What is an Ultrabook?

In a world of tablets and smartphones, big and bulky laptops seem very out of place. Netbooks tried to bridge the gap between personal computers and a desire for an ultraportable device, but lacked the power and capabilities that many people need on the go. Apple was one of the first companies to respond to this need by developing the MacBook Air, but the personal computer market has jumped into the action as well, giving you a great variety of machines to choose from.  This friendly competition was spurred by Intel, which has developed some proprietary technology for the Ultrabooks and trademarked the name.

In order to be classified as an Ultrabook, a machine must meet a certain set of specifications set by Intel. This list is constantly evolving as new technologies enter the market, and helps to keep Ultrabook manufacturers competitive with products like the MacBook Air. The key areas that Intel has focused on are thickness, responsiveness, battery life, and price. There are other specifications as well, such as wireless and touch technology.


In order for Ultrabooks to be ultraportable, they need to be thin enough to easily carry with you wherever you go. Intel has listed thickness requirements based upon screen size that will continue to be updated as technology and manufacturing processes improve. For now, Ultrabooks must be less than 18 millimeters thick for machines with screens smaller than 14 inches and less than 21 millimeters thick for screens that are 14 inches or more. While Intel does not place any weight requirements on Ultrabooks, the smaller size and thickness will help keep the heavy bulk to a minimum.


Originally, Intel required that Ultrabooks "wake in a flash," meaning that hibernating Ultrabooks should boot up within seven seconds. This is great feature for people who need to boot up quickly and get stuff done without waiting around for programs to load. After the initial release of Ultrabooks, many consumers felt that a quick startup was not enough; they wanted the Ultrabooks to respond quickly while active as well. Thus, with Intel's newer requirements, you will be able to start up and run your Ultrabook quickly and efficiently.

Battery life

One of the great things about tablets and smartphones is that you can use them for hours and hours without having to worry about your battery dying. This is convenient when you are on the go, because it isn't always easy to find a place to hunker down, plug in and charge your device. Intel wanted Ultrabooks to be some of the longest lasting laptops on the market, so they required Ultrabooks to have at least 5 hours of battery life. With new battery technology released this year, Intel is expanding that number to something closer to 13 hours of battery life. You will really enjoy the freedom of using your computer all day long without the need to connect yourself to a wall outlet.


In order to keep Ultrabooks competitively priced, Intel has requested that manufacturers keep Ultrabooks priced at around $1000. The actual prices of these computers range from $800 to $1500, but this price goal helps to keep companies from advertising Ultrabooks exclusively as luxury products. In addition, this cost makes the Ultrabooks comparable to the MacBook Air.

Other Specifications

One of the key requirements Intel has made for the Ultrabook is, of course, that they all come fitted with an Intel core processor. Additionally, the laptops must come enabled with Intel's Identity Protection and Anti-Theft programs. These are proprietary features that must be installed on an ultraportable laptop in order to earn the title "Ultrabook."

Since the introduction of Windows 8, a very touchscreen-friendly program, Intel has added that all new Ultrabooks come equipped with touchscreen technology. Touch technology was optional until this change, and about 40 Ultrabooks already had the technology when the announcement was made, so the transition should not be too hard.

Finally, many consumers have requested Wireless Display technology, so Intel is now requiring its proprietary WiDi on all Ultrabooks. Ultrabook owners will now be able to wirelessly connect to other screens like televisions or stand-alone monitors. This will be a great way to share gaming experiences, online movies and more.

In the future, Intel hopes implement programming that will check your email and download updates while your computer sleeps. As this technology is refined, you should see it in more Ultrabooks, so keep a sharp lookout. Additionally, Intel also has released a convertible concept that is both a laptop and a tablet. The screen simply slides into place to become a portable touchscreen device when you no longer need your keyboard.

If you are looking for an Ultrabook, you may be overwhelmed by the large selection available from many different manufacturers. Each one will have different features that will appeal to your individual needs. Keep in mind that only laptops labeled specifically as "Ultrabooks" meet the requirements presented by Intel. Ultralight, ultraportable and lapbooks may all sound like the same thing, but they haven't earned the moniker, so you may not be getting all the features that Intel promises.

If you want a thin and portable laptop computer that gives you the best of the tablet and personal computing worlds, an Ultrabook is for you. Check out a great selection of Ultrabooks at Sears so you can get connected and stay connected no matter where you are.

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