Ultrabooks Report

Fixya Ultrabooks Report

Asus Zenbook Prime

Top Asus Zenbook Prime Issues

Synopsis:

The Asus Zenbook Prime has been billed as a legitimate competitor to Apple's Macbook Air and for good reason—the device is a solid experience overall, with multiple things that consumers want and need found throughout the device.

It's either going to be a hit or miss with the majority of consumers due to one large issue however—the trackpad. The Prime is most definitely not for those who expect to be doing a lot of writing on the device, nor will it be amendable for anyone who expects to be spending a lot of time using the trackpad.

Along with being touchy and mercurial, the trackpad is inconsistent and doesn't provide a refined experienced for users. Whether it be your cursor jumping across the page, or selecting text that you didn't select and occasionally altering it, the Prime is not an option for writers or bloggers who will use it for creating content.

The Fix:

There are a couple of options for consumers who want to improve trackpad issues with the Zenbook Prime. They are as follows:

  • Download third-party drivers to improve the trackpad's ability
  • Utilize the software Asus ships that allows you to alter the trackpad to your liking

After being installed, the software allows you to adjust the following assets of the trackpad:

  • Area being detected
  • Size of area being detected
  • Customized area where trackpad is most sensitive
  • Number of fingers being used
  • Different settings for the number of fingers used on trackpad (i.e. one finger swipes can behave differently than multi-finger swipes)

Although these fixes may not solve the issues for everyone, they do provide a solid option for consumers who wish to improve the most frustrating aspect of the device.

Macbook Air

Top Macbook Air Issues

Synopsis:

Apple has continued to redefine their product offering year over year, improving upon their "pick up and use" mantra while constantly bringing a sleek design to consumers. The Macbook Air product line, much maligned during its release in 2008 due to various issues, is a testament to the company's knack for revolutionary products.

At its core the Macbook Air is a smooth device with very little to complain about. Its simplicity, seamless integration with other company offerings, and ability to perform multiple core tasks without sacrificing speed or usability is a big reason why it's hard to find a more complete consumer package.

Although it should be acknowledged that those on a tight budget may have difficulty splurging on the most expensive ultrabook, there's little doubt this device is the best pound for pound ultrabook on the market today.

With that being said, there are issues with the computer. While some of these problems are typical of the ultrabook market as a whole, consumers should be cognizant of them before plunking down their hard earned dollars.

Issues such as low memory are typical of ultrabooks, while things such as thermal shutdown, speaker quality, and difficulty to repair are relevant to Macbook Air owners specifically

The Fix:

As with any small laptop, the name of the game is compromise. Apple has done a great job of limiting those comprimises, but issues crop up in the thermal shutdown area (i.e. heating of the device causes shutdown) as well as the fact that it is difficult to repair on its own.

If you receive a thermal forced shutdown or experience extensive heating of your Macbook Air, complete the following steps:

  • Make sure vents aren't covered
  • Turn down screen brightness
  • Let computer rest for a half hour
  • Reduce leaving computer in the sun or using outside
  • Don't leave computer battery charging beyond 100%

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon

Top Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Issues

Synopsis:

Developed primarily for the business professional, the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon is a device that delivers an admirable effort for their market segment. The keyboard is excellent, providing great response for users' keystrokes and seldom becoming taxing on your fingers—the spacing between the keys makes writing emails and documents a breeze, a large asset that the company wanted to ensure worked well.

However, much like the Thin + Light, the Thinkpad X1 Carbon is plagued by poor battery life. For business professionals on the go this can be a major issue—whether it's a case of working on a project at a local coffee shop or on the train home from work, an outlet must always be handy lest you see your battery life dwindle quickly. The touchpad is also inconsistent like the Zenbook Prime, posing difficulties if you're editing a presentation or document via your cursor.

The Fix:

In order to improve your battery life, complete the following steps:

  • Turn down screen brightness
  • Turn down screen resolution
  • Ensure you bring a charger with you wherever you go
  • Do not use multitasking and have multiple applications open at once

The last point is important—along with serving to drain your precious battery life quicker, the Thinkpad X1 Carbon runs extremely slow when attempting to multitask.

For the average business customer this could conceivably be a small issue considering it's likely only one project will be open at a time, but if you have Power Point open and working on a presentation while grabbing data from Excel and supplementing that with online research, you're going to witness a huge loss in performance and great frustration.

Dell XPS 14z

Top Dell XPS 14z Issues

Synopsis:

Let's start with the biggest issue from a broad perspective, even if it's not one consumers complaining the most about.

After less than six months on the market, Dell announced that they have discontinued making the XPS 14z. While this doesn't necessarily mean prospective buyers should steer clear of the device, it's an indication that a) Dell wasn't selling as many as the XPS 14z's as they expected and b) future support for the device should be considered spotty at best.

Dell's reasoning for the discontinuation was the fact that they're looking to add sleeker and more refined products in the future—the XPS 14z is a bit bulkier than the standard ultrabook, so introducing a newer line of products makes sense.

Having said that, we recommend consumers steer clear. Along with the likelihood of a lack of support in the future, the XPS 14z struggles with wireless card issues, poor screen quality compared to competing ultrabooks, and heats up quickly to boot. Coupled with the bulkiness of the device, this is one of the least favored ultrabooks amongst FixYa users.

The Fix:

If you're experiencing wireless connectivity issues like other XPS 14z owners, follow these steps:

  • Go to Dell's support page at http://support.dell.com
  • Click on "Drivers Home" in the left hand navigation
  • Select Yes or No depending upon your device and warranty
  • Select your device
  • Download the relevant drivers for wireless connectivity

If that doesn't work, you have two other options:

  • Download the Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 from the Dell support page
  • Call a Dell technician to check out your device

If your XPS 14z is experiencing issues with overheating, follow these steps:

  • Purchase a laptop cooling fan (a burden if travelling mobile)
  • Replace the faulty fans in your computer
  • Buy a chill pad with USB connectivity that plugs into the XPS 14z

Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5

Top Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5 Issues

Synopsis:

The Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5 is an ultrabook made for gamers. If you're looking for the best way to bring a portable device with you and still enjoy all of the computer games you love, there's no doubt this offering from Acer will be at the top of your list.

Unfortunately, the quality of the screen leaves something to be desired, as well as the loud fan that accompanies the device's tendency to overheat. For gamers this can be an issue as long marathon sessions are common as well as the fact that the display screen is the most important aspect of enjoying your entertainment experience.

It should be noted that the graphics processing card is excellent, and handles just about everything that you throw at it. Having said that, with screen quality an issue amongst FixYa users, it's easy to overlook the graphics card when the quality of the screen isn't up to snuff.

The Aspire is a laptop that does a lot of things moderately well but doesn't necessarily exceed in one area outside of gaming. If you're not going to be logging the majority of your time on this device enjoying games, look for another option. The price point is excellent however, leaving gamers a solid option for a dedicated laptop to fulfill all of their needs.

The Fix:

Unfortunately for users, there's no hard and fast solution to improving screen resolution or decreasing the amount of heat and fan usage the device churns out. For gamers this will be an issue worth considering, although the price and graphics card may make it worth the plunge.

Vizio Thin + Light

Top Vizio Thin + Light Issues

Synopsis:

The Vizio Thin + Light is television powerhouse Vizio's first foray into the ultrabook world, and one of their earliest products in the home computing market. After introducing the 1008 tablet to the market recently, Vizio has advanced their platform to include ultrabooks as well.

This pays off in an area where you would expect it to—the screen. The display is a gorgeous piece of work, which is entirely understandable considering Vizio's current reign as the most successful television company in the United States.

However, some key issues plague this ultrabook and show that the young upstart rookie still needs some seasoning to compete in the big leagues. A weak battery life means the beautiful display will only be on so long without a charge, while a strange keyboard also makes typing and writing a chore most will not want to stick through.

Without a backlit keyboard for typing at night, as well as a strange key response with your fingertips that consumers will take some getting used to, the Thin + Light is a solid first effort but one that needs to improve in Vizio's sophomore campaign.

The Fix:

As with the majority of ultrabooks that struggle with battery life, the solutions are as follows:

  • Turn down screen resolution
  • Turn down screen brightness
  • Ensure you bring a charger with you wherever you go

Avoid playing hi-resolution games for extended periods of a time

Lenovo IdeaPad

Top Lenovo IdeaPad Issues

Synopsis:

The Lenovo IdeaPad is plagued with two major WiFi issues that consumers who regularly access the internet should be aware of.

The first is the speed of the WiFi, which fluctuates between being marginally slow to downright atrocious. Considering the amount of user reports of this issue it's hard to imagine it can be an issue with user's routers—the vast majority of individuals reporting this problem are concurrently stating that other computers in their household are not experiencing the same type of slow speed when browsing the net.

The second major issue is the fact that users are sometimes unable to access the internet at all or need to be an uncomfortable distance from their base station to get reliable service (some users report 8 feet as the maximum distance which is essentially as good as an Ethernet connection).

Battery life is a constant issue for ultrabooks so this shouldn't come as a surprise, and neither should the quality of the bezel which surrounds the IdeaPad's screen. Having said that, coupled with the WiFi issues, this device seems to be plagued with some critical errors.

The Fix:

Lenovo has publicly acknowledged the WiFi issues with the IdeaPad, but unfortunately the common refrain is that this is a hardware issue versus a software issue. What that means for consumers is this—troubleshooting is only going to get you so far.

In order to fix your WiFi issues, complete the following steps

  • Go to Lenovo's support page at http://support.lenovo.com/
  • Enter the name of your product and related information
  • Select your product from the menu
  • On the "Drivers and Software" page select any applicable "Networking Categories"
  • Select "Click For Files" to download the files
  • Run through the install process to update your drivers

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