catch up on my work emails while I'm on a plane.

    Laptops are universally rubbish for performance, so why not get one that is ACTUALLY portable?
  • Impulses - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Many models are only around $1,000 and most $500 laptops have anemic battery capacities... The comparison isn't lopsided enough to make an ultrabook a universal bad value. You'll never find a 1920x1080 IPS display on a $500 laptop either. Now if you have other performance needs then you should obviously take that into consideration, your needs aren't the same as everyone's tho. Reply
  • sigmatau - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Most $1,000 ultrabooks don't have a 1920x1080 IPS display either.

    You are basicaly paying an extra $500 for a laptop shell. What do you get for the extra $500? A slower computer with similar or worse battery life.

    Where do I sign up?

    I said this since ultrabooks came out. I am not paying $500 for a laptop shell.
  • mrdude - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    They're just thinner... and that's it.

    Current Ultrabooks are nothing more than netbooks with a metal shell. The issue isn't so much ultrabooks than it is the alternatives to ultrabooks. You can buy a 3.2lb Toshiba R935 with better internals for roughly the same price. Unlike Ultrabooks, it gives you full access to its internals and has a replaceable battery.

    I'm surprised the X230 wasn't listed here. I'd take that any day of the week over an Ultrabook.
  • EnzoFX - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    It's called build quality, maybe you don't understand that concept. I'm not saying it's worth $500 to everyone, but it's worth something to everyone. Some people buy in sooner than others as prices make their way down. It's pretty simple right?

    I for one can't stand those cheap, huge laptops that last 2 years tops.
  • mrdude - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Build quality? You mean those Ultrabooks made of plastic that cost more laptops with better internals? That build quality?

    Think about what you're giving up and getting for thinner here:
    - A CPU that throttles under load, either on the CPU or GPU side, because of TDP constraints and thermal issues.
    - Higher price because reasons.
    - non-replaceable battery. If you use your laptop as a daily driver that means you're going to have to replace the battery in about 2-3 years.
    - Soldered RAM. We all know how much us tech geeks love soldered RAM.
    - High price for worse performance. If ULV chips sold for 2/3 the price of 35W cousins I'd be okay with that, but they don't.

    And are they any lighter? Are they any quicker? Is the build quality any better? No, no, and nope.

    My X220 with a 9-cell battery goes for 12 hrs on a charge, can be tinkered with all I please, and has a great matte display, all at just over 3lbs. Build quality? It's a ThinkPad.
  • kyuu - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Except they're usually not slower outside of graphics performance (and are often faster in most tasks due to the inclusion of SSDs instead of 5400RPM laptop HDDs).

    Also yeah, you're paying more for better build quality -- if build quality isn't important to you, then feel free to pick from the many choices for cheaply made laptop shells. No one is stopping you.
  • mrdude - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Jarred has done an article on this already. The GPU in an Ivy ULV with throttle under load due to TDP constraints. It results in stuttering and can be significant depending on the title. I've witnessed this myself.

    To boot, a lot of Ultrabooks suffer from CPU throttling due to heat as well.

    You can also buy laptops with SSDs. The point here is that unlike Ultrabooks, you can actually do this yourself.

    And I'd put my X220 against any Apple product when it comes to build quality. Steel hinges, great ventilation, magnesium roll cage and rubberized finish so it doesn't slip out of your hand. Throw in the spill resistant keyboard and sturdy nature of the product and you've got yourself some great build quality.

    If you're comparing $500 laptops to $800 Ultrabooks then I don't know what to tell you.
  • blkle - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    Ultrabook is for mobility, to work anywhere with light weight. If it's about gaming, I would rather choose desktop setup than a gaming laptop.
    Laptop is for mobility, ain't for high performance.
  • designerfx - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    the phrase is "just because you can, doesn't mean you should".

    The phrase does tend to apply to ultrabooks.
  • Flunk - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I actually bought an XPS 14 ultrabook, I had huge problems with the screen and Wi-Fi. The performance also wasn't great. I returned it and bought an Alienware m14x and all my problems went away. Sure it's heavier, but it will do what I need it to.

    Ultrabooks are good enough for a lot of things, but if you're a power user, they're not quite ready for prime time. I think they're mostly for people to use as a second machine.
  • darwinosx - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Your mom likes them. Reply
  • sandro - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Shouldn't the 13" MBP Retina be considered an ultrabook? How does it stand against the high-end models described here? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Awesome display, costs an arm and a leg. I'm not impressed enough with the rMBP 13 to recommend it, plus it's using full voltage parts which is sort of where I drew the line in this guide. Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    You gotta shop around. I found the 13" MacBook Pro Retina for $1560.00. At that price it's worth considering. It's not a machine for modern gaming - just solid mobile computing.

    I used to put all my money into a single kick-ass Laptop - using a monitor, keyboard, and mouse for desk work and gaming. But now, I split the load between my 13" Retina Macbook and a Desktop PC. Services like DropBox and iCloud has enabled me to easily move between machines.

  • Mumrik - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Careful now. You're ruining Anandtech's supposedly pro Mac bias. Reply
  • prdola0 - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    You somehow missed the Dell XPS 14, which fits into your midrange category quite nicely. It is 14", weights under 5 pounds (4.6 exactly) and has quite good graphics for a small form factor - GT630M. If I remember correctly this is the very popular GT540M from previous generation, but moved to the 28nm process. It can even handle 3D Vision over 3D TV Play.

    You might want to add it to the list, since it's a very capable system.
  • Pino - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Where the X1 Carbon fits here?! Reply
  • J_Tarasovic - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I'll call your X1 Carbon and see you the forthcoming X1 Carbon Touch. Reply
  • yboy403 - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I feel like the series 9 13" or 15" should have been in here somewhere. They compare very well to the UX31A on everything but price, and wouldn't have been out of place in the high end section. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I know it should be assumed with "Hello 1080p Touchscreens!", but you forgot to mention that the XPS 12 has a 12.5" 1080p touchscreen and you made no mention of its quality or the tech behind it. IPS? TN? Or do we have to, I don't know, wait and be patient for the full review? ;-)

    It's a shame they couldn't have packed a discrete GPU in there, too.
  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    It's an IPS panel. We have a couple of them at work and they're really nice. Don't know if they're worth the price though. Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I was never a fan of Apple, but I have to say that in the thin formfactor, they have come from overpriced to very competitive. The bookstore at the college where I work has the 11.6 and 13 inch MBA on display, and they are very nice. The price is also now very competitive, especially since they come with a true SSD. So if I didnt need windows, I would consider one. Somehow, they just feel like higher quality and more portable than the ultrabooks I have seem in best buy. I also like the very simple line-up of the MBA, not so many models to try to choose from. It is great to have choice, but the array of ultrabooks is just dizzying, and nearly all have some flaw. I do like the Lenovo Yoga though, and to go cheap and really portable, I like the 11.6 inch Asus. They had one of these in Best Buy and it even had a touch screen. I sure would trade it for my crappy tablet in a heartbeat if given the chance. Reply
  • prdola0 - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Apple is still overpriced. It's the other manufacturers that somehow think that we want to pay as much as Apple fans. Reply
  • EJ257 - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    That's nothing new. Remember the Sony ultrathin line back in the early 2000s. Those things were going for upwards of $2000 fully configured. It had no built-in optical drives because they were so small and this was back when optical was still useful. People still bought them. Couple of years later Apple released the MBA line and history repeats itself. Reply
  • pjcamp - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    The whole point of a portable is *portability* and portability depends almost entirely on battery life. Consequently, I'm disappointed that, after an initial mention early in the article, you've not considered battery life as a factor at all in any of these recommendations. Please don't leave your readers to root around through a mountain of individual reviews to figure out this information. A guide is supposed to guide. Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    And readers shouldn't have to be spoon fed if they're researching a $1,000+ investment... It's a guide, not a review handbook or Bible. Anandtech's search works just fine and so does their Bench for more direct comparisons. Reply
  • jamawass - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Shouldn't this have been mentioned in the high end category? Reply
  • estarkey7 - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I can't believe you put that Dell into the review and omitted the Sony. I think the Sony is by far significantly better than the Dell offering in every aspect, including price and reliability of the Tablet/PC mechanisim. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Most of the commentary (reviews) of the VAIO Duo are not particularly positive. I think the idea behind the Duo is okay, but in practice I just can't see it being all that great. I've got the XPS 12 in for review already, and I can tell you that I like it a lot. So that's why the VAIO isn't listed while the XPS 12 is. Reply
  • estarkey7 - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Editor reviews are leaning very negative, but user reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Also, Sony stock of the Duo 11 also gives an idea of how popular it is with the demographic that truly counts - Verified Buyers. Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    Yeah, it's an interesting disconnect between the user reviews and professional reviews. I bought the Vaio Duo 11 as it's smaller and lighter than the XPS 12 and even then, the Vaio is a bit hefty for use as a tablet so I think the XPS 12 is a bit much. I didn't like the Vaio design initially but it works surprisingly well for touch as the screen is very close to the keyboard so it's easy to lift your hands to the screen without much movement.

    Also the Vaio has physical LAN, VGA and full hdmi ports onboard rather than needing adapters as most other Ultrabooks do.

    Whenever it's been asked 'Where is the Sony' in previous comments the reply has always been that Sony rarely give them review units so assumed it was the same in this case.

  • stratosrally - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I was commissioned to help an elderly lady friend of mine that has had a partial stroke find a new laptop. We ended up going with the Asus VivoBook Q200E. It came with an Intel® Core™ i3-3217U CPU, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, USB 3.0, Bluetooth, HDMI and an 11.6" Touchscreen with Windows 8. It has an aluminum chassis, as well. All for $449.99!

    She loves it. I'm actually a bit jealous - a year ago I picked up a Lenovo G570 i3/4GB/500GB 15.6 laptop that misses out on the USB 3.0 and the HDMI out. I paid $399.99.
  • lamecake - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I just got the Asus Vivobook Q200E (called X202 in Europe), put in an SSD and I absolutely amazed by it. W8 plus touchscreen works so nice and smooth. The thing weighs 1.3kg, boots in seconds, no lags oanywhere (i3 3217 + ssd + w8 goes perfect), I get about 3.5 - 5 hrs of multimedia use out of a charge, superb build quality, etc.

    I sold my Lenovo U410 which had worse build quality worse battery life no support and lost some theoretical performance which I don't even miss/noticed. Oh and I got back 300 euros on the swap.

    Bottom line the Asus vivo book for 449dollar/euro is a real gem for the money. I'd def put it way above the mentioned Acer V171.
  • stratosrally - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I've read on some forums that you can replace the Atheros card with an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 and with Widi software and a Belkin Screencast send a HD wireless broadcast to your1080p HDTV. Also, there is a BIOS upgrade that reduces fan noise & increases battery life - look for BIOS update 205. Lastly, the Asus SmartGesture touchpad software can be uninstalled and replaced with Samsung Series-5 laptop touchpad driver direct from their website for vastly improved functionality. These changes along with a 7mm SSD swap make it peerless... Reply
  • lamecake - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    Already did the bios upgrade and touchpad driver update! Fan noise is barely noticeable afterwards. Only seems to be there under heavy GPU load (thing gets a bit hot.. 80c).

    The WiFi I was already thinking about. But out of the box it has pretty decent performance. My gf has the Samsung 5 series ultrabook, and the asus does a bit better. The U410 has a design flaw which prevented WiFi to ever work properly, (and a very short whitelist preventing any upgrade). Anyway, I'm thinking the WiFi just stays as is (atheros).

    As mentioned, battery life is indeed pretty decent. Also the 7mm ssd is a very valid point to mention. Nothing thicker will fit. To enable any other HDD in the Asus you also need to set smart boot/fast boot to "disable/no", otherwise you won't get past the bios screen.

    But thanks for sharing the tips. :)
  • stratosrally - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    Just spreadin' the word - enjoy your little dynamo of a portable! Reply
  • stratosrally - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Apologies - got the CPU wrong of my year-old purchase. I did upgrade to a nice Corsair 8GB 1333MHz kit for about $35, though. It's good enough for most day-to-day applications. Reply
  • failquail - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    "Lenovo ends up the closest with their 14” IdeaPad S405, and sadly that’s the smallest AMD-equipped ultraportable we can find"

    Erm... you managed to somehow miss out the entire X-series line.

    I've owned 11" AMD ultraportables for quite a few years now, first the Lenovo x100e, now a x121e. the newest is the x131e
  • kyuu - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Eh... those might be interesting if they came with some kind of Trinity solution, but Brazos? If they were going to go down that far, they'd also have to throw in Atom-powered netbooks. Reply
  • spctm - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    Actually there is one decent ultrabook from Samsung that I am currently using. I have posted a review of it in AT forums. Its the Samsung series 5 535u3c with a trinity A6-4455m CPU. Granted I would have preferred a A10-4655 with a 25w TDP, nevertheless this is fine for my workload of mainly coding, surfing, and some simple photo management.

    The moment I got it I added additional 4GB so-dimm and a sandforce based SSD(which i already had). Wouldn't match an ivy bridge but competitive enough.
  • marc1000 - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    What about this unusual notebook from Asus? Near-ultrabook size with a touch screen AND conventional keyboard. What's your opinion about it? Reply
  • Abdar19 - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I am not sure why there is so much aggression on this forum over how people spend their money rather than the products in particular.

    I seem to see this comparison between a 5lb $500 laptop that is twice as thick compared to something 3-4lb at $1000+ dollars. Whether or not it is worth it is kind of missing the point. I think the problem is lack of variety. Let me clarify that, there is a lack of variety in unique options, there are many options. Ideally one would be able to set a price and a set of features and have a laptop that fits. To jump from 500 to 1000 dollars to get the next group of features is obscene and that is the problem.

    I found one of the only truely intriguing options from Acer being the M5. It sits right in the middle of the price range for $700. Newegg has a $100 coupon now so you can buy a 128gb msata drive and install windows on it instead. This effectively makes it have all of the features of a $1000 (minus the screen) but plus a GOOD graphics card for $700. Value for money then I would argue this is really the sweet spot. Price itself is only a side point in this kind of debate, or should be I think.
  • tmok2008 - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    The HP ENVY TouchSmart Ultrabook 4t-1100 is very slick looking. It is 3-4 lbs, and has a 14" touch screen, although not 1080p. The price is reasonable, starting at $799 MSRP. If you look around for a coupon code, you may even save a few bucks.

    Personally, I don't like small screens. I would take a 15" over a 13" any day. For me, the HP Spectre XT Touchsmart with a 15.6" 1080p IPS touch screen would be a better choice. It's not an "Ultrabook", but it is still under 5 lbs.
  • wpwoodjr - Thursday, December 20, 2012 - link

    The HP Spectre XT TouchSmart is an Ultrabook. I got one recently, very nice except for 4 hour battery life. My review is here:
  • bogieworf - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    There are about 5 different approaches to this class of device:

    1) traditional ultrabook with the idea that all you need to do is make a regular laptop small/ thin enough and light enough
    2) "yoga" type fold over convertible
    3) Dell XPS 12 "flip" screen
    4) MS touch/type cover
    5) tablet/laptop that connects to a keyboard (ie Transformer)

    Some of these ideas are going to take hold, others will vanish. In addition, the marketplace has not yet decided the compromises it will embrace in this kind of device and the ones it will reject. I think we all see that many people are carrying a phone and tablet/e-Reader around and maybe a laptop. And I think most of use would like to go down to at least two devices. So what is it? A phablet and a laptop? A phone and a convertible? Or keep all 3 as long as the price is low enough for each?

    Over time, the answers will come. Today, all we can offer are best guesses.
  • JNo - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Although the Acer M5 is great, it seems that it's older brother, the M3, is even better value possibly. It misses a few modern niceties such as USB 3.0 but it has a still fast enough i5 coupled with what I understand is the full power GT 640M (not the LE version in the M5). And it's cheaper and still very thin. Win win all round for value gaming laptop if you're happy not to have the very latest specs... Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    The M3 version has a slightly slower SNB processor, and while the 640M is technically faster than the 640M LE, the M3 uses a DDR3 variant while the 640M LE is GDDR5. It basically ends up better in some cases, slightly worse in others, depending on the game and settings. Personally, I like having GDDR5 memory on my midrange mobile GPUs, and the M5 is easier to find in stock. Reply
  • Pojosama - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I recently purchased the Yoga 13, and I think it's an excellent product. Using any of these touchscreen ultrabooks in tablet mode is pretty ridiculous considering the size and weight, but I love being able to flip the screen back and use the keyboard as a stand. It's also nice that you can put the laptop into tent mode to use as a second monitor, so when you touch it, it doesn't wobble. Really, if Windows 8 is good for anything, it's for being a trojan horse for forcing manufacturers to create super thin, light, versatile products. I love where products like the iPad and Windows 8 are pushing computers.

    Good stuff all around. Ultrabooks are made for ultimate convenience: they are very snappy performers and are light enough to move around easily. You definitely get what you pay for, in my opinion.

    And yes, they DO look classy. There's nothing wrong with a bit of superficiality with our tech products.
  • Electromikey - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I've got the UX32VD, which I promptly stuck a Samsung 830 SSD into. I've owned it for about four months, and I absolutely love this thing. It lessened the load of my backpack by quite a bit (had a big ol' entertainment-focused monster before), and I can still play games on the go if I want to. Nothing incredibly taxing, but LAN party fodder is a piece of cake. The display is, as stated, absolutely gorgeous, and the keys are actually rather good for typing. I'm a "HULK SMASH KEYBOARD WHILE TOUCH TYPING" kind of touch typist, and these things give me rather decent feedback. Worth every penny I paid for it. Reply
  • alfling - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    No mentions about the Asus UX51VZ? <2cm thick, <2Kg, 15,6" 1080p IPS matte screen, i7-3612QM, Nvidia GT650M 2GB GDDR5, 6 hours battery...not an ultraportable? Reply
  • ajp_anton - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    Why do you disqualify the Macs solely on the fact that they're Macs? Just add a note that if you don't already own Windows, it will add some extra cost, but besides that, is there anything wrong with them as Windows machines? The trackpad was the only thing I used to have an issue with, but that's fixed with Trackpad++. Reply
  • Jamezrp - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    That's what I'd really like to know. What Ultrabook has the best keyboard. Most of them are only half decent. I want something excellent. Reply
  • bogieworf - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    The Lenovo Twist has the best keyboard I have personally tried Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    I like both the Dell XPS 12 and the ASUS UX31A keyboards -- both have good key travel with reasonable layouts. The Acer S7 keyboard is severely lacking IMO. Reply
  • R3MF - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    the 13" ivy-bridge model (X3C) with windows 7 is currently available for £850 which includes a free Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 v2.

    A steal.
  • jonjonjonj - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    the real solution is to format the computer and install windows 7. ClassicShell or Start8 doesnt solve the problem of windows 8 sucking. i also agree that a messing with the keyboard and making dumb changes is a sure fire way to not sell one to me. Reply
  • dja - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    lots of interesting info in here, and some good, and not so informed opinions.

    Ill never go back to apple, i use them for work everyday, and i just hate the OS, that's what it comes down too.

    I bought a samsung NP900X4C and with 256ssd and 8g ram it handles everything i can throw at it, battery life is about 7-8 hours, it does some video coding for me, and a bit of gaming, as well as my daily duties no problem.

    Im hidden down in australia, and even with our insane prices i paid $1400 about 3-4 months ago for it.

    Thin, light and powerful enough for me.

    Some people will buy these for looks, status symbols etc, but for me (a pro in the It field) it actually hit right where i needed it
  • Amit kumar - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - link

    Wow amazing and pretty solid device. Thanks for one of the fairest review of the ultrabook guide. I got its full specification on this site as well. Reply

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