Top 11.6" Ultrabook and Ultrathin Choices

Posted on 16 August 2012 By


For those looking for netbook-style sizing and laptop-style performance, the 11.6” category of Ultrabooks is the place to be. It’s not the most active category, that belongs to the 14” segment, but it’s an important one for many. To make an 11.6” Ultrabook though takes skill, leading-edge components and some trade-offs. Battery capacities are generally smaller than in the 13.3” Ultrabooks and screen resolutions must be kept to sensible levels to avoid having to boost font sizes. One the other hand screen backlights take much less power making the 11.6” Ultrabook one of the most efficient there is. In this article I take a look at the options.

11inch ultrabooks

Readers choice

Let’s start with what readers view as the most interesting 11.6” Ultrabooks. We have 8 devices in the database and as of today, only four are available. If we take a look at the ultrathins and alternatives, there are 23 that can be considered.

Of the Ultrabooks available it’s clear that the ASUS UX21E and UX21A are the most popular and given no cost restrictions, the UX21A is the one that most people are interested in. It’s stylish, light, has a HD/IPS screen, comes in Core i5 or Core i7 Ivy Bridge versions and improves on the keyboard of the previous generation UX21.  There are micro HDMI and Mini-VGA ports to contend with and no removable storage slot.

I thought the Sony T11 might be #2 in reader popularity but it’s the Samsung XE700 slate that comes in at #2. At under 1KG without the keyboard it’s a very lightweight processing unit. The touchscreen will be more interesting when Windows 8 is released but even so, the Samsung XE700 is an interesting modular choice. You can only find it in Sandy Bridge version (we won’t be surprised to see a refresh of the XE700 announced in Sept) and it’s offered in many countries as a B2B product. That means you can’t find it in many places and the prices are rather high although there is a Celeron version of it in some regions. The Samsung XE700 is an interesting ultraslate but probably not what most of you are considering if you’re thinking ‘Ultrabook.’

The Sony T11 is the second most popular 11.6″ Ultrabook model and rightly so. In some regions it’s one of the lowest price Ultrabooks there is, undercutting the UX21A by hundreds of $/€.  This base version is a Sandy Bridge Core i3 model though and we have to raise a flag on the weight. It’s not the lightest. In fact, there are a number of 13.3” Ultrabooks that are lighter. For those needing a card reader and one a the few Ultrabooks that has a replaceable battery, the Sony SVT-11 delivers. It also has a hybrid HDD so if you’re looking for storage space, again, the Sony is a good option over the SSD-only ASUS UX21. Full size VGA, HDMI and Gigabit Ethernet are also included and the battery size is  45Wh. Few reviews exist on the Vaio SVT11 and in fact the only feedback I’ve found on it is from a few customers on Amazon.de in Germany where 4/5 is the going review rate but there is a mention of a noisy fan. You might want to wait for a full review (we’re in contact with Sony) but at this price, it could be worth buying online and sending back if you’re not happy. Any SVT-11 owners out there care to give us a mini-review?

Other 11.6” choices.

Don’t forget the popular MacBook Air 11.6! It goes without saying that if Windows is not a neccesity, you need to look at the Apple solutions too. The MBA 2012 continues to get good reviews. [Here’s one giving it 5/5]

For the budget-minded buyer and perhaps someone wanting to upgrade from a netbook, take a look for the Acer Aspire V5 with 11.6” screen and Core i5 Ivy Bridge CPU. It’s the same weight as the Sony but is quite a bit cheaper. It has a much smaller battery though for a max 5hrs usage. Maybe the money saved can be used to buy a few spares! There’s a TravelMate and Aspire One version of this too.

Also keep an eye out for these non-Ultrabook models. The Lenovo X121e comes in AMD flavor too at competitive prices. Neither is available with Ivy Bridge.

Lenovo X121e

Samsung 900X1B

What’s coming soon?

Keep an eye out for these products coming soon. None of these will be cheap (we’re not expecting much below $1000 for any of them) and the three touchscreen models will obviously be targeted towards a Windows 8 launch. The Gigabyte X11 and LuvBook X (from the same original designer and manufacturer) are just appearing in sales channels now and are two of the lightest Ultrabooks available.


MSI S20

ASUS Transformer Book

Acer Aspire S7 11″


Gigabyte X11


Mouse Computers LuvBook X

 

The Lightest Ultrabook

The lightest Ultrabook on the market today is not the one with the smallest screen size. The Nec LaVie Z is under 900gm in weight beating even the lightest 11″.6” Ultrabook by 10%. Unfortunately it’s only available in Japan or via import and it’s isn’t cheap.

All 11.6” Ultrabooks and Ultrathins

Click for a list containing more information, links, pricing, images news and more.

 

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  1. #1 by me on August 16, 2012 - 18:46

    What kind of battery life are people getting with the Asus UX21A and Sony T11? Sony claims up to 9 hours like Acer does with their up coming 11.6″ S7.

    • #2 by Chippy on August 16, 2012 - 23:04

      Consider these marketing figures as the best possible idle figures with screen on low brightness. In my experience, nearly Ultrabooks (fresh) will use 7-9W when doing web-work. Use the Wh figure to calculate battery life. We have now added the Wh figures to the comparison overview page. http://ultrabooknews.com/product-databank/

      • #3 by me on August 17, 2012 - 01:00

        So that smaller 11.6″ screen doesn’t help much when compared to the larger ultrabooks? It’s still 7-9 W? I wonder if there’s much difference in power consumption between a 1080p 11.6″ and a 1366×768 one.

  2. #4 by name on August 16, 2012 - 21:26

    I’m interested in 11.6 inch ultrabooks but at this rate I won’t be buying one until next year or later. Ultrabooks in general sacrifice too much for that marginally useful thinness. For now, I’m sticking with fat ultraportables.

    • #5 by me on August 17, 2012 - 01:24

      Yeah, right now, I’m still using regular 11.6″ ultraportables with the occasional extended battery. It still has a smaller footprint than 13.3″ notebooks with the extended battery.

      I guess people looking into 11.6″ notebooks are more focused on travelling which means the following:
      -long battery life
      -small footprint
      -not too thick
      -lightweight
      At least that’s what I’m looking for.

      I can handle
      -non-HD resolutions – I still don’t see much progress in resolution independent OS’s.
      -no discrete graphics – Gaming doesn’t sound fun on 11.6″ screens and whatever could fit in one probably won’t be much better than integrated graphics anyway.
      -mini DisplayPort – I don’t like mini ports but at least the DisplayPort can be converted to many different video outputs.

      I’d like at least a Core i5 since it has Turbo Boost. I believe in the whole getting back to idle faster means longer battery life thing.

      I don’t keep up with AMD vs Intel much but are there any AMD chipsets that provide better battery life with not that much loss in performance?

      • #6 by Mobile Guy on August 19, 2012 - 01:37

        That’s what I’m looking for in an ultrabook as well. Especially since I still plan on using a desktop and a high performance notebook when I need it. I’ll use the ultrabook when travelling and high performance isn’t required.

  3. #7 by DavidC1 on August 17, 2012 - 06:38

    Sony initially claimed up to 9 hours on their T series Ultrabooks, but now on the website it claims 7.5 hours.

    Intel’s specifications call for 5 hours on a 35WHr battery, and the T13 has a 45Whr one. According to Intel’s specs the Sony Vaio T should get 6.5 hours.

    9 hours would call for a 63WHr battery.

    • #8 by gus on August 17, 2012 - 17:55

      I wonder if Acer is going to change their 9 hour figure when the 11.6″ S7 comes out. I hope their battery life number isn’t as unrealistic as Sony’s original claim since it seems to be one of the better ultrabooks in the category.

      • #9 by Mobile Guy on August 19, 2012 - 01:27

        I, too, really hope Acer’s 9 hour battery claim for the 11.6″ S7 isn’t a pure idle scenario. Right now it seems to be worth buying.

  4. #10 by PolkSDA on August 22, 2012 - 21:26

    One alternative that isn’t in the list above, because it is not a de facto 11.6″ ultrabook, but fits within the contraints of the form factor dimensions, is the Dell XPS 13. It gives you a 13″ screen in an 11.6″ footprint.

  5. #11 by tiger on April 9, 2013 - 14:33

    Hi, thanks for sharing.

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