Best ultrabooks of CES

We take a look at the best ultrabooks of CES so far, including the Samsung Series 5, LG Z330 and the glass-topped HP Envy 14 Spectre.

Ultrabooks are the hot topic at CES this year with every company vying to offer the best combination of the three Ps -- portability, power and price. We take a look through some of our favourite examples.

Samsung brought a couple of smashing new models to the table, although it assures us only one of them is an ultrabook. The Series 5 is a 13-inch chap with an Intel Core i5 processor stuffed inside. It's not the thinnest of the ultrabooks, nor the lightest. It offers a traditional hard drive rather than the faster and less power-hungry solid state drives. We're hoping for those reasons it's going to be cheap.

More excitingly, it's due to get a 14-inch brother that packs a dedicated graphics processor -- the first ultrabook to offer one -- allowing you to frag some n00bs on the bus.

The Series 9 is the uprade to the original Series 9 we were so keen on last year. Samsung claims that this new guy isn't an ultrabook, but really it is. At a miniscule 12.9mm thick at its fattest end, the 12-inch model is slimmer than a lot of ultrabooks we've seen. At 1.16kg, it's lighter too.

Add to that an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and you've got the makings of a top ultrabook. Except that it isn't one. Don't you dare make that mistake again.

Not wanting to be lost in the crowd, HP has given its new Envy 14 Spectre ultrabook a big slab of black glass as a hat. It's an unusual look but one that we quite like. Sadly, the focus on design has resulted in an ultrabook that's quite a lot fatter and heavier than its competitors. The Envy 14 Spectre boasts some decent specs, but at £1,200, it's pricier than similarly specced machines.

HP's Folio 13 ultrabook cuts back on screen resolution, size and weight in order to provide fairly powerful specs with a very affordable price tag. Its looks aren't going to catch the eye of a pretty thing in the coffee shop, but it's smart enough to suit an office environment.

LG is back in the laptop game, this time with the Z330 ultrabook. It's arguably the plainest design we've seen so far but that's not to say it's ugly. If you like bare expanses of metal, you'll be right at home. The machine is every bit as thin and light as most of the other ultrabooks. With a range of Intel Core iSeries processors stuffed inside, it should be just as powerful too.

Last up is Dell's first stab at an ultrabook with the XPS 13. It's recognisable as a Dell, which is good or bad depending on your thoughts on the company's designs. We're not so keen as we don't think it oozes the same premium air as many other machines. At its thinnest edge it's only 6mm, so it's rather slim. With a Core i7 chip inside, it should easily be capable of tearing through most tasks you throw at it.

We'll be getting down and dirty with full reviews on all of these machines in due course, but in the meantime, make sure you keep your eye on our dedicated CES site for all the latest from Las Vegas. Be sure to tell us what your favourite gems are from the show in the comments below or over on our amazing Facebook page.

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About the author

Andrew is a senior editor at CNET and has always been fascinated by tech. When not getting up close and personal with the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.

 

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