Ultrabook, Sleekbook, Fauxtrabook: Terms Explained

Dennis Faas's picture

If you are confused by the differences between a laptop, notebook, and netbook, you may soon find the situation a whole lot more baffling: New portable computer models now carry titles like 'Ultrabook,' 'Sleekbook,' and 'fauxtrabook'.

To help you break through some of the mystery, here's a quick guide to some of the terminology:

Tough Terminology Explained

A laptop is a personal computer that combines a screen and keyboard in a single unit designed to be portable.

Most of the other computers described here are laptops, too. The only major form factor for a portable computer that isn't a laptop is a tablet, such as Apple's iPad. Tablets lack a physical keyboard, and display their keyboards on their touchscreens.

A notebook is actually just another term for a standard laptop computer. The term 'notebook' comes from the fact that early laptops were approximately the same size as notebook paper.

Although laptops are made in many different sizes today, the term "notebook" has stayed very popular, probably because it creates a mental image of a device that is much lighter than early laptops.

New 'Books' Lighter, More Portable Than Laptops

A netbook is a particularly small laptop. In many cases, netbooks will have lower specifications or omit some features, such as a CD or DVD drive, to attain a lower cost and weight.

Generally speaking, a netbook is designed around the basic computing tasks such as web browsing.

There's no official distinction between a notebook and a netbook, though the term "netbook" is most often used for devices with smaller keyboards.

An Ultrabook is a laptop that fits into a special category defined by Intel: They are the same length and width as a standard laptop, but much thinner and usually have a longer battery life.

A device can be marketed as an Ultrabook only if it uses a specific processor manufactured by Intel. This processor handles both the data and the graphics for the Ultrabook, and requires less power than most other processors.

A Sleekbook is a new brand name used by Hewlett-Packard (HP). It's much the same as an Ultrabook -- a particularly thin and light laptop with a long battery life -- but it can't carry the Ultrabook name because it doesn't use an Intel processor. (Source: time.com)

A fauxtrabook is a term made up by a journalist to describe very slim laptops that don't carry the Ultrabook name. So a Sleekbook is one example of a fauxtrabook. However, at this point the term has not caught on outside of tech media circles. (Source: cnet.com)

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