The ThinkPad Yoga isn't just for business people, it's for anyone who wants a strong Windows 8.1 convertible Ultrabook that's low on bloat, fast and versatile thanks to the 360 degree Yoga hinge. It's also a top pick in an admittedly small group of powerful convertibles that have a digital pen. The ThinkPad Yoga takes Lenovo's consumer oriented Yoga 2 Pro and gives it an even sturdier build, more USB 3.0 ports, a dock option and a Wacom digitizer with pen. It runs on 4th generation Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs with 4-8 gigs of RAM and SSD drives.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga was likely the most successful Windows 8 convertible tablet-Ultrabook to hit the market last fall. It was versatile, reasonably priced and had solid features. A barrage of convertibles later, and the Yoga looks a little long in the tooth, and that's why we have the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro for the late fall of 2013. With the Yoga 2 Pro, Lenovo takes a winning product and makes it better with a still reasonable price tag, Intel Haswell CPUs, an improved keyboard and a phenomenal 13.3", QHD+ 3200 x 1800 touch screen. $1,000 for a 1.6GHz Core i5 with 4 gigs of RAM and a 128 gig SSD AND a 3200 x 1800 display? Nice.
How do you make a good thing better? Give it a phenomenal display upgrade and a much faster CPU and GPU. That's the iPad mini with Retina display: it looks the same as the first gen mini other than new color options, but inside it's now as powerful as the iPad Air and it sports even higher pixel density. The Retina mini runs on Apple's dual core A7 64 bit CPU just like the iPad Air and iPhone 5s, and it has a 2048 x 1536 IPS display that keeps up with the Android competition. As ever, it's available in your choice of WiFi-only and WiFi+ 4G LTE, with storage capacities up to 128 gigs.
The Lumia 2520 looks every bit like a Nokia product with tapered sides, a polycarbonate back that's available in matte black, gloss red (Verizon only) and white and cyan overseas. Unlike Surface products that are WiFi only, the Lumia 2520 adds 4G LTE. In fact there won't be a WiFi-only model for those who disdain contracts and monthly fees. In the US, AT&T and Verizon Wireless sell Finland's first Windows 8.1 RT tablet. Inside it runs on a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad core CPU, and it has a super-bright 1920 x 1080 IPS display.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 is the company's Yoga offshoot. We can't blame Lenovo for capitalizing on their very popular and versatile hinge design: the Yoga models are excellent products that have sold well. With the Flex 14, also available in a 15" Flex 15 variant, you get some, but not all of that Yoga goodness. Rather than the Yoga's 360 degree hinge that takes the Ultrabook from laptop mode to tent, presentation and tablet modes, the IdeaPad Flex has a 300 degree hinge that foregoes tablet mode. The Flex 14 has good specs, with fourth generation Intel Haswell Core CPUs and Windows 8.1. For $550 you can get a Core i3 with a conventional spinning 500 gig HDD and 4 gigs of RAM. Our review unit has the same Intel Core i5-4200U 1.6GHz dual core CPU, 4 gigs of DDR3 RAM and 128 gig SSD as the base Yoga 2 Pro.
The HTC One max is largely what we expected: a bigger version of the successful HTC One. That's good news and bad: certainly getting even more HTC One in your hands has appeal if you are fond of phablets or really big phones. The bad news is that we'd hoped HTC would push the envelope and improve specs and features in the 8 months since the 4.7" HTC launched. The One max has a 5.9" Super LCD display running at full HD resolution, a 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor, 32 gigs of internal storage and the same 4MP Ultrapixel camera used in the HTC One.
The Sony Vaio Flip 13 has the cleanest and most unusual hinge design we've ever seen. The display portion's aluminum back panel has a visible split and this is where the machine does its transformation from laptop to presentation mode to tablet. It's a better design than the Lenovo Yoga 13 and Yoga 2 Pro whose keyboards face down to rest on the table or your legs in presentation and tablet modes. At 2.89 lbs. the Flip 13 is also bearable to use as a tablet. The Vaio Flip runs on 4th generation Intel Haswell Core CPUs with 4 to 8 gigs of RAM and SSD drives. It has a lovely full HD Triluminos IPS display with wide color gamut and and an N-Trig active digitizer for digital pen. Better yet, it's also available in 14 and 15 inch models too. Is it perfect? Not quite, but it's definitely one of the best Windows 8 convertible designs on the market.
You get what you pay for, and sometimes a bit more when it's a Google Nexus product. The new Nexus 5, based very loosely on the lovely LG G2 and made by LG, is a bargain of a phone though it's not perfect. The Nexus 5 has a 5 inch full HD IPS display, the latest generation Snapdragon 800 quad core CPU with Adreno 330 graphics, 2 gigs of RAM, LTE 4G on a host of bands, a front 1.3MP camera and a rear 8MP camera with LED flash. It's sold directly by Google and it's unlocked for use with any carrier. No contract required! The 16 gig model is $349 and the 32 gig model is $399, and the phone is available in your choice of black or white. Is this the phone for you? Read our review and watch our video review to find out.
We loved much about the original Surface Pro but a few gotchas held us back from lavishing it with more praise. Microsoft's second effort washed away our concerns and the MS Surface Pro 2 is an awesome Ultrabook in a 10.6" tablet's clothing. The Surface Pro 2 keeps the very sharp 1920 x 1080 touch panel with Wacom digitizer and pen, but it upgrades to a 4th generation Intel Haswell CPU, thereby doubling battery life. The VaporMg casing is still lovely and sturdy and you can now get Surface Pro 2 with up to 8 gigs of RAM and bigger SSD drives. The Touch Cover 2 and Type Cover 2 are improved significantly as well.
Let's face it: not everyone has or wishes to spend $1,500 on an ultraportable or tablet hybrid, so the $699 HP Split x2 has broad appeal. Better yet, HP didn't cut corners in places where it counts: you get a full Intel Core CPU, a 128 gig SSD and a decent, though not stellar 13.3" touchscreen. The Split x2 is a 13.3" full Windows 8 64 bit tablet with a keyboard dock that transforms it into an Ultrabook. It's available with 3rd and 4th gen Intel Core i3 and i5 Y Series CPUs, 4 or 8 gigs of RAM and the included keyboard dock has USB ports, HDMI and a secondary battery.
Apple's 5th generation iPad Air fixes the one thing we disliked about the outgoing iPad with Retina display: the old iPad was too darned bulky and heavy. Android tablets and even some Windows 8 tablets bested Cupertino's 9.7" tablet with slimmer designs and lighter weight, making the iPad seem a tad behind the times. Now Apple has reset the bar with a 10" tablet that weighs just 1 pound and is 0.29" thick, making it the lightest tablet in the 10" space. The iPad gets the same extremely fast Apple A7 dual core CPU with Power VR SGX graphics and M7 motion co-processor as the iPhone 5s, but clocked a bit faster.
Sporting a much higher resolution 2560 x 1600 display, better cameras and a faster CPU, the 2014 Edition is a strong update to the first generation Note 10.1. The tablet is available in 16 and 32 gig capacities and it runs on a 1.9GHz Exynos Octa CPU with two sets of quad core CPUs (high and low power) and it has 3 gigs of RAM. The S Pen Wacom digital pen is here for precise note taking and drawing, and the tablet has a new look with a faux leather back that's more grippy and classy.
the late 2013 MacBook Pro 13" is a Retina machine and it has Intel's fourth generation Intel Haswell CPUs inside. As with prior MacBook Pro models, these are full mobile 28W CPUs rather than the slower 15W CPUs used in Ultrabooks including the MacBook Air. You'll pay a half pound weight penalty for the performance increase compared to the average 3 lb. Ultrabook, but for those who need serious computing power, that's a small price to pay. Better yet, Apple has managed to make the second generation 13" Retina MacBook Pro cheaper and lighter while increasing battery life.
Depending on how you look at it, the new crop of Intel Bay Trail quad core Atom convertible Windows 8.1 tablets are an amazing value or they're just netbooks with detachable screens. In fact both are true, as we learn with the Asus Transformer Book T100, one of the first Windows 8.1 Bay Trail tablets with detachable keyboard that sells for just $349- $399. For the price you get a 10.1" IPS touch screen, long battery life, a light tablet and full Windows, not the RT version. Impressive, yes? Better yet, the keyboard dock and MS Office 2013 Home and Student Edition are included.
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