Perhaps the perfect tablet ecosystem: the 8-inch Windows 8 tablet

By | January 14, 2014

A friend saw me working on a spreadsheet with all the information that I could find on the most recent lot of Windows 8 tablets. He asked me what I was doing, so I told him. Then he asked why. Why does anyone do anything? I’m interested in 8-inch Windows 8 tablets and have been thinking about buying one, so I’m giving them the once over. I’ve been waiting on something like the new line of 8-inch Windows 8 tablets for quite some time. The processors, screens, memory, etc have finally reached a point where you can use these machines as a desktop replacement. I said you could use them as a desktop replacement, not that one would want to.

What these little beauties are perfect for is their ability to fill in for your desktop or laptop when you’re out and about. These aren’t watered down tablets like the iPad and slew of Android devices. These are fully functional Windows machines.

The operating system on these 8-inch tablets has the same look and feel as my laptop because it is the same operating system. The applications that I use every day behave exactly the same way as they do on my laptop because they’re exactly the same applications. I find that to be the most appealing thing about an 8-inch Windows 8 tablet. Sure, most of the time I’ll simply use it for browsing, email, and social media, but when I want to make minor edits to a spreadsheet, or take a quick note in OneNote I can. It would be similar to how I use my Surface RT today, only a bit better because of the RT’s ARM limitations.

My ‘8-inch Windows 8 tablets’ spreadsheet can be found here. Take everything in it with a grain of salt as there’s a lot of conflicting information floating around the internet on the newer machines. Feel free to send me corrections or additional information if you can find it. In my mind these tablets fit into three broad categoris:

  1. Those that have a pen like the Dell Venue 8 Pro and ASUS VivoTab Note 8
  2. Those that don’t have a pen and are considered a “consumer device”
    • No micro HDMI port like the Lenovo Miix 2
    • With a micro HDMI port like the Acer Iconia W4 and Toshiba Encore 8 (the addition of a micro HDMI is important for those that would seriously consider using these machines with external monitors, i.e. as a desktop machine)
  3. Those that don’t have a pen, but are rather “high end” like the Lenovo ThinkPad 8. The ThinkPad 8 could really fit in category 2b above, but it’s specs put it in a class by itself.

I’m partial to the pen, which obviously draws me to the Dell and the ASUS, but it’s almost impossible to ignore that beautiful Lenovo ThinkPad 8. Given the ever dropping price of these tablets it may be possible to experiment with more than one. Who knows, maybe Samsung will wow me with some of their new Android tablet designs – their Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is pretty awesome – but for now I’m pretty thrilled with the new line of 8-inch Windows tablets.

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