Netbooks? Pfft. They're so last summer. Now we have ultrabooks.
But before we get too excited and all ("ultrabook" sounds so catchy after all), the important question for any sensible consumer is this: is it just another ploy from laptop manufacturers to get us jumping on a new bandwagon? That ultrabooks are still basically laptops gives us a reason to believe so.
This doesn't mean that we despise the new category. With the first models of its kind coming out late last year, we'd have to say we're pretty impressed with what we've seen. Also, hearing about an emerging gadget wars always seems to get our attention.
So what are ultrabooks? They're laptops—that much we've revealed already—with an emphasis on reducing size and weight, extending battery life, while still packing in enough juice and power for high-performance usage. These are the signs that you might be looking at an ultrabook laptop: it's ultra-thin, ultra-sleek, and when you read the spec sheet, you go "not bad," with a bit of non-chalance like any well-trained, hard-to-please techie would. Another vital sign: you spot an Intel sticker.
Ultrabooks are the creation of Intel. As such, all notebooks that are to be marketed as an ultrabook need to be approved by the processor giant. Intel has set certain requirements that manufacturers like Samsung, HP, Acer have to meet. As we've said, "high-performance" is a trait of an ultrabook, so we're sure the requirements aren't pedestrian.
There is a why to this story too. The PC market is slumping, Apple's tablets are rising, and there has yet to be a notebook PC that's designed to seriously compete with Apple's own ultra-sleek laptop, the Macbook Air. That's where ultrabooks come in. It's "a 300-million dollar push from Intel to beat Apple at its own game" says tech site Ars Technica.
Intriguing, no? All that said, how about we take a look at a couple of these ultrabooks now. Check out these babies from HP and Samsung, both of which were launched last week.