A few weeks ago Windows 8 finally launched and with it the iron curtain separating the category of laptops and tablets came down.
With the new operating system, which is meant for all types of computers, laptops have turned into tablets and tablets have turned into laptops. As Microsoft told us, with Windows 8 they didn't want to give up the Desktop and the parts of Windows you've come to know for so long, even if it did create a brand new Start Screen.
Call them laplets, tabtops or just simply convertible computers, but the following Windows 8 computers from Dell, Acer, Lenovo and others are now sitting on shelves and they flip, slide and swirl in a different direction.
|Dell XPS 12|
The Dell XPS 12 sounds and looks like a regular computer from Dell -- it has a very comfortable backlit keyboard and touchpad. But push back on the screen and it will pop out and swivel around. Rotate it backwards 180 degrees, close the lid, and you've got a tablet. The 12.5-inch, 1080p screen is beautiful and very responsive to touch gestures.
But when you want to sit back and do some work, flip the tablet back into a laptop and the Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB solid state drive will take care of the rest. It even boots up in 18 seconds. At 3.5 pounds, the combination of laptop and tablet does make for a rather unwieldy solution when you are in tablet mode, but as with all of these, you're getting both a full-fledged laptop and tablet in one. ($1,200, Dell)
|Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13|
The Dell is flexible, but nowhere near as flexible as the competing Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13. This one also starts out looking like a regular laptop, until you start pushing back on the 13-inch, 1600 x 900-resolution display. The display can flip back all the way so it is lying on top of the back of the keyboard to make it a tablet. You can use the Yoga in four modes -- laptop mode (self-explanatory), tablet mode (when the screen is lying on the back of the keyboard), stand mode (when the keyboard is propping up the screen), and tent mode (when the two panels hold up the tablet).
With the same guts as the Dell -- a Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB solid state drive -- the Yoga also functions like a full-on computer for its $1,110 price tag. However, while it is the same 3.5 pounds as the Dell, it feels lighter or at least more manageable because of its thinner body. ($1,100, Lenovo)
|Toshiba Satellite U925T|
If you can't flip or swivel then slide. The Toshiba Satellite U925t takes a different route than the others with its sliding screen. In laptop mode you gently press down on the top of the screen and it will slide over the keyboard to make it a tablet. The sliding mechanism feels sturdy enough, but it isn't as elegant of an convertible solution as the others. It also doesn't have as high a resolution screen as the others.
You guessed it, at $1,149, the Satellite has the same internals as the others -- a Core i5 processor, 4GB, and a 128GB solid state drive. It has a nice keyboard, but the trackpad is a bit smaller in comparison to the other systems. (Toshiba, $1,150)
|Acer Aspire S7|
Don't worry, they get a bit more tame from here on out. The Acer Aspire S7 is one really thin and light ultrabook -- it is .47 inches thin and 2.38 pounds. But it has a 13.3-inch touchscreen so you can take advantage of Windows 8 with swipes and gestures. Internally you get a Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB solid-state drive.
When you aren't using the touchscreen you have a full backlit keyboard and a very responsive touchpad at your disposal. The touchpad is one of the best on a Windows 8 machine -- it responds smoothly to swipes and gestures. The downsides? It gets warm and the battery doesn't last longer than five hours. ($1,300, Acer)
|Asus Vivo Tab RT|
With the Asus Vivo Tab RT, however, you don't have to carry around that keyboard all the time. The 10.1-inch tablet is, well, a tablet, but with it you can get a keyboard dock, which has a trackpad and a built-in battery. The battery in the keyboard can charge up the tablet and allow both pieces to run for 16 hours on a charge.
But there is a major difference between the Asus Vivo Tab and the others in this list. The Vivo Tab, like Microsoft's Surface RT, has a Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, which can only run a version of Windows 8 called Windows RT. Windows RT is a stripped down version of Windows 8; it cannot support older Windows applications and you can only download apps from the Windows Store. Still, for $599, the Vivo Tab is a versatile little device and provides more portability than the others here. ($599, Asus)