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Give your old, bulky laptop the boot — the Ultrabook is here. If 2011 was the year of the tablet, then 2012 will surely go down as the year of the Ultrabook. Most people aren't yet aware of these remarkable additions to the PC market, but most will come to know just how versatile, powerful and convenient Ultrabooks can be. Some of the best Ultrabooks are already being produced by companies such as Asus, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer and Samsung.
To find the Ultrabook that's right for you, check out our Ultrabook Buying Guide.
The Ultrabook concept, spearheaded by Intel, is essentially the next step in the evolution of netbooks. A netbook is a small, lightweight laptop that has been created with portability in mind. It has no optical drive (for CDs and DVDs) yet features a battery designed to last a long time, so most of its functions are limited to what can be accomplished on the internet. This kind of product is ideal for commuters, travelers and telecommuters who don't need a ton of software or peripheral devices to get work done.
An Ultrabook improves upon the netbook by giving users a more complete computing experience. These slim pieces of machinery also come packed with high-powered features, so you don’t have to sacrifice performance for portability and style.
To actually qualify as an Ultrabook, a PC must meet certain Intel quality standards for speed and processing power. The first generation of Ultrabooks run on Intel’s second generation processors in the Core i3, i5 or i7, depending on what model you choose. And because they use a special low-wattage version of the processors, the new Ultrabooks have a much longer battery life — a five hour minimum.
Ultrabooks take much of the technology of existing laptop PCs and netbooks and improve them in basic ways. In addition to being lightweight like its netbook predecessor, an Ultrabook must be thin. Most weigh less than three pounds and are under an inch thick when closed. Also, the high-definition resolution of an Ultrabook is superior to most monitors available today. However, the biggest difference between an Ultrabook and a netbook is the type of hard drive each one uses.
A netbook, despite lacking an optical drive, still has a relatively old-fashioned hard drive disk (HDD). This involves moving parts and requires a fan to cool so it doesn't overheat. Conversely, Ultrabooks feature solid state drive (SSD) technology, which means there are no moving parts inside of it. This is the same type of processing many smartphones and tablets use and makes booting up the Ultrabook a breeze. By using an SSD that has the operating system loaded onto it already, you’ll be powered up and ready to start working within seconds. So instead of hauling around that heavy laptop through airport security and multiple business meetings, why not take a lighter approach? The Ultrabook has the power and battery life needed to carry you through a busy day without weighing you down — the perfect accessory for your modern, fast-paced lifestyle.