So, you’re going to get an Intel-inspired Utrabook for yourself or a friend this holiday season. Great timing – it turns out that search will be a little more interesting than in years past. If nothing else, Windows 8 has put an end to the days when all notebooks looked more or less alike. The wave of Ultrabooks and Ultrabook convertibles hitting the market now is creating more aesthetic variety than ever before in the notebook market. All of these new systems are run on an Intel processor. You’ll be able to find a computer that suits both your needs and your personality. Which one will hit the sweet spot for you? Let’s find out.
Did you let all the other kids get in on your Goldfish crackers at school, never expecting even a single Oreo in return? You might be a match for the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist (Starting at $1,299 USD). Granted, anything with an Internet connection will get you sharing files, music, movies, grocery lists, and anything and everything else, but the Twist takes sharing to a more physical level. The screen can twist, bend, fold and even spin – making it ideal for sharing presentations and movies with others. Combine that unique form-factor with its strong ThinkPad heritage, and it’s like a box of Goldfish crackers for adults.
Maybe you’re actually a teacher. Maybe you just like dropping knowledge bombs on the people around you. Either way, the Dell Duo XPS 12 ($1,199.99 USD) is going to be what you’re looking for. That’s not really because of any special software that Duo XPS 12 comes with – we’re just talking about style points. Whether you’re dispensing wisdom about calculus, arguing about the finer points of the role of the United Nations in global politics, or carefully delineating the distinct subgenres of dubstep, you’ll be feeling like you’re giving a masterclass thanks to the Dell Duo XPS 12′s monitor, which rotates on its horizontal axis. Of course, the main purpose for that is so you can close the XPS 12 and use it as a slate tablet, but you know you’ll be using it to flip around like one of those old classroom chalkboards from way back when.
Variety’s also the main ingredient in the Lenovo Ideapad Yoga (Starting at $1,099 USD), Lenovo’s flexible entrant into the convertible ultrabook fray. Most in that class tout two different configurations – one for tablet mode, one for ultrabook mode. Not so with the Yoga, which boasts four different configurations made possible by a reinforced hinge that will keep the Ultrabook fixed in whatever position you put it in. Being able to fold the monitor back 360 degrees means that you can transform the Yoga into an ultrabook, a tent, a presentation stand, and a tablet. With the dual nature of the Windows 8 operating system, there’ll never be a dull moment with the Ideapad Yoga – just the way you like it.
If there’s one kind of smartphone that’s been a staple of the businessman/woman, it’s the slide-out. That physical keyboard has been considered a must-have in enterprise phones for years. Clearly, the physical keyboard is not new to the notebook. What is new is the Toshiba Satellite U920T (starting at $1,149.99 USD) - one of the first slide-out notebooks. With the newest Satellite, you can slide the monitor down on top of the keyboard to use it as a slate PC, and slide the monitor out and up to get your ultrabook experience set up. That 12.5” screen gives you plenty of real estate to get work done, too.
You don’t always have to be mobile. Kick back and stay a while with the Acer Aspire S7 (Starting at $1,199.99 USD). It might not convert into tablet mode, but you can lean this one back 180 degrees, flat on a table for a touchscreen experience. After all, not everyone needs a tablet. If you’re looking to just have a comfortable night in with you, your Ultrabook, and Netflix, the Aspire S7 will get the job done. Who needs mobile, anyway? Incidentally, remember the days when laptops were the shining example of mobile computing? Ancient history.
A big selling point of the new Ultrabook convertibles is the ability to have a notebook and a tablet, all in one device. But, unless numbers mislead me, an awful lot of you already have tablets. And you probably like them! No need to make your beloved tablet jealous – just opt for the Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch (Starting at $750 USD). This Ultrabook still has a touchscreen to take advantage of the touch-friendly features of Windows 8, but without all the frills of a convertible Ultrabook. It’s an Ultrabook – no more or less than what you need. It won’t step all over your other gadgets’ respective territories, and it’ll probably cost you a little less than the other Windows 8 Ultrabooks on the market.
With a name like ENVY, what else did you expect? The HP ENVY 4t Ultrabook (Starting at $500 USD) is the looker of this year’s ultrabooks, with brushed aluminum on the lid and notebook. The black and red color combination give it a look that is totally different from any other Ultrabook out there – if you’re all about style, the ENVY has it in bunches. Better yet, high tech fashion won’t even cost you an arm and a leg – the ENVY4t is one of the cheapest options out there right now, despite its sleek appearance. Looking good on a budget – no wonder it’s called ENVY.
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