Ultrabooks and Chromebooks pass the speed test



One of the first exhibitions you will encounter as you walk into the central hall of the Las Vegas Convention Centre is Intel, and they have a job lot of Ultrabooks to show off...

Intel is positively screaming about the range of Ultrabooks on show at CES this year.

One of the first exhibitions you will encounter as you walk into the central hall of the Las Vegas Convention Centre is Intel, and they have a job lot of Ultrabooks to show off.

Ultrabooks At CES

No less than 15 different manufacturers have a notebook in this four-month-old format at CES - and it's easy to see why they are so popular.

Unquestionably designed to counter the Apple MacBook Air range, Ultrabooks are super-slim and don't waste any time when starting up.

A typical Ultrabook is just 0.5" at its thickest point and Samsung reckons its Series 9 notebook starts up in less than 10 seconds and wakes up from standby in the blink of an eye.

The Samsung Series 9 notebook with a 13.3" screen is among the best Ultrabooks at CES. Running the quad-core Intel i7 Core processor and packing a 128GB solid-state disk, this Samsung is built for speed.

That's speed in the sense of carrying it around, just 0.4" at its thickest and weighing a nominal amount, but also in practical terms - it boots up in a jaw-dropping 9.8 seconds. Don't mistake that for sales patter, either, we tried it and it is frighteningly quick.

Samsung doesn't have a lock on the Ultrabook market though. The Asus Zenbook is a seriously nice piece of kit and the UX21 with its 11.6" screen is as pretty as any notebook out there.

You can take your pick of what Intel processor you choose, because it always returns from standby in less than two seconds regardless of what you go for. So have Asus been compromising on features to jam it all in to a tiny chassis? Not a chance.

Take the Asus Zenbook's sound, for example. Don't expect anything less than the best from the Bang & Olufsen ICEpower SonicMaster audio equipment.

Acer, HP, Lenovo and LG are among the other manufacturers to have their own take on the Ultrabook at CES.

Ultrabooks aren't the only rival to the MacBook Air in town though. Google has put a lot of work into its Chromebooks, which look to keep your data safe in the cloud, while offering a quick boot-up time in a sharp casing.

The operating system is based on its Chrome browser. You can also say goodbye to the dreaded blue screen of death and the need for anti-virus software with Chromebooks.

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook has a performance three times better than the 1st of the Google-based efforts, while it also has a high speed 16GB solid-state drive and a super-bright 12.1" screen.

The Intel Ultrabook and Google Chromebook notebooks are real game-changers and a reminder to Apple that they can't expect to have it all their own way in the sleek and sexy, yet speedy genre.