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Print 33 comment(s) - last by Belard.. on Aug 28 at 8:05 PM

You don't have to be weighed down to get work done while on the road

Unlike the netbook craze that stormed the PC market a few years ago (and just as quickly fizzled out thanks to the rise of the Apple iPad), it looks as though Ultrabooks are here to stay. Whereas netbooks made use of power efficient, yet pokey Intel Atom processors and slow hard disk drives (HDDs), today's latest crop of Ultrabooks make use of fast third-generation Intel Core processors and blazingly fast solid state drives (SSDs).
 
In this piece, I'll take a look at some of the factors that make the Ultrabook platform attractive for business users that need a powerful machine that is also portable enough to tote along to meetings without significantly weighing you down.
 
Performance
As previously mentioned, today’s crop of Ultrabook computers pack the latest generation Core i5/Core i7 processors and at least 4GB of RAM to conquer your most demanding business apps. No longer do business users have to resort to heavy, desktop-replacement notebooks to get serious work done.
 
And we can’t forget the importance of the SSD. Once relegated to high-end notebooks a few years ago (a 64GB SSD added $1,000 to the price of the first generation MacBook Air just four years ago), SSDs have brought incredible I/O performance to notebooks while keeping device form-factors slim and battery drain to a minimum. And with prices of SSDs falling well below the $1/GB mark, we’ll continue to see explosive growth for SSDs in all segments of the notebook market.
 
Excellent Battery Life
One of the added benefits of moving to low-voltage third-generation Core i5 processors and SSD is long battery life. Most Ultrabooks today have battery life ranging in the 5- to 7-hour range which should be plenty for a business professional to get enough work done on-the-go before scrambling to an empty power outlet on the floor in airport terminal or in the hotel room after a day of meetings.
 
Lightweight
Many people have differing ideas of what “lightweight” means in a portable computer. For some people, lugging around something that weighs 4 pounds isn’t a problem. However, to me, the sweet spot is in the 3-pound and below range.


Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
 
While most netbooks used cheap plastic to reach sub 3-pound weight levels, many Ultrabooks take advantage of all-metal chassis construction that provides a much more durable and solid basis to work from while still meeting those weight targets. Some, like Lenovo, go for a more exotic route by using carbon fiber. Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon manages to weigh in at an even 3 pounds despite its 14” form-factor.
 
Wireless Connectivity and Ports Selection
Most Ultrabooks these days do away with ports and features that many business users grew accustomed to over the years. Two of those are internal optical drives and GbE ports. Most of us rarely use optical discs anymore, as we've become a "digital download" society. And materials that were once distributed using CDs at trade shows are now placed onto thumb drives. For those that still need to an optical drive for occasional use, there's always an external USB solution waiting to greet you.
 
As for GbE, the prevalence of Wi-Fi hotspots means that wired Ethernet is becoming less of "need" for business users. As with optical drives, there are always USB-Ethernet solutions (something that ASUS includes in the box with the Zenbook Prime UX31A) if you happen to be in some backwoods location that hasn't moved into the 21st century.
 
But beyond those two items, you'll find numerous connectivity choices in Ultrabooks including Bluetooth 4.0 and optional 3G/4G broadband when it comes to wireless solutions. When it comes to physical ports, USB 3.0 is commonplace now alongside USB 2.0, and Thunderbolt is an up-and-comer for high-speed peripherals. HDMI, DisplayPort, and in some cases – mini VGA – are there to handle your external graphics needs.
 
Multiple form-factors/screen resolutions to suit each user
11-inches, 13-inches, 14-inches, 15-inches… pick your poison. Although I don't think that many business users will enjoy typing on an 11" Ultrabook's keyboard for too long, having a powerful notebook option in that form-factor is a plus for those that don't mind have a slightly cramped typing area.


Zenbook Prime UX31A
 
But that's the beauty of Ultrabooks; there are enough form-factors in that Ultrabook space that it should be easy to find the perfect solution that fits your needs. For example, ASUS offers up its Zenbook Prime UX31A that manages to cram a 1920x1080 IPS screen into a 13" notebook. For those that prefer a larger screen (but don't mind a tradeoff in screen density), there's the 15" Samsung Series 9 with a 1600x900 display. It's a bit heavier than my tastes at 3.51 pounds, but reaching that weight is a remarkable feat for a 15" notebook.


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Windows 8 x86 Tablet
By Mitch101 on 8/27/2012 4:59:04 PM , Rating: 1
I feel the Windows 8 x86 Tablet is an Ultrabook and a Tablet all in one.

Windows 8 Pro
903 g
13.5 mm
10.6” ClearType Full HD Display
42 W-h
microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2x2 MIMO antennae
Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block
VaporMg Case & Stand
64 GB, 128 GB
http://www.microsoft.com/global/surface/en/us/rend...

Best of both worlds all in one.




RE: Windows 8 x86 Tablet
By corduroygt on 8/27/2012 5:41:52 PM , Rating: 2
Anything less than 13 inches is too small to type on or use as a mobile workstation.


RE: Windows 8 x86 Tablet
By Mitch101 on 8/28/2012 10:29:31 AM , Rating: 2
Thats why there is a video out so you can connect it to a decent sized monitor when one is around. Im not sure if it has dual screen mode or it must be a clone. Time will tell.


RE: Windows 8 x86 Tablet
By TakinYourPoints on 8/28/2012 2:53:47 PM , Rating: 2
Not true. An 11" Macbook Air has a full size keyboard with the same size and spacing as the rest of the MBA/MBP line, and it rocks an SSD and i5 CPU. For most work it is fine. If you need a mobile workstation for graphics then it obviously doesn't work, but neither does anything else under 15".


RE: Windows 8 x86 Tablet
By mcnabney on 8/28/2012 4:23:55 PM , Rating: 2
No, it has laptop-sized keys - the same as the Macbook. Not the same as a full size keyboard - which many laptops do have, but you almost have to have a 15"+ display for those keyboards. There are all kinds of options available when your shopping list doesn't start and end with Apple.


RE: Windows 8 x86 Tablet
By Belard on 8/27/2012 8:08:31 PM , Rating: 1
As an iPad owner... the formfactor of a tablet is not a replacement as a work device. As a touch-screen device, its life-span is limited compared to a notebook.

The 10" screen is TOO small for serious WORK. I use a 24" display for my desktop (Win7). But I do like to relax and surf the web on the ipad... even in the same room. Or in the living room if I want to look up something quickly. As it takes 1-2 seconds to turn on an ipad and have access to the web vs. 30 seconds to boot Windows (or walk upstairs). etc.

While the touch-cover is a step up from a touch screen, its no real keyboard. I've typed up my responses here from my iPad... nowhere near as fast as my REAL full size keyboard.

The Ultrabook won't be a major factor in notebook sales... they are more expensive than the market cares for. On Amazon, checking out the top 20 Win7 notebooks, only 5 were $1000+ Most popular notebooks are in the $400~600 price range. This is far higher than the $800~1200 MS-x86 tablets or entry level "ultrabooks". Apple notebooks on Amazon are typically $1200~2500... the cheapest top 20 is a 13" model at $1160.


RE: Windows 8 x86 Tablet
By Belard on 8/27/2012 8:10:58 PM , Rating: 1
(part 2)
I sell ThinkPad computers, because of the quality and support. Most are in the $1200~1800 price. My own was a bottom in $600 model that handles my needs.

The general market *IS NOT* going to spend $1000 for a tablet. MS has been selling tablet/hybrid computers since 2002. ($1500~3000) and they NEVER sold many units. The X86 Win8 tablet should do well in specific business markets... maybe.

The $400~600 Win8 tablets are far more limited and offer nothing over Android and iPads. It looks like MS will be selling their tablets for $200 at first (at a loss) to grow their market ASAP. They may lose $50~100m dollars doing it, but its the only way to grow the platform.

But you see, MS is NOT Apple... they are just another copy-cat company that is not good at all things. When Apple launched the iPhone, Apple had about 200 stores world wide.

Microsoft has about 25 stores, world-wide in order to sell their $200 tablet... which WILL ONLY BE SOLD directly from Microsoft. MS can try to copy apple, but they are not Apple.

I think one of 3 things is going to happen:
A) Windows8 is a home-run. People flock to buy Windows8 tablets and phones, selling out. Within 3 years, Win8 dominates the desktop, has about 30% of the phone and tablet markets. The Next OS is strictly Metro, no more Windows... no Win9, no Win X.

B) Windows8 is a stink-bomb. People return Win8 PCs. Corporations stick with XP and Win7. fanboys buy some of the Win8-86tablets and the WART tablets gather dust - except those that sell for $200. By Jan~March, MS releases a 8.1/SP1 patch which restores the option for a proper desktop with option to gut or reduce the functionality of Metro. In which case... Win8 PC sales will go back to normal ho-hum levels (no excitement), Win8 Tablets and Phones grow to 5% of the market in 3 years, at best.

Windows 9 comes out, with same option for Desktop and/or Metro.

C) Windows8 is a stink-bomb. People return Win8 PCs. Corporations stick with XP and Win7. fanboys buy some of the Win8-86tablets and the WART tablets gather dust - except those that sell for $200. MS refuses change, will keep the course. Win8 PCs stagnate or like Vista all over again. WART tablets go away other than MS surface, Win8 x86 tablets is limited to business markets. After 3 years Win8 phone and tablets hit 3~4% market share. Techie types move to Linux/Android. No Windows9, next OS is Metro only... while Win7 owns the desktop market. Apple and Linux desktop grows some market share. Android/iPads continue to eat into Win7/Win8 desktop & notebook market share.

I'm guessing MS will go with the B-Path if they are smart, C-Path if they are dumb A-Path if they did their homework and us techies are wrong.


RE: Windows 8 x86 Tablet
By nocturne_81 on 8/27/2012 9:35:21 PM , Rating: 2
I was going to vote you up, until I saw the perpetuation of the ill-informed thought that you somehow have to use any piece of the 'Metro' interface or any of it's apps in Windows (outside of the charm bar and start menu in the rare occasion you need them, which besides being too 'touch'-centric are actually quite useful in keeping out screen clutter).


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