November 15, 2012
Continuing with my posts about computer hardware, I want to briefly mention Ultrabooks. In my last post I stated the ideal computer setup is really two computers; an Ultrabook and a Windows 8 Surface-like tablet. I also said the Ultrabook could be either Windows 7 or 8.
It is interesting to note that as of today, well past the Windows 8 launch, PC Magazine lists only one Windows 8 Ultrabook model in their “Top 10 Ultrabooks” listing—the other nine are Windows 7. I personally think Windows 8 really shines when used with touch, and perhaps its advantages are not so apparent without touch. In fact, some reviewers say Windows 8 is a bit clumsy in a mouse- and keyboard- only format. I guess my point is, since Windows 7 is currently your main choice on the Ultrabook line, it is certainly good enough.
What Are Ultrabooks?
And for those who haven’t had a chance to study Ultrabooks, what are they? They are a special class of Windows laptop that have these general qualities:
- Full-speed processor
- Tend to be Lightweight (usually 3 to 4 pounds with SSD drives)
- Quite slim
- Nearly instant on from Sleep or Hibernation mode (this is huge in my opinion—my laptop revives in a few seconds)
- Long battery life (5 to 9 hours)
- Compared with a desktop replacement, you do sacrifice some disk space and port space on Ultrabooks; I had to adjust to that. And they almost never have optical drives, which is less of an issue these days.
I’ve been using an Asus Zenbook Prime Ultrabook since last Spring, and am very happy with it. I plug a keyboard and monitor into it at the office, where it becomes my desktop computer. And it’s easy to grab it and run for travel. If I were buying one today with Windows 8 and a touch screen, I think the Acer Aspire S7 looks great. I am sure a lot of other touch-enabled Windows 8 Ultrabooks will be out in the months ahead.
Response to MacBook Air?
Really, I think they are Intel’s response the MacBook Air. I’ve long envied the instant-on qualities of the recent MacBooks, and loved the Air’s light weight and slim profile. In those regards, the Windows world may have caught up with the MacBooks (but many say not in other ways). I like both, but I focus on Windows for most of my work.
If you have a favorite Ultrabook, list it in the replies, and why; I’d love to hear about it.