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Review + videos: 3 convertible Windows laptops try to be all devices to all people

Brian Nadel | March 12, 2014
We look at three Windows 8.1 convertibles that can transform into laptops, tablets or presentation devices, and try to discover how useful they really are.

I tried each out in laptop mode, and I determined how much wobble the screen has when it is swiped or tapped. Then, I turned it into a tablet and carried it around, worked on a tabletop and on my lap. This was followed by use as a presentation machine, folding the screen flat on a table and finally in tent mode, if the system supported it.

I used each as a touchscreen and with a Wacom Bamboo stylus as well as whatever stylus was included with the system. To gauge if it could work with 10 individual inputs, I opened Paint and drew all 10 of my fingers across the screen. Then, I drew a map and sketched some geometric figures on the screen.

I measured the thickness of each system with a digital caliper and then measured the length and width in its laptop and slate configurations. I weighed each on a digital scale with and without its AC adapter. I connected each to a home and a public Wi-Fi network. I tested whether the system had a Near Field Connection chip (NFC) by using a Nexus 7 with the NFC Tools app.

I tested overall performance with the PassMark PerformanceTest 8.0 benchmark suite of tests. I ran the software three times and averaged the results. I also ran the Maxon CineBench benchmarks for graphics and processor performance; I averaged the results of three runs.

To gauge how long each can run on its battery, I loaded the PassMark BatteryMon test, fully charged the system, set its power management options to Balanced and adjusted the settings to prevent the computer from going to sleep. I used the shuffle feature on Windows Media Player to continuously play six videos from a USB flash drive connected to the system and reported the average of three runs.


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