Windows devices are offering you more premium choices than ever, from a gaming laptop by ORIGIN PC that is as well-outfitted as Major Cormack in “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” to all-in-one desktops that save on space but deliver on style, to deluxe laptops like the ASUS T300 Chi laptop with a 12.5-inch screen that’s so thin, you could almost slice a cake with it.
Yum. Not the cake – the devices. They’re just some of the enticing new Windows laptops, desktops, tablets and gaming PCs unveiled by hardware manufacturers this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 in Las Vegas.
We’re seeing high-end devices with powerful processors, more choices for screen size and resolution, and lots of storage options; thin and light devices with batteries that last all day; hinges that enable new ways to interact with devices, glass and a variety of input options; and gaming systems with high-end graphics hardware, high CPU performance, memory, power efficiency and enhanced audio.
These premium devices enable rich experiences including taking notes with digital ink, making presentations with 180-degree hinges or completing several tasks quickly at once with the help of Intel’s latest processor.
The Windows platform offers a wide variety of devices in terms of size, style, price and capabilities – including some you may not have seen yet, like Lenovo’s first desktop featuring a 3D camera – to meet your needs at work, at home – or both.
These new devices are all about the experiences they enable, and with so many choices available, you can pick exactly the device you need or want.
“Toshiba’s new Encore 2 Write tablets offer a premium Windows 8.1 experience, featuring the latest-generation digital inking technologies that enable new productivity possibilities for everyday users, while delivering well-balanced performance in a thin and light form factor with great battery life,” said Philip Osako, senior director of product marketing, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division.
Premium packs the power
Even the venerable desktop gets reimagined with stylish, smaller and more portable forms, without losing any of the computing power that you need.
HP’s Pavilion Mini Desktop, for example, at just 2.06 inches high and 1.6 pounds, can fit in the palm of your hand. Yet it supports processors up to Intel Core’s i7, has a 500GB hard drive and comes with up to 8GB of expandable memory. Pricing starts at $319.99.
You can also immerse yourself in casual gaming and entertainment using the dual display support with DisplayPort and HDMI compatible ports, giving you the ability to stream and access content on multiple screens, including TV with full HD support.
HP’s Stream Mini Desktop comes with value-added services, including a 32GB solid-state drive (SSD) for speed and reliability, 200 GB of Microsoft OneDrive Storage for two years, and a $25 gift card for the Windows Store to purchase apps, Xbox games, music and more. It starts at $179.99.
“The desktop tower PC continues to be a focal point in the home for sharing, creating, and entertaining,” said Mike Nash, vice president, product management, Consumer Personal Systems, HP. “The HP Pavilion and HP Stream Mini Desktops deliver the benefits of a traditional desktop PC in a package that looks good sitting on a desk and is small enough to fit into an entertainment center.”
And there are laptops that will literally turn heads, including Acer’s Aspire R 13 Series and its S7 Ultrabook which feature the latest Intel processors that not only add more computing power to allow for multitasking, but also provide longer battery life in a sleek and versatile device.
Acer’s innovative Aspire R 13 Series brings a premium Windows 8.1 experience to life with the device’s gorgeous 13.3-inch touchscreen and unique hinge that enables it to rotate 180 degrees so it can be used in numerous ways. The Aspire R13’s flexible design, combined with Windows 8.1 and Intel’s new fifth-generation Core processors, gives it the productivity of a high-performance notebook with the entertainment and convenience of a tablet.
The sleek Acer S7 Ultrabook, with an all-aluminum, unibody design, is as thin as a tablet at .51 inches thin, and weighs just 2.87 pounds. The touchscreen display tilts back a full 180 degrees, allowing the display to be used flat against a table, and there’s a hotkey to rotate the view 180 degrees, making it easy to share the screen with others.
3D capabilities, new writing choices and more
Acer’s new V Nitro Black Edition notebooks will feature the advanced Intel RealSense™ 3D camera, letting V Nitro owners interact with games, open Web pages or navigate applications without even touching the notebook’s keyboard. It also enables 3D scanning and printing; users just take a photo of an object with the 3D camera, scan and save it. The photo can be used as is, or altered for sharing electronically or printing on a 3D printer.
Meanwhile, Lenovo’s new B50 3D Camera is the manufacturer’s first all-in-one desktop featuring a 3D camera, also using Intel’s RealSense™ technology. The B50 3D Camera with Windows 8.1 update lets the PC “see,” just like the user does, with its full 1080p, 3D camera so you can scan 3D objects, use gestures to control the PC or play games, and even create a more lifelike video chat environment right from the PC. It will be available in March at Best Buy, starting at $1,249.
Lenovo’s space-saving all-in-one desktops: The C20 (19.5 inches), C40 (21.5 inches) and the C50 (23 inches) are great options for the family room or the office.
Lenovo’s new lineup of its popular Yoga convertibles and tablets feature new technologies, including the new Yoga 3 Pro and the 8-inch Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows, featuring Lenovo AnyPen Technology that turns nearly any pen – or pencil – into a tablet writing tool. Now that is smooth. Combine this with Microsoft OneNote for note-taking, and OneDrive to share files between devices, and it gives you a whole new way to be productive.
“The industry’s original convertible just got better with all new Yoga 3 Pro, a more flexible and affordable device for today’s consumers,” said Dilip Bhatia, vice president, marketing and design, Product Group, Lenovo. “Powered by Windows 8.1, users can experience a perfect balance of entertainment and productivity in all its four modes.”
Users can type or write in Laptop mode, take class notes in Tablet mode, make a presentation to colleagues in Stand mode, or just relax by watching a movie in Tent mode. And the convertible’s Lift n’ Lock keyboard makes switching between Laptop and Tablet modes easy, without any keys getting stuck.
High-performance gaming laptops get thinner and lighter
Whether you’re a gamer, artist, professional or just plain enthusiast, you’ll be savoring ORIGIN PC’s new EON17-X and EON15-X high-performance laptops. They feature blazing-fast desktop processors on Intel’s latest Z97 chipset, and are up to 37.5 percent thinner and 30 percent lighter than the last generation. Coupled with NVIDIA’s next-generation, Maxwell-powered 970M or 980M graphics card, the EON17-X and EON15-X also deliver hyper-realistic gameplay that supports up to 4K gaming resolutions at smooth frame rates when you connect them to your favorite 4K external display.
ORIGIN PC’s new EON15-S laptop for gamers and professionals is 36 percent thinner and 25 percent lighter than its predecessor. The EON15-S delivers super-fast performance and beautifully detailed graphics using Intel’s latest i7 mobile CPUs and NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 980M graphics card.
“There is no denying that Windows is the best OS for gamers worldwide and with DirectX 12 coming soon, PC gaming is only going to get better with ORIGIN PC’s new laptops and desktops,” said Kevin Wasielewski, ORIGIN PC CEO and co-founder.
Laptops to love
Dell’s XPS lineup brings a great balance between form and function: the new Dell XPS 13 is the smallest 13-inch laptop in the world with an infinity display, and with the power to get work done anywhere your travels take you. It’s got an industry-leading battery life of more than 15 hours of run time on a single charge.
The laptop’s UltraSharp Quad HD+ infinity display boasts 5.7 million pixels, so movies and presentations will burst with color and detail. Fifth-generation Intel processors and solid-state drives provide maximum performance and responsiveness, and boot the system in seconds. The weight of this laptop: It starts at 2.6 pounds. Pricing? It starts at $799.99 and is available from Dell.com.
The ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi is a deluxe laptop with sleek and sturdy aluminum, unibody construction. It’s got a 12.5-inch touchscreen, and is just 7.6mm thin – and weighs under 0.75kg. This 2-in-1 PC comes with a full-size keyboard, and has an optional active pen accessory that can be used for work or for play. Pricing starts at $799.
Throwing down the gauntlet for gamers
If you’ve ever felt like being a titan, now you can be, with MSI’s GT80 Titan, the world’s first gaming laptop with an integrated mechanical keyboard. The GT80 Titan features Cherry Brown switches with its SteelSeries keyboard, SLi Graphics with dual NVIDIA GTX 980M GPUs, and lets you easily upgrade components when you want to. The GT80 Titan with Windows 8.1 is also equipped with four SSDs, and is the thinnest and lightest 18-inch gaming notebook on the market, says MSI.
MSI’s GS30 Shadow and Gaming Dock, perhaps the ultimate hybrid, is a CES Innovations Honoree. It’s both a powerful Windows gaming machine at home and an ultra-portable unit on the go. The GS30 Shadow measures only 0.78 inches thick, weighs less than 2.65 pounds, and is the world’s first eGPU solution with desktop graphics, allowing up to PCIe x16 3.0 full bandwidth.
“PC gaming is constantly evolving and our new lineup of battle machines are ready to take on any challenge,” Andy Tung, president of MSI Pan America, said in a press release. “We’ve thrown down the gauntlet with a selection of outstanding choices for every type of gamer.”
Top value and choice
Outstanding choices, indeed. And there are so many of them — from gaming PCs and desktops, to laptops and tablets, and new forms and functions in between.
There’s also an array of new devices for those who are pocketbook-conscious – including some you may want to put in your pocketbooks or briefcases. Toshiba’s Satellite Click Mini, with an 8.9-inch screen, comes with a keyboard dock and stereo HD speakers.
Lenovo’s FLEX 3, a great entry-level convertible laptop with 11-inch screen, now comes with a 360-degree hinge, so that the touchscreen can rotate full circle for Tablet mode. (There are also larger 14- and 15-inch screen size versions available.)
“It’s incredible to see this level of innovation and differentiation our hardware partners continue to deliver with Windows devices,” said Nick Parker, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s OEM Division. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the hardware ecosystem to deliver unique experiences that help people be more productive at work and play.”
Lead photo caption: Nick Parker, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s OEM Division, and Felicia Guity, general manager in Microsoft’s OEM Division, with some of the new premium Windows PCs that are ideal for both business and higher education environments. These include, from left, the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, the Dell XPS 13 and the ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi. (Photo credit: Scott Eklund, Red Box Pictures)