First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Roundup: Windows 8 touchscreen computers
- — 17 May, 2013 10:46
Here's a roundup of all the touchscreen-based Windows 8 computers that we've reviewed since the love-it-or-hate-it operating system was released last October. We've included all laptops, tablets, hybrids and even all-in-one desktop PCs.
As far as the technology inside these machines is concerned, it's all Intel. What we've seen are plenty of 3rd generation Core laptops and hybrids, as well as Intel Atom-based hybrids and tablets. We even saw one Pentium machine that was surprisingly spry. AMD is nowhere to be found in any of the Windows 8 machines we've see so far, but that should change soon as the company readies its new platforms for tablets, laptops and desktops.
Models using Intel's 4th generation Core CPUs aren't due to be found until around the end of the year, so unless you don't mind waiting months for a new machine and the latest tech, you should be able to pick up a great deal on an existing 3rd generation-based Intel Core machine between now and then. You could also wait until end of financial year specials start next month. Note that Intel Atom tablet and hybrid devices (and even some laptops at the lower end of the market) will also be getting upgraded in the second half of this year, which should make them faster and even more efficient.
The Acer Aspire S7 (model number S7-391-73514G12aws) is the first fully-functional Windows 8-based Ultrabook to come through our Test Centre, and it's a little beauty. It's a 13.3in model with a conventional clamshell design that also features a touchscreen. The build quality is superb, the look of the unit is very attractive and its overall performance is swift thanks to the inclusion of a Core i7 CPU and a super-fast solid state drive. Read more.
It's nice to see the Pentium brand still kicking around after all these years, and Acer has put it to good use in its Aspire V5 laptop, creating a touch-based, 14-inch solution for under $700. It's zippy enough for everyday tasks, it stays cool under heavy workloads, and its battery life is decent, too. Read more.
The HP Envy TouchSmart 4 is an Ultrabook that is designed for Windows 8 and it has the touchscreen to prove it. It's not a hybrid Ultrabook though, which means you can't use it as a tablet instead of a notebook. The Envy has a traditional clamshell form factor with a touchscreen that's there to facilitate simple taps and Start screen navigation now and then, rather than prolonged use with your fingers. Read more.
There's a lot of excitement around the high-end KIRA laptop from Toshiba, primarily because it comes with the best screen ever to be put into an Ultrabook. Not only does it have excellent colour, high brightness, and wide viewing angles, it also has a massive 2560x1440-pixel resolution. Photographers and designers take note: it is a marvellous screen. Read more.
Toshiba's Satellite P840 is a Windows 8-based, 14in touchscreen notebook that's a bit of an all-rounder. It's stylish, stocked with useful features, has sufficient power under the hood, and at 2.2kg, it's not too heavy to carry around on a daily basis. However, you have to contend with a heap of annoying software, some questionable build quality, and a very reflective screen. Read more.
Hybrids (tablet convertibles)
When we first starting testing the ASUS Taichi 21, we hated it. It came to us without its proper drivers installed, which meant that it was a major chore to effectively use the two screens on this unique, 11.6in, hybrid Ultrabook. However, ASUS dropped in to our office to manually install the proper drivers and update the system, and after we used the updated Taichi 21 for an extended period of time, we grew to like it. A lot. Read more.
We're not going to dwell too much on the ASUS Vivo Book F202 laptop. It's a cheap 11.6in model that's aimed at students and anyone else who wants a small, touchscreen-enabled laptop for under $500. Read more.
This conventional-looking 14-inch ASUS Ultrabook turns out to be not so conventional when you find out that its screen has a touch interface. It's one of those laptops that you can point and swipe at when you want to navigate the Windows 8 Start screen and any full-screen apps running under that environment, and because it's a full-blown notebook computer you get good performance for mainstream tasks. However, the touchscreen is very reflective and it's useful only for basic navigation rather than a complete touch experience. Read more.
It may not run a fast Core i5-based processor, but the ASUS VivoTab 810 and its Intel Atom CPU is a great choice for anyone who wants a lightweight Windows 8-based tablet with long battery life. It's an 11.6in model that can be used for basic Web browsing and multimedia consumption, and it even ships with a dock and a stylus so that it can be used for comfortable note-taking and other office tasks. Read more.
If your dream has always been to own a laptop that can easily be converted into a top-notch, no-compromise slate device, then Dell's XPS 12 convertible Ultrabook will make it come true. Read more.
The HP Envy X2 is a Windows 8-based hybrid device that relies on an Intel Atom Z2760 SoC (system on chip) as its power plant. It's a device that can be operated as a tablet or as a laptop (with the supplied keyboard dock), but it's primarily designed to work as a tablet. Read more.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix is one of the best examples of a Windows 8 tablet that can also be used capably as a Windows 8 laptop. The tablet is excellent in its own right, but when you add the keyboard dock, the Helix feels close to being a regular laptop — no mean feat for a product with separate screen and keyboard modules. Read more.
Lenovo's primarily business-focused ThinkPad Twist (type 3347-3EM) is a hybrid Ultrabook that is built in the same form as traditional Windows tablet PCs. It incorporates a central hinge design that not only supports the screen, but also allows it to swivel and fold back down over the keyboard so that it can be used as a tablet. Read more.
Samsung's Ativ Smart PC 500T (XE500T1C-A01AU) is an 11.6in, Windows 8-based hybrid laptop that's similar in form and function to the ASUS VivoTab 810 and HP Envy X2 hybrid models we've already reviewed. It's an Intel Atom-based tablet that can be easily mounted on a keyboard dock and used as a traditional laptop and its performance is suitable for most Web browsing and document-creation tasks, but it can't handle tougher tasks. Read more.
Samsung's Ativ Smart PC Pro 700T (XE700T1C-A02AU) is a Windows 8-based tablet that ships with a keyboard dock. It can be used either as a stand-alone tablet, or as a notebook if you need to do lots of typing. Read more.
The ongoing launch period of Windows 8 has brought about a renaissance in small form factor computing. Over the last few months, we’ve seen Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets in a variety of innovative designs, most notably the keyboard-dockable-tablet design typified by the ASUS VivoTab 810. Read more.
Toshiba has taken the hybrid Ultrabook concept and put it on the rails. Its Satellite U920T is a 12.5in, Windows 8 model with a screen that slides over its keyboard base. You can use it as a tablet or as a laptop, but it's designed primarily with the tablet form factor in mind, and the screen is always exposed in an out-facing position to reinforce this usage model. As such, the U920T is one of the first hybrids we've seen to move away from the folding clamshell design. Read more.
Acer's Iconia W700 is the type of tablet you should buy if you're concerned about performance. It's an 11.6-inch tablet with a Core i5 CPU on the inside, and it performs very well as a device for viewing video and browsing media-rich Web pages. Add a keyboard to it and you could also use it as a regular laptop to undertake content creation and media encoding tasks. Read more.
Dell's Latitude 10 is a Windows 8-based tablet that is aimed at business users who need touchscreen functionality within a Windows environment. It's not a very powerful tablet, but it's useful for running non-CPU-intensive apps and it should benefit field workers who need something simple with which to enter data. Its big draw cards are strong build quality, built-in ports, long battery life, and a battery that can also be easily swapped — further increasing its field runtime. Read more.
HP's ElitePad 900 is a Windows 8-based tablet that's aimed primarily at business customers. It's a small device that's very light and easy to handle, and if looks count, then it's quite stylish, too. But it lacks built-in ports, and its Intel Atom CPU could leave you wishing for more processing power, depending on the tasks you need to perform. Read more.
It’s no secret that we’ve been keenly waiting for the Surface Pro since it was first announced in June 2012. We know that it's coming to Australia, but we just don’t know exactly when. With that in mind, we’ve got hold of a 64GB version of the Surface Pro to see what it’s like to use. Read more.
Neatness and convenience are perhaps the best features of all-in-one PCs, which don't require much effort to set up and use, and they can be placed in relatively small abodes and offices — even big 27in models such as this Acer Aspire U Series (7600U). Read more.
ASUS is a company that's big on innovation, and it has occasionally hit the mark with products such as the netbook, for example. But the company's ability to create interesting products doesn't always translate into products that are practical. With the Transformer All-In-One machine, we think ASUS has a product on its hands that might leave many people a little baffled regarding its usefulness. Read more.
Sony has been one of few companies to throw itself whole-heartedly into the possibilities offered by Windows 8. It’s got a range of touchscreen Ultrabooks and the Microsoft Surface-challenging VAIO Duo 11 slider, all of which are designed to make the new operating system’s touch-driven Start Screen easy to use alongside the traditional Desktop. Read more.