I mentioned in previous posts that my blogging frequency decreased recently due to changes in my current employment situation. The other part of that equation resulted from not having a computer that could easily be used on the go for updating and posting to this blog. I had an old Dell Duo, but my wife had grown attached to the tablet/netbook functionality while cooking and doing house chores. Additionally, the device proved bulky and cumbersome. So I began the search to find something that would be easy to carry, yet big enough to frequently use for blogging and tracking my training. This left me looking at tablets like the Surface and Ultrabooks like the Mac Air(I think though that descriptor is intel proprietary).
I believe it is imperative to know what functions you want to perform on a computer system before buying one. Knowing usage helps to reduce buying something more than needed and spending extra money. Why get a computer with tons of ram and hard drive space if all you want is the internet? I knew I wanted to upload and manage my training data while away from home as well as a device that would allow for blog entry and internet usage. I figured I might also want to load a development environment for learning some new code and keeping up to date with my profession. So my list was simple.
My Requirements In a New System:
- Decent size screen and display
- Size- preferably light and compact, not too big
- Windows 7 – not a big fan of windows 8 on non-touchscreen computers
- Wifi and Bluetooth internet
- USB port(s) – if I am going to connect to my watch to upload data, this is a must.
- Decent size and feel keyboard
- Something with decent battery
- Something that looks cool and sleek!
Utilizing my wants list with my functional requirements list I began to scour the Dell site. I buy only from Dell for various reasons. One of those is the preferred credit card that I like to keep active in case I have need for an emergency IT purchase, like one of my home servers or computers suddenly going dead. But, credit requires some discresion and usually I look for payment leeway where you pay it off you don’t have to pay interest. Risky, but it keeps Dell happy and me happy with new stuff.
I decided I needed to look into last years inventory as this was where most of the Windows 7 based devices would be sold from. Additionally, last years models would still be very similar to this years models without a hefty price tag. My functionality requirements did not require the latest and greatest device.
What I found and fell in love with was the xps13 ultrabook. This thing is similar in appearance and functionality to the Mac Air. Its super slim and only weighs 3 pounds. The screen is 13.3 inches in width and it has a very well laid out keyboard that is perfectly typing long blog posts. Also the keyboard is back lit which makes typing in low light easy. It has a 3.0 and 2.0 USB ports. Best of all it is loaded with Windows 7 and is finished beautifully!!! This thing is gorgeous, its ultra slim and shiny silver!!!! I have had it for two days now and I love this thing so far!
Some of the drawbacks to last year model were the fact the display only is in 720p instead of 1080, and its only got a 150 gig solid state hard drive and 4 gigs of ram. Newer models at the low end cost over 1000$, but have the higher resolution screen. For what I need, this works perfect for me and it was under 800 bucks.
As I said earlier, if you know what you need and are willing to not get the most latest and greatest there are great deals to be had. I needed something that was super portable, but functional for a few different tasks. I can do some programming on this, but mostly keep track of my training metrics and update and post to my blog as well as just have fun surfing the internet and browsing. Best of all.. it looks super cool and shiny!!! Til next time.
- What Works for You? Laptop vs. Ultrabook (gadgetsoup.com)
- Dell XPS 13 Review: Editor’s Choice Windows 8 Ultrabook (notebooks.com)