Intel might wish it were so, but not every thin-and-light laptop falls within the company's Ultrabook specifications. Some use AMD processors. Others might be just a tad thicker than the Ultrabook specs allow, but still thin and light, such as the Sleekbooks from HP. Still others might be thin and light but too expensive to be Ultrabooks, or they may lack the flash drive required by the spec.
We're trying to shed a little of the other kind of light on the situation, in our latest Ratings of laptop computers, where we identify thin-and-light laptops for the first time. And for one thing, most of the thin-and-light laptops in our latest batch of Ratings scored well enough to be recommended by Consumer Reports.
Here's how we determine which laptops earn the designation: Eleven- and 13-inch models marked "Thin & light" by us are less than about 0.80 inches thick. Thin-and-light 11-inch models, such as the Asus Zenbook UX21E-DH52 Ultrabook, weigh no more than about 2.95 pounds, while 13-inch laptops, including the Sony VAIO SVT1311CGXS Ultrabook, weigh in at about 3.4 pounds or less.
You won't find quite as many 14- and 15-inch laptops that meet our thin-and-light spec, but those that do measure less than 0.85 inches thick. The 14-inch models (like the HP ENVY 14-3010NR Spectre Ultrabook) weigh less than 4.7 pounds, and the 15-inch models, including the Samsung NP900X4C-A01US, less than 5.4 pounds.
We haven't seen any 17-inch laptops that we think are thin and light, but it's probably just a matter of time. Over time, we'll adjust our parameters, as laptops get even thinner and lighter.
For full testing details and scores, see our Ratings of laptops, desktops, and netbooks, where you'll find these and other recently rated models.
Ultrabook specs [Intel]
—Donna L. Tapellini