With Black Friday just over a week away, I’m starting to get e-mails and questions from friends and family about what type of machine to buy and what version of Windows 8 to run for that matter.
As for machines, obviously I have a soft spot for Microsoft Surface, but for those wanting to buy now, there’s only the Windows RT option (an ARM device). It’s a fantastic slate device, but isn’t likely going to fit the bill as a replacement machine for those running Windows 7, Vista, or XP. The RT versus Windows 8 differentiation can be a tad difficult to fully grasp, so I encourage those interested in the Surface to take a look at the side-by-side comparison of the models.
Microsoft has always had a thriving ecosystem of hardware vendors, and with the new touch-first nature of Windows 8, there’s a broader selection of options than ever. From desktops, to laptops, to ultrabooks, to convertibles, to slates. It’s such a personal choice, that I typically shy away from specific model recommendations and steer people to the buying guide or the PC Selector. The latter is especially good for those that aren’t sure what machine profile they want, since it bases the results on a few questions about one’s usage patterns and budget.
As for what version of Windows 8 to go for, there’s a handy comparison chart showing the options. There are three in total, but it’s even easier than that: