Up 'til now, the Surface has been stuck in a weird limbo between tablet and laptop. No more. The Microsoft Surface Book is designed to be a killer laptop and a killer tablet. Its unique hinge lets you detach the screen from the keyboard, turning it into a tablet, and reattach the screen facing out, letting you take advantage of the powerful, MacBook Pro-besting processor, RAM, and graphics built into the keyboard base without giving up the highly responsive, pressure-sensitive stylus and finger-ready touch surface. You can also pair it with a Surface Dock for desktop use, but even if you don't, it's the most interesting device that we've seen out of Redmond in, well, ever.
Even the best designed computers still look like technology, giving them a cold edge. The Wood Kubb Computer means to do the opposite by appearing to be nothing but a single block of wood. It measures roughly 5" x 5", is available in three finishes, and despite its small body still has full-size specs, with Intel Core i3 or i5 processors, Intel HD graphics, SSD storage, and up to 16GB of RAM. You'll still be responsible for adding a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, but at least it will be one less thing in your life made from plastic, metal, and glass.
Thinner, lighter, better. The new Apple 12-inch MacBook redefines what the company expects from a laptop. It weighs just two pounds, boasts a 12-inch Retina display, and measures only 13.1mm at its thickest point, yet still offers up to 10 hours of battery life. Making this possible are a slew of new technologies, including an all-new, reengineered keyboard, an all-new Force Touch trackpad that allows for personalized sensitivity, provides haptic feedback, and enables new force click gestures, a USB-C port for USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, power, and VGA tethered connectivity, Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac for wireless, and a speedy Intel Core M processor that allows the all-metal notebook to be completely fanless and completely silent. Available in silver, space gray, and gold.
Power users who spend their days editing video and creating intense graphics have been waiting for the followup to Apple's pro-level desktop machine. That long wait is over with the new Mac Pro ($3,000+). The guys in Cupertino have completely re-imagined it — from form-factor to hardware — and, for the first time ever, it will be completely assembled in the USA. The all-black, cylindrical design is 1/8th the size of the previous generation, and the technological leaps don't end there. It features two-times faster flash storage, double the CPU performance, and Thunderbolt 2 for external expansion. It's also the first Mac to ship with dual GPUs, allowing it to support up to three 4K displays. Expect it later this year, alongside the new (and horribly-named) OS X Mavericks update.
Innovative form factor, six processing cores, up to 32 gigs of RAM, dual graphics processors, a terabyte of flash storage — the Mac Pro is the most impressive computing beast we've ever seen — and now it comes in red. The Apple Mac Pro Red Edition ($TBA) is yet another result of the design and curatorial collaboration between Jony Ive and Marc Newson for the upcoming Project RED auction, and it might be the most striking yet. Instead of the usual black finish, this one-of-a-kind machine comes in the characteristic red color, sure to impress anyone who enters your studio or office. Now we're just waiting for them to make a gold version.
Looking for a notebook that's as functional and powerful as it is portable and affordable? Look no further than the HP Chromebook 11 ($279). This small-but-mighty laptop weighs in at just over two pounds, has an 11.6-inch screen, and features 2GB of DDR3 RAM and a 16GB Solid State Drive. Powered by Google's Chrome OS, it comes standard with a host of Google Apps to help get things done (with a number of other apps available in their store), as well as 100GB of cloud-based storage free for two years. It comes in a rugged plastic shell with a range of available color schemes sporting plenty of I/O ports to keep you connected to your devices, as well as WiFi, Bluetooth, and Verizon LTE so you can always access your network.
Those of us who make our office any place with a surface and a WiFi connection welcome the trend of laptop-makers building machines smaller and lighter, without sacrificing speed and display quality. Sony continues to throw their hat into the "ultra book" ring, and the Sony Vaio Pro Laptops ($1,149 and $1,249) are a strong contender. Coming in 11.6" and 13.3" models, they weigh in at under two and three pounds, respectively, making them some of the lightest machines available. You expect a nice display from Sony, and the full HD screens deliver. Available Solid State Drives and i7 processors help them keep pace with competing products, though in a pro model, we think these really ought to come standard. Available this month.
No longer do you have to choose between a Chromebook and a high-resolution screen, thanks to the Google Chromebook Pixel ($1,300-$1,450). Presumably designed to compete with Apple's Retina MacBooks, the Chromebook Pixel features a 12.85" Gorilla Glass multi-touch screen that boasts a 3:2 format and a resolution of 2560 x 1700, giving it 239 PPI. Other features include a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 32 or 64GB of onboard memory, 1TB of Google Drive cloud storage, an HD webcam, Dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, optional built-in LTE networking, and a sleek machined aluminum body.