ultrabooks

The Ultimate Guide to an Ultrabook

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As laptops and other portable electronic devices get smaller and smaller, new ground is being broken in the form of innovative products that are changing the industry. Personal computers gave way to laptops, which gave way to netbooks, which have been supplemented and, in some cases, replaced, by tablet computers.

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Between laptops and tablets, though, there has emerged a new innovation presented as a compromise between the best features of both sides. This type of computer is known as an ultrabook — a super-sleek computer that’s been stripped of extraneous features without sacrificing quality. Ultrabooks have increased in popularity for a number of reasons, and they’re expected to grow in popularity in the coming years.

If you’re in the market for a new laptop computer, an ultrabook may be just what you’re looking for. Here’s a quick guide to help you understand this computer and why it might be your best option.

Weight

Ultrabooks are smaller by design — typically no more than 0.7 inches thick when closed and weighing less than 3.1 pounds. This makes this computing choice highly portable and even competitive with tablet PCs — an important innovation for laptops that seek to be competitive with competition from both sides.

Battery life

With less weight, fewer moving parts and the latest computer technology, ultrabooks are designed with efficiency in mind. Not surprisingly, their batteries tend to be very good. Most ultrabooks have batteries that run for about eight hours before needing to be charged, which is great since the typical computer user will be on the move and without constant access to a charger or electrical outlet.

Convertibility

As the one-stop solution for those torn between tablets and laptops, ultrabooks offer a unique feature by being convertible. The vast majority of these units feature removable touch screens that can be detached from a keyboard and used as a tablet. That’s a big incentive for anyone who wants the functionality of both platforms but lacks the budget to invest in both products.

Touchscreens

Ultrabooks typically come with touchscreens — an essential feature on tablet-convertible models — which further improves mobility and functionality. Prospective buyers can take time to test out the quality of a touchscreen, including its responsiveness, to make sure a given model is exactly what they’re looking for.

Voice Recognition

Apple’s Siri is only the best-known voice recognition technology. Many other computers and software creators are integrating similar technologies into their products, giving voice recognition capabilities to these cutting-edge devices.

Improved security

Mobile security concerns are a very legitimate question mark for prospective computer buyers. Fortunately, mobile security has improved dramatically over the past few years to provide a level of security on par with any computing device. Consumers can rest at ease knowing that devices geared toward mobile functionality won’t be a step behind traditional computers when it comes to security matters.

The ultimate decision in your computer purchase will depend on what devices offer the features most important to you. But ultrabooks have demonstrated an ability to cut out the unnecessary fluff and give computer users a product with everything they need. This isn’t the same as computers stripped down to the bare bones — your ultrabook can be a high-quality piece of machinery, and it accomplishing that by focusing on what really matters.

 

Do You Want an Ultrabook or a Tablet?

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The world, it seems, appears to be converging on one single ultimate device. We’ve got Google Glass in the corner, Intel’s Ultrabook specifications trying to take control, and Apple’s ‘Post-PC’ assertions helping tablets to gain mass appeal. Companies like Lenovo and (with less success) HP and Sony are constantly reinventing how we use our computers thanks to Windows 8. If you’re a buyer right now, which one should you pick? Here’s our helpful guide.

 

Scenario 1: what most people do

There’s a reason that tablets have taken off quite so much: they do all the stuff that most people need them to do a lot faster and more intuitively than a normal PC. Here’s the evidence from Onbile: 84 percent of users use their tablet for gaming, 78 percent for searching for information, 74 percent for emailing, 61 percent for reading the news, 56 percent for checking Facebook and Twitter and 51 percent for listening to music or watching videos. These usage scenarios pretty much encompass what most people use tablets to do. And tablets do these jobs well: 77 percent of tablet owners use their tablets every day, according to HubSpot. If those sorts of things sound like the kinds of things you do, you should probably try out a tablet.

 

Scenario 2: business

Tablets are pretty big in business right now, with companies like Lenovo developing tablets specifically for business use. According to Forbes, enterprise spending on tablets in 2016 is going to be roughly 8 times what it was in 2011: a compound annual growth of 48 percent. At work, the usage statistics are a little different to how they are in the home: 73 percent of business people browse the web, 69 percent use their tablet for email and 67 percent use it for ‘working remotely’. That last bit might be of interest to you. How easy is it to work remotely using a tablet? Easy, and it’s getting easier. Tablets rule supreme when it comes to locking horns with cloud-based virtualisation platforms. Eighty percent of this year’s software will be cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS), according to Gartner, and a large proportion of that will have some sort of mobile access interface built-in. The only let-downs of tablets seem to be that they lack physical keyboards – but convertible hybrid ultrabooks or innovative approaches such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro may help to deal with that. If you’re in any way mobile, you should probably try out a tablet.

 

Scenario 3: power users

‘Power users’ are declining in reaction to the growing affordability and miniaturization of high-end hardware. Traditionally a power user was an avid gamer, a coffee-fuelled coder, a media mogul or a stocks enthusiast. These groups still exist, and they’re the ones who need the extra connectivity, the screen real estate, the physical keyboards and the rich desktop OS that tablets can’t quite provide just now. Note that we say ‘quite’. You can already code on a tablet, using your favourite desktop IDE. You can already game beyond anything that consoles currently support. And you can keep more fluidly and efficiently up to date using Rooambi Flow or the Bloomberg app than you can with a static workstation. So, if you’re open-minded, you should probably try out a tablet. If you’re not confident that the platform’s there quite yet, stick with what you know.

 

If we had written this article six months ago, it would have read very differently. Tablets are an explosive phenomenon, and their meteoric rise doesn’t look to be capped just yet. Eyes to the future, ladies and gentlemen, for whatever is coming next.