Ultrabooks are a new breed of portable laptop that is gaining popularity in consumer circles as well as in business. Modeled after the slim and sexy MacBook Air line from Apple, these PCs feature ultra thin and light designs, low-voltage Intel processors, and speedy internal components such as solid-state drives for storage. Most are designed to meet mainstream consumer needs—portability and low price being the most important—but some models are either made with enterprise in mind or have the right combination of components for the executive suite. These are our top picks for summer 2012.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1(Price TBA)
The second generation ThinkPad X1 is now a true ultrabook, coming in at just 18 millimeters thin, weighing less than three pounds with a 14-inch, 1600 x 900 display in a 13-inch laptop’s body. Aiming to be the only device a true road warrior needs, the X1 has a durable carbon fiber body, a spill-resistant backlit keyboard, biometric security, and is 3G capable for times when Wi-Fi isn’t available.
Lenovo promises speedy performance and long battery life thanks to Intel’s newest processors, solid-state drives, and power management software.
HP Envy Spectre XT(Starts at $999)
The new Spectre XT has more than just an attractive design. This all-metal 13.3-inch laptop is just 14.5 millimeters thin, yet has a full set of ports, including Ethernet, HDMI, and an SD card slot. Despite the slim profile, the keyboard is backlit, and it travels well. It’s also equipped with Beats Audio, making it a nice multimedia companion. HP claims seven hours of battery life, again partly due to the speedy, energy-efficient new Intel processor inside.
Acer Aspire TimelineUltra M3 (Price TBA)
The Ultra M3 not only has a normal-sized 15.6-inch screen, it’s also the first ultrabook to come with discrete graphics from NVIDIA. That means more power for image editing, video production, presentation creation, and HD video playback. This notebook is so powerful, users can play high graphics games on ultra settings and the Aspire won’t break a sweat. Yet it weighs just 4.5 pounds and is only 19.8 millimeters thick.