Last fall marked a renaissance in laptop design. With Windows 8 on the horizon, manufacturers built truly exciting notebooks with high-res touch screens, clever back-flipping hinges, superb construction, and even displays on both sides. With touch screens as a focal point, it seemed that laptop manufacturers were finally ready to compete with Apple and offer premium laptops that were actually worth buying.

When those laptops actually arrived, though, they weren’t the winners we’d hoped. The primary culprit was battery life: gorgeous laptops like the Acer Aspire S7 couldn’t last more than a few lousy hours on a charge.

Now, with new battery-sipping Intel processors inside, those Windows machines are finally coming into their own. That same Acer Aspire S7 now clocks in at seven hours, and it’s not the only sharp tool in Microsoft’s shed. The Dell XPS 12, its screen-flipping counterpart, has the very same processor. Let’s see if a battery bump is enough to make Dell a winner.