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Thin, Portable, Powerful New ‘Ultrabooks’
Vizio’s top-of-the-line ultrabook, a 15.6-inch aluminum computer with a 1.9GHz Core i7 ULV processor, 256GB of solid state storage and a crisp 1080p screen… for a mere $1,249 MSRP.
The build itself is nice and sturdy, with uni-body construction. The aluminum finish is a great look and managing weight. Some might be concerned about the uniformity of keys – might be too close together for some or just right for others. All and all, it’s a solid initial offering for the flat screen tv maker. The 13-inch thin-and-light has a 1600 x 900 display, while the 15-inch has a 1920 x 1080 display — they’re definitely nice and bright, and there’s a neat display-off button on the keyboard so you can use shut it down while watching TV.
There’s also a “full-size” laptop with discrete NVIDIA graphics — so Vizio was quick to point out that even the full laptop is thinner than the MacBook Pro. Hitting that goal was undoubtedly easier since it doesn’t have an optical drive — Vizio’s selling a separate slot-loading Blu-ray drive. This product is available now.
Then there’s the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s, starting at $1,200 but without an SD slot. What’s up with that and the price, given the market is flooded with offerings below $1,000. Lenovo is a solid brand and obviously wants to appeal to the masses. It’s added two lower priced Ultrabooks to its lineup, the 13-inch IdeaPad U310 and the 14-inch U410, which start at around $700. If you are a Lenovo fan, note the the IdeaPad U310 specs seems very similar to the U300s, with 4GB of RAM, 1366 x 768 resolution, and 8-hour battery.
The 14-inch IdeaPad U410 offers more of the same, it has an NVIDIA GeForce 610M card with 1GB of video memory. And for $700 this is a good buy although though the trade-off for the extra ports and lower price is a bit more poundage: the 13-inch version weighs 3.7 pounds, versus 2.95 for the U300s. (The U410 weights 4.2lbs.)
Asus is looking to make a splash with its peaceful Zenbook. The Asus Zenbook UX31-RSL8 is definitely a top pick among Ultrabooks. It simply has better overall performance and longer battery life than any competitor. Retailing for just over $1,000, Zenbook UX31-RSL8 has a nice all-metal construction, a luxury Bang & Olufsen audio system, and a keyboard that rivals Apple’s MacBook Air- there I said it. Some might balk at a glaring flaw in the product- the SSD offers smaller storage capacity than competitors with spinning drives and a ‘mini HDMI’ port instead of a full-sized one.