So I’m looking for a thin and lighter laptop like the Macbook Air and looking at all the ultrabook and it’s sad to see that it seems that only Apple combines the latest 4th generation Haswell Intel processor (with better battery life) with Intel HD 5000 Graphics (or above) at a reasonable price. The HD 5000 series have a pretty decent performance advantage over the 4000 series (also see notebookcheck.net stats).
Sony, Dell, Lenovo, HP, Asus and Samsung all seem to have Haswell CPUs but paired with the older 4000 series GPU instead of the latest 5000 series with a few exceptions in bold. (These are based on Australian sites and perhaps other countries may have different models)
- Apple – MacBook Air – HD 5000 (i5-4250U / i7-4650U via Anandtech)
- Lenovo – ThinkPad Yoga – HD 4400 (i5-4200U / i7-4500U)
- Lenovo – ThinkPad X240 – HD 4400 (i5-4200U / i5-4300U / i7-4600U)
- Lenovo – ThinkPad T440s – HD 4400 (i5-4300U / i7-4600U)
- Lenovo – ThinkPad X1 Carbon – HD 4000 (3rd generation i5 / i7)
- Sony – VAIO Pro 11 – HD 4400 (i5-4200U)
- Sony – VAIO Pro 13 – HD 4400 (i5-4200U / i7-4500U)
- Dell – XPS 13 – HD 4400 (i5-4200U / i7-4500U)
- Dell – XPS 12 – HD 4400 (i5-4200U)
- Dell – XPS 11 – HD 4200 (i5-4210Y / i5-4300Y)
- Asus – Zenbook UX301LA – HD 4400 / HD 5100 (i5-4200U / i7-4500U /i7-4558U)
- HP – ZBook 14 Mobile Workstation – HD 4400 (i5-4200U / i5-4300U / i7-4600U)
- HP – EliteBook 820 G1 – HD 4400 (i5-4200U/ i5-4300U / i7-4600U)
- HP – EliteBook 840 G1 – HD 4400 (i5-4200U / i5-4300U / i7-4600U)
- HP – EliteBook Folio 1040 G1– HD 4400 / HD 5000 (i5-4200U / i5-4300U / i7-4600U / i7-4650U)
- HP – Spectre 13 Pro – HD 4400 (i5-4200U / i7-4500U)
- Samsung – Ativ Book 9 Plus – HD 4400 (i5-4200U)
So it seems there are only 2 non-Apple notebooks with HD 5000 series and both are high spec’d. Strangely the i7 model of the HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 with the HD 5000 doesn’t seem available and the one that i7 model with the HD 4400 goes for AU$3,199 (HP). The Asus Zenbook UX301LA model with the HD5100 seems to be super tricked out and is AU$2,865 (Scorptec) with the regular i5 version at $2,499 (AsusNotebook.com.au). The Airs start at AU$1,099 (11″) / AU$1,249 (13″) with a fully spec’d 13″ at AU$2,099 (i7, 512GB SSD, 8GB RAM).
Even when ignoring the HD 5000 difference, I think all ultrabooks don’t meet the Air’s competitive price and spec combination (even when the Airs are configured with better RAM / CPU / storage). Hopefully with CES coming up, and the announcement of new ultrabooks, there may finally be a price competitive ultrabook to the MacBook Airs.
Note for personal future reference: 4th generation Haswell CPUs for each Intel Graphics series: