Archive for April, 2012
The Toshiba Z830 and Z835 is the Ultrabook of Ultrabooks. Fantastically light, quick to start and with its SSD-only storage, fast to use. It’s got the keyboard backlight and a full set of ports, quality Wi-Fi (and Wi-Di) and a good keyboard and mouse pad. At $699, in the US today, it’s down at a very good price.
It’s the 1.4Ghz Core i3 version on offer here so it’s hasn’t got the full power of the 1.6Ghz version with Turbo but it’s still a great performer. A full-size SDXC cardslot and USB 3.0 are included.
I’ve been using the Z830 for 8 weeks now and have no regrets about choosing it (*1) so I feel confident about recommending it here. Click through to the offer on the right or do some research, read our review and see more pics in the Toshiba Z830 Ultrabook information page.
(*1) – I have a long-term loan Ultrabook from Intel that was selected from a choice of three different models.
Floppy drives are dead and the computer industry seems to have its sights set on the CD drive as the next victim. The vast majority of Ultrabooks ship without an optical drive, and as someone now using an Ultrabook as my primary computer, I can tell you that I’m honestly no missing it. There seems to be little room, or little need, for an optical drive in an Ultrabook.
The Clevo W110ER shows how far high-power portable laptops have come but also shows the trade-off between the Ultrabook platform and a standard notebook computing platform. Ultrabooks are unlikely to reach this level of performance in 2012; This level of processing power won’t reach Ultrabook sizes and weights!
Releasing a 1st-generation Ultrabook while the excitement builds to 2nd-gen Ultrabooks based on Ivy Bridge may, at first, seem a stupid move but when it’s a unique product like the new LuvBook X from Mouse Computers in Japan, it may not make much difference. The LuvBook X is going to be the second 11.6” Ultrabook on the market, the first with a carbon-fiber body and the first to break 1KG.
Engadget China have the first pics of the new, Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks from Asus. As tipped by us in Feb, the two models include full-HD displays. There’s a backlit keyboard too. Asus are calling the new Zenbook the Zenbook Prime and it’s tipped for June availability.
The report doesn’t specifically mention the UX31A and UX21A but given previous reports and matching specifications, I’ll go out on a limb and say they’re one and the same. The article doesn’t mention Ivy Bridge either but do we really need to consider Sandy Bridge as a possibility here? No.
It hasn’t been long since HP officially launched the HP Folio 13 Ultrabook and the Envy Spectre 14 Ultrabook, but it seems that they’re already working on successors so these devices. Uncovered in a thread over at NotebookReview forum was some internal HP communiqué indicating two new additions to HP’s ‘EVNY’ line, the Envy 4, and Envy 6. Evidence thus far suggests that these two new models will be Ultrabooks, likely using the current-generation Sandy Bridge platform along with discrete graphics from AMD. Read the rest of this entry »
Computex, Taiwan, is one of the most important trade shows for the laptop market and this year it coincides with the availability of low-power Ivy Bridge CPUs for Ultrabooks so it makes sense that Intel and their customers seize the moment to launch the 2nd Generation of Ultrabooks.
In an article at Techworld.com, Scott Pendrey, desktop product manager at Intel, gives us the information that “the first ultrabooks featuring Ivy Bridge processors will come to market on 5 June, with more to follow throughout 2012.”
If you’ve got an Ultrabook, it likely has either integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics or discrete Nvidia GeForce graphics. Recently we gave you 6 excellent game suggestions for your Ultrabook. Now we’ve got a suggestion to make sure your Ultrabook is running those games as well as possible. One of the best ways to keep the graphical capabilities of your Ultrabook performing at maximum capacity is to ensure that you’re using the latest driver for your graphics card. Intel and Nvidia regularly update their GPU drivers to address bugs and other problems. Sometimes there are game-specific fixes, and other times there are general performance-enhancing changes. In this article I’ll show you how to quickly and easily update your Ultrabook’s GPU drivers in order to maintain maximum graphics performance. Note that this guide will also apply to Intel HD4000 graphics when Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks are released later this year.
German computer manufacturer Medion has taken wraps off the Akoya S4611 “high performance” Ultrabook. Shown off at the Gadget Show Live in Birmingham, UK, the Akoya S4611 features a 14″ screen (resolution not yet specified) and can be equipped, according to Medion, with up to 1TB of HDD storage space and up to 16GB of RAM. It’s not clear at the moment whether or not the unit is sealed — which would prevent after-market user-upgrades of the HDD or RAM. The Ultrabook will be available with the current-gen Intel Core i3, i5, or ,i7 CPU, and alongside the integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics, the Akoya S4611 uses the more powerful NVIDIA GeForce GT630M GPU. Medion has revealed a brief video of the Akoya S4611 which you can see below:
Genuine Ultrabooks use integrated graphics which, while not as powerful as a ‘discrete’ GPU, allow the systems to be slim and power efficient. Even though the graphical capabilities of current Ultrabooks won’t satisfy those looking to play the latest blockbuster titles at full settings, there are still plenty of excellent games that will run perfectly on an Ultrabook. I’ve got six great games to share with you that will run great on your Ultrabook and offer hours of entertainment (all together hardly more expensive than a single blockbuster title!) For reference, the current generation of Ultrabooks use Intel’s HD 3000 integrated graphics. The next generation (using Ivy Bridge), which we’ll see launch this year, uses HD 4000 graphics which should offer a significant increase in graphical horsepower. For now, my recommendations and performance-evaluations are based on an Ultrabook using the current-gen HD3000 ‘GPU’ and Core i5 processor. Also note that your experience may vary depending upon the processor that your Ultrabook is equipped with (Core i3, i5, or i7), amount of RAM, whether or not you have up-to-date drivers, and your power settings (check back with us at UltrabookNews for a guide to optimizing your Ultrabook’s power configuration).
Up to now we’ve worked out that 2nd-gen Ultrabooks will be available from June (our estimate,) that there are 100 Ultrabooks launching this year (Intel quote) and that the prediction is for about 20 million shipments in 2012 (Juniper Research projection.) A brief update from Digitimes runs along the same lines but says it has the information from the supply chain.
Part 2 of the 12-part will.i.am Ultrabook tour and creation project is now complete. The videos are on YouTube, the Ultrabook Project site has a bunch of a/v content and the track should be available on AppUp in the willpower app.
As I work through the days Ultrabook news there are a few articles here that I want to highlight. Feel free to contact us if you spot anything else you think we need to take a closer look at or add to the product databases.
Free HP Ultrabook Taxis in London
It looks like HP are doing exactly what I’d love to be doing; driving around in a 3G/WiFi equipped mini van with an Ultrabook. Londoners can take advantage of the free taxi service put on by HP as part of their HP Envy 14 Spectre marketing campaign. The Drum reports that the Mercedes shuttles are available for the next two weeks from “Golden Square outside 37-38; at Hills Place outside 41 Berkeley square; at Eccleston Place opposite the taxi rank; and at Cavendish square, opposite John Lewis.” If you’re in London, climb aboard and send us details of your experience! Update: The London Evening Standard has a longer report now.
The HP Folio is more than just a sensible choice of Ultrabook. Because of the large-capacity battery it returns the highest battery-life of the category. It’s portly for an Ultrabook (at 3.3lb) but also portly in a good way because it’s got a full-size SD card slot, HDMI and Ethernet port. The HP Folio has just dropped in price in the USA and you can now buy it for $849, a $100 reduction. Remember that this HP Folio 13 is a full 128GB SSD model with Core i5 CPU so you get the full Ultrabook experience! Backlit keyboard and
Intel Wireless (including Wireless Display) is also included Update: Broadcom Wifi/BT is included. Thx Marlon, HP Folio 13 owner comment below.
HP Folio 13-1020US 13.3-Inch Ultrabook (Steel Gray)(Amazon Aff.)
In Europe the price is slightly higher in the Ultrabook market but you do get Windows 7 Pro.
We’ve been hearing about 23rd April availability of Ivy Bridge for a while now but what does that mean and what does it mean for Ultrabooks? What’s clear is that there’s still some time to go before anyone is able to buy a 2nd-gen Ultrabook. Our estimate for the earliest models is now mid-June.
There’s two things to consider. ‘Availability’ in this case means 1st shipping of the Ivy Bridge CPUs. Arrival at manufacturers production facilities comes some days after that and then manufacturers can ramp up their production lines for the first major run. Testing and shipping from the production facility and then testing by distributors and shelf availability will take 2-3 weeks after that, for the first-in-line and ready-to-go manufacturers. We’re estimating mid-May for the first Ivy Bridge laptops. But not Ultrabooks.
Update: Paul Otellini just announced “The first Ivy Bridge chips we’re shipping are quad cores” in the Intel earnings conference call this evening. (via)
We’re hearing that the 2-core, high-end processors used in Ultrabooks won’t start production until mid-May which means you won’t see the first Ultrabooks in the hands until mid-June. At that point availability will still be limited and we expect only one or two manufacturers to be able to hit that availability date. After that, other manufacturer products will start to roll in. Here’s how we think it will pan out from now until the end of the year…