My next PC will be an Ultrabook
Darn it all. I didn't want to like this little computer. I've always been a "MOAR POWER" laptop user. For me, laptops are desktop replacements. It's less about the carrying and more about the "setting up in a remote place and having all the power of your desktop." My main laptop has been a Lenovo W520 for years. It's got dual SSDs, 8 (logical) processors and 16 gigs of RAM.
But lately I haven't even turned it on. I have a MacBook Pro but it also goes unused. I've been using this little Intel Ultrabook prototype near-exclusively for months and I've gotten to the point where I've decided that my next machine will be ultralight.
- You really can get good power and responsiveness out of a 3lb machine.
- Don't knock a touchscreen until you've used one. Every laptop should (and will) have a touch screen in a year. Mark my words. This nonsense about how your arm will hurt assumes that you're only using it. A touchscreen is complementary not primary. I use it for pinching, for scrolling web pages, and for launching apps. It's much faster to just touch the icon than to mouse over to click one.
- Not thinking about memory. I am shocked but I have only 4 gigs of RAM on this machine. I didn't think that would be enough to get anything done. However, I've been able to run Hyper-V VMs, do Windows Phone 8 development, run multiple copies of Visual Studio along with Outlook and have had no problems. I think that a fast SSD along with a fast processor as well as an OS that manages memory more aggressively (Windows 8) adds up to a situation where anything around 4 gigs is sufficient, even for me.
- Flaky drivers. As I said, I'm using a hardware prototype but the drivers for this device are flaky. The WiFi and WebCam are both goofy and a little unreliable. I'm not worried about it and neither have really caused me any trouble other than a reboot twice a week.
- Mini HDMI. I find the lack of a proper VGA port to be irritating and mini HDMI just isn't physically strong enough to support the dongles I need for presenting and I am always worried I'll one day break the port.
That's about it. Otherwise my experience with an Ultrabook has been rock solid.
Two of the machines I'm looking at getting are one of these.
The Acer S7. Small, light, touchscreen, backlit keyboard, cool on the lap.
The Lenovo Ideapad Yoga. It has a hinge that supports a use as regular laptop, a tablet, a stand (or as a "tent") for movies on a plane or presentations. I'm leaning in this direction.
I'll want to get an i7 rather than an i5 processor. If possible I will want a 1080p display, so I'm hoping the Yoga adds screen resolution, although, I've been running 1600x900 on this Intel and it seems OK. I just like the idea of 1080p and True HD.
The Surface Pro (with Type Cover). The Touch Cover is cute, but I want a laptop more than I want a tablet. This device has the benefits of being a 1080p screen, runs all my Windows apps. It's an i5 which gives me pause, although it's only 2 lbs.
What Ultrabooks are you looking at?
- Initial Impressions of the 3rd Generation Ivy Bridge Intel Ultrabook Reference Hardware for Developers on Windows 8
- Intel Ultrabook hardware prototype - Windows 8 and the Sensor Platform
- VIDEO: Intel Ivy Bridge Ultrabook PRE-RELEASE Hardware unboxing
Disclosure of Material Connection: Intel sent me this Ultrabook for free in the hope that I would review it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I I would use and think you would find useful. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.