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Ultrabooks: The top technical problems

What hardware issues plague ultrabook owners? Tech support Q&A site FixYa reveals some of the top ones.

The top issues faced by MacBook Air owners, according to FixYa.
The top issues faced by MacBook Air owners, according to FixYa. FixYa

Owners of ultrabooks face a variety of technical woes, from limited battery life to poor screen quality, according to a new study from FixYa.

Tracking questions and complaints from its site users, FixYa narrowed its scope to seven different ultrabooks, shining a light on the key problems found in each one.

Low memory was the top complaint among users of Apple's popular MacBook Air, followed by thermal shutdown, which automatically turns off the computer if it gets too hot. Some owners also said the Air was difficult to repair and that the speaker quality was poor.

To deal with the thermal shutdown problem, FixYa suggested that Air owners make sure the vents aren't covered, turn down the screen brightness, let the laptop rest for 30 minutes, don't leave it in the sun too long, and don't let the battery charge beyond 100 percent.

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon was cited for its limited battery life, inconsistent touch pad, poor ability to multitask, and slow performance. The company's IdeaPad also had its share of issues, including Wi-Fi performance, poor screen quality, a loud fan, and too much heat.

To help preserve battery life on the Carbon, FixYa advised owners to turn down the screen brightness and resolution, carry a charger, and don't run too many applications at once. Of course, those suggestions run counter to some of the benefits of using a mobile PC in the first place. But poor battery life is a common issue on many laptops, so users sometimes have to tweak settings to keep their PCs up and running.

Wi-Fi problems, poor screen quality, and heat generation were cited as the top three problems by Dell XPS 14z owners. The XPS 14z has been discontinued, but current owners are advised to download the latest Wi-Fi drivers if they experience connectivity problems.

Other ultrabooks covered in the report included the Asus Zenbook Prime, the Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5, and the Vizio Thin+Light.

Fixya's report is aimed at ultrabook owners and buyers, who face an increasingly crowded market and confusing array of choices. That market will become even more crowded in the coming months as more vendors release Windows 8 ultrabooks.

"While Apple's Macbook Air dominates the market with their pick-up-and-use mantra, and a long track record of producing high quality products, competition in the ultrabook market has become fiercer than it once was," the report said. "With an explosion of choices in the market today, consumers are generally left confused, uninformed, and uncertain as to the strengths and weaknesses of each ultrabook."