Last month, Microsoft finally released the much-anticipated Windows 8, the latest version of the company’s operating system (OS) for PCs, and the differences from its predecessor are quite noticeable. For starters, Windows 8 is optimized to work with touchscreens and that shows in the revamped start screen that is built around personalized tiles rather than menus. Microsoft also added the Windows Store (since people can’t live without apps) and better cloud integration so you can access your personalized style and apps from any Windows 8 device. The release of this latest OS also triggered the arrival of several devices that blur the line between Ultrabook and tablet in order to take full advantage of the Windows 8 functionality.
DELL: Take This Convertible for a Spin
Dell’s XPS 12 ($1200 and up) is an Ultrabook with a 12.5-inch touchscreen that can be converted into a tablet by spinning the screen around in its chassis. One advantage of Windows 8 is it is designed to help you streamline your life. Multiple email accounts and social networking sites can be merged onto one tile on the start screen that is updated in real time, and thanks to the XPS 12’s Intel Smart Connect Technology it continues to update even when the Ultrabook is in sleep mode.
LENOVO: A Very Flexible Ultrabook
The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 ($999 and up) has certainly mastered a few poses. The device had four different modes staring with the standard laptop mode, but the keyboard can be flipped a full 360 degrees behind the screen to form a tablet. The keyboard can also be positioned in tent mode (where the device sits like an upside down V) and in stand mode (where it forms a backwards L). To go along with Windows 8, the Ultrabook’s 13.3inch screen has 10finger multitouch technology.
SONY: A Tablet Just A Sweep Away
This two-in-one from Sony can go from an Ultrabook to a tablet with a
simple sweep. The VAIO Duo 11 ($1100 and up) has an 11.6-inch touchscreen that also comes with a digitizer stylus. The preinstalled VAIO Care software makes it easier to troubleshoot problems and install software by simply pressing the “ASSIST” button. And near field communication (NFC) lets you share messages, photos and files with your NFC-enabled smartphone by just tapping the two together.
TOSHIBA: Slide to Hide
The Toshiba Satellite U925t ($1150 and up) may start off as an Ultrabook, but lay the screen flat and slide it across the keyboard and you have yourself a tablet. In addition to the 10-finger supported, 12.5-inch touchscreen, the Ultrabook also has a larger Synaptics ClickPad that supports Windows 8 gestures. These gestures let you access various things with different types of swipes such as opening an app’s menu or bringing up search.
SAMSUNG: Feel Free To Touch
If the idea of an Ultrabook with a touchscreen intrigues you but you don’t need the additional tablet mode (or are just looking for something a little more affordable), then consider Samsung’s Series 5 Ultra Touch ($800 and up). The 13-inch Ultrabook still utilizes all of Windows 8’s features; however, if you are feeling nostalgic or miss the classic start menu then you can bring it back with Samsung’s Quick Starter feature.