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Asus Zenbook UX21 Ultrabook

Ultrabook is a specification and brand developed by Intel for a class of high-end subnotebooks which are designed to feature reduced bulk without compromising performance and battery life. They use low-power Intel Core processors, solid-state drives, and unibody chassis to help meet these criteria.[1] Due to their limited size, they typically omit common laptop features such as optical disc drives and Ethernet ports.[2]


In 2012, Intel Capital press officer Jordan Balk Schaer announced a new fund to support startups working on technologies in line with the company's concept for next generation notebooks.[3] The company set aside a $300 million fund to be spent over the next three to four years in areas related to Ultrabooks.[3] Intel announced the Ultrabook concept at Computex in 2011. The Ultrabook would be a thin (less than 0.8 inches thick[4]) notebook that utilized Intel processors, and would emphasize portability and a longer battery life than other laptops[3][4] By this marketing initiative and an associated $300 million fund, Intel hoped to influence the slumping PC market against rising competition from smartphones[5] and tablet computers,[6] which are typically powered by competing ARM-based processors.[7]

Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook with SSD

The Ultrabook directly competes against other subnotebooks, including Apple’s MacBook Air, which has similar form specifications and is powered by Intel CPUs, but runs Mac OS X (with Boot Camp it can run Microsoft Windows as well).[8][9][10]

At the Intel Developer Forum in 2011, four Taiwan ODMs showed prototype Ultrabooks that used Intel's Ivy Bridge chips.[11] Intel plans to reduce power consumption of its chips for Ultrabooks, like Ivy Bridge processors, which will feature 17W default thermal design power.[12]

At a presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show, an Intel manager stated that market analysis revealed that screen size motivated some of the reluctance to switch to 13" Ultrabooks. As a result, Intel planned to ensure, through cooperation with manufacturers, a 14 or 15-inch screen on 50% of the 75 Ultrabook models that would likely come to market in 2012.[13][14]

IHS iSuppli had originally forecast that 22 million Ultrabooks would be shipped by the end of 2012, and 61 million would be shipped in 2013. By October 2012, IHS had revised its projections down significantly, to 10 million units sold in 2012 and 44 million for 2013.[15] The cheapest Ultrabooks started at $900 USD, instead of the more mainstream $600 USD (as of 2012), and most Ultrabooks retailed at well over $1000 USD which made them too expensive to be widely adopted.[16][17] In addition Intel's constant changing of Ultrabook specifications caused confusion among consumers; and this was compounded by OEMs that released slim/"sleek" or "Sleekbook" laptops (e.g. Hewlett-Packard Pavilion TouchSmart 15z-b000 Sleekbook, Samsung Ativ Book 9 Lite) that are cheaper AMD-powered variants of their more expensive Intel-equipped Ultrabooks.[18][19] Overall there was the shift in the market away from PCs as a whole (including Ultrabooks) and towards smartphones and tablet computers (particularly the iPad) as the personal computing devices of choice.[5][20][5]

While Apple's MacBook lines have not been immune to this consumer trend towards mobile devices,[21] they still managed to ship 2.8 million MacBooks in Q2 2012 (the majority of which are the MacBook Air) compared to 500,000 total Ultrabooks,[22][23] despite there being dozens of Ultrabooks from various manufacturers on the market while Apple only offered 11-inch and 13-inch models of the Macbook Air.[24] While several Ultrabooks were able to claim individual distinctions such as being the lightest or thinnest, the Air was regarded by reviewers as the best all-around Ultrabook in regard to "OS X experience, full keyboard, superior trackpad, Thunderbolt connector and the higher-quality, all-aluminum unibody construction".[25] The Air was among the first to receive Intel's latest CPUs before other PC manufacturers, and Apple Mac OS X has gained market share on Windows in recent years.[26][27] Through July 1, 2013, the MacBook Air took in 56 percent of all Ultrabook sales in the United States, despite being one of the higher-priced competitors. [28] It should be noted that Apple has traditionally dominates the premium PC market, in 2009 having a 91 percent market share for PCs priced at more than $1,000, according to NPD, and Ultrabooks were an attempt by other PC manufacturers to move in on Apple's turf.[29]

Intel banked on the release of Windows 8 as well as new form factors, such as "convertible" laptops with touchscreens and tablets with keyboard docks,[30] and features (accelerometers and gyroscopes for touchscreens, hand-gesture recognition) to build demand for Ultrabooks.[20] With the third generation Ultrabook specification, introduced in June 2013 alongside its new Haswell processor architecture, Intel also added the requirement for all future Ultrabooks to include touchscreens; the requirement is intended to prevent "game-playing" and market confusion from OEM's, who had offered low-end products with touchscreens but not Ultrabooks.[31]


Intel requires manufacturers to meet certain specifications in order to market a laptop as an Ultrabook.[32] These requirements change with each release of Intel's mobile platform.

Ultrabook specifications
PlatformHuron RiverChief RiverShark Bay
Release dateOctober 2011June 2012June 2013
ProcessorSandy Bridge microarchitecture
Intel Core models
Ivy Bridge microarchitecture
Intel Core models
Haswell microarchitecture
SiP (11.5 or 15 W TDP)[33]
Height (maximum)18 mm for 13.3" and smaller displays
21 mm for 14.0" and larger displays[34]
18 mm for 13.3" and smaller displays
21 mm for 14.0" and larger displays[34]
23 mm for convertible tablets
20 mm for 13.3" and smaller displays
23 mm for 14.0 and larger displays[35]
Battery life (minimum)5 hours[36]5 hours6 hours HD video playback
9 hours Windows 8 idle[37]
Resume from hibernation (maximum)7 seconds[36]7 seconds3 seconds [37]
Storageno requirements80 MB/s transfer rate (minimum)80 MB/s transfer rate (minimum)[38]
I/Ono requirementsUSB 3.0 or ThunderboltIntel Wireless Display[37]
voice command[38]
sensors/context aware (convertibles only)
Software and firmwareIntel Management Engine 7.1 (or higher)
Intel Anti-Theft Technology[36]
Intel Identity Protection Technology[36]
Intel Management Engine 8.0 (or higher)
Intel Anti-Theft Technology
Intel Identity Protection Technology
Anti-virus, anti-malware
Intel Anti-Theft Technology
Intel Identity Protection Technology[37]

List of models[edit]

Huron River[edit]

Brand – Model1Price of
Base Model2
Release DateIntel Processor
of Base Model
Base GPUBase RAM
Base Drive
WeightBattery LifeDisplay SizeResolution
Acer Aspire S3-951[39]$899October 2011Core i5-2467M (1.6 GHz)4 GiB320 GB HDD + 20 GiB SSD413.10/17.50 mm
(0.51/0.69 in)
1.40 kg (2.98 lbs)36 Wh, ~6 hours13.3"1366×768
Acer Aspire S3-951[40]$1,200November 2011i5-2467M (1.6 GHz) or  i7-2637M (1.7 GHz)4 GiB256 GiB SSD13.10/17.50 mm
(0.51 in / 0.69 in)
1.35 kg (2.98 lbs)36 Wh, ~6 hours13.3"1366×768
Asus Zenbook UX21E[41]$1,000October 2011i5-2467M (1.6 GHz)HD 30004 GiB128 GiB SSD16.76 mm (0.66 in)1.10 kg (2.43 lbs)35 Wh, ~5 hours11.6"1366×768
Asus Zenbook UX31E[41]$1,100October 2011i5-2557M (1.7 GHz) or i7-2677M (1.8 GHz)HD 30004 GiB128/256 GiB SSD17.00 mm (0.67 in)1.30 kg (2.90 lbs)50 Wh, ~7 hours13.3" (glossy)1600×900
Dell XPS 13[42]$1,000February 2012Core i5-2467M (1.6 GHz)HD 30004 GiB128 GiB SSD6–18 mm; 12 mm (0.47 in) average1.36 kg (3 lbs)47 Wh, ~8 hours13.3" (glossy)1366×768
HP Folio 13[43]$930December 2011i5-2467M (1.6 GHz)HD 30004 GiB128 GiB SSD18.00 mm (0.7 in)1.49 kg (3.3 lbs)59 Wh, ~9 hours13.3"1366×768
HP Envy 14 Spectre[44][45]$1,400February 2012i5-2467M (1.6 GHz)HD 30004 GiB128 GiB SSD20.00 mm (0.8 in)1.8 kg (3.95 lbs)~9 hours14" (radiance, glossy)1600×900
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s[46]$1,000[47]November 2011i5-2467M (1.6 GHz)4 GiB128 GiB SSD14.99 mm (0.59 in)1.34 kg (2.95 lbs)54 Wh, ~8 hours13.3" (glossy)1366×768
Lenovo IdeaPad U300e[48]$800February 2012i3-2367M (1.4 GHz) or
i5-2467M (1.6 GHz)
2 GiB500 GB HDD + 32 GiB SSD418.3 mm (0.72 in)1.58 kg (3.5 lbs)~8 hours13.3"1366×768
LG X-Note Z330[49]$1,500December 2011i5-2467M (1.6 GHz)4 GiB120 GiB SSD14.7 mm (0.58 in)1.21 kg (2.67 lbs)~6 hours13.3"1366×768
Samsung Series 5 13"[50][51][52]$900January 2012Core i5-2467M (1.6 GHz)8 GiB max128/256 GiB SSD / 500 GB HDD14/17.6 mm (0.55 in / 0.69 in)1.38 kg (3 lbs)45 Wh, ~6 hours13"1366×768
Samsung Series 5 14"[50][51][52]$1,100January 2012i5-2467M (1.6 GHz)8 GiB max128/256 GiB SSD / 1 TB HDD20.9 mm (0.82 in)1.84 kg (4.06 lbs)45 Wh, ~6 hours14"1366×768
Toshiba Portégé Z830[53]$900November 2011Core i3-2367M (1.4 GHz) (i5, i7 models exist)4 GiB128 GiB SSD16.00 mm (0.63 in)1.11 kg (2.45 lbs)47 Wh, ~8 hours13.3" (matte & glossy models)1366×768
Toshiba Portégé Z835[54]$800November 2011i3-2367M (1.4 GHz)4 GiB128 GiB SSD16.00 mm (0.63 in)1.11 kg (2.45 lbs)47 Wh, ~8 hours13.3"1366×768

Chief River[edit]

Brand – Model1Price of
Base Model2
Release DateIntel Processor
of Base Model
Base GPUBase RAM
Base Drive
WeightBattery LifeDisplay SizeResolution
Acer Aspire S5[55][56][57]$1,400June 2012i7-3517U (1.9 GHz)Intel HD40004 GiB256 GB SSD14.9 mm (0.59 in)1.35 kg (2.97 lbs)~4.5 hours13.3"1366×768
Asus Vivobook S400CA[58]$750Q3 2012i5-3317U (1.7 GHz)Intel HD40004 GiB500 GB HD + 24 GiB SSD Hybrid21 mm1.8 kg~5 h14"1366×768 w/touch
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A[59]$1,100Q2 2012i5-3317U (1.7 GHz)*[60]Intel HD40004 GiB128 GiB SSD*11.18/16.76 mm (0.44/0.66 in)1.30 kg (2.87 lbs)~6 hours13.3"1920×1080
Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD[61][62]$1,300Q2 2012i5-3317U (1.7 GHz)Nvidia GeForce GT 620M4 GiB*320 GiB HDD/24 GiB SSD cache418 mm (0.71 in)[63]1.44 kg (3.17 lbs)no information13.3" IPS LCD1920×1080
Dell XPS 14 (2012)[64]$1,100June 2012Core i7Intel HD40004 GiB500 GB HDD + 32 GiB SSD cache or 512 GiB SSD*20.6 mm (0.81 in)2.09 kg (4.6 lbs)11 hours14"1600×900
Fujitsu Lifebook UH572[65]$1,000June 2012i5-3317U (1.7 GHz)Intel HD40004 GiB500 GB HDD + 32 GiB cache18 mm (0.71 in)1.6 kg (3.5 lbs)5 hours13.3"1366×768
Fujitsu Lifebook U772[65][66][67]$1,150June 2012i5-3317U (1.7 GHz)*Intel HD40004 GiB320+ HDD w/ 32 GB cache or 128+ GB SSD17.5 mm (0.69 in)1.5 kg (3.2 lbs)7 hours14"1366×768
HP Envy Ultrabook 6t-1000[68]$900May 2012i5-2467M (late 2012: i5-3317U)Intel HD3000*2 GiB DDR3*320 GB HDD*19.8 mm (0.78 in)4.75 pounds (2.15 kg)Up to 8.25 hours15.6"1366×768
Lenovo Thinkpad T430u[69]$850Q3 2012i3-3217U (1.8 GHz)4 GiB128 GiB SSD or 1 TB HDD20.3 mm (0.8 in)1.77 kg (3.9 lbs)~6 hours14" (matte)1366×768
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon[70][71]$1399August 2012i5-3317UIntel HD40004 GiB/8 GiB128 GiB SSD18 mm (0.71 in)1.3 kg (2.9 lbs)6.3 hours14" (matte)1600×900
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13[72]$1,09926 October 2012Ivy BridgeIntel HD40004 GiB/8 GiB256 GiB SSD17 mm (0.67 in)1.54 kg (3.4 lbs)~8 hours13.3" (folds into tablet)1600×900[73]
Lenovo IdeaPad U310[74][75]$700May 2012i5-3317UIntel HD40004 GiB64 GiB SSD or 500 GB HDD18 mm (0.71 in)1.7 kg (3.75 lbs)~8 hours13.3"1366×768
Lenovo IdeaPad U410[74][75]$700May 2012i5-3317UNVIDIA GeForce GT 610M 1 GiB4 GiB64 GiB SSD or 500 GB HDD21 mm (0.83 in)1.9 kg (4.2 lbs)~8 hours14"1366×768
Novatech nFinity N1409[76]£524.99i3-3217U (1.80 GHz)Intel HD40004 GiB120 GiB SSD17.9 mm (0.70 in)1.8 kg (3.91 lbs)no information14"1366×768
Novatech nFinity N1410[77]£559.99i5-3317U (1.70 GHz)Intel HD40008 GiB120 GiB SSD17.9 mm (0.70 in)1.8 kg (3.91 lbs)no information14"1366×768
Novatech nFinity N1411[78]£699.98i7-3517U (1.70 GHz)Intel HD40008 GiB240 GiB SSD17.9 mm (0.70 in)1.8 kg (3.91 lbs)no information14"1366×768
Gigabyte U2442V[79]$1,000May 2012Ivy Bridge (low-voltage)NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M 2GiB2 GiB/4 GiB128 GiB SSD*20,5 mm (0.81 in)1.49 kg (3.31 lbs)no information14"1600×900
Samsung Series 9 13" (2012)[80][81][82]$1,400April 2012i5-2467M (1.6 GHz) (late 2012 models have Ivy Bridge)Intel HD40004 GiB (8 GiB max)128 GiB SSD12.7 mm (0.5 in)1.10 kg (2.43 lbs)40 Wh, ~7 hours13.3" (matte)1600×900
Samsung Series 9 15" (2012)[80][81]$1,500April 2012i5-2467M (1.6 GHz) (late 2012 models have Ivy Bridge)Intel HD40008 GiB128 GiB SSD (MSata upgradable)15.74 / 16.25 mm
(.62 in / .64 in)
1.59 kg (3.50 lbs)47 Wh, ~7 hours15.0" (matte)1600×900
ZaReason UltraLap 430[83]$900August 2012i3-3217U or i5-3317UIntel HD40004 GiB (16 GiB max)32 to 256 GiB SSD with an additional SSD (128 to 512 GiB) or HDD (250 to 500 GB)19 mm (.75 in)1.59 kg (3.50 lbs)44 Wh, ~6 hours14.0"1366×768
Toshiba Portege Z935 [84][85]$926.50Q4 2012Core i56 GiB, 1600 MHz128 GiB SSD3.5–2.47 pounds (1.12 kg)Up to 8h3613.3"1366x768 (16:9)
Toshiba Satellite U845W [86][87]$926.50Q4 2012Core i56 GiB, 1600 MHz500 GiB3.5–4 pounds (1.8 kg)Up to 8h3614.4"1792×768 (21:9)
Sony Vaio T-13 [88]$669May 2012Core i34 GiB, 1600 MHz320 GB0.71 inches (18 mm) max.3.5 pounds (1.6 kg)Up to 5h3013.3" (11.6" in the UK) [89]1366×768
Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch [90]$850August 2012Core i54 GiB500 GB HDD + 24 GiB SSD0.58–0.69"3.83 pounds (1.74 kg)13.3"1366×768

Shark Bay[edit]

Brand – Model1Price of
Base Model2
Release DateIntel Processor
of Base Model
Base GPUBase RAM
Base Drive
WeightBattery LifeDisplay SizeResolutionAwards
Acer Aspire P3-171-6408$825.00August 2013i3-3229Y (1.4 GHz)Intel HD 40002 GB120 GB SSD9.95 mm (0.4 in) max790 g (1.3 kg)Up to 7 hours11.6 in1366 × 768Top 5 Hybrid\Convertible Laptop of 2013 by TechRadar
Acer Aspire P3$900.00August 2013i5-3329Y (1.5 GHz)Intel HD 40004 GB120 GB9.95 mm, (0.4 in) max790 g (1.3 kg)Up to 6 hours11.6 in1366 x 768Top 5 Hybrid\Convertible Laptop of 2013 by TechRadar
Acer Aspire S7-392-6832$1,399.99August 2013i5-4200U (1.6 GHz)Intel HD 44008 GB128 GB SSD12.7 mm (0.5 in) max2.87 lb (1.3 kg)Up to 8 hours13.3 in1920 × 1080
Lenovo ThinkPad T440s$1,319.00August 2013i5-4200U (1.6 GHz)Intel HD 44004 GB, 1600 MHz128 GB SSD21 mm (0.83 in) max3.5 lb (1.58 kg)Up to 6 hours14 in1920 × 1080
Sony VAIO Duo 13$1,399.99July 2013i5-4200U (1.6 GHz)Intel HD 44004 GB, 1600 MHz128 GB SSD19.5 mm (0.77 in) max2.93 lb (1.33 kg)Up to 10 hours13.3 in1920 × 1080
Sony VAIO Pro 11$1,149.99July 2013i5-4200U (1.6 GHz)Intel HD 44004 GB, 1600 MHz128 GB SSD17.3 mm (0.68 in) max1.92 lb (0.87 kg)Up to 7 hours11.6 in1920 × 1080
Sony VAIO Pro 13$1,249.99July 2013i5-4200U (1.6 GHz)Intel HD 44004 GB, 1600 MHz128 GB SSD17.3 mm (0.68 in) max2.34 lb (1.06 kg)Up to 6.5 hours13.3 in1920 × 1080
Dell XPS 12$1,199.99July 2013i5-4200U (1.6 GHz)Intel HD 44004 GB, 1600 MHz128 GB SSD20.0 mm (0.79 in) max3.35 lb (1.52 kg)Up to 8.7 hours12.5 in1920 × 1080
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus$1,399.99August 2013i5-4200U (1.6 GHz)Intel HD 44004 GB, 1600 MHz128 GB SSD13.6 mm (0.54 in) max3.06 lb (1.39 kg)Up to 11 hours13.3 in1920 × 1080

* This component is upgradable. That is, the manufacturer allows the user to customize/upgrade this component of the ultrabook at time of purchase to one of several better options for an increase in price. Some manufacturers or stores charge more, and will require wait time and/or home delivery for customized models. For more details on the available upgrades for a model, click on the references listed next to the model name.
1 Information describes base model of laptop offered by manufacturer unless otherwise noted.
2 Pricing announced (in USD and on the US market, unless specified) by manufacturer or at time of product release.
3 Some Ultrabooks have a uniform thickness.
4 These models include two drives. The SSD is pre-configured to store only hibernation data (for faster S4 resume).

See also[edit]


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