3 Upcoming Ultrabooks Unveiled

Ultra-light and ultra-thin will be in (again) as PC manufacturers go after the lion’s market share of Apple’s MacBook Air this year. The market was not so hot in 2011 for ultrabooks, because tablets were all the rave, led by the ubiquitous Apple iPad. Tablet users who miss their keyboards will be out in force, looking for the right light companion with a full-sized keyboard. This post won’t be going into the slew of 40 to 50 ultrabooks launching this year, though. Here is a short list of  new ultrabooks in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 — not because they’re the best, but because they’re interesting.

Acer Aspire S5

Tech Wire Asia Acer Aspire S5 review

Thin and cool, the Aspire S5

The ‘MagicFlip’ panel is a clever feature in the alleged ‘World’s Thinnest Ultrabook’. Press a button on the upper right corner of the keyboard, and additional I/O ports panel (USB, HDMI, Thunderbolt) pops out from under the bottom half (just below the hinge). At just under 15mm (0.59 inch), this ultrabook comes with different options of grunt in Intel Core  i-series processors (Ivy Bridge down the line, perhaps). Weighing in at less than 1.35 kg (2.97 pounds), the Aspire S5 has a 34 cm (13.3 inches) screen and a sleek Onyx black brushed magnesium alloy case. A perfect antithesis to the MacBook Air.

LG Xnote Z330

Tech Wire Asia LG Xnote Z330 review

Thinner by a hair's breadth, the Z330

Thinner at 14.7mm (0.58 inches) and lighter at 1.82 kg (2.65 pounds), LG’s Xnote Z330 pulls the rug from under Acer’s claims. With roughly the same screen acreage, memory, SSD capacity and lineup of processors as the Acer S5, we go to the beauty contest for a tie-breaker. The brushed aluminum case looks crisp and clean, much like the (ahem) MacBook Air. With prices approximated at the same ranges as the Air, it seems the Z330 is sincerely trying to flatter the main rival. The clean lines and fine edges give the Z330 an elegant look. But why buy a copy when you can get the original for the same price?

Vizio Ultrabook

Tech Wire Asia Vizio Ultrabook review

Sleek, sexy Vizio

The upstart cometh. Vizio is a very successful US company specializing in affordable LCD TVs, who now wants to enter the PC game by launching a line of all-in-one computers (styling inspired by iMac) and laptops. CTO Matt McRae shies away from labeling the slim and light laptops as  ‘ultrabooks’. But  if it’s not an ultrabook, it sure will be ultracheap. Vizio plans to sell the notebooks at prices that won’t ‘seem possible’. That’s the marketing model that Vizio lives by. Aside from the screen size (14 and 15-inch flavors), there is no word on the specifications. Vizio uses brushed aluminum case and beveled edges to give their ultrabooks an ‘Apple appeal’. I like this upcoming ultrabook because it is going to mess things up! The low price will give the ultrabook market a boost, and customers will be spoilt for choice.

This article did not really do much unveiling as it did opining. With the cascade of ultrabooks coming out, the differences in specifications may not vary by much. Customers eventually gravitate towards the brand they know and trust — or buy the shiniest or most colorful of the bunch.

All photos courtesy of the respective manufacturers.