2013
11.04

I’m shopping for a new Ultrabook at the moment to last me for the next 2 years and … well … I’m not very happy.  Let me list my requirements:

Haswell Processor

I want a 4th generation Intel Core i processor in my next computer.  I’m depressed by how many 3rd generation CPUs, Intel Celerons and even Pentiums are being sold on the market.  Seriously!?!?!  And OEMs wonder why their sales are falling?  They’re selling lots of shit!

I’m not even after an i7.  An i5 meets my requirements quite happily.

One of the benefits of Haswell: Miracast.

4-8 GB RAM

Nothing fancy there.  I don’t demo from my laptop any more because that’s impossible.

1920 * 1080 screen resolution

Unless you are a golden eagle, a 3200 * 1200 resolution screen will be pretty useless.  When you have to use Windows 8.1 scaling to make the screen usable, effectively bringing the screen resolution down, then mad screens make absolutely no sense to anyone but laptop bloggers and marketers.  Not to mention that the price of these mad Ultrabooks then gets pushed beyond an unrealistic €1800.

Touch

Yeah, I want a touch laptop.  I’ve ruled out otherwise superb machines as my next ultrabook because they don’t have a touch option.

Digitizer Support

Onenote is important to me.  But there are times when I need to draw … whiteboarding, or while taking notes.  No, the camera is not sufficient, otherwise I would, you know, use the camera.

Decent Keyboard

I write quite a bit.  Wet newspaper keyboards such as in the Acer S7 need not apply.

Full-Sized Touch Pad

I want a full sized touch pad with the buttons at the base.  Simple.  And I want a decent driver that is tuned by default to ignore accidental swipes while typing.  And I want the option to turn off Windows 8x gestures.

9+ Hours Battery

We were promised that Haswell processors would had 50% to battery life.  For the most part, the announced machines have not improved battery life.  It seems like the OEMs have cut corners to reduce costs, so 5-7 hours is often the advertised max.  Yes, there are exceptions, but they are exceptions. No need for you to contact me.

VGA

We live in a HDMI world.  Except we don’t.  I present for a living.  Only once have I had to option of connecting to a projector with something other than VGA – and that was because we especially brought in a high end projector to sell it at a trade show!  EVERY hotel and office I’ve been too only offers VGA.  Dongles cannot be depended upon, as I saw again yesterday when I had to borrow a laptop to present at E2EVC Rome.

Full-sized HDMI slot

Micro-HDMI slots are too loose.  Just give me a full sized slot so the cable doesn’t pop out if the dog next door barks.

256 GB SSD

128 GB is not enough.  No, I cannot live in the cloud because the cloud is not everywhere.

SD card slot

An absolute necessity for transfers from camera at speed.  I would love the card to be completely recessed into the machine, like in a camera.  That would make it almost like additional storage.

2 * USB 3.0

Why are companies putting USB 2.0 ports into their machines these days?

RJ45

Not a deal breaker, but I often have to connect to wired networks and once again, dongles cannot be relied upon.

Light & Thin

This is feasible, even with RJ45 and VGA as past Samsung models have shown.  My laptop needs to fit into my Airport Accelerator camera bag without catching the attention of cabin baggage size hawks at the airport.

TPM

I like to secure my laptop.

Support for Windows 8.1

Would you like to join me in the present?

SD card slot

An absolute necessity for transfers from camera at speed.  I would love the card to be completely recessed into the machine, like in a camera.  That would make it almost like additional storage.

Drivers

Share your drivers on your website.  Don’t make me install some crapware to download drivers.

Windows Product Key & Media

This one might be for MSFT.  I should have the right to create recovery media and install my machine.  Please include my product key either on the computer or on the PSU.  You listening Asus?

Other Stuff

After all that you can do your fancy screen twists, turns, disconnects, doo dads and all that jazz, but give me the option of a normal laptop too.

PRICE

How could I forget the price.  In an era when the APPLE MACBOOK AIR has become THE BUDGET OPTION for Ultrabook-style laptops, then you know that things are all messed up.  Nuff said.

I bet I am not alone in wanting the above.  But unfortunately, not one computer meets all those requirements.  Hell, it’s near impossible to even find a machine with Windows 8.1 and Haswell CPUs in the channel!!!  I know; I’ve looked!  I’ve gotten close.  Some otherwise great Ultrabooks fail my test for lack of touch.  It’s gotten so bad that I’ve considered a Macbook Air.  Right now, the Lenovo Yoga 2 is the best candidate, but it fails lots of my requirements too.

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4 comments so far

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  1. I had two suggestions. Joerg suggested a Sony Vaio Multiflip. Upgrade it to an i5 and 256 SSD and the price is nearly €1,400. Aaron suggested a Dell Latitude E7440. Only the €1,549 (BEFORE TAX!) option supports a touch screen. Guys, you’ve only gone and proven my point for me. The manufacturers are insane.

    FYI, a 13″ Apple MacBook Air with 256 SSD costs €1,349 including tax.

  2. But MacBook Airs don’t have Touch or Pen capability. That right there accounts for a lot of the price inflation you are seeing on the Windows side. It seems like those features should be much less of a premium in a world where Windows works best with touch, but so far not so much. So far the Surface Pro is *by far* the cheapest option I’ve found with a digitizer pen.

    Your complaints about Processor generation & Memory limits are very real.

    • Surface Pro fails on way too many counts for me.

  3. Think I’ll get the yoga 2 pro even-though there appears to be an issue with the yellow color on it. What’s the story with still including USB 2.0 and a bloody micro-HDMI surely they could just fit a full size one!

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