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Ultrabooks: Final nail in the coffin of 'business laptops'?

Laptops like the HP Folio 13 shouldn't be called business laptops: it's confusing and unnecessary. Call them great laptops, period.

The HP Folio 13.
Sarah Tew/CNET

I'm not really sure who uses a business laptop. Now that ultrabooks are here and spreading, I'm even less sure.

Case in point: the HP Folio 13.

Here at the CNET offices, I've seen more and more people asking (and hoping) for MacBook Airs. Apple's never had a problem with differentiating between business and personal computers: It simply make products, period. Our IT department allows Apple computers, but they're not technically business laptops. No one seems to mind.

On the Windows side of things, there's been a bit of a divide between some business-targeted laptops--some with crypto-enabled TPM, or Trusted Platform Module chips, others with Intel's vPro technology--and "consumer" computers. That divide is old-fashioned.

Two new "business" ultrabooks, the HP Folio 13 and Dell XPS 13, claim to function as business computers. That could mean better-quality Webcams or security software, or features like TPM. Or, what it really means is that these types of laptops are the best Windows bets to take on the MacBook Air.

You could argue that the MacBook Air remains the best business ultrabook around, even if it's not an ultrabook by definition. Most businesses, including ours, depend on cloud services with their own security procedures. The more we access our information remotely, the less a laptop becomes about specific hardware.

I found the HP Folio 13 to be the best Windows ultrabook I've ever used. Not a business ultrabook, just an ultrabook. That's why it earned an Editor's Choice nod. I liked it for its features as a laptop.

Reliability, portability, battery life...these are universal needs, not business needs. In an age when iPads are taking over the enterprise scene, it's time to erase business and personal categorizations once and for all. I'm talking to you, Windows computer manufacturers: after all, the average buyer forgot the difference a long time ago.

Read our hands-on preview of the Dell XPS 13.