On the face of it, those sleek new ultrabooks seem to have it all: fast processors and blistering solid-state hard drives wrapped in a lightweight, super-thin package. But try spending 60 hours a week working on one, wiring into an office network via Ethernet cable or searching for a way to play a DVD (ultrabooks rarely have disc drives). For a true portable workhorse, check out these systems with 17.3-inch displays, Blu-ray players (and disc burners), full-size keyboards and Windows 7 or 8 operating systems. Ultrabooks they're not--superbooks is more like it.
Image credit: HP
Make 'Em Jealous
HP Envy dv7 ($1,490)
This one's called Envy for good reason: It packs performance and privacy features worthy of the corner office. The 32 GB flash cache is part hard drive, part RAM; it loads programs and files ridiculously fast. Meanwhile, a fingerprint reader replaces passwords with a quick touch of a finger. A sloping keyboard, due to the battery bulge, makes for ergonomic typing.
Specs: 750 GB hard drive, 8 GB RAM, 4 USB ports, 6.9 lbs.
MSI GT70 0NE ($2,599)
This high-powered laptop packs a 128 GB solid-state drive and another 128 GB solid-state RAID drive that offers information access in seconds, along with an adaptive Ethernet controller that optimizes web-streaming speed. Bonus: The computer switches seamlessly between eco and high-performance modes, allowing users to get the most out of the battery or processor.
Specs: 750 GB hard drive, 16 GB RAM, 5 USB ports, 8.6 lbs.
Image credit: Toshiba
Toshiba Qosimo X875-Q7190 ($1,480)
With a backlit keyboard and Harman Kardon speakers, the Qosimo is a no-brainer for gamers, but multimedia content creators will love flexing its Nvidia graphics card for digital animation and movie editing. The attention-grabbing case will turn heads, and the HD webcam, paired with a 17.3-inch LED backlit display and 1080p HDMI output, will keep them gawking.
Specs: 1 TB hard drive, 12 GB RAM, 4 USB ports, 7.5 lbs.
Image credit: Asus
See Me, Hear Me
Asus N76VZ ($1,299)
Sporting 150-degree viewing angles, the Asus N76VZ offers outstanding visuals. And thanks to the audiophiles at Bang & Olufsen, it sounds even better. The laptop's speaker grill wraps around the keyboard and pumps out warm, immersive audio, especially when paired with an external subwoofer the size of a Dixie cup. Use it to make your pitch loud, clear and fast.
Specs: 1 TB hard drive, 8 GB RAM, 4 USB ports, 7.9 lbs.