When new form-factors are created, they attract curiosity, wonder or even skepticism. Sometime, it can be hard to relate to something new and when Toshiba asked us what kind of users we thought could benefit from their Portégé Detachable Ultrabook design in particular (official product page), but also from computers like it in general. We took a good look at different usage models, and reached a number of conclusions about who would best benefit from this form-factor. As the title indicates, we think that professionals are the more likely beneficiaries, but if you recognize yourself in these points, then you should take a good look at detachable Ultrabooks. Here they are:
1/ The tablet mode is more important to you than laptop mode
Since detachable Ultrabooks are specialized designs, they emphasize and optimize the Tablet-mode use, while providing a nice and meaningful fallback to a regular laptop experience. Although I use laptops as a primary form-factor while on the go, I have noticed that a number of people don’t spend their time “producing” content, but rather spend it “showing” content to clients or colleagues. This is true for sales people, real estate agents, designers etc… since the most important aspect of their job is their relation with the client (selling your work is as important as doing it for them). A tablet format is better because the screen doesn’t act as a “barrier” between the two persons, and doesn’t get in the way of human contact.
That said, virtually all of them will have a need for switching into “laptop mode” by the end of the day or the work session in order to catch up in emails, enter data or file a report, and there’s no question that a laptop form-factor is the best option here. Most would prefer carrying a single device.
2/ You need Windows
The first point makes sense, but the tablet offering is huge, so why use a Detachable Ultrabook and not something more affordable? I think that the most potent answer to that is “Windows”. In general, I always recommend that you do your homework and pick the best possible platform to get the job done. And that’s exactly why a large number of people need Windows: because their company or the software they need runs on that platform, and that could be something as simple as the “real” version of MS Office, SharePoint or Skype.
Also, the Metro apps on windows have come a long way, so they makes the tablet option even more compelling. Finally, it’s not really a “Windows thing”, but being able to stick a USB key and work directly on the files is not a luxury that you often find with many non-Windows tablets. Sometime it’s the little things that make a big difference: email file attachment, file browser, general documents compatibility, just to name a few.
3/ Productivity is important to you
Productivity has a lot to do with the apps you need, but it is also often about the industrial design of the device you are using. Because detachable Ultrabooks can take on a full-on laptop form, they also come with a real keyboard which is connected with a wired connection, so there is no latency, and no pairing required. It just works. It’s definitely possible to create keyboards apparatuses using non-Windows designs as well, but on average, you luck may vary greatly. Of all the Detachable Ultrabook that I have played with, most had a very decent keyboard experience, which is not the case for non-Windows tablets, with a few exceptions. When it comes down to comfort and design, I would recommend trying it whenever possible: I’m picky with keyboards, but many people aren’t, and this is very much a personal preference. Again, pick what works for you – this is your show.