The $1400 Ultrabook comes in the form of Asus’ Zenbook Flip 2-in-1 device, which features an Intel Core i7-12700H 12-core CPU, 16GB of LPDDR5 memory, a 1TB SSD, and of course Intel’s A370M mobile GPU. The laptop is built on a 15.6-inch form factor with a 2880×1620 touchscreen display, and it features a 360-degree hinge for operating the laptop in a tablet format.
Notebooks and Ultrabooks with Intel’s newest Arc Alchemist A-series GPUs have finally hit the market, but costs are shockingly exorbitant. The first two notebooks to arrive on Best Buy are from Asus and HP and are equipped with Intel’s entry-level A370M GPU. The Asus model, on the other hand, starts at $1400, while the HP model costs an astronomical $2000.
Both notebooks are built on Intel’s Evo platform as well, meaning they both come with the latest connectivity standards including WiFi 6 and Thunderbolt 4. Evo also requires other features like a minimum battery life of 9 hours and instant wake from sleep.
For $2000, HP is also offering a 2-in-1 device powered by the same A370M GPU. Known as the Spectre, it has a Core i7-1260P featuring 12 cores, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of solid-state storage. The Spectre comes in a 16-inch form factor running on a higher resolution 8:5 aspect ratio 3840×2400 display. Like the Zenbook, this notebook can be used as a tablet when needed.
From a features standpoint, the price might be justifiable, but these are incredibly expensive laptops when viewed from a gaming perspective. For $1400 and $2000, you can buy a well-equipped RTX 3060 or RTX 3070 gaming laptop with a similar form factor. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is a good example, coming in at just $1561 on Newegg with beefy specifications including an RTX 3060 and a Ryzen 9 5900HS processor, all while being lighter than both the Asus Zenbook and HP Spectre.
These exorbitant prices are not out of the ordinary for thin and light Evo devices. When you head into that territory, prices often skyrocket to compensate. This is especially true for 2-in-1 devices that need clever engineering for the user to use as either a laptop or a tablet.
The $1400 and $2000 proposition is made even worse by the fact that Intel’s Arc A370M is hardly a fast GPU by today’s standards. According to AMD, its own entry-level RX 6500M can be anywhere between 27–114% faster than the A370M.
That puts the A370M miles below any midrange GPU from AMD or Nvidia, like the RX 6600M or RTX 3060. Hopefully, we’ll see cheaper gaming-focused laptops powered by Intel’s Arc GPUs in the future, and perhaps the Arc 500- and 700-series parts will actually deliver decent performance. For now, if you’re shopping for a gaming laptop, we’d steer clear of these thin and light devices, even if Best Buy seems to think the A370M provides a “high-end” graphics solution.