Windows 8 Laptops

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At this Microsoft store - one of 30 to open so far around the country - shoppers are checking out the newest Windows 8 computers.

A salesperson explains, "We have a multi-search option."

And in Consumer Reports labs, dozens of the new Windows 8 laptops have been tested, too.

To help evaluate displays, testers shine lights at computer screens to measure glare.

Keyboards are evaluated, too. Testers assess them for ergonomics, how comfortable they are to use.

Paul Reynolds with Consumer Reports says, "All the new laptops take advantage of Windows 8's tablet-like features, most notably the tiles that allow you to display live content or reach apps easily."

Some laptops can actually turn into a tablet. Testers say these convertible computers are lightweight for laptops, but fairly heavy for a tablet.

Other laptops are offering touch screens. You simply tap a tile to open a program.

Paul explains, "In our tests we found that using a laptop with a touch screen is the best way to experience what's different and most appealing about Windows 8."

One touch-screen-enabled laptop Consumer Reports recommends - Samsung's 13-inch Ultrabook for $850.

But you'll save money if you get a laptop with just a traditional touchpad, and no touch screen.

Paul says, "Testers found that the touchpad works fine with Windows 8, but it isn't as intuitive to use as a touch screen."

Consumer Reports named two non-touch-screen laptops
Best Buys - Acer's 15-inch Ultrabook for 600 dollars … and for 700 dollars, Sony's 13-inch Vaio Ultrabook.

What about upgrading your Windows 7 computer to Windows 8? Consumer Reports says that option is best for people whose current computer has a touch screen. You can download the free Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant from Microsoft to be sure your PC is eligible.

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