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I own an ultrabook. I didn’t realise that I needed one until I sat with that feather light device on my lap and started working. It barely registered as a weight on my legs, the keyboard was an excellent size with great responsiveness, and the power beat my desktop PC hands down.

To be fair, my desktop PC, the one I use exclusively for working, is older than Methuselah…

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For many people the cost of buying a smartphone, a tablet, a notebook or an ultrabook, or any combination thereof, is prohibitive. In fact, they can only justify spending their cash on one of these items. So which one is right for you?

The checklist:

You should consider investing in a notebook if:

  • You want a device that can handle substantial processing and has substantial power.  Power-hungry software such as Adobe InDesign or the hefty requirements of Microsoft Office cannot be fed properly by tablets or smartphones. If you want something that can do everything that a desktop can, only on the move, then a laptop is for you.
  • Mobility. Sure the laptop isn’t as easily transported as the tablet, nor is it as light, but it does more and you can find plenty of bags that distribute the weight evenly enough that you don’t notice it that much. And the new wave of ultrabooks are so light and powerful that you’d be hard pressed to really mind that much.
  • The keyboard and display are far easier to work with than with a tablet or a smartphone, by a long shot. The huge display, the lovely QWERTY chiclet keyboard, the extra space for your hands to rest, the desktop real estate – these are all part and parcel of a laptop, not a tablet. Again, this is for people who really do need that extra space for working or gaming or enjoying multimedia – some do not mind doing these with less productivity tools and less screen space and that pushes them neatly into the tablet market.
  • You get more features with an ultrabook or laptop. These can be anything from the superior connectivity features to the extra speed, storage space and software. A laptop is a true all rounder that can even handle gaming (although not the latest high-end games on the latest ultrabook, for that you’d need to look at a rig specced specifically for gaming) and almost everything you can throw at it, with none of the limitations of the tablet.

You should not consider a notebook if:

  • You already have a solid and reliable desktop PC that can handle your workload and software demands, as well as your gaming requirements, and you don’t need to work on the go. You can do your work at home and use either a tablet or a smartphone for your commuting entertainment or notifications
  • You want something far lighter and more portable and you only want something to handle your emails, calendar and social networking – for that a tablet or a smartphone is ideal.
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