The Windows 8 Upgrader's Gift List: Laptops, Ultrabooks, Tablets, Phones

2012 Apartment Therapy Tech Gift Guide

Windows 8 was released with much fanfare, and there are a ton of different devices launching with the brand new operating system from Microsoft. Whether you're thinking about a Windows tablet, upgrading to a new Windows laptop, or itching to get your hands on a Windows phone, here are some of our favorite Windows 8 devices available today...

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Microsoft Surface
No matter if you love or dislike Microsoft, the company definitely made a splash with their Surface tablets. Whether you like the design, the OS, or simply the keyboard cover case, Surface has something for everyone. It will definitely make a good first tablet, and it's perfect for people who have been used to Windows, who are reticent to change to a different operating system. ($499 or $599 with Touch Cover)

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HTC 8X

This new HTC phone looks similar to the Nokia Lumia 920, including its bright candy colors, and it comes with a 4.3-inch HD LCD screen with 720 × 1280 resolution, Beats Audio for a better headphone experience (which is a headphone amp), Gorilla Glass 2 to protect your screen, and a 2.1 MP front-facing camera. There's an 8MP rear-facing camera as well. The battery has a 1,800 mAh capacity. ($100 for the 8GB version and $200 for the 16GB version with contracts)

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Nokia Lumia 920
The Nokia Lumia 920 is Nokia's new flagship Windows Phone 8 and arguably the best device shipping with Microsoft's mobile OS. Most notably the Lumia 920's 8.7 MP Nokia PureView camera with image stabilization and Carl Zeiss optics has piqued the interest of smartphone photographers looking for better low light performance. There's also a 1.2 MP front-facing camera and a 4.5-inch screen with 768 × 1280 resolution and automatic sunlight reading mode. The screen is so sensitive it can register sense touch even through gloves and respond to fingernail touches, making it ideal for use in colder climates. The phone has a 32GB storage capacity and a 2,000 mAh battery, not to mention one of the most distinct smartphone designs available. ($99.99 with a contract)

Asus Taichi Dual Screen Tablet/Laptop
If you're trying to find a device that works well as both a laptop and a tablet, take a look at the dual screen Asus Taichi, which sports a screen on its lid and on the inside. If the device remains closed, it functions as a Windows 8 tablet. If you open it up, it works as a laptop. The design is amongst the interesting hybrid trend accompanying the Windows 8 launch. And impressively, the modest price of the 11.6-inch Taichi doesn't hold it back from offering a solid 1920 × 1080 screen resolution. ($1,299 for the 11.6-inch and $1,499 for the 13-inch)

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Acer Aspire S7
Acer's attempt at building a razor-thin, Gorilla Glass convertible tablet looks quite good. The Aspire S7 ships with a Core i5 processor, 4GB of memory, 128 SSD storage, and a 1080p touchscreen display. And like many of the other Ultrabook designs listed here, the screen can bend backwards 180 degrees to lie completely flat into a tablet-use position, available in both a 13.3-inch display or 11.6-inch display and partnered up with an excellent keyboard design. The only weak spot? The battery life is somewhat short and could be problematic for hardcore user. (starts at $1,199)

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Dell XPS 12
This Dell convertible has a 12.5-inch screen with a brilliant 1080p touchscreen display capable of spinning 180 degrees inside of its aluminum bezel, transforming it from laptop to tablet (see a trend here?). The 1920 × 1080 IPS display should please most eyes in laptop mode, but like all the rest of these laptop Transformers, the XPS 12 could get a bit heavy when used as a tablet for longer bouts. (starts at $1,199)

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Samsung Ativ
While this looks and feels like a tablet, Samsung is touting it as being a Smart PC, which is reflected in its hefty price. Unlike Surface, Samsung's tablet runs a full-fledged version of Windows 8, so it's basically like a touch-based laptop without a keyboard. The US model operates with a 1.5 GHz processor, but some of the international models have faster processors as well as a 1080p screen. This model from AT&T has 64GB of storage, an 11.6-inch display with 1366 × 768 resolution. ($799 from AT&T)

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Toshiba Satellite U925t
This Toshiba ultrabook has a screen hinge that allows it to fold back and then slide down over the top of the keyboard, allowing you to use the device as a 12.5-inch tablet. It's got an Intel Core i5 processor, 128 SSD, and a bunch of ports and jacks. At 3.2 pounds, it's light for a laptop but heavy for a tablet, making it somewhat hard to hold in one hand for any period of time. (starts at $1,149)

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Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga
Lenovo's 13-inch Windows 8 ultrabook lives up to its name with a 360-degree hinge that allows the convertible hybrid ultrabook to flip around one direction or another. One moment the svelte 17mm thick device is a laptop, then in a quick flip it's now a big ole tablet. The 3.4-pound Yoga starts at a reasonable $999 for the Intel Core i3 version, and $100 more for the better spec'ed and better buy Intel Core i5 edition with double the RAM (4.0GB vs 8.0GB). The 10-point multitouch panel is vibrant and responsive, taking good use of the 1600 x 900 IPS display as a laptop; it's a little unwieldy in tablet format, but a user can take in a whole lot more of a website without scrolling. The 128GB SSD inside makes sure performance never lags, keeping pace with the Yoga's flexible nature.

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Asus Vivo Tab RT
This Windows RT-powered tablet sports a 10.1-inch screen with a slightly lower 1366 × 768 resolution compared to the non-RT powered devices above. A $199.99 dock is required to transform the tablet into a laptop, doubling the weight of the device from 1.1 lbs to 2.3 lbs. in the process. The screen size is more than adequate in tablet mode, but falls a bit short as a laptop. The dock adds a keyboard, trackpad, USB port, and a big battery. ($599 for the 32GB tablet/dock and $699 for the 64GB)

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Microsoft Touch Mouse
It's been a long time coming, and finally we've got a gesture-enabled mouse for Windows 8. If you've got a computer with Windows 8, you'll just need to get this mouse in order to use gestures. This allows users to take advantage of all of the multitouch gestures available in Windows 8. ($79.95)

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(Images: as linked)

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