Naina KhedekarMar 05, 2012 12:55:22 IST
After walking you through the survival story of Ultrabooks in the tab invaded tech world, we thought of bringing to you what has been hitting store shelves labelled under this newly found device category. The CES 2012 saw a promising new range of Ultrabooks, while some made their presence felt in late 2011 itself. If the currently available Ultrabooks do not suffice your needs, then you could probably wait, as the year ahead looks promising and we’ve also jotted down what is all set to hit the markets in the near future, going by what has been stated by the spokespersons of leading companies manufacturing Ultrabooks.
What’s on store shelves
Starting with our own home brewings - Wipro just put on shelves its first Ultrabook dubbed e.go. Aero Ultra, a sleek 14-inch ultrabook posing a 19.3mm thickness. It has been crafted with a 14-inch LED backlit HD display and weighs just 1.7 kg. Running on OEM Windows 7, it come with 4GB memory and 500GB hard disk, along with an isolation keyboard and a large multi-gesture touch pad. This product is a solid partnership between Intel and Wipro with the former’s technologies, like Intel Rapid Start, Intel Smart Response and Intel Smart Connect and obviously Intel Core processor. Depending upon the configuration, it has been priced between Rs.39,900 to sub Rs.49,000.
Sleek, stylish design
The term ‘ultra’ packs in a lot of strength with portability, battery life and quick start-up, but Lenovo ensures that the chic and good looking attire isn’t given amiss. The company’s IdeaPad U Series ultraportable laptops have been designed for those looking for a stylish and slim PC. The U300s has been crafted from a single piece of aluminum which makes it weight less than 1.3kgs and it has a thickness of 14.9mm. It equips a ‘Breathable Keyboard’, which uses Intel’s Advanced Cooling Technology, while the 13.3-inch screen is HD ready and has LED Backlit. It is powered by Intel’s Core i5 processor with 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD. The Lenovo IdeaPad U300s Ultrabook has been priced at Rs.71,990 (Incusive of Tax). The U400 follows on the similar lines, but with a slightly larger 14-inch LED display. It shows off a breathable keyboard, a full-aluminium body and can connect to your HDTV using Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) Technology. Lenovo’s IdeaPad U400 Ultrabook costs Rs.59,990 (Inclusive of Tax).
HP taps onto the Ultrabooks segment with the Folio 13, which is known for its slick design, superior battery life, strong security options and solid state hard drive. Fuelled by Intel’s newest Core processors and the Intel Rapid Start Technology, HP’s first for the Indian market is the Folio 13. Measuring less than 0.75-inch thin and embeds an ultra slim 13.3-inch (33.782 cms) diagonal high-definition (HD) BrightView display. Besides the thin and light design, the ultrabook features superior battery life (up to 9.5hrs), good security options and a responsive solid state hard drive to boot. It comes at a starting price of Rs.69,990.
As slim as it gets
Asus has its Zenbook series following the Ultrabook trend. The Asus UX31 is powered by the Intel Core i7-2677M with 4GB RAM, posing a slim attire at 1.3kgs. It also embeds a 13.3-inch HD display and runs on Widnows 7 Home Basic operating system. One will find a 256GB SSD and Intel’s integrated HD Graphics card 3000 onboard. The UX31 comes with the latest Bluetooth Radio 4.0 + HS, Wi-Fi b/g/n, a webcam and Bang and Olufsen ICE power speakers. The Asus Zenbook UX31 is now available for a revised price of Rs.99,999, and click here for its complete review.
The Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook made its presence felt last year at the IFA 2011. Weighing 1.4kgs, the device has been embedded with a 13.3-inch screen while the processors range from Intel’s Core i3 to Core i7 and a choice between a 250GB SSD or 320/500GB hard drive with an embedded SSD is available. On the connectivity front, one will find HDMI, SD card reader, Wi-Fi ‘n’ and Bluetooth 4.0 + HSR technology. The base model starts at a price of Rs.49,999.
Samsung has put forth the Series 5 Ultrabooks, featuring 13-inch and 14-inch models. The 13-inch variant is just 14.9 to 17.6mm thin and weighs 1.42kg (with SSD), running on Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB memory, up to 500GB storage and 16GB SSD with ExpressCache. The 14-inch model equips Intel’s Core i5 processor with 8GB memory and 16GB SSD with ExpressCache. It has up to 1TB storage as well as an AMD Radeon HD7550M 1GB graphics card. An integrated optical drive is also installed for maximum convenience. The 13-inch Ultrabook retails at Rs.48,990, while the 14-inch will sell for Rs.54,390.
What to expect this year - Tech pros speak
The year is full of promises on the Ultrabook front. One shouldn't be surprised to see some more players jump onto the bandwagon. However, the only reason to worry for the price sensitive Indian market could be the price points at which Ultrabooks are being sold.
Intel expects 75 more designs to emerge this year alone. We're pleased to see that the OEMs are really getting behind the product and we are expecting close to 75 more Ultrabook designs to arrive in 2012. "We’ve set ambitious goals and we’re thrilled with the reception to Ultrabooks so far. There’s already been a lot of enthusiasm around the category. And remember that this is just the beginning for Ultrabooks – we’re getting started,” said Sandeep Aurora, Intel.
Ashok Tripathy, Vice President & Business Head -WS&T & IAS
To begin with, Wipro is working on an entire category of ultra-portables with additional thrust on Ultrabooks. “The category will evolve within the Ultrabook space in the coming years, with touchscreen, tablet-style hybrids, voice command and gesture integration, we are in the first phase as of now,” Ashok Tripathy, Vice President & Business Head -WS&T & IAS, CEO OFFICE - WS&T & IA.
We will see a lot of action in Lenovo’s Ultrabook segment, it's not us who is saying it, assumably. “Lenovo IdeaPad U300s and IdeaPad U400 are gaining traction in the Indian market while the company now plans to focus on the ultrabook segment for the coming year,” Rajesh Thadani, Director, Consumer Business segment, Lenovo.
Will you switch to an ultrabook?
HP will be bringing its CES 2012 highlight to the Indian market - the Spectre. It fits in a 14-inch screen into the chassis of a 13.3-inch notebook with an advanced feature set. “While over the next few quarters, HP will continue to expand on the Ultra book portfolio – with a wide range of options and mainstream price points. You will soon hear about the India launch of the Spectre. Both the products have done extremely well at CES and therefore we are really excited about our line up in this space,” Ketan Patel, Country Manager - Consumer Premium and Transactional Volume, HP PSG India.
Ketan Patel, Country Manager - Consumer Premium and Transactional Volume, HP PSG India
Intel plans to continue to invest and to promote and guide value for the consumer and for its partners, or retailers and OEMs. “Each Ultrabook released in 2012 will be at least 18mm or thinner, and new component designs and materials mean that partner manufacturers will be able to decrease the size of hard drives, displays and batteries to millimeters thickness, all of which translates to thinner machines,” says the Intel.
Although nothing is so far available from this renowned PC maker for the Indian market on the Ultrabook front, the Dell XPS 13 is soon expected hit the markets, which the company had unveiled at CES 2012. “The product has received tremendous feedback so far and we are gearing up to enter the segment in India with this new product. We are excited about the upcoming Dell XPS 13 ultrabook launch in India. It is specifically engineered to help both our consumer and commercial customers to be more productive and connected in every possible way,” Shishir Singh, Director – Product Marketing, CSMB, Dell India. “We’ve introduced some Thin & Powerful products this year already, such as the XPS 15z, the Inspiron 13z and the Vostro V131. There will be more to come, but we can’t comment on our future plans regarding Ultrabooks or product roadmap,” he adds further.
More models coming this year
“A vivid upsurge is expected in the ultrabook segments in 2012. Our focus is to further enhance this section with maintaining our standard offerings,” Alex Huang, Managing Director, System Business Group, Asus(India).
But are Ultrabooks selling well? According to our sources, vendors at Lamington road get hordes of queries regarding Ultrabooks, but seldom buys. Further, sources claim that Ultrabooks get picked from Mega stores.
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