Just What is an Ultrabook, Anyway?

ASUS Zenbook Prime

What is an Ultrabook? This is the very question which I get asked all of the time by people wanting to know what makes them so special and stand out from standard laptops on the market. Here, I aim to explain what an Ultrabook is the best I can in writing.

In a world of extremely high-profile marketing and buzz word tactics the very mention of something being referred to as ‘ultra’ would probably send the average clued up consumer running for the door. It’s true to note that within the UK specifically, products are sold through marketing words which mean so much psychologically yet deliver so little in terms of genuine productivity, and it is this form of marketing tactic which has seriously dented consumer trust, especially within the PC market.

Now, within the technology industry everybody is talking about Ultrabook’s however unless you have been keeping up to date with their development since 2011, we don’t blame you if you don’t have any idea what one is, and to follow on from the above first paragraph I wish I could tell you that the ‘Ultrabook’ term is not a marketing tactic aimed at luring you in to a false sense of product need.

What ‘Ultrabook’ means

The truth of the matter is that ‘Ultrabook’ as a term is a marketing buzz word, trademarked by Intel. The good news, however, is that this buzz word does actually mean something; Ultrabook as a term is only applied to specific models of laptop computer which meet certain hardware requirements including weight and dimensions. Essentially, Ultrabook’s are next generation laptop computers sporting super-thin wastes and weighing as little as or less than 3lbs in recent cases as seen in the Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1.

Due to Ultrabook as a term being trademarked by Intel, you will find that only laptops which pack Intel based processors are allowed to use the Ultrabook name. Sorry, AMD fans, however it does have to be said that there are some great ultra-portable AMD processor equipped laptops out there.

To give you a more straight forward answer, Wikipedia defines the Ultrabook like this; “An Ultrabook is a higher-end type of subnotebook defined by Intel”.

What it takes for a 2012 laptop to be an Ultrabook (and what you get as a minimum for your money)

In order for any laptop to be marketed as an Ultrabook, there are certain specifications it must meet first. This is good news, because it means that the term ‘Ultrabook’ can not be over used to promote lack-lustre consumer products within the computing industry.

In 2012 (that’s this year, folks) a laptop must meet the following:

- Laptops must feature Intel Core processors with Ivy Bridge architecture

- Measure 18 mm or less in height for 13.3″ and smaller displays, measure 21 mm or less in height for 14.0″ and larger displays

- Feature a minimum 5 hours of battery life

- Resume from hibernation mode in 7 seconds flat or below

- Feature a minimum of one USB 3.0 port

- Include a number of Intel based software programmes, such as Intel Identity Protection Technology

The requirements set for Ultrabook’s change with every new version of Intel’s mobile platform, ensuring that consistent advancement and evolution is maintained across product ranges.

Currently Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba have laptops on the market branded as Ultrabook’s.

Closing thoughts

If you have read this post all the way through then we reckon’ that you probably know more about Ultrabook’s than 90% of the UK population currently.

All in all, an Ultrabook is a major step forward for the computing industry, which is much needed due to global PC shipments falling flat in the second quarter of  2012, as reported by Reuters. Intel’s goal for the Ultrabook when they set this new benchmark was to keep the pricing for these ultra-portables under £1000, however that unfortunately has not been the case so far. The good news however is that as shipments start to grow and consumers become more aware, prices should fall overall due to supply and component costs lowering.

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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 Just What is an Ultrabook, Anyway?

  1. Pingback: Will the Ultrabook Drag PC Sales back from Decline?Technology news blog

  2. Sarah says:

    A very useful post, thank you! I thought Ultrabooks were just regular Ultraportable laptops like the TimelineX series.

    • Tim Burtle says:

      Hi Sarah,

      The Acer TimeLineX Series of laptops were last year, now Acer have released Timeline Ultra laptops to signify the change. The M3 and M5 Ultrabooks are Acer’s latest, whilst the S3 is also a decent option. :) .

    • Jakk says:

      Hi Sarah I’m writing this on an Acer TimelineX 4820T which features a 14″ display and is moderately thin, however very light. I’ve tested Acer’s M series of Ultrabooks and they are much better than TimelineX machines.

  3. Jamie says:

    Thanks for this I had no idea Intel owned the rights!

    • Jakk says:

      Hi Jamie yes they do own the rights to “Ultrabook”, hence why wherever there is an Ultrabook logo you’ll see an ‘Inspired by Intel’ phrase in most cases :) .

  4. Pingback: Lenovo IdeaPad U410 Review | Forum Fanatics

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