It is no secret that the Intel Ultrabook was conceived as a reaction to the increasing popularity of the MacBook Air ultra-thin laptop. By laying out stringent specifications with regard to minimum hardware, maximum dimensions, as well as guidelines for cost, Intel has succeeded in shepherding computer makers towards making highly appealing laptops that also meet the needs of SMBs for day-to-day computing.
I have been using the Lenovo X1 Carbon Ultrabook for over a month, and also had the opportunity to get the feel of other ultrabooks such as the Lenovo U310 and Dell XPS 13 Ultrabooks. Below are the three key characteristics — performance, portability and battery life — that I want to highlight.
As a highly demanding user who abhors having to wait for the PC, I have an expectation for launched applications to load instantaneously. This is the reason why only fast machines with large amounts of RAM appeal to me. Indeed, I have also switched to using laptops that come with a solid-state drive (SSD) ever since I ripped open my laptop to review an SSD more than three years ago.
Despite my high expectations, I’ve found the latest ultrabooks offer highly credible performances that feel significantly faster than many traditional business laptops. The performance can probably be attributed to the snappy Ivy Bridge-based microprocessors from Intel, as well as the use of an SSD, either as the main storage drive or as a high-speed cache.
Slimness aside, the maximum height of 18mm for a 13.3-inch device and 21mm for a 14-inch device stipulated by Intel means that ultrabooks are not only slim, but are also relatively lightweight. A quick look at the various ultrabook models on the market will show that their weight ranges from 1.3kg to 1.7kg, which is excellent where portability in concerned.
Finally, battery life for the ultrabooks that I’ve seen has shown a marked increase over standard laptops. Though still not at the “full-day computing” mark of 8-10 hours, I’ve seen real-world use — Wi-Fi on and screen at 75 percent brightness — of four to six hours. This is pretty good, and is set for another major upgrade with new Haswell processors expected to arrive around the middle of 2013.
It is for the above reasons that SMBs with modest productivity needs should seriously consider deploying Windows 8 ultrabooks for their business. Moreover, Windows 8 is a less demanding and a speedier operating system compared to Windows 7, which means there is really no excuse to wait.