HP Envy x2: The splittable Atom laptop

Take a tablet; add a keyboard. Turn it into a laptop. Do it with full Windows 8. This is the dream of the HP Envy x2, and the dream, it seems, of Windows 8 in general. Break down the barrier between tablets and PCs. Create progressive computing. The future is now. Well, the future was also four months ago, when Hewlett-Packard first started showing off the Envy x2 in public.

We marveled then that the device was well-built, comfortable to hold, and, when you think about it, pretty shockingly practical. After all, theoretically, this is the best of both worlds: … Read more

Get an HP Envy 15.6-inch ultra-thin laptop for $399.99

I know a lot of deals sold out quickly this week, but there were plenty of "evergreen" goodies that are still available, including the name-your-own-price e-book bundle, free 15GB cloud-storage account, and $20 Skype credit with one-month Netflix trial.

Oh, and don't forget the awesome freebie for trick-or-treaters.

I mention all that as a preface to today's deal, which has an equally high sellout risk as yesterday's gone-in-a-flash laptop: Today only, and while supplies last, 1SaleADay has the HP ENVY 6-1014NR 15.6-inch ultra-slim laptop for $399.99, plus $4.99 for shipping. It's … Read more

The weird, new world of Windows 8 hybrids: Laplets vs. tabtops

Windows 8 is about to unleash a tsunami of strange devices upon us all. Call them tablets, ultraportables, hybrids, convertibles, tiny touch-based mobile computers...they're everywhere, and they're multiplying.

HP has them. Samsung does, too. So does Dell, and Lenovo, and Toshiba, and Asus, and Sony. Everyone has them. That's because Windows 8 promises a better environment for touch in mobile computing, and the promise is too tempting not to experiment. Or, alternatively, all these companies need a product out there to plant a flag into this strange soil -- a territory that Microsoft's already visiting via the Surface.

The big problem I see with them is that for every device that emerges, the landscape gets ever-more-cloudy. … Read more

Get an HP Pavilion dm1z ultraportable for $349.99

If you were eyeballing the $299 Dell Inspiron 11z I wrote about last week but found a few of the specs lacking, here's an appealing alternative that's only slightly more expensive.

HP is offering the Pavilion dm1z laptop for $349.99 shipped when you use coupon code NBG3246 at checkout. (Depending on where you live, you may also be on the hook for sales tax.)

By the way, if you're an Ebates user, you can save an additional 5 percent (or around $17.50), bringing your total down to $332.50. (Not an Ebates user? Check out … Read more

Don't call it a Netbook! Atom-powered 11-inch Lenovo IdeaPad S200 is 'mini notebook'

LAS VEGAS--The netbook's not quite dead yet. The Lenovo IdeaPad S200 features a next-gen Intel Atom processor, and it should offer a significantly better experience than previous-generation 10-inch Atom netbooks.

The rise of low-cost 11-inch ultraportable laptops began last year with a wave of affordable computers powered by AMD E-350 APUs. The colorful IdeaPad S200 series does include an AMD-powered version (the S206), but it's the Atom version that bears the most interest for us.… Read more

Get an Asus U36SD ultraportable laptop for $699.99

Ever since getting some hands-on time with my buddy Doug's MacBook Air, I've been itching to ditch my clunky, heavy, slowpoke laptop in favor of a super-thin, super-light ultraportable.

Why not just buy an Air, you ask? As a card-carrying cheapskate, I just can't justify the "Apple tax"--no matter how cool the product may be. (The Air series starts at $999, and that's for the rather cramped 11-inch model.) And with all due respect to Mac fans, I don't care for the Mac OS.

Thankfully, I think I've found my ultraportable: … Read more

The best 11-inch ultraportable laptops

When the history of laptops in 2011 is written, it will be said that this was the year of the ultraportable (not to be confused with the Ultrabook). We've seen more 11.6-inch laptops than ever before, along with a handful of 12.1-inch and 12.5-inch alternatives.

Below you'll find a quick roundup of some of the best ultraportables of this year, along with a few high-profile near-misses. In the coming months, keep an eye out for more high-end models, such as the 11-inch Asus Zenbook UX21, which will start at $999. … Read more

AMD updates Fusion E and C series processors

AMD's Fusion series of APU processors first grabbed our attention at the beginning of 2011 for their impressive showing in 11.6-inch ultraportable laptops like the HP Pavilion dm1z, offering great performance and battery life for a good price. The E and C-series APUs representing the entry-level and thin-and-light side of the laptop and desktop universe have been updated, with memory and graphics enhancements and a promised gain in resting battery life.

AMD claims 12 hours of resting battery life on a charge on the C-series APUs, and 10.5 hours on the new E-series. Of course, our battery … Read more

Intel creates $300 million Ultrabook Fund

What's an Ultrabook? According to Intel, it's a superthin MacBook Air-like laptop with great battery life and a solid-state drive, which is less than .8 inch thick. Most people couldn't tell you that, though. It's not surprising then, perhaps, that Intel Capital has created a $300 million Ultrabook Fund to drive continuing growth in the category. It is, however, significant news.

According to the press release sent today, Intel's Ultrabook Fund will "invest in companies building hardware and software technologies focused on enhancing how people interact with Ultrabooks such as through sensors and touch, … Read more

11-inch Apple MacBook Air (Summer 2011) review: Thunderbolt and lightning-quick

Last October, Apple's 11-inch MacBook Air debuted. The tiny, slim ultraportable was the smallest laptop Apple had ever made. Its combination of size and power earned it a four-star review, with caveats: it had a last-generation Core 2 Duo processor, lacked a backlit keyboard, and omitted an SD card slot. We're glad to find the newly released, back-to-school-timed 2011 MacBook Air update fixes two of our three complaints, while keeping a $999 starting price.

Both 11- and 13-inch MacBook Airs have been updated with new, faster second-gen Core i5 processors. The new Air also, finally, has a backlit … Read more