First there were the luggable computers in the early 1980s such as the Osborne I, Kaypro II and the Compaq. Then came the clam-shelled laptop computers like the first Toshiba and the Data General LCD screened battery powered units in the mid to latter 1980s. From then on laptops settled into the general form factors we see today, but then came the tablets and the netbooks about three years ago. The netbook form factor already seems to be waning as the iPad tablet is clearly dominating the market.
But now there is the ultrabook, a Windows based platform that is slimmer, lighter and faster without sacrificing screen size. One such example I just bought for myself. It is the Acer Aspire S3. The one I bought you can pick-up at Staples for $899 although you can get one at Costco for $865 if you want to brave the crowds and the check-out lines. It has a 13.3” display and it weighs just less than 3 lbs. The 4 GB RAM and 1.6 GHz processor keeps it running fast. The best part is the 20GB Solid State Windows 7 boot drive gives the S3 about a 10 boot up time from complete off. From sleep mode it fires up in about 2 seconds and by the time my eyes look to the Wi-Fi connection it is already connected. For an impatient guy with a lot to do like me, I can’t beat this unit. I almost got a MacBook Air, but given some of the applications I use that are dependent upon USB interfaces and downloading from data loggers, the MacBook, even with Windows VM was not a good option for me. Here is a link to more information on the ultrabook I chose:http://www.acer.com.tw/ac/en/US/content/s-series-home
If you are looking for a new portable computer and you want more than a tablet, you should check out the new ultrabooks. The only thing this computer leaves me wanting for is an integrated 4G card. Power and battery consumption is a bit high on this computer, but I found turning down the screen brightness helped a lot while not diminishing the viewing quality to any material degree.