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Ultrabook: purchasing help

  1. So I want an ultrabook because it seemed like it'd be the best for my needs:

    - Easily portable and fits good enough on those clownishly small college desks.
    - I think an i5 processor would be best (hopefully it'll stay cooler than an i7?)
    - Fast with SSDs and capable processors
    - Can use most programs (HD video streaming, music streaming, word processing, web browsing, programming, and statistical analysis software)
    - Gaming is definitely not a priority. I have a desktop for that.
    - Has a good resolution. (I'd prefer over the standard 1366x768 since the screen will be small)​
    - Good battery life of course (over 7 hrs would be fantastic)​
    The only thing is that I'm having a really hard time figuring out which one I should get. I think there are 2nd generation ultrabooks with the ivy bridge processors coming out soon but I don't know when or if I should even wait. I of course want it to be future proof, but I also want it to be under $1200 or so. Right now I have seen great reviews for the Portege Z835 and Asus Zenbook UX31. The Asus seems to be a solid choice except it looks like its trackpad sucks (which is a major problem). The Portege seems alright, but its screen isn't that great. I also definitely don't want an Apple product, they just don't work well for me and are usually too overpriced for their hardware. So I guess:​
    1.) Are my needs listed above reasonable expectations for an ultrabook?​
    2.) Would an i3 work for the programs I need?​
    3.) Does an i3/i5 processor affect the heat or battery life compared to an i7?​
    4.) Should I buy an ultrabook now or wait till the next round starts coming out (about when are they coming out)?​
    5.) Any suggestions on which ultrabook (currently out or upcoming) that I should look into?​
    6.) Is a 128GB SSD enough space to hold all my programs and files without an external hard drive?​
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,060   +84 Staff Member

    Your options are pretty limited currently if you want a higher resolution than 1366x768. I think the Zenbook UX31E, Zenbook UX31A, HP Envy 14 Spectre, Dell XPS 14, and certain Samsung Series 9 models are the only ultrabooks with a 1600x900 display available at the moment. The XPS 14 is probably a little bulkier than you want at 4.6lbs, while most of the Ivy Bridge models with a 1600x900 screen exceed your budget by $100 to $200, including the new Spectre and Series 9 (unless I'm missing a specific SKU). Seems like the UX31A is your only option if you want to pull the trigger right now. Vizio's 14-inch ultrabooks are an attractive option given your parameters and they should be out soon if you can hold off.

    1.) Are my needs listed above reasonable expectations for an ultrabook?
    Reasonable if you're not picky. You have some pretty specific desires and you'll have to compromise somewhere (even something that fits your needs perfectly on paper might not be the best choice as you noted with the Zenbook's finicky touchpad).
    2.) Would an i3 work for the programs I need?
    An i3 would likely serve your needs fine. It doesn't take much to browse the web and so on.
    3.) Does an i3/i5 processor affect the heat or battery life compared to an i7?
    Hard to say. You can find individual TDP's on Intel's site if you just search for a CPU model, but it won't really account for how a laptop's cooling system is engineered or how you'll use the chip (power profiles and the like). There are a lot of variables.
    4.) Should I buy an ultrabook now or wait till the next round starts coming out (about when are they coming out)?
    Personally, I would wait (especially for Vizio's offerings). Ivy Bridge is mostly an efficiency boost over Sandy Bridge and although you may not notice a major difference, you might as well buy the newest tech you can.
    5.) Any suggestions on which ultrabook (currently out or upcoming) that I should look into?
    I guess I've already touched on this.
    6.) Is a 128GB SSD enough space to hold all my programs and files without an external hard drive?
    Hard to say, again. I have no clue what programs or files you're talking about. For reference, I have approximately 40GB free on my Folio 13, which includes a 20GB recovery partition, Steam with a handful of indie games, Postbox with 10GB of email, Chrome with well over a gig of temp data, Adobe Fireworks, a few MS Office apps and other essentials like Foobar and Pidgin.
  3. David889

    David889 TS Rookie

    If your budget can up to $1200, why not choose the latest Zenbook UX31A, it's the 2nd zenbook, and the price is under around 1100$.

    Zenbook UX31A has improve their trackpad issue, I just find Samsung Series 9 also is a great choice, you can see the comparison, it has a similar specs with UX31A. but more thinner and little expensive.
  4. ReederOnTheRun

    ReederOnTheRun TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 310   +62

    Yeah I think I'm leaning towards the UX31A. I already tried out the 1st gen version of it and it wouldve been great if not for the trackpad issue. I also like that Samsung but even though the battery lasts two hours more I like the high resolution on the ASUS and 7 hours is more than I've ever had anyways. The only thing is that I've been hearing buzz about some big stuff happening early-mid 2013. If there's going to be a significant leap in technology I think I should probably wait. Does anyone know whats supposed to be going on?


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