Windows fans, take note: Three great Windows ultrabooks were just announced at CES. Which is best for you? I've got specs and details.
Among all the gadgets, gizmos, and other devices, the following three ultrabooks stand out. Each of them is a Top Tech of CES 2015 nominee.
Dell XPS 13
Forget what you know about the old XPS line -- this new machine looks to be a beauty at a great price. It's got a 13.1-inch touchscreen with either a 1080p or 3,200 by 1,800 resolution, and is powered by the newest fifth generation Intel Core i processors. The cheapest model uses the Core i3, while the most expensive packs the Core i7. You can get either 4GB or 8 GB of RAM. It weighs a mere 2.6 or 2.8 pounds, depending on the model.
Unique is its size -- it has essentially eliminated the bezel around the screen, making for a much smaller and more portable machine than you would expect, given its 13.1-inch screen. Dell likens it to a 13-1-inch ultrabook in an 11.6-inch form factor. Also unique is the price -- only $800 for the base model, and up to $1900 for the top of the line. Oh, and one more unique thing about it: It's available now, so you won't have to put up with the usual several-month wait after new machines are introduced at CES.
Samsung ATIV Book 9
Here's another Windows ultrabook that's easy to carry around, and won't take too much of a bite out of your wallet. It's got a 12.2-inch 2,560 by 1,600 screen that's powered by an Intel HD Graphics 5300 chip. The processor itself is an Intel Core M 5Y10c fanless Broadwell chip. The machine weighs in at 2.09 pounds. The base unit comes with 4GB of memory and a 128GB SSD, and sells for $1,200. The most expensive one has 8 GB of RAM and a 256 SSD, and sells for $1,400. For my tastes, the extra $200 would be well worth it. Battery life is rated at 10.5 hours. It's not available yet. Expect it some time in the first quarter of the year.
Lenovo LaVie Z ultrabooks
You say that even the 2.09-pound ATIV Book 9 is too heavy for you? Then consider the HZ550 model of the LaVie Z, which weighs in at a mere 1.7 pounds. And it doesn't sacrifice power either, given that it's powered by a 5th generation Core i5 and has 4 GB of RAM. And it's not flimsy at that weight, because it's got a magnesium-lithium chassis. There's also a 128GB SSD and a 13-inch 2560 by 1440 screen. It costs $1,300
There's another model as well, the HZ750, which has a 360-degree hinge and is a 2-in-one device that does double-duty as a tablet. It can also use an Core i7 dual-core chip, carry 8 GB of RAM, and have a 256GB SSD. Expect both machines to go on sale in May.