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CES 2012 – Ultrabooks to MacBook Air: Time to Step Up Your Laptop

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Having reviewed the first four ultrabook laptops to hit stores, and spent some hands-on time with a just-announced HP version, it’s clear Apple’s dominance of the superthin laptop category faces a serious challenge.
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batteryfast.co.uk
November 23, 2011
CES 2012 - Ultrabooks to MacBook Air:
Time to Step Up Your Laptop
CES 2012 - Ultrabooks to MacBook Air: Time to Step
use, as long as price is no object. To date, no one has
Up Your Laptop
matched the multitouch trackpad experience of the
MacBook, along with its excellent keyboard, and
CloudTag: CES , Ultrabooks , MacBook Air , Laptop
simple sleep/hibernate quick-start states.
, Acer aspire 6935g laptop battery , Dell inspiron
1525 batteries life , Motorola CP040 Two Way Ra-
But, if you're looking for the best value based on
dios battery
system specs, the field is suddenly wide open.
Toshiba's Portege Z835 has a slower Core i3 pro-
cessor (which is still fine for everyday use), but in-
cludes a full 128GB SSD for only $799 in a Best Buy
retail-exclusive configuration. HP and Acer both
have $899 ultrabooks-both with a Core i5 processor
and either a 128GB SSD (HP) or 20GB/320GB hybrid
drive (Acer).
The Asus Zenbook is the closest in look and feel to the
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Air, with a similar 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-2557M pro-
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cessor, a 128GB SSD, all-metal unibody construction,
and a backlit keyboard, but it starts at only $1,099.
Lenovo's IdeaPad U300s is a bit more, $1,199, but
a
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it has a particularly sharp design and the best key-
board of the bunch (although it's sadly not backlit).
Having reviewed the first four ultrabook laptops
to hit stores, and spent some hands-on time with
The comparison is easier to make with the 11-inch
a just-announced HP version, it's clear Apple's do-
version of the Asus Zenbook. For $999, you can get
minance of the superthin laptop category faces a
the 11-inch MacBook Air, with 2GB of RAM and a
serious challenge.
64GB SSD (of which about 49GB is available to users
after operating-system files); or you can get a nearly
Acer, Asus, Toshiba, and Lenovo all have impressive
identical Zenbook UX21 with double the RAM, 4GB,
systems, all under 18 millimeters thick, and all with
and double the SSD capacity, 128GB.
second-generation Intel Core i-series processors and
solid-state drives (SSDs). The key is that these 13-inch
What this says to us is that the MacBook Air, parti-
laptops start at $799, while the 13-inch MacBook
cularly the entry-level $999 11-inch version, is star-
Air starts at $1,299.
ting to look like it's in need of another update. Just
as Apple recently updated the components in its
That said, stack all of these systems together on a
MacBook Pro line of laptops, offering more power
.
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table and we'll still pick the Air for general everyday
and space at the same prices, ditching that 64GB
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Page 1

batteryfast.co.uk
November 23, 2011
CES 2012 - Ultrabooks to MacBook Air: Time to Step Up Your Laptop
SSD in the least expensive Air would be an excellent
first step.
Even if none of the current slate of ultrabooks is
a true MacBook Air killer, many more are repor-
tedly on the way at CES 2012. According to PC Pro
magazine, Shawn DuBravac, director of research
for the Consumer Electronics Association, told a
London tech event, "We expect to see 30 to 50 new
ultrabooks launched at CES."
In the meantime, here are the current and coming-
soon ultrabooks, side by side with the MacBook Air.


HP Folio
While it's not as thin as some of the other ultrabooks
we've seen, the price is right, at $899, which gets
you not only a 128GB SSD, but also an Intel Core i5
CPU. Read our initial hands-on impressions.
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Toshiba Portege Z835-P330
The Toshiba Portege Z835 is incredibly light and
offers great bang for the buck in some areas-but it
cuts a pretty serious corner by dropping the CPU
to an Intel Core i3.

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Page 2

batteryfast.co.uk
November 23, 2011
CES 2012 - Ultrabooks to MacBook Air: Time to Step Up Your Laptop
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s
Asus Zenbook UX31E
The less expensive of two available configurations
matches up with the low-end MacBook Air, with a
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the
128GB SSD and Intel Core i5 CPU, but the Lenovo is
MacBook Air should be positively blushing right
about $100 less, at $1,195 versus $1,299.
around now; the Asus Zenbook doesn't shy away
from an Apple-like design whatsoever.

Acer Aspire S3
Slim, lightweight, and powerful, it certainly looks

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and feels a good deal like the other ultrabooks. The
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difference is that Acer has decided to sell the Aspire
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, Summer 2011)
S3 for $899, a steep discount from what you'd pay
The MacBook Air has finally gone mainstream,
for a 13-inch MacBook Air.
with excellent performance, good battery life, and
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a backlit keyboard. It's the clear template for ul-
trabooks.
Related stories:
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