Windows 8 launch: hands-on with new Windows 8 hardware
Acer Aspire S7
You could literally carve a turkey with Acer's Core i7 Ultrabook, but don't: that would expensive and unhygienic. In fact, the edges of the keyboard side are so thin that it might make some people uncomfortable. It's extremely nicely made, though, so once you get over the feeling that you're typing on a folding meat cleaver, the keyboard makes for fast, comfortable typing, and the 1080p touchscreen is very nice indeed. The touchpad is pretty standard, though. The S7 can resume from sleep and reconnect to Wi-Fi in one second, which is slightly less time than it takes to open the lid.
Samsung Series 7 AIO
It might look portly alongside the new iMac, but stand Samsung's all-in-one next to rany other desktop and it looks very slim indeed. Its special move is gesture control, and with Windows 8's flicky, slidy interface, that makes a lot of sense. It remains to be seen if it will actually be all that useful day-to-day, but moving the pointer around with a waft of your hand and clicking with a scrunching motion is enormously cool. It's also something that could, if it catches on, set Windows apps apart. As you would hope from a media-focused PC, the Series 7's screen is excellent, the pleasing design makes it pretty easy on the eye all round, and the specs are sufficiently muscular for desktop work.
Dell XPS 10
Dell's convertible tablet has a snap-on keyboard, so you can make the most of the free Office 2013 suite that you get with Windows RT. The keyboard feels nice - as with the Asus Transformer tablets it takes its shape from, it's important to realise that this isn't a full-size laptop keyboard and you can't type at speed on it unless you have the tiny, nimble hands of a woodland elf, but it is plenty good enough for email and working on the go. Converti-tabs can feel very top-heavy because the screen's a tablet containing most of the hardware, but the XPS 10 feels quite nicely balanced. There's a lot of bezel there, which might be good for Windows 8's from-the-edge gestures, but it doesn't look very futuristic.
HP ElitePad 900
Power-hungry, full-fat processors aren't the only option for tablets running Windows 8 Pro: the ElitePad runs one of the new Clover Trail chips from Intel's Atom line, which made their name in netbooks. With a 1.8GHz processor and 2GB RAM it runs Windows 8 Pro in a surpisingly sleek package - with a slender form and no large fan vents, you'd think this was an ARM-based RT tablet. You might wonder exactly why you'd want a Windows 8 Pro tablet, but you would be able to install your old software on this 10in tab and run it via the desktop - handy if your work requires using some company-issued programs. It seemed very fast and responsive, and the 1280x800 screen is decent, although obviously there are more resolution-heavy tabs about.