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Ultrabooks in Pictures: The Newest, Thinnest, Lightest Laptops

Ultrabooks, a term coined by Intel, give name to the increasingly thin, light, fast and (relatively) cheap Windows laptops popping up over the last year in reaction to the Apple MacBook Air and the iPad-led tablet craze.

Ultrabooks Have Arrived

The iPad and other tablets are slowly but surely replacing laptops in many homes and offices. But there's a new category in town to keep the laptop from going extinct: the ultrabook. Having made a big splash at CES 2012, ultrabooks refer to thin and light Windows 7 laptops with guidelines set by Intel (roughly 1-inch thick, 3 lbs,13-inch screen, solid-state drives, for $1,000 or under).

Here's a look at 10 of the best ultrabooks, all of which will be able to run Windows 8 when launched this fall.

Apple MacBook Air

Apple's MacBook Air is not an ultrabook per se, but it was the first mainstream laptop to go ultra-thin and light. It stirred up the market and forced Intel and Windows OEMs to design machines that are lighter, thinner, faster and cheaper. Here are the MacBook Air specs.

• 13.3-inch display (cheaper 11.6-inch model also available)

• 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache

• 4GB of 1333MHz DDR3 memory

• 128GB flash storage or 256GB flash storage

• 7 hours of battery life

• Mac OS X Lion

• 0.68 inches thick

• 2.96 lbs.

• $1299 (128GB flash storage), $1599 (256GB flash storage)

Samsung Series 5

Samsung's ground-breaking Series 9 ultra-thin laptop is too expensive to be considered a true ultrabook, but its Series 5 machine fits the bill. The sleek aluminum Series 5 machine comes in two sizes: 13-inch and 14-inch displays, with the main difference being that the 14-inch contains a DVD drive and is slightly thicker, heavier and more expensive.

• 13.3-inch and 14-inch display

• Intel Core i5-2467M Processor

• 4GB DDR3 memory

• 500GB hard drive capacity, with 16GB solid-state cache

• 6.5 hours of battery life

• Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

• 0.69 inches thick (13-inch), 0.82 inches thick (14-inch)

• 3.24 lbs. (13-inch), 3.94 lbs. (14-inch)

• $899 (13-inch), $949 (14-inch), $1099 (13-inch model with 128GB solid-state drive)

Toshiba Portege z835

Toshiba's Portege z835 is the lightest ultrabook on the market at 2.4 lbs., with standout features such as a back-lit, spill-resistant keyboard, faster boot times than most ultrabooks and seven hours of battery life. Price is right, too.

• 13.3-inch display

1.4-GHz Intel Core i3-2367M

4GB of RAM

128GB SSD Drive

7 hours of battery life

Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

0.3 - 0.6 inches thick

2.4 lbs.

$899

HP Envy 14 Spectre

At $1,400, the HP Envy 14 Spectre is technically too expensive to be an ultrabook (heck, it's more expensive than the MacBook Air!), but it delivers a lot for that price, including a (truly durable) Gorilla Glass design, a carrying case, nine hours of battery life and a two-year subscription to Norton Internet Security.

14-inch display

Intel Core i5-2467M

4GB of DDR3 (expandable to 8GB)

128GB SSD Drive (expandable to 256GB)

9 hours of battery life

Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

0.79 inches thick

3.79 lbs.

$1,400, $1,899 (with 8GB RAM and 256GD SSD)

Lenovo IdeaPad U300S

The ultra-slim, book-shaped Lenovo IdeaPad U300S comes in eye-catching colors such as graphite gray and clementine orange and delivers most of the goods for a reasonable (though higher than most ultrabooks) price of $1,095. A souped-up model with more storage and a faster processor is available for $1,495.

13.3-inch display

1.6GHz Core i5-2457M

4GB of RAM

128GB SSD Drive

6-7 hours of battery life

Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

0.6 inches thick

2.9 lbs.

$1,095 (a higher-end model with a Core i7 CPU and 256GB SSD is available for $1,495)

Asus Zenbook UX31

The Asus Zenbook was the first "ultrabook" on the market and has stood up as the closest thing to a "MacBook Air killer." The Zenbook has very similar specs to the MacBook Air, but for $250 less. It is also just as sleek in appearance with a smooth aluminum lid and all-metal chassis, high-resolution display and audio provided by Bang & Olufsen.

13.3-inch display

Intel Core i5-2467M

4GB of RAM

256GB SSD Drive

7 hours of battery life

Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

0.67 inches thick

2.86 lbs.

$1,049

Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 ultrabook sports a bright edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass screen, a backlit keyboard and a beautiful aluminum exterior. Despite skimping on ports -- No Ethernet, HDMI, VGA or memory card slots -- Dell's foray into ultrabooks is a solid contender.

13.3-inch display

Intel Core i5-2467M processor

4GB of RAM

128GB SSD Drive

6 hours of battery life

Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

0.7 inches thick

3 lbs.

$999

Acer Aspire S3

The Acer Aspire S3 is one of the thinnest ultrabooks, but if design is your thing you might be let down because this one is mostly plastic (with a magnesium lid). However, the Aspire S3 is super-thin with a sweet price of $899. You'll also get more storage with its 320GB hard drive; the addition of 20GB of flash memory will speed up boot times.

• 13.3-inch display

1.6 GHz Intel Core i5-2467M processor

4GB of RAM

320GB hard drive, with 20GB of flash memory

6 hours of battery life

Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

0.51 inches thick

2.9 lbs.

$899

HP Folio 13

At 3.3 pounds, the sturdy HP Folio 13 is a tad heavy for an ultrabook. But the tradeoff is that the bulk gives you more ports (USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, Ethernet, memory card slot) than most ultrabooks and also killer battery life -- nine hours, according to HP. The brush metal lid and soft finish on bottom is elegant and easy on the eyes.

13.3-inch display

Intel Core i5-2467M processor

4GB of RAM

128GB SSD Drive

Up to 9 hours of battery life

Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

0.7 inches thick

3.3 lbs.

$899

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga is an ultrabook/tablet hybrid. Its display can be flipped around and bent over backward to become a tablet, potentially giving users the best of both worlds, a thin notebook a la the MacBook Air converted to a touch-enabled tablet a la the iPad, though with more heft and a bigger screen (13.3 inches). If any device is ideal for the upcoming Windows 8 release, Yoga is the one. It will be available in the second half of 2012.

13.3-inch display

Latest Intel Core processor

8GB of RAM

256GB SSD Drive

8 hours of battery life

Windows 8

0.67 inches thick

3.1 lbs.

$1,199 -- estimated retail price