In a world that seemed to have moved on to smartphones and tablets, all
of a sudden the notebook is red hot again. Or, more precisely, the
ultrabook: With forget about it battery life, instant on architecture and cases
so slim you�ll worry it�s not eating.
I�m B.C. with CNET�s Top 5 Ultrabooks as of Q1 2012, 5 machines that
might make you forget about some computer called the Air or whatever
#5 Lenovo IdeaPad U300s - Look how clean and austere the lines are on
this guy. Compared to a 13� MBA it matches it head for head and costs a
bit less, while offering USB 3.0, HDMI and even wireless external monitor
support, which is tempting once you start carrying machine this clean. But
it is one of the earliest Windows Ultrabooks...so view on...
#4 Asus Zenbook UX31 - This one stands out for great audio from its
speakers -- I�m looking at you MBA -- higher res screen than a 13� Air and
lots of ports while looking so much like an MBA it ought to be embarassed.
We�ve found better trackpads, however, and the keys were a bit shallow
and mushy, but it matches the top end MBA at about $100 less MSRP.
#3 Toshiba Portege Z835 - The way we tested it, this is sort of to the MBA
was the Kindle Fire is to the iPad: Smaller, but cheaper. Smaller in the
form of a keyboard that is somewhat cramped and odd but with an MSRP
down as low as $799 for one configuration with a Core i3 CPU, this is
priced like a plain Jane notebook -- so long light & thin �luxury tax�!
#2 Dell XPS 13 - This machine is almost an optical illusion: The body
seems barely large enough to have a 13� screen, but it does. And the
Aluminum, Magnesium and Carbon Fiber construction makes it feel like an
11� in bulk - or lack thereof. Great, unique design on the XPS 13, but no
HDMI port like several others and battery life is a little soft for this crowd.
#1 1. HP Folio 13 - We�re loving this guy right now and gave it a CNET EC
because it succeeds on so many important fronts you�ll use every day:
Battery, keyboard, ports, excellent keyboard, pad and display, all in a sub-
$900 price -- though not so much on style: It�s frankly kind of plain and a bit
thick around the ankles. You�ll need to win your style points at the clothing
store, but as of right now, this is currently the best of the bunch.
For more Top 5s like this, go to top5.cnet.com. And for all our notebook, laptop and
ultrabook reviews, it�s right there on the front door at cnet.com. I am Brian Cooley,
thanks for watching.