Feature: Soapbox Musings

Before You Buy an Ultrabook, Consider This

Author: Doug Bardwell
Published: January 15, 2013 at 5:57 am

If you are considering any of the terrific Ultrabooks just introduced at the 2013 International CES or those already on your dealer’s shelves, there are some tradeoffs that you should be aware of. If one is a deal breaker for you, better be aware before you buy.

Traveling with an Ultrabook for the first time, to a trade show like CES, you’ll quickly discover why your old laptop was so large.

First thing you’ll notice is that you probably don’t have a CD/DVD drive. If you have already ripped all your music and movies – no problem. But, if someone gives you a disk with their company information and photos on it, or maybe a movie they want you to watch – you’ve got no way to access the information unless you brought an external USB disk drive.

Do you file a lot of reports or do a lot of detailed work on your PC? Chances are you are more comfortable working with an external keyboard and mouse. The trackpads and onboard keyboards are usually not the best for pounding out financial worksheets or long reports.

How about storage? If you have a lot of back-up photos or video to store, your Ultrabook likely has a limited amount of storage. You’ll either need to back them up to DVD (see the external player above) or to an external USB drive.

If you need all four of those devices mentioned above – more problems. You probably only have two USB ports – maybe just one. You need three or four. Now what? A simple unpowered hub might seem like the solution, but it’s not. Most drives – either hard drives or DVD drives need the full power they get from plugging directly into your computer.

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Article Author: Doug Bardwell

Doug Bardwell is a writer, photojournalist and world traveler who covers tech, photography and travel for print and online publications around the world. Follow him at http://DougBardwell.com or on Twitter @PhotoDB.

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