Intel sent me a Haswell Ultrabook to review, and since it runs Windows 8 and has a multi-touch screen I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
The book weighs in at 3 pounds, 3.3 oz. It has a USB-3 on either side, along with a Type-D Micro-HDMI connector, a headphone jack and a hole for the power cord (which lights up to indicate charging) The power-cord is delightfully small and light.
Additional connectors are provided for a Secure Digital eXtended Capacity Memory Card and a SIM Card for WWAN. There is a power-reset button, which might come in handy.
The Ultrabook has an accelerometer, magnetometer, gryo meter and ambient light sensor. It also has a Chicony 2148 camera, a touch pad and, most important, a 1920 by 1080 touch screen.
It came pre-installed with Windows 8 Pro, though I had to use my own activation key (from MSDN) to get it up and running. This was expected and preserves Microsoft’s license.
<disclaimer>I received the Intel Ultrabook (pre-release) for free in the hope that I would write about it in this blog. I only recommend things I personally endorse and would otherwise recommend without further consideration. I’m disclosing this in accordance with the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Just in case, I also cleared it with my employer and I made sure the agreement said that my review would be my honest opinion. This review reflects my opinion alone, and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of my employer or anyone else.</disclaimer>
The computer came with 4GB of memory and a 180GB SSD with an Intel Core i5-435OU Processor (formerly code-named Haswell).
The first impression was very favorable, and they have significantly upgraded their packaging. The box was tight, everything was immediately visible and when you open the lid of the box it plays a little cadenza to mark the occasion.
There was not a lot of paperwork, but there was a good “Quick Start” guide that pointed to all the parts of the computer along with a “Dear Developer” cover sheet to assist with the evaluation.
In the box marked “Accessories” were a network adapter, a micro-HDMI to HDMI adapter and a USB to HDMI adapter. There was also a 16GB thumb drive with all the drivers, a configuration guide, and everything it takes to return the machine to factory conditions, which was very nice.
The computer itself feels substantial. It is a classic clamshell design, but it is very (very!) thin. It just looks nice, closed or open.
Under some conditions the fan can be loud, but this is noted in the release notes, and most of the time it is (nearly) silent.
Windows loaded and the computer was ready to go with zero adware. Responsiveness and speed is terrific.
All in all, this machine is clearly a contender. More to come in a subsequent review once I’ve lived with it for a while.