The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is a good gateway to the Windows 8 experience with a responsive touch screen in a traditional laptop body.
The Asus Zenbook UX51Vz-DH71 is a nice fit for anyone looking for premium looks and performance in a Windows 8 laptop who is willing to pay for it.
Stuck between a budget model and a high-end, feature-filled model, this middle Asus Zenbook is a slim, slick ultrabook, but also a tough sell.
Asus was one of the first PC makers to go ultra-thin with its Zenbook line. That latest UX301 version packs in nearly every high-end spec you'd want, but it's priced out of reach for most, and lacks an all-day battery.
The VivoBook S500CA offers a big-screened touch-screen Windows 8 laptop for a bargain price -- and without many extras.
You get a decent 14-inch laptop package in the Asus VivoBook, especially given that it has a touch screen, but it doesn't add up to anything particularly impressive that you can't get elsewhere either with better design or for a lower price.
The media-geared Toshiba Satellite U845W has an extra-wide 21:9 screen and Harman Kardon speakers, but no DVD or Blu-ray player. The screen is a novelty act that offers some benefits, but it's really no better than your standard laptop for most uses.
If you’re just looking for an all-around excellently made Windows touch ultrabook and don’t mind that it's on the expensive side (and doesn’t convert to a tablet), the improved Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus is worth the investment.
Samsung's midprice Series 5 UltraTouch looks and feels like a more expensive machine, but keeps it simple by skipping the complex hybrid mechanics of so many new Windows 8 systems.
The latest Samsung Series 9 goes extra-big, and the gamble pays off with the most portable and comfortable 15-incher you're likely to find. However, its high price and lack of higher-end features don't make it the best value.
This Acer Aspire S13 isn't the most inspiring thin notebook, but it's a remarkably practical and cost-effective choice.
While it's not going to dazzle anyone, the Toshiba Satellite U845T is a great example of exactly how much laptop $799 should buy in 2013.
Like the Z10t before it, the Portege Z20t is a tablet-and-keyboard combo, but that's just about where the similarities end.
If you like the idea of having a touch screen on your Windows 8 laptop, the Sony Vaio T13 Touch isn't a bad way to go.
Sony's first ultrabook, the Vaio T, doesn't fall far from the tree of other thin Sony laptops like the Vaio Z, but it's far more affordable: this is ultrabook-as-budget-laptop, not ultrabook as high-end computer.
Slightly less conservative-feeling than the average ThinkPad, the well-made ThinkPad Twist offers one of the better tablet modes from the first wave of Windows 8 convertibles.
The original Toshiba Portege Z835 was a fantastic value that helped us overlook a weak touch pad/keyboard combo. This faster version is about $200 more, but keeps the same so-so design.
The Acer Aspire S3 is the closest you can get to the look and feel of a MacBook Air for less than $1,000, but it requires a few compromises.