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Should You Own A Tablet or An Ultrabook?

Updated on April 6, 2014

Let's Take A Step Back Before Moving Forward

Everyone will go through it at some point "Do I get an Ultrabook or do I get a tablet?" It can be a completely daunting decision leading you to hundreds of different reviews of products (more often than not the same products reviewed by different people) only to lead you to an overwhelming halt in your final decision. I know this from complete experience, in fact I just made it out of that decision clad rut a week ago. I was in that rut for a few years constantly changing my mind about this Ultrabook or that tablet and when I finally made the decision of which to get I discovered that I was only at the beginning of that roller coaster. So that's why I'm here writing to give you all a bit of clarity on your decision so that you can confidently choose which is the best product for your daily needs.

Nexus 7

The Google Nexus 7 one of the top rated tablets on the market.
The Google Nexus 7 one of the top rated tablets on the market. | Source

Portability & Productivity Which Is Most Important?

We all want something that has the portability factor, with all the new exciting tablets out there like the Google Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy Tab, & Asus Transformer Prime offering fairly strong productivity features such as AndroOpen Office, Evernote, and Google Drive , it seems a sweet deal to minimize your space and get one of these portable devices. The question which remains is does the device live up to your expectation after you've experienced it for awhile? Each device has it's own array of features to spell you into purchasing it, whether you're buying for the aesthetic/build quality, the power packed processor and component aspect, or the "cool" factor of just saying that you have a tablet. It's easy to walk into a Best Buy and be impulsed to try n buy any of their products available on the shelf, but you have to take a moment to really look at the experience you wish to have with that product. Sure a tablet is portable, battery efficient, and a great device for entertainment but is that enough to make the productivity marks that you have set out to accomplish your daily goals?

When it comes to productivity there are certain benchmarks you have set in your mind that any device you're interested in should cover. Sure you can get a Samsung Galaxy Note and jot down any daily notes or an upcoming speech, but is that enough to accomplish a properly formatted paper or any other document that requires a word processor expected to work flawlessly? There are plenty different word processing apps in the Play Store or Amazon App store that have tantalizing reviews and of course you're going to want to try it out. To my own heartbreak I discovered many flaws with the apps starting with the processing power of the app itself and the incompatibility of saving/formatting (even though they say you can save in .docx). This created some mild chaos in my work environment and the inability of my clients being able to open certain documents that were uploaded into the cloud. Browsing can be done minimally with some websites loading ok and others making your browser crash continuously. We need the productivity to be on point in order for a device to be completely useful. I can safely say that you'll get less than half of the problems with an Ultrabook when it comes to productivity.

Last but not least let's talk about what's inside of these devices. I was drawn into the vortex with the "quad core" processor and yes folks 1 whole GB of RAM. I thought to myself "Wow this should really work flawlessly with the multi-tasking feature and being able to go through multiple windows at a time!" It became quite evident that the Android system itself just wasn't prepared for the kind of multi-tasking that I had in mind for it. Yes, you are able to do light multi-tasking and have multiple programs running but when you get to the heftier side of things by running large data and resource dependent apps while not constantly closing each app is pretty much a frozen brick. I have a high distaste in the way that Android likes to use resources and processes which quickly run down your battery and cause random system resets. Even going in and killing the processes doesn't stop them completely because they end up restarting in the background Sure you're able to counter this if you're a developer or an advanced Android user, but what about a novice or the rest of the general public? I've lived through too many crashes of unsaved work to want to ever experience it again.

Ultrabook or Tablet?

What's More Important To You?

See results

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

The Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, highly affordable and efficiently powerful.
The Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, highly affordable and efficiently powerful. | Source

HP Spectre 13t

The HP Spectre 13t-3000, affordable and chic.
The HP Spectre 13t-3000, affordable and chic. | Source

Sleek, Slim, & Light - Ultrabooks

This past year was a giant leap for ultraportable notebooks into the land of Ultrabooks. Sleek, slim, and light laptops packed with powerful processors and exceptional screens. The one thing that is was less exceptional were the prices for most of these Ultrabooks, ranging from the $999.00 and up. Yes, this is a giant leap from the tablet world by quite a few hundred dollars but you definitely get what you pay for...if select the right Ultrabook. I went through so many different reviews by quite a few users on YouTube and the web alike, just to see what the overall opinion was in Ultrabooks out there. I spent a couple years in my research dreading every day that I had to use my tablet to accomplish tasks that should be taken care of with ease. Even in the beginning the available Ultrabooks were much too overpriced and not making the marks that I had set out for them.

The most beneficial factors to having the tablet was that it will turn on instantaneously and you can put it to sleep without having to wait forever for it to come on nor compromise your system. This was all due to no moving parts inside the machine and there was no affordable Ultrabook on the market at the time with an SSD they mostly contained a hybrid drive. I'm not too fond of the hybrid drives or any drive for that matter that has moving parts. In my experience moving parts delegate a breaking factor at some point in the computers life. The second is the entertainment factor, a tablet is a great device for playing fun games and watching movies on the go. So I waited and watched a few hundred more reviews on products and then 2013 rolls around with some great product choices. An important deciding factor that you should all keep in mind with Ultrabooks is the build quality. Sure you can have a great things inside but if the outer shell quality is lacking then it probably isn't worth what you're about to put into it.

Secondary to this build quality is what's inside of the machine itself. In the beginning the Intel Core i3 was a baseline processor but it completely lacked in making an Ultrabook um Ultra. In 2013 we saw that processor easily phased out of the Ultrabook world and a new standard was set with the much more capable Intel Core i5 Haswell. Next there was the screen resolution phase, sure 720p is nice but it's not worth the $999.00 & up price tag especially when the similarly priced Apple Macbook Pro comes with it's duly represented Retina screen. It's most especially inconvenient when you have programs like Hulu and Netflix streaming in 1080 quality. You want the most for your money and it wasn't until late 2013 that we saw products coming out with native 1080pHD, QHD, & WQHD with great color depth.

The very last thing you want to look for in an Ultrabook is the battery life, don't listen to the claims of the manufacturer definitely take the time to watch a few reviews to get the real battery life information. You'll want something with at the very least a 6 hour battery life range or higher, this will help to maximize your productivity. I suspect that most the Ultrabooks coming out in 2014 and ahead will only continue to get better and more affordable as Notebooks get phased out of the picture. So take the time to do your research and find what model is going to suit you best!

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Review by MobileTechReview

Bridging The Gap

So you have a tablet but it doesn't perform how you would like it to and you want an Ultrabook that'll give you a similar experience. In late 2013 Lenovo decided to answer this question by releasing the Yoga 2 Pro, an improved version of it's original predecessor with higher resolution display, Intel Core i5 Haswell, and a thinner less obtrusive profile. The Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro merges the worlds between tablet and laptop by it's patented 360 degree display hinge. This allows the user to use the Ultrabook in 4 different modes great for watching movies and keeping the keyboard out of harms way, also including a tablet mode with a flawless on screen keyboard. Not only is the hinge nice but the accu-type keyboard definitely tops many of the competitor keyboards out there giving you a swift typing experience.

With many other convertibles out on the market the Yoga 2 Pro seems to have hit the mark in durability, performance, and look. Okay so it doesn't have that aluminum aesthetic that some of the other "higher-end" and yes this bothered me at first as well since the price point was up there. After being able to have this Ultrabook for a week now not having the aluminum build is actually fine by me. The texture and rubberized body help to keep the Ultrabook stable in it's 4 different modes with it's anti slip grip. The Yoga 2 Pro may have not made a higher mark than the HP Spectre 13t-3000 as far as SSD reading capabilities but it fairs pretty well in speed turning on in just 8 seconds and waking from sleep in even less time as well as having a much higher resolution screen at 3200 x 1800 QHD Touchscreen.

The Yoga 2 Pro's power plug is definitely one to consider. Lenovo has it's own proprietary plug that feels sturdy and a power brick only a few inches long and a couple inches wide. These are great factors in determining the portability of an Ultrabook, I mean who wants to carry a huge brick in their bag? In conclusion the Yoga 2 Pro did it's job in bridging the gap between a tablet and a laptop. It handles media extremely well and the screen is just amazing compared to others on the market. For the price of what you're getting to what you're missing out on from a higher-end Ultrabook I'd say the product is completely unbeatable.

Top 3 Ultrabooks

(click column header to sort results)
HP Spectre 13t-3000  
3.34lbs, Intel Core i5 Haswell, 2560 x 1440 QHD Touchscreen Display, Beats Audio, 6 hour battery life up to 9 hours, HP Control Zone Trackpad, Aluminum Metal Build, New Enlarged 4GB RAM & 128GB SSD  
4 - Star Rating  
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
3.06lbs, Intel Core i5 Haswell, 3200 x 1800 QHD Touchscreen Display, 6 hours Battery Life up to 8 Hours, 360 Degree Hinge, Textured Rubberized Anti-Slip Build, 4GB RAM & 128GB SSD
4 1/2 - Star Rating
Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus
2.55lbs, Intel Core i5 Haswell, 3200 x 1800 QHD Touchscreen Display, 8 Hours or Up to 11 Hours Battery Life, Aluminum Build Quality, 4GB RAM & 128GB SSD
4 1/2 - Star Rating
These are the top 3 Ultrabooks on the market with the most amount of benefits and the least amounts of hassle.

That's All Folks

Now that you have a better understanding in the capabilities of a tablet vs an Ultrabook I'm sure you're thinking well the choice is obvious between the two. If you're looking for something that is strictly for media, entertainment & fun app gaming then choose a tablet for it's lightweight portability. If you're looking for something that's a bit more productive in all aspects then choose the Ultrabook that's right for you. It isn't going to be an easy decision so weigh out your options pretty well before going to the store or purchasing online. The most important thing is to take your time while doing it, don't rush into a purchase just because it looks nice, make sure that it also performs as you want it to.


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