I am a goon. Not, I’m not trying to disparage myself (although some would argue that I am) but rather saying I am a member of a forum community which likes to call their members goons. I often read and post in the laptop recommendation thread, and because of this I’ve noticed a trend. Thin is in.
Yea, you’re saying. No duh. But to be frank, this is kind of news to me. A laptop is not a cell phone. Nor is it a MP3 player. I honestly disregarded the value of a thin laptop. I just didn’t see why it mattered. Then I bought a Macbook, which was much slimmer than my older Thinkpad, and I started to see why people cared. Thin, when done properly, greatly increases the sense of build quality that you find in a laptop. Holding a thin but tough laptop makes you appreciate the engineering that went into the unit.
Of course, there is also the flip side. There are some laptops (MSI X series, I’m looking to you) that wear their thinness poorly. Holding one feels like holding paper instead of a razor. So, in the interest of buying good laptops, let’s take a look at three laptops that I believe are the best ultra thin laptops available today.
The X301 is a strange bird in the Thinkpad lineup. It is an incredibly good ultra thin laptop no matter how you approach it. Although the Lenovo Thinkpad T410s makes a bit of a fuss about being thin, the Thinkpad X301 is where it is really at if you need a ultra thin Thinkpad. Thinkpad X301, measuring .82 inches at its thickest point, is even thinner than the X201.
Inside the Thinkpad X301 you’ll find some serious hardware, although it makes some compromises in order to achieve such an ultra thin profile. The base SU9400 Core 2 Duo is one of Intel’s best ultra-low voltage processor, but it still only clocks at 1.4 Ghz. 4GB of RAM comes standard, as does a 128GB solid state drive. You’ll also find that the display has a matte finish and a resolution of 1440×900, which is high for a 13 inch laptops.
The Thinkpad X301 also (of course) has access to all of the Thinkpad’s business-oriented durability features such as a spill-resistant keyboard, metal hinges and a “roll cage” chassis. You’ll also find the typical Thinkpad business-oriented price. A X301 will set you back about $2000 bucks.
Dell has been making big strides on the design front recently, and part of that has been due to a plethora of new ultra thin laptops. Dell’s obsession with thin design has been lead by the flagship Adamo series, including the Adamo Onyx and Adamo Pearl. These expensive ultra thin laptops are only .65 inchs thick and will cost you over $1000 dollars.
So don’t buy one. Instead, take a look at the business-oriented Dell Vostro V13. This laptop uses the same chassis as the Adamo Onyx and Pearl, but it can be purchased for as little as $499. Admittedly, the cheapest model isn’t very well equipped, but a higher-end version with 1.3 Ghz Core 2 Duo ULV processor, 2GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive can be purchased for $700. This makes one of the thinnest ultra thin laptops one of the least expensive to buy.
The Sony Z Series is what Thor would be like if he was reincarnated as a laptop. This incredibly luxurious unit has a 13.1 inch display with – get this – a standard resolution of 1600×900 that can be upgraded to 1920×1280. Nope, that isn’t a typo. Both displays are beautiful as well – bright, with good viewing angels, and while they are glossy they are don’t have the plastic sheen found on the glossy displays of less expensive laptops.
And it gets better. The Sony Z Series laptops are 1 to 1.2 inches thick. That is a little big for an ultra-thin, but the extra thickness is well used. Instead of a Core 2 Duo with integrated graphics the Sony Z Series offers a Core i5 processor with switchable Nvidia 330M graphics. Again, this is standard, and it is backed up by a 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM.
Of course, having all of this hardware crammed into a small and thin chassis raises the price. You’ll be spending around $2000 for one of these. However, it is totally worth it. Besides, do your kids really need to eat?