Smartphone, tablet and laptop buying guide for businesses
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As the countdown to Windows XP's end of life continues, more business PC buyers are looking at Windows 8 laptops.
More Windows 8 laptop reviews
Do your homework when buying a Windows 8 PC
Reviews of Windows laptops for the enterprise
Many of the leading manufacturers, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, have released new machines in the past few months. It can be hard to choose among so many options, so we've compiled the latest Windows 8 laptop reviews from our sister site, Notebook Review, to help inform business PC buyers' decisions.
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These Windows 8 laptop reviews rate each machine on a scale from 0 to 10 (except where noted), factoring in their performance, features, portability and other important criteria.
Acer Aspire S7
The latest version of the Acer Aspire S7 has made significant strides and is now a top-of-the-line ultrabook. It's just more than half an inch thick -- thinner than the MacBook Air -- but still packs quite the computing punch, with 8 GB of RAM and a 1.6-GHz Intel Core i5-4200U processor. The machine also boasts two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI connector, but at nearly $1,200, its cost may be too high for many budgets.
Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series
This ultrabook is the newer, smaller sibling to the Inspiron 15 7000, and it carries a more attractive $850 price tag. The base model ships with 6 GB of RAM and a 1.6-GHz Intel i5-4200U processor, and the high-end model provides 8 GB of RAM and an Intel Core i7-4500U CPU for an extra $250. Poor screen and audio quality, plus a less-than-ideal typing experience, are this machine's biggest drawbacks.
Dell Latitude 7440
With the Latitude 7440, Dell aimed to make a top-of-the-line Windows 8 laptop for the enterprise. The company fell short. At 3.9 pounds, it's fairly easy to take on the go, but its battery life pales in comparison to that of other ultrabooks. And its powerful performance -- fueled by a 1.9-GHz Intel Core i5-4300U processor and 4 GB of RAM -- carries a hefty $1,850 asking price. (A more basic Windows 7 version costs only $1,000.)
Hewlett-Packard ZBook 17 Mobile Workstation
HP's ZBook 17 is a stunning, high-performing machine, but you have to pay for what you get -- $3,340, to be precise. And it weighs more than eight pounds, far more than most Windows 8 laptops. Still, if you have heavy computing requirements, this PC delivers, with an Intel Core i7-4900MQ processor, Nvidia Quadro K610M GPU and 16 GB of RAM. It also comes with a DVD optical drive and a port for practically every need.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro
The latest version of Lenovo's hybrid PC/tablet isn't bad, but it doesn't offer the best of both worlds, either. Its 360-degree rotating display allows for a variety of configurations, from a traditional PC with a physical keyboard to a completely touchscreen tablet. But the Yoga 2 Pro is bulkier than most tablets, and you can't detach the keyboard like on Microsoft's Surface Pro 2. It's relatively affordable at $1,100, thanks to its 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5-4200U processor, Intel HD Graphics 4400 card and 4 GB of RAM.
Lenovo ThinkPad T440S
The Lenovo ThinkPad T440S is one of the best enterprise notebooks on the market, although its price ($1,750) may be outside of many IT departments' budgets. The ultrabook is durable, has a highly responsive touchscreen and comes with most common ports, except for an HDMI connector. It also comes with a 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5-4200U processor, Intel HD Graphics 4400 card and 8GB of DDR3 RAM. At 3.8 pounds, however, it's heavier than many competitors.
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
Rating: Four stars (out of five)
Microsoft's hybrid Windows 8.1 device blows most tablets out of the water, but it's not that much different than other high-end ultrabooks. One feature of note is its kickstand, which makes the machine easy to use on a desk or in a lap. The Surface Pro 2 is beautiful and durable, with a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor. The base model comes with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage for $900, and versions with more memory and capacity can cost up to twice as much.