Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
Even though tablets appear to be eating into PC sales, that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from trying to reshape laptops to appeal to those who want their gadgets portable, fast, and just as powerful as their desktop.Enter the so-called “Ultrabooks,” those super thin laptops like Apple’s MacBook Air that are cropping up everywhere.
We still haven’t tested an Ultrabook that bests the MacBook Air. But if you don’t care to use an Apple gadget (or you have to use Windows for whatever reason), we found some great alternatives for you.
Many of these laptops debuted at CES and won’t go on sale for at least another month or two. We also picked out some good you can try now.
Asus launched its 'Zenbook' last fall to pretty decent reviews. It comes in a few different models, each one with tweaks in speed, storage, and performance. No matter which one you choose, you'll get a nice metal body and an 11.6-inch or 13.3-inch display. Pricing starts at $1,000.
Samsung's latest Ultrabook, the Series 5, is similar to the 'Chromebook' that launched last year. However, this model is much more attractive and runs Windows 7 instead. When it launches, you'll have the choice of a 13 inch and 14 inch models. Unlike most other Ultrabooks, you'll have the option for a traditional hard drive that offers much more storage.
We loved Samsung's Series 9 laptop when we reviewed it last year. Now, the Series 9 has a nice refresh, making it thinner and lighter. If you're looking for a light and thin laptop with a larger screen, this 15-incher is one of the best bets.
Toshiba launched its new Ultrabook, the Portege late last year at an incredible starting price of $800. While the design turned some people off (we still liked it), the Portege is still packed with a bunch of handy ports, including an ethernet port for a wired Internet connection. That's rare for an Ultrabook.
We still don't have an official announcement on this one, but we did get a look at Toshiba's 14-inch Ultrabook when we stopped by the company's booth at CES. We're expecting to get more details on this one soon.
Vizio impressed us when it unveiled its new super-thin laptop at the Consumer Electronics Show this month. Yes, it looks very similar to the MacBook Air, but we like the all-metal design. Details are pretty scarce, but knowing Vizio, the company will likely make its laptop very affordable when it launches this year.
Acer showed off its new S5 at CES, claiming it to be the thinnest laptop ever. (Who hasn't made that claim though?) It'll also have a metallic finish and include a new Thunderbolt port, which allows for insanely fast file transfers between devices.
At just 0.6 inches thick, Lenovo's new line of IdeaPads are definitely one of the most impressive laptops we've seen so far this year. They're a bit pricey, starting at $1,200, but there's an impressive list of specs to back that up.
We got to play around with Dell's XPS 13 a few weeks ago, and we think it's one of the best designed new Ultrabooks coming out this year. It's a hair thicker than the MacBook Air, but still feels incredibly light. Best of all, it doesn't try too hard to mimic the Air's design like the competition does.
The XPS 13 starts at $999 and launches in February.
HP's new Ultrabook, the Envy Spectre, is a 14-inch laptop that's just 20 mm thick and weighs 4 pounds. It also has the advantage of Beats Audio integration for (supposedly) better sound.
It's not cheap though. The Spectre goes on sale Feb. 8 and starts at a whopping $1,400 for the base model.