4 Ultrabooks in Test – Video

Posted on 14 May 2012 by

The Dell XPS 13, Toshiba Z830, Lenovo U300s and Samsung Series 5 were with me towards the end of week so in addition to the live webcast, I took the opportunity to try and do a round-up video.

4 ultrabooks

Obviously there wasn’t time to go into deep, deep details and I can’t yet comment on battery life for all 4 devices. You’ll get a good feel for the 4 Ultrabooks though and I spend some time comparing ports, screens and keyboards. Which one do you think has the best keyboard?

Detailed information and links to reviews, images and other videos can be found through the links to our Ultrabook database below.

  • Dell XPS 13
  • Toshiba Z830
  • Lenovo U300S
  • Samsung Series 5

  • ace

    i wonder how comes nobody every complain about the z830(and some other ultrabooks) having a fan beneath. certain a problem if you plan to work on a soft surface(like a bed or your lap).

    • robert

      you´re right ace the fan was a show stopper for the toshiba the position of it wasnt very clever (the probably did think more of the office than the bed .. it has great ports luckily toshiba´s engineers could do something about the annoying fan noise .. if they listen to the customers and reviews they will do something about the flimsy design as well .. and Lenovo and Dell will not shoot themselves in the foot again by annoying potentional customers by the missing of something like an SD card slot! in there follow up ivy bridge models.

    • jeff

      How would not having a fan make your notebook cooler when on a bed? If anything, it may cool it down a little. That is until lint gets in there but that’s probably going to happen no matter what if you put your notebook on a bed.

      I’d like to see some thermal testing with these ultrabooks. Whatever cooling an OEM goes with could greatly affect performance (ie. thermal throttling and turbo hardly getting turned on).

      • ace

        placing the fan somewhere else and having no fan at all is not quite the same. Don’t you think so, jeff?

      • tome

        ace :
        placing the fan somewhere else and having no fan at all is not quite the same. Don’t you think so, jeff?

        That’s not exactly what you said.

    • Chippy

      I’ve written a fair bit about the fan noise and highlighted it direct to Toshiba Europe. Credit to them – they did as much as they could in software.
      The fan doesn’t pass the pillow test, I agree though.

      http://ultrabooknews.com/2012/03/07/tested-z830-bios-update-fixes-fan-plus-bonus-paint-job/

  • robert

    that´s a very good knowledgable roundup steve. and gives everyone good directions for possible purchase .. those 1. gen ultrabooks will eventually go down in price as the new ivy bridge devices arrive .. i am personally getting very ready for my purchase .. its funny i wanted the new samsung 9 but samsung germany probably was “delaying” its release because they want to position it as an ivy bridge release in june ? do you reckon it will be much more expensive than its sandy bridge counterparts which seem available via cyperport.de and such? the newly announced HP and Sony are also interesting my hope is to see all samsung hp sony in the shops in june and then purchase already … am i realistic ? also i have a feeling apple will come out with a splash.

    • vjachi

      there are rumors that apple will drop prices 799$ for base model 11″(now it’s 999). So we can actually see 13″ MBA for 1099$. If they make such move it will be really harder for all ultrabooks that costs more then 1 000$.

      • Chippy

        There was a Digitimes article about $799 MBA. I class that as below rumor ;-)

  • Alexnader

    Hey Chippy,

    I plan on buying an Ultrabook once the new Ivy bridge models start coming out.

    I am loving the Lenovo design and I do like their products but I feel like that lack of ports is holding me back. I think the toshiba is a possible buy since it has alot of ports I find essential BUT the design, keyboard and floppy screen is holding me back.

    I have a max of $1500, what Ultrabook do you recommend out of these 4 of other Ultrabooks?

    Thanks!

    • vjachi

      Asus Zenbook UX32, Samsung series 9 great ultrabooks, but still not with full set of ports
      HP Folio and Toshiba Z830 for ports, but sandy bridge
      The new HP Envy 4 series – 13″, many ports, but no price yet

      • Alexnader

        Thanks for the reply vjachi,

        Im not a big HP fan.. the products I have purchased came with issues here and there.

        Hopefully Lenovo will add something to its 300s.

        I plan to buy one in August so lets see what happens til then.

        Thanks again!

  • MP

    The ones I’m interested in are still the Zenbook Prime, U300S and Samsung Series 9. However, after seeing the videos here I think I have to add Dell’s XPS to the bunch as well.

    As for the MBAs, I guess they are still interesting but I don’t really feel all that exited about moving over to OSX.

    • MP

      Add the Thinkpad X1 to the mix: carbon, 1600×900 with a thin bezel and a lenovo backlit keyboard makes it quite interesting for me. :)

      • Robert

        The Thinkpad X1 seems to improve on the Lenovo 300
        not just on the ivy bridge but like you said screen ect. and last but not least it has an SD card slot! well done this time ..

  • Jordan

    very nice comparison, better than most. The lenovo’s style appeals to me the most too. The one other ultrabook I was curious about is the hp Folio 13. The keyboard and touchpad are the most important things to me and I agree about the Toshiba and Asus ultrabook keyboards being subpar. Well, I won’t sugarcoat it. I think their keyboards are absolutely horrible and wonder how these companies can make them this bad. How is the folio’s keyboard?

    • Chippy

      I would have loved to have the Folio 13 in there. It fits perfectly. My short tests on the Folio keyboard were positive and fellow tech reporters also seem to say the same thing.

  • Nirin

    Looks like you have something in common with Topolsky, he’s said a few times now that the Lenovo is the only laptop he’s ever seen better looking than the MBA.

    • MP

      I really like the design of it as well – the U300S and the 2012 series 9 are the two best looking laptops I’ve seen.

      The lenovo keyboards are known for being great as well, but I’d like to see an update when it comes to the resolution.

    • Chippy

      It’s subjective, of course but I think the Dell would appeal more to younger people. I’m 44 and probably at the stage where simple, clean, unfussy and quality elements play a large part. Therefore, the U300S appeals to me.

      • I’m 45 and bought the Dell :-) , with 256GB. Great machine. I just ran into the problem that the multi touch features stopped working though.

  • And the problem is solved again. Thanks to the owners forum with a new driver. Thank you chippy for providing all the information in this website.

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