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Ultrabooks for Under $1,000

Affordable ultrathin and lightweight Windows laptops


Ultrabooks are a new breed of super-thin, high-performance ultraportable laptops with fairly reasonable price tags. With their long battery life ratings (at least 5 hours, but most lasting over 7 hours on one charge), the latest Intel processors, light weight under 3 pounds, and thickness under an inch, these laptops are ideal for travelers and mobile workers who don't want to sacrifice power for portability. You'll find a range of Ultrabooks now to match almost every need--from business-oriented models to very compact, netbook-sized laptops and even ones with DVD drives. Here's a roundup of Ultrabook laptops with prices under $1,000 -- worthy Windows alternatives to the MacBook Air, perhaps. ~ March 4, 2012

1. Toshiba Portege Z835 13.3" Ultrabook

Toshiba Portege Z835
The Portege Z835 is one of the lowest priced Ultrabooks available (one Best Buy-exclusive model is just $799). The Z835 model is the consumer version, but there's a higher-end Z830 version for business users as well (featuring encryption tools and extended warranty, etc). The Portege Z835 features a 13.3-inch display, an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of memory and 128GB SSD storage. Very uniquely, this laptop packs a DVD optical drive, and it's also one of the lightest 13-inch laptops available, weighing just 2.46 pounds and measuring 0.63 inches thin. About's PC Hardware/Reviews Guide gave the Portege Z835 a pretty good review and I think I would consider this laptop myself, if I were in the market for one. This or perhaps the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook (see below)...
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2. Acer Aspire S3 13.3" Ultrabook

Acer Aspire S3
With a $899 MSRP but priced at $799 at some retailers, the Aspire S3 is another Ultrabook value, offering an Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM, and also combining a hybrid 20GB SSD with a 320GB hard drive for both performance and more storage space. This sleek, brushed-aluminum laptop weighs just under 3 pounds and measures half an inch thick. Other models are available with Core i7 processor and larger capacity drives. See About's PC Hardware/Reviews site for a detailed review of this budget Ultrabook.
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3. Asus Zenbook UX21E 11.6" Ultrabook

Asus Zenbook UX21E
If you're looking for the a smaller Ultrabook, the Asus Zenbook UX21E should fit the bill. The UX21E features an 11.6-inch display and weighs 2.4 pounds. The $999 MSRP model comes with an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of memory, and a 64GB SSD, but the razor-thin laptop is configurable with other processors and drives.
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4. HP Folio 13 13.3" Ultrabook

HP Folio 13
The HP Folio is a business-oriented Ultrabook with a long battery life rating of 9 hours--enough to last you a whole day of working on the road, probably. In addition to the Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD, the Folio 13 offers professionals features like a TPM security chip for hard drive security and an optional docking station. About's Guide to PC Hardware/Reviews says in his review of the Folio 13 that this Ultrabook is a decent low cost laptop (MSRP is just $900) with impressive features but there are a few major issues to be aware of.
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5. Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook 13.3" Ultrabook

Dell XPS 13
Dell's Ultrabook uniquely packs a 13.3-inch display into the body of a laptop that's normally the size of other 11-inch laptops. Weighing just under 3 pounds and measuring 0.77 inches thick, the XPS 13 starts at just under $1,000 -- $999 to be exact, but you can get it for less with Dell's frequent discounts and coupons. The Ultrabook offers a Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB SSD, and welcome features such as a backlit keyboard, Gorilla glass display, and aluminum and carbon fiber construction.
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