Tech companies have been flexing their design muscles at the IFA trade show in Berlin this week, trying to prove that Apple’s not the only one that can make ultra-thin, ultra-light laptops and tablets. Turns out that these PC makers can out-slim the iPad and the MacBook Air after all. They just needed Apple to start the fire. Here’s a peek at the best-looking tablets and “Ultrabook” laptops revealed at IFA 2011.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
Samsung’s follow-up to the original 7-inch Galaxy Tab is thinner, lighter and faster, thanks to a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor and an aluminum frame that apes the style of the company’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 — and a certain other popular tablet. And unlike last year’s model, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 runs a Android Honeycomb 3.2, which was designed with tablets in mind. For now, Samsung says it has no plans to launch the Galaxy Tab 7.7 in the United States, but you can be sure the company’s working on something.
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Samsung Galaxy Note
Where Dell’s Streak 5 failed, the Galaxy Note could succeed if Samsung markets this 5.3-inch tablet-phone hybrid properly. Essentially, this is a gigantic version of the Galaxy S II smartphone, but it also hides a small stylus that can be used for notetaking — hence the name. The Note packs a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front camera and 16 GB of storage. But for now, there’s no firm release date or set plans to launch stateside.
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For its next tablet, Toshiba is throwing out everything that made its Thrive tablet kinda cool — specifically, the full-size USB, SD and HDMI ports — in pursuit of a much prettier design with microSD, micro-USB and micro-HDMI ports instead. At a weight of 1.23 pounds and thickness of 0.3 inches, the AT200 is both slimmer and lighter than Apple’s iPad 2, and it sports a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and up to eight hours of video playback. This beauty to the Thrive’s beast lands in Europe during Q4.
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Lenovo IdeaPad A1
Spec-wise, there’s nothing remarkable about Lenovo’s IdeaPad A1 tablet. The single-core processor clocks in at 1 GHz, the Android 2.3 software is out-of-date and the 7-inch display is reportedly not so amazing. But at $199 for an 8 GB model, this might be the most respectable tablet you’ll find in the bargain bin. It’s launching in Europe later this month.
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Sony Tablet S
Sony’s 9.4-inch Tablet S wasn’t a new announcement, but the company couldn’t resist taking its unborn Android Honeycomb tablet out for one more spin on the trade show circuit before its September launch. You probably know the details by now: Funky wedge-shaped design, Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, classic PSOne and PSP games and a built-in IR remote for controlling your television. The $500 Tablet S is available for pre-order today.
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Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook
“Ultrabook” is Intel’s marketing jargon for laptops with ultra-thin, MacBook Air-like designs, and Acer was eager to show off its contribution. The Acer Aspire S3 is a metallic beauty with a 13.3-inch display. The laptop measures roughly a half-inch thick and weighs less 3 pounds in some configurations. When equipped with a 240 GB solid state drive, the Aspire S3 gets up to seven hours of battery life, and it’ll wake from sleep mode in 1.5 seconds, or 6 seconds after more than a half hour of idle time. No U.S. launch details were given, but the S3 is rolling out in Europe starting this month, with a price range of 799 Euros to 1,199 Euros.
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Lenovo U300 Series Ultrabook
Lenovo’s getting in on the Ultrabook craze with a few models. The 13.3-inch U300s is the flagship, with a frame that’s 0.6 inches thick, an Intel Core i7 processor, 4 GB of memory and a 256 GB solid state drive. The U300 is a bit thicker at 0.72 inches and has an option for a hard disc drive instead of solid state. The biggest of the bunch, the U400, is the only one with dedicated graphics and a DVD drive, but it still manages a thickness of 0.88 inches. All three models are coming this November, starting at $799 for the U300, $849 for the U400 and $1,195 for the U300s.
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Toshiba Portégé Z830 Ultrabook
Toshiba’s shaving 20 percent of the weight and 40 percent of the thickness off its previous generation Portégé laptops to create the Z830 series. For a starting price of under $1,000, you’ll get a 13.3-inch display, second-generation Intel core processors and a 128 GB solid state drive in a frame that measures 0.62 inches thick and weighs less than 2.5 pounds. The Portégé Z830 series launches in November.
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