If there's a singular system that personifies the hybrid laptop/tablet concept promoted by Windows 8, it's the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga. Its 360-degree folding screen allows it to work as a laptop, kiosk, or tablet. The new 2.0 model features a major upgrade -- an ultra-high-res 13.3-inch display with a native resolution of 3,200x1,800 pixels. That puts the Yoga 2 in territory similar to the Toshiba Kirabook or Retina MacBook Pro.
This is a slim, sharp-looking 11.6-inch slate, powered by (in our review configuration) a fourth-gen Intel Core i5 CPU, a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD), and 4GB of RAM. It has a larger screen than the Surface Pro 2, but is thinner and lighter. While the Surface has a keyboard that snaps on magnetically to create a laptoplike vibe, the Tap 11 keyboard has a Bluetooth connection and can sit anywhere nearby, and only snaps on (again via a magnetic connection) for travel.
This hybrid builds off of HP's excellent high-end Spectre ultrabook line, with a clean, aluminum design and a full 1x920x1,080 screen. It's also the first fanless design for a hybrid with a full Intel Core i-series processor.
The Surface Pro 2 packs in some internal improvements compared to the first-generation Surface Pro. A new Intel fourth-generation Core i5 processor -- along with some internal system tweaking by Microsoft -- has delivered notably improved battery life, and the Surface's ingenious detachable keyboard cover (available in flat Touch and real-key Type versions, both now with a handy backlight), which remains miles ahead of anything else available for slate computing.
Dell claims its new XPS 11 is the thinnest hybrid yet. At 2.5 pounds, with a 0.6-inch thickness, this laptop/tablet probably won't have trouble living up to that claim, even though the 11.6-inch screen features a sharp 2,560x1,440 pixel resolution. We haven't reviewed the XPS 11 yet, but our initial hands-on impressions are positive.