Not wanting to get stuck in Apple’s ecosystem, I’ve held off on buying an iPad and have been waiting for the new Windows 8 tablets instead. They’re definitely late to the party, but I like what I’m seeing. Not only are a lot of these tablets/netbooks/convertibles just as sexy as anything Apple has out there, but more importantely, many of them a lot more functional than any other tablet on the market because they can do everything that a laptop can do and more.
I’ve played around with some of the new Windows 8 devices at Best Buy and this much I know – if you’re going to get a Windows 8 device, touch screen is the only way to go. They’re quite a bit more expensive but I see no purpose in buying a traditional non-touchscreen laptop with Windows 8 since the operating system revolves around touch. I think that the “convertibles” are the best of both worlds – a fully functional laptop that can easily convert into a lightweight standalone tablet. Windows 8 will take some getting used to and may not be as intuitive as it should be, but the live tiles are really cool. Plus, unlike traditional tablets, you can actually use real computer software on most Windows tablets, like Microsoft Office and Photoshop, in addition to many of the same apps available through Apple or Google. (The exception here is the Surface, which runs a scaled down version of Windows 8.)
Here are the devices that I’m considering for my next toy …
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga
This is one of the few convertibles that is already on the market. The Lenovo Yoga’s screen can be flipped 360 degrees in order to be used as tablet. It feels a little strange to have a keyboard on the bottom in tablet mode, but the keyboard automaticaly disables when flipped so you don’t need to worry about pushing any buttons. The advantage of a screen that flips, rather than a screen that detaches, is that you can prop the device like a tent, as pictured.
Sony VAIO Duo 11
This device switches from a laptop into a tablet by simply sliding the screen down its tracks on the perimeter of the keyboard. It’s as easy as flipping open a QWERTY phone but that adds some bulk because the screen covers an area that would otherwise be used for a bigger keyboard.
Dell XPS 12 Convertible
Forget flipping or sliding, the screen on the Dell XPS Duo 12 swivels. To switch from laptop to tablet, you just push a button and swivel the screen around 180 degrees, then close the lid. Looks awesome!
HP ENVY x2
The screen of the HP Envy deatches from the keyboard for use as a standalone tablet. The benefit here is that it’s probably lighter than any of the other devices that have screens that flip, slide, or swivel.