2013
11.24

I recently posted what I wanted in a new ultrabook to replace my nearly 2 year old, non-touch, Asus UX31E.  I’ve waited, watched the market, and even considered buying in the USA when I was over there.  But even a month after Windows 8.1 GA, the same disappointing spec and overpriced machines are all that are on the market.  If you want a non-touch Ultrabook, it appears that the MacBook Air is the most economical option, even if you upgrade the RAM and SSD.

The family of devices that has caught my attention is the Lenovo Yoga series.  In fact, it was when researching them that I found out about the (Android) Yoga Tablet 8.  I was going to hold out for the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro but two things happened:

  • There is no supply anywhere of this convertible ultrabook.
  • I discovered the ThinkPad S1 Yoga

ThinkPad are more business oriented machines, built to last.  Sounds ideal for lugging around in a camera bag through airports.  The Yoga is also available in this family.  I customized the spec, meaning it will take an additional 1-2 weeks to build and ship:

  • Intel Core i5-4200U Processor (3MB Cache, up to 2.60GHz)
  • Intel HD Graphics 4400
  • 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3L on MB
  • Windows 8.1 64
  • Touch & Pen, FHD (1920 x 1080)
  • Backlit keyboard
  • ClickPad without NFC antenna & module
  • 1TB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm with 16GB M.2 Solid State Drive Double

I thought about going with the 256 GB SSD.  But then I considered that I’m tired of lugging around USB 3.0 caddies when I go on photo trips.  The capacity of a 1 TB drive is going to be useful to me, and that little bit of cache will boost performance a bit.

I went with the touch/pen option because I really do use a stylus.  I use a whiteboard app quite a bit when I’m teaching.  It’s a hell of a lot easier to explain Hyper-V Replica or SOFS data flow via a “white board” on the projector than on a “small” flipchart or animated PowerPoint slide.

I ordered this ultrabook on Friday night and should have it sometime before Christmas.  It’s not a perfect machine and I’ve had to make compromises.  I’ll not get the battery life promised by Haswell.  I’ll still have to carry a USB-VGA dongle.  But it does have Miracast (I hope to blog my experience soon).

FYI, I did consider:

  • A customized MacBook Air because of the battery but there’s no touch
  • An Asus or Samsung but they focus too much on uselessly high screen resolutions that increase price with undersized disks
  • Toshiba ultrabook but they don’t do touch on the new 13/14 inch models

I’ll let you know how the Lenovo goes once I have it and have had the chance to spend some time on it.

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6 comments so far

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  1. wow .. so replacing the 16 GB M.2 SSD with a 128 GB or 256 GB mSATA SSD makes this TP rock solid!

    when i recently set up a TP X1 Carbon Touch i was just about to get one for myself .. but your setup (which basically adds the HDD) makes me change my mind …

    great choice!

  2. Hi Aidan,

    Why didn’t you go for the i7 version of the CPU ?

    • Hey Bob,
      I really don’t need an i7. My days of being able to do demos on a laptop are long and truly over. I have to VPN back into our lab where I have a bunch of hosts and physical storage running. I could do most of my work on an Atom Bay Trail CPU, except for Photoshop.

  3. 8GB Ram in it? In the US there’s no way to order it with 8GB ram, we can only get it with the 4GB at the moment. I was going to order one for one of our execs… still cant wait to get my hands on one.

  4. Good choice!

    I bought the Yoga 2 PRO while i went to MVP Summit. I´m very satisfied, up to 9 hours of battery, under 3 pounds and convertible. (13.3″ screen)

    Please, share the name of whiteboard app!

    • Mine just arrived. The app I used on Win8 was IsoBoard but it doesn’t work on 8.1. I’ve been using Shared Whiteboard since upgrading.

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