By 12 July 2012 | Categories: feature articles



If tablets are the movie stars of the computing world, then without a doubt, ultrabooks are its rock and pop icons. Light, thin, fast, powerful and uber-sexy, instead of trashed hotel rooms and broken hearts, they are leaving a litany of tough choices in their wake. Which ultrabook is for you? Read on.

HP Folio 13HP Folio 13: Paul McCartney

The last few years have been a long and winding road for HP, but the company certainly knows how to produce solid products, as the Folio 13's build quality demonstrates. Granted, it is not the thinnest or lightest (1.5 kg) of the bunch, but its Intel Core i5 2467M processor, clocked at 1.6 GHz, 4 GB of memory and 128 SSD hard drive proved to be up to any task. Additionally, a superb backlit, chiclet keyboard joined a 13.3" matte display that offered a maximum resolution of 1366 x 768. The Folio 13's sound is outstanding, while the eight and a half hours of battery life meant the Folio 13 was continuing to perform while the younger kids on the block had to go to sleep. RRP: R13 000.

Dell XPS 13Dell XPS 13: Katy Perry

While relatively new to the ultrabook race, Dell's XPS 13 is a real head turner, all curvy lines, sleek profile and overall, packed full of fireworks. Beneath its svelte 18 mm profile and light 1.3 kg weight, the XPS is simply raring to go, with fast boot times of five seconds from powered off, and a mere two seconds from sleep. It also packs an Intel Core i5 2467M processor, clocked at 1.6 GHz, along with 4 GB of memory, and a 128 GB solid state drive (SSD), a beautiful backlit chiclet keyboard and almost seven hours of battery life. Boasting a Corning Glass coated 13.3" screen, all of this is crammed into a petite 12" chassis, while strong hinges ensured no screen wobble under heavy use. RRP: R14 000

Asus Zenbook UX31Asus Zenbook UX31: Beyonce

The Asus Zenbook is one ultrabook that will make you fall crazy in love, since it set the tone by being an exceptionally attractive device that wowed us from the start. Beneath the stunning 13.3" screen, with a laudable resolution of 1600 x 900 resolution, beats the heart of an Intel Core i7 processor running at 1.8 GHz, and 4 GB of RAM. Bang and Olufsen speakers, a delicately responsive chiclet keyboard and a running time between five and a half and almost seven and a half hours, depending on one's usage, make this an ultrabook idol. RRP: R17 000.

Lenovo IdeaPad U300SLenovo IdeaPad U300S: Bruce Springsteen

Besides from benefiting from Lenovo's 30+ years of developing solid PCs that boast superlative keyboards, the 13.3" IdeaPad U300S weighs in at a mere 1.3 kg, and has a slim 14.9 mm profile, which makes it ideal for those who are born to run. Performance wise, the ultrabook boasts Intel's second generation Core i7 processors (2677M @ 1.80 GHz), along with 4 GB of RAM, and a 256 solid state drive. The U300S is acceptably quick to be ready for action, requiring between 23 and 30 seconds to boot up, while Rapid charge technology makes it possible to go from 5% battery life to 50% in half an hour. RRP: R13 000.

Samsung Series 5Samsung Series 5: Foo Fighters

Like last year's Series 9, the more understated Series 5 still screams "my hero", thanks to a modern attractiveness that that never gets old and remains eternally attractive. Beneath its aluminium elegance, lies a very capable Core i5 processor clocked at 1.6 GHz, along with 4 GB of memory and Intel HD Graphics 3000. Its 13.3" display though, with its resolution of 1366 x 768 and 300 nits of brightness, impressed us no end with the vividness of its colours and general clarity. A decent six hours battery life, a boot time of 21 seconds in a 1.4 kg package made this an ultrabook that will bring out the best of you. See the review on p14. RRP: R10 000.

Acer Aspire S3Acer Aspire S3: The Rolling Stones

You would have to have a heart of stone not be able to appreciate Acer's S3; while it may not be the flashiest on offer here, the featherlight 1.38 kg device is still a very good ultrabook in its own right. Specifications wise, the S3 is no slouch, boasting a Core i7 2637M CPU, clocked at 1.7 GHz, along with 4 GB of memory and a 240 GB solid state drive. Add in a memorable 13.3" screen with a 1366 x 768 resolution that offered excellent clarity, brightness and viewing angles, and six hours of battery life, and the S3 emerged as a memorable contender. RRP: R10 000. [RN]


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