9:33 PM Posted by Shafqat Khan
Intel Ultrabooks challenge MacBook Air | PC Supporter
Ultrabooks – Intel’s new slim line form factor for portable laptops could help laptop manufacturers strike back at the dominance of Apple’s MacBook Air. We managed to get our hands on some of the first models to go on show at the IFA Technology Show in Berlin.
First up was the Acer Aspire S3. It’s not the thinnest Ultrabook available, but it’s still incredibly small, measuring 17mm at its thickest point and tapering to a slender 13mm. It weights just 1.3kg, thanks to its aluminum-magnesium alloy construction, and you’ll barely notice it in a satchel or laptop bag.
The thin, 13.3in glossy screen has been made using a new construction process that recesses the LCD directly into its chassis. We noticed a fair amount of flex, but considering its thickness that wasn’t a surprise. The 1,366x768 resolution is fairly standard for this screen size, but there was no mention of a possible upgrade to 1080p or 1,600x900. On the incredibly bright show floor, the display’s brightness looked a little low, but we’ll withhold judgment until we’ve seen one in our labs.
The Aspire S3 doesn’t deviate too far from Intel’s original design document. Each model in the Ultrabook range will use an ultra-low voltage version of Intel’s second-generation Core i3, i5 or i7 processors, with various memory and storage configurations, However, storage is a different matter; the S3 is currently the only Ultrabook available with the choice of an SD or traditional hard disk. As well as faster read and write speeds, SSD models will benefit from enhanced battery life – typically up to seven hours, compared with six from a unit equipped with a hard disk.
Next was Toshiba’s Protege Z830, the thinnest Ultrabook announced at just 15.9mm, This is about as slim as you’d care to go, as the Z830 is only thick enough to provide full sized USB ports – there are three, one of which is the faster USB3 standard – along its edges. There’s also Ethernet, HDMI, VGA and a card reader. Any thinner design would have to resort to compromises such as hinged ports behind flaps.
The Z830’s chassis is made of a magnesium allow, much like Panasonic’s Toughbook line. And it’s been designed to be extremely portable, especially given its 13.3in display size. It weighs just 1.12kg, making it the lightest Ultrabook to date, and one of lightest laptops we can think of. Full dimensions weren’t supplied, and unfortunately we didn’t have a tape measure, but we’d estimate that it sits between Apple’s 13in MacBook Air and Pro designs.
Again, the screen lid has a lot of flex, but there’s no surprise given the thickness. The backlit keyboard was nice to type on, with positive feedback despite its minimal travel.
Toshiba was very circumspect on the actual specification and would only say that it will have an Intel processor and either a 128GB or 256GB SSD. Battery capacity and life was unavailable. What’s certain is that we’re due to get a series of incredibly small, light and attractive laptops coming soon.Source: Computer Shopper – December 2011
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