Microsoft: The Conference Computer
Microsoft aims to reimagine the conference room experience with its Surface Hub—a large screen computing device available in a 55-inch HD display ($7,000) or 84-inch 4K display ($20,000). The Surface Hub is built for team collaboration including everything from meetings to brainstorming sessions. You can start Skype for Business with a single tap and bring people into the discussion as you see fit from all around the world. Or use OneNote whiteboard to brainstorm new ideas as team members can work on the display simultaneously and even bring in remote participants to contribute.
Apple: Redesigning the Laptop
While PC sales struggled, Macs did not. One reason why: The new Apple MacBook ($1,299 to $1,599). Apple rethought how laptops were constructed in order to deliver their lightest and most compact MacBook yet (13.1 mm thin, 2 pounds and a 12-inch Retina Display). For example, the full-size keyboard is possible because the company redesigned each key and its underlying mechanism. Apple also upgraded the trackpad with Force Touch, which detects how much pressure you exert allowing for new capabilities. And the MacBook generates so little heat it doesn’t require a fan, which means complete silence.
ASUS: Versatile Chromebook
Chromebooks are meant to simplify the computer experience by offering a device that updates automatically, stores everything in the cloud, has built-in virus protection and boots in mere seconds. Not only does the ASUS Chromebook Flip C100 ($249) do all that, it is also the first 10-inch convertible Chromebook—meaning it goes from a laptop to a tablet with ease. The device is also ultra-portable—15 mm thin and weighs less than 2 pounds—and has eight hours of battery life.
Lenovo: Shrinking the Desktop
The Lenovo Ideacentre Stick 300 ($129) packs an Intel Atom Processor Z3735F, 2G of memory and 32G of storage into a pocket-sized package that can transform any HDMI display into a computer. However, the device is not meant to replace your desktop or laptop; it just offers an affordable option for a computer you can take on the go. For instance, turning the TV in your hotel room into a workstation or just dusting off an old monitor at home for a cheap computer for your kids.
HP: Bend Over Backwards
The HP Spectre x360’s ($899 to $1,399) aluminum body is made with computer numerical control (CNC) machines—a process used by the aerospace industry—to give it a sleek design (15.9 mm thin and 3.26 pounds). And its newly designed hinge allows it to switch between four modes (notebook, stand, tent and tablet) while maintaining its thin profile. HP also reimagined the HD display in order to conserve power. The touch panel is optically bonded to the HD display—pulling each pixel up to the surface—while Panel Self Refresh (PSR) technology reduces battery drain without affecting brightness.