Fancy a new laptop with peak specs and portability? Intel powered ultrabooks are PCs’ answers to Apple’s lightest laptops.

Asus Zenbook UX21

Spec: Core i5 1.6GHz, 128GB SSD, 11.1” screen (What’s SSD? See Ultrabook 101).
Price: B30,000.
The good: All aluminum body equals lightest weight of the bunch (1.1 Kg). Supports USB 3.0 port for faster file transfer, and Bang & Olufsen speakers.
The bad: No backlit keyboard, no SD card reader, keyboard buttons set too close together
The verdict: If you don’t mind the keyboard, the Zenbook UX21 comes with a nice slim design, fair specs, and a price which is still cheaper than the MacBook Air’s B39,900 (for the 11.1” screen with 128GB SSD).

The Toshiba Portege Z830

Specs: Core i5 1.6GHz, 128GB SSD, Core i7 1.8GHz 128GB SSD 13.3” screen
Price: Core i5 B36,000, Core i7 B42,900.
The good: Light, great battery life, it also offers the most ports, one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0.
The bad: Not particularly fast, it also happens to be the ugliest of the bunch.
The verdict: The Toshiba is about US$500 cheaper than a Macbook Air in the USA, making it pretty desirable. Here, at these prices, it’s not nearly as interesting.

Acer Aspire S3

Specs: Core i3 1.4GHz 320GB HD, 20GB SSD, Core i5 1.6GHz 320GB HD, 20GB SSD, Core i7 1.7GHz 240GB SSD, 13.3” screen.
Price: Core i3 B27,900, Core i5 B29,900 and Core i7 B49,900.
The good: Thin, lightweight, resumes from sleep in two seconds.
The bad: No USB 3.0 ports, cheap plastic feeling keyboard, poor audio quality since speakers are located at the bottom, short battery life (3hrs) due to the regular, non-SSD drive in all but the i7 models.
The verdict: Due to its flimsy keyboard, tiny SSD drives and disappointing battery life, the Aspire S3 is more an overpriced netbook than a genuine ultrabook.

Lenovo Ideapad U300S

Specs: Core i5 1.6GHz 128GB SSD, Core i7 1.8GHz 256GB SSD, 13.3” screen.
Price: Core i5 B35,900, Core i7 B50,900
The good: Probably the sexiest design, it’s made from a single aluminum frame, like the Macbook Air. The sub 20-second reboot time and glass track pad are pretty sweet, too.
The bad: Expensive, low-resolution screen (1366x768pixels), no SD-card reader or backlit keyboard.
The verdict: If money were no option, the Ideapad is clearly the best made, most desirable of the bunch. But it costs nearly as much as the MacBook Air’s higher-end options (B42,900 with a 13.3” screen and 128GB SSD. B52,900 for 256GB SSD), without the brand appeal or the MacOS

Ultrabook 101


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