Christmas in Summer

10 Jul

I envy people who are so organised when it comes to Christmas preparations and every year I try to be a bit more like them. Well that’s my excuse for attending the Windows 8 Christmas in June event at the Hospital Club.

Proved to be well worth it with Microsoft showing off their Windows 8 tablets, laptops and hybrids, with applications ranging from the educational to the recreational. As they all have Windows 8 loaded in one form or the other, you might think there’s not much to tell them apart. However, the intention is really just to illustrate that having just one OS for all devices makes life much simpler.

I use a Windows phone and don’t really want to have a separate OS to continue the same task when I get to the office or on the train home. The collection below makes that happen.

My top picks and stand-out favourites I’ve listed below.

The Lenovo Horizon

Horizon standardThis one is definitely staying on my Christmas wish list for the time being, a tablet that doubles as an air hockey board should be a must for the post-Christmas turkey (or whatever bird you’re having), the ruckus as you score a point should drown out the Queen’s speech pretty effectively. Read more about the horizon here.

HP Envy X2

hp-envy-x2_feature-1_484x272Aptly named (yes, I want one) hybrid which comes with Beats audio and has one the cleanest detachable mechanisms of the hybrids on show. Works well as a laptop and tablet with and the portability comes in handy. Will lighten your pocket to the tune of £700 so if you’re thinking of sending your teenage daughter off to uni with one of these babies, don’t forget to tell her “with great power comes great responsibility”.

Dell XPS 10

Dell XPS 10Whist we’re on the subject of education, the Xps 10 would suit a student on a budget without embarrassing the poor thing. It comes with an optional keyboard if they want to get down to some serious writing and the docking mechanism, though not as smooth as the Envy, works pretty well. At £239 you could do far worse.

Sony Vaio duo 13

13Summer_VAIO_Duo_13_front-left_BI look at Vaio the same way I would an Audi; they’re shiny, sleek, desirable expensive metal and I’ve never owned one. That shouldn’t put you off because the Duo 13 is a well built Sony with a flat folding screen, great connectivity (especially if you already have Sony bits around the house) and for £1300 odd, making it the family PC would make sense. The downside might be the unusual angle of the screen which offers the one position when used in the ‘laptop’ position but still gives your palms more real estate than the Ativ Book Q.

Samsung Ativ Book Q

Samsung Activ Book Q (2)My stand out favourite hybrid this one. The lightness of the device was the first thing that did it for me, followed by the sleekness of the design and the ‘not quite there’ keyboard which would give most health and safety professionals apoplexy but would fit quite snugly on the fold down trays on the back of an airline seat in economy.

It comes with Samsung’s S pen with 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity (as if you’ll ever need that much), which automatically disables the 10 point finger touch screen capabilities. The screen is brilliant but the graphics card doesn’t quite keep pace. If that doesn’t grab you, the ability to run Android Jellybean and Windows 8 on the same device should.

Acer W3

Acer W3Acer’s 8.1″ tablet comes with a detachable keyboard which doubles as a protective travel cover. First 8″ tablet running Windows 8 and as with all Windows devices, you have multi-user capability and parental controls. What’s not to like.

Others which are worth a mention are the Lenovo Yoga 11s, Dell’s XPS12 which backflips from a laptop into a tablet and of course Microsoft’s own Surface tablets with those magnetic hinge keypads.

In the run up to Christmas I hope to thoroughly road test all of these devices and come up with what I think should be ‘the one to queue for’.

Stay tuned.

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