It can’t be a coincidence that Windows 10 launches so close to the back-to-school buying season; a time that rivals the holidays for notebook sales. Of course, HP, Dell, Lenovo, and the other PC makers won’t complain, as they have a bevy of devices ready to move, each with a unique way of highlighting key Windows 10 features. In addition to a move back to the desktop interface, Microsoft replaces the venerable Internet Explorer with the sleek Microsoft Edge, while Cortana emerges to teach Siri a thing or two about virtual assistance.
HP Pro Tablet 608 – HP claims its new tablet was built hand-in-hand with Microsoft in order to optimize the Windows 10 user experience. That includes dual microphones for Cortana, BIOS security features, and a brand-spanking-new USB C port. The $479 Pro Tablet 608 has an 8-inch screen (2048 x 1536), as well as front and rear cameras and stereo speakers. With a quad-core Intel Atom Z8500 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of eMMC storage, the Pro Tablet 608, promises solid performance and a thin-and-light build. To that end, it only weighs .79 pounds, which is about 57% lighter than the Surface 3.
Pavilion x2 -Those looking for the versatility of a 2-in-1 will find it with HP’s new Pavilion x2. Similar to the Surface tablets, the 10.1-inch Pavilion x2 features a magnetic hinge for attaching the included keyboard. The tablet varies in weight between 1.29 and 2.48 pounds, making it light enough to carry to and from class. While it sports a brand new USB C port, it also includes a traditional USB 2.0 input for existing accessories. This also features a quad-core Intel Atom processor and starts at $299.99 with a 32GB capacity, and $399.99 for 64GB.
HP Envy – The HP Envy line received a makeover to cut down on size and weight ,while still offering high-end performance. The 14-inch (1366 x 768) Envy 14t laptop starts at $699.99 and comes with a fifth-gen Intel Core i5-5200U processor, 8GB DDR3L memory, and 1TB HDD of storage. It weighs 5.4 pounds and measures 1.1 inches thick. The Envy is also available in 15.6 and 17.3-inch versions with upgrades to the processor, memory and storage. Users can choose between HD (1366 x 768), full HD (1920 x 1080), and quad HD (2560 x 1440) resolutions on all models.
Satellite Fusion – The Satellite Fusion joins Toshiba’s back-to-school line of devices as a 2-in-1 with a large screen. The 15.6-inch Fusion uses a two-axis hinge to allow 360-degree maneuverability between notebook and tablet mode. Starting at $599 the base model has a fifth-gen Intel Core i3 5015U processor, 6GB of RAM, and 750GB of storage. The Fusion also has a unique Cortana key, a ten-point touchscreen display (1366 x 768), two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI output, and a USB 2.0 port.
Satellite S Series – Toshiba is adding two high-powered laptops to the Satellite S Series, the S50 and S70, with a starting price of $524.99 for the 15.6-inch S50 model, and $699.99 for the 17.3-inch S70 model. The base models come with an Intel Core i7-4720HQ processor, 12GB of RAM, and 1TB HDD of storage. As is the case with most new Toshiba devices, there will be a dedicated Cortana key for use with Windows 10.
Inspiron 15 7000 – Dell has two new devices in its Inspiron 15 7000 line, a standard notebook and a 2-in-1 with a 360 degree hinge. The cheapest unit starts at $679.99 and runs on a fifth-gen Intel Core i5-5200U processor, 6GB DDR3L of RAM, 1TB HDD, and a 15.6-inch (1920 x 1080) touchscreen display in both options. The most expensive Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 won’t start shipping until July 29 and will already be operating on Windows 10.
XPS 13 – The revamped Dell XPS 13 laptop offers many customization options for users looking to upgrade from the base model. Starting at $799.99 the XPS 13 has a fifth-generation Intel Core i3-5010U processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. It also has Dell’s InfinityEdge 13.3-inch display which extends edge to edge with virtually no bezel. Optional features include a touchscreen and i7 processor upgrade.
ThinkPad 10 – The 2015 Lenovo ThinkPad 10 is a versatile $499 tablet available in multiple configurations. For the tablet, Lenovo offers the choice between two Intel Atom quad-core processors, the X5 Z8500 or the X7 Z8700, 2 or 4GB of RAM, and 64 or 128GB of eMMC storage. With a weight of 1.36 pounds, the ThinkPad 10 is light enough for mobile use. The 10.1-inch (1920×1200) ThinkPad 10 ports include a USB 3.0, microHDMI, and SD card reader.
Lavie Z – Lenovo’s first-generation Lavie Z is an ultra-light notebook with high-end performance and a $1,399 price tag. At just 1.87 pounds and 0.7-inches thick, the 13.3-inch Lavie Z comes standard with a fifth-gen Intel Core i7 5500U processor, 8GB of memory, and a 256GB SSD. The Lavie Z 360 offers the same processing power and mobility while featuring a 360-degree hinge and touchscreen to form what Lenovo claims is the lightest 2-in-1 on the market.
Yoga 3 14 – Lenovo’s newest edition of their popular Yoga line, the Yoga 3 14, is a high-end 2-in-1 with solid performance. The Yoga 3 14 comes with a fifth-gen Intel Core i5-5200U processor, 4GB of memory, and 128GB SSD storage. Starting at $799 the 14-inch (1920×1080) touchscreen sports a 360-degree hinge to convert between notebook and tablet mode. The Yoga 3 14 features a microHDMI output, two USB 3.0, USB 2.0, an SD card reader, and stereo speakers.
Aspire E Series – Acer’s brand new E Series laptops start at $649 and offer solid performance in several sizes. The E5 features an Intel Core i5-5200U processor, Nvidia GeForce 940M graphics card, 8GB of memory and 1TB of HDD storage. The 15.6-inch (1366 x 768) models ports include an HDMI, a VGA connector, two USB 3.0s and a USB 2.0. The E Series notebooks are also available in 14 and 17.3-inch versions, with the same resolution as the 15.6-inch, with upgrades to the processor, memory and storage.
Switch 10 – The Switch 10 2-in-1 brings a relatively affordable price and a full HD 10-inch display to Acer’s line of back-to-school devices. The Switch 10 has a 1920 x 1200 resolution display, IPS technology and Zero Air Gap for what Acer claims offers a wider angle viewing and less glare. With a magnetic latch that allows 360 degree use the Switch 10 transforms between notebook, tent, share and tablet modes. It comes with an Intel Atom quad-core processor, up to 64GB SSD but only 2GB of RAM. Starting at $279, the Switch 10 weighs 1.31 pounds in tablet mode and 2.64 pounds with the keyboard.
Aspire R 11 – Acer’s Aspire R 11 convertible is a compact device that features a full range of ports. With a 360-degree hinge design the $329 R 11 weighs in at 3.48 pounds, heavy for an 11-inch 2-in-1, but it boasts an SD card reader, full-sized HDMI port, VGA connector and USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports. The base model Aspire R-11 comes with an Intel Pentium processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM and 500GB HDD storage.
Transformer Book – ASUS’S back-to-school release, the updated T100 convertible, is one of the lightest 2-in-1s on the list but doesn’t offer much in the way of storage. The new T100HA configuration is expected to retail for $389 and comes with a quad-core Intel Atom Cherry Trail X5 processor and 4GB of RAM as well as 32 or 62 GB of internal storage. The tablet portion comes in your choice of four colors and is just 8.45mm thick and weighs 580g without the detachable keyboard. The touchscreen measures 10.1 inches with a resolution of 1280 x 800. Unlike previous T100 models, the T100HA features the smaller USB Type-C port (the same one Apple uses in the 12-inch MacBook) … so expect to buy all new USB Type-C accessories or an adapter if you purchase this notebook.