Fall preview: laptops and desktops
HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook
Availability: December 2012
The outlook: A new entry in Hewlett-Packard's highest-end laptop line, this slim 15-incher looks very slick and capable, and would even if you didn't know it had a touch screen. The body is all brushed metal, about 18 millimeters thick and weighing 4.7 pounds, and during a brief hands-on session, it felt like a very upscale, very thin, midsize laptop.
Dell XPS Duo 12
Availability: Fall 2012
The outlook: Flip the screen 180 degrees, and it ends up pointing out from the back of the lid, allowing you to close the clamshell and leave the screen exposed, but keep the keyboard and the touch pad covered. From our very brief hands-on experience the new was certainly thinner than the 2010 original, and added a backlit keyboard and a big buttonless clickpad. The overall look and feel was very ultrabook-like/
Availability: October 25
The outlook: With better support for touch, a new tile-based interface (don't call it Metro!), and tons of tweaks and improvements, Windows 8 will be an easy upgrade decision for most.
Toshiba Satellite U925t
Availability: October 26
The outlook:This is the sort of device Windows 8 seems meant for. The Satellite U925t adopts a clever slider design rather than a folding screen like the one on the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga. The keyboard forms a solid base, while the display locks into place after lifting up on a hinge.
Microsoft Surface Pro
The outlook:Microsoft joins the tablet wars with the Surface, available in both Windows 8 and Windows RT versions. The hardware looks impressive, and at the right price, it could be the go-to Windows 8 tablet.
HP Envy X2
Availability: October 26
The outlook:Taking a cue from Asus and its Transformer line of tablets, the 11.6-inch HP Envy x2's claim to fame is its full-size aluminum keyboard attachment with trackpad. After failing with the TouchPad tablet, the X2 may put the company is on the right track.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga
Availability: $1,199 (estimated)
The outlook:This Windows 8 prototype laptop is described as "the industry's first multimode notebook with a 360-degree flip-and-fold design." It's a 13.3-inch touch-screen laptop, with a unique display that folds fully over to become a tablet. Of the convertible laptops we've seen recently, it's the one that compromises its clamshell form the least.
Samsung Series 7 All-in-one
The outlook: Samsung made a strong first impression with its previous Series 7 all-in-one. This new model has an updated sleek-looking design that's one of the more polished of the new batch of Windows 8-ready all-in-ones.
Dell XPS One 27
The outlook: Dell's updated high-end, 27-inch all-in-one has the same 2,560x1,440 resolution as the previous model, but now comes with a touch screen and display that can recline to a flat, table top-style position.