Ultrabooks are a new kind of laptop that meets a set of strict requirements laid out by Intel. They have to be less than 21mm thick, weigh under 1.4kg, start and resume from sleep mode very quickly, have a battery that lasts longer than 5 hours, not have an optical drive, and include Intel Anti-Theft Technology which can lock down the notebook in case it's stolen (this is a premium feature which you can optionally enable through the retailer). They must also use low-voltage 2nd Gen Intel Core processors and incorporate solid state drives for storage, a combination which leads to brisk performance .
Why you want an Ultrabook
If you need a laptop that's extremely portable but with performance comparable to that of a full-size laptop, an Ultrabook is perfect. Intel's requirement that Ultrabooks have at least 5 hours of battery life (ideally 8) means the Ultrabook makers have to deliver on the battery life claims, an area that in laptops is typically fraught with exaggeration. As a result, when you buy an Ultrabook, you are guaranteed an extremely light and slim machine that slips almost unnoticed into a briefcase or bag, lasts most of the day on a single battery charge and resumes from sleep in a couple of seconds. Ultrabooks make full-size 15.6in notebooks - with their heavy weight (most around 2.5kgs), short battery life (2-3 hours ) and insufferably long startup times - look like dinosaurs.
Who should buy an Ultrabook
Anyone whose job or study means they are always on the move and need to use a laptop frequently through the day. In the case of staff here at Hunter, we've dumped the big 15.6in battery charge guzzlers for Ultrabooks when we're travelling to and from work every day or flying off to overseas conferences. Ultrabooks also have more pose value than any laptop and one will get the same envious looks as iPads did when the Apple tablets first came out.We believe that Ultrabooks are the blueprint for the laptops most people will be buying within 1-2 years.
Who shouldn't buy an Ultrabook
If you need a notebook with strong graphics rendering power, say for running intensive PC games, or a large (15.6in and above) screen then an Ultrabook won’t be sufficient. Ultrabooks don't have discrete graphics cards so they won't be able to run to intensive games at high detail (not that 95% of notebooks or desktop PCs can, anyway). Ultrabooks are about getting reasonable or serious power (some come with Intel Core i7 processors!) in an extremely portable package at a price that's lower than the powerful and light but prohibitely expensive executive notebooks of the past. With the exception of the Toshiba Z830, Ultrabooks also don't have as many ports as bigger notebooks (most offer 2 USB ports instead of four or more) and don't have optical drives, in order to stay slim.
There are various things common to all Ultrabooks (pretty much the specs set by Intel - see here for more on this). First, they use low-voltage 2nd Gen Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processors. Intel's latest generation of low-voltage processors has performance that's nearly the equivalent of previous generation full-power processors, so Ultrabooks will easily handle all your common computing tasks. In our tests they handle intensive tasks with software such as Adobe Photoshop or HD video editors with ease. The secret to their good performance despite the long battery life is the combination of low-voltage processors with solid state drives. Most Ultrabooks come with 128GB or 256GB drives. These are an order of magnitude faster than the bigger, slower mechanical drives in most ordinary laptops, and when mated with a Core processor and the 4GBs of RAM help give the Ultrabooks great system performance for the slim dimensions and light weight. In short, you won't find an Ultrabook lacking in performance, like some of the previous ultraportables
Ultrabooks might be more expensive than full-size basic notebooks, but their exceptional portability and speedy performance (and stylish designs) make them a really compelling option for laptop buyers who need a relatively powerful but insanely light laptop to carry around all day. As we said earlier, there has been a mass migration to Ultrabooks here in the Hunter offices.