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Laptops

Asus Windows 8 lineup brings touchscreens, keyboard docks

Asus has shown off its Windows 8 lineup including the Vivo Tabs, new Zenbooks and the barmy dual-screen Taichi.

Asus has shed some more light on its Windows 8-specific machines, including the detachable Vivo and Vivo RT tabs, the dual-screen Taichi, the Transformer Book and updated Zenbooks.

The craziest of the bunch is undoubtedly the Taichi. Under the lid it looks like a standard laptop with an 11.6-inch Full HD screen and keyboard. Close it, however, and you're presented with a second screen on the back of the lid. This one offers multi-touch input so you can use it like a tablet, swiping around Windows 8's new touch interface.

The screens can be used simultaneously and independently of each other, meaning you can have two people doing different things at once. While certainly an interesting idea, the only times I can think this would really come in handy is when playing a very expensive digital game of Battleship.

It'll be running on Intel's third-generation Ivy Bridge Core processors -- Core i3, i5 or i7 options will likely be available -- and will start at around £820.

Up next is the Transformer Book TX300. The outside looks very much like Asus' Zenbook UX31, with its spun-metal finish, but the screen detaches from the keyboard, making it more akin to the Transformer Prime tablet. The metal casing of the Transformer Prime makes it pretty weighty, so this might not be the best slate for portable use.

The 13.3-inch screen offers a Full HD resolution and it'll be offered with Intel Core i5 or i7 processors inside. It's going to be offered from £875.

If that's a bit steep for you, the Vivo Tabs might be more up your street. The Vivo Tab is an 11.6-inch slate with a keyboard dock and a 1,366x768-pixel resolution. It's running on an Intel Atom processor along with 2GB of RAM, so don't expect the same nippy performance of its bigger siblings. It'll start at £500 for the tablet alone or around £630 with the keyboard dock too.

The Vivo Tab RT looks almost identical to the standard Vivo Tab, but has a smaller 10.1-inch display and is therefore slightly lighter. It's packing an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor -- the same you'd find in the Transformer Prime -- so it should have enough power for the essentials.

Rather than running on the full-fat version of Windows, it'll use Windows RT, which is designed to run more efficiently on mobile processors. It starts at £379 for the tablet and £500 with the keyboard dock.

The Vivo Book X202E is a brand-new addition to the lineup and is aimed at the budget end of the market. It's an 11.6-inch machine with a 1,366x768-pixel resolution and multi-touch functionality. Unlike its siblings, it doesn't come apart so you can't ditch the keyboard and use it as a tablet.

It's running on an Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM and is up for preorder now for £375.

Asus' Zenbook range of ultrabooks have been given some attention too with the 11-inch UX21A being given a capacitive touch screen and updated processors. A 15-inch version is joining the fold too, offering a Full HD display and Core i7 processors, but sadly no touchscreen. Pricing hasn't been announced for these models, but I expect to hear more soon.

Asus hasn't mentioned exactly when any of these models will land in Britain and the pricings we've been given are converted over from dollars, so don't expect them to be exactly the same when they finally go on sale. We'll be bringing you any new details as we get them so stay tuned.

What do you think to the Windows 8 lineup? Are you tempted to upgrade or would you rather snag a bargain on Windows 7? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.