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Windows 8 tablets - any recommendations?


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13 replies to this topic

#1
tomasz86

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I'm using a very old Pentium III-M based 12" mini laptop and even though over the years I've upgraded the machine to the max (put additional RAM and an SSD), I think the time has come to let this computer rest in peace... The CPU is simply too slow for anything else than editing Word documents. The battery is also completely worn out.

Anyway, I hope I'll be able to have some additional finances next year and I'm considering buying a Windows 8 tablet PC. There are plenty of options on the market but there are several specifications that are crucial for me such as:

1. The size must be at least 10". Anything smaller is simply unusable in desktop mode.
2. The tablet must support Wacom digitizer. I find the Wacom stylus a must on such a hardware so I'm not going to consider any tablets without Wacom digitizer support.
3. Intel Atom CPU preferred. Battery life is more important than speed for me.
4. The price mustn't be too high... I know these tablets aren't exactly cheap but as far as I've seen there are some significant differences in price between the various models.

That's basically it. I'm probably going to opt for refurbished / used hardware to save money.

Are there any specific models that you could recommend? I'll ask the question differently - is there anything better than Samsung Ativ Tab 5 (XE500T1C) or Samsung Ativ Tab 3 (XE300TZC)?

Edited by tomasz86, 30 December 2013 - 09:11 AM.

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#2
MagicAndre1981

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Take a look at the Dell Venue Pro 11:

 

dh-0i5aGSS7OucKEieEGekB9kl4W645jHMP960Vy

 

http://windows.micro...ll-venue-11-pro

http://www.microsoft...uctID=289455100

http://www.theverge....nue-11-pro/7367


Edited by MagicAndre1981, 30 December 2013 - 11:23 AM.

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#3
tomasz86

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Thank you but the stylus for Dell Venue Pro 11 is made by Synoptics, not Wacom :( and it seems to be far worse then the latter:

http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/dell/60068-confirmed-fine-tip-bamboo-feel-stylus-wacom-bamboo-enabled-tablets-does-not-work-dell-venue-8-11-pro-s.html
http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/dell/59296-dell-venue-8-11-pro-stylus-problems-possible-fixes.html

On the other hand, the Dell Latitude 10 Windows Tablet is said to use the Wacom technology and has a 10" screen so I'm adding it to the wish list :)

Edited by tomasz86, 31 December 2013 - 05:43 AM.

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#4
MagicAndre1981

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the Dell Latitude 10 uses the old Atoms, which are much slower compared to the current Baytrail CPUs.


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#5
tomasz86

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The Samsung tablets use the same older Atom CPU. I understand that it's not the best performer on the market but it still should be enough for my needs.

Sure I'd prefer the faster one but the lack of Wacom stylus is a deal-breaker in my case (I need the stylus not only for navigating the desktop but mainly for handwriting and annotating PDF files).

Edited by tomasz86, 31 December 2013 - 08:51 AM.

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#6
MagicAndre1981

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I still would not use the old Atoms. They are dual cores, the new ones are quad cores.


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#7
tomasz86

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Well, I'm not buying the tablet right now so I'm going to wait and see what kind of offers are available.

I really don't think the CPU will make such a drastic difference though, especially since I need the tablet for lighter activities such as reading / writing / editing documents and browsing the Web.
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#8
MagicAndre1981

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because you can't have an adblocker in Metro IE you see a lot of flash crap all the time. So having a faster CPU is better. And why do you want a pen? Connect a BT mouse/keyboard when you work in desktop mode.


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#9
tomasz86

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That's good point about Metro IE... but it seems that it's still possible to block ads system-wide using the hosts file:

http://2in1pcs.com/block-ads-ie-metro-apps-hosts-file-windows-rt

I will use mouse and keyboard for sure, but there are also many situations when I'll just want to just use the device as a tablet, and still be able to navigate the desktop without too much trouble. And as I said above, I need the Wacom pen for handwriting. I don't think pens made by other companies will offer the same experience :(
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#10
MagicAndre1981

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yes, but a large hosts file causes DNS client CPU spikes which is bad.

 

Wait for the CES if there are any new devices which fit your needs.


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#11
tomasz86

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Wait for the CES if there are any new devices which fit your needs.


That's probably the best solution for now. What I hope more for is a drop in price of the current devices in case new ones are launched this year ;)
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#12
tomasz86

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CES 2014 is almost finished. I need to look through all the devices that have been presented but at the moment there's one which I find very interesting - Asus VivoTab Note 8:

f7mAgd3l.jpg

It's an 8" tablet while I'd prefer something around 10"... but it's good to see more competition in this area. The tablet has Wacom digitizer support. The price is still unknown but I hope it will be cheaper than the Samsung tablets which I consider overpriced (especially when speaking about new devices, not used or refurbished).

While searching for the tablet I also found information about the older model - 11.6" ASUS VivoTab. It also has Wacom digitizer included but the tablet is much bigger and heavier than the new one.
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#13
tomasz86

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I've made my mind up to look only for tablets in size of 10" (or a little bit smaller but not too small). The 11.6" form factor may be more comfortable to use but it's also bigger, heavier and less portable in general.

At this moment there seem to be only two options available (well, three but see explanation below). The first one is DELL Latitude 10 which is a 10.1" inch device with Wacom support. It's available for around 300$ on eBay (used / refurbished). The problem with this tablet is that it's a business oriented device. It has more ports than any other 10" tablet such as a full USB 2.0 port, etc. Because of this the tablet is way heavier and bulkier than the other ones:

JDUypJ8l.jpg

DELL Latitude 10
300$
10.1" (1366 × 768) IPS
Atom Z2760 1.8 GHz
2 GB
274 × 176.6 × 10.5 mm
658 g

The price is good though so I'm seriously considering buying this tablet when I've got some additional finances to spare. On the other hand, the tablet which I'd prefer to have is Samsung XE300TZC. In terms of specifications, this tablet is exactly the same as the former but is much smaller and lighter:

NOy7n5Zl.jpg

Samsung XE300TZC
500$
10.1" (1366 × 768)
Atom Z2760 1.8 GHz
2 GB
257.4 × 165.3 × 8.2 mm
543 g

It also has only one micro USB port and lacks the other ports available in DELL but I don't really need them. The difference in dimensions and weight is huge though, despite the fact that the screen size is exactly the same in both devices. The real problem with this tablet is its price. Even for used / refurbished device you still need to pay around 500$ :} which I couldn't justify comparing to the DELL tablet that can be bought for 300$ despite all the other benefits.

I mentioned the existence of a third option. It is Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2. I don't take this device into account because there are just too many reports over the Internet about the poor quality of the device and other issues related with it.

When it comes to other screen sizes, the newly announced ASUS Vivo Tab Note 8 seems to be the only smaller Windows 8 tablet with Wacom support. It's supposed to cost 299$ once released but I'm still not convinced about the 8" screen size. For 2 years I've been using Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9" that has 16:10 aspect ratio (1280x800) which the same as the ASUS device. The 8.9" screen size is still enough to use it comfortably but I've always thought that anything smaller than this would just be too small to view / edit text documents comfortably. If I were to choose something smaller than 10" I'd prefer a device that is similar in screen size to the Galaxy Tab rather than being even smaller than this.

I've also found a useful thread in another forum:

List of Windows 8 and RT tablets and convertibles with stylus

In summary, at this point of time it's DELL Latitude 10 vs Samsung XE300TZC for me but I'm still going to search and look for other options.

Edited by tomasz86, 18 January 2014 - 03:26 PM.

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#14
tomasz86

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I finally bought the tablet, and my choice was DELL Latitude 10.
 
I bought it locally (hand-to-hand transaction) for around 340$. It's used but in perfect condition. This specific tablet is the Enhanced Security model so there are additional features such as a full SD card reader or a fingerprint scanner, not available in the lower editions.
 
The tablet is definitely heavier than Samsung XE300TZC which I had a chance to use in the Samsung store. However, the price difference between the two is too high to justify buying the Samsung device only for its lower weight and slightly smaller size. On the other hand, the DELL tablet offers a lot of additional ports (both normal and micro USB, etc.). I especially like the fact that you can charge the device using standard phone micro USB charger. It is slower but at the same time you don't need to carry the heavy proprietary adapter.
 
The stylus works fine although I still need some time to get used to writing notes with it comfortably. It definitely feels different than writing on a piece of paper with a pen.
 
When it comes to speed, I can't really complain about anything. In case of MS Office, taking notes, viewing PDF documents, browsing the Internet, etc. the overall performance is very smooth and fast.
 
It's been just a few days since I bought it but at this moment I'm satisfied with the device. Sure, the tablet could be a little bit lighter, have smaller bezel, etc. but I don't think it's possible to get anything better at this price point. The newly released ASUS VivoTab Note 8 isn't available where I live yet, and from my information it seems that it's going to cost around 400-500$ once released here which is quite high considering the fact that it's a smaller 8" device.
 
@MagicAndre1981 I use Metro IE with the HOSTS file from http://winhelp2002.mvps.org which seems to be quite balanced (~500KB) compared to other HOSTS files that take several MBs. I can't really say if there's any impact on battery life caused by it. When it comes to performance, there's no noticeable difference for me.
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