Windows 8 PCs rated and reviewed
The first wave of Windows 8 desktops, laptops, tablets, and hybrids has been benchmarked and tested. Find out what we loved and hated.
Theis already on sale, and our collection of reviews continues to grow.
We've been benchmarking and field-testing new Windows 8 systems, including all-in-one desktops, traditional clamshell laptops, hybrid PCs with detachable screens, and convertible laptops with displays that flip or twist around to form tabletlike devices. The latest additions include Lenovo's ThinkPad Twist convertible laptop and Acer's high-end Aspire S7.
Some of what we found surprised us, such as how well nontransforming laptops worked with added touch screens, or how important a decent touch pad still was for navigation. The majority of these first Windows 8 systems were inventive, if not always successful in their experimentation, and if there's one takeaway, it's that the combination of touch and the new Windows 8interface means we'll be seeing a lot more laptops and desktops that play with the traditional forms we've been accustomed to for years.
The well-made Lenovo ThinkPad Twist a bit of a throwback, using a center-hinge, swiveling-screen design that will be familiar to anyone who used or shopped for a Windows tablet pre-2010.
While the hardware and design of the Aspire S7 is definitely premium (it's arguably our favorite Windows 8 laptop so far), it's a tough sell at $1,649, especially with touch-screen Windows 8 laptops available for as little as $529.
The touch-enabled Aspire M5 481PT with Windows 8 is a very good all-around laptop, even if it lacks the Nvidia dedicated graphics included in the last model.
If you're looking for an inexpensive entry point to the Windows 8 touch experience, that's going to be hard to beat; the V5, with its edge-to-edge glass and big, buttonless touch pad, its a real looker.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 looks as good as any 13-inch ultrabook, with the added attraction of a 360-degree screen and a laptop body that can fold into a tent, stand, or slate. But most importantly, it doesn't compromise the traditional laptop experience.
Three HDMI ports, a responsive touch screen, and its sleek looks give the Acer Aspire 7600U some appeal. Its problem is that for a similar price you can get the Dell XPS One 27, which is faster and has a higher-resolution 27-inch touch display.
The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is a good gateway to the Windows 8 experience, but it's on the heavy side for an ultrabook, and the touch pad is jumpy at default settings.
The wide screen is intriguing but not necessary for movie-watching (in fact, many 16:9 movies will end up with "reverse letterboxing" on the sides as opposed to the top/bottom in order to fit the screen), and it feels like it's missing something without touch.
For a 20-inch all-in-one touch-screen desktop with no optical drive and a low-voltage Core i5 chip, $999 seems like a lot to ask. But thanks to a built-in battery and a semiportable design, the Tap 20 might be the most distinctive Windows 8-launch PC.
Dell has the best of both worlds with this PC. It offers high-end options for those who want to pay for them, and it also outclasses its competition by offering the same high-resolution screen with its more modestly priced starting models.
Like other slider convertibles, the Toshiba Satellite U925t is an engineering marvel, with a carefully constructed chassis that pulls open and rotates into place, giving you a final form that's closer to an iPad sitting in a keyboard case than a traditional clamshell laptop. It's an acquired taste, but a fun deviation from the norm.
The new XPS 12 has a screen that swivels at the middle of the lid's sides, so it can face out from the back of the lid's frame or fold down to a tablet. This is a slim, well-built, and frankly ambitious convertible, but it works better as a laptop than as a tablet.
As a Windows 8 laptop, it falls short. It lacks a touch screen, and its included touch pad just isn't up to the task for Windows 8's gestures. The battery life is also very short, although that's common for big-screen laptops.
The Sony Vaio T13 Touch gives you the convenience of a full-size keyboard and touch pad with a responsive touch screen for experiencing the Windows 8-style interface.
Sony is selling the Vaio Duo 11 as being the best of both worlds: a full-HD laptop and touch-screen tablet in one. And it is both of those things -- sort of -- and it comes off as a tablet cobbled together with a makeshift keyboard.
As the only Microsoft-branded Windows RT hardware to launch with the new operating system, the tablet serves as ambassador and flagship for the touch-focused, wildly risky Windows grand experiment.