Best Windows 8 laptops: the top Windows 8 notebooks we've reviewed

The latest Windows 8 Ultrabooks, notebooks, convertibles and laptops

Windows 8 convertibles

Microsoft has fundamentally changed the way Windows works with Windows 8, ensuring it works better with touchscreens and tablets.

But what about Windows 8 laptops, Ultrabooks and convertibles? They're all here, too.

One thing Windows 8 has in spades is convergence. A Windows 8 Ultrabook that has a touchscreen? Check. A laptop with a flip-around screen? Check. Tablet PCs that slide up to reveal a keyboard? Check.

It's tough differentiating some of these from tablets at times, but the one stipulation they have to be in this article is that they have a keyboard and also run x86 Intel or AMD processors. None of the machines in this article are ARM-based. They also come with keyboards in one way or another - for something more tablet-specific check out our Best Windows 8 tablet article.

That means they don't run Windows RT, the version of Windows for ARM systems. They do, however, run either Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro. Check out our article on the different Windows 8 versions to get your head around which version you'd like.

So here's a rundown of the Windows 8 laptops, notebooks, convertibles and Ultrabooks we've looked at so far, to help you choose the right machine for you. And make sure you read our Windows 8 review, too and check out what's coming in the Windows 8.1 update.

Asus VivoBook S200 - $430

Best Windows 8 laptops

Scoring five stars and an Editor's Choice award in a TechRadar review is pretty special. The 11.6-inch touchscreen Asus VivoBook S200 achieves this by offering good locks and hardware, an impressive performance, easy portability and a great price. The keyboard is faultless, and the trackpad is responsive and works well with Windows 8 touch gestures.

An Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM give it the guts to perform without running the battery down too quickly, though the integrated graphics aren't cut out for fancy 3D games. It also comes with a 500GB hard drive, an SD card reader, HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, VGA and Ethernet connections. A 5MP webcam is handy for video calls, if you can take your eyes off the brushed metallic finish.

Read our full Asus VivoBook S200 review

Acer Aspire V5 - $400

Acer Aspire V5 review

The Acer Aspire V5-122P is light and very portable and now comes with touchscreen input. As such, it works very well with Microsoft's Windows 8. You won't need to navigate using the touchpad's frustrating integrated click buttons because you can just reach up and swipe through options on the screen.

Although available in a wide range of specifications, our model arrived with an AMD A6-1460 processor with a clock speed of 1.0GHz and backed by 4GB of DDR3 RAM. While these components handled complex processes well on day one, we're not sure how well the V5-122P will hold up after a year's worth of program installation and software updates.

Read our full Acer Aspire V5 review

Lenovo G505 - $272

Lenovo G505 review

How much should a laptop cost? A laptop that can handle serious applications, surf like the best of them and also turn its hand to the odd game? How does $272 strike you?

That's the price tag that can be found hanging from Lenovo's latest offering, the potentially bargainous Lenovo G505. With the world and his dog jumping aboard on the Ultrabook bandwagon, it's good to see that there's still interest from system builders to manufacture value-focused machines.

Read our Lenovo G505 hands on

HP Pavilion Touchbook Sleekbook - $650

Best Windows 8 laptops

Sporting an AMD A-Series processor, 6GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, the HP Pavilion Touchbook Sleekbook is pretty well specced to run full Windows 8. It also boasts a 15.6-inch touchscreen, which is responsive and works well with the OS, but has a low resolution and dull colors.

Its lid is also sparkly and shiny, and the laptop has HDMI, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connections and a webcam. The keyboard doesn't feel that great to use, but the trackpad is great, with a hatched texture that feels nicely different.

Read our HP Pavilion Touchbook Sleekbook hands on

Asus V550CA - around $750

Asus V550CA review

Mid-ranged laptops such as the Asus V550CA-CJ106H can sometimes be a mixed bag. They come with price tags that make it hard to overlook the sort of shortcomings you'd forgive a cheaper laptop. And yet they still can't target the highest-end components for the best possible performance.

Sometimes these laptops can get the balance right, such as the Samsung Series 9 NP900X3D, but more often than not they can end up being rather underwhelming, like the MSI CX61 0NF. So how does the Asus V550CA-CJ106H fare?

Read our full Asus V550CA review

Toshiba Satellite P845 - $550

Best Windows 8 laptops

Built with media people in mind, the Toshiba Satellite P845 has a 14-inch touchscreen that works as a great display for for editing photos and responds very well to Windows 8 gestures, plus a dedicated Nvidia GeForce graphics chip. With third-gen Intel core processors, 6GB of RAM, a 640GB hard drive, three USB 3.0 ports, Harmon Kardon speakers and an optional Blu-ray player, the laptop may not be dazzling to look at, but it does pack in some power. There's also a good trackpad, if you'd prefer to use that.

Read our Toshiba Satellite P845 hands on

Asus VivoBook S400C - $630

Best Windows 8 laptops

A dual-core Intel Core i3 processor at 1.8GHz powers the Asus VivoBook S400C, which doesn't sound that impressive but handles every day tasks well. The 14.1-inch touchscreen has edge-to-edge glass, so works well with Windows 8 gestures, though it's not a Full HD resolution. 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive are reasonable, and there's an SD card slot, two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, Ethernet, VGA ad HDMI connections. Brushed aluminum on the lid is beautiful, while the keyboard is quite good, but the trackpad's gesture support is lacking. Battery is life isn't great, but sound is better than average, thanks to Asus's SonicMaster technology.

Read our full Asus VivoBook S400 review

Toshiba Satellite U920T - $760

Best Windows 8 laptops

Sliding the screen backwards and lifting it up to reveal the keyboard underneath is how the Toshiba Satellite U920T converts from a tablet to a laptop. The 12.5-inch device runs full Windows 8 with its Intel Core i3/i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB/256GB SSD, two USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI port and one SD card slot. The hybrid device's touchscreen is low res and dull, and not as responsive as others, but Gorilla Glass protects its screen, which is always exposed. Its physical keyboard has short travel on the keys, and the device's general build quality and appearance is uninspiring, but battery life and usability are great.

Read our full Toshiba Satellite U920T review

Lenovo IdeaPad U310 - $650

Best Windows 8 laptops

The 13-inch Lenovo IdeaPad U310 comes in a choice of cool metallic finishes and has an Intel Core i3 processor at 1.8GHz, a 500GB hard drive, 24GB SSD, 4GB of RAM and full Windows 8. But it's not a touchscreen laptop, so you'll rely on the spacious trackpad and keyboard for navigation. This would be fine, but the Windows 8 gesture support on the trackpad is confusing and takes some getting used to. It comes with two USB 3.0 ports one USB 2.0, an Ethernet port, an SD/MMC card reader, an HDMI video output and a headphone jack. This Ultrabook looks great, but its performance is average.

Read our full Lenovo IdeaPad U310 review

HP Envy x2 - $700

Best Windows 8 laptops

The keyboard dock of the HP Envy x2 offers a great selection of connections - including an HDMI port for hooking it up to a monitor - and a second battery, though the tablet on its own doesn't have so much as a single USB port of its own. The 11.6-inch laptop-tablet convertible runs full Windows 8, with a Windows Start button on the bottom of the tablet screen that wakes the whole thing up. As well as a front-facing webcam, the device features an 8MP rear camera with a flash and Beats Audio for your music, though the speakers are weak.

Read our full HP Envy X2 review

Lenovo Yoga 11S review - $800

Lenovo Yoga 11S review

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While other manufacturers are busy pointing fingers as to why the PC seems to be struggling in the face of competition from that Cupertino-based company and myriad tablets, Lenovo is both pumping out solid Windows 8 devices while at the same time, turning a profit. Which brings us to the Lenovo Yoga 11S.

Of course, this isn't Lenovo's first time on the yoga mat. The 13-inch Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga was released last year to very favorable reviews. The appropriately named 11s is a size down. At just 11.6-inches, it's the smallest form factor that can support a full QWERTY keyboard.

Read our full Lenovo Yoga 11S review

Acer Aspire P3 - $900

Acer Aspire P3 review

Acer has upped its game in recent years, and it's easy to forget that just two years ago the Taiwanese giant made its money peddling identi-kit budget laptops by their millions.

The company has since turned around its reputation and is responsible for the glorious Acer Aspire S7 - one of finest Ultrabooks out there - and has also got chins wagging about the Acer Iconia W3 - the world's first 8-inch Windows 8 tablet - as well as the Acer Aspire R7 and Acer Aspire P3Acer Aspire P3 review

Read our full Acer Aspire P3 review

Microsoft Surface Pro - $900

Best Windows 8 laptops

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 full Microsoft Surface Pro review

Lenovo IdeaPad U410 Touch - $700

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We first crossed paths with the Lenovo IdeaPad U410 around this time last year, 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 full Lenovo IdeaPad U410 Touch review

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist - $750

Best Windows 8 laptops

Unlike traditional clamshell designed laptops, the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist's screen - as you may have guessed - twists away from its keyboard, transforming into a tablet. The twisting mechanism is elegant but sturdy, holding the screen at the angle you want away from the keyboard and twisting back into laptop position with a nice clunk.

Its insides contain a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor at 1.7GHz, HD 4000 integrated graphics, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. Gorilla Glass protects the 12.5-inch touchscreen, which works well with Windows 8 when you don't fancy using the keyboard, or when you want to use the device as a tablet.

Read our full Lenovo ThinkPad Twist review