Ever since Intel announced the new slim form factor that would take Windows-based notebooks into a new era of portability, lightness and cutting edge design, we’ve been covering many aspects of the Ultrabook build-up.
Our first Ultrabook article ran back in the beginning of September, discussing the details of what made an Ultrabook, and how it might add to the customer experience and value proposition.
We’ve then been lucky enough to have some hands-on time with a slew of different models, including the Acer S3, Asus UX31, Toshiba Z830 and the HP DM3 Folio .
The beauty of competition is that even though Intel stipulated some minimum criteria benchmarks to determine what makes an Ultrabook, each manufacturer has come up with their own unique features that help set them apart from the pack – whether it be bang for buck, business-friendly features, or eye-catching design.
While we have looked at each individual model and reflected on their attributes as single-standing Ultrabooks, we thought it would be fun to gather three of the units and have a look at them together, just to see what made each one tick, and to illustrate just how different each Ultrabook could be, even though the same Intel DNA is coursing through each of their slim bodies.
If you’ve read each of the previous Ultrabook articles, then you’d have a fair idea of what each one offers. So instead of another article, we thought we’d produce a short, snappy video in the same style that you’ve now seen from the Transformer Prime segments.
We chose one Ultrabook from each processor range: an i3 Acer, an i5 Toshiba and an i7 Asus. We’ve presented our thoughts on what each model might represent for different customers, and left it open for further discussion – each model could be successful in its own patch of the market if they attract the right profile of user.
Without further ado, please find below our Ultrabook comparison video:
Here’s where we would love to hear your thoughts on the Ultrabooks – which one would you choose, and why? Or if you’re not interested in making the investment, what’s holding you back? As always, we’ll join you for the discussion and provide further information if you need it.
Talk to you all soon!
Check out www.youtube.com/ritchiesroomtv for all our videos and subscribe if you want to keep up to date with our regular video releases!
Hi Ritchie, I don’t see the video….
I liked your compilation but i wanted to know more about the lenovo U300S. Moreover people are complainig about the keyboard and touchpad issues with the asus zenbooks, do you feel the same. If asus ectifies the problem, i’ll be going with asus or toshiba.
I can see it fine!
A nice comparison – thank you. Call me a design junkie, but after seeing these side-by-side, the Asus is the one that makes me *want* it. The Toshiba is clearly aimed at the business market and frankly looks like a laptop from ten years ago made thinner. The Acer seems nice but unremarkable. Asus, by contrast, are making things that Apple would be proud of as far as looks and innate desirability go. In fact one could almost say that the main rival to the Zenbook is not any other ultrabook, but Asus’ own Transformer Prime.
Thanks for your kind words. You’re right, those that want something that looks great and will get that second glance in public will definitely covet the UX21. As for the Prime, I’d say they were working on these side-by-side as their are definite design DNA pointers that show their blood bond.
Thanks for commenting!
Now I can see the video. Thanks Richie, well done. I would go for the Asus due to the core i-7 processor, the disign and many other things. However the price is much too high $ 1.440,– with a 256 GB SSD. I am watching the Zenbook together with the Prime for many weeks now and I will go for the Transformer Prime. Can’t wait untill it is released in The Netherlands (hopefully 6th january 2012).
The price of $ 1.440,– is for the UX-31. The UX-21 with i-7 and 128 GB SSD is $ 1.199,– But when I must believe the newspapers prices for ultrabooks are going rapidly down early 2012.
As with every release of new technology, there will be an inevitable decline in price while all manufacturers achieve economies of scale and recoup R & D costs, etc. The issue for consumers then is timing – do you get on board at a higher price at launch and be one of the first, or wait until the models become more mainstream in price and specification?
Technology products benefit from the early adopter demand that it brings. It’s really a case of how steep that curve will be.
Thanks for your comments as always, nice to see you back!
What about the glossy display…
An ultrabook is supposed to be usable everywhere but I think the glossy display is a big limitation.
I’ll admit, we haven’t taken the Ultrabooks for a full sunshine test. The one model that should have no issues in direct sunlight is the Asus, which has a 450 nit brightness that should overcome the reflections that occur with glossy screens.
The glossy screens may have been chosen for their better reproduction of colour sand detail, which is superior to matte displays, as always there’s a compromise either. Definitely a good point you make.
Thanks for your comment!
I don’t know the britness of new glossy display but until a few years ago was more than enough having a window or a lamp in the wrong position for make the work very hard and tiring.
But looking video review it frequently happen to see the camera or the face of the reviewer reflected in a glossy display.
Thanks for your work.
I want Asus Prime. Do not need to compare anymore.
I can’t wait no longer
I’m dyinggggggg TT__TT
Looks like you and many others may have to wait a bit longer for the Prime. Have you ordered one?
I really don’t know where can i order. According to Amazon, they cancelled so many orders.
Please help, so much thanks
NQ Tech says
Bought a Z830 a week ago. Absolutely love it. It’s fast, has enough features although only 3 USB ports is a small issue, but having HDMI is great. Love the keyboard which has a decent feel for a notebook, and that the keyboard lights up so I can use the machine when the lights are out. First upgrade will be to increase the memory, but the 120gb hard drive is big enough for a portable to take on the road. Whilst some might say it has no style, I actually like it and everyone who has seen it loved it.
Style, like many other subjective aspects of life, is in the eye of the beholder. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, many have nominated the Toshiba as their Ultrabook of choice.
Thanks Ritchie, great video! I have seen them all and have purchased the Acer Aspire S3 because I loved the additional storage capacity on the hybrid drive option. Its such a great unit. Best decision I made and your blog helped in the decision 🙂
Yep, having 320GB hard drive in a form factor so slim is a luxury. We’re glad to have helped you come to your decision. It would be great if you could come back tell us about your experiences once you’ve had the unit of a little while.
Here’s a comparison of all (13″ Core i5) Ultrabooks:
Manufacturer: Acer – Toshiba – ASUS – Apple – Lenovo
Keyboard: 5 – 6 – 5 – 7 – 8
Battery life: 5 – 7 – 6 – 6 – 7
Standard ports/No light key
– extra USB/Ethernet/Kensi-lock/light keys/no Bluetooth
– Sadly microHDMI/no light keys
– No HDMI/USB 3.0
– No SD/ no light keys
Design (subjective): 6 – 5 – 7 – 8 – 9
Fan noise, weak hinge
– No Issues, but soft hinge
– Update fixed Wifi but Trackpad still lags,
-Purchasing Win7 CD for BootCamp is expensive
-No issues with Lenovo
Performance: Relatively same on all machines except Core i3 Toshiba is notably slower, and Acer drags far behind because of its hard drive.
So with that you need to decide what you want, then price comes into mind.
The Toshiba is the best value, the Lenovo is the best all-round device, and Apple sits nicely in the middle.
NQ Tech says
Kangal, the Toishiba is an I5 in the Z830 and does have Bluetooth. The only major issue it has is limited upgrades for memory and limited hard drive capacity.
Thanks for the summary!
Just to let you know Ritchie that I bought this afternoon the UX-31, i5,
128 GB SSD. What a fine little toy. I have no problems in spite of all the negative points regarding Bios, trackpad, wifi etc. others seems to have. Only problem is playing a Blue Ray movie with VLC player. Does not run smoothly. Any suggestions for solving this?? Thanks for the great video and your nice and quick answers.
Harold, you early adopter you! Fantastic news, and great to hear it’s been working we ll for you.
When you say a Blu Ray movie via VLC, I’m assuming a rip of a movie that you own (cough, cough) that’s been encoded to a certain bit rate? My experience with VLC has been it’s great on standard def material but does struggle with very high bit rate material. Not sure if there is a solution except to encode at a slightly lower bit rate, maybe closer to the native screen resolution – that should help the performance.
Thanks Ritchie, sure the movie is my own (cough, cough). I will experiment a little bit with lower bit rates, and will let you know the outcome.
Hello Ritchie, i got the rip-of (cough, cough) 14 GB working now on my Asus UX-31. I installed Deamon Tools Lite which makes an virtual BD-romstation AVCHD (D:/) and makes an image of your film in a map called BDMV. In this map there is another map called PLAYLIST where your image is stored. Open Media Player Classic and load the image file from the PLAYLIST. Click OK and voila your rip-of is playing smoothly without any hickups and even with Dutch subtitles.
I just wanted you and all other UX-31 users this to know. I am a simple user and it gave me a good feeling that I managed it getting it working so fine.
Nice work, and it didn’t really sound like you’re a “simple” user, thanks for sharing your efforts to get HD video playback working!
NQ Tech says
Update on the Z830.
Upgraded the memory to 6gb, not a simple job as you have to remove a number of screws then there is a hidden screw with a security torx head under a rubber foot in the middle of the unit. Upgraded the operating system to Ultimate and installed Windows XP mode which is very fast. I have an I7-920 with 12gb ram and the Z830 runs rings around it starting the XP mode. I develop Excel spreadsheets and need an older version of Excel to offer compatability and this gives me the perfect solution with XP mode running Office 2003 and Win 7 running Office 2010. It is a great little machine.
Thanks for the update!
Sounds like a beast of a machine now, and you’ll be able to take that machine with you to present your spreadsheets to clients – what a pitch that would be.
I am shopping for a light device such as the ultrabook. I want some gaming power (or stock trading power), so the i7 is my preference and of course I would not start out with less than 6GB memory. While Asus is a little cheaper, only the Toshiba calls to me. The ports are EXACTLY where I want them, out of the way on the back and not jabbing me left or right for Ethernet, power, video.
This is very true, no less than 6 ports at the back makes for a very clean and organised desk when they are connected.
I have just bought the Acer S3 and have begun to discover the horrible reviews. The draw to this ultrabook for me was the large HDD. I wouldn’t mind paying an extra 2 or 3 hundred more for a Lenovo or Asus but the storage space is too small for me. What’s your take? Is the battery that bad? Is the keyboard a real pain to type on? Should I take it back?
Just purchased the z830, very disappointed with the fan noise and kicking myself for not taking the advice of reviewers who all mention the problem. It is a wonderful ultrabook but the fan hum is a deal breaker, in idle I can hear it above ambient room noise which is unacceptable, if it were during load well that is ok but in idle, this is a serious design flaw.
I hope they’ll come soon with touchscreens on ultrabooks. Then we’ll have the perfect device.
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