Article 17: Ultrabooks

The Latest Breed of Laptops

Advertising jargon is everywhere. There is no avoiding it. When you are in the market for a laptop, there are a million and one places that will try to sell you on their newest, latest, and greatest thing. One of the latest buzzwords circling around is ultrabook, as laptops get smaller, and faster, and more specialized. Models like the LG ultrabook pictured below really are that thin, and can still pack a punch. Let’s look at these specialized, portable, and ergonomic laptops in this week’s Modern Nerd.


No CD Player?!

Ultrabooks don’t have them. Not all Ultrabooks, but the vast majority don’t include them. The simple fact is that CD players/burners/DVD drives take up a lot of space in laptops. In the internet age, we can get almost anything and everything streamed, on on a USB. So for those who still use optical drives a large majority of the time, you’d do best to look at a different style. Everything about the ultrabook is built for compact power. They skip unnecessary plugs, have a minimum number of USB ports, and fold together as slim as any laptop there is.

Next Generation Processors and Hard Drives

The best part about an ultrabook, at least in my opinion, is the fact that you don’t have to sacrifice on CPU power in a laptop. They are lower power yes, but you can run up to an i7 processor which has quad core capabilities, with enough RAM to be competitive with most other larger laptops. The hard drive that comes standard is usually a solid-state, which gives an ultrabook the fast startup and resume from sleep characteristics. This can also mean less overall space for storage, but solid state technology is becoming more commonplace and affordable, so it is not terribly rare to see around 500 GB in superfast solid state memory.

Ultrabooks vs. Tablets

There is a legitimate argument to be made for skipping the 13” laptop that folds as thin as a tablet, and just getting a tablet. The iPad and their Windows and Android counterparts are getting better all the time. But there are also several good reasons why you shouldn’t do this if what you are looking for is a computer. A tablet just doesn’t have a keyboard, and that is my biggest reason. Sure, they have a touchscreen keyboard, or a Bluetooth keyboard that is separate, but if you are going to write more than a few lines, a keyboard is the way to go. Never underestimate the tactile feedback of a real keyboard, as a rumble feature or an audible click will just not measure up. The second reason is the wider variety of programs that you can install on an ultrabook. Ultrabooks are full-function computers, while tablets like the Android OS and iOS are more specialized versions that run apps more prevalently than you may be used to. App software has come a long way, but it is just not on the level of versatility that you can get with a fully functional Windows 7 or OSX Lion. Don’t let this dissuade you from buying a tablet if that is your thing, I think that both are awesome and have their place. But know what differences to expect before buying. Testing these different operating systems at a store is a good place to start even if you are going to end up buying online.

Ultrabooks are more than just a fancy buzzword, I see them as a legitimate attempt for the laptop computer to take a step forward and compete with the tablet and touchscreen markets. For nerds like me, the idea of a computer this size, that can run any program that a desktop could, is very appealing. It gives you a wider range of options than dealing with an App Store. I hope this is helpful for anyone looking to buy a new computer, and as always, please get some personalized advice from the pros before you spend the big bucks. Make sure you know what you are (and aren’t) getting. Thanks for reading.

Aaron Krick
Blog Contributor at The Computer Fixer

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