Windows 8 Devices: Computers Are Getting Interesting Again

Windows 8 has been released amid much fanfare, and with this exciting new Microsoft operating system comes a whole host of new devices that are maximizing this platform to its fullest potential. There’s a lot of fun machines being released right now, enough to make even the most hardened hardware hack perk up their heads and pay attention. In this article, we’re going to take a quick tour of just a few of the most intriguing Windows 8 devices being released right now.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13: Hybrid Ultrabook™

image courtesy Slashgear

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 capitalizes on the flexible nature of yoga with its dual nature of laptop and tablet, running both Windows 8 Metro and desktop mode depending on which one you want to use. It works as the standard laptop with Windows 8 Metro tiles and touchscreen, and if you want to switch to tablet mode, just flip the screen all the way back behind the keyboard (deactivating the keyboard as you do so). Some reviewers have noted that the Yoga’s tablet mode is not as great as the laptop simply because the screen is huge (13 inches), however, this actually could be a deciding purchase factor for people who need that larger resolution and durability: children and seniors, especially. You can read more reviews of this device here:

  1. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 hands on: Flexible laptop for flexible Windows 8 - ZDNet
  2. Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga 13 splits the difference between tablet and laptop (hands-on) - CNet
  3. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga review - TechRadar
  4. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 – The Verge
  5. Lenovo Yoga Transforming Laptop Arrives, With Friends – Mashable

Microsoft Surface tablet

image courtesy Microsoft 

As a versatile tablet that functions well as both a work and play device, the Surface is going to be included in many people’s letters to Santa this year. It’s a tablet made for both content creation and consumption, delivered with a detachable, lightweight keyboard that doubles as a tablet cover. Many people are raving about its’ integrated Windows work environment, while others aren’t too hip about the lack of apps (so far) in the Windows Store that work with the device. The current model comes with Windows lite, aka Windows RT, but if you want something with a little bit more oomph you’ll want to wait for the full Windows 8 Pro model coming out in January 2013. More reviews below:

1)      Four things you probably didn’t know about Microsoft’s Surface RT – Forbes

2)      At the moment, Microsoft Surface is hot – Cnet

3)      Microsoft Surface in stores today: what to know before you buy – The Washington Post

4)      Microsoft Surface Review: New tablet bridges work-play divide – HuffPost Tech

5)      Review: Microsoft Surface with Windows RT – The Seattle Times

 

Asus Taichi

image courtesy Engadget

Think of a Zenbook 11 with a convertible dual display, backlit keyboard, and Ultrabook capabilities and you’ve got the Asus Taichi, a souped-up notebook/tablet convertible that will be released sometime in November 2012. The dual screens – displays on both sides of the lid – are fascinating to watch in action, and since it boasts 4GB of RAM and a Core i7 processor you know it’s going to be a beast, albeit a bit pricey. While the dual screen setup could soak up more battery life than you’re used to in a notebook/tablet, the fact that two people can use this device at the same time for two different purposes is definitely intriguing. More reviews below:

1)      ASUS reveals TAICHI convertible notebook with dual 11.6 inch and 13.3 inch displays – Engadget

2)      ASUS Taichi 21 hybrid Ultrabook (preview) – PCWorld

3)      Hands on: ASUS Taichi review – TechRadar

4)      Asus Windows 8 lineup features dual screen Ultrabook ASUS Taichi – Digital Trends

HP Envy Spectre XT

image courtesy HP

The HP Envy Spectre XT is one of the most affordable Ultrabooks on the market right now, coming in under $1000 for a pretty impressive range of Ultrabook-grade specs, including a solid state drive, a multitude of ports (including a full-size SD card slot) and battery life that runs almost eight hours long. Some reviewers lament the lack of quality in screen resolution quality, but most are very positive when reviewing Windows 8 on this particular machine. More reviews here:

1)      HP Envy Spectre XT – PCMag

2)      HP Envy Spectre XT Review – The Verge

3)      HP Envy Spectre XT Review: a sleek and speedy Ultrabook with a killer keyboard – Engadget

4)      HP Envy Spectre XT Review – Laptop Mag

5)      HP Envy Spectre XT Ultrabook Review - SlashGear

Toshiba U925t

image courtesy CNet

The Toshiba U925t is a Windows 8 touchscreen Ultrabook with a hybrid slider mechanism that allows you to switch between netbook and tablet mode. Some reviewers believe the design is “industrial” looking; others really dig the modern look and are more interested in the innovation behind this particular form factor. Bonus: this is one of the very few Ultrabooks that are currently slated to ship with NFC, plus, it carries all the standard sensors traditionally associated with smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices such as a magnetometer, accelerometer, and ambient light sensors. More reviews below:

1)      Toshiba Satellite U925t review – The Verge

2)      Hands on with the Toshiba Satellite U925t – PCMag

3)      Toshiba U925t Windows 8 Ultrabook Slider with NFC Now Available – Ultrabook News

4)      Toshiba Satellite U925t impressions: The best laptablet yet – Digital Trends

Lots of exciting developments right now in PC-Land

Whether you’re in the market for a tablet, a netbook, or (like the machines profiled in this brief round-up) a sleek Ultrabook convertible, there’s definitely a lot to choose from. Is the PC industry finally starting to find some inspiration? Are we looking at a whole new age of innovational design? Judging from the selections on this list, it sure does look like it. As we move forward this year, expect to see more in the way of PC design: advances in touchscreens and hybrid machines (and not just tablet/netbook hybrids either). Not to mention Windows 8 – developers might be slow in ramping up their coding creations for this new OS, but I don’t see that lasting for long; billions of people clamoring to buy a platform tends to do that. What’s your crystal ball prediction for the next PC improvement? If you could wave your magic wand and have your very own R and D department at your beck and call, what would you design and why? Share with us in the comments section below. 

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