Lenovo, Toshiba announce first Ultrabooks

Summary:Despite all the real and virtual ink spilled over the Ultrabook concept, which Intel first announced back in June, the exact specs of these MacBook Air-apparents have remained a mystery. With the official announcement today of the first Ultrabooks, we're getting a much better idea of how these will look.

Despite all the real and virtual ink spilled over the Ultrabook concept, which Intel first announced back in June, the exact specs of these MacBook Air-apparents have remained a mystery. With the official announcement today of the first Ultrabooks, we're getting a much better idea of how these will look.

The first is the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s, one of three new models in the company's revamped U Series stylish laptops. Based on a 13.3-inch display, the U300s is 0.6 inches thick (12.8 wide by 8.5 inches deep) and weighs in at 2.9 pounds. By comparison, the 13-inch MacBook Air tapers from 0.1 to 0.7 inches front to back (12.8 inches wide by 8.9 inches deep) and weighs about the same. The U300s has an aluminum case that is sand-blasted to resist scratches and comes in either grey or orange. It has an island-style keyboard with rounded keys and a large glass trackpad. The lack of a backlit keyboard seems like a misstep for the U Series, though Lenovo says the keyboard is spill-resistant. The ventilation system draws cool air in through the keyboard and channels it out the sides so there are no vents on the bottom.

The U300s will start at $1,149 with an Intel second-generation Core processor, up to 4GB of memory and a solid-state drive in capacities up to 256GB. The processor options will include the 1.60GHz Core i5-2457M and the 1.80GHz Core i7-2677M. Lenovo says the U300s can boot in as little as 10 seconds and will last up to eight hours on a charge and 30 days on standby. The U300s also has a 1.3-megapixel Webcam, a USB 3.0 port, HDMI out and Intel's Wireless Display technology for streaming video to a TV with a WiDi adapter. It will be available starting in November.

The other new U Series models include the thicker U300, which also has a 13.3-inch display, and the U400 with a 14-inch screen. Both include Intel second-generation Core processors, up to 8GB of memory, AMD Radeon HD discrete graphics with 1GB of video memory, hard drives in capacities of up to 1TB and SSDs up to 256GB. The U400 has better graphics-the Radeon 5670M versus the 5470M in the U300-and an integrated slot-loading DVD-RW drive. The U300 and U400 will also be available starting in November for $799.99 and $849.99, respectively.

Toshiba, which is already known for producing powerful thin-and-lights such as the Portege R830, announced its first Ultrabook, the Portege Z830. So far the company is only showing prototypes and hasn't released as many details, but we know it will measure 0.6 inches thick and weigh 2.5 pounds-Toshiba claims this will make it the lightest 13.3-inch laptop available. The Portege Z830 has a magnesium alloy case reinforced with ribs and other "internal structures" to make it more rigid. It also has a backlit and spill-resistant keyboard.

The Portege Z830 will start at under $1,000 with an Intel second-generation Core processor, up to 6GB of memory and solid-state drives up to 128GB. Toshiba claims it will boot in "just seconds" with the company's Hi-Speed Start Technology. The Portege Z830 also has a 1.3-megapixel Webcam, two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port (with Sleep and Charge) and HDMI out. The Wireless Display technology is optional. The Portege Z830 will be available in November.

Finally there are rumors that Acer will launch its own 13-inch Ultrabook, possibly called the Ultrabook S3, at its press conference this week at IFA, the consumer electronics show in Berlin. Asus and LG Electronics-among others-can't be far behind.

Topics: Toshiba, Hardware, Intel, Laptops, Lenovo, Mobility, Processors

About

John Morris is a former executive editor at CNET Networks and senior editor at PC Magazine. He now works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made. No investment advice is offered in this blog. All duties are... Full Bio

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