Now that Windows 8 is a few months old, we've got a huge number of laptop-tablet hybrids appearing as well as plenty of traditional laptops using the new OS. And that's before you get to Apple's hugely successful MacBook line.
No wonder choosing the right laptop for you can be even more confusing than ever.
And it's not only high-end powerhouses that are packing in the performance; cheap laptops are more powerful and capable than before, while high-end devices are often perfectly good replacements for your desktop computer, able to cope with more intensive programs.
Those after a fast boot up time and a lightweight machine to carry might drool over an Ultrabook.
Serious gamers will want a machine tailored to their graphical and processing needs, while those after flexibility might fancy a convertible laptop-tablet hybrid.
Here we look at some of the best laptops to really excel themselves in our extensive testing processes this year. We've arranged them into categories to help you find the best one to suit your needs.
We also list the current selling prices in the UK, Australia and the US, although in some cases a laptop listed here may not be available in every territory.
All of the machines listed here are laptops. Although we have listed the convertible laptop-tablets that fall more on the side of laptop than tablet, we haven't listed those that are more tablet-like. You can find those in our tablet reviews page and buying guides. Similarly, all-in-one touchscreen computers and other desktop PCs are in our PC and Mac desktop reviews page.
PRICING NOTE: The prices listed here are for guidance only and aren't guarantees of availability at a certain price. Because of the wildly fluctuating availability of certain models, we often review laptops by series. As a consequence it may be that there are tens of models with similar or the same name, vailable at various price points.
When considering what to buy, think about your needs and your most important factor, be it laptop battery life or screen size. The most important part is to be honest about what you need, and you could save a fortune on getting the best laptop for you.
Best laptop-tablet hybrids
Since this article seeks to round up the best laptops available, we are only listing those we have fully tested and reviewed in real life situations. More laptop-tablet hybrids will be reviewed as soon as we get them in for testing, so we expect to add more impressive convertible tablets to this list later.
For now, here are the great machines we have tested and loved so far:
1. Sony Vaio Duo 11 - £900/AU$1,500/US$1,500
A full Intel Core processor powers the sliding tablet-laptop design of the 11.6-inch Sony Vaio Duo 11, enabling it to run Windows programs as well as Windows Store apps. Its design is a welcome change from the many docking 'transformer' style hybrid devices such as the Samsung Ativ Smart PC and Asus Vivo Tab.
While it's not a perfect laptop-tablet hybrid, and certainly won't have mass appeal, Sony has furthered the Windows 8 cause with an exceptionally powerful device that challenges the perceptions of what tablets can achieve.
Read our Sony Vaio Duo 11 review
2. HP Envy x2 - £830/AU$900/US$640
The outstanding industrial design in the HP Envy x2 really shows the potential of a tablet/laptop hybrid, and will leave you with little question that this is the direction laptops are heading in. It combines a full version of Windows 8 with excellent battery life in a compact package, with its superb 11.6-inch screen topping things off.
Read our HP Envy x2 review
3. Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro - £1,000/AU$1,500/US$1,100
When you have it in its Ultrabook form, the Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro is maybe not the standout laptop some of its peers are. But when it becomes a tablet, it's a great Windows 8 tab with an excellent screen that's powerful, well balanced in your hands and very responsive to touch. You can go from either mode to the other in seconds, and neither is disappointing. Write on it with a stylus, type on it with the keyboard attachment, navigate with your finger - the Smart PC Pro can do it all.
Read our Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro review