It's back to school time, and that means getting your books, bags and timetables in order. More importantly though, it's time to think about the year ahead. You're not going to be stuck typing your assignments on a dodgy library computer again, or left with a book full of paper notes you can't digitise are you? Here are five of the best Windows 8 Ultrabooks you can get to make sure you'll top the class this year. Pay attention, students.
We've listed some of our favourite Ultrabooks below, but you can find more over at Lasoo.
Tomorrow we'll run through our favourite convertible ultrabooks that also double as tablets.
The original Spectre was an awesome laptop, no question about that. So what could have made it a more spectacular follow-up than turning it into a fancy ultrabook with more power?
The XT upgrade gives you more power and better bang for your buck. It packs a 1.7GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid state drive for super-fast boot and data transfer, all buried underneath a fabulous touchpad, sleek keyboard and 13-inch (1366x768) display.
You'll also get two USB ports (one of them USB 3.0), dual-channel Wi-Fi as well as Gigabit ethernet for network blitzkriegs when you're under the gun, and HDMI out for all those presentations you'll be doing (read: putting movies on your TV).
The Spectre XT doesn't boast a touchscreen, but then again it went on sale in September 2012 for $1399. I'd also wager you'll pay less than that today for what is still a great machine for school and uni. [HP]
Beneath the amazing advertising for the Acer Aspire S7 actually lurks a $1799 ultrabook that walks the walk.
This 11.6-inch slab of chiseled silver and white not only beats the beauty of anything Cupertino has done in the ultraportable space, but it also packs a punch. On-board you get a 1.9GHz Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor, 4GB of RAM and a pleasant 256GB of solid state storage.
You'll also get a touchscreen for all the Windows 8 fun, two USB 3.0 ports, a micro-HDMI out and dual-band Wi-Fi. [Acer]
The Samsung Series 9 looks like a machine that was discovered in a vein of precious metal: buried deep in the earth waiting to be found. This brushed aluminium delight comes in both a 13- and 15-inch model, with specs ranging to a 1.7GHz Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor, a whopping 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and a slew of fast ports. That includes two USB 3.0 ports, an additional USB 2.0, HDMI and an SD card reader.
It's $1899 in Australia which puts it at a slight premium against even the Aspire S7, but this ultrabook is both a power packer and a fashion statement around campus.
While the Series 9 is amazing, it's worth noting that if you wait a term or two, Samsung will reward your patience with the Series 9's beautiful follow-up: the Series 7. We don't know much about the elusive Series 7. It made its debut at this year's CES, and it looks set to knock our socks off when it hits the market. [Samsung]
Clearly the dark, smokey, brushed aluminium look is in this season, because the Asus Vivobook is dressed almost in exactly the same garb as the beautiful Samsung Series 9.
Vivobook specs start from an entry-level Celeron chip and move right up to a 1.9GHz Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor. You can get away with the Celeron-powered model for under $500, but if you want the goods from the S400 Ultrabook model, you'll be looking at double that price.
On the premium model, buried beneath a 14-inch touchscreen display is a 1.9GHz Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor, 4GB of RAM and a whopping 500GB hard drive. That's pretty impressive for sheer storage space, but you have to remember it's good, old mechanical drives at work here, and not the lightning-fast solid state drives buried inside all of the Vivobook's competitors. Still, if you're a graphics student or someone with a bangin' set of tunes you're not ready to part with just yet, this might be a great option for you. There is a 24GB caching SSD option available, but that won't do you a whole lot of good if you want to soup up the whole system.
It's a mixed bag with the Vivobook, but the sheer number of choices available when it comes to the guts means you can spec it any way you want. And of course, if touch isn't your thing, you might also want to check out the stylish Asus Zenbook series. [Asus]
The X1 Carbon redefined the clunky, awful Thinkpads of the past. No longer is it a machine relegated to the boring recesses of the corporate IT pool. These days it's a svelte, thin and rubbery machine designed to be super-portable and twice as fast.
It occupies a 14-inch footprint and packs an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. You also get two USB ports (one of them USB 3.0) and a card reader. The only problem with the Carbon is the price.
A tremendous device that you certainly should pick up if you have the cash to spare. It packs a real punch and you can't deny the reliability of a Thinkpad at the end of the day. It will go until the cows come home. [Lenovo]