Every June, the PC industry descends on Taipei to show off its latest wares. The Computex trade show is a great place to see some awesome new gadgets and spot computing trends. So, what kind of promising new computers did they build on the eve of Windows 10?
Let's take a peek.
Asus Transformer Book T100HA
Sure, you've seen transforming laptops before. You might have even tried the S349 Transformer Book T100, the first one that was both decent and cheap. Its successor, the T100HA, looks like a real winner. This Windows 10 machine is 20 per cent thinner, attaches with strong neodyminum magnets instead of fiddling with a latch, and — at just 580 grams for the tablet and 453 grams for the keyboard dock — it's only a tad heavier than that stupidly thin MacBook.
You might wind up squinting at the 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 IPS screen, but it sounds like the quad-core Intel Atom device will be a supremely portable PC — not only does Asus promise up to 11 hours of battery life, it's got the hot new USB Type-C port for charging and other duties. It should be faster, with a quad-core Intel Atom Cherry Trail processor, up to 4GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage. And we're hearing it might start at just $350 — including the keyboard dock.
HP Pavilion X2
Here's another contender for supremely portable and cheap: the new HP Pavilion X2, another 10.1-inch tablet that effortlessly lifts away from a magnetically attached keyboard. HP tried to keep this one under wraps, but our friends at MobileGeeks spotted it on the Computex show floor — and it looks pretty slick. Not only does it have a Intel Atom Cherry Trail processor and that wonderful new USB Type C port, it managed to fit a full-size USB port onto the tablet portion as well. Plus two front-facing Bang & Olufsen tuned speakers.
It looks like this one might only have 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, though. Since HP hasn't formally announced the device — or its price — it's hard to tell. The Pavilion X2 is just a pretty face for now.
Dell XPS 15
Want something a little bigger? Try the new Dell XPS 15, which — like the HP laptop — was only briefly teased on the Computex stage. Basically, it's a larger version of the XPS 13 from earlier this year, which isn't a bad thing! (Remember, we called the XPS 13 "the Windows laptop to beat.") Expect a carbon fibre keyboard deck, aluminium construction, and a brilliant edge-to-edge glass touchscreen display. Plus — yes — a USB Type-C port.
Not yet confirmed: whether it will have an ultra-high-def 4K screen, an next-generation Intel Skylake processor, and/or the ability to actually charge with that USB Type-C port. Alongside its two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI port and SD card slot, it has a spot for a standard power adaptor as well.
Toshiba's Face Detecting 2-in-1 With 4K Screen
OK, so this one doesn't even have a name, and details were super scarce. All we know is it's a really slim laptop that backflips into a tablet, with a 4K screen, and it looks like the picture you see. Oh, but it also appears to be one of the first laptops built with Windows Hello in mind, a new Windows 10 feature that will let you log into your computer without typing in a password or even swiping a fingerprint: it's got an infrared camera that can log you in just by seeing your face.
And no, you can't fool it with a photograph. At least not according to a session on Windows Hello that we attended at the Microsoft Build developer conference a few weeks back.
Enough with the laptops. What's new with Windows computers that sit on a desk? Well, the Acer Z3-710 is an all-in-one that's just 1.4 inches thick, and comes with a built-in battery. In other words, it's a giant tablet. No, we're not quite sure how it gets off that stand. Another video from MobileGeeks shows it on a table, propped up using a pair of folding feet instead.
Plugs, Bricks, and Sticks
And then there were the computers that don't look like computers to begin with. Computers designed to work with a TV. Computers like the Quanta Compute Plug, which fits an entire Windows PC into a wall wart that you can (allegedly) control using voice commands.
Or the Foxconn Kangaroo, a tiny PC with a built-in battery and fingerprint reader, a PC no bigger than an external hard drive. A computer which could even slot into other things thanks to modular connectors. (Yes, this looks just like the Amplicity PC we saw at CES.)
Computex also played host to more stick computers — HDMI dongles designed to be plugged right into the back of your TV set and turn it into a full Windows computer. Even though the Intel Compute Stick was a dud, manufacturers are already making better versions of the idea.
MobileGeeks spotted a new version of the Compute Stick with a faster Core M processor, and it looks like Asus is building a stick computer too: the Asus Pen Stick has two full-size USB ports compared to the typical one — which should come in mighty handy when you need to actually, you know, plug in some peripherals.
The Stackable PC
Last but not least, a company we've never heard of (Wibtek) had an amazing and terrible idea: a computer where you simply stack additional components instead of plugging them into the system. In this case, you can just drop a DLP projector on top of this relatively small desktop computer to serve as the display, and drop both on top of a Blu-ray disc drive to start playing some movies.
Top image: Microsoft