It’s been a while since we’ve been excited about laptops. Over the past few years, tablets have been the craze at the International CES in Las Vegas. But this year, the focus is back on the new and improved laptop—which is now borrowing features from its tablet cousins.

“Unless the personal computer becomes interesting and personal again, it’s going to die,” said Nick Reynolds, executive director for worldwide consumer products at Lenovo. “The new products featured at International CES this year show that electronics companies are doing their best to keep laptops alive and exciting.”

Here are the five most interesting new laptops presented at the show this year.

 

1. The Toshiba Satellite U925t Ultrabook slides out and pops up to switch from a tablet to a notebook.

Toshiba Satellite U925t

Toshiba’s Satellite U925t Ultrabook slides out and pops up to switch from a tablet to a notebook (Fig. 1). When you open the top, you have a touchscreen laptop running Windows 8. To convert to a tablet, open until both halves lie flat and then slide the screen over the keyboard. This convertible starts out at $1150 and weighs 3.4 pounds. Its screen measures 12.5 inches with a 1366- by 768-pixel display.

 

2. The Lenovo Yoga runs in four modes—tablet, tent, laptop, and stand.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S

The Lenovo Yoga measures 11 inches and runs the Windows 8 operating system (Fig. 2). It runs in four modes—tablet, tent, laptop, and stand. In the stand mode, the screen is folded back about 270°, which makes it great for sharing videos or presentations because it helps users get closer to the screen while keeping the keyboard out of the way. It uses an Intel Core I5 low-voltage CPU, has a 1600- by 900-pixel display, and will start at $799 when it’s released in June 2013.

 

3. The Asus Transformer Book is true to its name, as it is a touchscreen laptop that can be transformed into a Windows 8 tablet.

Asus Transformer Book

The Asus Transformer Book is true to its name, as this touchscreen laptop can be transformed into a Windows 8 tablet (Fig. 3). It boasts a full HD touchscreen, Core i7 processors, and both a 128-Gbyte solid-state disk (SSD) and a 500-Gbyte hard drive. To change from a laptop to tablet, users simply flick a switch on the left side of the base and pull up on the screen. The screen measures 12 inches and features micro HDMI and MicroSD Card slots, plus a speaker and audio jack. The Transformer Book is not available yet, but a starting price has been set at $1299.

 

4. Lenovo says the Helix has a “rip and flip” design because the screen pops itself off from the keyboard base and can then be reattached after being rotated 180°.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix

The Lenovo Helix puts a slightly different spin on convertible laptops. Lenovo refers to it as a “rip and flip” design because the screen pops itself off from the keyboard base and can then be reattached after being rotated 180°, leaving the screen facing out from the back of the system (Fig. 4). Each part weighs a little less than 2 pounds. The screen measures 11.6 inches and is 20 mm thick. It runs a Core i7 processor, includes 3G/4G antenna option and a near-field communications (NFC) chip, and has a spill-resistant keyboard. This design will be available in late February and will start at $1499.

5. The Panasonic 4K weighs 5.3 pounds and measures 18.7 by 13.1 by 0.4 inches.

Panasonic 4K

Although it won’t be on sale for quite some time, if ever, the Panasonic 4K is worth mentioning. It weighs 5.3 pounds and measures 18.7 by 13.1 by 0.4 inches (Fig. 5). Its screen resolution is 2840-by-2560 at 230 ppi, and it runs on an Intel Core i5 CPU with Nvidia graphics. Also, it has 4 Gbytes of RAM and a 128-Gbyte solid-state disk (SDD). It has two USB ports and a MicroSD card slot as well. Panasonic says that the 4K is a business product, but it has no price, release date, or formal name yet.

Toshiba

www.toshiba.com/tai/

Lenovo

www.lenovo.com/us/en/

Asus

www.asus.com

Panasonic

www.panasonic.com