Windows 8 is finally here. Microsoft’s newest operating system brings with it a host of devices—some in form factors we’ve never seen before.You’ve got your usual laptops and all-in-one desktop machines. But then there are convertibles, ultrabooks, dual-screen devices, even giant tablets for your coffee table.
This amazing array of shapes, sizes, and configurations is a direct result of Windows 8’s key feature: It embraces touch but can still be used with keyboards and mice.
So some Windows 8 devices are best suited for traditional computing use, while others embrace the new mobile paradigm, and others sit somewhere in between.
The Surface marks Microsoft's first foray into PC hardware manufacturing, if you don't count its Xbox video game consoles.
The Surface RT, the first tablet to be released, features an Nvidia Tegra-based ARM processor, weighs 1.5 pounds, measures 9.3 mm thick, and has a 10.6 inch HD touch screen. External ports include: microSD, USB 2.0, and a Micro HD video port. The RT also features either 32GB or 64GB of storage.
It's important to note that the RT model of the Surface won't run the full version of Windows 8. Instead, it'll run Windows RT, a version of the software designed only for tablets and touchscreen devices. RT won't run older Windows desktop apps, only apps found in Microsoft's app store.
At some point after the launch of the RT--likely in early 2013--Microsoft will launch the Surface Pro. The Surface Pro will run Windows 8, meaning you'll be able to run classic Windows desktop apps. Think of the Surface Pro as a laptop's guts crammed into a tablet, while the Surface RT is a pure tablet.
Price for the Surface RT: Starting at $499
Dell's XPS Duo convertible is the first of its kind. The notebook has a swivel screen, which flips around to resemble either a tablet or a laptop. The XPS Duo was made for Windows 8 and fully supports the operating system's touch interface.
Budget shoppers beware: The XPS Duo isn't cheap. It starts at $1,199.99. For that, you get a 12.5-inch display with a resolution of 1920x1080, an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor with an integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics card, and 4GB of RAM. It weighs 3.4 pounds
For users who want a bit more power, Dell also offers the XPS Duo with a 1.9 GHz Intel Core i7 processor for $1,699.
Lenovo's Twist is a modified ThinkPad. The ultrabook is a convertible aimed at business users and it weighs in at 3.48 pounds. The twisting mechanism is sturdy and the display is smooth and responsive.
The 12.5-inch screen features a Gorilla Glass-coated display, which takes advantage of IPS technology.
Other features include your choice of an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, either a 128GB SSD or a 7,200 RPM hard drive (320GB or 500GB), 7 hours of battery life, full-sized Ethernet jack, memory-card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, mini-HDMI out and mini-DisplayPort.
For business users, the ultrabook has encryption features and optional 3G wireless.
Asus will release two Windows 8 tablets this fall, the Vivo Tab and Vivo RT.
The difference between the two is that the Vivo RT is an ARM-based tablet running Windows RT. The RT is marketed towards tablet consumers while the Vivo tab is an Intel-powered model with a full version of Windows 8 installed.
The Vivo RT will feature a 10.1-inch multi-touch IPS display (1366 x 768 resolution), 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, 12-core GPU, 8MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS.
The Vivo Tab features a next-generation Intel Atom processor, 11.6-inch IPS display (1366×768 resolution), a full version of Windows 8, and 64GB of storage; it's otherwise similar to the Vivo RT.
The Vivo Tab isn't available yet, but the 32GB Vivo RT Tab is available now from Amazon for $599.
The Taichi is a convertible notebook/tablet. What's unique about it is that is features two displays in one tablet.
The Taichi comes in two sizes an 11.6-inch version and a 13.3-inch. In dual-screen mode, both screens can also be used simultaneously or independently
The base version of the 11.6-inch model features a 1080p HD IPS display, 1.7GHz Core i5 Intel processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD.
The upgraded Taichi comes with a 1.9GHz Core i7 Intel processor and a 256GB SSD that one is priced at $1600.
The Transformer Book is a tablet in Asus's Zenbook series that can be turned into a laptop by using a keyboard dock.
The Transformer features either a 11.6-inch or 13.3-inch full-HD touch screen, Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD (users can get up to 256GB), HDMI out port, two USB ports, and a mini-DisplayPort.
The tablet gets 5 hours of battery life and the attached keyboard gives an extra 3 hours. The keyboard also holds a 500GB HDD, Ethernet port, and SD card slot
Pricing and availability for the Transformer Book haven't been announced yet.
Toshiba is set to release several Ultrabooks that use Windows 8.
The Satellite U925t is a funky tablet laptop hybrid. The keyboard actually slides out and can also be used to prop up the screen.
The specs: 12.5-inch diagonal HD capacitive touchscreen display with IPS technology, front-facing HD webcam and rear 3-megapixel webcam with autofocus. The slider tablet weighs 3.2 pounds, uses a third-generation Intel Core i5 processor with Intel Rapid Start, has a 128GB solid state drive, Bluetooth v4.0, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and HDMI port.
Available: October 26
The Satellite U845W is the first Toshiba laptop with an ultra-wide 21:9 cinematic display. (This device is already available running Windows 7, but you'll be able to upgrade to Windows 8. If you buy it after October 26, it'll have Windows 8 preinstalled).
The Satellite features a 14.4-inch diagonal HD TruBrite display, 3rd generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor with Intel Rapid Start, 500GB hard drive with 32GB solid-state drive cache or 256GB SSD, and 6GB of memory.
The laptop weighs in at 3.5 pounds if equipped with the SSD or 3.7 pounds with a traditional hard drive. Harman/Kardon stereo speakers are standard. Three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, and 1.3-megapixel webcam with microphone round out the rest.
Price: $1,349.99 (with solid-state hard drive)
The HP Envy x2 combines a traditional laptop experience with the functionality of a tablet. It's a tablet that comes with a keyboard dock, so the device doubles a traditional laptop.
The Envy x2 weighs 3.1 pounds, features an 11.6-inch IPS touchscreen, HD webcam on the front, and an 8-megapixel camera on the back, and Beats By Dr. Dre audio.
One of the Envy's interesting features is near-field communication, a short-range wireless technology. It's primarily associated with mobile payments, but it can also be used to link nearby devices.
Available: November 14
The SpectreXT features a 15.6-inch, multitouch, full-HD, LCD display with in-plane switching, a technology considered state of the art.
The computer has an all-metal body, uses a glass touchpad, features tilted speakers with Beats Audio, and runs on Intel Thunderbolt technology.
Available: Available in December
The HP Envy TouchSmart is a touchscreen ultrabook, a category of high-end but relatively lightweight laptops.
The TouchSmart features a metal design, 14-inch HD touchscreen display, and a thickness of only 23 millimeters.
The TouchSmart weighs in at 4.77 pounds, has a backlit keyboard for typing in the dark, and an 8-hour battery to keep you going all day.
If you choose, the TouchSmart can include an optional AMD graphics card with 2 GB of graphics memory.
Available: Late October
The Samsung series of devices combines a tablet with an optional keyboard dock.
The Series 5 slate features an 11.6-inch display with 1366x768 resolution and weighs in at 1.65 pounds. This model is powered by a Intel Atom processor.
The Series 5 also sports 2GB of memory, up to a 64GB hard drive, and Bluetooth 4.0.
Price: $649, $749 (with keyboard dock)
The Series 7 upgrades the specs and boasts a higher screen resolution. The same 11.6-inch screen is packed with 1920×1080 pixels. The Series 7 is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor and has 4 GB of memory. To top everything off the Series 7 boasts a 128 GB solid state hard drive.
No pricing is available yet for the Series 7.
Available: October 26
Both the 27-inch and 23.6-inch Samsung all-in-one desktops feature a 1920x1080 screen resolution and a multi-touch screen.
The 27-inch model features a Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1 TB hard drive. The 27-inch starts at $1699.
The 23.6-inch model features an Intel Core i5 processor, 6GB of RAM, and a 1 TB hard drive. The smaller all-in-one starts at $1099
Available: October 26
The Series 5 all-in-one is Samsung's more affordable desktop computer. It still has a multitouch screen but is a bit smaller at 21.5-inches.
The Series 5 will feature a Intel Core i3 Processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500 GB hard drive.
Available: October 26
The Toshiba LX835 is a 23-inch, all-in-one desktop. The 1080p HD touchscreen supports a resolution of 1920x1080.
The LX835 features a slot-loading Blu-ray drive, HDMI input, and third-generation Intel Core processors.
The desktop can be loaded with up to 16GB of RAM, up to 3TB hard drives, and built-in Onkyo speakers with SRS premium sound. A wireless keyboard and mouse use a hidden Micro-USB receiver.
Price: Starts at $779.99.
The Latitude 10 tablet will feature a 10.1-inch HD touch screen display. Weighing in at 1.6 pounds, the tablet runs on Intel's next-generation dual-core Atom processor, and will get six to eight hours of battery life.
The battery on the Latitude 10 can be swapped for a larger size, which increases potential battery time to 12 hours.
The Latitude will support up to 128GB SSD storage and 2GB of memory. A 2-megapixel front-facing camera and 8-megapixel rear facing-camera round out the features.
Price: Starting at $699
The IdeaPad Yoga will launch some time this fall. Lenovo says this is a laptop first and tablet second. The keyboard portion flips over, turning the device into a tablet.
The IdeaPad will weighs in at about 3.3 pounds, features an IPS display with a 1600x900 resolution, next-generation Intel Ivy Bridge process, and an 8-hour battery.
Price: Starts at $999.
Available: Available now.
The MSI Slider hybrid tablet's keyboard slides down, turning it into a pseudo-laptop. It also has an 11.6-inch touchscreen, a low voltage Intel Ivy Bridge processor, 4GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, an HDMI port, and USB 3.0.
Consumers will have the choice of a 500 GB traditional hard drive or a 64 GB solid state drive.
Price: No official pricing yet, but should cost around $899.
Available: Sometime in late October.
The Zenbook Touch is razor-thin and powerful. The 15.6-inch ultrabook can wake from sleep in under two seconds.
The Zenbook's primary specs include an Intel i7 processor, optional multitouch screen, a 1920x1080 resolution, a 7 hour battery, 128GB solid-state hard drive, Bluetooth 4.0, an illuminated keyboard, HD 720p camera, and built-in Bowers & Wilkins audio system with external subwoofer.
Available ports include a mini VGA, three USB 3.0, HDMI out, and an SD card reader.
Pricing and availability aren't known at this time. But you can get more information over at Asus's site.
The Vaio Duo Slider is an 11-inch tablet/ultrabook combo.
Its keyboard slides out and props the screen up at an angle.
Storage options include either a 128GB or 256GB SSD. The screen is a 1080p widescreen display. The Slider will also be powerful, letting you choose between Intel i3, i5, or i7 processors.
The Vaio Tap 20 is a 20-inch, 1600x900-resolution tablet-desktop fusion.
This monster weighs in at 11 pounds. Sony is branding it as a device you leave on the coffee table or desk, not one you bring with you on the go.
Users can choose either a Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processor and up to 8GB of RAM. Storage can go all the way up to 1TB.
Available: December 2012
The XPS tablet features a 10.1-inch multi-touch screen and a light, slender design.
The available keyboard dock helps you get productive by added an additional battery, USB and HDMI ports.
Other specs include a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, 1366x768 display with pen support, stereo speakers, 2-megapixel front-facing camera, 5MP autofocus rear camera, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, and GPS.
Users also have the choice between 32GB and 64GB flash storage plus a MicroSD slot.
Price: starting at $499.99
The Lynx is an 11.6-inch Intel Atom-based tablet hybrid. The keyboard dock turns the device into a laptop. Users can expect up to 16 hours of battery life with the keyboard.
Without the dock the Lynx weighs 1.41 pounds, with the dock it goes up to 2.68 pounds.
The Lynx runs the full Windows 8 operating system, not the more limited, tablet-optimised RT version.
Other specs include a 1.8GHz dual-core Clovertrail processor, 2GB of memory, a 1366x768 display, either 32GB or 64GB flash storage, a 2MP front facing camera, dual microphones, stereo speakers, and Bluetooth 4.0.
Ports include, micro-USB, micro-HDMI, and a microSD card slot. The keyboard dock adds two full-sized USB ports.
The keyboard dock retails for $149.
Available: Coming soon