"Good design exists only in conjunction with good engineering." That quote, by "Butzi" Porsche himself, is how Porsche Design has chosen to introduce their first foray into modern laptop computing. On the surface, the Design Book One is a very handsome piece of hardware. Porsche being Porsche, however, we can fully expect the beauty to be much more than skin deep. The Design Book One boasts an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a boot-time of just 10.8 seconds. While this is a respectable spec list for a high-end laptop, the Design Book One elevates itself with a number of much more unique features.
Like several laptops already on the market, including the Microsoft Surface Book i7 and Samsung Notebook 9 Pro, the Design Book is a convertible, or 2-in-1 laptop. The 13.3" screen can detach from the keyboard, and can be used independently as a tablet computer. The Design Book One stands out due to its innovative use of Porsche Design components to make a more solidly constructed, and more ergonomically correct product. The combined thickness of the base and tablet is just 15.9mm, making the Design Book One among the thinnest 2-in-1 machines on the market.
A Unique Hinge System
The Design Book also features a flexible design, allowing the keyboard and screen to be positioned opposite one another. Porsche's proprietary VarioGear hinge system allows a complete 360-degree rotation of the display. A locking cam system, called VarioGrip, is used to lock the screen in display mode. Variogrip also includes a small stand, which serves to keep the keyboard from resting flat on a table in display mode. Like the rest of the computer, these components are made of aluminum, affording the laptop a high level of durability.
Powerful Display Capabilities
The display is anchored by Porsche's proprietary Autolatch system, which affords the display greater stability when attached to the keyboard. The display itself is constructed with Gorilla Glass 4, with 3K QHD and IPS quality. The 3200x1800 display also includes 10-finger multi-touch capability, and 4,096 pressure points. In conjunction with the included pen and Windows Ink, the display becomes a very capable tablet for drawing and other fine work. The Pen is made by Wacom for Porsche Design, and gives a battery life of some seven months.
- Housing material made of brushed and anodized aluminium in pure silver
- 10-finger-multitouch QHD+ IPS-display with 3200 x 1800 pixel resolution
- BOOK ONE PEN by Wacom with 4.096 pressure points
- 7th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-7500U processor with 2.70 GHz up to 3.50 GHz
- 16 GB RAM
- 512 GB SSD hard drive
- 5MP front camera with additional infrared camera for Windows Hello, to safely unlock via face recognition
- Two integrated microphones and stereo speakers
- Li-Polymer battery with up to 14 hours normal use and a charging time below 2 hours
- Diverse connection possibilities: USB Type-C 3.1, USB Type-C 3.1 Thunderbolt, 2 USB Type-A 3.0, microSD-card reader
- Network: Dual-Band-WLAN, Bluetooth® 4.1
- Screen Size: 13.3.inch (33,8cm)
- Total weight: 1580g
- Weight tablet: 758g
- Product dimensions (2-in-1): approx. 311.1 x 226.5 x 15.9 mm
- Product dimensions (tablet): approx. 311.4 x 209.5 x 7.7 mm
- Free premium hotline- and remote support (registration required)
- PRICE: $2,495 US/2,795EUR
Full disclosure: Porsche did not give us a Design Book One to test. This is purely speculation based on the specifications provided, and experience with other convertibles.
I've long been a fan of the 2-in-1 laptop. The added utility of the combined screen and tablet is hard to ignore. Most 2-in-1 machines do not, in my experience, have extremely high quality hinges. After a few years, and many separations, the connection between the screen and the base feels progressively less stable. In a machine where your fingers are constantly interacting with the display, often supported solely by the hinge, this is an important consideration. Porsche Design's new hinge system appears to answer that concern, and in conjunction with the broad mounting tabs on the Autolatch system should prove very stable. The whole machine is constructed of machined or polished metal, and Gorilla Glass. All of this is good.
The only areas where the Design Book One appears to lag a bit in my eyes are with regard to the included storage, and the lack of a full sized SD card slot. At the Design Book One's price point, $2,495USD or 2,795EUR, I expect more than 512GB of storage. The use of a solid state drive is appreciated, especially with regard to quick load/boot times, but I would really like to see a full terabyte. While a lot of data can be offloaded on external hard drives, more storage is always appreciated by those of us who have both professional lives and active Steam accounts.
The SD card item is a more minor concern. I shoot a lot of photos, and I like the flexibility of being able to drop my SD card directly in to the computer, rather than hooking the camera to the computer with a cable. The Design Book does include a Micro SD card slot, but I suspect that I am not alone in having mostly standard SD cards in my SD wallet, and only a few Micro SDs. A relatively minor gripe, and certainly not one limited to the Design Book One.
Those points aside, this is an exciting product. The laptop industry always needs innovators who push the bounds of not only how a machine performs, but how it can be used. In that regard, I think the Design Book One is a move in the right direction.