Nearly 60 percent of computers sold in 2011 were notebooks of one kind or another — desktop PCs, by contrast, accounted for less than 30 percent. Over the years, laptops have become generally slimmer, lighter and less power-hungry, and they will remain the staple tool of business workforces worldwide for the foreseeable future.
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An ultrabook that can convert to a tablet when the occasion demands, the ThinkPad Twist has a lot going for it. The build quality is very good, and there are enough business-friendly features to make it acceptable as a BYOD system. Battery life may be an issue though.
Windows 8 is OUT on my next-generation Pavilion dm1, and Linux — in the shape of Fedora 18, openSuSE 12.3, Mint 14 and Ubuntu 12.10 — is IN.
The VAIO T13 ultrabook is attractively priced, but Sony has made a number of compromises to achieve this.
The Tecra R950 is a hefty 15.6in. business-grade notebook with an up-to-date set of security and manageability features, integrated mobile broadband and a solid but understated design. It performs well enough for its market, but we'd prefer a higher screen resolution.
The Latitude E6430s is a solidly built and highly configurable 14in. business notebook with excellent security and remote management features. However, some may find it just too big and heavy to take on their travels.
Toshiba's 13.3in. Portégé Z930 is a small, neat and lightweight business-grade ultrabook with mobile broadband support. However, it's expensive, and the screen could be better.
This lighter-than-MacBook-Air 11.6in. ultrabook has a slim but sturdy carbon-fibre chassis and performs well for a system with integrated graphics, although battery life is slightly disappointing.
The Satellite Pro L830 isn't a particularly lightweight, compact or powerful 13.3in. notebook, and the screen quality could be better. Still, it's quite solidly made, there's plenty of hard drive storage and the price is reasonable.
The Vostro 3560's 1080p screen is well worth the extra outlay, and rest of the specification is solid, although we'd like more storage options. The physical design is unremarkable, the keyboard a little too flexible and battery life disappointing, but it's still good value for money.
The Aspire S5 is an exceptionally slim, light and stylish ultrabook. However, it's also expensive: to blow us away, it needs a better screen, an Ethernet port and longer battery life — and a lower price.
This 11.6in. notebook is an outstanding performer. It's not particularly lightweight or attractive, but the specification is top-notch and the screen, keyboard and touchpad are all perfectly usable. Plenty of professionals will be keen to get their hands on this system, if they can stomach the price tag.
The Satellite Pro C850-10N delivers decent performance at a reasonable price. The keyboard flex is a concern, but build quality is generally robust. Overall, it's a good basic business workhorse.
Despite a number of drawbacks, the Vostro 3555 could be a good buy if you're looking for a low-cost business workhorse. It's also the first business notebook we've seen with three USB 3.0 ports.
Dell's XPS 13 Ultrabook looks stunning, and has a good keyboard. However it's short on ports and connectors, and the display's resolution and vertical viewing angles could be better.
Dell's convertible Latitude XT3 tablet has some neat features and a good choice of configurations. However, it lacks USB 3.0 and an optical drive, battery life is disappointing and it's relatively heavy for a 13.3in. notebook. As a result, we'd hesitate to recommend it for everyday use.