Mini Laptops vs Ultrabooks: what is the difference

Many people think that mini laptops are dead and have now been replaced by ultra portable laptops called ultrabooks. Is it true? Also our mini laptops experts will chime in to tell the key differences between a mini laptop and ultrabook.

Mini Laptops vs Ultrabooks

The term ultrabook was coined by Intel in 2011 where the company laid a set of specifications that would allow the laptop manufacturers to call their laptop an ultrabook. In simple terms, a very thin laptop with a solid state drive or SSD cache and Intel low voltage processor is an ultrabook. Over the years we have seen mini laptops getting thinner and thinner and perhaps that the chief reason why you see so many mini laptops in the best 11 inch ultrabook lists and so on. The reason lies in the fact that certain 11 inch ultrabooks can be categorized in mini laptop category. For instance the Asus X102 can be categorized in both ultrabook and mini laptop category.

ultrabook vs mini laptop

So what are the key differences between the two?

1. Screen size: a mini laptop will only go up to 12 inches maximum but an ultrabook goes up to 15 inches which is same as what you find in a mainstream bulky laptop.

2. SSD: you will definitely find an SSD or a hard disk with some sort of SSD cache to boost performance and reduce app and boot load times. There is no such thing in case of mini laptops. Since most mini laptop manufacturers wanted to keep price low, conventional hard disks were used in such machines.

3. Screen resolution: you will not find single mini laptop with resolution more than HD which is 1366 x 768 or 1280 x 800 pixels. On the other hand there are laptops like Dell XPS 12 packing quad HD resolution which is 2560 x 1920. More resolution means more crisp fonts and more data displayed on screen at a time.

So which one is more practical for on the go computing? I can see advantages to both. Since the ultrabooks come with state of the art newest processors, you can do powerful computing on the move. Thanks to solid state drive and lots of memory, you can run pretty much any application out there smoothly. On the other hand, most of the mini laptops used to come with Intel Atom processors which were only good enough for basic web surfing and some very light editing.

Mini laptops were also plagued with low resolution screens. Screens with WSVGA 1024 x 600 resolution were common even in new mini laptops like Asus 1005HA that we reviewed last year. The ultrabook came with at least 1366 x 768 and in some cases full HD resolution. This allows you to run mainstream applications like Photoshop and Corel Draw better as you get a lot of data and picture on the screen at once.

The only advantage mini laptops have is their price tag. They are priced usually at 400 dollars or less while most retailing at 200-300 dollars.

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