Ultrabook reviews 2014, scoops and comparisons

Best 15 ultrabook convertibles in 2014 and tablet hybrids

Last updated: March 5, 2014

With Windows 8, a new class or portable laptops was reborn: convertibles, also known these days as convertible ultrabooks or ultrabook hybrids, or in other words, sleek portable laptops with a touchscreen, that can be used either as a regular notebook, as a tablet or something in between.

These kind of devices come in many shapes right now, from the classic ultrabooks with a rotating screen, just like on the Tablet PCs we’ve seen in the last years, to ultrabooks with a detachable screen that can be used as a tablet or devices that can be flipped over and transformed in either a laptop, or a slate.

These are just some of the available designs, but most of them have a few things in common: they are sleek, they are fast and they come with a touchscreen. And run Windows 8, of course.

Anyway, in this post I’m going to go through the available convertible ultrabooks and tell you a couple of things about the ones that I find best buys right now. If you’re after other types of ultrabooks with touchscreens though, stay tuned, we’ll talk about those in our following posts. And in the meantime, you might also want to check out my detailed article on the best ultrabooks of the moment.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga Pro

This is Lenovo’s top-of-the-line ultrabook right know and builds on the previous Yoga. It has lost weight, is has been slightly polished and has got a few noticeable upgrades, including several Intel Haswell configurations and a sharp 3200 x 1800 px IPS touchscreen.

The form factor was kept mostly unchanged, as the Yoga’s screen flips around the hinge and onto to the back, to 360 degrees, and that allows us to use the device as a laptop, as a stand or as a tablet. The Yoga 2 Pro is still quite hefty for a tablet, and in this case you do have to get used to having the keyboard exposed, on the back.

If you can live with the form factor and the rather short battery life (about 5 hours on average use), the Yoga 2 Pro can prove to be a great machine. It’s fairly cheap for a Haswell convertible, starting at around $1000 (and can be found actually cheaper online), and for $1400 you can get yourself a powerful configuration, with an i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD. But it lacks a digitizer, if that’s something you’re interested in. And here’s where the ThinkPad Yoga comes in play.

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga – my review

Lenovo put their versatile Yoga form factor or a ThinkPad, and the result is this durable and sober ThinkPad Yoga, with that same convertible screen we’ve seen on the Yoga 2 Pro, but a few extra features.

For starters, there’s a 12.5 inch FHD low-glare screen on this unit, with a digitizer. A Pen is included as well (on some versions) and you can easily tuck it away in its dedicated place when not using it. Besides these, you do get more ports with the ThinkPad Yoga and cellular connectivity, (scrap that, there’s no cellular modem on the TPY), much needed in business environments. Last but not least, the ThinkPad Yoga is more durable, stronger than the other Yogas, as it’s meant to live its life in a much more brutal environment, where it will be shoved and hassled around each day.

Of course, all these do make the Thinkpad Yoga bulkier and heavier than the other Yogas, but if you need what it has to offer, you’ll be just fine with its 3.5 pounds 0.8 of an inch thick body.

The ThinkPad Yoga will set you back $1299, for the base version, with an Intel Core i5 Haswell processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 128 GB SSD and a standard HDD screen without a digitizer, while adding extra options can quickly push this one over 2G. You might find the ThinkPad Yoga slightly discounted online, but don’t get your hopes too high.

Bottom line, the ThinkPad Yoga is not cheap, but is one of the few convertibles available these days ready for business. In other words, this isn’t the first choice for everyone, but if you need what it has to offer and you’re OK with the extra bulk, the ThinkPad Yoga won’t disappoint. More details are available in my detailed review, so have a look.

Sony Vaio Fit Multi Flip series

Sony launched a brand new series of convertibles for the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, called the Sony Vaio Flip line or the Vaio Fit Multi-Flip. There 3 different members in this family, a 13 incher, a 14 incher and a 15 inch ultrabook. All pack Haswell hardware and touchscreens which flips around a hinge in it middle in order to offer a laptop, a tablet and a presentation mode for these devices, as you’ll see from the videos below.  All integrate a digitizer within the display as well, and can be used with Sony’s provided pens.

The 13 incher, the Vaio Fit 13A Flip PC, weighs 2.9 pounds , is thin and sleek and starts at $1100, but that’s for an Intel Core i3 version. The i5 version with 8 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD goes for $100, but all models should be available slightly cheaper online.

The 14 incher is even cheaper, as it starts at only $749, while the 15 incher packs a few extra features, like a higher resolution 2880 x 1620 px display and dedicated Nvidia GT 735M graphics, while it weighs around 5 pounds. But those will be found on to top versions of the Vaio Fit 15 Flip PC, the base versions are much closer to the 14 inch model in terms of specs and start at just under one grand. However, you might find some online discounts on both options if you’ll follow this link.

All in all, these Flip Vaios are surely interesting devices. They are sleek, powerful, offer a convertible touchscreen with an embedded digitizer and aren’t as expensive as you might expect. But they are not without flaws though, like some very noisy fans, sharp edges and balance problems, especially on the 13 inch model. If you’re willing to live with those though, the Flips could be what you’re looking for.

Sony Vaio Duo 13 and 11

The Duo 13 is perhaps the best convertible of the moment. It’s a 13 inch slider, that can be used either as a tablet, or as a laptop, since a full-size keyboard and a tiny trackpad are revealed when sliding up the screen.

Intel Haswell hardware motorizes the Duo 13 and a large battery ensures up to 10 hours of real-life user on a single charge. This Vaio bundles a touchscreen of course, with a Full HD IPS panel and a digitizer, so you can use it alongside the included pen for taking notes, writing, drawing and so on.

Anyway, you’ll find out a lot more about the Sony Vaio Duo 13 from my thorough review posted a while ago here on the site.

If you’re convinced that this is a good device and you’re fine with the slider form factor and its shortcomings (can’t adjust the screen’s viewing angle), you should know that the Duo 13 starts at $1399, which is pricey, but on par with most other Haswell machines right now. And on top of that, several webstores offer it discounted these days, as you’ll find out from here.

The Duo 11 is an older model, launched in 2012, with an 11.6 inch screen, Ivy Bridge hardware and mostly all of the features of the Duo 13. You can read more about it here, and you can find it compared to the Duo 13 here, as this is still something you could consider if you’re on a tighter budget.

The Sony Vaio Duo 13 is one of the few Haswell hybrids available these days

The Sony Vaio Duo 13 is one of the few Haswell hybrids available these days

Asus Transformer Books

The Transformer Books are some fully backed Windows 8 tablets that can be used as standalone devices, or connected to some multifunctional docking stations that bundle a keyboard, some ports and in some cases, a few extras, like a different hardware platform of their own, a HDD or an extra battery.

The Transformer Book TX300 is the only member of this family available right now, and you can find all about it in my thorough review over here.

However, Asus announced that a few more Transformer Books will hit the stores later this year, all with Intel Haswell hardware. There’s the Transformer Book T300, a more affordable version of the TX300 mentioned above, and the more interesting Transformer Book Trio, that promises to run Windows and Android. There’s not much we know about these for the time being, but what we do is gathered in this article, so have a look.

There’s also a newer and much more affordable Transformer Book, the T100, which sells for $400 or even less, if you can catch some discounts. For that you’re getting a compact 10 inch Tablet with a detachable keyboard-dock, powered by the latest generation Intel Atom processors, running Windows 8.1 and capable of dealing fine with everyday tasks like browsing, editing documents or watching some movies and running some casual games. You’re also getting a device that can last for 6 hours on a charge. But you’ll need to understand what this one can do and don’t ask too much out of it, otherwise you might find it slow or sluggish. If you do that, the T100 is going to be a great little fellow, considering its price.

The Asus Transformer Books: a stand alone Windows tablet with a multifunctional dock

The Asus Transformer Books: a stand alone Windows tablet with a multifunctional dock

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga

Available in two versions, with an 11.6 or and 13.3 inch screen, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga is basically a laptop whose screen can flip over when you want to use the device as a tablet. However, the screen flips over the bottom of the laptop, and it does not rotate 180 degrees like on the classic tablet PCs we’ve seen in the past.

This makes the Yoga unique, but it also leaves the keyboard and trackpad exposed when using the device in tablet mode, at least that’s how I felt when using it. So while the design and build quality are great, I’m not completely confident in the form factor.

The YOGA is available in two versions. The 13.3 inch YOGA is indeed and Ultrabook, built on an Intel Core platform, with SSD storage, up to 8 GB of RAM and Windows 8. It also has an IPS panel with HD+ 1600 x 900 px resolution, weighs about 3.4 pounds and it’s going to be a beast, although the battery life isn’t that great on this one.

The Yoga 13 starts at $899 on Lenovo’s website. However, you will find it discounted in some of the online stores listed in this other post.

The 11.6 inch version, called the Yoga 11S, is built on lower power Intel Y series platform, packs an HD touchscreen and runs Windows 8 as well. In other words, the 11S is more compact, lighter (weighs 3.1 pounds) and not as powerful as the Yoga 13, but at the same time is cheaper, starting at $699 on Lenovo’s website. So if you really want a small convertible and don’t expect to ask much from it, the IdeaPad Yoga 11S can be a decent option.

Lenovo Thinkpad Twist

Unlike the other devices on top, the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist takes the classic tablet PC design and just puts it into a slimmer and lighter device, so it will fit the ultrabook requirements.

Thus, the ThinkPad Twist is an ultrabook convertible, with a screen that rotates 180 degrees around its vertical axis. In other words, the Twist has a hinge in the middle, holding the screen together, and one-hinge designs can be a bit fragile and wobbly unless you’ll be very careful when rotating that display. Still, I own such a computer and it’s still working fine even today, years after I bought it.

The twist comes with a 12.5 inch HD screen and packs powerful hardware, plus SSD storage and all the other goodies. Unlike the devices above though, it can last more than 5 hours on a charge and packs a full-set of ports, including Ethernet, which are going to prove crucial in business environments.

The ThinkPad Twist a bit bulkier and heavier than its competitors, at 3.5 pounds, but it’s still highly portable. On top of that, it’s one of the most affordable devices in this class, as it starts at $750 (but you can find it for less on some webstores). Of course, the top configs are significantly pricier, as you can see on Lenovo’s website.

Dell XPS 12 Convertible ultrabook

The Dell XPS 12 is another 12.5 inch device with a swivable screen, but in this case, the display rotates inside its outer-frame, as you can see in the pictures.

I can’t say that’s a better way to do it, but I can say that this solution is more robust and should be more reliable on the long term, as the screen no longer has a single hinge, but two.

However, the XPS 12 is more expensive than the ThinkPad Twist, starting at $1100. It does share the same hardware platform with the Twist above (although there are also some Intel Haswell versions of the XPS 12) and the same Windows 8 OS, but is better built and better looking as well, plus packs a Full HD IPS panel, as opposed the the lower resolution screen on the Lenovo. The collection of ports is not however as good and neither is the battery life.

Asus Taichi

On a first look, the Asus Taichi looks like an ultrabook with a glass lid cover. When turning it on though… you’ll see that the Taichi is an odd beast: it bundles two screens, one on each side of the lid. The one on the outside of the lid-cover is in fact a touchscreen, while the one inside is a standard matte display.

So you can use this device as a regular laptop if you want to, or close the lid and get yourself a large Windows tablet. Or just use the two screens and the same time, independently or together, if you want to.

This makes the Taichi a remarkable device. But with two IPS Full HD screens, fast Intel Ivy Bridge hardware, up to 256 GB SSD storage space and more, it’s no wonder the Taichi starts at around $1100 right now, although some versions are quite a lot cheaper online. And that’s for the 11.6 inch version.

A 13 inch version of the Taichi is also available on some markets, larger and heavier (3.3 pounds, as opposed to the 2.8 pounds of the Taichi 21), but with an improved selection of ports and, more importantly, a larger battery, which leads to some decent autonomy (around 5 hours of everyday use, while the Taichi 21 only lasts for about 3 and a half on a charge).

Samsung ATIV Q

The Samsung ATIV Q is mostly made from magnesium, is incredibly thin (14 mm) and weighs 2.85 pounds and that’s quite impressive for a 13 inch hybrid.

Like the Sony Vaio Duo 13 above, this one is a slider, so the screen slides up in order to reveal a full-sized keyboard.

Also like the Vaio, the ATIV packs a touchscreen on its front face, but it’s an incredibly sharp 3200 x 1800 px panel, with a digitizer and S-Pen support. Besides that, the ATIV Q can run Windows or Android 4.2, but Android is running as a pop-up app withing Windows 8. The entire thing is motorized by an Intel Haswell hardware platform and according to Samsung, the Q will run for up to 9 hours on a charge.

Anyway, I’ll save my final judgement for a future review, once the Samsung ATIV Q will hit the stores. For the time being and based on what we know so far though, I must admit, I’m impressed. But the price will have something to say here as well and I’m pretty sure the Q is going to be very, very pricey.

Anyway, stay tuned, I’ll update this section once the Samsung ATIV Q becomes available in stores, somewhere in the next moths.

The Samsung ATIV Q is one of the most interesting convertibles of the moment

The Samsung ATIV Q is one of the most interesting convertibles of the moment

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix

The Helix is Lenovo’s interpretation of the same concept displayed by the Transformer Book TX300: an independent Windows 8 tablet running on Intel hardware, plus a multifunctional docking unit.

Unlike the Asus above, the ThinkPad went for a more restrained design, a given for their ThinkPad lines. On top of that, the Helix integrates cellular connectivity and a screen with a digitizer and a pen, so you can use it for taking notes, sketching, drawing and so on.

The Helix is also more compact and lighter than the Transformer Book, sporting an 11.6 inch screen, but it’s fairly pricey, selling for $1400 and up. And it’s not without flaws unfortunately, as it tends to run hot and noisy, and on top of that, the entire docking unit is large and awkwardly designed. Hopefully all these will be addressed in a future Haswell update, as the Helix has the potential to be an awesome business hybrid.

There's potential with the ThinkPad Helix, but some aspects need extra polishing

There’s potential with the ThinkPad Helix, but some aspects need extra polishing

Dell XPS 11

Put together a beautiful case carefully machined from aluminum and fiber carbon with an 11.6 inch 2560 x 1440 px resolution touchscreen that flips 360 degrees around its hinge and an Intel Haswell hardware platform and you’ll get the Dell XPS 11.

In other words, this is Dell’s response to the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga I mentioned above, but a more powerful and better polished response.

It’s not going to be available in stores till Q4 2013, so there are still plenty of unknown aspects about this laptop, like the battery life or the price, but stay close, I will update this post once we do know more about what looks like one of the most interesting convertibles ever announced.

Dell's XPS 11 - a refined response to the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga

Dell’s XPS 11 – a refined response to the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga

Others

Other hybrids you might be interested in:

  • Acer Aspire R7 – a 15.6 inch ultrabook with some punchy hardware (ULV i7 Ivy Bridge processors and dedicated graphics) and a sturdy leg that supports a swivable screen. A nice options, but with some wrong design decisions, as Acer decided to put the trackpad on top of the keyboard.
  • Acer Aspire P3 - an 11.6 inch Intel powered tablet bundled with a magnetic latch-able Bluetooth keyboard. It’s decently fast, compact and fairly affordable, so could be a nice option if you’re looking for such a device.
  • Lenovo IdeaPad Flex line – 14 and 15.6 inch affordable ultrabooks, starting at around $500 (and going for even less online), with decent specs, plenty of ports and a screen that flips on the back, like on the Lenovo Yogas. However, the screen does not flip completely on the back, but only to about 270 degrees, to the Flex laptops cannot be used as tablets, but only in Laptop, Tend and Presentation modes.

Wrap up

And these are right now the best convertible ultrabooks you can find in stores. More are going to become available in the next months, so stay tuned, I’m constantly updating this post.

In the meantime, you should also read our posts on my favorite ultrabooks of the moment and some very good ultrabook alternatives.

Now, if you’d ask me which of the above devices I would pick right now, it would probably be the any of the new Yogas, based on your needs and requirements, the Vaio Duo 13 or the ThinkPad Twist. The first three are all-around the best polished convertibles of the moment, while the other is a cheap and durable ThinkPad, with a nice keyboard. But I’m pretty sure we’ll see some other interesting hybrids in the future, so stay tuned.

Anyway, that’s about it for this post, but look for the updates as I’ve said. And in the meantime, let me know what do you guys think about these convertible ultra-portables and ask your questions below, if any.

Andrei Girbea, aka Mike, Editor-in-Chief and a huge fan of mobile computers. Since 2007, I've only owned smaller than 12.5" laptops and I've been testing tens, if not hundreds of mini laptops. You'll find mostly reviews and guides written by me here on the site.

78 Comments

  1. Betina

    November 21, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Hello,

    I am looking for a ultrabook in which I can write with a pen. I am not sure if I can use a pen for Lenovo twist. Do you know which computer allow to use a digital pen? Thanks!!

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 25, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      look at the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga or the Sony Vaio Duo line (11,13)

      • Jason

        December 22, 2013 at 5:44 am

        Can you help me get in contact with Amazon? I would be really interested in doing reviews and helping sell products. I read up on technology daily!

    • Matt

      December 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      If you don’t mind a Windows 7 from 2010, think about the thinkpad x201t
      Tablet pc

    • lllbenjolll

      March 14, 2014 at 12:39 am

      Samsung ativ smart pc pro is your best option.

  2. Rizwan

    December 30, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    just waiting for the new ultrabook series going to release in 2014….

  3. hunfi

    January 1, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Why haven’t you mentioned the HP Convertibles? Envy x2 available for months, Split x2 available for months, Pavilion x2 now available for weeks.

    Last but not least the Spectre x2, which is the first fanless Haswell Convertible, now available with 8GB RAM (http://www8.hp.com/uk/en/products/laptops/product-detail.html?oid=5405609#!tab=features).

  4. Alex

    January 5, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Great article, thanks!
    Does anyone know if there are any hybrids with numpad on their keyboards?

    Alex

  5. Oluwatosin

    January 8, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    Hmmmnnn…..like dis.After all have checked for acer aspire s7 ultrabook nd its reviews,pls wuld it b good for me to use it as a university student.need reply! Thanks

  6. Victor

    January 14, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    I always knew this website was behind the times, not even researching the market properly. The Fujitsu T904 is laterally days away from being released here in the U.S. and blows all the other convertible laptops out of the water in several areas…. IMHO.

    No mention of it here in the 2014 laptop reviews. Hmmmmm

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 15, 2014 at 10:52 am

      Victor, take it easy. I’m updatign the posts as soon as possible with products that are ALREADY in stores or products that I’ve personally tested. I’m not saying that Fujitsu is a good or a bad ultrabook, I’m just saying that I’m waiting to get my hands on it before actually adding it to the list.

      • Victor

        January 15, 2014 at 4:08 pm

        Hey Andrei, Sorry, I didn’t mean for that post to come off sounding the way it did. That’s my bad!

        Ok, so being a casual reader I did not realize that you guys only report on gear that is already out on the open market.

        I was using your site to help me in a purchasing decision and weighing the pro’s and con’s of gear that both is already out, and gear that is ‘about’ to come out. It was the beginning of the holiday season when I started my research and that is a hot time of the year for new gear releases and reviews of potential features & benefits.

        Thanks for straitening me out on your mission. You guys are not in the ‘futures’ business, you deal with whats available today. That definitely has it uses!

        Thanks again for the explanation!

        • Andrei Girbea

          January 15, 2014 at 7:15 pm

          Unfortunately there’s no time to report on all the rumors and soon-to-be-launched devices. I did that for a little while in the past and I wasn’t able to keep up to all the news (I’m the only one running the site right now and I’m not doing it full-time). That’s not an excuse, that’s just how things are for the time being. Hope you understand. Thanks ;)

  7. Dean Dalbery

    February 1, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Andrei,
    Let me congratulate you on your thoughtful and inciteful reviews. While you are a “solo” practitioner, your reviews are more professional and helpful than many of the industry magazines! You bring a real-world user perspective and seem to understand the relevant product differentiators.
    I think I’ve settled on a hybrid that features a fully detachable tablet rather than a flip or twist design. Can you recommend one that would be optimized for pen/note taking? Thanks and keep up the good work!
    Dean

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 4, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      Dean, the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix could be an option. I haven’t tested it myself, but from what I’ve read, it has some annoying quirks.

      Except for that, there’s no other hybrid with a fully detachable screen and a digitizer/pen that I can think of right now.

      The Vaio Tap 11 might also be an option, but it’s not an ultrabook, it’s a lower power tablet running windows 8.1 . And like all Sony devices, it comes with an N-Trig digitizer and its limitations (google it, you’ll see what I mean).

      If you can look past the detachable screen, the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga should be on your shortlist.

  8. Yusuf

    February 5, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    I have to say Acer R7 should have been on the list. I don’t agree that moving the touchpad above the keyboard is a bad idea. It is a brilliant idea! Why? Simply because when you have a beautiful touch screen this close to you who needs a touchpad?? Touchpad is for standard laptops only for touchscreen convertibles your screen is your touchpad. Also don’t forget that if you have a clumsy thumb there is nothing more annoying than accidentally touching your touchpad and losing your work. With auto save features this happens to everybody. Why do I have to reach my keyboard over my touchpad and run the risk of accidentally touching it?

    Acer R7 is brilliant in my opinion. It has a floating screen like a desktop, it is a good laptop and a good tablet. All these so called design errors actually work in your favor… These so called experts need to be educated! Hats off to Acer!

  9. Gabriele

    February 24, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Hello Andrei,

    I am very attracted by the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga S1 Edge #20CD0038IX
    Hardware specs are exactly what i was looking for, especially for the new Haswell platform. However, this convertible ultrabook does not have great connectivity solutions, as you can find only 2 USB 3.0 and the miniHDMI (which in most cases will make you need an RGB adapter to connect…) Now the question is: do you think Lenovo (or other manufacturers) will release soon new updated products with more conn. options? At least an ethernet port and an RGB connector are necessary in my humble opinion. Thank you!

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 25, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      I don’t think they will. These devices need to be as slim and compact as possible, and that leaves little space for plenty of ports.

      If you can ditch the convertible aspect though, Lenovo and Fujitsu do offer a few business-ultrabooks with a handful selection of ports

  10. Greg

    March 3, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Good article Andrei

    If you were going to university what laptop would you take and im talking about a laptop around the $500-750 range

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 3, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      Hey Greg. What do you need in that laptop? Light weight, small size, fast CPU, good keyboard, touchscreen, long battery life? Please reply with a list of such things, with those that matter more to you at the top. And then I might be able to suggest some models :P

      • Ben

        March 13, 2014 at 3:18 am

        I am in the same situation and since I saw Greg never replied, I’ll pick it up! I am also going to a university. I’m looking for an i5 laptop that can also be folded/collapse or removed to become a tablet. Battery life is important to me, since I don’t want it dying halfway through a day of classes.

  11. Anugreh

    March 5, 2014 at 5:11 am

    Can you again confirm the cellular connectivity on Thinkpad Yoga? I do not see it in the models I see in the market.

    Thanks,
    Anugreh

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 5, 2014 at 11:43 am

      No, there’s an error there, based on early speculation, before the product was actually launched. Lenovo does not offer a cellular modem for the ThinkPad Yoga, from what I can see right now. Sry for the inconvenience and I’ll update the article

  12. Muradori

    March 12, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Hi Andrei. Thanks for sharing your knowledge on all these devices. I’m looking for an ultrabook (detachable or convertible) that has kind of the Samsung Ativ Q features (everything on a top level) and that will be available until summer. Costs are subordinate. What do you think? And do you really believe the Ativ Q will be launched at all? Thanks again, greetings from Switzerland.

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 13, 2014 at 10:38 am

      According to the latest rumors, mobile Broadwell platforms won’t be available until Early 2015. So we might not see that many new ultrabooks this year. Of course, I’m confident we’ll have some new models and some refreshes of existing models. but I can’t say much about those.

      As for the ATIV Q, I haven’t heard anything about it later, so it might not launch at all. Who knows.

      Either way, there are a few months till summer, so better just wait for new devices and take your decisions when closer to your due date.

  13. Pankaj

    March 13, 2014 at 1:50 am

    I’m looking for a laptop 15 inch screen along with tablet mode. Ofcourse some high resolution display 1920×1080 with reliability.

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 13, 2014 at 10:39 am

      The Acer Aspire R7 or the Sony Flip 15 should meet your requirements

  14. Judy

    March 20, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Andrei Hi,

    On the Acer Aspire R7, I havent read very good reviews on the after sales service. That seems to be a pain point. Would you still suggest that its a good buy.
    I am looking for a light weight but heavy on the specs (graphics, ram etc) ultrabook. I read your reviews about the ASUS transformer TX300 and am not sure if I should go for it ? Not too keen on a dual operating system and a cross play (ultrabook to tablet to pc all in one ). Reason being I am not too confident that the tech companies are on the ball right now, so to say.
    Please suggest. Open to your comments even if they are contrary to what I have said.

    Going a bit crazy with the research right now.

    Thanks

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 20, 2014 at 9:49 am

      The thing is that I can’t comment about customer support in the US. By what other commenters said, most companies offer pretty sucky services, including Acer, Asus, Lenovo, etc. So if the service is bad with Acer and you think you might have to go to them for any reason, you’d better look at something else.

      The TX300 on the other hand runs Windows 8, there’s no dual-OS on it (that’s the Transformer Book Trio, but I haven’t properly tested it). It’s also running IVy Bridge hardware, I’m not sure it’s the best pick right now.

      I’m sorry I can’t find any previous comment of yours, so I’m not sure if I suggested anything else before. So perhaps you can tell me what exactly are you looking for (budget, what matters more to you) and I can come with other suggestions. Thanks

  15. Judy

    March 21, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Andrei,
    Thanks for replying. I’ll list what I am planning on doing with the laptop.
    I will be using it at Uni and at work. Lot of research, web browsing, I have a blog, so a lot of work there too. A bit of basic designing and a lot of excel sheets power point and so forth. I will be carrying it around a lot – uni, workplace, cafes & parks too, wherever I might need some imagination:)
    I want a laptop that is light, classy, long battery life as I will be using it for many hours, excellent graphics (Nvidia), execellent screen resolution, fast – speed and responsiveness (so a higher RAM is preferable), good storage (1 TB is not critical),shouldnt tamper scratch damage easily (gorilla glass preferred), should not get uncomfortably hot with use, should give me the flexibility to load software that I want, and yea with atleast 3 high speed ports plus HDMI etc, CD drive, a backlit keyboard ..yep I guess that covers it. I can manage to spend 1 and a half to 2K max. Even 2 is a stretch, but yea. (Have I asked for the world :) )

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 21, 2014 at 9:03 am

      Hey Judy.

      If you want something that you’ll carry around, I’d suggest going for a laptop with a 13 inch screen or smaller. For your needs, I don’t think you’re going to need the dedicated graphics. If you insist on having those, your options are going to be greatly limited (to the Asus Zenbook UX302 or larger laptops).

      Again, since you’re not planning on running very demanding applications, you can either go for a Core i5 or i7 processor from the latest Intel Haswell line (with this sort of indicator: Core i5/i7-4xxx). Large storage space is problematic, because these thin and light laptops come with SSD, and buying more than 256 GBs is going to be extremely expensive. So I’d say settle for a 256 GB option and use an external HDD for extra storage space.

      Then, you do have the ports. These thin devices don’t have a lot of room for ports. HDMI, 2 USBs, card-reader, that’s what you’ll mostly find on them. Forget about CD drives, you’ll hardly find any premium ultrabooks with opticla units anymore, but again, you cna buy an external optical drive if really needed and connect it via USB when required.

      Those being said, most of the laptops in this list should fit fine your needs: http://www.ultrabookreview.com/251-best-ultrabooks/ . personally, I’d look at the Aspire S7-392 , the Asus Zenbook UX301LA, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus, the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro and the HP Spectre 13T-3000 . See which one checks most of your required needs, but be prepared to make compromises with all of them, as there’s no way to squeeze all that you listed in a nowadays ultraportable laptop (especially the ports and the optical drive, which are available on large devices, but you loose portability with them) .

  16. ravellar

    March 25, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Can you do a review of Magic Zlate 11 . The website is tcdmagic.com . Thanks

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 25, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      I’d love to if they would send me a review unit. Otherwise, I doubt it

  17. Judy

    March 26, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Andrei, wanted to say a big thank you for all the help.
    Please let me know when you are in my part of the world (oz), would love to take you out for lunch to say thanks.

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 31, 2014 at 8:47 am

      I’m here to help, Judy, so I’m glad I could. Share the site around and tell your friends about it, that’s the best way to say thanks ;)

  18. Gabriel Vargaa

    March 26, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    I am thinking on buying the lenovo yoga 2 11″ and I would like to see a review from you guys first. Can you please make one?

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 31, 2014 at 8:48 am

      Hmmm, I’ll try but can’t promise. it’s not available in my country right now

  19. sara murray

    March 27, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Hi Andrei
    Thanks for your review and great insights for us laypersons. My daughter spilt a cup of coffee on my one year old hp ultrabook and i am on the search for a new one. Hoping you could give me some ideas.

    Will be moving it around the house a lot as well as from classroom to classroom – so needs to be sturdy and light. Do mainly light tasks on it, a lot of typing so good keyboard is a must, but other than that it is mainly internet, presenting software, and playing movies. No gaming.
    Use it for all my classes in school so quick start up is a must
    Would like to have touch screen and good storage so I dont have to load my workfiles daily. Dont need optical drives but would like to have WiDi so I can connect to my smart tv wirelessly. Willing to pay for it but a good price would obviously be beneficial.
    Any help would be appreciated
    Thanks
    Sara

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 31, 2014 at 8:58 am

      Hey Sara. Most available ultrabooks should fit your needs. Look for something with the latest generation of Intel Hardware inside, called Haswell. You’ll be able to recognize them by the CPU’s name, it looks something like this Core i3/i5/i7-4XXX .Older generation started with a 3 (2012 – early 2013 models) or a 2 (older ones).

      If you want to use the laptop for a few years, I’d go with a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a solid amount of storage (a 256 GB SSD would be enough, imh). If the budget allows, go for one of the higher end configurations, with SSDs, not HDDs, the first help save battery life and are way way faster.

      Touchscreens should be available on all these latest ultrabooks. Good keyboards though can be a bit problematic. Lenovos, HPs, Dells tend to have above average keyboards and trackpads. The others are average or even below.

      NOw, my list of recommended ultrabooks should help you identify some winning models (this one: http://www.ultrabookreview.com/251-best-ultrabooks/ ). If you’re after something portable, I’d recommend some of the following 13 inchers: HP Spectre 13T-3000 (great price), Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro (good price, versatile form factor), Acer Aspire S7 (solid overall, bit pricey, looks sleek), Samsung Ativ BOok 9 Plus and Asus Zenbook Ux301. But there are other solid picks as well.

  20. Rebekah

    April 1, 2014 at 2:53 am

    Hi Andrei,

    I’m looking for a tablet/laptop that I can use for Microsoft Office and web browsing. I like the idea of a detachable screen. My budget is up to $800. What do you recommend?

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