Windows 8 may be a piece of software, but it's spawned computers the likes of which we've never seen before, including desktops that turn into tablets, tablets that turn into laptops, and laptops that fold backwards into tablets once more. The software is causing a proliferation of touchscreen devices, and breathing new life into the active stylus as well. Here, we'll show you the hottest new Windows 8 and Windows RT devices you can buy, and trace them all the way back to when they were merely rumors.
The build quality, crazy-wide touchpad, and high-resolution screen of HP's new Spectre 13 Ultrabook might make it a contender on October 16th, but two days later Dell will ship the new XPS 15. It's the company's new flagship laptop, and depending on your bankroll it can practically have it all: a 3200 x 1800 touchscreen display, a full 2.2GHz quad-core Core i7 Haswell processor, game-capable Nvidia GeForce GT 750M graphics, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of solid state storage, a 13-hour battery, and a surprisingly decent array of ports in a 4.4 pound, 18 mm thin package.Read Article >
HP isn't the only beleaguered PC manufacturer unleashing a tablet blitz. Today, Dell is revealing a full product lineup of new tablets under the recently resurrected Venue brand. Not only does the company have an 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet, but a pair of inexpensive Android slates as well — the first Android products Dell has announced since it discontinued the lackluster Venue smartphone well over a year ago. It's the fourth tablet, though, that's the star of the show. The Dell Venue 11 Pro is the company's answer to the Microsoft Surface Pro, and it rolls a whole number of ideas into one highly customizable tablet shell.Read Article >
Sep 19, 2013
When it comes to laptops, HP's been pursuing a pair of notable initatives over the past two years. First, the company's been challenging Apple's MacBooks with its Spectre line. Second, HP's been trying to take a bite out of the hybrid detachable laptop / tablet market by aping the Asus Transformer idea.Read Article >
Today, the company might be pushing its laptops far enough to make a serious dent.
Sep 9, 2013
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.Read Article >
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.
Sep 5, 2013
HP started building touchscreen all-in-one computers long before Windows 8, and yet the company's had trouble keeping up with the times. When we reviewed the HP Envy 23 Touchsmart alongside its peers last December, it fell shy. Today, though, the company's trying a bold new design: an all-in-one computer you can prop up at practically any angle or even pull down into your lap. It's called the Envy 23 Recline.Read Article >
Jun 21, 2013
CES is mostly just one hellacious blur. Here’s a gadget, and another gadget, and a hooker, and a gadget, and hey do you want to know about my Kickstarter? At CES 2013, laptops were particularly hard to keep track of; everywhere you looked, a manufacturer had some novel way for you to spend $1,000 on a Windows 8 ultrabook.Read Article >
Through all the chaos, the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix somehow stood out. The detachable tablet / laptop hybrid had it all: full-powered Windows 8 with an impressive spec sheet, two batteries that together promised huge longevity, and the possibility of using one device capably as tablet, laptop, and more. It even had a fan in its dock that would let you automatically overclock its processor — the Helix sounded like a power-user’s dream. It was due in February, and I wasn’t the only one excited about it.
May 23, 2013
It's hard to say if there's a market yet for an all-in-one touchscreen PC that you can just pick up and carry around, but it seems that no Windows PC maker wants to be left out. Hot on the heels of Dell's XPS 18, Sony's VAIO Tap 20, and the Asus Transformer AIO, Hewlett-Packard has announced the Envy Rove 20. It's a tabletop PC with a 20-inch touchscreen, a four-hour battery, and a spring-loaded kickstand that folds flat into the frame.Read Article >
We got to check out the Rove 20 briefly at an HP event in San Francisco late last month, and we're not yet sure what to think. The 10-point capacitive touchscreen felt responsive, and the kickstand has a very satisfying action (you squeeze a button around back to release the lever as you set it down) but the machine still felt fairly thick and heavy for a machine designed to be carried around. It's quite a bit thicker than the Dell XPS 18, for instance, and the 1600 x 900 IPS touchscreen also isn't as crisp, clear or pixel-dense as the one we saw demonstrated on that unit.
May 13, 2013
Typically when I meet with a manufacturer to talk about new products, they're coy about mentioning their competitors. They refer to "our competition," or "other players," or "similar devices." Every company wants me to believe it's the only company on the planet, that any others aren't even worth the lip service.Read Article >
That's what made my last meeting with Toshiba so odd. While showing me the new Kirabook, the highest-end ultrabook the company has ever made and the first in a new line, the company's product managers and PR reps couldn't stop talking about Apple. They told me "we're lighter than Air," and compared "apples to apples — our apples to Apple's apples." While other manufacturers have raced to the bottom and to the lowest common laptop denominator, they said, Apple has stolen the high end with an enduring focus on quality. Toshiba thinks it can change that.
May 6, 2013
Microsoft knows all this, and knows that it needs to get into the mini tablet game. So far, Asus appears to only be joined by Acer with plans to create a smaller Windows 8 tablet. On Friday, we saw an an 8.1-inch Acer tablet appear briefly on Amazon. Microsoft is also rumored to be building a 7-inch Surface tablet that could launch later this year.Read Article >
One matter that is still unclear at this point is what version of Windows 8 Asus' mini slates will run. Choosing between Microsoft's two versions of Windows 8 has been a contentious issue. Acer President Jim Wong said there's "no value" in Windows RT, although that company has said it was committed to making Windows RT products. And there's still the open question as to whether or not anybody wants to buy a smaller Windows 8 tablet. With Surface sales sluggish so far, and Microsoft failing to clearly state how many copies of the Windows 8 it's sold to date, we just don't know yet if Windows tablets can match the success we've already seen on Android and iOS.
Apr 16, 2013
Intel, AMD, and ARM are all competing to offer a compelling Windows 8 experience at a low price point, but Intel might be poised to shoot ahead. For the time being, you have to pay upwards of $400 for a tablet with Intel's dual-core "Clover Trail" Atom processor, but company CEO Paul Otellini says that prices will drop drastically when the new Bay Trail chip arrives later this year. Not only will Bay Trail allegedly offer a quad-core chip without consuming additional power, but Otellini claims that "prices are going to be down to as low as $200" for Windows 8 touchscreen laptops, according to a CNET report.Read Article >
"The touch price points today are still fairly high and they're coming down very rapidly over the next couple of quarters," Otellini said today, on a quarterly investor call.
Mar 25, 2013
Nine months ago, the 1600 x 900 display on Samsung's Series 9 laptop was relatively impressive for its time, but it has since been bested by a number of 1080p (and occasionally even higher) ultrabook displays. Now Samsung's playing catch-up, announcing today the latest version of its flagship laptop, which it teased at CES in January. The new Series 9 has a 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 LED display, coupled with a "SuperBright" technology that Samsung says is 50 percent brighter than other laptop screens. Bizarrely, it's not a touchscreen, a surprising omission that leaves Samsung still trailing some of its 1080p competition, but the mid-cycle refresh brings Samsung at least closer to parity with its best competition, from Asus and others.Read Article >
Increasing the display's resolution doesn't cost the Series 9 elsewhere, either — still a half-inch thick and only 2.56 pounds, it remains one of thinner and lighter ultrabooks on the market. It comes with Windows 8, and is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Samsung promises up to eight hours of battery, though we'd expect something more like the five hours, 19 minutes we saw on the last Series 9. It's very much a business laptop, designed to compete with premium laptops like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon — and at $1,899.99 Samsung better hope it holds up.
Mar 15, 2013
JK Shin, the Samsung Mobile Communications president who just received a promotion to co-CEO of Samsung Electronics, had some harsh words for Microsoft tonight as his company launched the Galaxy S4. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Shin downplayed a question about Samsung's relationship with Microsoft, instead highlighting the poor performance of the company's Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Windows RT devices next to Android.Read Article >
Earlier this year, Samsung decided not to launch its Windows RT-based tablets in the US and some parts of Europe, citing customer confusion and a lack of demand. While Windows 8 has gotten off to a "solid start" according to Microsoft, it seems the software maker has more work to do if it's to convince its hardware partners of the new operating system's benefits.
Feb 23, 2013
Announced at Computex Taipei back in June, Asus's Transformer Book has taken a while to come to market, but the 13.3-inch version of the tablet-laptop hybrid is now available to pre-order at MacMall for $1,479.99. The premium price reflects a relatively impressive spec sheet, including a dual-core Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM, and storage comprising a 500GB hard drive and a 128GB SSD.Read Article >
In a situation reminiscent of the company's Taichi ultrabook, It is still not clear when the Transformer Book will actually ship to US customers. German site Conrad provides an availability date of March 5th, while other retailers, including Best Buy and Kmart, list the device as "sold out." There has also been little information about its supposed 11.6-inch and 14-inch siblings, though Conrad lists a Core i5 version for €200 ($264) less than the Core i7.
Feb 23, 2013
Microsoft's Tami Reller told us that demand for touchscreen Windows 8 computers was outstripping supply, but it seems that Best Buy still isn't selling quite as many as it would like. Today, the big box retailer announced that it will offer a $100 discount on all Windows 8 touchscreen PCs starting Sunday, in a two-week promotion ending March 9th. What's more, The Wall Street Journal reports that Best Buy itself will be footing part of the bill, joining Intel, Microsoft, and PC manufacturers in eating the cost of the discount.Read Article >
The discount won't apply to the Microsoft Surface or other Windows tablets, according to the Journal.
Feb 20, 2013
In a weird way, my excitement about Windows 8 tablets started with the Motorola Atrix, which is neither a tablet nor runs Windows 8. Basically, the Atrix promised to turn your gadgets into Legos. You have one device — in the Atrix's case a smartphone — that holds all your data, apps, and settings. Then you go about your life, adding and removing peripherals as you need them. Need a big screen? Toss it into a tablet or connect it to a monitor. Need to get some work done? Oh, here's a keyboard!Read Article >
Needless to say, neither the Atrix nor this wonderful future has yet taken the world by storm. But Windows 8 offered a limited, perhaps more attainable version: an operating system and app ecosystem that's equally at home on a tablet and a laptop. It's touch-friendly, trackpad-friendly, and of course amenable to all the work and play we're used to doing on a Windows PC. And I've seen that it can work, though only in pieces — I've tested good Windows 8 laptops and good Windows 8 tablets, but not yet a device that glides frictionless between both worlds.
Jan 17, 2013
When I reviewed the X1 Carbon, Lenovo's flagship ThinkPad laptop, I found few faults. It's an eye-catching computer that combines everything good about ThinkPads – great keyboard, sturdy design, solid performance — with a fit and finish I didn't expect from the company's "black box" line of laptops. Its price was a little high and its bloatware portion was heaping, but it was (and still is) one of my favorite Windows 7 ultrabooks.Read Article >
Now that Windows 8 is here, in all its touch-friendly, colorful glory, Lenovo's released a new X1 Carbon with a touchscreen. The X1 Carbon Touch is otherwise virtually identical to its untouchable sibling: same processor, same operating system, same beautiful matte black carbon fiber body (though a half-pound heavier). It comes at a $150 premium, sort of – the cheapest Carbon model is $1,249 and the cheapest Touch is $1,499, but the Touch's specs match the $1,349 model. I spent some time with the Carbon Touch trying to decide if it's worth the extra weight and the extra price, plus whether or not touchscreens are the future of laptops.
Jan 16, 2013
There aren't many companies that can set a new direction for the entire computer industry. Right now, three come to mind: PC manufacturers march to the beat of Microsoft's Windows drum, and many follow Apple's design. The third is Intel, which influences the market behind the scenes with ever more powerful processors and aggressive marketing campaigns.Read Article >
In 2011, Intel told every PC manufacturer that it needed to have an answer to Apple's MacBook Air, and offered $300 million, among other persuasions, to help OEMs develop and market new designs. Intel called it the ultrabook, and specified a set of ultrabook requirements in terms of thickness, responsiveness, and battery life. The manufacturers complied. While some PC vendors champed at the bit by selling machines that were visually identical to existing ultrabooks but that didn't meet the specification, the new laptops still made a splash at first.
Jan 14, 2013
The more Windows 8 devices I review, the more refined my idea of a perfect Windows PC becomes. A convertible device (a tablet and dock) makes the most sense for me, but I need full-blown Windows 8, not Windows RT and its lack of app support. I’ve found that 13 inches is too big, and 10 is too small — if you’re looking for the “one device to rule them all,” 11.6 inches is the only useful size.Read Article >
That's why I was looking forward to spending time with the HP Envy x2. It runs Windows 8 and supports every app you can think of, but its two pieces dislodge and the device becomes a totally functional tablet. Its 11.6-inch, 3-pound body is just the right size, and its $849.99 price tag is totally stomachable.
Jan 8, 2013
LG's H160 may seem like a typical Windows 8 tablet, but its form factor is anything but. The 11.6-inch device, on display here at CES, combines an Ultrabook-like body with a convertible slider design, making for a rather unique user experience. LG's sliding Clover Trail tablet comes with a spring-loaded hinge that, when released, triggers a pop-up keyboard. That differentiates it from similar devices such as the Asus Eee Pad Slider or Samsung Series 7 Sliding PC, both of which require users to manually pull out their keyboards. The H160's keyboard, by contrast, can be accessed with the push of a button.Read Article >
Originally announced in October, the H160 features a 1366 x 768 display and promises up to ten hours of battery life. Pricing and availability, however, remain unclear.
Jan 8, 2013
Nvidia's not the only company bringing unconventional gaming hardware to CES this year — PC peripheral maker Razer is out in force with its new Windows 8 tablet, dubbed the Razer Edge. Besides running a proper x86 Intel Ivy Bridge processor and the full, non-RT Windows 8 experience, this tablet differs from the legion of other Winslates thanks to Razer's trifecta of accompanying hardware docks. One is a pretty standard docking station, another is a thick and chunky detachable keyboard with integrated battery, and the third, most striking one, is a two-handed gamepad controller that wraps around the Edge. It too has an added battery cell to extend the device's endurance, and it too is thick and weighty.Read Article >
In fact, the entire Edge seems to have been named in an act of self-parody. There's nothing particularly edgy about this meaty, hefty tablet. It comes with two big vents at the top, which heat up quite appropriately once you fire up a demanding 3D game like Dishonored. Still, other than the generous proportions and weight, there are few complaints to levy at the Edge's physical construction: as I say, those vents do their job very efficiently, everything feels solidly put together, and the gamepad itself exhibits great ergonomics. Moreover, performance when playing Dishonored or Civilization V was extremely fluid and responsive. Though I didn't get to play them myself, Dirt and Rift were also being shown off and their frame rates were similarly silky.
Jan 8, 2013
Panasonic just unveiled a 4K Windows 8 tablet at CES 2013 and we've managed to get an early hands-on. The huge 20-inch tablet includes an optical stylus that allows you to navigate the Windows 8 tiled UI and touch up photos on the device. Panasonic isn't revealing exact specifications just yet, but running at at 4K resolution at its booth today it was stunning to see images on such a display.Read Article >
Normally reserved for TVs, this tablet is targeted at photographers, designers, and architects according to Panasonic. A built-in Windows 8-style application imports images from a digital camera and Panasonic supplied a number of 4K images to sample the delights of the display at its booth. This is a huge tablet though, if you can call it that, so it's not exactly portable. During my early look at the device I noticed that the back of the device heats up a lot, so if this device ever makes it to the market there's still some work to be done to make this fully usable. Either way, it's a crazy 4K Windows 8 tablet, and we'll probably see a lot more of them at CES this week.
Jan 8, 2013Read Article >
AMD has a lot of confusing codenames in the stable, but here's one you might actually want to know: Temash is AMD's next tablet processor, and it looks like it could make for a solid Windows 8 experience even with PC games as part of the bargain. Near the tail-end of AMD's not-so-action-packed press conference, the company revealed that the tiny chip will have double the graphics performance of the current Hondo APU we saw in Vizio's new tablet earlier today, and proved it to us too, letting us try a Wistron-built reference tablet running DiRT Showdown at full 1080p resolution on the quad-core Temash APU. Admittedly that's far from the most demanding game out there, and it wasn't running at a particularly high framerate either, but it seems like AMD's low-power silicon has made a sizable jump in performance.
Jan 7, 2013
Intel’s fourth-generation Haswell processors were the focal point of the company’s presentation today, and with its North Cape reference design, Intel aims to show the public what it can expect from the new chips. The detachable Windows 8 tablet contains a separate battery in the keyboard for extra power, and the sub–10W design means that users can expect to get in the neighborhood of 13 hours of battery life. But North Cape also has some flashier tricks up its sleeve. Firstly, its electromechanical locking mechanism can be disengaged with a single finger. There's a key in the keyboard's top-right corner that unlocks the tablet from the keyboard — a patent-pending technology that Intel plans to license to OEMs. The crucial portion of the mechanism in the center looks a bit like Apple’s old 30-pin connector, but Intel wasn’t ready to provide any more details into the technologies underpinning it.Read Article >
Jan 7, 2013
Intel has just announced that ultrabooks using its just-announced 4th-generation Core processors will have to support touch input and WiDi wireless display technology. The move means that, soon, all ultrabooks will be required to include touchscreens.Read Article >
Intel made its opinion on the importance of touch clear last year when it demoed a touchscreen ultrabook prototype, so the decision doesn't come as a huge surprise. Microsoft has put Windows through a big transformation to make it more touch-friendly, and Intel's new requirements show that both companies are working synchronously.
Jan 7, 2013
Vizio's only been a PC manufacturer for a few months, and it's already diversifying its product lines. Today we got our first look at the new 11.6-inch Tablet with Windows 8 — now the smallest member of Vizio's PC lineup — and it's a bit of an oddity. The most striking feature is its gorgeous 1920 x 1080 display, which looks even sharper than normal on the smaller device — it's a really good screen, but it creates some consequences. Intel's processors simply couldn't power such a dense, high-res screen, Vizio CTO Matt McRae told us, so the company used AMD chips instead. The Tablet is powered by a dual-core, 1GHz Z-60 processor, which based on our time with the device does a pretty good job powering Windows 8.Read Article >
Like all of Vizio's Windows devices, the 11.6-inch Tablet runs a completely clean version of the operating system — it's called the Windows Signature installation, and it's one of the best things Vizio does. The slate comes with 64GB of solid-state storage, 2GB of RAM, Micro HDMI and mMicro USB ports, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. We weren't overwhelmingly impressed with the build quality; the lipped bezel around the display makes the device feel like two pieces were fused together rather than like a single unibody device. The whole thing is surprisingly heavy, too, but its metallic and industrial design is pretty handsome.