While I’m clearly not the first, nor will I be the last compiling an ultrabook comparison, in the following lines I will take on the incredibly difficult task to analyze some of the best, snappiest and good-looking portable computers right now and to declare a winner of this great battle.
However, in an attempt to be as objective as possible, I’m going to compare the best ultrabooks by their most important features. Therefore, I’m going to try to find the best ultrabook in terms of design and build, screen and hardware, battery life and pricing, as well as ports and connectivity options.
Design and build
Leaving aside the obvious similarities between most of today’s ultrabooks and the MacBook Air, which was the ‘’inspiring device’’ for them, it has to be said that all ultrabooks are darn slim, stylish and elegant.
The Lenovo U300S, Asus UX21 and 31, as well as the Samsung Series 9, which is not exactly an ultrabook, all have aluminum strong and classy exterior bodies. While it’s pretty difficult to pick only one of these that stands out as the most elegant or stylish, I would go for one of Asus’ ultrabooks if my life counted on it.
Keyboard and touchpad
The Toshiba Z835 is the only ultrabook these days to come with an illuminated keyboard, which is a very nice thing to have, but unfortunately the touchpad is far from great. The Asus UX21 is truly horrible both in terms of keyboard and touchpad, while its bigger brother, the UX31, does have a nice keyboard, but a glitchy trackpad.
The Lenovo U300S, on the other hand, comes with one of the best keyboard/touchpad combos there is, providing all the comfort, accuracy and responsiveness you could need.
Screen, hardware and performance
There are very small differences between most ultrabooks today in terms of performance, but the Asus UX31 does slightly come out on top. The 13-incher sports a 1600 x 900 pixels resolution screen and features a 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5 processor, both of which are a bit better than the displays and chipsets found on the Lenovo U300S, for example.
However, you should know that if you are looking for an ultrabook to play games and run HD multimedia content, pretty much all of today’s models can do the job quite nicely.
Battery life, connectivity and ports
The battery’s autonomy is crucial for ultrabooks, given that these are first and foremost intended as lighter than light laptops to take with you on the road. That being said, we have once again two or three computers that can go for the title of ‘’best ultrabook’’, with the Asus UX31 and the Lenovo U300S capable of running for around six hours on a single charge.
As far as connectivity goes, there are upsides and downsides to all of today’s ultrabooks, but all in all the Toshiba Z835 does come with all the options you could need, including USB 2.0, 3.0, an SD card reader, Ethernet, HDMI and VGA.
Ultrabooks can’t be compared today without talking a bit about their price tags, taking into consideration the customers’ growing need to pay less for more. In terms of pricing therefore, the Acer S3 and Toshiba Z835 are clearly the most competitive ultrabooks these days, but you get what you pay for, which is less than what you should expect from the Asus UX31 or the Lenovo U300S.
Those two go for around 1,000 – 1,100 bucks each these days and, even though that’s anything but cheap, the quality-price ratio is actually pretty fair.
Well, as much as I wanted to solve a problem that has made rivers of virtual and real ink flow during the past few months, I must recognize my defeat and admit there’s pretty much no way of determining what is the best ultrabook today.
The only thing I could do for those of you who are passionate about ranks and rankings is to speak of ‘’the best ultrabooks’’ these days, which are the Lenovo U300S and the Asus UX31 pretty much tied together.