When you think of tablets you think of Android or iOS. Couple that with Microsoft’s recent announcement of it’s new Surface tablet running Windows 8, and it’s easy to forget that there are plenty of Windows based tablets already available.
Overlooked as they are, these tablets actually make sense for a ton of people who already use Windows on other devices. What you lose in apps and widgets you gain back in a being able to use a familiar operating system that runs everything your laptop or desktop can.
Before we have a look at some of the best Windows tablets on the market there are a few options to consider.
Firstly screen size. Windows tablets are generally a bit bigger than their Android and Apple counterparts. This is for a good reason as you’ll basically be running the same operating system as you’d find on a laptop. Can you imagine how much fun it would be trying to see use a 7 inch laptop? Exactly. If you want to go compact then consider 9 inches as a minimum. Around 12 inches is the norm and provides a good compromise between form and function.
You should also make sure that you pick up a tablet with adequate storage size. Again a Windows based machine is going to need more space than it’s rivals and 16GB isn’t going to cut it. Don’t go for less than 64GB.
With that said, let’s have a look at some of the best Windows based tablets doing the rounds.
ASUS Eee Slate B121-A1
First up we have the ASUS Eee Slate, a good all round tablet which comes preloaded with Windows 7 Professional. Like many Windows tablets the Eee Slate runs with a ‘real’ processor – an Intel i5, rather than the lower powered chips you’ll find in cheaper Android tablets.
The 12 inch WXGA screen is capacitive and comes in at a resolution of 1280×800. You also get 4GB of RAM and in terms of storage the Eee Slate has a 64GB SSD.
In the box you also get a Digitizer pen and a Bluetooth keyboard which essentially transforms this tablet into a fully fledged laptop when needed.
Samsung Series 7 XE700T1A-A01US
Next is this offering from Samsung. In terms of specs this tablet is very similar to the Asus above with an Intel i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD.
The screen size is a little smaller at 11.6 inches but the resolution is slightly higher (1336×768). You also get a Digitizer pen (i.e. a stylus) but no keyboard is included so if you need one it’ll be an added extra.
HP Slate 500 8.9″
The HP Slate is the smallest Windows tablet in our round-up with a screen size just shy of 9 inches. The smaller figures continue with the specs – a resolution of 1024×600, an Intel Atom processor and 2GB of RAM, although you’re still getting the de facto 64GB storage space.
Of course a small screen and budget specs means a budget price and the HP Slate is also one of the cheapest of the Windows tablets we’re looking at today.
Convertible Windows Tablets
If you’re stuck in that situation where you want a fancy tablet like the cool kids, but you actually need a sensible laptop because , really, you’re a boring grown-up, then a convertible table running Windows might be the perfect solution for you.
Dell Inspiron Mini Duo 3487FNT Convertible Laptop/Tablet
This Dell convertible is a dinky little thing with just a ten inch screen. However coupled with a pretty high resolution of 1366×768 the image quality if fantastic thanks to the high DPI.
This tablet is definitely at the budget end of the market with processing power similar to the HP Slate above. You do however get a 320GB hard drive, as you might find in a typical laptop. If you need your tablet to perform a range of tasks from entertainment to work then this Dell convertible is worth considering.
The Acer ICONIA is the last tablet we’ll be looking at in this Windows tablet round-up and it’s a bit of a strange one. If you look closely at the image below you’ll see the keyboard is in fact a second touchscreen panel.
It’s an interesting idea, although whether you think its the best of both world or the worst of both is subjective!
This Iconia is a very well specced unit with an i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a hefty 640GB hard drive. Both screens are 14 inches and covered with Gorilla Glass to reduce the chance of mishaps.
Whilst the touch keyboard works well it’s not really suitable for serious typing, so as a work machine this one is a bit of a no-no, but if you’re after a good all-rounder that’s a little different from the competition then it’s worth a look.