The compromises that have been made don't equate to major flaws – battery life is particularly good at close to 7 hours and a hybrid drive with a 32GB solid-state drive has helped shape a fast booting system and generally good performance in Windows 8.

Read our full Toshiba Satellite U50T review

Microsoft Surface Pro - £720 / US$900 / AUS$1,000

Surface Pro

Microsoft's own full Windows 8 laptop-tablet hybrid, the Surface Pro, has the same look and the same VaporMg coat as the Surface RT, but has a tweaked kickstand and magnetic connectors for power and the two tear-off keyboards.

It also has a higher resolution 10.6-inch touchscreen with excellent blacks, a smooth, pressure-sensitive stylus and an Intel Core i5 processor. It can run any application you throw at it, and has USB and DisplayPort connections.

The clip-on Touch Cover feels very light, and typing on its flat surface takes some getting used to, or the more expensive Type Cover feels more like a normal laptop keyboard, which we prefer.

Read our Microsoft Surface Pro review

Lenovo IdeaPad U410 Touch - £722 / US$700 AUS$915

Lenovo Touch

We first crossed paths with the Lenovo IdeaPad U410 in January 2013, finding it to be a very tidy little package, even if it strained the Ultrabook name a little. Its mid-range price belied some rather useful specs, though, such as a dedicated graphics card and an uncommonly large hard drive.

While the name change from the original Lenovo U410 to the Lenovo U410 Touch here might draw attention to the touchscreen, it's not the special part: it's everything else in it that's noticeable.

Read our Lenovo IdeaPad U410 Touch review

Gigabyte P34G - £839 / AUS$/US$1,399

Gigabyte P34G

Great valueThis is Gigabyte's budget gaming laptop for the more frugal player of games. This portable is all about combining the best components for the least amount of cash.

You get a Full HD 14-inch screen, a Core i7-4700HQ (the same as the Aurus X7), Nvidia's 760M discrete graphics, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, 1TB of storage and a 128GB solid-state drive, along with all the connectivity and ports you'll need, including HDMI and Ethernet.

In real-world gaming terms the P34G really delivers. For instance, we tried out the Titanfall beta on High Settings (save for antialiasing) and it dealt with all the Source-engine's mech smashing without a stutter. Battlefield 4 will likely bring it to its knees, though.

This is a gaming laptop at an unmatched price: the battery is poor at around 2 hours 30 minutes and the build quality is adequate and uninspiring, but you'll get roughly the same gaming performance as a Razer Blade or an Alienware 14.

Read the full Gigabyte P34G review

Dell XPS 13 - £849 / US$1,411 / AUS$1,573

Dell XPS 13

A Windows 8 upgrade of the laptop of the same name, the 13-inch Dell XPS 13 looks like a MacBook on first glance, though under the lid is a soft rubber coating and lots of black.

An Intel Core i7 processor is top of the line, able to handle picture and video editing and multitasking with ease. 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD also ensure performance is quick, while battery life is seriously impressive. However, the laptop's screen isn't touch-sensitive, so you can't make the most of Windows 8 gestures, and it's not Full HD resolution either.

If you don't mind ditching a touchscreen, the keyboard and trackpad are comfortable to use for long periods, and the overall performance is impressive.

Read our full Dell XPS 13 review

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro - £873 / US$1,455 / AUS$1,624

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

Yes, this is another bendy Windows 8 hybrid from Lenovo. The key changes to this Yoga Pro 2 refresh are a very high resolution 13-inch screen (at a 3,200x1,800 pixels) and an upgrade to the processor, to the latest generation Intel Core i5.

We were surprised that the battery didn't last longer than three hours given the promise of greater performance via the Haswell chip, but powering all those pixels onscreen has to be a drain.