Tablets and Laptops for the holidays!

Here is a quick rundown on some tech that may be great for the small business owner. I ran thru the Staples store and jotted down some picks that you should check out and see if they are right for you.

For those of you moving to Windows 8 for the 1st time, one of the things you’ll notice at the store are all the “8 Was Easy” signs. This is basically a program which helps you move to Windows 8, without the stress. You can get free personalized training on the new OS, and with the purchase of a computer that goes for $699 or more, their certified Microsoft advisors will transfer your data from the old machine to the new one, no strings attached!

I always tell people go in to the store and test drive the devices and compare them for yourself. If you haven’t used Windows 8 yet, I’d strongly recommend you try it on both a touchscreen and non-touchscreen device before buying. While you may not know if you want a touchscreen device yet, after trying one out you may be singing a different tune.

Since there are so many different types of tablets, laptops, and in-between devices on the market these days, it’s hard to know what to buy. I’m going to make it easy for you by talking briefly about a few of the choices I found at the Staples store:

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist in Action

It’s a laptop… no it’s a tablet… wait, it’s a Lenovo! The Lenovo ThinkPad Twist is a unique laptop because when you need to take it on the go but keep working you just twist the screen around and BAM! You suddenly have a tablet computer in your hands. You can check out my Tech Tip Tuesday video to see it in action—you really won’t believe what a unique device this is and how it bridges the gap between laptop and tablet until you get into a store and try it for yourself though!

Samsung ATIV Windows 8 Tablet

The Samsung ATIV Windows 8 tablet runs an Intel Atom processor, so that means a lot of benefits, like long battery life and no noisy fan. Plus, you can buy a keyboard dock the tablet snaps into and suddenly you’ve turned this tablet into a laptop with a full keyboard and mouse! How cool is that?

HP Envy 4

HP Envy 4 Ultrabook

An Intel Ultrabook-branded laptop at a budget laptop price? Yup! That’s the sub-$700 HP Envy 4, a lightweight and portable machine that will handle almost any task you throw at it, from business work to playing movies or games. Now, because it’s a budget machine, there are some sacrifices you have to be willing to accept. First up, there’s a traditional hard drive in this machine, not an ultra-fast SSD like in some other Ultrabook models like the Sony I talk about below. While that won’t impact gaming or video editing performance, it will mean that the computer is slower to boot up and that apps will launch slower than on some other, more expensive machines. Also, there’s no touchscreen on this one. So you’ll want to go into the store and try it out before deciding if this is the Ultrabook for you.

Sony T13 Touch Ultrabook
This is a touch screen with a screaming fast latest-gen Intel Core i5 processor, a 32GB SSD for Windows & Apps, a 500GB standard hard drive for all your documents, photos and music. 6 GB of RAM, an HD webcam, and of course, the beautiful touchscreen round out the package. With an attractive aluminum lid and awesome Sony style, this is an Ultrabook that makes sure you have it all, and is available for under 900 bucks!

Nexus 7 from Google

Google Nexus 7

While not a Windows 8 device, it’s hard to argue with this Android tablet’s $199 starting price tag. The best made 7” Android tablet on the market, this guy is perfect for working through your email, handling some light editing on documents or spreadsheets, or even just playing a game or watching a movie while traveling. While not a replacement for a laptop by any means, this little guy is a great companion to any of the machines I’ve talked about above.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Hey readers, this is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a gift, a payment or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I have tested personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Pre-Order Windows 8 Devices for Small Business from Staples

Today Staples started taking Windows 8 pre-orders for a huge variety of devices. It doesn’t officially ship til October 26th, but Windows 8 pre-order will let you be one of the first to get your hands on a brand-new device with Microsoft’s redesigned operating system. There are tons of devices to choose from, from tablets and ultrabooks to high-end touchscreen laptops. Here are a couple of our favorites for mobile productivity:

Staples Windows 8 Pre-Sale Samsung Slate 5
Samsung Series 5
It’s the best of both worlds: the tablet and the laptop. When you pop the tablet into the docking station you get a super-portable laptop that weighs under 2 pounds. Plus it’s designed to work together the the S-Pen stylus, which we love.

Staples Windows 8 Pre-Order Sony VAIO Ultrabook


Sony VAIO Touchscreen Ultrabook
This is dedicated 13.3″ Ultrabook that doesn’t sacrifice ports and connections OR processing power to be incredibly portable, making it a good business choice. Weighs in at 3.77 pounds, with a promised 5.5 hours of battery life, making it a good all-around machine.


There’s more where that came from! See all of the Windows 8 pre-order devices available from Staples.

Staples Windows 8 Pre-Order Devices

Plus Staples has also announced their free “8 Was Easy” program to make the switch completely painless. They’ll help you set up your new machine to take advantage of Windows 8’s new features and optimize your device’s performance. They’ll also walk you through key new features like the new Windows App Store and Skydrive, Microsoft’s new cloud storage program. AND they’ll help you transfer all of your old data to your new machine or a backup device of your choice for free. That’s a lot of incentive to do your Windows 8 upgrade, especially when you throw in the free phone support!

Click here to pre-order your Windows 8 device before the official launch.

Are you planning to upgrade? What do you think of the new tile layout? What upgrades do you want from Windows 8? Let us know!

Quick Look at the Asus Zenbook

Yesterday we were invited to the NYC launch event for the Asus Zenbook, one of the first of many of a new type of PC we expect to see and hear a lot about this holiday season. If you’ve used a Macbook Air, then you pretty much know what to expect: small, ultralight ‘netbook’ style laptops, but ones with full-powered processors (in this case, Intel core i5) and decently-sized solid-state hard drives inside.

While many manufacturers are finding they can’t compete with Apple in terms of sheer design or profit, they are finding they can produce products that can thrive at lower price points but often with some new features or accessories that Apple doesn’t currently offer. The Zenbook is going to ship with some free accessories that you’d pay extra for with a Macbook Air for instance—an ethernet adapter, a display adapter, and a case. They’re also throwing in USB 3.0 ports as well.

We’ll have a video up tomorrow showcasing the Zenbook, but take a look at some quick snaps we took to really get a sense of what this ultrabook is gonna look like. It’s on sale today, and though it’s supposed to start at a mere $999 (accessories included) I’m not seeing that particular 11″ model on any of the major retailers yet. Hopefully by the time our video goes out tomorrow we’ll be able to tell you where you can pick up the entry-level version of this laptop (and we’ve got our fingers crossed that we’ll get one in our hands to really put to the test!) but until then, check out the pics after the break and pick up one of the nicer models if you’re sold on the idea! Read More