The big day has finally come, and now Microsoft has started rolling out Windows 10 to computers and tablets across the world. Let's say you're not a Windows user, and you want to take advantage of the new OS, or you just happen to be in the market for a new PC, what should you be buying?
Unlike the offerings from certain companies, Windows will run on so many different machines it's impossible to count how many there are. So if you need a little bit of help, here are some suggestions from us here at Giz. There's something here to suit almost every need.
Best Budget Windows 10 Device: HP Stream 11, £179
Unless you're a multi-millionaire footballer or a wealthy oil baron, nobody actually likes having to spend a lot of money. Why spend £500 on a device when you can get one that works just as well for £180? The HP Stream 11 is fully fledged Windows device that costs less than a month's rent, and it just so happens to be a laptop you can carry around wherever you go.
The Stream 11 comes with (deep breath) an 11.6-inch 720p display, a dual-core 2.16GHz Intel Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage, an SD card reader, a USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, HDMI, Bluetooth, and an estimated 5.8 hours of battery life. That's all the basics that you'd need, and even though 32GB of storage isn't great the Stream 11 comes with 1TB of OneDrive storage. That's bundled in with a year's free subscription to Office 365, making this £169 price even better value.
All of that comes in a nice sturdy case, available in a choice of blue or purple, and weighs in at just shy of 1.3kg. [Buy it here]
Best Windows 10 Device for Students: Microsoft Surface 3, from £355
There are a lot of things to consider when you're a student in need of a machine, but the most important thing is that you have a device that can be used to get all your work done in whatever setting that might arise. Whether you're working in your bedroom, the library, or a cramped lecture theatre, the Surface 3 is the ideal choice.
Two Surface 3 devices are available at the moment, one with 64GB of solid state storage (SSD) and 2GB or RAM for £419 (RRP), and the other with 128GB of solid state storage and 4GB of RAM for £499 (RRP). Those are both Wi-Fi only models, and while Microsoft mentions variants of both models with 4G they don't seem to be available to purchase just yet. Both models come with a 10.8-inch 1080p display, a 3-position kickstand, an quad-core Intel Atom processor, a USB 3.0 port, Mini Display Port, a microUSB port, and a microSD card reader. The battery is estimated to last for around 10 hours of use.
The downside is that the Surface 3 doesn't come with the Surface Pro Type Cover keyboard or the Surface Pen. Those will cost you £110 and £45 respectively. It's a bit of a shame, but if money is an issue there are always third-party covers to consider.
So why the Surface 3 instead of the Surface Pro 3? Well there's the price factor that comes into things, and shaving a few hundred pounds of the total by reducing the hardware specs and scrimping out on the accessories seems like it could be worth it. The other bonus is the offers Microsoft has for students. Students save 10 per cent on the Surface 3, get a 3-month pass to Sky's Now TV, along with a year's free subscription to Office 365 and it's associated bits and pieces. [Buy it here | Buy it direct from Microsoft]
Best Windows 10 Device for Business: Microsoft Surface Pro 3, from £575.10
When it comes down to a machine that you need for business- and work-related reasons, again our eyes turn to Microsoft's Surface tablet. But unlike a student you're not really looking for something that cuts corners, you've got the money to spare on having something a bit more hefty and you're bound to have to put it to good use. Enter the Surface Pro 3, The Surface 3's larger and more powerful older brother.
Multiple Surface Pro 3 models are available at the moment, with different levels of storage, RAM, and processing power to suit your needs. The basic model comes in at £575.10 (RRP), which nets you 64GB of solid state storage, 4GB of RAM, and an Intel i3 processor. On the other hand, the most expensive models comes with 512GB of solid state storage, an Intel i7 processor, and 8GB of RAM for £1,394.10 (RRP). Three intermediary models are available, with differing amounts of storage, RAM, and processing power.
On top of the internal guts, the Surface Pro 3 comes with a 12-inch Full HD display (1440p resolution), a multi positional kickstand, a USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort, and a microSD card reader. The battery is estimated to last around nine hours. It also comes with Microsoft's Surface Pen, giving you an extra input option and is great for sketches and drawing on the tablet's screen. The downside is that, like the Surface 3, it does not come with the Surface Pro Type Cover, which will set you back another £110.
So if you're looking for a work device, this is a great contender. The Surface Pro 3 is powerful enough to deal with any software you might need to use, has a nice vibrant display for giving presentations with (if need be), and the multiple input modes make it ideal for taking notes during meetings in a way that you find comfortable. Plus it's light enough to carry around all day, and won't be running out of battery if you managed to leave the power cable at home. [Buy it here | Buy it direct from Microsoft]
Best Windows 10 Device for Portability: Toshiba Portége Z20t, from £856
If you have a device that you're carrying around for long periods of time, there are a few features that are a must: low weight, long battery life, and ideally a cellular data connection. Toshiba's Portégé Z20t has all of those.
It's a 2-in-1 device, meaning the keyboard can be detached from the screen (or reversed on the dock) and turned into a fully-functional tablet. The keyboard dock also functions as a secondary battery, and when you use the two in tandem Toshiba claims you can get up to 17 hours of power out of the device (in practice you're more likely to get 12-14 hours if you're conservative). The tablet alone has a lifespan of around eight hours.
Specs wise the tablet has one of Intel's fanless Core M processors, with a speed of 1.2 GHz, a choice of 4 or 8GB of RAM, a 12.5-inch 1080p display, and an SSD with either 125GB or 256GB of storage. Plus, unlike the new MacBook, it has plenty of ports. Included are two USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, as well as microSD, microUSB, and microHDMI on the tablet itself. A built-in SIM-card reader also means that you can access mobile data without having to tether yourself to public Wi-Fi hotspots or rely on an external device, such as a phone or USB dongle.
One of the great things about the Z20t is the the multiple input modes you can take advantage of, including the standard keyboard, touchpad and touch point mouse, touchscreen, and a Wacom powered stylus. Weight wise, you're looking at just shy of 1.5kg for the whole thing, or half that just for the tablet. That means it's not going to tire you out when you're carrying it around all day. [Buy it here | Buy it direct from Toshiba]
Best Windows 10 Device for Gaming: Eclipse Super Nova iSR285OC, £833.29
In all honesty, the best gaming PC is going to be custom-built with the components you decide fit your gaming needs best. That's not for everyone, though, and sometimes it's best to get something that's all pre-made for your convenience. The Eclipse Super Nova iSR285OC is a good choice if that's the case.
This system runs with a 3.5GHz (4.4GHz overclocked) quad-core Intel i5 processor with a 6MB cache, a Zalman CNPS11X Extreme CPU cooler, 16GB of RAM, a 250GB SSD, a 2TB hard drive, an XFX Radeon R9 285 DD Edition 2 GB graphics card, a Samsung DVD writer, 6x USB 3.0 ports, 4x USB 2.0 ports, as well as two HDMI, Display Port, and DVI ports.
So what do all those fancy specs mean? It means you should be able to comfortably run a game at 60fps with resolution a smidgen lower than Full HD, or ultra HD graphics at around 30fps. That's a big boost over the Xbox One and PS4. The cooling system also means your system won't be overheating when you try and play some of the more hardware intensive games. The SSD/hard drive combo comes into play as well and means you have plenty of space for files, while ensuring you still get the boosted loading times that comes with playing games from an SSD.
There certainly are gaming systems out there that excel in certain areas of performance, but not without other drawbacks. If you want a system with all-round high performance, this is certainly one to spend your money on. Provided, of course, you'd rather not indulge yourself on a custom build. [Buy it direct from Eclipse]
Best Windows 10 Device for MacBook Converts: Dell XPS 13 (2015), from £791
Here's a scenario for you: you're not impressed with Apple's El Capitan update to OS X, or you find that upgrading to a new MacBook is a bit pointless since it only has a single USB-C port. Time to make the jump to a Windows PC instead, but there are so many of them, which one should you choose? If you're hoping to make that leap as painless as possible, the 2015 version of the Dell XPS 13 is one to look into.
The first thing you'll notice is that it has a very MacBook-inspired design. Obviously it's very distinctly different, thanks to the black keyboard and mid section, but it does look similar to the new MacBook. It might not have USB-C, but there's plenty to make up for all that.
Three models are available, one with a dual-core 2.2GHz i5 processor (with 3MB cache) and full HD display, and two slightly more expensive models with a 2.4GHz dual-core i7 processor (with 3MB cache) and a Quad HD touch-screen display. Both displays are 13.3 inches, and use Dell's Infinity Edge display that shrinks the bezel down to almost nothing. The XPS 13 also has 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD (or 512GB with one of the i7s), an Intel HD 5500 graphics card, 2x USB 3.0 ports, a 3-in-1 card reader, a mini DisplayPort, and a weight 1.27 kilos.
It's slightly heavier than the New MacBook, but it is faster, has the options of better resolution and a touchscreen, has a noticeably smaller display bezel, and thanks to a multitude of ports it doesn't need awkward adaptors to get basic things done. That makes the XPS 13 mostly comparable to the new MacBook, and in some places superior.
Of course getting used to Windows is the main issue here, but if you're a Mac user trying to make the cross-platform jump as painless as possible then the XPS 13 is the most familiar device out there for a competitive price. [Buy it here | Buy it direct from Dell]
Best Windows 10 Device for Family Use: Dell Inspiron 3000, from £349
If you're looking for a PC that'll suit the needs of the entire family, having a top-of-the-range system isn't the first thing on your mind. Versatility is the key focus, because you need something that can be used for everything. Games, homework, media, you name it. The Inspiron 3000 desktop is an ideal choice, because it packs in a decent amount of power for a fairly reasonable price.
Under the hood is a 3.7 GHz Intel i3 processor (with a 3MB cache), 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, an Intel HD graphics card, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 6x USB 2.0 ports (two front and four rear), 2x USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, VGA, a DVD drive, and an 8-in-1 memory card reader. None of that is going to help you mine cryptocurrency, or play The Witcher 3 on Ultra setting, but do you really need all that anyway? This is a computer for the whole family after all.
All you get here is the PC tower, so you'll have to supply the monitor, keyboard, and mouse yourself. That is a bit of a pain, sure, but at least you get to pick something that's suitable for you rather than having to make do with whatever Dell decided was best.
So here you have a nice desktop PC that can handle some basic gaming, with enough memory and processing power to comfortably listen to Spotify while one of the kids has all those tabs open researching the Spanish Armada for their big project. All those USB ports mean you're never short of space for accessories, whether you decided on external storage, game controllers, or anything else that might suit your fancy. [Buy it here | Buy it direct from Dell]
But Finally: Do you need to get yourself a new Windows 10 PC?
One of the biggest selling points of Windows 10 is that everyone running Windows 8 and Windows 7 gets a free upgrade, so you don't need a brand new computer (or a freshly formatted hard drive) to enjoy what Microsoft has on offer. It's something to think about, especially since a new machine costs quite a bit of money and takes time to set up properly. That said, anybody still rocking a PC running Vista or XP shouldn't think twice about looking into a new machine – even if it's only done for security purposes.