CES 2012: Laptops
Think the laptop is dead? Far from it. Acer launched the 13.3-inch Aspire S5 during its CES 2012 press conference and promised Windows 8 Ultrabooks in the second half of the year.
Forget netbooks, chromebooks and desktop replacement systems. Ultrabooks that pay design homage to Apple's skinny Macbook Air are the new laptop form factor of choice. Without any other stand-out gadgets, they've quickly become one of the stars of the 2012 show.
Lenovo, for example, has unwrapped its good looking IdeaPad U Series ultrabooks at this year's show - the 13-inch U310 model weighs in at 1.7kg and is only 18mm thick.
Intel believes that tablets can't replace laptop computers and that we'll be even happier with a convertible Ultrabook that runs Windows 8 (and is powered by Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge Intel CPUs. Obviously).
HP's Ultrabook effort is the good-lookin' Envy 14 Spectre, which incorporates a roomier 14-inch (1,600 x 900 pixel) panel and is only 21mm thick. Under the hood there's an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor, and a 128GB hard drive.
Samsung, meanwhile, joins the Ultrabook club with its Series 5 devices, which will be availble in 13- and 14-inch variants with 2nd generation Intel Core i5 engines and Radeon HD graphics.
Samsung also rolled out the second generation of its Series 9 laptops with a refined 'aerodynamic design'.
LG has also jumped on the Ultrabook bandwagon, showcasing the slender LG Z330 and LG Z430 Super Ultrabooks. What's 'Super' about them? We're not sure.
The 13-inch Z330 features a Core i7 processor, a SATA3 SSD and boasts a skinny frame that's an astounding 14.7mm thick. The Z430 is a little bigger with a 14-inch display and dual SSD/HDD storage.
Other Ultrabook contenders include the HP Folio 13 and the Dell XPS 13, a gorgeous device that could seduce you with its looks before you even thought to ask about the specs. Oh yes, the specs... a 13-inch display, narrow 316 x 205mm footprint, Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, 4 gigs of memory and a 128/256GB SSD.
But the prize for strangest laptop surely goes to Intel's Nikiski see-through notebook. It isn't an Ultrabook (although a thinner version is planned), but it does feature a clever glass touchpad that doubles up as a touchscreen when you close the lid (see below).