During CES 2016 at Las Vegas, Chinese company Haier announces a plethora of new gadgets including the 12mm thick Haier Ultrabook, a fanless laptop that also offers 4G connectivity. But with so many ultrabooks being announced at this years CES event, is it enough to make it stand out from the crowd? We went hands-on with the Ultrabook at CES 2016 and here’s what we thought. See also: Best laptops of 2016
Haier Ultrabook hands-on review: Design and build
Haier’s first Ultrabook aims to combine design and mobility, but has it succeeded? First things first, lets discuss the design. The Haier Ultrabook is only 12mm thick, which is thinner than Apple’s MacBook Air, which measures in at 17.2mm, and weighs only 1.3kg. The combination provides users with a laptop that’s extremely portable and lightweight, ideal for those on the go. It boasts an aluminium body with black keys, and is available in both silver and gold.
While on the subject of the keys, we were a little disappointed with the keyboard during our brief time with the Ultrabook. While the key placement was okay, the keys themselves don’t really protrude enough for our liking, as we like to feel the individual keys beneath our fingers when typing. It was almost like using a touchscreen keyboard, and we think it’ll take a little bit of getting used to – but when you want a 12mm thick Ultrabook, there are sacrifices that have to be made!
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Haier Ultrabook hands-on review: Features and spec
So, what sets the Haier Ultrabook apart from its counterparts? For one, the laptop features 4G LTE connectivity, with a tray on the side to put a SIM card in. This provides users with high speed Internet wherever available, although we’re not quite sure if this will be practical in the UK with such pricey 4G tariffs. However, it’s still a nice option to have for those constantly travelling with no access to Wi-Fi.
The Ultrabook features a full HD (1920×1080) 13.3in display that we found to be bright and crisp, and provided excellent viewing angles. Sadly, it isn’t touch enabled like many of its competitors, which is a shame as touch input has become second nature for many Windows 10 users (the operating system the Haier Ultrabook ships with).
Under the hood, the Haier Ultrabook provides a decent amount of power for users on the go. The laptop is fanless thanks to the optimal power consumption of its Intel Core processor, although it hasn’t been confirmed which processor is used. We assume it’s the Intel Core M processor found on other fanless laptops like the Apple MacBook, but we can’t yet confirm this. The Intel processor is coupled with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, and it performed well during our time with it. Apps would open up almost instantly, and we had no issues with lag (although we weren’t really running anything too processor hungry).
In terms of ports, you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports alongside a Micro-HDMI port and an SD Card reader and the charging port, of course. We think it’s enough for users on the go, but may be a USB or two away from being ideal for power users.
With regards to battery life, Haier claim that the Ultrabook provides “a day’s usage without needing a charge”, although we’re not quite sure what the company classes as a “day’s usage” – it can be different lengths of time to different people, and we were unable to get a figure in hours. When we get the Haier Ultrabook back to PC Advisor Towers, we’ll be able to run more thorough benchmarking tests including a battery test to see just how long a ‘days usage’ is.
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Haier Ultrabook hands-on review: Pricing and availability
So, when will users be able to buy the Haier Ultrabook? The company has confirmed that the Ultrabook will be on sale in Q2 2016 in selected markets within Europe, although the company hasn’t confirmed exactly where it’ll be available yet. It will set consumers back €549.60 in Europe, with no UK pricing announced just yet. Make sure you keep checking back as we’ll be updating this article with more information as we receive it.