What to Look for Before Buying an Ultrabook

With advancements in technology, we have seen the development of a whole new genre of lightweight and travel-friendly laptops that are known as Ultrabooks. If you are planning to buy one, we have provided some tips for buying an Ultrabook.
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Things to look for before buying an Ultrabook
Did You Know?
Ultrabook is a trademarked brand by Intel, and the company announced the concept of the Ultrabook in 2011.
Ultrabooks are the latest entrants in the computing world. These are designed to be super-light, apart from being highly responsive. The machine wakes up as soon as you lift the lid, which is a rare sight when we talk about traditional laptops. However, if you are looking for a device with super large screens, Ultrabooks are not the natural choice as they are available in screen sizes ranging from 13 to 15 inches. In this Buzzle article, we have listed out the main features to consider while buying an Ultrabook.

CPU

The processor makes all the difference as far as Ultrabooks are concerned. Special processors are manufactured by Intel, which are to be used only in Ultrabooks. In general, the i5 or i7 processors are used in these devices. As known to most of us, both processors are known for their multitasking capabilities. The SoCs that you will find on these devices are either Ivy Bridge or Haswell. Though Haswell chips aren't as fast as the former ones, the former has great graphics capabilities and a longer battery life.

Storage

One important criteria while choosing an Ultrabook is its storage type and capacity. You will find machines with HDD (hard disk drive), SSD (solid state drive), or hybrid drive. While the hybrid drives have larger storage space, SSDs are faster, use less power, make no noise while booting, and take almost half the time to boot up. However, SSDs have lesser capacity and are expensive. If you are looking for a machine with lots of storage space, that is cheaper and are not worried about the machine speed, you can choose an Ultrabook with HDD storage. However, it is advisable to get one that has hybrid or SSD storage.

Display

The screen size of most Ultrabooks available today is in the range of 13-15 inches. However, chances are that these sizes may increase in the near future, but till then, you will have to wait. The typical screen resolution that these devices have on offer is 1366 x 768 pixels. However, the ASUS UX31 offers a resolution of 1600 x 900 (1080p) pixels which offers high quality images.

RAM

The RAM plays an important role in deciding the speed of the machine. The more the RAM, the faster will the system respond. The RAM is where a program is loaded when you open it. Generally, you will find devices with 4 GB DDR3 RAM; however, it is a good idea to increase the RAM to 6 GB or even 8 GB so that you can shorten your machine response or make it even faster.

Ports

The low-weight aspect of Ultrabooks doesn't allow manufacturers to provide a lot of ports in the device. You will find machines with USB and SD card slots; however, it is difficult to find Ethernet and VGA ports on these devices. Also, you should check the connectivity options that are available. Whether the device has the latest Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth version must be on your checklist. DVD players are not available on all devices. You should look for models with 14-inch or larger displays for the DVD player option.

Battery Life

Another important feature to consider while buying an Ultrabook is its battery life. You would definitely not want to run around looking for a charging point, every time you use it. There are Ultrabooks that last almost 7-8 hours without a charge, while a few others last for a 'more realistic' 4-5 hours. There are also low-end devices with battery life of less than 4 hours. You must remember that the CPU configuration (i3/i5/i7) and the type of storage (SSD/HDD) greatly impact the battery life.

Touchpad

Most sellers today introduce buttonless touchpads with pinch-to-zoom, two-finger scroll, and many swipe gestures. Though these new features seem amazing, when it comes to doing all those gestures repeatedly, it can be a bit annoying if the touchpad isn't responsive. Thus, it is better to check the responsiveness of the touchpad before buying the Ultrabook.

Warranty

A general rule of thumb is that you must check the warranty terms before you purchase any device. The same applies to buying an Ultrabook too. Mainstream laptops come with a one-year hardware warranty. However, when we talk about Ultrabooks, the warranty extends to one-year accidental protection, 30-day flawless display guarantee, along with one-year hardware warranty in case of ASUS UX31. However, these terms vary depending on the product make and model.

Try These

We have listed our suggestions for the best Ultrabooks in the market.

Lenovo ThinkPad X240 is best-suited for entrepreneurs or those looking for handling business applications.

Dell XPS 12 is the best convertible in the market, which doubles up as a tablet as well as a laptop.

Asus VivoBook S400CA-UH51 is the Windows 8 enabled touchscreen Ultrabook with the right kind of pricing and features.

Gigabyte U2442T-CF1 has the best integrated storage (SSD + HDD) with discrete 3D graphics and a 2-year warranty.

Acer Aspire S7-392-6411 is the best Ultrabook that is currently available in the market with 8 GB memory and 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi support.

Though most of us will be awed by the quality of the Apple MacBook Air, the reference standard in Ultrabook design, there are good machines manufactured by ASUS, HP, Acer, Toshiba, and Lenovo. Get yourself an Ultrabook which is thin, lightweight, has sufficient battery life with HD playback, wakes up in a couple of seconds, and has an extended warranty cover.
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Published: April 9, 2014
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