Ultra-Portable Laptops

An ultra-portable system rests somewhere in-between the specifications of a netbook and desktop replacement providing a smooth blend of extreme mobility and computational prowess - at a cost.

Despite our love for the behemoths that desktop replacements are and the success of netbooks and that general sector, we’re grateful for the still strong-surviving Macbook Air, Thinkpad X, Toshiba Portege and Sony Vaio Z series laptops.

Component
Ultra-Portable Standard
Ultra-Portable Performance
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo SU9300 1.2GHz / SU9400 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 2.4GHz / P9500 2.53GHz
RAM: 2GB - 3GB DDR2 667MHz / 800MHz 3GB - 4GB DDR2 / DDR3 800MHz / 1066MHz
Video: Intel GMA X3100 / 4500MHD Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS / 9400M
Audio: Integrated audio
HDD: 160GB+ 5400RPM HDD 250GB+ 5400RPM HDD / 64GB+ SSD
Optical: None / Internal DVD+/-RW
Network: Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Wireless: Internal 802.11 g/n and Bluetooth WAN connectivity as needed (check with your ISP)
Display: 11" - 12" LCD 11"-13" LED backlit panel
Battery: 4 - 6 Cell Lithium Ion 4 - 9 Cell Lithium Ion

Interfaces you may require:

Express Card slot, 2+ USB 2.0 ports, IEEE 1394 port(s), DVI/HDMI/VGA/S-Video port(s), Cable lock slot Express Card slot, 2+ USB 2.0 ports, IEEE 1394 port(s), DVI/HDMI/VGA/S-Video port(s), Cable lock slot, Docking station support

For the lowest possible power consumption, definitely opt for either the Core 2 Duo SU9300 or SU9400 (10W TDP vs 25W+ TDP) and you probably won’t require anything beyond an Intel GMA unless you’ll be attempting to run some modern games. Saving on power will also translate into longer battery life, an added benefit of many ultra-portable models.

Unfortunately, ultra-portables come at a cost that is often too high for most people who want to reap the benefits of a low profile computer, but thankfully netbooks are around to lean on in that predicament.

If your ultra-portable laptop will not have substantial load placed on it and/or you'd prefer the additional mobility, it's worth taking a glance at the following section dedicated to netbooks, as you’ll undoubtedly save upwards of $800. The vast majority of leading laptop manufacturers currently offer their spin on netbook systems, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding something to fit your needs.