It’s official—Intel’s 4th Generation Core processors are here. Why does this matter? Because of improvements in graphics capability and power management. And yes, they tend to be a little faster too, which never hurts.
Here are some reasons why a portable computer is still important for nature photographers. If you’re in the field (away from your primary workstation for a day or more) it’s crucial to back up image files. Having some sort of laptop (or appropriate tablet) makes that relatively easy. Another good reason is to actually look at your images, at least in a cursory fashion. Some time ago I was shooting for several days in a fairly remote location in windy conditions and didn’t take the time to do a quick visual edit. Only later did I find some particularly ugly debris had found its way to the sensor and a whole series of images made in ideal circumstances now needed a lot of time-consuming touch-up work.
To be practical, a computer for field work needs to be small and light and have a lot of battery life as well as the capability to at least run basic programs. Everything is a compromise, of course, and this needn’t be a machine you’d use as a regular production unit. But with Intel’s latest processors we’re on the verge of having devices that come awfully close to the ideal, though they’ll be costly for a while. Get ready for the onslaught of new product with “Haswell inside.”