Convertibles redefine the laptop
These convertible laptops are built to accommodate the Win 8 world of sliding tiles and lucky charms.
The word 'convertible' brings to mind rock stars and rappers and impossibly beautiful women tearing around in soft-top sports cars, however a new breed of equally hot laptops is giving the celeb crowd some serious competition when it comes to the meaning of the word.
Microsoft's newly launched Windows 8 software claimed to "shatter the perceptions of what a PC really is" so it's understandable the hardware it's designed to run on has aimed to redefine the laptop too, setting a new benchmark for the capabilities of the devices.
Some four million people have already crossed over to the brave new world of Windows 8, with the software designed with touchscreen technology firmly in mind. These convertible laptops - or tabtops, if you like - are built to accommodate the Win 8 world of sliding tiles and lucky charms.
Somehow they manage to do this without hindering your experience of traditional keyboard-bashing computing one iota. You may wonder how that's possible - well, the clue's in the name. The devices convert from a tablet to a traditional laptop and back again at the swivel of a hinge, the slide of a screen or the stick of a magnet - pretty damn neat.
Take the Sony VAIO DUO Slider for instance. Ultra-thin and ultra-cool in its sleek black casing, the VAIO means you can get acquainted with the touchscreen world of Windows 8 while remaining faithful to your sartorial beliefs. But it's not just a pretty face: reviewers say it hides the bulging six-pack of a powerful laptop beneath the slim-fitting suit of a tablet computer.
The DUO Slider runs a full - jargon alert - Intel Core i7 processor. But don't get bogged down in the detail - all this means is you can effortlessly run programmes such as Photoshop or Word, as well as apps downloaded from outside the Windows Store.
This extra power truly comes into its own with the main show pony of Win 8 - the touchscreen technology. Use your fingers and thumbs to slide and swipe your way around the Win 8 tiles on your Start screen with the grace of Aliona Vilani on Strictly Come Dancing, before gossiping with your friends about the real Strictly via your People app. But there's more to the Slider than a night on the tiles. When you've had your fill of touchscreen you can retreat to the more familiar world of key-tapping by simply sliding a switch, while a handy stylus pen and that oh-so-powerful processor means it is great for those looking for a laptop that's good for work as well as play.
Another option is the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13, and with it inviting you to 'bend me, shape me anyway you want me' it certainly lives up to its elastic-like name. Again, this provides the best of tablet and laptop computing thanks to the combination of a touchscreen and a keyboard; however it works between the two by flipping 360 degrees. Position the screen as a traditional laptop for working or catching some TV on the iPlayer, then push the screen back on itself (like you're folding back pages on a paperback, say) and the double-jointed hinge will turn it into the perfect tablet. The transfer from laptop to tablet is smoother than Daniel Craig ordering a Martini, with reviewers at PC Pro calling it 'inspiring in its simplicity'.
The Yoga is perfect for use on the go, with its 17mm thickness meaning it can easily be slipped into a satchel alongside our work papers and sandwiches. It come with those keys which bring to mind Scrabble tiles and are just perfect to tap your fingers against, whether you're typing a report for work or working on your debut novel. And with eight hours battery life you could type all day, baby. With an Intel processor under the hood you can be sure your journey into the unknown world of Win 8 will be a smooth transition.
You may be planning on using your laptop for work and the tablet for play. The old saying goes don't mix business with pleasure, and if you see something in this particular adage the HP Envy x2 could be a snug fit. When we say it allows you to detach from the office we really mean it - it features a neat function whereby you can remove your keyboard for a tablet-tastic experience. A handy magnet is used to connect the two.
Another great thing about this feature can be found on the scales - ditching the keyboard sheds the weight and leaves you with a slender tablet perfect for hitting the road. And when your keyboard is otherwise engaged you can bank on silky typing with the on-screen keyboards of Windows 8 as well as swiping and sliding your way through the tiles to access programmes and apps.
Also, if you want to use the laptop for chilling with some tunes or catching a film you're guaranteed great sound with Beats Audio technology. When you also check out its slender shape and aluminium casing you can be sure of respect from your crowd, whether you're listening to hip-hop, folk-rock, punk or even pop.
So, there we have it - a quick look at the new generation of young upstarts which, alongside the seismic sweep of Windows 8, will change the way we use computers for good. In the future people will talk about 2012 as the year computing ripped it up and started again, with Windows 8 and convertibles revolutionising the world of laptops and web browsing in the same way punk overhauled music and fashion in the 1970s. In the words of a folk icon known for pushing the boundaries, the times they are a-changin' and you'll want to be a part of it. Welcome to the future.