What Ultrabook are you using for development?

What Ultrabook are you using for development?

Just curious if people are using Ultrabooks as their primary development machines.  If so, what make/model are you using and is there anything you like/dislike about it?

I've personally been coding almost exclusively on my 14" Ivy Bridge powered Ultrabook but I'm ready for an upgrade. I'm finding the 4gigs of ram a little limiting, but otherwise I love working on a machine with a touchscreen and all of the new sensors built in.

 I've got my eye on the HP Envy Touchsmart 14 with the QHD screen as a replacement.

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I do use the Acer Ultrabook 8GB as a primary development machine, in part to see the HSW optimization.  I won't comment on the pros and cons of needing touch screen in addition to external monitor (Acer doesn't have the screen resolution of my previous ThinkPad), keyboard and mouse.  I do wish it were as stable as Windows 7 and not so difficult to use Intel software tools and linux.

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, 13" UDH, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD

I love the screen, don't like Windows 8 Metro, the alternate "desktop" isn't too bad, but I miss Start | Programs | ...

While I can use Search.... I have to know the frigg'n name as used by Search. Having an installed programs browsing tree is much better for me.

I haven't had any issues other than for the screen automatically switching to Weather or some other metro app.

Also, what I find annoying (Metro), the IE launch launches (used to) with a Spam tab offering games. It took a while to get rid of that. The IE when launched from metro has no title bar, which is good when I don't want a title bar. However, try dragging that (non-)window to a second monitor (e.g. large HD TV attached to HDMI port). Now there may be a way to do this, but it is not intuitive.

Setting aside the W8 user interface, the Ultrabook is great for development.

I would like to see:

A second lid containing the same display, same size and resolution. IOW a second monitor of same form factor as lid monitor. A larger SSD would help too, though at the moment I have plenty of room remaining after installing MS VS 2010 and Parallel Studio XE 2013.

Back to the marvelous screen.

Last November, I upgraded the monitor on my desktop to a 4K (Seiki 39" TV/monitor 3840 x 2160). This replaced multiple monitors (2 or 3 depending on what I was doing). Using Remote Desktop, I can get almost all the content. Although the text is tiny, it is sharp and, my eyesight is good enough to read it.

I could not have done this without this Ultrabook. This saves me from running between my office and my computer lab.

Jim Dempsey



Downloadimage/png i72600k.png819.53 KB

That's a pretty fantastic idea of replacing a couple of monitors with a big QHD screen.

You probably know this, but both Lenovo and Asus make pretty descent portable USB screens.  I have 15.6" Asus and it works really well and has surprisingly good brightness - its no IPS, and its not QHD, but I still like having a portable 1080p second screen.  And I've actually used it as a primary screen travelling with a Mac Mini :)

And Re Win8 - I'm still hoping Microsoft fixes/improves in in the next major update (rumor has it they're improving the desktop).  despite its UI flaws, I have to give them credit, Win8 is fast and stable.  But the search is annoying, I just end up pinning everything to the start bar.

Hi Jim,

The drive in trading rooms has been to get the most desktop real estate as possible.  About 4 years ago I was involved in a trading room where traders had 4 1920x1200 screens all in portrait mode so even more pixels than your setup however the screens were on arms so the trader was able to 'curve' the screens making the eye to screen distance more constant.  Do you find being close to the big flat screen tiring on the eyes? 


The 39" Seiki has 4x the 1920 x 1080 (3840 x 2160). Formerly I was using multiple analog monitors 1800x1440 and I liked the taller aspect ratio as more lines are visible. For software development it is a near necessity to have the equivalent of two screens, be it on one QHD or multiple monitors. Three screens are better because you can see the IDE, the app session window/screen and see the Help or your program specification .PDF.  The nicest part of having the 39" is it is like pasting four ~20" monitors in a 2x2 arrangement without the bezel partitioning into quadrants. Eyestrain is not a problem with the 39" , a 50" version is available and at that size, I think there may be more of an issue. A curved or flexible screen would be great as then the screen could be adjusted for each specific viewing purpose. Will have to wait a few more years for an Ultrabook with a foldout "OmniMax" screen.

Jim Dempsey

I am using the Intel prototype and modifying the game for Project Anarchy it works like charm(i7) . No issues till now.

Hi, Jim!

I'm actually working with the same setup, except I have the 11" model for extra portability.  My desktop build is much more powerful than the laptop, though I have a monitor and old HDTV set aside for times I just don't feel like switching...

I've also noticed the automatic "swapping" of the screen.  Not to mention that swift subtle side-to-side movements on the mousepad swaps the program focus, as well - something I've gotten accustomed to but it still annoys me.  As for IE running with no titlebar, I've not seen that.  I do have problems using any other browser on my Yoga from time to time - that's always enjoyable.

Despite these minor inconveniences, I'm happy with my setup.  I'm not sure I'd be able to do a single 4K monitor (my eyesight is not the best), but it's something to think about.

I am using my Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro as secondary development machine. In the nearest future I plan to purchase two 25 inch IPS LG monitors and hookup Yoga to one of those monitors.

I am using a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, 13" QHD, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD as my secondary development machine.



I love: screen resolution, crisp text, no fan noise, touch-screen, tablet mode.

I hate: no possibility to increase RAM, no possibility to replace SSD drive, and Windows 8.1. How is it possible for someone to think that replacing the Start menu was a good idea?

Whenever the Ultrabook is not enough, there is always the chance to use remote desktop. In addition, I moved most of my tasks to the cloud, and therefore, I don't need the same amounts of RAM I needed a few years ago in my development computers.


I>>> love: screen resolution, crisp text, no fan noise, touch-screen, tablet mode.>>>

Yes I completely agree with you, although I prefer do not use often 13.3 inch screen for serious development.



iliyapolak 写道:

I>>> love: screen resolution, crisp text, no fan noise, touch-screen, tablet mode.>>>

Yes I completely agree with you, although I prefer do not use often 13.3 inch screen for serious development.


iliyapolak, I agree with you 13.3" screen is not enough for a primary development machine. Thus, I use an Ultrabook with 13.3" screen as a secondary  development computer. Unluckily, as developers, we have additional needs that usually requires buying the most expensive hardware, the most expensive monitors, the most expensive SSD. However, I must say an ultrabook made my life easier because I don't need to have a tablet and a laptop. The laptop also works as a tablet. Whenever I need to chill out, I work with the Ultrabook. :)

Another interesting feature that has been extremely useful for me was the chance to rotate the screen. This way, I am able to read a large number of lines of code in tablet mode. In the past, in order to achieve a similar goal, I worked with rotated monitors and I configure the graphic card drivers to rotate the screen. The height of modern screens made it difficult to read a lot of lines of code. When I started working with the Ultrabook in tablet mode and with its crisp text, I never read any piece of code in smaller tablets and I took advantage of the Ultrabook in tablet mode.


I think that Yoga can be used as a back up machine when connected to at least 24 inch monitor. My plan is to buy 25 inch ultra wide LG monitor and connect it to Yoga for the sole purpose of Internet browsing and viewing on-line documentation.

Yes this good idea to chill out with Yoga and I like to watch Ultra HD videos, but I unfortunately cannot read code for the prolonged time because of eye strain for that purpose I will invest in dedicated monitor.

I was also thinking about the option of buying 42 inch 4K UHD TV and use it as large high definition monitor where I could open at same time 4 A4 size windows. I read here Jim Dempsey's post where he described his positive opinion about such a set up.

@iliyapolak, after I saw the image that Jim included in his post to this thread, I decided to buy a 4K UHD Monitor / TV in the forthcoming weeks. It's an amazing resolution for developers.

Those 4K UHD are pretty good choice for programming. I have a hard time to make a choice between 3 25inch LG monitors and one 4K UHD TV. My main concern is inability of Yoga to output 60hz UHD signal to such TV.Working with 30hz refresh rate scares me a little as a I do not have a good eyesight.

Sadly Jim did not wrote about perceived image flickering at 30hz.

Have you actually checked if you perceive any flicker?  An LCD can be refreshed at a low rate but won't flicker.  CRTs had to have 50/60 fps to provide interlaced display without the brain noticing the flicker due to persistence of vision. Cinema films (film not digital) use 24 fps so I doubt this will be an issue for you.


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