Ultraportables: Finding one that fits your personality


Let’s be honest. For many people, notebooks today are less and less about what’s under the hood and more and more about finding a notebook that’s easy on the eyes, customizable, and fun. So here are some popular ultraportable notebooks presented with some unabashed stereotyping about what kind of owner matches up best with what kind of notebook.

For this project, we only picked notebooks that fit the following requirements: must have a keyboard, must have a notebook-like form factor, must weigh three pounds or less, and must be more or less readily available for purchase in the United States.

Notebooks will be matched with perspective owners by the following factors: pants material, favorite morning drink, and commonly-heard phrases.

macbookairMacBook Air by Apple (MSRP $1799 and up)

The MacBook Air is Apple’s newest sex machine. It’s three pounds, thin enough to fit in an interoffice envelope, and skimps on a few features like an optical drive, replaceable battery, and an Ethernet port, but looks to compensate with aesthetic appeal.

Pants Material: Expensive denim
Morning Drink: Whatever takes the Barista longest to make
Common Phrases: Is that real fur? I rode my bike! My loft is being renovated.


VAIO TZ by Sony (MSRP $2199 and up)

The VAIO TZ features an 11.1-inch screen, tiny keyboard, built-in camera, ultra long battery life (4.5 to 8.5 hours), built-in DVD burner, and weighs in at well under three pounds thanks to its carbon fiber casing. It can be outfitted with a solid state drive and/or mobile WAN connection.

Pants Material: The finest Italian wool
Morning Drink: Super strong Espresso served in a crystal thimble
Common Phrases: Bring the Enzo around. Where’s my face cream?


Eee by Asus (MSRP $299 and up)

All work and no play makes anyone a dull boy. Asus’ Linux-based Eee PC is budget friendly, tiny, and fun. It’s got a 7-inch 800×600 screen, which some might find a bit too small for certain websites and the alternative operating system could take some getting used to for the neophytes among us. The open nature of the Linux operating system, though, makes seasoned geeks a great audience for such a device.

Pants Material: Stone-washed denim
Morning Drink: Anything containing Guarana
Common Phrases: Schweeet, I just leveled. This shirt smells okay. Scroll right so we can see the rest of this web page.


Portege R500 by Toshiba ($1999 and up)

Billed as the world’s first EVERYTHING by Toshiba, the lack of modesty is made up for by an impressive set of features. At first glance, it’s apparently the world’s lightest 12.1-inch widescreen notebook at 1.72 pounds, with the world’s longest battery life (for a 12.1-incher) at just over eight hours, and the world’s thinnest notebook with an optical drive at under an inch thick.

Ah, but then you read the fine print. All this stuff is with an upgrade to a solid state drive, using a smaller 3-cell battery, and without the optical drive built in.

Pants Material: Very thin, very light, almost see-through windbreaker material
Morning Drink: Purified oxygen
Common Phrases: I got to work via Parkour today. I’m looking for more of a body harness than a laptop bag.


Latitude D430 by Dell ($1250 and up, direct)

The three-pound Latitude D430 represents just about everything Dell could do to get one of its normally gargantuanly-heavy notebooks down to a manageable traveling weight. As such, there’s no built-in optical drive (an external one comes standard, though) and storage starts at a mere 40GB. As a bonus, though, you can get it with XP.

Pants Material: Corporate Khaki (preferably pleated)
Morning Drink: Coffee in a small styrofoam cup with plain powdered creamer
Common Phrases: We’re talking about synergy, here. I’ll have to call my IT guy to figure out why everything I’m typing is capitalized.