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  1. #1
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    Default The Ultrabook thread

    Creating a thread to put all collective ultrabook experiences, opinions and thoughts here. (I know I know, there is NotebookReview to study for that stuff, but that forum is already a jungle and I like what Brighthand readers think).

    I sometimes like to handle those in displays, but my only direct experience to an ultrabook is my better half's Samsung Series 9. That's a wonderful but fabuously expensive computer, that I sometimes question and wonder if it was worth the price. In any case, beautiful and fast as it is, storage space is lacking, the screen is only so so despite the resolution and the key travel feels even shorter than my Series 330 Chromebook.

    Samsung's ultrabook lineup is impressive, but it is as self cannibalizing as their Galaxy series. There apparently is, not just besides the Series 9, but the Series 7 Ultra, Series 7 Chronos, Series 5 Ultra and probably Series 3 ultrabooks too. And recently got the Ativ 9, or Ativ 7 or Ativ 5. Well, I'm a bit confused. But they all look kind of lovely. Any opinions, or favorites? If I have time, I would probably look at other ultrabooks too (tech PC-porn for me).
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    Default Re: The Ultrabook thread

    I've never really given Samsung's big notebooks a second look, but really liked the series 9 13", I think impractical for me with lack of screen size, lack of ports, lack of storage, lack of GPU and cpu, but if I were rich, I'd have one just to admire, it also now only comes with windows frankenstein over here which is an instant deal killer for me, it's expensive for what it can do as a primary PC but is less than half the price of what I usually buy and easily less than half as useful when we're talking "primary" computer.
    I've bought Dell almost exclusively for ten years but pretty much hate all their current designs on anything not a Dell Precision, including the ultrabooks, the Sammy series 9 is the only ultrabook I've wondered whether I could find a use for, but I'm quite out of the loop with what's available elsewhere mostly.

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    Default Re: The Ultrabook thread

    I saw a Lenovo ultrabook in OfficeDepot for around $600. It looked like it had build quality closely resembling Apple products. I believe it was running Windows 8 and had a touchscreen. I went to Lenovo's web site to look for it but got lost in their dizzying array of computers. I would criticize them for having a mess of a web site but they are doing something right as their market share is growing when everyone else's is shrinking, even Apple's.
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    Default Re: The Ultrabook thread

    Quote Originally Posted by weegie View Post
    I've never really given Samsung's big notebooks a second look, but really liked the series 9 13", I think impractical for me with lack of screen size, lack of ports, lack of storage, lack of GPU and cpu, but if I were rich, I'd have one just to admire, it also now only comes with windows frankenstein over here which is an instant deal killer for me, it's expensive for what it can do as a primary PC but is less than half the price of what I usually buy and easily less than half as useful when we're talking "primary" computer.
    I've bought Dell almost exclusively for ten years but pretty much hate all their current designs on anything not a Dell Precision, including the ultrabooks, the Sammy series 9 is the only ultrabook I've wondered whether I could find a use for, but I'm quite out of the loop with what's available elsewhere mostly.

    Yeah, considering how much my wife paid for it (real estate agent, she needs to travel around, her old Vaio too heavy and quirky now). It only has two USB ports, a 128Gb of storage (all SSD), and an i5 CPU with no dedicated GPU. The system is fast but its not that much faster than I have seen with systems half or even a third of its price. The screen despite the high resolution is a so so, the screens on Acers look better. The keyboard feels very flat, flatter than my netbooks or my Samsung Chromebook.

    But the body is absolutely gorgeous, especially the Duraluminum construction and finish. It beats any Macbook Air anytime.

    I have seen the Samsung Series 5 Ultra. It comes at a much cheaper price, and lacks the Duraluminum, but the mixed metal and plastic body is beautiful on its own right, and it looks very well built. Its got more ports, the keyboard has a deeper nicer press and the screen also looks overall nicer. Plus its a touchscreen so its more convenient for Windows 8, albeit you can get your fingerprints on it as well. I am quite impressed with it. Both Samsung ultrabooks are gorgeous but if I were to buy one, I would pick the Series 5 Ultra. But then again, Samsung has other Chromebooks, like the Series 7 Chronos, Series 7 Ultra and Series 3 Ultra. I think they are going by Ativ names now.

    Also seen a number of Sony VAIO ultrabooks too. I think they are pretty nice but I didn't get the emotional connection I get with the Sammy books. The left brain did all the check marks but the right brain just doesn't connect.

    The Sony VAIO Duo 11 is very nice but the keyboard gives me a "what?" although the keys themselves have a very nice feel. I have reservations about the hinge mechanism though.

    The Acer V5 series isn't bad too, although I liked the styling of their earlier S3. The Acer screens look pretty good lately.

    I like to see more of Lenovo's ultrabooks. Haven't gotten the chance so much yet, except for the S400 or S405. That looks like quite an affordable piece although I think its more of a cross between a subnote and an ultrabook.
    Last edited by Drillbit; 07-13-2013 at 09:16 PM.
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    Default Re: The Ultrabook thread

    Macbook Air is around $400 cheaper for a 256GB version than the series 9 with only 128GB here which seems mighty good value comparatively, I need to actually go and have a look at some of what's available later in the week to form an opinion.

    Ultrabook seems perfect for someone in your wife's line of work DB.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The Ultrabook thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Drillbit View Post
    Creating a thread to put all collective ultrabook experiences, opinions and thoughts here. (I know I know, there is NotebookReview to study for that stuff, but that forum is already a jungle and I like what Brighthand readers think).

    I sometimes like to handle those in displays, but my only direct experience to an ultrabook is my better half's Samsung Series 9. That's a wonderful but fabuously expensive computer, that I sometimes question and wonder if it was worth the price. In any case, beautiful and fast as it is, storage space is lacking, the screen is only so so despite the resolution and the key travel feels even shorter than my Series 330 Chromebook.

    Samsung's ultrabook lineup is impressive, but it is as self cannibalizing as their Galaxy series. There apparently is, not just besides the Series 9, but the Series 7 Ultra, Series 7 Chronos, Series 5 Ultra and probably Series 3 ultrabooks too. And recently got the Ativ 9, or Ativ 7 or Ativ 5. Well, I'm a bit confused. But they all look kind of lovely. Any opinions, or favorites? If I have time, I would probably look at other ultrabooks too (tech PC-porn for me).
    I'm a huge fan of the Vaio Duo 13. Yes, it's a convertible tablet instead of a traditional laptop, but it's also an ultrabook under Intel's definition. It fixes everything that needed improvement on the Vaio Duo 11 (roomier keyboard, traditional trackpad, 10-hour real-world battery life, and onboard pen storage) while still weighing less than 3 lbs, still offering a breathtaking-quality 1080p IPS touchscreen, and still delivering stellar build quality.



    Review: Sony VAIO Duo 13 review: a much-improved take on the Windows 8 slider
    Samsung Galaxy S III (U.S. Cellular, Android 4.3 with TouchWiz skin). My review.
    Sony VAIO Duo 11 (i3-3217U, 11.6" 1080p IPS, N-Trig stylus, Windows 8.1). My video review; handwriting test.
    Sony VAIO F2390X (i7-2670QM, 540M, 16.4" 1080p, Windows 8.1 Pro). My video review.

    Windows 8 questions? Start here and PM me with any further questions. Mitlov's Windows 8 tutorial; configuring Win8.1 for non-touchscreen devices

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    Default Re: The Ultrabook thread

    Quote Originally Posted by weegie View Post
    Macbook Air is around $400 cheaper for a 256GB version than the series 9 with only 128GB here which seems mighty good value comparatively, I need to actually go and have a look at some of what's available later in the week to form an opinion.

    Ultrabook seems perfect for someone in your wife's line of work DB.
    I advised her earlier on a Macbook but she runs some kind of real estate software and that requires Windows.

    The Duo 13 looks very nice, but I don't really like those hinge designs and the fact that convertibles have fixed viewing angles. For that reason I would prefer an honest to bonafide clamshell, not to mention I would appreciate a truly robust hinge design. If I were looking at a convertible, the Ativ Q might be on top of my list due to being able to boot stock Android 4.2.2, and it has that super high res screen (3200x1800) vs. the 1920x1020 on the Duo 13. The Duo 13 does have a Haswell i7 though, while the Ativ packs only a Haswell i5. But both devices are just too expensive for my taste, and at that price range, the Chromebook Pixel, the MacBook Pro with Retina display, and the Lenovo Carbon X1 would come into contention.

    samsung-ativ-q-hands-on-0006.jpg

    If I were to pick an Ultrabook right now, the Series 5 Ultra would be my pick now. Its unforgivable for devices that pack Windows 8, and coming at high prices, not to have a touchscreen, which unfortunately many ultrabooks still do. But this Series 5 has a touchscreen and comes well under a thousand. The screens on these look quite nice too, better than my wife's Series 9, but note the latest Series 9 now comes with even higher resolution screens (3200x1800) with optional touch screens too.

    Series 5 Ultra
    Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook4-580-90.jpgSamsungSeries5Ultra13ThreeQuarter-579x400.jpg

    Samsung Series 5 UltraTouch Review - Watch CNET's Video & Read Our Review

    Not sure what the Samsung Ativ 9 lite is all about, but I think its the legacy model Series 9 being renamed and downpriced.

    sub04_1.jpg

    It also has a white model. When it says quad core, it turns out its not an i7, but an AMD chip, probably either an A8 or A10.

    ativ-book-9-lite.jpg

    The Samsung Ativ 9 Plus

    sub03_2.jpg
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: The Ultrabook thread

    A fixed screen angle isn't such a big deal when you have fantastic viewing angles like the IPS displays on the Vaio Duo models. I thought it would be a mark against the Duo 11, but it's absolutely a non-issue in my opinion after living with it for nine months. With a less impressive screen it'd be a pain, but not with this screen.

    The Vaio Pro 11 has a traditional laptop design (similar aesthetics to the Vaio Z2), has a 1080p IPS touchscreen and Haswell, and starts at $1149. It also weighs under 2 lbs (1.92 lbs to be specific).

    If you go under $1000, you're going to have to give up the really nice high-res, often-IPS screens that make modern ultrabooks so appealing.
    Samsung Galaxy S III (U.S. Cellular, Android 4.3 with TouchWiz skin). My review.
    Sony VAIO Duo 11 (i3-3217U, 11.6" 1080p IPS, N-Trig stylus, Windows 8.1). My video review; handwriting test.
    Sony VAIO F2390X (i7-2670QM, 540M, 16.4" 1080p, Windows 8.1 Pro). My video review.

    Windows 8 questions? Start here and PM me with any further questions. Mitlov's Windows 8 tutorial; configuring Win8.1 for non-touchscreen devices

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    Default Re: The Ultrabook thread

    1080p isn't exactly a nice selling point these days for a 13" screen for a device over a thousand bucks. My Xperia Z tablet has that resolution only a smaller screen, which means its pixel density is actually higher than both the Duo 13 and 11. Let's not forget to mention the Nexus 10 has 2560x1600 resolution screen, for $100 less than the Xperia Z ($399 vvs $499). So the Nexus 10 has a screen that has the same resolution as the Retina screen MacBook Pro. The 1080p screen is actually the negative for my Sony tablet, as much as I like the processor, the screen despite Bravia engine, takes a backseat to the Nexus 10. There are signs that Samsung intends to bring the 2560x1600 screen to their own Galaxy Tab tablets, these particular top end models will be referred to as the Galaxy Tab 3 Plus.

    But going to the upper $1000 sector now, the Chromebook Pixel has a screen that is 2560x1700, and the Samsung Activ 9 has a screen of 3200x1800.

    Not saying the Sony screen is bad, its very good, but its not a competitive selling point against the competition.

    For some reason I really don't like the appearance of convertibles. They are not sleek, like true ultrabooks. It doesn't matter if the screens have wide viewing angles --- I don't set my tablets up with case stands, which is functionally similar. I just like adjusting screens so the viewing angle is perfectly 90 degress to my eyes. Of course the fixed angles are livable, I am pretty sure of it, but then again, if I am spending that much amount of money, I better be paying for more, not for less. Having said that, I like the Vaio Pro 11 more. I think that is a real nice ultrabook.

    Review: Sony VAIO Pro 11 (SVP11216CG)

    sony-vaio-pro-11-review-2013-15-450x339.jpg

    I view Ultrabooks, like MacBooks, like the computing equivalent of sports cars. You want to make a stylish statement.

    If Darth Vader uses an Ultrabook, I think he would be using a Carbon.

    ThinkPad_X1_Carbon_35299011_05_620x433.jpgThinkPad_X1_Carbon_35299011_10_610x436.jpg
    I am @guamguy on Twitter.

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    Default Re: The Ultrabook thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Drillbit View Post
    1080p isn't exactly a nice selling point these days for a 13" screen for a device over a thousand bucks. My Xperia Z tablet has that resolution only a smaller screen, which means its pixel density is actually higher than both the Duo 13 and 11. Let's not forget to mention the Nexus 10 has 2560x1600 resolution screen, for $100 less than the Xperia Z ($399 vvs $499). So the Nexus 10 has a screen that has the same resolution as the Retina screen MacBook Pro. The 1080p screen is actually the negative for my Sony tablet, as much as I like the processor, the screen despite Bravia engine, takes a backseat to the Nexus 10. There are signs that Samsung intends to bring the 2560x1600 screen to their own Galaxy Tab tablets, these particular top end models will be referred to as the Galaxy Tab 3 Plus.
    More is not better with Windows and screen resolution, at least on the desktop, where Windows still doesn't scale very well (the Metro environment scales extremely well, on the other hand). There's a point in the desktop UI where resolution is ideal and beyond that it starts to harm user experience instead of improving it. Comparisons to smartphones are pointless because you use ultrabooks much further from your nose than you use smartphones. I would not want any more than 1080p on an 11-13" Windows PC screen because it would lead to impossibly-small toolbars and buttons and the like. 1080p is small enough so that pixels are basically invisible at normal operating distances on an 11 or 13 inch PC.

    Higher pixel densities can also lead to poor performance (MBP+R 13 stuffers from this).

    Not saying the Sony screen is bad, its very good, but its not a competitive selling point against the competition.
    I'm not saying it's the highest number on the market. I'm saying it's as high as you want before it's just a waste. In my opinion, anything over 720p on a normal-size smartphone and everything over 1080p on an 11-13 inch screen is just for spec-sheet bragging and doesn't provide any real benefit to the user.

    For some reason I really don't like the appearance of convertibles. They are not sleek, like true ultrabooks.
    I think your definition of "true ultrabook" is different than Intel's, and it's their word The Vaio Z2 is a sleek notebook and the Vaio Duo 11 is a convertible. The former is not an ultrabook and the latter is.

    If Darth Vader uses an Ultrabook, I think he would be using a Carbon.
    I've heard a LOT of complaints about build quality on the Carbon--not something I normally hear about ThinkPads. Buyer beware.
    Last edited by Mitlov; 07-16-2013 at 03:31 AM.
    Samsung Galaxy S III (U.S. Cellular, Android 4.3 with TouchWiz skin). My review.
    Sony VAIO Duo 11 (i3-3217U, 11.6" 1080p IPS, N-Trig stylus, Windows 8.1). My video review; handwriting test.
    Sony VAIO F2390X (i7-2670QM, 540M, 16.4" 1080p, Windows 8.1 Pro). My video review.

    Windows 8 questions? Start here and PM me with any further questions. Mitlov's Windows 8 tutorial; configuring Win8.1 for non-touchscreen devices

 

 

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