It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

Summary: Why it's a good idea to hold on to your money for now!

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TOPICS: Intel
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Intel is using CES 2012 in Las Vagas as a platform for showing off the first wave of ultrabooks. But is it the wrong time to buy an ultrabook?

I think it is ... and here's why.

See also: James Kendrick's 'Ultrabook is going to confuse buyers'

Ultrabooks are the latest form factor to hit the PC market. They're essentially thin and light notebooks built out of brushed aluminum featuring decent processing power and good battery life. Think something along the lines of Apple's MacBook Air but instead of mac OS X you get Windows.

But not everyone is happy to jump onto the ultrabook bandwagon just yet. Ultrabooks have debuted at an awkward time seems that buyers are getting smarter, realizing that it they wait, they'll get a better deal.

So why is it the wrong time to buy an ultrabook?

  • Windows 8 is on the horizon, and that will make that shiny new ultrabook seem like a fossil. While I still need convincing that Windows 8 has much to offer on the desktop, the OS will make compact systems like ultrabooks much easier to handle. Ultrabooks aren't tablets (yet) but they're tablet-like enough to benefit form Microsoft's new OS.
  • Current ultrabooks are based on Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture. On the horizon are ultrabooks powered by the die-shrunk Ivy Bridge architecture which will bring better CPU and graphics power to the platform.
  • The current lineup of ultrabooks are pretty basic when it comes to features. They're basically thin and light notebooks. Next-generation units will not only have better hardware but also come equipped with cooler features, such as touchscreens and voice control.
  • The price will come down. Currently ultrabooks start at around $800, but Intel expects to be able to shave $100 off that by the end of the year. Doesn't seem like much, but combine it with better hardware and it makes sense to wait.

It makes sense to wait!

[poll id="747"]

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Topic: Intel

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33 comments
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  • Waiting on Windows 8...

    I'm waiting on Windows 8 & Ivy Bridge. I'd also like to see more designs. I want a laptop/tablet hybrid.
    metromalenyc
    • RE: It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

      @metromalenyc I don't understand why people need to wait for Windows 8. If that's the only concern, buy now, upgrade later. There's no guarantee Windows 8's release date won't slip anyway. There's always something better coming along. Unless we're talking an interface that's about to go extinct, if it suits your needs now, go for it, or you could wait forever.
      jgm@...
    • RE: It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

      @metromalenyc <br><br>Most people will opt for Windows 7 instead of Windows 8 on their desktop or notebook PC. This is because Windows 8 is really just Windows 7 with a "Metro" interface glued onto the front.<br><br>Metro (currently available in Windows Phone 7) uses large titles, and is designed to be used with multitouch on a small screen, not on a large screen using a mouse and keyboard.<br><br>Windows 8 makes you go through the Metro interface just to get to the Windows 7 interface, and to all of the applications that you use on Windows 7.<br><br>Adding this extra layer, that one must go through, in order to get to what they are using right now on their PCs is counter-productive... and why pay more to "upgrade" to this Metro add-on?

      Even if some PC manufacturer comes out with a convertible ultrabook-tablet, once you have used your multi-touch on the screen to play with the Metro interface you are back at Windows 7 and all of your x86 Windows applications. It will be more productive to flip the convertible back into notebook-mode to use those applications (imagine trying to use the Windows versions of Excel or Photoshop just using multi-touch instead of the keyboard and trackpad).
      Harvey Lubin
  • Wannabe MacBooks

    Face it, nearly every shiny new ultrabook is a wannabe macbook pro or air. There were super-slim notebooks before the air and new ones come out every month, but where's the innovation when every one of them pretends to be a macbook?
    kraterz
    • RE: It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

      @kraterz I agree with you 100% but within the hour you'll have the Apple haters telling you that ultra books in no way form or fashion resemble the MacBook Pro or Air! As a matter of fact - they'll tell you that ultra books would look exactly the same had the MacBook Pro or Air never been produced!
      jamboy34
    • RE: It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

      @kraterz,<br>Sure, kraterz. Some people might like the macbook pro but want Windows and a lower price tag. It's not that innovative, but there may yet be a market for it.
      bmonsterman
    • RE: It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

      @kraterz <br>ultra books in no way form or fashion resemble the MacBook Pro or Air! ultra books would look exactly the same had the MacBook Pro or Air never been produced!
      Loverock Davidson-
      • RE: It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

        @Loverock Davidson-

        Good one, Loverock.
        kenosha77a
    • RE: It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

      @kraterz What about the Sony Vaio? I thought it came out before the apple designs of similar shape/profile.
      opcom
    • RE: It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

      @kraterz
      Netbooks were out well before there were any airs. It was a highly lucrative product line for several years. No longer but it was. Apple missed that boat. They one up that business model line with air. The PC industry, no longer making good money off of netbooks are one uping air with ultrabooks.

      And as you yourself pointed out there were super slim notebooks before air, so in fact, airs are the wannabes.
      rengek
      • RE: It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

        @rengek
        The market that Apple created with the 3rd generation Macbook Air's is new and different from the market for the Original Sony Vaio's, and Original Air's in that they are not Premium Priced (in the Mac World they are less than the Pro's) and they are very powerful (more powerful than 2 year old Xenon desk top machines).
        The Original Sony ultra compact Laptops had major problems with Windows (their high tech stuff required unique Sony Drivers that broke everything MSFt updated Windows - I know as I owned a bunch of them and Original Air's and current Air). Both the Later Sony's and the Original Air was massively underpowered, such that you payed a premium for a wimpy machine to get portability.
        Netbooks on the other thad were very low priced small laptops that could not run real software. They were cheap but underpowered (not just wimpy).
        Most of the Ultrabooks so far are not in the same class as the Air as most use hard disks and do not offs the battery life of the Air (and are slightly bigger but not enough to matter in most cases), but offer a reasonable trade off in term of price / performance. Of course you have to be willing to use Windows rather than OSX which is ether a benefit or a show stopper for most people.
        kpbpsw
  • Look

    Someone tell the author to look at sales of the MacBook Air, you windows folks are late to the party again LOL...
    Hasam1991
    • RE: It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

      @Hasam1991
      1+ million PCs are shipped everyday. How many are Macs and how many are Pcs..... who's late?
      rengek
      • PCs are ALL modeled after Macs!!

        @rengek
        judynew
  • RE: It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

    Sorry, I'll take the tiny bit more thickness for a massive drop in price or massive boost in specs.
    Aerowind
    • RE: It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

      @Aerowind <br><br>where's that like button, ah... _/
      adelacuesta
  • RE: It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

    It is the wrong time. Wait until the market is flooded with them and manufacturers are forced to to lower prices, just like what we saw with the tablet market.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Get in line, buddy.

      @Loverock Davidson- The line for the $99. fire-sale HP ultrabook starts behind me. ;)
      Steve Webb
  • RE: It's the wrong time to buy an ultrabook

    I used to say i'd never buy an ultrabook, and it was due to seeing physically 'broken' Sony Vaio's early on in the game. Those things were leading edge, quite delicate, and very expensive for what you got. But today's much improved features and the 'feel' of the machines seems better, better mechanically. I guess I have to be honest and admit I like what I am starting to see.
    opcom
  • Windows 8???? Sheesh!

    So we shouldn't buy an Ultrabook because Windows 8 will be released real soon now.

    I have to let you in on a well-kept secret, Adrian. There is ALWAYS some Microsoft Windows version aborning in the great Redmond womb.

    How about if we apply today's circumstances to today's products? And how about less free PR for Microsoft? For years, Microsoft PR flacks have made the old Communist politburo look like rank amateurs. Microsoft does not need any help from the press. Ah, but I forget. Without Microsoft, you would have less to write about, and maybe no job. Same as politics. Without stupid primaries, reporters on the political beat would be out of jobs, too.
    ben_myers@...