Tech Industry

Intel touts inexpensive ultrabooks

Chip giant wants you to know that ultrabooks are less expensive than you think. But there are still plenty of pricey models out there too.

Acer Aspire 14-inch ultrabook can be had for under $700.
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Ultrabooks aren't expensive. That's Intel's mantra these days. So, is the chipmaker right?

"Ultrabook Prices Hit Sub-$750 As Holidays Loom", Intel said in a post today. And, when queried, the chipmaker produced a fairly extensive list of sub-$700 laptops.

Select sub-$700 ultrabooks, as cited by Intel:

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 there are still plenty of these. In fact, most ultrabooks out there today are pricier models. Look no further than HP's ultrabook page or reseller listings for Asus ultrabooks.

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.