The 2012 Intel Ultrabook Takeover!

Last year Intel proposed the new Intel Ultrabook format as a response to the ever growing need for smaller and more powerful laptops. This was also a move to bring about a Windows similar version of the ever popular Mac Air.  The format caught the attention of several manufacturers who quickly developed some stellar options for the Ultrabook format.

According to Intel, in order for a laptop to carry the Ultrabook name it had to adhere to the following specifications (now updated for 2012):

  • Thin – less than 0.8 inch thick
  • Lightweight – less than 3.1 pounds
  • Long battery life – 5 to 8+ hours
  • Pricing – around $1,000 USD
  • May use flash-based SSDs
  • Must Use CULV Intel Ivy Bridge mobile processors
    • Core i5-3427U
    • Core i5-3320M
    • Core i5-3360M
    • Selected i7 chips.
    • Must use Intel’s graphics sub-system HD Graphics 3000
    • Must support USB 3.0 and PCI Express 3.0

Since January I have needed a new ultra-portable laptop that did not compromise keyboard size, and power, but I decided to suffer through with my current laptop until I could see what was on the horizon with the second generation Ultrabook formats that many manufacturers are now embracing.  I thought about getting a Mac Air, but I did not want to bother with dual booting as I have some Windows based applications that I absolutely need to use regularly. At the CES show last month in Las Vegas, the talk of the show was the new second generation of Intel Ultrabooks coming out. I am glad I decided to wait because the new models of Ultrabooks look amazing.

Starting this month (February 2012), manufactures will start releasing their Ultrabook versions. Below are the ones that I am keeping my eyes on and suggest you do too, as this format becomes more and more popular. This is only 3 of the MANY models coming out this year.

Dell XPS 13
The Dell XPS 13 is one to watch for. It features a carbon-fiber bottom and aluminum top that not only saves weight but also helps dissipate heat better. It also features edge-to-edge 13 inch gorilla glass display (even though the XPS 13 is using a 12 inch body), backlit keyboard, second generation Intel Processors, and all day battery life. Its weight comes out at 2.99 lbs., SSD hard drives, and a whole host of other features, make this one to keep your eyes on. The XPS 13 is not released yet, but will be any day now. You can read more and sign-up to receive a notice upon release here:

ASUS Zenbook
I first saw the Asus Zenbook in an Office Depot earlier this year. Asus’s tag line for this model is “Do you believe in love at first sight?” It was a perfect tag line because it really is a thing of beauty, and I had trouble putting it down. With an all-aluminum body and slim appearance it looks eerily like the Mac Air, but with a much more sharp and defined look.  It comes in an 11.6” and 13.3” models to fit the needs of any road warrior.  It also features SSD hard drives, a 2-second resume time and battery life of up to 7 hours. Both models can be configured with the latest second generation Intel processors. According to reviews, the Asus Zenbook also features the best sound of any line of Ultrabooks.

Asus has done a great job of marketing their Ultrabook line and after watching the videos on their site; your first inclination is to find the “Buy Now” button.  One advantage of the Asus line is that soon they will be releasing their second generation Ultrabooks, which has given them some time to tweak and perfect some of the problems of the first generation Ultrabooks. You can read more here:

The Samsung Series 5 and 9, while not technically Ultrabooks because of their price, are still phenomenal laptops that feature amazing power and speed with a processor up to a quad-core Core i7 and 128GB SSD drive and plenty of memory to boot. With all this, it is still amazingly light at 2.4 lbs and thin. If you are willing to spend the money and you need power, this is the one for you.  The new line-up is supposed to be available this spring.

2012 will definetly be the year of the Ultrabooks. There are many more other Ultrabook models from many manufacturers coming out this year, but these 3 are the ones that have caught my attention. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new Ultrabook formats and your favorites. Please keep the disussion going and comment below.

This post was written by Todd Nielsen. Todd has served as CEO, COO, President, & Vice-President, of various IT & Telecommunications companies over the last 15 years. You can read more about his experience at his blog: