Hear are the newest Ultrabooks for you to choose from the market....
BANGALORE, INDIA: 2012 is stated to be a year that will belong to Ultrabooks. Apple has been dominating this market space with its popular Macbook Air 13. Not to be left behind new players have joined the bandwagon.
Here are reviews of some of the new Ultrabooks in the market:
Acer Aspire S3
Price: Rs 53,799
Pros: Low Cost, SSD Drive, Bluetooth 4.0
Cons: Poor audio, limited number of ports, small arrow keys, No Backlit Keyboard.
This good looking ultrabook weighs just 1.37 kg and is decently priced, as compared to others we reviewed. The ultrabook has 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 HDMI port and a 2-in-1 card reader, but misses out on a USB 3.0 port, which is quite common these days. Its keyboard is user-friendly except for the arrow keys that are very small. The Aspire S3 has Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless connectivity. It comes with Intel GMA HD 3000 graphics, which helped it score 3146 in the 3DMark 06 benchmark.
This is average, and only better than its own sibling, the TravelMate 8481T, as compared to other ultrabooks we reviewed this time. So don't expect to run high-end graphics/multimedia applications with its onboard graphics. The Aspire S3's battery lasts for just under 3 hours, which is again an average score for an ultrabook.
Bottomline: This is the cheapest ultrabook of the lot, and can be considered by frequent travelers looking for a stylish and light weight device for on the move productivity.
Acer TravelMate 8481T
Price: Rs 59,000
Pros: USB 3.0, eSATA, long battery life, spacious and elevated keyboard
Cons: Battery bulges out from the back
The best thing about this ultrabook is that it will easily last you more than six and a half hours without being connected to mains, thanks to its 8-cell battery. Other aspects that business users might love about this product are the large and spacious keys on the keyboard, plenty of space for palm rest, a multi-function touchpad, music controllers keys, and an array of buttons on the top right. The benchmark results further substantiated our observation, with the ultrabook scoring 4880 in PCMark , which is average and in 3DMark benchmark, it scores 1598, which the lowest score among all. The ultrabook has a wide 14-inch screen with 1366x768 resolution which is perfect for doing video-conferencing.
Connectivity options range from USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports to a 5-in-1 card reader, HDMI, eSATA, Wi-Fi, , ethernet and Bluetooth 3.0.
Bottomline: The Acer TravelMate Timeline 8481T offers average performance but makes up for it with an extra long battery backup, a comfortable keyboard and a sturdy design. It's a good choice for road warriors.
Price: Rs 89,999
Pros: Good battery life, fast wake up
Cons: No backlit keyboard
It features a 13.3-inch display that supports a resolution of 1600 x 900 which is more than any ultra-book except the Sony Vaio. The display quality is excellent with the resolution offering plenty of screen space to run two docs side by side.
This was the only ultrabook to come with an Intel Core i7 processor running at 1.7 GHz. Add to that a 250 GB SSD and 4GB RAM, and you get a pretty decent performer. Its battery life is also a real stunner lasting an impressive 6 hours in our battery drain tests.
Connectivity options are pretty much standard as in any other ultrabook, and include USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, built-in card reader, mini VGA connection, micro HDMI port, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi. The ultrabook's keyboard is well-spaced out and comfortable to work on, but you'll miss the backlighting, which has become pretty much standard nowadays.
Bottomline: One of the best Windows based ultrabooks, if you want both power and elegance on the move.
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s
Price: Rs 69,990
Pros: OneKey Recovery, Spacious keypad, Wi-Di, USB 3.0, Bluetooth 3.0 and 3 yr Warranty.
Cons: No SD card slot, no backlit keyboard
It has one of the most feature rich trackpads we've seen in any ultrabook. It doesn't have any buttons and goes beyond the two-finger pinch and zoom to even support four finger multi-gesture control.
The U300S comes with a 13.3-inch non-reflective screen that supports a resolution of 1366x768. The ultrabook is one of the best performers of the lot, scoring a whopping 8472 in PCMark Vantage benchmark. This makes it a great laptop for on the move productivity. Graphics performance with its onboard Intel GMA HD 3000 graphics is average at 3510 3D Marks, and even the battery back-up is not very impressive, lasting close to 3.5 hours on its battery.
Another innovative feature in the ultrabook is the built-in Wireless-Display technology, using which you can connect it wirelessly to a TV (requires a separate adapter though).
Bottomline: It's the lightest ultrabook of the lot and a great performer. If you can live with some of the missing features, it's a great buy for the style conscious.
Lenovo Thinkpad X1
Price: Rs 98,000
Pros: USB 3.0, eSATA, Corning Gorilla Glass LCD display; 80% battery recharge in 30 min; Great performance
Cons: Low battery life
The X1 was launched in in May last year, and is among the better performers of all ultraportables we reviewed this time. Weighing 1.67 kg, the X1 has a 13.3-inch screen made of Corning Gorilla Glass, supporting a resolution of 1366x768p. The laptop runs on Microsoft Windows 7 Professional. It has a backlit keyboard that has an excellent design with well placed and spaced keys.
The touchpad is a breeze to use, and also has ThinkPad's signature trackpoint. The screen also tilts a complete 180 degrees. It was the second highest performer in PCMark Vantage benchmark, scoring 7218, and the top performer in 3DMark with a score of 3593. It has an array of connectivity options that include USB 3.0, eSATA and Bluetooth 3.0.
The battery backup of course is a bit of an issue, with the X1 lasting merely 1 hour 10 minutes. The good thing though is that its battery can recharge up to 80% in just 30 minutes.
Bottomline: An ultra-portable with excellent durability and manageability. A great choice for high flying executives, provided they can live with the low battery backup.
Apple Macbook Air 13
Price: Rs 89,000
Pros: Performance, display, battery life, fast bootup
The new Macbook Air 13 is faster and better than its predecessor with an Intel Core i5 processor and 256 MB flash storage. Looks wise, nothing seems to have changed as this upgrade looks just like its former self, except for the back-lit keyboard which is a welcome change with black-colored and well-spaced keys.
Also, the former had 4 GB RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage, which is better than the latter's 2 GB RAM and 64 GB SSD. It includes two USB ports, one thunderbolt port, one SD card slot, power port and a headphone jack. The Macbook Air 13 boasts of a stunning bright display with a native resolution of 1440x900 pixels, rendering visuals clear and sharp. The speaker quality is passable and is the only deficit in this otherwise brilliant ultra-book. Its battery lasted a good 6 hours and is a significant boost for travelling workers, who can easily lug it in their suitcases with other stuff.
(This article was originally published in PC Quest)