What is an Ultrabook Laptop and why it is so expensive ?

An Ultrabook, as defined by Intel, is a notebook of the higher-end type seeking to fill the gap between tablets and lightweight laptops. Ultrabook PCs are expensive than a MacBook. Ultrabooks were first revealed at the Computex Trade Show in May, 2011, which was dominated by Asus models. Ultrabooks are defined thin and light; the basic idea behind this being is to take the capabilities and performance of modern notebooks packaging all key features into a light, thin, and elastic design. Ultrabooks are equipped with solid-state drives, lower-power Intel Core processors, and a uni-body chassis. Due to their size limitation, Ultrabooks are devoid of some common laptop features like Ethernet ports and optical disc drives.

In what aspects does an Ultrabook differ from a normal laptop?

Intel, in 2011, coined the term “Ultrabook” in order to describe a laptop that is lightweight yet powerful and sleek. Ultrabooks are available in various sizes and models, ranging from 13 to 20 inches and from 4 to 18 pounds. Intel created this specific laptop category with an intention to compete with the well-designed MacBook Air and the increasingly popular tablets. Ultimately, Ultrabooks were meant to give a fair compromise between performance and portability. For example, netbooks are highly portable but do not guarantee high-level performance. On the other hand, Ultrabooks are highly portable and boast better performance than the typical netbook found in the market today.

In an Intel press release, Sean Maloney, the Intel Executive Vice-President, said that PC Ultrabooks will come loaded with Ivy Bridge (next generation Intel processor) and will encompass nearly 40 percent of consumer laptop market by 2012 end. He further added that the Ivy Bridge processor would not be available until June 2012; but the Ultrabooks are supposed to consist of Intel’s latest 2nd generation processors called Sandy Bridge. Ultrabooks have the same level of compactness as a MacBook Air.

To qualify as an Ultrabook, as per Intel standards, a laptop with 13.3-inch and smaller displays must be less than .7 inches thick  while laptops with 14-inch display and larger must be lesser than .8 inches thick. For convertible tablets, it is less than .9 inches. Further, these laptops must on low-powered Intel processors and have a battery life of minimum 5 hours. The laptops should also have the ability to resume from sleep or hibernation within 8 seconds. These Ultrabooks further require USB 3.0 port and internal transfer rate of about 80MB/S for data storage.

With Intel Ultrabooks, dubbed as second generation Ultrabooks, use Ivy Bridge processor, which provides them with amazing speed. Additionally, majority of the models available on the market consist of Intel integrated graphics. Having said these, it should also be noted that Ultrabooks may not be an ideal choice for gamers, who are into serious gaming. The graphics may not support much of video rendering or audio conversion.

Users should also keep in mind that Intel does not come with specific requirements for connectivity, RAM, output, storage, screen size. For instance, most Ultrabooks have Wi-Fi, in case if users want specialized ports, for example, a VGA output, then this port type may not be accessible on the Ultrabook. These components are decided by the manufacturer.

The biggest buzz about Ultrabooks is their price. When compared with netbooks, Ultrabooks offer more power through additional RAM and faster processors. In addition, Ultrabooks have larger screen sizes and better storage capacity making them significantly more costly than netbooks. Further, it is difficult to pack all the features into a thin, single, and light package and have it function properly. Newer technologies and battery life add to the expensive pricing of Ultrabooks.

According to Intel, the pricing of Ultrabooks should fall in the range of $1000. On a general note, Ultrabooks, priced between $800 and $ 1,400, are available from the manufacturer. Ultrabooks with a larger screen and more features will definitely cost more. The prices are expected to come down a bit though; but definitely not in the near future.

On the whole, Ultrabooks are a good choice if design and portability are the primary cardinal. Ultrabooks are definitely the best bet for users who travel often, and people who conduct various web searches.