Microsoft Surface Pro 2The big dog in Microsoft's tablet kennel runs full-fat Windows 8.1 and has the power of a midrange laptop, but it's still essentially a tablet, which converts by clever use of its flip-on keyboard cover (available as an accessory, but you'll need it to get the full benefit of the device).
It's a bit on the chunky side as a tablet, but inside there's a powerful 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor capable of handling just about anything you care to throw at it, including HD gaming.
This new version features a stonkingly sharp 10.6-inch screen with a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution, a pen stylus and now offers not one, but two positions for the metallic kickstand on the back.
Sturdy build, tough two-point kick-stand, fine screen, terrific keyboard covers, full-size USB 3.0 port, improved battery life
Tired: Not cheap, bulky and heavy
Cost: £719 (64GB) - £1,439 (512GB)
It might look similar to the Pro 2 but this is a very different beast. Considerably cheaper, it runs the RT version of Windows 8.1, which has the same tile-based interface, but only allows you to add programs from the Windows Marketplace -- so it behaves a bit more like Android or iOS.
The spec is lighter too, though it will do all the standard tasks you need quickly and efficiently -- just don't expect it to go all the way with heavy data processing or the most complex HD games.
Still, the 10.6-inch (1,920x1,080) screen looks every bit as good as the Pro (though it only supports five-point touch, not ten) and it has the same choice of keyboard covers to give it full laptop capability: the thin Touch Cover 2 (£100) and the slightly deeper Type Cover 2 (£110).
Wired: Sturdy build, tough two-point kick-stand, fine screen, terrific keyboard covers, full-size USB 3.0 port, improved battery life
Tired: Limited apps in Windows Store
Cost: £359 (32GB), £439 (64GB)
It's very solidly built, with or without the docking station that adds a full-size keyboard and USB port to its capabilities. It's available in both 32GB and 64GB versions, plus you can add a further 64GB via the microSD card slot in the side.
The 10.1-inch screen offers a resolution of 1,366x768 pixels -- not the very highest of res, but good enough for a screen of this size and it shows off the Windows 8.1 tiles with good-enough sharpness. The quad-core Intel Atom processor is clocked at 1.3GHz, backed by 2GB Ram and does a pretty decent job in general use while the battery gave us a good 11 hours in our test, which is just as well, since it takes a surprisingly long time to charge up.
Wired: Decent screen, good battery life, low price
Tired: Chunky, touchpad could be more sensitive
When others zig, you should zag, goes the mantra. Lenovo has done just that with a hybrid that converts by flipping the screen all the way over til it rests on the back of the keyboard. It's a neat, practical solution that means you don't need to have any separate parts, though at 154g it's a bit on the heavy side for extended tablet use.
The 13.3-inch screen offers a not-quite-full-HD 1,600x900-pixel resolution which looks perfectly fine but it's let down a little by the 3rd Gen Intel Core i7-3517U processor which doesn't feel quite or as powerful as it should for the price.
Wired: Decent screen, good build quality
Tired: Slowish processor, not cheap