At CES this year, there were plenty of ultrabooks on display - Engadget's roundup has a few, more on Anandtech). And most of them seemed to get at least some part of the formula right, but I don't think any of them have quite grabbed me yet. Maybe I'm being picky, but I've decided that my top priorities are:
- 1600 x 900 resolution
- Thunderbolt port (for docking)
- decent battery life (5 hrs+)
- light weight
I'm sick of my current 1280 x 800 screen - the drop in my productivity from 2 big 1920 x 1080 screens down to the tiny laptop screen is painfully apparent. 1366 x 768 is arguably worse, since I really need those vertical lines of resolution. And although I move around a lot with a laptop, which is why I want a good battery and light weight, I also use it as my primary workstation, so I need to be able to dock it and use my big monitors. In fact, a laptop that would support 3 screens instead of 2 like my current Dell would be preferable. Few of the ultrabooks seem to have this capability, but at least a Thunderbolt port would make it theoretically possible.
Other requirements are pretty normal. The number of USB ports matters, but not hugely, since most peripherals I use at home while connected to a dock. I do use my SD card reader pretty often, so it would be nice to keep that. A decent keyboard, preferably backlit, would be useful.
Requirements in mind, I took a look at the current crop of ultrabooks just demoed at CES, and... was totally disappointed. Nothing had all the features I wanted. The closest ones were:
Samsung Series 9
- no Thunderbolt but both HDMI and DisplayPort connections
- 1600 x 900 resolution (on what I hear is a great screen)
- light weight (2.5 lbs)
Sony Vaio Z
- Thunderbolt, sorta, via a proprietary connector as usual (thanks a lot, Sony)
- 1600 x 900
- light weight
- ungodly price ($1900+)
Here's my spreadsheet comparing the current crop of ultrabooks and their cousins using my completely biased and proprietary scoring system. It's a definite work in progress and the scoring may change without warning. If something comes along that scores above a 3, I'll probably buy it, but right now, none of these are worth the money.