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Fall preview: laptops and desktops

From all-in-one desktops to touchscreen laptops to hybrid tablets, look for a lot of new PC hardware around the launch of Windows 8.

Dan Ackerman
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Dan Ackerman
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HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook

Price: $1,399

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.

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2 of 9

Dell XPS Duo 12

Price: TBD

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/

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3 of 9 Rich Brown

Windows 8

Price: $40-$200

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.

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4 of 9 Scott Stein

Toshiba Satellite U925t

Price: TBD

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.

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5 of 9

Microsoft Surface Pro

Price: TBD

Availability: TBD

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.

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HP Envy X2

Price: $999

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.

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7 of 9 Lenovo

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga

Price: TBD

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.

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Samsung Series 7 All-in-one

Price: $1,699

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.

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Dell XPS One 27

Price: TBD

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.

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