Samsung 2.8-pound 'Sandy Bridge' laptop hits $619

Samsung's Series 3 laptop hints at Ultrabooks to come. It's small, light, and under $700. Those are three metrics the Ultrabook is aiming for in 2012.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers

Staples has begun selling the 11.6-inch Samsung Series 3 laptop for $619 after "instant savings," one of the least expensive ultraportables based on Intel's latest Sandy Bridge processor.

The Series 3 presages sub-$800 Ultrabooks likely to appear in 2012 from PC makers. Though--with a maximum thickness of about 1 inch--it's not as thin as Ultrabooks are expected to be, the weight is about right at 2.8 pounds.

The silicon is similar to Ultrabooks too. In this case, an ultra power efficient Intel Core i3-2357M Sandy Bridge processor.

Samsung Series 3 heralds future Ultrabooks priced below $800.
Samsung Series 3 heralds future Ultrabooks priced below $800. Staples

Unlike the Samsung Series 9 (which can be considered an early Ultrabook), the Series 3 does not have a solid-state drive but a standard spinning hard disk.

Other specifications include 4GB of memory, 320GB hard disk drive (5400RPM), 6-Cell battery, Intel HD graphics, Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit), and VGA, HDMI, and USB ports.

And here's another way to think of this Series 3 model: an inexpensive alternative to the 11.6-inch MacBook Air, which begins at $999.