The Next Generation of Portable Computers

portable computers
Portable computers or single hybrid laptop/tablet systems can take the place of two computing platforms


Many business owners thinking about portable computers are torn between whether to get a laptop or a tablet. Each has its own benefits, but they also have drawbacks. In a perfect world, people might be able to afford both—but that isn’t often the case. Remedying that conundrum is a crop of so-called hybrid systems that offer the best of both worlds.

I remember the first portable computer I used in the 1980s: a Compaq Portable. It took up half my desk and I never took it anywhere, but at the time, it looked cool. More importantly, it set the pattern for my computing preferences: a portable computer as my sole computer. I used a succession of IBM ThinkPad laptops, and since 2008, my only computer has been a Lenovo X61 laptop. It came with Microsoft Vista installed and, after several “nuke and paves,” now ably runs Windows 8.1.

But there are some things I cannot do with this system. For example, I wanted to set up virtual machines (simulated computers) under Hyper-V, but they won’t run because of the old Intel Core 2 Duo processor on the X61. Additionally, battery life is a measly two hours, and, being a computer consultant helping clients with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, I’d like to go a full day without plugging in as I flit from site to site. I’ve simply outgrown my X61.

So what is the smart buy? A tablet, a laptop (an ultra-portable, mainstream desktop replacement that supports gaming) or a hybrid.

When choosing portable computers my preference is a hybrid or laptop that can morph into a touch-screen tablet. They’re very light at three pounds or less, support nine hours or more of battery life, have larger screens and sport faster fourth-generation Intel Haswell processors. In other words, they no longer suffer from serious compromises in power and features that general-purpose laptops and tablets present.



About the author

David Streit

David Streit is an IT consultant and an entrepreneur, as principal of Stephill Associates, LLC. in Manalapan, New Jersey. Stephill provides IT infrastructure and technology advisory services for small business clients in New Jersey and New York City. Streit has worked with PCs and technology for more than 25 years.  He and his wife, Claudia, have two daughters, Hillary and Stephanie. 
Stephill Associates website.