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Power On

Intel’s ultrabooks provide design templates for others,yet they fail to rival the Macbook Air

Written by Pranay Parab | New Delhi | Published: July 13, 2012 12:05:46 am

Intel’s ultrabooks provide design templates for others,yet they fail to rival the Macbook Air


Acer Aspire V5-571G

This hybrid has features of both a conventional laptop and an ultrabook.

The 15.6-inch display is great for movies and it comes with Dolby Surround effects. It’s a tad heavy at 2.44 kg,but performs well for its slim form (0.9-inch thickness). But it lacks a dedicated graphics card,so gamers should look elsewhere.

The ultrabook is Intel’s brand,which comes with a set of specifications that manufacturers are supposed to adhere to. To qualify as an ultrabook a laptop must have Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor,at least five hours of battery life,a USB 3.0 port,and fast boot-up (under 7 seconds). This is the ideal ultrabook.

Many people would want to own an Intel ultrabook,given that it is good-looking,slim and very light. The review unit was quick to power on,but not as fast as one would expect. Considering that it had a 320GB Intel solid state drive (SSD),which is much faster than a conventional hard disk drive,the boot-up should have been quicker. Once the machine was powered on,the SSD’s speed made opening applications snappy.

The in-built graphics chip has also been updated,which was evident with smooth HD video playback. This ultrabook was able to run several mid-end games with ease. Since ultrabooks are not intended to be gaming machines,testing heavy games was not necessary.

The battery backup was impressive,around 5.5 hours,on constant internet usage,video playback and with office applications running in the background.

The new range of ultrabooks come with Intel’s anti-theft technology. If an ultrabook is lost or stolen,owners can log in to a web-based portal and lock it. Anybody who finds it will see the owner’s phone number on the screen. These also have USB 3.0 ports,for faster data transfer. Also,they can connect to WiFi-enabled TV sets. The TV can be used as a display using Intel’s Wi-Di technology.

However,the review unit had some issues. After an hour of usage,the ultrabook became very hot. While typing,many keystrokes were not picked up by the machine,leading to many typos. The system would not boot-up in a car,and it took four attempts to bring it out of hibernation. But it would not be fair to judge ultrabooks based on this unit as this was an engineering sample,and is not available in the market. These issues should not be present in ultrabooks available on the shelves.

Sony Vaio T

The Sony Vaio T (11.6 inch) is another of the ultrabooks to feature Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge processor. It looks good externally,just like any other Vaio ultrabook. It’s slim and light enough to be an attractive option for people who want a portable machine. The 11.6-inch display is surrounded by an ugly,thick plastic strip.

The machine is well built and feels sturdy. The keys,even though a little small,are fairly easy to type on. Apart from the arrow keys,the keypad does not feel cramped,which is an achievement for an 11.6-inch ultrabook.

This machine has 4GB RAM and 500GB storage space. It powered on quicker than the Intel ultrabook,which is surprising considering that this ultrabook has a slower hard disk drive. The display is not the best for watching movies. Its size is a little small and colour reproduction was below expectations. That can probably be corrected by tweaking some settings but users will benefit if the display is properly calibrated.

The speakers were disappointing,both for music and movies. Bass was lacking,and the sound was hollow. A good pair of headphones should improve the audio output considerably.

The ultrabook did not lag when multiple applications were running and the battery lasted five hours. This ultrabook is the right size and weight for office use and its snappy performance helps its case. Those who want a machine for watching movies on-the-go should look at ultrabooks with bigger screens. The Sony Vaio T is well-priced at Rs 49,990.

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