Sound-Off about the Ultrabook with Your Comments

Posted on 27 March 2012 By


Over the last 6 years of blogging I’ve been fortunate enough to have a well-focused and knowledgeable community associated with my sites. The comments on UMPCPortal articles are priceless nuggets of information and insight, Ultrabooknews has been the same. I want to thank you all for reading and contributing. I also want to offer you an easy way to feed back to me, to Intel and to the manufacturers. This post is intended as a long-life post open to all your comments. Key comments will be highlighted in the post as I regularly update it. I’ll be tracking comments as closely as I can, both here and on social networks, and I’ll be taking this with me to Intel, to manufacturers to ISVs and OSVs as a bell-weather of thoughts from our community.

Take the opportunity to comment below on anything Ultrabook related. Here are a few teasers to get you going?

  • Is the ‘Ultrabook’ defined well enough to help sales?
  • Should weight limits be imposed?
  • Is there anything else an Ultrabook should have?
  • Do you think touchscreens are important?
  • What qualities will AMD bring to the table?
  • What would attract software developers?
  • Are gamers interested in Ultrabooks?
  • Is 128GB SSD too small?
  • Is there anything else you need from Ultrabooknews.com?
  • What real-world advantages will Windows 8 bring to Ultrabooks?
  • What do you expect from Haswell in 2013?

We do have an Ultrabook forum if you’re thinking of creating long-thread discussions and I encorage you to hop over to MeetMobility to kick off your chats but feel free just to air your quick opinions below. Maybe we can take some of the discussions to the forum later.

Please follow the comments by tracking the comments on the RSS feed. Twitter references can be found here. Google plus comments can be found here. Facebook discussion can be found here. Forum thread here.

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  1. #1 by michael on March 27, 2012 - 13:32

    Intel should give clear guidelines as to what is an ultrabook. It was formerly supposed to be small, thin and light. This was how Intel initially excited everybody. Now, the definition has expanded and been extended to even 15 inch monsters. The footprint of a 15 inch “ultrabook” is so huge that no matter how light or thin it is, its totally not portable. Anyway, how come a 2.3kg Acer can be defined as an “ultrabook”. Mind you, we have been having 15 inch laptops that weight about 2.3kgs for some years now. Why aren’t those be called “ultrabooks” too?

    Nobody in their right mind is going to buy a 15 inch for portability. In the US, most buyers of notebooks are the 15.6 range but they buy it as a desktop replacement with no portability element. Maybe the marketing people at Intel got confused thinking since the majority of notebook buyers are the 15.6 category, they would come up with ultrabooks in that range.

    I think the ideal size for an ultrabook ia either 11.6 or 12.1. Why have ultrabook manufacturers abandoned the 12.1 size?

    • #2 by crud on March 28, 2012 - 13:49

      Yes, I’d like to see more 11.6″ notebooks with thin bezels. More focus on a small form factor and if possible without sacrificing much or even increasing battery life.

      With the direction ultrabooks are going now (bigger, heavier, more power hungry and heat generation with dedicated GPUs), I won’t be buying one at all.

      • #3 by Aaron on March 28, 2012 - 16:03

        I was looking into ultrabooks so I could take it with me instead of my larger Thinkpad when I know I need portability more than power. I had originally looked into netbooks but, while very portable, even my lowest performance requirements were too much for the Atom.

        I’m waiting for more 11.6″ ultrabooks too. Hopefully, HP or Lenovo comes out with a business oriented one.

  2. #4 by Djones on March 27, 2012 - 13:41

    Absolutely agree with this. 11.6″ is the way forward – however light these machines are, 13-15 inch is just too big and awkward.

  3. #5 by vjachi on March 27, 2012 - 14:40

    13″ is just fine, 11 is somehow small for me. Intel should make better restrictions, because Acer showed many ultrabooks, but they have only 2 real S3 and S5. Many others will follow Acer with this to lower the cost, but Intel shouldn’t allow this. Let them be cheaper alternatives, but not Ultrabooks. About the size well I don’t see a problem with 15″ if it’s so thin and light like the others – Samsung Series 9 15″ is good example.
    About the 128 GB SSD – it’s more then enough, but 128 GB storage size is definitely small. They should put 64 GB SSD for WIndows & Programs + 2nd HDD harddrive 340-500GB for storage(at the end we don’t need SSD for music and films).
    For me touch screens are important. The ultrabook is not tablet replacement(tablet=multimedia and browsing). You can actually do work on the Ultrabook and use it as a tablet for media&browsing, so you don’t have to buy two devices.
    Also W8 will be important only for the touchscreen ultrabooks.
    Haswell in 2013 – 1)Hope it will be 2013, not 2014 or 15(we all know intel :)) and of course 20+ battery life, so we won’t be forced to charge them every day and destroy the batteries :)

    • #6 by PolkSDA on March 27, 2012 - 14:49

      That’s why, even though it has it’s shortcomings (lack of ports, screen viewing angles), I’ve really come to like the Dell XPS 13 over the other Ultrabooks I’ve tried. A 13.3″ screen in an 11.5″ form factor by minimizing bezel really makes for a nice ergonomic compromise. It just “feels” more compact without giving up screen real estate.

      I’d like to see see more manufacturers take this approach and try to fit larger screens in smaller footprints.

  4. #7 by Robert on March 27, 2012 - 15:10

    Apart from thin and light

    Noiselessness should become part of what constitutes and ultrabook. New technologies
    should be explored here.

    Furthermore batterylife needs a revolution.

    Intel should look into everything including Nanowire Batteries (research is done for example at Stanford University and near completion)

    light yes thin definately but please also silent.

    This would make Ultrabooks stick out and make them a technological Spearhead.

    Greetings

    Robert J.

  5. #8 by ali on March 27, 2012 - 20:04

    Actually I would love to have 15″ ultralight power laptop because now I still have a 4 year old eeepc 1000, which I am writing from, and custom power management program allows me 10h browsing, I can’t see how I would pay for new ultra-book 1000 euros as I won’t get much of benefit (There is no point in buying it for emailing (phone is better) and browsing as this doe’s the job very good or calculating as I still have to have at least i7 QM. So i would endorse all the manufacturers put in as much power as possible in more lightweight body as possible, just for the technological improvement as I would love to have ultra-book that is powerful and can handle graphics well but has long life and low noise temp. Like the samsung 7 series, but would love them more if they were lighter. I guess ultra-books are in experiment mode at the moment, because end product should be 1kg series 7 :)

  6. #9 by tsog on March 28, 2012 - 05:34

    128GB is more than enough for me. I still have over 80GB of free space on my UX31.

  7. #10 by Ahan on March 28, 2012 - 11:04

    First of all; Is there anything else you need from Ultrabooknews.com? – Yes i could not comment to this post using my DISQUS account. Can you please correct that.
    ***
    With regard to other questions and in general Ultrabooks, i guess things very much depend of the individual customer. For me, as an example, right now i am looking for a light weight laptop with good out door visibility and a very good screen possibly an HD one. Because i am looking for my degree studies in coming year, hence i need something to “tease” others. Which also be able to handle the day to day tasks/projects and fulfill the spare-time enjoyment, meaning, watching movies. I do not like playing games, but might be playing some games occasionally.
    But all this will change when i finish the studies, and if i secure a Manager level job. For sure the gaming thing will go off, possibly the need for an HD screen as well. I think from this point on it will be more about the connectivity, i mean being able to give presentations easily with the laptop.

  8. #11 by Clio on March 28, 2012 - 14:31

    (Here are some thoughts, It’s still rather poorly-organised despite my best effort.)

    *** Ultrabook should be a work-play personal device. ***

    - More people now bring their own devices to work or school;
    - Work/Social/”Relax” hours are all mixed together in modern lifestyle;
    - Ipad/Tablet serves personal needs well, it makes the user happy (important)…
    - but work/study often requires a Windows PC. Work notebooks are heavy to carry around, it allows efficient work but it does not make the user happy.

    Nobody want to carry a 10″ iPad/tablet AND a notebook at the same time, they are only willing to take either one.

    But people DO want their “on-person” gadgets to fulfil all their Work/Social/”Relax” needs.

    Windows Tablet on Intel-Architecture (IA) theoretically covers these, but people probably will run “legacy” coporate software if they want Windows+IA, and lack of keyboard & mouse subtly degrades the experience. At the end, I think the public will regard Windows tablets as a “play” device (or even worst, a “Geeky” device).

    Therefore, Ultrabooks should address this work-play market space. It should be a device that allow people to carry this work-life mix with them easily. It will be competing against tablets for “on-person” size & weight allowances. It will need to offer equivalent social & entertainment elements (Win 8 should take care of that), but its far-superior work capability & compatibility will be its edge.

    The ultrabook must be able to convince the user to take it out instead of the tablet. I think the priorities should be as follows (improving one thing should not sacrifice anything from higher priority):

    1st priority – Size, Weight, battery & usage versatility(form-factor)
    ============================================================
    - small enough to take out and start using while STANDING in a moderately-crowded train (referred as “Standing-Use” below)… Look around next time you’re in a moderately-crowded train. THAT is why people rather bring tablets with them than their laptops/netbooks.
    - Traditional clamshell form factors won’t do since it requires a surface to rest on. Which means touchscreen and convertible/slider/Tablet&dock form-factors.
    - Possibily add Active Digitizer + palm rejection for note taking & creative doodles.
    - lightweight; 900gm – 1.1kg unit is a fair price for the added work capabilities, but also powersupply+cables needs to be smaller, under 250gm and less tangles. (The length of cable between the power supply and wall socket is particularly bulky and heavy, if it could take standard desktop PC power cables, that cable can be left at home more often.)
    - Batteries vs carry weight: 6 Hour battery is acceptable if the powersupply is light & tangle free, 10+ Hour battery life is neccessary otherwise to allow user to just leave the power supply at home.
    - The following are MUST haves: full-size SDXC, USB3.0×1, a power-on-sleep USB, overall 2 USB ports, display/projector output, Skype camera, accelerometer.

    2nd priority – Style & design
    ==============================
    - Despite its work capabilities, this is still very much a personal device. Ever since Apple unleashed its designs, any new personal device simply cannot pretend style & design is not important.
    - A note on convertible/slider/Tablet&dock form-factors: Tablet&Dock, or any non-one-piece form-factors destroys style; Slider is quickest from take-out to actual use, and it’s most stylish, but hinge is hard to design and may have very limited screen angles; Convertible is difficult to achieve stylish design, but is generally low-tech, offer flexible screen angles and protection to screen.

    3rd Priority – additional Performance
    =======================================
    - Some work-related applications are CPU&RAM-intensive.
    - Switchable graphics will make ultrabooks generally more appealing to the masses. It will allow the user a better “Play” capability. Besides, average consumers often buy into potential, and crosses out models that don’t offer that potential; whether they end up using it or not is a matter WAY after their purchase decision.

    4th Priority – Price
    ====================
    - In the current economic outlook, I think a stylish & “Standing-Use” device with Laptop-i3 grade CPU running Win8 can be marketable at $1000. The usage versatility is what makes it worth the money.

    Other nice-to-haves
    ===================
    - Coporate security: Quick-launch Virtual Machine environment so that coporate IT departments can lock down; fingerprint-scanners; remote-data-wipe
    - Over 128Gb SSD
    - Additional media-card & Expansion slots
    - (exoctic, probably destroys style) Thumbstick & gamepad buttons on bezel, these can be software-mapped to become mouse, even muscle memory keyboard. Very useful indeed!
    - Swappable Batteries & accessible Ram/SSD/mPCIe

    Definitely should not appear on Ultrabooks:
    ===========================================
    - Spinning storage; HDD! ODD!
    - Number pads!
    - Over 13″ screens (13″ ok only if near zero bezel)
    - Over 1.3Kg on hand, Over 2Kg on shoulder
    - Fan Noise
    - Atom-grade CPU!

    • #12 by Ahan on March 29, 2012 - 08:04

      I agree with your comment except a few things.
      - For sure i will never ever buy a tablet, Ultrabook, ipad whatever, which is smaller than 13″. My ideal size is 14 – 15″. I already have a smartphone “for a reason”.
      - HDD is still , i guess, more reliable for storage of data. Yes, as the SSD becomes cheaper and cheaper we can add more SSD. But we should remember that HDD is not just sleeping in the corner, it is developing lightweight, less noise, small size, more data in it.
      - No matter what i need a number pad. At least an FN number-pad should be there.

      • #13 by Clio on March 29, 2012 - 10:10

        In that case, I think what you need is a Laptop/Notebook.

        Coining a new term such as “ultrabook” should mean a different set of usage scenarios, a different category of device.

        The reason I say it should not have over 13″ screen, and should not have number pad is because of size/weight.

        And the reason for not having HDD or other spinning media is because I think the “Ultrabook” should enable use in hand(s), not always on a stable surface. HDD reading heads are mere nanometers from a mad spinning platter, any small arm movement, and a reading/writing HDD along with it, may be enough to damage the read head/platter. So the choice of SSD is not about size, not even much about performance, but ability to withstand the hand-held usage scenario.

  9. #14 by Ahan on March 29, 2012 - 12:38

    Clio :
    In that case, I think what you need is a Laptop/Notebook.
    Coining a new term such as “ultrabook” should mean a different set of usage scenarios, a different category of device.

    My dear, I clearly know the reason i gifted my LAPTOP to a friend. As far as my needs are concerned i am eagerly waiting for the 2nd gen Samsung Series 9 15″ one.
    Anyway i am not gonna argue with this anymore but still if ultra-books are to be targeted for business people it has to have a PROPER keyboard, meaning it must have a numpad.

    • #15 by Mark on March 29, 2012 - 22:01

      A numpad? I only see 17″ or larger notebooks with those. I use my notebook for work and I certainly don’t want the added width needed for a numpad.

  10. #16 by Black5Lion on March 29, 2012 - 23:40

    IMO i like the idea of dedicated GPUs but still they need to improve it to save power and make it heat-less.
    for me the right size for portability is 10″-12″ currently i am using my 10.1″ dell inspiron mini 1080 and i am very pleased with it. tho the performance is very limited all i can do is surf the web with around 5 tabs open max if i want to keep it from crashing.
    - so basicly what i am looking forward to(which is very very far away from coming) are 10-12″ convertible laptops with multi-touch finger and digitizers(for pen) and FHD 3D(preferably glasses-free) screens as well as processors with no less than 2.2GHz and 1-2GB dedicated GPU along with 4-8GB of RAM

    i know what i just typed might sound like non-sense but i believe we shall have a techno-full future and that should be available by around the next 2-5 years idk i’m just gonna save up my money bcz those things ain’t coming cheap!

  11. #17 by Gearsguy on April 1, 2012 - 05:50

    Intel really needs to put at least some size restrictions on ultrabooks. I dont think anything above 13.3 should be allowed. The original idea seemed to be that it would be an ultraportable companion for serious work that would give you the portability of a netbook with 50x the power. Now its just become a label. 2.2kg 15.6 inch ultrabooks?

    C’mon. I don’t see any 17.3 inch netbooks being advertised

  12. #18 by Chippy on April 2, 2012 - 01:13

    Thanks everybody for your feedback so far.

    Key thing’s i’m seeing are:
    1) Most of you want an Ultrabook to be small and light.
    2) All of you have different requirements

    So far it’s difficult to see any trends here apart from the fact that you are all knowledgeable people.

    I wonder what we would propose for the mainstream buyer.
    Is an SSD necessary? Is 13″ too small? Is 1.8KG too heavy?

    My opinion: Intel needs to get tighter on the definition of an Ultrabook in order to retain some quality but the Ultrabook methodology needs to spread to every other laptop sector as soon as possible.

    The problem with my opinion is that the prices are dropping so fast that the Ultrabook may have already done what it needs to do. Manufacturers are starting to take the methodology on board and that’s the best result anyone could hope for.

  13. #19 by KChubb on August 14, 2012 - 17:25

    There have been 3 ultrabooks that I’ve come very close to purchasing… Sony Vaio T Series, Vizio Thin+Light CT14, and the Lenovo Ideapad. All were priced well (IMO), ssd, two of them are 14′ which is MUCH preferred over a 13′… but none of them have a backlit keyboard. It’s not even an option. It might seem petty, but I’m not going to buy another laptop without one.

    I’ve also come close to pulling the trigger on a 13′s MacBook Pro but the ssd is an extra $200 for the 128 which is reeeallly small. The 256 is $500! more than the base price.

    Waiting for some back to school specials to see if the prices come down on the more expensive models or if the ones listed above make some slight changes…

  14. #20 by Ben Bernanke on August 15, 2012 - 20:44

    I want to develop software in the office with a 2560×1600 screen and on the train or bus or wherever i happen to have time to, all with the same machine to avoid syncing directories with pending work.

    I believe that a 13 inch screen, or maybe 14 inch if the bezel is real small, is perfect on the road. It must be perfectly matte and with >=1440×900 pixels so that i can use my ide without too much scrolling. For the 2560×1600 screen in the office i need display port. The screen, keyboard and touchpad must be as good as possible so that i can input my ideas without being distracted. A touchscreen would be useless to me. Weight should be below 1.3 kg and the battery lide >=7 hours, the longer the better. I want cpu turbo to work on battery so that my ide responds swiftly (it checks my source code while typing). I want at least 2 usb 3.0 ports so that i can quickly move data berween 2 external disks without copying to the internal ssd in between.

  15. #21 by Ben Bernanke on August 15, 2012 - 20:54

    I don’t need a dedicated gpu as i don’t play games; the intel hd4000 is actually quite good for work with the open source linux driver. Backlit keyboard is a must because i want to continue typing when my train or bus passes through a tunnel or the sun goes down and i do ‘t notice. 4gb of ram and 128gb ssd are the minimum for me personally, doubling that would help that i don’t need to close apps and delete files all the time.

  16. #22 by Ben Bernanke on August 15, 2012 - 21:07

    I want pure ssd storage because the low latency and high speed avoid that my ide stalls while i type or refactor or nacigate my code, because compilers run much faster, and MOST IMPORTANTLY an ssd will not headcrash when careless travellers hit me and my notebook with their shoulders and backpacks.

    Integrated 3g/umts/lte is not necessary because i can use my phone as a wifi hotspot.

    If the notebook is very thin and light and not too large (the 900x3c is just good ebough here) then i can carry it in a extra large pocket of my jacket (a tailor can make that)

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