Ultrabooks Take On New Dimensions

By Doug Olenick On Jun 18 2012 - 4:01am

NEW YORK – The second wave of Ultrabooks now hitting the market are beginning to reflect a higher level of differentiation than the initial models that hit retail last fall.

In addition, new players are taking the field.

Toshiba has taken a very different approach by rolling out the Satellite U845w, which features a 14.4-inch display with a 21:9 aspect ratio and Harman Kardon speakers. The $999 unit is intended for use as an ultraportable entertainment device, said Young Bae, Toshiba’s manager for product marketing, digital product division.

Acer has taken thin and light to a new level with its $648 S5, introduced on June 15. The S5 ranges between 0.44 and 0.59 inches thick and weighs 2.65 pounds. The S5 also features what Acer calls the MagicFlip I/O port. The USB 3.0, HDMI and Thunderbolt ports are kept hidden behind a panel until needed. This helps maintain the device’s sleek appearance, said Eric Ackerson, Acer’s senior product marketing and brand manager.

Hewlett-Packard has pushed its Ultrabook display sizes up to 14 and 15.6 inches with its Envy Ultrabooks, starting at $749.

Sony, which pioneered the ultraportable laptop category with the Vaio 505 in 2001, was a late comer to the Ultrabook category, releasing its first unit this month: the Sony T series at $799. Sony does not consider itself handicapped by its latter arrival, saying it wanted to wait until it could roll out a product at the right price point and feature set.

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