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Portable Windows 8.1 Tablets (slight Review / Comparinson)

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Williz, 3 Jan 2014.

  1. Williz

    Williz Member

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    Where do I start? Being constantly underwhelmed by Android tablets (Buy one then sell it like a month later...) and not being a fan of how locked down iDevices are (Price too). I've looked somewhere else for my tablety needs!
    Now seeing that the most recent tablets (Dell Venue 8, Toshiba Encore, Lenovo Miix 2 & Asus T100) are FULL windows 8.1 (full x86 program compatibility, well as far as the hardware allows) and not silly RT which only allows Windows store "Apps" to be installed. I thought I would go for one of these as they are going to be a lot more flexible than anything else I can get my hands on!
    Now I hear you saying Woooah! Slow down man the Surface Pro/(2) has been out for ages and is surely a better product? Well I can't disagree that the Surface Pro is probably a better device but for the cost of the thing (Around £500?) I just can't deem that as being affordable for what it is.
    Now upon comparing these devices I decided that the Toshiba was probably the best of the lot as it has a mini hdmi slot which means when I need /want to output to an external screen it's fairly painless and lag free (Considering the Dell and Lenovo both rely upon WiDi (Wireless display) for any external output. The Lenovo comes slightly out on top of the Dell but this is because there is a model with a 3G modem which some people may find useful (at extra cost though).
    Now you think I'm forgetting the Asus t100 as it is technically on paper the best device; nice large 10.1" screen, a 1366 x 768 res, comes with it's own keyboard dock and has the nice mini-hdmi port... Well I'm not forgetting it but again with the Surface I think it's too expensive for what it is. Looking around the Asus Tablet is around £330-£350 this makes it £100 dearer than the Toshiba Encore at £230-£250.
    These tablets all run virtually the same hardware with slight differences being the ports / accessories they come with so there will likely be no real performance difference between them.
    Using USB OTG is a bit of a pain but something you get used to, my main gripe though is that they could have included a second micro usb port on these device solely for charging the device. As you are limited to either charging or using USB OTG... Although saying that I'm yet to confirm if a powered USB OTG cable works for charging and USB at the same time. I'll update when I receive my cable.
    Okay now moving onto device size... Yes this is an 8" tablet, it's not huge but it's not exactly small either. The touchscreen responds perfectly I've seen no lag or issues with it (other than my fat fingers) Now being that this is Windows 8.1 I've got over my hate of the Metro interface now I've had the chance to use it in it's intended form: A touchscreen! I may actually give it another chance on my desktop now... (That and I got a Project Spark Beta invite).
    Now using the good old desktop mode that we know and love and have done probably since before I was born! You may be thinking using a screen of this size and res would make for a lot of issues with selecting, clicking and other activities but if I'm honest it's accurate and very forgiving I've not had many miss touches on it and I'm using my fingers! A stylus would be a great addition if you get one of these and have larger hands.
    Now last but not least! PERFORMANCE! Whilst I've not ran any benching software on this thing (I will if I get enough requests) it's definitely no slouch. Now most of my experience on this is from desktop mode as there isn't much testing you can do in Metro on multitasking and such.I was expecting slow downs whilst browsing with loads of tabs 20+ and I didn't (Well I did in Firefox but that thing a hog, I suggest using IE solely or chrome on this thing). The only thing that's a tad slow is steam allocating space to games you want to install (Probably the SD I'm using).
    WAIT DID HE SAY HE PUT STEAM ON THIS THING!?!? Yes stop the bus I did say that. I've got around 33 games installed as of this moment but I've not tested them all. Last night I played the Stanley Parables for around 30 mins on medium settings, full res for the device and had my gamepad plugged in over USB OTG (Bluetooth mouse hasn't arrived yet). Whilst it was a bit awkward to navigate with a pad the game looked and ran great! I'll have to do a netgraph and get the fps after work today and update this post.
    Oh also Streamy stuff for us Homeserver guys! I use Plex in my system as XMBC had a brainfart over my TV show meta data (I'll probably do a fresh format of my server and PC this weekend to try and sort it. But this tablet streams all my 1080 blurays nicely with no buffering over my wirelsss. To those that don't use streaming\management software and prefer to browse and use something like MPC... I have the CCCP codec pack installed and it also works like a dream with no lag.
    So all in all I'm fairly impressed by the Toshiba Encore for the price point and would definitely recommend it specially for it's price point. These are definitely a viable and in my opinion better alternative to android and iDevices tablet offerings. Free Office 365 is nice too!

    So yeah TL;DR: Win 8.1 Tablets good, Buy the Toshiba or the Asus!

    Any questions shoot away.

    Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated to any of these manufacturers and this is just my own opinion based review on owning the Toshiba Encore for a week!

    Oh also excuse me if this is poorly written I don't generally write long posts and sometimes get verbal diarrhea that and I haven't written a review in years! I just thought it could possibly help some people on the fence between these products.
     
  2. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    Yes. Windows Tablet is amazing.
    Personally, I would say get a Surface Pro 2, for the best experience.
    I have it, and it's truly amazing. I was blown away, and so os everyone that saw it.
     
  3. Nexxo

    Nexxo Stopped treating this country as if it was his own

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    I have a Surface RT, and I'm wearing it out with use (or would, except that it's so robust it still looks as good as new). I almost sleep with it under my pillow. It is super versatile and powerful --even on a Tegra 3.

    I am seriously tempted to upgrade to a Pro 2 now they sport a decent battery life. Then my life will be complete. :)
     
  4. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    Would a surface Pro 2 mean I would be able to get rid of my laptop and work exclusively from it for 9 hours a day? I know there is an abundance of info on this forum about them but I am not wanting to go digging.

    I spend some days sat in my office all day and I spend an equal amount of time out and about, on site and in comms cupboards. Would it be able to do all these things well?
     
  5. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    Depending on what you do, the battery life of the Surface Pro 2 will vary greatly, due to the low voltage CPU.. where it's very efficient at 1.9GHz, but eat a lot of power (15W) at 2.6GHz. As like any mobile device, you can extend things, by using Power Saver power plan, and lock the CPU in the power plan to 10% or 50%, depending on how much power you need, or willing to sacrfice for more battery life.

    Top battery life is ~8h. But the device does charge fast, and the there is a keyboard (coming soon) with battery, extending the device battery life.
     
  6. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    Battery life won't be a problem, as I get by on my laptop that only has about 4 hours battery life, just plug it in that is no thing. It's more, can it offer me as much as a laptop can, can I connect external displays for when I am in my office for example. I think I jsut need to have a play with one sometime and make my own mind up!
     
  7. Snakko

    Snakko exterminate

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    I really would love a Surface 2 (non-pro) with 8.1 x86 and an Atom Bay Trail CPU, instead of RT and Tegra4 :(

    Surface 2 Pro is just too much expensive for my needs (I already have a laptop for "serious" workloads), and I can't find a really satisfying Atom equpped machine in the current line-up of Asus, Lenovo, Toshiba or whatever, nothing at least in the 10.1 range with a reasonable price and the same build quality as the Surface.
     
  8. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    How about the Dell Venue Pro 11?
     
  9. Snakko

    Snakko exterminate

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    Thank you for the tip, it's still a little bit pricey, but nonetheless an interesting product, and the screen size is right for me.

    I'll surely keep an eye for discounts or price cuts :D
     
  10. Bloodburgers

    Bloodburgers Member

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    I am having the same issue but upon looking at it all the main things i need for my tablet are all fully supported on rt. basic office tools email etc.

    On closer inspection the windows rt platform will do all i need to do when I am not at my desk. so i can easily manage my webstore whilst on the go and perform any emailing etc too.

    And if i really needed full pc capability it would appear i can use a remote pc connection.

    My Preference as far as hardware is concerned would be the lumia 2520 as i prefer the device over surface and with the additional nokia apps bundled with it it is certainly a plus.
     
  11. Snakko

    Snakko exterminate

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    The new Lenovo ThinkPad 8 seems awesome:

    http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/tablets/lenovo-thinkpad-8-1207899/review

    apart from being just 8.3" (I could turn a blind eye on it, considering the specs and the price), it has a full aluminum chassis, 1920x1200 display, full Windows 8.1 x86 on a Bay Trail Z3770 quadcore @2.4GHz, plus miniHDMI, miniUSB 3.0 and optionally (if I'm not mistaken) the usual keyboard/cover.

    All for 399 USD starting February.
     
  12. sandys

    sandys Well-Known Member

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    I am running the original win8 Atom based tablet (Acer w510) and its been awesome really its runs all day on a charge and only feel I need more power when running 1080p via HDMI as its GPU leaves a lot to be desired. Still it has a stand alone charging port, USB3 for good GbE LAN and a USB 2 port in its dock.

    I really want to upgrade it but ideally I don't want to loose the level of flexibility my current tab has got.

    I'd like one with display port to handle my screens properly at least 2560x1440, 4k would be nice. Along with all day life, are these about now, also a better main screen than my current 1366x768, say 1080p <12"

    I don't like surface as I don't think its stand or keyboard is very good, not enough flexibility, though the hardware is amazing.

    So has anyone seen a device like the w510 but more modern spec? <500.
     
  13. rollo

    rollo Well-Known Member

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    I brought a 256gb surface pro 2 recently and its replaced my old sony vio for my portable needs.

    Battery life vary greatly depending on tasks. Is it as good as macbook pro that I also own for more heavy load tasks no but I never thought it would be. ( macbook is double the cost of the surface pro )

    It does do Database work pretty good. And it can play football manager when bored lol. Has no issues with my regular load of a few copys of Excel + a custom Database viewer running all the time. ( Lasts about 6 hrs at that sorta load )

    It lasted the plane flight to New York from London while playing FM 2014 so it does have some decent battery under more heavy load.

    Its all about budget and what you want from it. If you want a mess around toy then the higher end stuff is really best avoided.
     

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