Best Ultrabooks for Under £700 in 2012

Best Ultrabooks Under 700

If you have been shopping around online for an Ultrabook lately as well as hitting up the latest news, you will have probably found a wealth of fantastic looking top-end Ultrabooks which whilst fantastic aren’t quite within your price bracket.

It is true that whilst Ultrabooks are all the rage currently and will only get more mainstream in the coming year, it is pretty hard work trying to find an Ultrabook for under £700 which is actually any good.

Today, we are going to look at your main options if you are in the market for a sub £700 Ultrabook.

Things to note before the list

If you are in the market for an Ultrabook for under £700 there are a few things you should note, or rather a few sacrifices you should be aware of. For example, all of the latest mid-2012 Ultrabooks feature Intel Core Ivy Bridge processors whilst slightly older Ultrabooks (we say older, still late 2011 / early 2012) will feature Intel Core Sandy Bridge processors. The main difference between these two is that Ivy Bridge processors rock the latest Intel HD graphics and are also slightly faster, however not so much so that it is noticeable through regular usage.

The reason we are saying the above is that for under £700, there are limited numbers of Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks out. There are, however, a few, of which we’ll list below for you.

Best Ultrabooks for under £700

Find below our top picks from multiple manufacturers offering Ultrabooks for under £700, in no particular order.

HP Folio 13 – £699.99 cheapest price. Found at John Lewis

HP Folio 13

The HP Folio 13 may have been out for a fair while in terms of Ultrabook releases, however this Ultrabook is special. On top of sporting excellent and durable build quality, this Ultrabook is aimed at business users primarily and features a backlit keyboard, 2nd generation Intel Core processors and a very decent 128GB SSD, enabling it to boot up in quick time. This Ultrabook also has an ethernet port, 1 USB 3.0 and 1 USB 2.0 port.

What’s good?

- Solid durable build quality

- Backlit keyboard

- 128GB SSD

- Ethernet port for business users

HP ENVY Ultrabook 4 – £649.00 base spec

HP Envy 4 Ultrabook

The HP Envy Ultrabook 4 is perhaps the best looking sub-£700 Ultrabook money can buy. The laptop is finished in black aluminium, and features a 14″ HD BrightView LED-backlit display, which is great for viewing media on. Inside you will find an Intel Core i3 Processor in basic spec, as well as 500 GB HDD + 32 GB SSD hybrid storage, allowing the Envy 4 to boot up in literally seconds. Beats Audio also sweeten the deal, whilst up to 9.5 hours of battery life basically seals it.

What’s good?

-14″ display, perfect for media

- Aluminium build, gorgeous design, extremely premium feel

- Boots in less than 6 seconds, decent 32GB SSD storage

- Extremely competitive battery life, up to 9.5 hours

Sony Vaio T11 – £629.00 base, upgrades available

sony vaio t13 and t11 ultrabook

The Sony Vaio T11 is an 11.6″ Ultrabook built for maximum portability. It measures just 0.84mm thick and is perfect for anybody who is looking for a portable machine which is also pretty powerful. An Intel Ivy Bridge Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM come as standard in base specification, whilst in terms of storage you are looking at a 500 GB HDD + 32 GB SSD as standard. The Vaio T11 boots up in less than 6 seconds too, and the screen is more usable than the 11.6-inches of real estate would have you believe.

What’s good?

- 11.6″ display makes it very portable

- Ivy Bridge Processors keep things ticking

- Generous 32GB SSD storage

- 6 second boot up

Sony Vaio T13 £698.99 base, upgrades available

Sony Vaio T13 Ultrabook

Everything that is great about the T11 mentioned above is within the Sony Vaio T13, however as the name suggests this particular model rocks a 13.3″ display which is pretty much perfect for an Ultrabook. In basic specification, you will find a Core i3 Ivy Bridge Processor alongside 4GB of RAM. You’ll be able to store a ton of stuff too, thanks to the T13 sporting a 500 GB HDD + 32 GB SSD. This hybrid storage enables the T13 to boot in less than 6 seconds, like the T11 above.

What’s good?

- Solid keyboard as noted in expert reviews

- 13.3″ display is good for outdoor use, bright enough

- Boots up in around 6 seconds

Lenovo IdeaPad U310 – £599.99 web price, upgrades available

ideapad u310 ultrabook

The Lenovo IdeaPad U310 is one of our favourite budget Ultrabooks sporting a Sandy Bridge processor. Sporting Lenovo’s as-per-usual excellent build quality, the IdeaPad U310 is a great sub-£700 laptop sporting a 13.3″ display and a very respectable 7 hours of battery life. Inside you will find an Intel Core i3 Sandy Bridge processor in base spec, with 4GB of RAM running alongside it. Storage wise you are looking at a 500GB HDD + 32GB SSD hybrid. The U310 boots up in less than 6 seconds, and is available in grey, pink and blue.

What’s good?

- Lenovo build quality, very good keyboard

- Three colours available (grey, pink, blue)

- 6 second boot up

- 7 hours of battery life

Overall

Although non of the Ultrabooks above set the world on fire compared to the £1000+ power houses on the market, overall if we had to pick any of the Ultrabooks above to go in our gadgets bag, our pick would be the HP Folio 13. The design of the laptop is brilliant and the aluminium adds a welcome premium feel to an Ultrabook which doesn’t actually cost that much. A backlit keyboard configuration comes as standard on this Ultrabook, something recommended massively as once backlit, you will never go back.

Let’s not take anything away from Sony’s offerings however. The T11 has a market pretty much to its own currently, with the only real-world competitors offering machines higher in price. The T13 is a solid 13.3″ budget Ultrabook, however pound for pound, the HP tips it with a better build and more desirable design overall.

Moving on to to the Lenovo IdeaPad U310, and this Ultrabook sports Lenovo build quality and a great (if better than all of the others) keyboard. It’s a little older than the other three Ultrabooks, and rocks Sandy Bridge innards, however it isn’t a bad Ultrabook and if you chose to buy one we would not frown.

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About Jakk

Consumer technology nut with a rather keen love for good writing. 22, owner of multiple consumer technology news and reviews websites, you can rely on me to offer all of you lovely UK consumers up to date information on Ultrabooks. Find me on . Follow me on Twitter.
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7 Responses to Best Ultrabooks for Under £700 in 2012

  1. lenovo fan says:

    I have a U310 in blue and really like the design. It’s professional enough for the board room yet chic enough for my daughter to play games (Facebook games) on. I tested out the AMD Sleekbook (essentially the Envy 4 but with AMD power) and thought it was OK. The trackpad for me left something to be desired however.

  2. Darren says:

    +1 vote for the Folio 13 . Solid design, thin enough for my needs, Ethernet port for business, great overall performance. I paid just over £700 for mine still a good buy though.

  3. Sammy says:

    I bought my Folio 13 2 months ago and love it. Personally i love the design and the keyboard is great. I type 120 WPM and it handles it all good!

  4. James @ News says:

    I like Vaio laptops the most, however the recent crop of Sony ultras have not been great. Here is a raised glass hoping Sony release something competitive in October.

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