The notebook market has seen waves of development in the past few years with the netbook phenomenon. Now, it appears that the time for Ultrabooks has arrived. Netbooks were all about impressive battery life, decent amount of performance and very affordable pricing. Ultrabooks are aimed at being affordable, too, offer good battery life as well as very good performance, but all at a $1000 price point – at least, that’s what Intel is aiming for.
Ultrabooks are supposed to be slim and light-weight – very much like an Apple MacBook Air. Now, if you want one in India, it’s not like every brand has a couple of them. A few of them have just started entering the market and we’ve compiled a list of them for you to choose from.
Samsung Series 5 Ultra Notebooks
Samsung's new Series 5 line of Ultra Notebooks
The Samsung Series Ultra Notebooks (or Ultrabooks as Intel likes to call them) are the latest to be launched and are powered by Core i5 processors. In fact, these were launched a few days back. The Ultrabooks are available in 13 and 14-inch models,, which means they’re very portable. The unique feature of the 14-inch model is the integrated DVD drive and memory card. Samsung claims this to be one of a kind, because of the space constraints – no manufacturer integrated an optical drive in their Ultrabooks. This was also the case with netbooks.
The larger 14-inch model comes with a 1TB drive, while the 13-inch one sells with a 500GB drive. Of course, users have the option of choosing SSDs over hard drives on the 13-inch model – for this reason, there are 128GB and 256GB options available. Users who go in for the 14-inch model can also opt for a Radeon HD7550M, part of the new Radeon HD7000 series of GPUs. The 13-inch model with all the features and components fit in weighs around 1.42kg, while the fully spec’d 14-inch model weighs around 1.84 kg. The standard models of the 13-inch and 14-inch Series 5 Ultra Notebooks sell for Rs. 48,990 and Rs. 54,390 respectively.
Wipro Aero e.go Ultra
The Indian Ultrabook – Wipro e.go Ultra
One of the other recent launches was Wipro e.go Ultra – an Ultrabook from the Indian PC manufacturer. The e.go Ultra has a 14-inch display like most of the Ultrabooks being sold these days. It’s also got the Intel Core i line of processors, 4GB of memory and 500GB of hard drive space onboard them. Windows 7 is a standard feature for the new Aero Ultrabook. Pricing is a sensitive thing for the Indian market, and Wipro is selling the Aero e.go Ultra between Rs.39,000 and Rs.49,000.
HP's first Ultrabook – the 13-inch Folio
HP is one of the world’s largest PC manufacturers and they’ve decided to launched their first ever Ultrabook – the Folio, in India. The 13.3-inch Folio weighs only 1.5 kg. in comparison to some of the other larger Ultrabooks in the market. It packs a punch with its Intel Sandy Bridge processor and its 128GB SSD ensures that temperatures, power consumption, size and vibrations are kept low.
Most of the other features are standard. For example, there’s an HD webcam and USB 3.0 support for faster data transfer speeds, assuming you use USB 3.0 drives. The HP Folio also comes with Windows 7 Professional and there’s a 3-year warranty available as an optional feature. Another option is a TPM chip that HP claims can secure emails and information. The HP Folio starts at a price of Rs.69,990, higher than some of the other notebooks in the market.
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s
Bright and colourful – the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s
The Lenovo IdeaPad U300s was one of the Ultrabooks to be launched towards the end of last year. We reviewed it in December 2011 and we found it to be a pretty decent piece of hardware. Priced at a little more than Rs.61,000 in the market, it performs well in most CPU benchmarks, thanks to its Core i5 2467M processor and 4GB of DDR3 RAM. Storage is handled by the 128GB SSD and it has Windows 7 Home Premium running on it.
This 13.3-inch display U300s is very light with a weight of just 1.36 kg and a thickness of just 14.9mm. The keys on the keyboard have the isolated design that offer a decent elegant look to the Ultrabook. There’s no wired Ethernet port so that could be a problem. The laptop lasts 5 hrs and 30 minutes on a full charge, but with very intensive workloads, this could drop to close to 3 hours.
ASUS Zenbook UX31
The slightly expensive option – the Zenbook from ASUS
The 13.3-inch Zenbook from popular PC component manufacturer ASUS is one of the costlier Ultrabooks around. Priced at Rs.89,999 during its launch late last year, it offers most of the features as the other Ultrabooks. It weighs a mere 1.3 kg for the 13.3-inch model that has a 1600×900 display. For this price, you get a 256GB SSD on the Ultrabook and a standard Intel HD3000 integrated graphics solution. There’s 4GB of RAM and a rather powerful Core i7 2677M processor, that’s clocked at 1800 MHz at stock but shoots up to 2.9 GHz with TurboBoost enabled. The key feature that ASUS is proud of is the Bang & Olufsen ICEPower speakers.
So, there you have it – a list of some of the latest Ultrabooks to hit the market. In the past two weeks, we’ve seen some two major releases, and with Intel developing its future platform to align with Ultrabooks, one can be rest assured there won’t be a shortage of Ultrabooks in the market, this year.
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