World's first Linux Ultrabook laptop costs as much as a Windows version

World's first Linux Ultrabook laptop costs as much as a Windows version

Summary: The ZaReason UltraLap 430 offers your choice of Linux OS, but has a starting price of $899.


Everyone is excited for the new slate of Windows 8 Ultrabooks to arrive in a few weeks -- everyone, that is, except for Linux devotees. With the new ZaReason UltraLap 430, they finally get an Ultrabook of their own.

The UltraLap is the first laptop that ships with Linux and could fall under Intel's Ultrabook platform specs. The base model features a 14.1-inch, 1,366x768 LED-backlit screen, Intel Core i3-3217U processor, Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics, 4GB of RAM, 32GB solid state drive, and your choice of Linux flavor: Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint, or Fedora (or no OS pre-installed at all). If the base model isn't powerful enough for you, you can upgrade to a Core i5-3317U CPU for $49, 8GB or 16GB of RAM, a larger SSD and/or a hard drive, and additional warranty protection beyond the standard one year.

While the UltraLap 430 doesn't share the same OS with its Ultrabook brethren, it does share one other thing with them besides hardware specs. At $899, the base model has the same high price that is plaguing the platform in general. Beef it up with more RAM and storage, and it can easily top $1,000.

I posted the other day that Ultrabook sales are still below manufacturers' expectations, and their continued high price appears to be the main reason for the disappointing sales numbers. Unfortunately, ZaReason doesn't give you a cheaper option with its model despite not having to tack the cost of the Windows OS to the bill. 

Linux fans, do you have any interest in the ZaReason UltraLap 430 as your Linux laptop? Or is it priced too high? Let us know your thoughts in the Talkback section below.

[Via HotHardware]

Topics: Laptops, Intel, Linux, Mobility

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  • really?

    AN I3?

    Thats so overpriced!
    • It makes the Mac Book Air look like a steal

      It's strange to see Apple has the only bargain in this segment. I hate Apple, but I'd definately get an Air over a Windows Ultrabook, and I'd only get this Linux one if I really needed a portable development machine.
      • not really....

        I guess if you call spending an extra $200 to $400 on a Macbook Air a bargain, then go for it.
        Sean Buckman
        • Sure!

          And, when it breaks, all you have to do is pop down to the ZaReason Store, where a ZaReason SmartGuy will either fix it or replace it... Wait... there is no ZaReason store... if it breaks, you have to call a lovely 800 number sourced out of India... How appealing.

          But hey, if you want to compare Apples to crap, go for it.
          • cool story

            Actually, Zareason laptops or any other hardware built by them is supported by, wait for it, the engineers who build it. That's one of their claims to fame. Of course, if you'd rather take your machine to a "genius" in an apple store, feel free to pay that extra cash.
        • It isn't bad

          considering the fact that the Macbook comes with a minimum of an i5 and 64 GB SSD (and that's the 999$ version). At the higher end, you're right that it becomes more of a difference. But let's go middle of the road.

          I'm going to up the Za to a 128GB SSD. That's the bare minimum for a 13" Macbook Air. Then we up the MBA RAM to 8GB and the same for the Za. Of course, the processor in the MBA is slightly better (even with upping the Za).

          $1,126 vs $1299.

          That's also discounting the slightly better resolution on the MBA, and the slightly worse battery life.

          Is the keyboard backlit on the Za? I can't find that piece of information anywhere.

          I'd hardly call either of these a steal, but the MBA is actually fairly priced.
          Michael Alan Goff
  • Foolish expectation

    I may as well say dumb idea to sell such high price with practically free OS. Such unfamous brand with price, ability & form factor matches those of more well known brands, um...which one would I choose..?
    Isn't it that Linux well know with its capability of running well in low spec computers? It would be able to drive more sales if being produced in low spec within that attractive slim form factor, thus lowering its price. IMO.
  • The question is

    Is Intel subsidizing this as well? If not then they've done an impressive job. If it is then it's just another one on the list. Even with Intel's money thrown in they're having a tough time getting the price low.
    • No they're not

      No Intel is probably not subsidizing them since Ultrabook spec says "Windows or Mac OS" go figure. I'm pretty sure the latter is some nice strongarming from one of their bigger customers (we'd like some of that rebate, thanks) since no way in hell is Apple going to allow it's OS to be bundled by other OEMs in any foreseable future.

      So this is quite an impressive job but the #firstworldproblems people in general don't care, so they'll either go for the bling that's made by Foxconn and Quanta.. sorry... I meant Apple, HP and Dell.
  • No chance

    to reach the real market. I'm sorry to say that but it's the sad truth.
  • Mediocre OS Mediocre Hardware

    Now persons wonder why Windows systems remain dominant.
    • This OS is mediocre

      for extreme lamers.
    • Extreme lamers

      Who like being pwned and controlled by a convicted monopolist.

      Fortunately not everybody out there is satisfied with that.
      Cylon Centurion
  • If I was planning on buying an ultrabook...

    Since the price is comparable, I would much rather buy a Windows ultrabook. That way I get a Windows license and have a choice of completely installing Linux or having a (preferred) dual boot setup. Best of both worlds.
  • Well, it's too high for me :)

    Doesn't matter. Not a big name, nothing to get all Linux-fanboy about, and not practical for budget users. We won't see a "think differently"-style campaign for this one, so nobody's going to buy it.
  • Can you say low-res display?

    C' "ultrabook" with a 14" display and 1366x768 pixels of resolution. Are you kidding me? 11-inch MacBook Airs have 1366x768 resolution. The fact is, all of the lower-cost (less than $1,000) laptops and so-called ultrabooks at both ZaReason and System76 (the other large Linux hardware seller) have low res displays. You can even find 15" displays on notebooks with the same resolution.

    It's pixels of resolution that define the space that you can work in--not the diagonal inches of the display. I would love the option of a less than $1,000 real Linux notebook computer with a true high res display and a long battery life. Good luck finding that.
    • Go Apple fanboi, Go

      if the screen is all you care about, then go for an Apple product. If your looking for good support, readily available and low cost parts then you never buy an Apple product.
      Sean Buckman
      • As I pointed out above

        The MBA is competitively priced with Ultrabooks.

        The days where Apple means overpriced are dead.
        Michael Alan Goff
    • high resolution

      I agree, high resolution to me is anything at or over 1920x1200. I am currently using a Sony VAIO with 1920x1200 in a 13" laptop for work. For home I am also looking for one, that is why I am viewing this article.

      This double speak of high resolution at these numbers is another example of the misuse of words in our society (i.e. the real estate industry selling 'homes' not houses; if you're like me no-one could afford my home but they certainly could my house).

      When manufacturers start selling ultra-laps or ultra-books at these resolutions, I will be interested, until then, produce on.
  • Open Source OS, not hardware?

    Let's try to fill in some gaps here...

    It's kind of difficult to find a comparison ultrabook. You can't very well compare it to an ultrabook with different memory, SSD config, or weight. Perhaps the Fujitsu LifeBook UH572 would be a good match (

    Using the Intel's Core i5-3317U for both machines, the UH572 is priced around $1000 and the ZaReason 430 is $1049. Thus, it does appear that the Linux laptop is the same price as the Windows computer, if not slightly more.

    ZaReason makes a lot of open source hardware desktops, but this laptop does not appear to have this same claim to open source hardware.

    Nowadays, system builders often charge around US$100 for an up-to-date Windows OS (Windows 7). You can get Vista OEM for around $69. Part of the deal between Microsoft and system builders is that you can pay them and they certify that it will work. Canonical also offers such a service for Ubuntu, but according to, no ZaReason systems are certified. However, the Dell Inspiron 14z Laptop is certified for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64-bit. It looks like

    Finally, lets revisit this quote: "The average Linux enthusiast is probably looking for a higher-end rig than the kind of ultra-budget systems that Dell has typically offered with Ubuntu. "

    It seems that Dell's exploration into getting their ultrabook hardware Linux ready hasn't resulted in any sales. Is there some inducement to be "Microsoft-loyal" and not offer the Linux models?