Microsoft Surface Pro 3stars
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Apple MacBook Air (13-inch)
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Asus Transformer Book T100
There's clearly a surfeit of last generation Core ULV processors, as vendors are using the second generation parts to offer lower priced SKUs. We saw it with HP's Envy 6, and now we see it again with Dell's Inspiron 13z.
- USB 3.0: 3
- Optical: None
- Video: HDMI
- Ethernet: 100Mbit
- Wireless: Single-channel 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0
You can get a third generation processor if you're willing to pay for it — at the time of writing, there's three SKUs available — one with a second generation Core processor, and two with third generation. Our particular review sample came with a Core i3 2367M and clocked in at a very modest AU$699.
The laptop itself feels reasonably well built for something that can be generally found for under AU$1000. The industrial design feels a bit toy-like with its huge power buttons, large screen bezel and large radius curves, but nothing truly offends. While the review sample we received had a faux brushed aluminium lid, this can, in theory, be swapped out to any lid you like, courtesy of Dell's Switch program. We say in theory, because at the time of writing Dell, was not offering any lids for sale for the 13z on its website.
Well, except for the port flaps that cover truly every port on the entire machine. We're down on port flaps at the best of times, but these things are heinous — enough to make you grimace every time you need to plug something in. Some flip out, yet are still attached by rubber tags that ensure the cover never gets lost, but also ensure that it always gets in the way; others flip down, but flip immediately back up three quarters of the way, meaning you have to perform some sort of origami jujitsu with your fingers, just to get a USB drive in. Vendors, for the love of all that is holy, port covers are a bad idea.
The amount of ports hidden behind these flaps is slightly above average for the size of the laptop: three USB 3.0, HDMI, 100Mbit Ethernet, a headset jack and an SD card reader.