Building the perfect ultrabook – and where PC makers are wrong

By Julio Franco · 20 replies
Nov 22, 2011
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  1. captainawesome

    captainawesome TS Guru Posts: 428   +44

  2. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    1. Slim.
    2. SSD.
    3. Battery life.
    4. Screen
    5. Price.
  3. the ultrabook in the above link is the UX31E - 13" version.
  4. captainawesome

    captainawesome TS Guru Posts: 428   +44

    thanks Guest. Do you have one?
  5. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,885   +1,033

    They are light laptops. Nothing more.
    SSD's are a option ANY laptop can have.

    Many laptops have good battery life now as well.
    They are fancy thin laptops. I guess thats a big deal to people?
  6. captainawesome

    captainawesome TS Guru Posts: 428   +44

    @amstech, if you find yourself in an airport every two weeks, you will likely choose to carry around 3pounder with 5+ hours of battery life rather than 6 pounder with a 17inch screen :)
  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,739   +417

    I've seen some people dispute this recently, but I haven't found any hard evidence (didn't look either). But it makes sense to me that all the free trial crap and toolbars are put on by PC manufacturers because it offsets some of the cost, so they can offer lower priced devices.
  8. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 839   +29

    I have heard that same theory before that the trial software on new PC's are like commercials on TV.
  9. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,095   +864

    That is 100% true, one of the guys in sales here ask our HP Account manager (we are a re-seller) and they are able to offset some of the cost by putting stuff like the Ebay link on the desktop or adding the ask toolbar.
  10. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,579   +961

    It's a wide-known fact (cough... excuse) that manufacturers are able to offset some of the cost by bundling software. It's also true computers are low-margin products these days. Then again, Apple is able to compete in pricing without having to recur to such practices.

    Manufacturers are not always selective about what they include and at least they should set in place a clean removal mechanism that doesn't affect the stock OS installation. And that's where problems begin for users and where in my opinion manufacturers do poorly by not focusing on the user experience.

    Lastly, it's somewhat understandable to bundle some software in $600 laptops, but not so much in products that cost twice or three times as much, yet manufacturers keep doing so.
  11. Apple is able to compete in pricing? What planet are you on? Anything Apple comes with a 30% mark up on comparable items. End of story.
  12. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,579   +961

    No they don't, on the PC space they are often evenly matched with most other manufacturers give or take a few features/$$$.
  13. Zecias

    Zecias TS Booster Posts: 202

    In the ultrabook sector, yes, but not so much for the rest of their products.
    $469 for a Lenovo computer that offers hardware specs similar to the 13" macbook pro. It has a better screen resolutions($40), but doesn't have an OS($70 for windows 7,$20 mac os) and is missing 2Gb DDR3($5). OS + ram is around the same price as the increase in screen resolution. Lenovo laptops are generally expensive, but have good worksmansship. I would call them the PC version of Macs. The only difference is, if you know how to shop the deals, you can save lots of money. So the Lenovo computer would be $700 cheaper than the mac counterpart. Mac books do have slightly better build quality and design, but i don't believe it's worth the $700 premium and i think many people would agree(of course this is for you to decide). And if you don't like windows, you can just install mac os for $20. As for bloatware, it only takes to few minutes to get rid of(if you don't already know how).
  14. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,579   +961

    I went out shopping for an ultraportable two months ago and I found them to be evenly matched. But you're right, for a mobile workstation (Macbook Pro vs. ThinkPad T series, per your example), there seems to be at least a few hundred to be saved if you go the PC route.

    Your link points to an expired deal, so it's not $700 but I found Lenovo is offering amazing discounts for the holidays:
  15. Zecias

    Zecias TS Booster Posts: 202

    they have deals all the time. you can get the really good ones, like the one in my link, every month or so. I was just copy and pasting a response i used on someone else because i thought it fit xD

    Lenovo always seems to have their products on sale to lure people in. Good part about them is they also have some pretty good discounts in addition to their pseudo sales. BUT I live in California so...... taxes
  16. Why no mention of the number 1 pain point for anyone required to use a PC nowdays; the atrocious and productivity-killing 1366x768 screen. While 16:9 aspect isnt great for doing work, the Asus is to be commended for putting a 1600x900 panel in the UX31, even if that product has other flaws.

    Apple recognize this, and it's why the 13" Macbook Air has a 1440x900 screen, even the previous had a 1280x800 screen. The difference between 768 and 800 sounds like nothing, that is until you try to get some work done. Only the 11" Macbook Air from Apple now has a 768 screen, but it is not pitched as a productivity machine at all.

    The 1366x768 rez has a place on 11" and under systems, but PC makers who think they can outdo Apple with low-quality, non-calibrated, 1366x768 (or less) panels that bleed backlight, have miniscule viewing angles, and smear when watching video or scrolling, are deluding themselves out of business.
  17. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,579   +961

    Personally I don't find screen resolution to be a major issue at 13", in fact, too high of a resolution and my eyes will start to hurt. That's why I touched on two other critical aspects of laptop's screen quality: viewing angles and color reproduction.
  18. One of my biggest gripes these days with buying PC's, is the fact that most come with windows installed, & in saying that, you are paying a premium for windows being on it. try asking the store to give you a discount & not have windows on it. they'll say they can't do that, neither do you get the windows disc anymore. sometimes you do get a windows installer, or a system recovery disc, but it isn't a proper disc, it's more like an image, so when you reinstall, you get all the bloatware crap back. mostly the recovery soft is on a partition on the hard drive. you're buggered if your drive fails (no disc to reinstall onto your new drive)..

    yes, most prompt you to make a backup disc when you 1st boot up, but have you seen the amount of time it takes to create that disc? not something you might want to do when you 1st buy the laptop & switch it on to play with, then ultimately you end up forgetting.

    i love Linux, i don't play games on my pc/laptop i use it for work only. so really i have no need for windows. but try getting a laptop you like that doesn't come with an o/s installed & did i mention you pay for windows only to never use it (in my case).

    then low & behold, because i have reformatted and re-partitioned the drive to install linux & removed the recovery partition cos it takes up space with unwanted software, when something goes wrong the store doesn't want to know because they say effectively that i breached the t&c or something by removing the recovery partition & that they can no longer support it, even though the issue may not be related to the hard drive or software.

    though still better than the high premiums you pay for apple products, even though i like the apple aluminium cases & in some ways i like os/x. but not enough to warrant the extra £££ when a linux box is good enough if not better.

    my next gripe is definitely with battery life. & in particular the price of a replacement battery that loses it's capacity after a year - 2 yrs..

    i also wish that laptop manufacturers would come to an agreement like mobile phone manufacturers did & standardise the mains power supply so that whilst you're at your friends or in the office and you've forgotten your psu, there is most likely someone with a laptop you could possibly borrow to give your poor battery a good charge for an hour or 2 if need be.
  19. Oh hindsight. Thou art Techspot
  20. Bernard Gyimah

    Bernard Gyimah TS Rookie

    that's really enlightening. i wish manufacturers will think of giving back to the community a better product with software that the people love at a good selling-price. sure these input will keep manufacturers updated on what consumers want come this CES 2012

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