Ultraportable Laptop Buying Guide: What You Need to Know to Make the Most of Your Money

Ultraportables are the latest big thing in laptop computers, and it’s obvious why: all the power and performance of a standard laptop, in an incredibly (one might almost say ultra-) portable and lightweight package. Ultraportables are the summit of what a laptop was envisioned as being. So now that you’ve decided to invest in the future, what exactly do you look for when buying an ultraportable laptop? The short answer is the same things you would look for in a regular desktop PC. The long answer? Read on:

The Types and Differences of Ultraportable Laptops

Types of Ultraportable Computers
From Top to Bottom: Toshiba’s Portege Z830, Apple's MacBook Air, Google's Chromebook

As we talked about in our introduction to ultraportable laptops, ultraportables come in many different sizes, shapes, and configurations.

We looked briefly at the difference between ultraportable laptops, netbooks, and tablets: netbooks are outdated compact laptops which were built with all the features of a laptop but in a smaller form and with processing power limiting functions to 1-2 tasks at a time.  Tablets, on the other hand, were built with the same hardware and components as ultraportable laptops but are designed to be a balance between a laptop and a smartphone with appearance and design as defining factors.

Today we look at the different types of ultraportable laptops and what sets each apart from one another.  Everyone is a player in this emerging market with PC makers, Apple, and even Google all laying a stake with ultraportables.  As we’ll see the characteristics of weight, battery life, and hardware configuration set ultraportables apart but function and form also play a big role.  Additionally, each type is defined by their small contributions and enhancements to the laptop, such as wireless syncing and cloud based offerings.

Read on to learn about the different types of PC, Apple, and Google ultraportable laptops and how the MacBook Air from Apple and Google’s Chromebook add unique twists that set themselves apart from the others. Continue reading

An Introduction to Ultraportable Laptops

Ultraportable LaptopsOver the next few days we’re going to take a look at a new generation of laptops – ultraportable laptops – and show you how you can leverage ultraportable laptops for your digital lifestyle, what to look for when buying one, and how to know when you’re buying the right computer.

What is an Ultraportable Laptop?

Ultraportable laptops are a newer breed of laptop that has been introduced to consumers in the last few years. These computers, aimed at providing the full experience of a normal laptop, typically apply the “less is more” approach in design so they can be more easily carried around than your 6-10 pound brick of a laptop.

Standard classifications for ultraportable laptops have yet to surface but Intel is leading the way with their Ultrabook standard to create a standard among PC makers. While less is more, the features of ultraportable laptops allow users to go farther and be more mobile than they can be with traditional laptops. Ultraportables are defined as laptops whose screens are less than 13.3 inches and weigh less than 4 pounds. Although screen sizes might vary and be as little as 7 inches, the emphasis of an ultraportable is its weight which determines, many times, what features are or are not included in the laptop. Battery life, overall thinness, and memory/hard drive space are also determining factors that make classify a laptop as an ultraportable.

Read on for more defining characteristics, netbooks are now considered defunct, and an overview of the various types of ultraportable laptops.

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