Top 5 High – Performance Ultrabook Picks for 2014


Unlike the early models of 2013 that highlighted ultra-slim forms and solo SSD drives, 2014′s top ultrabook manufacturers have focused on creating more affordable and memory-sufficient laptops with HDDs.

Companies like Lenovo, Sony and HP have outshined their contenders in the ultrabook wars by thinking outside of the box and offering a range of laptops and hybrids that are reasonably cheap without having to sacrifice beauty or performance.

The top 5 ultrabooks of 2014 are as follows:

1. Lenovo IdeaPad U530 Touch Ultrabook

Lenovo U530 laptop

Wrapped in silver casing, the U530 is reliably sturdy and able to withstand the normal wear and tear of everyday use. It is perfect for multimedia tasks and everyday content editing including business presentations, document creation, and multimedia modification. This Lenovo model is considered one of the most efficient ultrabooks in the market. It may not score high in the gaming category but when it comes to raw performance, the U530′s power is remarkable.

PROS:

  • Very Affordable Price
  • Great battery life: up to 10 hours
  • 4th generation i7 processor
  • Dolby Theatre v4 sound enhancement
  • Sufficient storage
  • NVIDIA Dedicated Graphics Card

CONS:

  • No optical Drive
  • Weight 5.07 lbs

Specifications:

  • Up to 4rd generation Intel Core i7 Processor
  • Windows 8.1
  • Up to 8GB memory
  • 1TB 5400 rpm hard drive
  • NVIDIA GeForce 610M 1GB graphics
  • 15.6″ HD display multitouch
  • Battery life up to 10 hrs
  • Weight   5.07 lbs.

2. Toshiba Portege Z35-AST3N06 Ultrabook

Known for being one of the lightest 13″ ultrabooks in the market, the Toshiba Portege Z35-AST3N06 is perfect for business users who pay particular attention to battery life, port abundance and portability. Built with magnesium alloy and internals protected by a honeycomb structure, the Portege Z35 is sturdy and unwavering. Unfortunately, its battery is sealed which means that swapping it for a replacement isn’t an option. In comparison to its predecessor, this Toshiba model came back stronger and faster with a 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor and SSD. Port-wise, the Z35 is built with a plethora of full-sized ports.Toshiba Portege Z35 Ultrabook

PROS:

  • Lightest 13″ ultrabook weighing at 2.6 lbs
  • Strong and fast performance
  • Abundant port selection
  • Adequate battery life
  • Spill-resistant and back-lit Keyboard

CONS:

  • Low Resolution at 1366 x 768
  • Key travel is a bit shallow

Specifications:

  • 4rd generation Intel Core i7-4500U Processor
  •  Windows 8.1
  •  8GB memory
  •  1256GB Solid State Drive
  •  13.3″ widescreen HD TFT LED display
  •  Up to 11 hours battery life
  •  Weight only 2.6 lbs. and 0.63″ thin

3. HP ENVY  Touchsmart 14t-k100 Customizable Ultrabook

HP ENVY TouchSmart 14t-k100 Ultrabook

HP’s ENVY line is often known for its aesthetically-pleasing appearance. The HP ENVY Touchsmart 14t-k100 is no different with its attractively designed brushed metal finish. This laptop is a good choice for students and professionals who want a slick, lightweight and portable device for school or work projects. It also has the long battery life of 8 hours. Performance-wise, the HP ENVY14t-k100 Ultrabook  is very well-capable of handling an average user’s normal home and business needs. While it may not have the hardcore specs of a gaming laptop, this HP ENVY ran Elder Scrolls V Skyrim without overheating problems in mid-low graphic settings. Lastly, its cold start boot-up time is in an average of 10 seconds.

PROS:

  • Aesthetically-pleasing industrial design
  • Fast boot-up time
  • Portable

CONS:

  • No VGA connector
  • Weight at 6.91 lbs
  • No built-in CD/DVD drive

Specifications:

  • up to 4th generation Intel Core i7-4500U Processor + 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M Graphics
  • Windows 8.1
  •  4GB memory, expandable to 8GB
  •  500GB hard drive, upgradeable to 1TB HDD
  •  14″ HD BrightView LED-backlit touchscreen
  •  Battery life up to 8 hrs 30 min
  •  Weight 6.91 lbs
  •  Dimensions:  13.6 x 9.42 x 0.83 in

4. Sony VAIO Pro 11  Ultrabook SVP11226PXB

The SVP11226PXB  is Sony’s updated version of its famed ultrabook with the option of a touch screen to fully enjoy what Windows 8.1 has to offer. With this latest operating system, it’s no surprise that this updated VAIO Pro model performs and boots zippy fast. Just like most VAIO laptops, the SVP11226PXB sports the prominent angular and edgy aluminum/magnesium shell Sony is known for. As for battery life, the SVP11226PXB  boasts an average of 7 hours which noticeably exceeds most of its competitors.

PROS:

  • Full HD display
  • Sleek design
  • Noteworthy battery life
  • Highly responsive 10-point touch screen
  • Clean and crisp sound with good volume

Sony VAIO SVP11226PXB Custom UltrabookCONS:

  • No option to upgrade to discrete graphics cards
  • Not so impressive webcam and keyboard.

Specifications:

  • 4th generation Intel Core i7-4500U processor 3.00GHz with turbo boost
  •  Windows 8.1 Pro
  •  11.6″ Full HD TRILUMINOS for Mobile IPS touch display (1920 x 1080)
  •  8GB RAM
  •  256GB SSD
  •  Intel HD Graphics 4400
  •  HDMI, USB 3.0 ports
  •  up to 7 hrs  min battery life
  •  Weight 1.92 lbs with battery

5. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 13 Convertible Ultrabook

With the domination of Lenovo in the ultrabook market comes their bold decision to create the Yoga series and its interesting convertibility. The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 13 MultiTouch is powered by a latest Haswell  Intel Core i7 processor and solid state drive for speedy performance. Also, this Yoga sports a 1920 x 1080 FHD display rather than the heavily-criticized 1366 x 768 screen resolution most recent Lenovo models have been built with. Although its average battery life was lower than Lenovo’s rating which was at 8 hours, 6 hours for general use is still notable given its hybrid form factor and functionality.

PROS:

  • 360 degrees flip and fold ability
  • Decent build quality
  • Adequate battery life
  • Fresh and original form factor
  • Windows 8.1 touch functionality

Lenovo Yoga 2 13 Ultrabook CONS:

  • Pricey
  • Screen resolution could have been improved to rival similarly priced competitors
  • Lack of upgradeability

Specifications:

  • Up to 4rd generation Intel Core i7 Processor
  • Windows 8.1
  • Up to 8GB memory
  • Up to 256 GB SSD storage
  • Intel HD Graphics 4400
  • 8 hours battery life
  • Weight   3.4 Lbs

 

Final Words

2013′s ultrabook market was booming. With the emergence of hybrid laptops and fresh form factors, the laptop industry will have to step it up this 2013 to provide consumers with ergonomically designed ultrabooks that will cater to the masses’ needs.

Related Articles

Lenovo Yoga 13: The New Ultimate Ultrabook Hybrid
Toshiba Satellite P70-ABT3G22: Performance that Excites
Portege Z935 Ultrabook – The New Ultralight Computer From Toshiba

 


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