Which Microsoft Windows 8 Tablet Should I Buy?

Soon after the release of Surface, Microsoft business partners came up with Microsoft Windows 8 tablet of their own design and specifications. Experts say there are three major types of Windows 8 tablets available in the market (Two from Microsoft itself – Surface Pro and Surface RT). Let us take a look at these three types of tablets for Windows 8 available in market – at the time of writing this article. I hope this assists you in making a choice that strikes a balance among computing power, mobility and cost.

Talking of tablets, the first thing that comes to mind is the mobility factor. But then, there is much debate everywhere if tablets are usable for resource intensive applications. Many have rejected the concept of using tablets for audio/video editing, desktop publishing etc. Over the past few days, I’ve come across some articles on the Internet that makes the landscape of Windows 8 tablets a bit clearer, making me “assume (not conclude)” we may be able to use tablets for most of the heavy applications employing few dedicated input devices. I am yet to test one running Windows 8 so cannot say it for sure at the moment. Anyway, here are the three categories of Windows 8 tablets based on what I found on the Internet.

Types Of Microsoft Windows 8 Tablet

Tablets running Windows 8 at the moment can be placed into three categories. They have been categorized based on the mobility and amount of computing power they provide while running Windows 8.

1. Intel Core Systems: More computing power and less mobile. Microsoft Surface Pro falls under this category. I call it less mobile because you may need additional devices to achieve what you want – for example, a physical keyboard (Surface Pro has one built-in). Remember there are portable keyboards and mouse etc. input devices in the market so shouldn’t be much of a problem.


2. Intel SoC (System on Chip): This comes under balanced type tablets – meaning you get a little of both computing and mobility. Microsoft has ignored this category but still, many third-party vendors have it for you. Here is a list of some of the Windows 8 Tablets and Ultrabooks we compiled on The Windows Club. The image below shows a tablet from Lenevo.

The only difference is that the computing power would be a little less than Intel Core Systems and mobility would be a little more. I would say it is ideal for gaming on the go. Plus, light AV editing etc. can be achieved on this. You may still use dedicated input device such as a “pen or stylus” assuming you use some software to map architecture of buildings.

Lenovo-IdeaPad-Yoga Tablet for Windows 8


3. ARM SoC (System on Chip): Surface RT falls under this category. This category gives you tablets that are highly mobile and a better battery over Intel Core Systems. The main reason for a prolonged battery would be absence of resource consumption that draws more power. This category is ideal for music/videos, browsing, research and more. Accordingly, the cost too goes down for this type of device.

Windows 8 Microsoft Surface RT


Also, while computer/IT experts came up with three categories, Microsoft maintained only two categories. We can say it is a good business decision or providing users with only two extreme options and nothing in between. And since there are third-party vendors filling in the gap, there is no need to worry. The only problem could be crapware and branding of software that can be removed using one of the many anti-crapware software available on the Internet.

If your main need is mobility – if you find yourself posting to social networks, uploading images, emails and blogging, the second type ARM would be best. If you need to use heavy applications that require desktop mode, probably you will have to spend a little more to buy Intel Core System (example: Surface Pro). I will shortly write about factors to consider before buying a Windows 8 tablet to make it clearer.

Windows 8 Tablets For Small Business

Few days ago, I read some examples on how different small business and universities etc. selected different types of tablets for running Windows 8 so that they get the best without having to compromise on mobility, productivity and security. I remember two examples that show which Windows 8 tablets are good for different small businesses and other entities.

One example I can recall was a university. Students require mobility while being able to run resource intensive applications on Windows 8. The tablet in this case should be able to run both Start Screen and desktop based apps. Security too is an important issue in this case as the tablets may contain research work of the students. Accordingly, they chose Intel Core Systems that allows people to run resource intensive applications while still providing good mobility.

Another example of small businesses Windows 8 tablets was a furniture store where the executives need to carry the devices throughout the store so they can help customers choose the type of furniture to buy. For such purposes that do not require resource intensive apps and provides better mobility, the furniture store bought Intel ARM SoC tablets – also famous as Windows 8 RT tabs.

I hope this assists you in making up your mind on which Microsoft Windows 8 tablet should you buy.

The next in this series would be factors to be considered before purchasing a Windows tablet.

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Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN

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