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HP Envy 14 Spectre front
We get to hear about a lot of new devices at ZDNet and it could scarcely escape our attention that, over the course of the last year or so, the term 'ultrabook' is being attached to a growing number of laptops. But is it just hype and marketing, or is there a real need for a new category of thin and light devices?
Intel introduced the ultrabook category a year ago promising the first machines would be less than 20mm in depth and cost less than $1,000 (£605 at the time, about £645 now). Since then, a number of different manufacturers — Acer, Asus, HP and Toshiba among them — have speedily launched their own versions in an effort to stake their claim in the ultrabook world. Pictured is the Envy 14 Spectre ultrabook from HP.
However, the definition of what constitutes an ultrabook seems to have widened as the category has matured — with devices up to 23mm thick now allowed to be called ultrabooks if they meet other specifications — leading me to wonder what the real difference between an ultrabook and a skinny laptop really is.
So what does a machine have to do to make it into the ultrabook category? There are specifications on minimum battery life and depth, namely more than five hours and less than 18mm, 21mm or 23mm thick depending on screen size.
However, in its most recent revamp of the ultrabook rules, Intel brought in stipulations that devices running the third-generation Ivy Bridge chip must include USB 3.0 options and Intel's Thunderbolt I/O port for faster data transfers.
Ultrabooks also need to integrate Intel's anti-theft and identity protection technology, as well as its vPro enterprise PC management tools.
Image credit: Ben Woods