By James R. Hood
Consumers who mostly use their computers for email, social media, games and web browsing have been migrating to tablets lately, which is understandable.
But for the working stiffs who use laptops for professional purposes -- writing, editing, programming, moderating and so forth -- a tablet doesn't really do the job.
Fortunately, there is the Ultrabook -- the super-thin, super-powerful laptop developed by Intel and now being produced under all the usual computer brand names. The Ultrabooks feature a slimmed-down physical profile, super-sharp displays, fast processors and long battery life. Most are powered primarily by solid-state drives instead of the clunky old hard drives, which makes them boot up lightning fast and load programs in the blink of an eye.
But let's face it -- you still have to be able to type on them. And if you use your Ultrabook for work, you have to be able to type quickly and accurately. Unfortunately, this is a little something that has evaded the notice of many of the biggest names in computerdom.
Worst ever ...
A few months back, I tested Asus' take on the ultrabook, dubbed the Asus Zenbook. It was gorgeous. Clad in a shiny metal case with a stunning display and superquick solid-state drive, it was a marvel to behold.
But it was hell to type on. It was about as much fun as a 1949 Royal typewriter that someone had spilled maple syrup into. As I said in our review, generously titled Worst Laptop Ever, it might be great for lots of things but for typing -- forget it.
I was overjoyed to see the end of the Asus and gleefully dropped it off at the Federal Express office..
We then spent some time doing what Best Buy hates more than anything. We wandered around their stores "showrooming" other Ultrabooks. Many were attractive, some were affordable but none really seemed up to the task of having someone pound on their keyboard 10 or 12 hours per day.