10 Best Ultrabooks For 2012


HP ENVY 14 Spectre

HP's entry into the Ultrabook market is all about glass: lightweight, scratch-resistant glass, which you'll find on the lid, display, palm rest and touchpad. It claims to have up to nine hours' battery life thanks to the SSD storage, which ensures super-fast boot times, packs a 14-inch screen into a 13.3-inch chassis and comes with a backlit keyboard too. Expect the Spectre to debut in the UK sometime in March with a starting price of £1,199.

Core specs:-
Processor: Intel Core i5 or i7 ULV
RAM: 4GB or 8GB
Storage: 128GB or 256GB SSD
Screen size/resolution: 14 inches, 1,600x900 pixels
Dimensions: 327x221x20mm
Weight: 1.72kg

Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook 530U 13-inch

This is the smaller and lighter of Samsung's new Ultrabooks - a larger 14-inch model weighing 1.84kg and offering discrete graphics and an optical drive is also available for those who want raw power in a slightly bigger chassis. The 530U 13-inch offers over six hours of battery life from a single charge and comes with all the connectivity you need, including memory card slot, Ethernet port and USB, while it also claims to boot in around 20 seconds and wake itself up in under two.

Core specs:-
Processor: Intel Core i5, 2467M (1.60 GHz)
RAM: 4GB
Storage: SSD (128GB-256GB) or HDD (500GB plus onboard 16GB iSSD)
Screen size/resolution: 13.3 inches, 1,366x768 pixels
Dimensions: 315.1 x 218.9mm, 14.9-17.6mm
Weight: 1.39kg (SSD) or 1.43kg (HDD)

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga

Can't decide between an Ultrabook or a tablet? Lenovo's IdeaPad Yogo aims to offer you the best of both worlds thanks to its dual-hinged design, which provides four different configurations: notebook, tablet, stand and tent. It's also the first Ultrabook to be based on the forthcoming Windows 8 release, taking full advantage of its new features thanks to the 10-point capacitive touchscreen. Unfortunately that means it won't be appearing until after Windows 8 is released. It's set to cost US$1,199.

Core specs:-
Processor: Intel Core i7 (Ivy Bridge)
RAM: 8GB RAM
Storage: 256GB SSD
Screen size/resolution: 13.1 inches, 1,600x900 pixels
Dimensions: not specified, 16.9mm
Weight: 1.47kg

 Acer Aspire S5 series

Acer claims that, with a thickness of just 15mm, its Aspire S5 series Ultrabook is the world's thinnest (it's not - see the next slide). Constructed from magnesium alloy and brushed metal, it can be woken in around 1.5 seconds, claims a battery life three times that of traditional batteries, allows the user to manipulate the Ultrabook's data even when asleep (thanks to Acer Always Connect) and boasts a hidden IO panel that reveals HDMI, USB and ultra-fast Thunderbolt ports. Expect it to appear in the UK sometime in the summer.

Core specs:-
Processor: Intel Core (unspecified)
RAM: not specified
Storage: unspecified SSD
Screen size/resolution: 13.3 inches, not specified
Dimensions: not specified, 15mm
Weight: 1.35kg

 Lenovo IdeaPad U310/U410

Looking to add a splash of colour to your Ultrabook experience? From May you'll be able to pick your IdeaPad U-series Ultrabook from a choice of six colours, including Aqua Blue and Cherry Blossom. And while there are thinner and lighter models out there, you get up to eight hours' battery life, quick resume times and an approving nod from your bank manager, with prices set to start from just £599. Also included is Intel Wireless Display technology and USB 3.0 and memory card ports, too.

Core specs (U310):-
Processor: Intel Core i3 or i5RAM: 4GB
Storage: from 64GB (SSD) or 500GB (HDD)
Screen size/resolution: 13 inches, 1,366x768 pixels
Dimensions: 324x216mm, 18mm deep
Weight: 1.7kg

Intel Nikiski

Intel may not make laptops, but it's not afraid to show off concept devices that it hopes will inspire others. Nikiski is a case in point: the area normally containing the trackpad and wrist rest space is clear glass - it functions normally when your laptop is open, but close the lid and the glass area transforms into a touchscreen device, allowing you to not only see part of the screen beneath, but interact with it too. When shut, the portion of the screen still visible displays Windows Metro-like application tiles allowing you to access information or interact with your laptop even when it's closed up tight.

Toshiba Satellite 14-inch prototype Ultrabook

Not only did Toshiba show off just one laptop at this year's CES, it wasn't even a finished product. This 14-inch Ultrabook prototype caught the eye mainly for the fact it was running an early version of Windows 8 on relatively low-specced hardware. The Ultrabook was housed in a Satellite casing (Toshiba's original Ultrabook - the Z385 - is a Portege model) and will sport third-generation Intel Core (Ivy Bridge) processors when it's released in May.

Core specs:-
Processor: Intel Core i3RAM: 4GB
Storage: 128GB SSD
Screen size/resolution: 14 inches, unspecified
Dimensions: unspecified, 20mm
Weight: unspecified

 Asus ZENBOOK

The ZENBOOK arrived at CES sporting two striking shades of rose gold and hot pink for the Valentine's Day season (it's also available in a 'hairline spun' metal finish for those with more simple taste). Available in two models - the UX21 and UX31 - the latter scores points over its rivals by packing a generous 1,600x900 pixel resolution into its 13.3-inch screen. Like its rivals, the ZENBOOK is quick to restore from sleep (two seconds) and boasts decent battery life despite its tiny footprint - over five hours for the UX21.

Core specs (UX21):-
Processor: Intel Core i3-i7
RAM: 2GB-4GB
Storage: 64GB-256GB SSD
Screen size/resolution: 11.6 inches, 1,366x768 pixels
Dimensions: 299x196mm, 3-17mm
Weight: 1.1kg



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