Ultra-thin laptops – are they worth the weight?

Ultra thin laptop

If you have been looking for a lightweight and ultra-thin laptop recently, you will have noted a sudden increase in brands and models targeting this sector of the market.

From the Microsoft Surface to the MacBook Air, laptops (or more accurately named Ultrabooks) are more popular than ever. The reason is simple. Laptops are heavy, cumbersome to carry and have bulky chargers. Not the easiest devices to lug on trains or planes.

The other option is of course a tablet. From the Samsung Tab to the Lenovo Flex, tablets are lightweight alternative with smaller chargers and better battery life. However, even these devices have their shortcomings, namely the Operating System is often incompatible with specific software. Coupled with either an on-screen or 3rd party bluetooth keyboard, the disadvantages are apparent.

The newcomer to the party is the Ultra-Book. Maintaining high performance components with convenience of a keyboard and excellent battery life (in comparison to a laptop). Such examples are the Microsoft Surface Po, MacBook Air or the Lenovo Miix. These devices have premium prices but tick most boxes for a lightweight and highly portable laptop. You will pay at least twice the cost of a regular laptop, but users (including myself) confirm the cost is worth the benefits.

However, there is a “but” and it is a big “but”.

When an ultra-book goes it wrong, it may not be worth the cost of repair. The reason for this phenomenon is down to the manufacturing process of these devices.

A standard laptop is held together by clips and screws. Some brands build robust laptops with higher quality plastics and screws whilst cheaper brands use flimsy plastics and lots of plastic catches and clips. Either way. if a laptop screen breaks, it is a half-hour job to remove the old screen and replace with a new one. The same applies to damage to a laptop keyboard. Around £35 for a keyboard and half-hour fitting will see you up and running again.

Whereas, an Ultra-book uses special manufacturing process to combine components together. This includes screen lamination, bonded cases and glued keyboards. In many cases, it is impossible to change a hard drive, or replace a casing or increase the ram. Broken screens can signal the end to your treasured device.

Whilst we could debate the pro’s and cons on repairability, this is not the moral of the story

When buying a new ultra-book, we strongly recommend you insure the device, including against accidental damage. Whilst you may argue that you have 12 month warranty with the retailer, this is often not the case. After the initial 30 days, you are likely to be directed to the manufacturer for repairs or faults. Having a good insurance on your device will give you the peace and mind that in the event of accidental damage, or manufacturing fault, you will not be out of pocket for possible repairs.

Remember, new technology may look pretty but its a lot more expensive, if not impossible to repair. Take precautions now.