Windows Tablet for Parents. Windows RT vs 8.1

Discussion in 'Computer and Technology Discussion' started by InsaneNutter, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    Backstory:

    My Mum has been after a tablet for quite a while now, i unlocked my Asus Transformer Prime (TF201) and flashed Cyanogenmod 10.2 on it (Android 4.3) so the tablet could support multiple uses on it. Since then ive basically lent it her and she's used it every day.

    She likes that the tablet can dock with a keyboard so she can type email's on it however basically think's Android does not really work with a keyboard / mouse / trackpad in general, which to be honest i agree with her, i never used the keyboard with the tablet.

    With the above in mind i'm thinking a Windows 8.1 / Windows RT tablet would perfect for her, she would use it for:
    • Internet
    • Email
    • Media
    • Games
    • Looking at Photos
    • Desktop apps, mainly Outlook and Word.
    • Indie games, she owns a few on Steam and likes the popcap style games e.g. Zuma, Peggle, Luxor and so on.
    • Popular tablet games e.g. Angry Birds, Pacman which are on the Windows Store.

    Tablet Considerations:
    • Asus Transformer Book T100*- 32gb, includes keyboard and Microsoft Office Home and Student - £349.00 (Windows 8.1)
    • Surface 2 32gb - £360 + £100 for the touch cover, so £460 (Windows RT)
    • Nokia Lumia 2520 32gb - £400 + £150 for the "power keyboard" so £550 (Windows RT)

    The Surface 2 and Nokia Lumia 2520 were pretty strong contenders, both are very nice tablets, however get very pricey when you add they keyboard docks on them.

    Then we have the wild card, the Asus Transformer Book! From reading the reviews this appears to be a great tablet for the price, and includes a keyboard! The added bonus is that it runs Windows 8.1, not RT, meaning it can actually run your favourite desktop apps and essentially double up as a laptop when docked with the keyboard.

    asus-t100-bay-trail-vs-surface-2-arm-640x353.jpg

    Asus Transformer Book T100 next to the Surface 2


    I'm thinking that would be the ideal tablet for her, offering the best of both worlds at a much cheaper price point, with up to 11+ hours of battery life.

    Which raises the question, now Intel is able to produce processors that rival, if not exceed the power efficiency of ARM processors, is Windows RT going to rapidly become obsolete? It does seem few manufacturers are choosing to produce new RT based tablets, where as a lot of x86-64 tablets using Intel's Bay Trail architecture are been released by Asus, Dell, Toshiba and so on.

    Another advantage i see with an x86 based tablet is future updates. We appears to have a trend of "disposable tech" these days, by that i mean manufacturers release something and then are like "we cant be bothered supporting it" a year later. At least with an x86 based tablet all the drivers are out there, so even if current tablets never got support for the next version of Windows officially, chances are it would work. Where as with an RT based tablet your more than likely stuck with what your given.

    Another good read on the subject: The futility of Surface and Windows RT: If only Microsoft had stuck with Intel
     
  2. Nimrod

    Nimrod Exotic Vendor

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    For me, Windows RT (via a mix of Surface 1's and Surface 2's) made sense for all the family for a few key reasons:

    They can't mess it up. They can't go ahead and install Toolbars, or get viruses. As everything has to be digitally signed by Microsoft to run on the desktop they can browse the internet trouble free. Since they got it, my support requests has gone down to pretty much nothing.

    It comes with Office 2013 including Outlook 2013 for FREE. No need to use an Office 365 license, or pirate a copy of 2013 or even fork out the massive cost one off cost. Considering you can pick up a Surface for less than £300 and Office with Outlook costs over £100 its a real steal.

    RT works with pretty much all your devices, I've not found a printer or scanner that hasn't worked wirelessly or via USB yet. If there's Windows 8 drivers for it (built in or via Windows Update) then it will work on RT to.

    The Surface with a keyboard and mouse and connected to a second display via HDMI can become a fully fledged desktop PC in seconds. Then simply be unplugged and turned into a great portable tablet with the touch interface.

    Battery life is INSANE on Windows RT devices, I'm talking 8-10 hours on a single charge.

    Connected Stand by, even on stand by the device stays connected to the internet, giving you audible notifications on emails, messages etc.

    The downside:

    There may be a few desktop apps they have to give up. But you can usually find a suitable Metro alternatives for those. But to be honest for the casual user, all the built in Windows Apps including Explorer, IE with Flash, and the full Office package covers 99% of what they need a desktop for.


    Also InsaneNutter, don't write off the Surface 1, you can pick that up with a Touch Keyboard with Student Discount (just need a Student email address) for around £300. The Surface 2 is faster yeah, but the Surface 1 once upgraded to Windows 8.1 is still a GREAT device. Windows 8.1 Update 1 promises even better speed for low-spec'ed devices to so Microsoft aren't attempting to write off Surface 1 anytime soon.

    There is such bad press about Windows RT and Surfaces, but they are insanely cheap and awesome productivity devices + all the benefits of a tablet experience on the go. Microsoft also promised to release updates for it long into its life.
     
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  3. bwat47

    bwat47 Member

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    WinRT will be fine as long as you make sure there's no x86 only apps that they need :)

    The main version I'd choose a WinRT device would be battery life, but if battery life isn't an issue win8.1/x86 would be a fine choice and has broader software and driver compatibility.

    x86 devices don't necessarily have to have poor battery life. I haven't looked into x86 windows tablet much so I'm not much familiar with their battery life figures, but my macbook air easily lasts me all day on a single charge and its got an i5 :)
     
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  4. bwat47

    bwat47 Member

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    **The main reason.

    For some reason this forum doesn't let me edit my post, says "this message is too short" when I click save, even though there's a whole paragraph in there, tried multiple browsers too :/
     

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