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Ask any tech geek for an opinion on the best lightweight, high-performance laptop computer on the market and you’ll probably hear that Apple’s MacBook Air is the one to beat. Apple’s competitors probably heard that, too. So Intel came up with an idea.
The chipmaker created a specification for a light ultraportable machine based on Intel’s processors and featuring certain characteristics: nothing more than 22 mm thick, a battery that lasts at least five hours, and a restart from hibernation in less than seven seconds. Intel dubbed this new class of laptop the “Ultrabook,” and late last year manufacturers such as Asus, Dell and Samsung began offering computers that met the requisite specs.
Now you’ll find a number of Ultrabooks on the market. They sport batteries that can last more than six hours, similar screen sizes (11 in. to 14 in.) and storage systems incorporating solid-state drives (SSDs), which perform faster than traditional hard-disk drives (HDDs). Most Ultrabooks gently tip the scales at about 1.5 kg.
So how do you settle on the ultra Ultrabook? We looked into five models: Acer’s Aspire S3, Asus’s Zenbook, Dell’s XPS 13, HP’s Folio 13 and Samsung’s Series 5. Most do one thing particularly well, but our premiere pick punches above its weight in all categories. We think it has the best chance of giving the MacBook a run for its money.