WINDOWS 8 – How I spent Saturday morning – some quick reviews of new Win 8 machines

Spent this morning at the Microsoft and Sony Style stores in Tysons Corner, Virginia trying out the new Windows 8 machines. Nice.

Windows 8 is definitely a new experience. Confusing but mostly good. I believe that it will do good things for Microsoft.

Certainly Windows 8 creates many new opportunities to reimagine the PC.

>>> The big winner with Windows 8 is Lenovo, the Chinese PC maker that bought out IBM’s PC division back in 2006. Lenovo has some very innovative and interesting desktop and laptop/tablet combinations. It seems as if Lenovo is trying to capture all of the different computer categories at once. It certainly took on the competition and every one of their 7 new PC computers is a WOW.

— The Lenovo IdeaCenter A520 is just pure beauty if you are looking for a new touchscreen desktop and don’t mind paying $1499 for what is really an amazing machine … although many laptops provide all the power and pizzazz that you need for only half of that. Note: The Lenovo website says ‘coming in December’ but the Microsoft store has them now for you to play with and to buy.

— The other Lenovo winners include the 13″ Yoga — the Yoga also offers higher resolution than available on most Microsoft notebooks — and the 13″ Twist. One literally bends over backwards to work in various configurations ($999 at Best Buy) or the Twist which has its touch screen twist around and fold flat to make a Windows 8 tablet ($899 at Staples … BUT $799 at Staples online). The Twist offers only normal 1366 resolution.

Sony has a whole slew of new machines as well — competitively priced (which is new for Sony). The Sony Windows 8 laptop/tablet is called the Slider … while unique and nice it was something that I couldn’t get comfortable with. Instead of trackpad it has a …. it has a … something like a g-spot mouse. (Not a good word for it). The Sony has a shiny spot stuck in the middle of the keyboard, kinda like the IdeaPad has its red mouse stick, but this is shiny and as you glide your finger over it the computer responds. It works … but just in real life it would be nice to have more to work with. =^) … Additionally, when stored flat the screen always faces out just like a tablet … so you need to be very careful when tossing it into your backpack.

The other Sony VAIO S Series 13 Custom Laptop models are traditional clamshell style and come in very, very brushed alumnium metallic designs … although metallic comes in many different pastel shades. (Literally pastels … alumnium pastels).

Dell XPS 12
Dell XPS 12

The Dell XP 12 Ultrabook is a tad expensive but it works hard for the money and can convert to a really nice Windows 8 tablet in just seconds through a unique flipscreen … you’ve got to see it to understand it. The screen seems like it would be flimsy but it is plenty sturdy. This is a sexy machine that unfortunately sucks at battery life … just 4.5 hours per session. … But sometimes looking good is more important than lasting the whole night so … check it out at on Dell’s website.

Samsung Series 7 Slate
Samsung Series 7 Slate

MISSING IN ACTION with an all new Windows 8 convertible thinkgamajig is Samsung. Have come to love Samsung machines.

While the other manufacturers were saving their ideas for Windows 8, Samsung was out there in fal of 2011 with an incredible laptop/tablet combo that borrowed heavily from the ASUS Transformer Prime school of design. … The Samsung Series 7 Slate runs Windows 7 Professional and is available via  … this model remains among my Top 3 choices for new, interesting and useful.

The Samsung website appears to show that the Series 7 Slate remains its primary offering in this category and that Windows 8 is offered as an upgrade. … !!! is offering this machine at $300 off … probably because it is no longer considered the latest and greatest … BUT I think that it is a deal … see the Samsung website for more info.

… and after all of that play I went and got myself a McDonald’s coffee because it is only $1/cup for any size.

BTW – the Microsoft store at Tysons Corner was jam packed with folks looking at the new Windows 8 stuff. I didn’t discuss the new Microsoft tablet because I am waiting for the PRO model to come out.  The big hoopla currently is about the Windows 8 RT version … while it does offer an onboard version of Office for RT, the RT version of Windows 8 does not run legacy Windows software. I am just too invested in Microsoft products to abandon them.

About my Toshiba Thrive Droid Tablet

The Toshiba Thrive is an incredible tablet, and a great deal for the $$$ … costing only $$ instead of $$$$.

The Thrive offers a full-size HDMI connector allowing you to connect to large screen TVs and other devices, a full-size USB connector which lets you connect to almost anything, a mini-USB connector and a full-size SDcard slot … the Thrive gives you ‘full-size’ everything as standard … most tablets give you NADA or just the mini-size.

Thrive’s screen is just crystal clear and Toshiba built some really useful tools into the Thrive such as a file manager that immediately senses and reads any data cards that you may plug in.

>>> Get the 16GB Thrive for $399 (but available often for $369). You don’t need the largest memory onboard like an iPad or most other Droids because the Thrive can live off of cheap SD memory cards.