Stories by W. Bryan Hastings

Dell Latitude E7440: Hefty to carry, but a joy to use

While taking notes for my review of Dell's latest business notebook, I repeatedly found myself saying "Well, on the other hand..." The Latitude E7440 is bulky for a 14-inch Ultrabook-- it's almost a pound heavier than Lenovo's X1 Carbon Touch. On the other hand, it's super tough. You could drop it on the sidewalk and it'd still deliver the sales projections for tomorrow's meeting. It's outfitted with both HDMI and DisplayPort. On the other hand, you'll need to carry a VGA adapter to connect it to the old video projector in the boardroom. Its battery croaks after just 4.5 hours. On the other hand, it's removable, so you can swap in a spare.

Dell XPS 13: A small, sexy, and durable Ultrabook

This third iteration of the Dell XPS 13 is definitely the best. It's a bit pricey at $1299 as configured, but that buys a sharp, nimble, and durable laptop with a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, an SSD, and a 13.3-inch touchscreen display. If you're considering an Ultrabook--or a 13-inch MacBook Air--this machine should be on your short list.