Remember when netbooks were the “next big thing”? A few years ago, everyone wanted one of these small, compact and seemingly essential computers. But after a few years, the fog lifted from people’s eyes as they realized that the small form factor wasn’t the only thing that people needed. They wanted the best of all worlds, a small, lightweight, portable laptop that is fast and boast solid performance, has stellar battery life and looks slim, sleek and edgy. This new form-factor, based on a reference design from Intel, actually now has a name - Ultrabooks - and you will be hearing more and more about them in 2012, especially over the next few weeks with CES 2012 upon us.
Over the past few weeks, I have had quite a bit of hands on time with an ASUS Zenbook UX31E, which, for all intents and purposes, is a perfect example of an Ultrabook. It has a sharp-looking design, weighs next to nothing and does not compromise on performance, given that it is powered by a second generation Intel Core i5 processor. The Ultrabook is no netbook. It’s not even close.
Some UltrabookDads Videos
Instead of reading, I have a couple of videos that you should watch instead, one by me and one by Jeff Sass. (Jeff and I go back quit a few years to some Sony project work we did together. More recently we have participated in the Intel Advisor programs and events, and we both are part of the Cast of Dads.)
Here’s my review of the ASUS Zenbook UX31E Ultrabook (also available directly on YouTube):
[iframe_loader width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/AhP6XdglaVs?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen]
And for another perspective, here is Jeff’s video (also available directly on YouTube).
[iframe_loader width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/GqM3l3n-B3I?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen]
I hope you enjoyed those videos.
This post is the other bookend to my first one (“I’ve Become an UltrabookDad!“). These past weeks have confirmed my original thoughts about Ultrabooks – that they are the next hot thing. And honestly, I don’t see them being a passing fad. There is a definite need in the marketplace for lightweight, high-performance portability. While Tablets, too, seem to be an up and rising consumer electronic item, they are not a replacement for a desktop or even a laptop. They do fill a need of a media consumption device, but lack the characteristics to be a true replacement like a physical keyboard or full-speed CPU. Ultrabooks have many of the important characteristics that tablets have like being lightweight and fast booting, but they don’t have the performance that a true computer has. I call Ultrabooks more of a rich media creation device for people on the go. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next iterations of Ultrabooks will have swiveling displays that fold into a tablet form-factor and that the screens will be touch-enabled.
Jeff and I shared the magic of the ASUS Zenbook Ultrabook to a lucky winner of a giveaway that we held, sponsored by Intel. Congrats again to Rocky Lee Dhabolt of Des Moines, IA.
The Ultrabook that is seen in the videos above is the ASUS Zenbook UX31E which can be found at many online retailers. The ASUS Zenbook UX31E currently retails on Amazon for $999.95.
Some quick specs on the ASUS Ultrabook:
- CPU: 2nd generation Intel® Core™ i3, i5, i7 processor
- Screen Size: 13.3”, 1366 x 768
- Weight: 2.87 lbs.
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000
- Battery Life: Up to 7 hours
- Operating System: 64-bit Windows® 7 Home Premium
- RAM: 4 GB
- Hard drive: 128 GB SSD (Solid State Drive)
- Size (LWH): 12.9 inches, 8.9 inches, 0.78 inches
If you research other manufacturers’ Ultrabook offerings, you will see that they are very consistent. They are all lightweight (typically 3 lbs and under), they use 2nd Generation Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processors, they are very thin, they use Solid State Drives (SSDs) and they have sharp, elegant designs (ok, that last one is just my own personal opinion).
Personally, I would love to find out what you think are the best features of the Ultrabook. Is it the fact that it is high-performance? Or that it has a very long battery-life? (I got almost 6 hours or more.) Or is it because it is incredibly light-weight? What about the design and small form-factor, or the fact that there is no skimping on features or the size of the screen or keyboard. Leave a comment and share your opinions on Ultrabooks.
Disclosure: In accordance to the FTC Guidelines and WOMMA Code of Ethics, I am disclosing that Intel Corporation is a client and I am being compensated for the content that is being created. My opinions about Intel, ASUS, and Ultrabooks and my writing are entirely my own and not those of Intel, nor subject to their editorial approval. Additionally, I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. More information can be found in my About page as well as here.
HTD says: This new generation of computing gets the pleasure of a new entrant – the Ultrabook – which will quickly prove its value through its compelling features.
Incredible Beauty The ZENBOOK uses a precision-crafted design measuring only 3mm at the front and 9mm at the rear. The form features razor thin edges and a curved center section, which is both practical and attractive - while accommodating the powerful computing components within, this design also looks totally unique. It embodies beauty and strength in complete balance and harmony. Incredible Speed ASUS is proud to deliver the world's first ultrabook with SATA 6Gb/s solid state storage, making for an amazingly smooth and fast computing experience. Additionally, all ASUS ZENBOOK models ship with USB 3.0 as standard, multiplying the transfer rates of current USB 2.0 by as much as a factor of ten! Combined, SSD storage and USB 3.0 create incredible speed of data transfer rates.