Ultrabooks Buying Guide: Purchase an Ultrathin Laptop Now or Later?
Ultrabook Announcements Expected in January
If you want more choices and lower prices, hold out until next year and wait for more competition. As many as 50 Ultrabooks are predicted to launch at the CES trade show in January. Whereas the 2011 version of the consumer electronics show highlighted the year of the tablet, 2012 may be all about these superthin laptop options.
As you probably know, however, electronics launched en masse at CES don’t always reach retailers’ shelves. And the ones that do may not be available for months, so selecting the right model is a matter of patience.
If you can afford to wait, prices are expected to fall by as much as 10 percent in early 2012, and Ultrabooks could cost just $499 by 2013.
Next year’s expected deluge of Ultrabooks may offer more than just lower prices, too. Word on the street suggests that Ultrabooks may gain 1080p full high-definition displays or even “retina-quality” displays and PayPass NFC technology for tap-and-pay convenience on your laptop.
Ultrabooks may even start to arrive with touchscreens that swivel, bringing back the convertible design that allows you to use your device in tablet mode or as a traditional laptop with a keyboard. The arrival of the touchscreen-friendly Windows 8 next year could give such convertible Ultrabooks a big boost.
Also among the major updates expected for laptops in 2012 is the debut of Intel’s next-generation processor, code-named Ivy Bridge. Current Ultrabooks already have a fairly long battery life of around 6 hours, but Ivy Bridge will take that a step further, producing noticeably longer running times as well as better graphics performance.
So far, Ultrabook adoption among computer makers has been limited to a few key players. As the category grows and as light, thin, and affordable laptops become the norm, however, you can expect other laptop makers like Dell, Fujitsu, and MSI to jump on board.
More Competition for Ultrabooks
Of course, by the time the next group of Ultrabooks arrives, Apple may have already refreshed its MacBook Air lineup with more performance-oriented features and possibly even a 15-inch version. (Rumors peg a 15-inch MacBook Air announcement as coming in the first quarter of 2012.)
Ultrathin laptops sporting AMD processors--AMD’s answer to Intel-based Ultrabooks--are also expected to pop up in January.
Regardless, one thing is for sure: The ultralight and superthin performance laptop category should see lots of competition next year.
Both Acer and Asus in particular have shown a commitment to making Ultrabooks, and Intel’s Ultrabook subsidies indicate that the chip maker is intent on making these laptops a success against the rising tide of tablets.
If you don’t need an Ultrabook this year, it’s probably best to wait, so that you can see what next-generation Ultrabooks offer--or, at the very least, so that you can cash in on the inevitable price drops on the original Ultrabooks.