Ultrabook vs notebook vs netbook
Before we dive into the actual 30+ reviews or even attempt to give you any buying advice, it’s essential to first clear the air of all the confusion over ultrabooks, notebooks and netbooks, and how they’re different from each other.
Ultrabook is a term coined by Intel for notebooks based on certain pre-defined specifications. Broadly, these specifications require that the ultrabook should reduce its bulk without compromising on performance or battery life. So, the height of ultrabooks with 13-inch displays shouldn’t exceed 18 mm, while the 14-inch ones should limit it to 21 mm. The battery backup should be more than 5 hours and it should wake up from hibernation in 7 seconds or less. They should be based on Intel’s latest low voltage microprocessors, codenamed Sandybridge and Ivybridge. Plus, they should support some security features like Intel’s Anti-theft and identity protection technology.
WHEN AN ULTRABOOK IS NOT AN ULTRABOOK
An ultra-book is best understood as a property or an object. Intel’s ultra-book is a property built by Intel whereas, the object ultra-book is just any ultra-slim notebook like Macbook Air, or notebooks based on AMD’s Trinity, the chip giant’s second generation, A-Series of APUs. Seeing all the action in ultraslim laptops, AMD introduced two of its Trinity APUs specifically for this ultrathin segment, viz. the dual-core A6-4455M and quad-core A10-4655M. Such products would be thin and light, but they’re not labelled as ultrabooks. Irrespective of what they’re called, the good thing is that they’ve changed the look and feel of notebooks altogether, and we’re hoping that over time, economies of scale will take over, and a lot more notebooks will have similar specifications as ultrabooks.
KEY FEATURES IN ULTRABOOKS
Ultra-books are sturdy and compact and most of them boast of uni-metal body made from light weight alloys of aluminium, magnesium or some carbon fibre. They are crafted on low-power processors with 32 and 22 nm microarchitecture from Intel; as a result they offer battery back-up of upto 9 hours. Ports are important in any computer, but unfortunately the slim edges of ultra-books make notebook like connectivity a distant dream. All you can see on an ultra-book are a few USB ports, an Ethernet port, a mic and an audio jack. Ultra-books are crammed for space and a full-keyboard ultra-book is still a rarity, though backlit keys mostly found in high-end notebooks, is a common feature in ultrabooks.
WHERE DO NETBOOKS STAND AFTER THIS?
For now, ultra-books seem to be on the right track but then netbooks had raised high expectations too. A direct
comparison between a netbook and an ultra-book leaves the former nowhere in the picture as they are not just shoddily built but also lack the strength of ultra-books. They were mostly based on Intel’s Atom processors and had much smaller 10-12 inch screens which made them unsuitable for rigorous tasks such as gaming or multitasking. The tiny keyboard was dying for space and the eyes had to be strained not just to see the screen but also to find the right keys. Some hope floated in their long battery back-up and affordable prices but the lack of enthusiasm on the makers’ part, killed even that. Netbooks are now in virtual oblivion and you can see some obsolete units in some retail outlets at Nehru Place in New Delhi.
ULTRA-BOOK IS AN EVOLUTION OF NOTEBOOKS
We all love our note-books. Even the simplest model will give no cause for complaint. Then how and why is the ultra-book a threat? Ultra-books can make your dear notebook look ugly with their slimness, powerful Core i7 processors and memory of upto 6 GB. Actually, it is an evolution for notebooks-from a notion of thick and heavy portability to one of ultra-light and slim portability. Neanderthals evolved to Homo sapiens and life saw not just improvement but also advancements. Ultrabooks have done just that to notebooks. But who really needs them? What kind of people are they meant for? We’ll find out in the next story.