Consumer Reports finds best laptops featuring Windows 8

December 20, 2012 3:11:05 PM PST
If you are a last-minute shopper, a new laptop may be on your list. But before you buy a new one, Microsoft has a new wave of laptops with Windows 8 that just hit the stores and Consumer Reports just tested them.

More than a dozen laptops were tested and Consumer Reports has three laptops they recommend, plus two they consider a best buy.

At one Microsoft store, shoppers are checking out the newest Windows 8 computers.

And in Consumer Reports labs, dozens of the new Windows 8 laptops have been tested, too.

To help evaluate displays, testers shine lights at computer screens to measure glare. Keyboards are evaluated, too. Testers assess them for ergonomics, how comfortable they are to use.

"All the new laptops take advantage of Windows 8's tablet-like features, most notably the tiles that allow you to display live content or reach apps easily," Consumer Reports' Paul Reynolds said.

Some laptops can actually turn into a tablet. Testers say these convertible computers are lightweight for laptops, but fairly heavy for a tablet.

Other laptops are offering touch screens. You simply tap a tile to open a program.

"In our tests, we found that using a laptop with a touch screen is the best way to experience what's different and most appealing about Windows 8," Reynolds said.

One touch-screen-enabled laptop Consumer Reports recommends is Samsung's 13-inch Ultrabook for $850. But you'll save money if you get a laptop with just a traditional touchpad and no touch screen.

"Testers found that the touchpad works fine with Windows 8, but it isn't as intuitive to use as a touch screen," Reynolds said.

Consumer Reports named two non-touch screen laptops best buys: Acer's 15-inch Ultrabook for $600 and for $700, Sony's 13-inch Vaio Ultrabook.

How about upgrading your Windows 7 computer to Windows 8?

Consumer Reports says that option is best for people whose current computer has a touch screen. You can download the free Windows 8 upgrade assistant from Microsoft to be sure your PC is eligible.


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