Ultrabooks aren't expensive. That's Intel's mantra these days. So, is the chipmaker right?
Select sub-$700 ultrabooks, as cited by Intel:
- $699.99 Inspiron 14z ultrabook (14-inch)
- $699.99 Lenovo IdeaPad ultrabook (13-inch)
- $599.99 Lenovo IdeaPad U310 (13-inch)
- $663.20 Lenovo IdeaPad U310 (13-inch)
- $679.99 Acer Aspire ultrabook (14-inch)
- $679.99 HP Envy ultrabook (14-inch)
So, what pushes these models into sub-$700 territory?
Many of the sub-$700 models come with 1,366x768 displays (no 1600x900 displays in this group), many -- with exceptions like the Lenovo systems above -- come with prior-generation "Sandy Bridge" processors, and most pack spinning hard disk drives with solid-state drive (SSD) caches rather than pure SSDs.
And note that other "sub-$750" models Intel listed such as the HP Folio 13 -- which had been available for $579 at Office Depot -- and the Toshiba Portege Z835, don't appear to be available from the larger, reputable retailers at prices below $700, as of today.
Of course, if you want to step up to a better display, a solid-state drive (e.g., 128GB or 256GB), and newer higher-end processors, more often than not you'll land in the above-$900 group.
And one more thing to ponder. Vendors like HP and Acer will bring out Windows 8 ultrabooks in the coming weeks and months with touch displays, either as convertibles or as standard clamshell designs with touch.
This will be a way for the PC crowd to set itself apart from Apple, which doesn't offer MacBooks with touch. But don't expect the first crop of touch-capable ultrabooks to be cheap.