Windows 8 machines come in all shapes and sizes: notebooks, ultrabooks, tablets and even hybrid devices. That can make things complicated when it comes to enterprise purchasing decisions.
If you're in charge of buying Windows 8 PCs for your organization, you're probably looking at traditional laptops or the newer ultrabooks. So, let's start there. Price and performance will factor into your decisions, as they always do. But you'll also want to consider the portability and responsiveness of Windows 8 PCs, because end users have high expectations in this increasingly mobile world.
To help you through the process of buying Windows 8 PCs, we've compiled reviews of some recent laptops from the staff of Notebook Review. The site's staff put these machines through the ringer and rated them on a scale from 1 to 5.
ASUS ZenBook UX51VZ
The ASUS ZenBook UX51VZ comes with a 15.6-inch display, Intel Core i7-3612QM quad-processor, Integrated Bluetooth 4.0 and an HD webcam, among other impressive features. The design is solid, and the PC weighs just 4.6 pounds. The backlit keyboard and touchpad respond well, and battery life can get to well over three hours and 42 minutes. It lacks a touchscreen. This Windows 8 PC costs at least $2,000, but buyers will truly get what they pay for.
Dell Latitude 6430u
The Dell Latitude 6430u isn't the slimmest ultrabook out there, and it doesn't have the most impressive screen or port selection. Its $1,500 manufacturer's suggested retail price may also give buyers pause. But with a 1.8-GHz Intel Core i5-3427u dual-core processor and 8 GB of DDR3 SDRAM, this computer's performance is impressive -- especially when it comes to multitasking.
Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition
The Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition offers higher performance than the regular Inspirons, and it looks and feels a lot stronger compared to the Inspiron 15. The machine is a bit bulky, however. The price ranges from $600 to $900, depending on the promotions Dell is offering in addition to the basic features. This notebook boasts a bright and beautiful, full, high-definition (HD) 1920x1080 screen and a third-generation Intel Core i5 processor. The downside to this computer is its below-average battery life.
HP Spectre XT TouchSmart 15t Review
The Hewlett-Packard Spectre XT TouchSmart 15t is a large, well-built machine with a 15.6-inch screen, but it weighs less than five pounds and is just 0.87 inches in height. The touchpad is accurate, and the keyboard has a backlight. For a high-end computer, however, its battery life isn't the greatest. Those who prefer a screen that isn't glossy will be disappointed. This notebook retails for $1,174.99.
HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15z-b000
The HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15z-b000 is on the lower end of the notebook market. It has a base price below $500, so it's affordable. It has a large screen (15.6" touch-enabled display), good speakers and a 750-GB hard disk drive. However, performance isn't great, and the keyboard feels unreliable. There were lag and some unresponsiveness when using the touchpad. These are all issues you'll have to consider before buying this PC for your end users.
The Lenovo G580 is an affordable notebook with pretty decent specifications. It comes with a 2.5-GHz Intel i5-3210m processor and Intel HD Graphics 4000. Decent multitasking computer with a solid and consistent keyboard. The touchpad is good, but it blends into the hand rest, so it can't be seen. The Lenovo G580 is bulky, and the hinges that hold the screen look as if they could wear out after a while. Another drawback with this machine is that it doesn't have a strong battery life.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S
The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S is a convertible notebook that can be used as a tablet or a laptop. It's designed to be portable, and its versatility will be an immediate draw among an increasingly mobile workforce. This hybrid laptop has a good processor that provides good performance and offers 8 GB of RAM. But durability could be an issue because of its slim design, and its battery life is short for a computer that ranges in price from $750 to $1,300.
Toshiba Satellite P875-S7102
The Toshiba Satellite P875-S7102 weighs almost seven pounds -- definitely not the type to haul around. With that size come impressive specs, however. This PC boasts a 17.3-inch FHD TruBrite Backlit Display, an Intel Core i7-3630QM processor and 8 GB of RAM, making it an excellent multi-tasking computer. The backlit keyboard is very responsive, but the touchpad design is odd. It easily comes into contact with palm movements and can cause the screen to resize. This notebook just has average battery life too. Overall, it's a midrange-priced computer with good specs.
This was first published in August 2013