Another week, another Ultrabook... it seems these super-slim, super-light notebooks will be among the high-tech hits of 2012, especially for business travellers who've grown tired of toting a conventional not-slim not-light laptop.
So here's one more Ultrabook for your shipping list: Toshiba's Satellite U840.
This is the second Ultrabook from the Japanese giant, following the Satellite Z830 – which tied with the MacBook Air as our Best Laptop of 2011 for Australian Business Travellers.
The $1,500 Satellite U840 doesn't replace the Z830 – it just tweaks the formula with a slightly larger 14 inch screen plus a unique 'hybrid' drive combining the 320GB capacity of a mechanical disk with a 16GB solid-state module for fast start-up and resume.
By monitoring which files the U840 loads most often, and which other files they in turn summon from the hard disk's digital depths, the drive automatically copies those frequently-used files into the SSD. That includes the core Windows 7 OS files as well as applications and your own documents.
It's much faster to open these from the solid state drive than a mechanical disk drive, although of course any time you use the hard drive there's going to be a more more waiting.
And while the Satellite U840 isn't as svelte as the Z830 – it just scrapes in under 2cm in width and 1.75kg on the scales – it's still within the Ultrabook realm and our own '2x2' definition of what a thin+light laptop needs to be (that's 2cm and 2kg, in case you were wondering).
The rest of the recipe is all you'd expect: Inte's mid-range Core i5 processor, which has enough muscle for day-to-day tasks and then some; 8GB of RAM; two standard USB 2.0 ports plus a high-speed USB 3.0 socket, plus Ethernet networking and a full-size HDMI jack for video output.
Toshiba rates the battery life as good for "up to eight hours" between charges.
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.