What is an Ultrabook? A Comprehensive Guide

What is an Ultrabook

If you’re in the market for a new laptop, then you’ve likely heard the term “Ultrabook” tossed around.

But what exactly is an Ultrabook? In short, it’s a specific type of laptop computer that has become increasingly popular in recent years.

In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about Ultrabooks, including their features, benefits, and how to choose the right one for your needs.

1. What is an Ultrabook?

An Ultrabook is a type of laptop that was originally introduced by Intel in 2011. It’s a slim, lightweight laptop with a focus on portability and performance.

The term “Ultrabook” is actually a trademarked term by Intel, and to qualify as an Ultrabook, a laptop must meet certain specifications.

These include having a thickness of 18mm or less, 4-8 hours of battery life, and fast boot and resume times.

  • Being less than 0.8 inches (20 mm) thick
  • Weighing less than 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg)
  • Having a battery life of at least 5 hours
  • Using an Intel processor

2. Noteworthy Features of Ultrabooks

Ultrabooks come with a range of noteworthy features that contribute to their overall appeal and user experience. These features enhance productivity, convenience, and enjoyment. Here are some notable features commonly found in Ultrabooks:

  1. Touchscreen Displays: Many Ultrabooks feature touchscreen displays, allowing for intuitive interaction with the device. Touchscreens enable effortless navigation, precise inputs, and gesture-based controls, making tasks like browsing, drawing, and zooming more convenient and engaging.
  2. Solid-State Drives (SSDs): Ultrabooks often incorporate solid-state drives instead of traditional hard drives. SSDs offer faster data access, quicker boot times, and improved overall system responsiveness. This enables swift file transfers, seamless multitasking, and speedy application launches.
  3. High-Quality Audio: To deliver an immersive audio experience, Ultrabooks often come equipped with high-quality speakers and advanced audio technologies. These enhancements ensure clear and immersive sound reproduction, making Ultrabooks ideal for multimedia consumption, video conferences, and entertainment purposes.
  4. Advanced Connectivity: Ultrabooks typically offer a range of connectivity options to facilitate seamless data transfer and peripheral device connectivity. USB ports, including USB-C with Thunderbolt support, enable fast data transfer and versatile connectivity with external devices like monitors, docking stations, and external storage.
  5. Backlit Keyboards: Many Ultrabooks feature backlit keyboards, allowing users to work efficiently even in low-light environments. Backlit keys enhance visibility, reduce eye strain, and provide a premium typing experience, making Ultrabooks suitable for late-night work sessions or dimly lit spaces.
  6. Biometric Security: To ensure data security and convenient access, some Ultrabooks incorporate biometric authentication features such as fingerprint scanners or facial recognition. These advanced security measures provide a secure and hassle-free login experience, adding an extra layer of protection to your device.
  7. Instant-On and Instant-Resume: Ultrabooks are designed for quick startup and resume times, allowing users to get right back to work without delay. These devices wake from sleep or hibernation mode almost instantly, minimizing downtime and ensuring a seamless user experience.
  8. Multitasking and Productivity Features: Ultrabooks often include features and software optimizations that enhance multitasking and productivity. This can include virtual desktops, split-screen functionality, task managers, and other utilities that help users manage multiple applications and workflows efficiently.

3. Key Benefits of Ultrabooks

Ultrabooks offer several key benefits that make them a popular choice among users who prioritize portability and performance. Here are the main advantages of owning an Ultrabook:

  1. Portability: Ultrabooks are designed to be lightweight and slim, making them highly portable. With their compact form factor, they are easy to carry around in a backpack or bag, making them ideal for frequent travelers, students, and professionals on the go.
  2. Extended Battery Life: Ultrabooks typically come with efficient power management systems and energy-saving components, resulting in impressive battery life. They can provide several hours of usage on a single charge, allowing users to work or enjoy entertainment without constantly needing to be near a power outlet.
  3. Sleek and Stylish Design: Ultrabooks are known for their sleek and stylish designs. They often feature premium materials, such as aluminum or magnesium alloy, giving them a modern and professional look. Many models also incorporate thin bezels and edge-to-edge displays, providing an immersive visual experience.
  4. High-Resolution Displays: Ultrabooks often come equipped with high-resolution displays that offer vibrant colors, sharp details, and wide viewing angles. Whether you’re editing photos, watching movies, or working on intricate design projects, the superior display quality enhances your visual experience.
  5. Fast Performance: Ultrabooks are equipped with powerful processors and sufficient memory to handle demanding tasks with ease. This makes them well-suited for multitasking, running resource-intensive applications, and handling complex projects. With speedy boot times and quick resume from sleep, Ultrabooks ensure efficient workflow and minimize downtime.
  6. Enhanced Connectivity: Ultrabooks typically feature a range of connectivity options, including USB ports, HDMI, Thunderbolt, and more. This allows for seamless connections to external devices, such as monitors, projectors, or external storage, expanding your productivity and entertainment possibilities.
  7. Versatile Usage Modes: Many Ultrabooks come with innovative features like 360-degree hinges, allowing them to be used in various modes, such as laptop, tablet, tent, or presentation modes. This versatility enhances user experience and facilitates different activities, whether it’s typing, drawing, presenting, or simply browsing the web.
  8. Improved Security Features: Ultrabooks often incorporate advanced security features like fingerprint scanners or facial recognition, providing an extra layer of protection for your data and ensuring convenient and secure logins.

4. Target Audience for Ultrabooks

Ultrabooks cater to a specific segment of users who prioritize portability, performance, and sleek design. Here are some user profiles that can greatly benefit from owning an Ultrabook:

  1. Business Professionals: Ultrabooks are well-suited for business professionals who require a powerful and portable computing solution. The lightweight and compact form factor of Ultrabooks makes them easy to carry during travel or daily commutes. With features like long battery life, fast boot times, and efficient processors, business professionals can work seamlessly on the go, attend meetings, and deliver presentations with ease.
  2. Students and Educators: Ultrabooks are ideal for students and educators who need a reliable device for studying, research, and classroom activities. The slim design and lightweight nature of Ultrabooks make them convenient to carry between classes or libraries. The long battery life ensures uninterrupted productivity throughout the day and features like touchscreen displays and stylus support provide an intuitive and interactive learning experience.
  3. Creative Professionals: Graphic designers, photographers, and video editors can benefit from the powerful performance and high-resolution displays offered by Ultrabooks. These professionals often work with resource-intensive applications and require accurate color representation. Ultrabooks with touchscreens and stylus support facilitate precise editing and digital art creation, allowing creative professionals to unleash their creativity on the go.
  4. Frequent Travelers: Ultrabooks are a popular choice among frequent travelers who value lightweight and portable computing solutions. Whether you’re traveling for work or leisure, an Ultrabook can be your reliable companion, offering productivity on the move. With their long battery life and fast performance, Ultrabooks allow you to work, stream media, and stay connected while on the road.
  5. Casual Users and Home Entertainment: Even casual users who primarily engage in web browsing, media consumption, and general computing tasks can benefit from an Ultrabook. The combination of fast performance, responsive touchscreen displays, and high-quality audio ensures an enjoyable multimedia experience. Ultrabooks also serve as versatile entertainment hubs for streaming movies, playing casual games, and socializing online.
  6. Tech Enthusiasts: Tech enthusiasts who appreciate cutting-edge technology and premium build quality often gravitate towards Ultrabooks. These users value the latest advancements in performance, connectivity, and design. Ultrabooks offer a balance between power and portability, providing an excellent blend of performance and style for tech-savvy individuals who demand top-tier computing experiences.

Related: Different Types of Laptops: A Comprehensive Look

5. Not Suitable for Everyone

While Ultrabooks offer numerous benefits, they may not be the ideal choice for everyone. Here are a few scenarios where an Ultrabook may not be the most suitable option:

  1. Power Users and Gamers: If you’re a power user or a gamer who requires high-performance hardware for resource-intensive tasks or demanding games, an Ultrabook may not provide the level of processing power or graphics capabilities that you need. In such cases, a gaming laptop or a desktop computer with dedicated graphics cards and more robust specifications might be a better choice.
  2. Budget-Conscious Users: Ultrabooks often come with premium features and sleek designs, but they tend to have higher price points compared to traditional laptops. If you have budget constraints or are looking for more affordable options, there are other laptop categories available that can provide decent performance and functionality at a lower cost.
  3. Users Requiring Extensive Connectivity: Ultrabooks typically have a limited number of ports due to their slim designs. If you rely heavily on multiple peripheral devices or need extensive connectivity options, such as multiple USB ports, Ethernet ports, or SD card slots, you may find the connectivity options of an Ultrabook to be restrictive. In such cases, a laptop with a larger form factor or a docking station for additional ports might be more suitable.
  4. Individuals Needing Extensive Storage: Ultrabooks often prioritize portability over storage capacity. If you require a significant amount of local storage for storing large files, multimedia content, or a vast software library, an Ultrabook’s limited storage options might not meet your needs. Consider external storage solutions or laptops with larger storage capacities.

6. Comparing Ultrabooks to Other Types of Laptops

When considering purchasing an Ultrabook, it’s helpful to understand how they compare to other types of laptops. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Ultrabooks vs. Traditional Laptops: Ultrabooks are often compared to traditional laptops, which are typically larger and heavier. In contrast, Ultrabooks prioritize portability and feature slim and lightweight designs, making them easier to carry and more suitable for users who are frequently on the go.
  2. Ultrabooks vs. Gaming Laptops: Gaming laptops are designed with powerful hardware to handle demanding games and graphics-intensive tasks. While Ultrabooks can handle general computing tasks, they may not have the same level of processing power or dedicated graphics cards as gaming laptops. If gaming is a priority, a dedicated gaming laptop would be a better choice.
  3. Ultrabooks vs. 2-in-1 Convertible Laptops: 2-in-1 convertible laptops offer the flexibility of switching between laptop and tablet modes. While some Ultrabooks have touchscreen displays, they may not have the same level of flexibility and versatile form factors as 2-in-1 convertibles. If you require the ability to use your device as both a laptop and a tablet, a 2-in-1 convertible laptop may be a more suitable option.
  4. Ultrabooks vs. Chromebooks: Chromebooks are lightweight laptops that run on Google’s Chrome OS and primarily rely on web-based applications. While Ultrabooks generally run on Windows or macOS operating systems and offer more powerful hardware, Chromebooks are known for their affordability, long battery life, and seamless integration with Google services. The choice between an Ultrabook and a Chromebook depends on your specific needs and budget.
  5. Ultrabooks vs. Workstation Laptops: Workstation laptops are designed for professionals who require high-performance computing for tasks such as video editing, 3D modeling, or scientific simulations. Ultrabooks may not offer the same level of processing power, dedicated graphics, or extensive connectivity options as workstation laptops. If you have demanding professional requirements, a workstation laptop might be a more suitable choice.

When comparing Ultrabooks to other types of laptops, consider your specific needs, such as portability, processing power, graphics capabilities, versatility, and budget.

7. Tips for Choosing the Right Ultrabook

Selecting the perfect Ultrabook requires careful consideration of several factors. Here are some essential tips to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Define Your Budget: Determine the amount you’re willing to invest in an Ultrabook. Establishing a budget beforehand will help you narrow down your options and find the best balance between features and affordability.
  2. Identify Your Usage Needs: Consider your primary use cases for the Ultrabook. If you require a portable workstation for intensive tasks like video editing or graphic design, prioritize models with powerful processors and ample storage. For casual web browsing, productivity, or streaming, a mid-range Ultrabook will suffice.
  3. Evaluate Display Preferences: Assess the importance of display quality for your needs. If you work with visual content or require precise color accuracy, opt for Ultrabooks with high-resolution screens and excellent color reproduction. Touchscreen functionality may also be valuable for creative or interactive tasks.
  4. Consider Portability and Battery Life: Reflect on how often you’ll be on the move and the importance of long-lasting battery performance. Look for Ultrabooks with lightweight designs and extended battery life to ensure optimal portability and productivity without frequent recharging.
  5. Connectivity and Expandability: Assess the number and types of ports available on the Ultrabook. Consider the compatibility of USB ports, HDMI, Thunderbolt, and other connections you may require for peripherals or external displays. If expandability is important, check if the Ultrabook allows for RAM or storage upgrades.
  6. Research User Reviews and Expert Recommendations: Read reviews and seek expert opinions on the Ultrabooks you’re considering. Online forums and technology websites can provide valuable insights into performance, reliability, and user experiences, helping you make an informed decision.
Tips for Choosing the Right Ultrabook
1. Define Your Budget
2. Identify Your Usage Needs
3. Evaluate Display Preferences
4. Consider Portability and Battery Life
5. Connectivity and Expandability
6. Research User Reviews and Expert Recommendations

8. Top Ultrabooks on the Market

There are a lot of great Ultrabooks on the market, each with its own unique features and benefits. Some of the top models include the Dell XPS 13, the HP Spectre x360, and the Lenovo Yoga C930. These models all offer excellent performance, power, and portability, making them great choices for anyone in the market for an Ultrabook.


In conclusion, an Ultrabook is a type of laptop designed with portability and performance in mind. They’re lightweight and slim, making them easy to carry around and perfect for those who are always on the go.

If you’re in the market for an Ultrabook, be sure to consider your budget and what you’ll primarily be using it for. With so many great options on the market today, you’re sure to find an Ultrabook that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

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J.S. is the owner, content creator, and editor at Upgrades-and-Options.com. I’ve worked in the IT and Computer Support field for over 20 years. The server hardware in my computer labs has mostly been IBM, but I’ve supported Dell, HP, and various other hardware. In addition, as part of my lab administrator responsibilities, I’ve learned, supported, and repaired/upgraded network hardware such as Cisco routers and switches. READ FULL BIO >>