The Dew Review – Intel Next Generation Ultrabook™ with Windows 8: Initial Impressions

Intel Ultrabooks have been around for a little while now. They are thin, light, powerful and (until now) run Windows 7. With the official Windows 8 launch coming in less than 60 days, Intel is readying the next generation of Ultrabooks. These devices will feature similar form factors and power as their predecessors. However, they will have new hardware inside to take advantage of the capabilities of Windows 8.

Last week I received an Ultrabook from Intel. I will be running it through its paces from a developer’s perspective over the next several months. As I have more time to spend with the Ultrabook, I will be publishing additional reviews with my more information around how Windows 8 developers can use this type of device to develop Windows 8 Modern UI style apps. This particular device will not be made available for purchase. It is a proof of concept from Intel. The only manufacturer branding on it is Intel’s, as you can see from this shot of the lid.


Hardware and Form Factor

As one would expect from an Ultrabook, this computer is thin, light and fast. On the outside it’s got a mini HDMI port, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, an HD webcam and a 13.3” multi-touch display. Inside, it’s rockin’ an Intel Core i7  CPU running at 2.00 GHZ, 4 GB of DDR3L RAM, a 180 GB SSD hard drive, and the following specifications (to name just a few):

  • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • NFC
  • Multi-Touch Pad
  • Sensors galore (see below)


Windows 8, Sensors & Advanced Features

The machine came with the Windows 8 Release Preview (64 bit) pre-installed. Now that Windows 8 is released to manufacturing (RTM) and available to MSDN subscribers, I am hoping to install the final bits for future reviews. However, I have to wait for confirmation from Intel to ensure the included drivers are all compatible with RTM.

Most new tablets and Ultrabooks running Windows 8 are going to have a slew of sensors. Here are the sensors and other advanced features included in this proof of concept device:

  • Accelerometer
  • Magnetometer
  • Gyro
  • Ambient Light Sensor
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • Multi-Touch (display and touchpad)

start screen dev tools

In future reviews, I will write some sample apps to take advantage of this advanced hardware.

Getting Started

I have been using Windows 8 on other machines and virtual machines, however none of them have touch screens. I have to say that using Windows 8 on a clam shell form factor with touch feels very natural to me. The physical keyboard is great for desktop apps, obviously. When using modern Windows 8 style apps, I found myself instinctively using the touch screen in combination with the keyboard and touchpad.

The hardware is very fast and smooth in every app I have used so far. Here are a few things I have installed to evaluate the machine.

Windows Store Apps

  • Evernote
  • Fresh Paint
  • Slacker
  • Rowi
  • Fruit Ninja
  • Box
  • OneNote MX

Desktop Apps

  • Visual Studio 2012 RC
  • SQL Server 2012 Developer Edition
  • JetBrains WebStorm
  • Eclipse (for Android development)
  • Paint.NET
  • Git for Windows

Coming Up

In about two weeks, after I have had some time to develop on the Intel Ultrabook, I will write a more in-depth review. If the first few days are any indication, I think I will love building apps on this computer. I cannot wait to dive in!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe my readers will enjoy. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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