10 good Windows 8 tablets

10 good Windows 8 tablets

Summary: The Windows tablet segment is heating up with good offerings from the major OEMs. These 10 are a good place to start for those looking for a tablet.

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  • 10 good Windows 8 tablets

    Windows tablets are getting better all the time, both the hardware and software with Windows 8.1. There are tablets of all sizes, and some with keyboard docks that turn them into laptops.

    The ten tablets in this collection are good options to consider for those looking to get a Windows tablet. Only slates and hybrids with detachable tablets were considered for inclusion. While there are quite a few convertible notebooks, those laptops with screens that fold over the keyboard for tablet use, those are usually very heavy for such use and thus not part of this collection.

    There are tablets covered that vary from 8-inch models to 11+ inches. Some of them have pen support for those who are looking for inputting by writing on the screen.

    Where possible, newer tablets with Haswell technology have been clearly indicated. This is especially significant for tablets as Haswell from Intel provides good performance with better battery life than previous processors by Intel.

    No ARM-based tablets are included in this collection to make it easier to compare the different tablets.

    With the exception of the last model in the gallery, these tablets have all been used by the author or recommended by those whose input is highly regarded. If you have a tablet not included here, leave a comment below and share what you use and why it's so good.

  • Microsoft Surface Pro 2

    Overview

    The latest tablet from Microsoft is a powerhouse that can give many laptops a run for the money. It doesn't come with a keyboard but you'll want to pick up one of the two available covers to take full advantage of Windows 8.1. It has pen support and comes with a pen.

    Size: 10.6-inch

    Price: Starting at $899

    Specs

    Processor  Intel Core i5 (Haswell)
    Memory  4 — 8GB
    Display  10.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080
    OS version  Windows 8.1 Pro
    Camera  Front and rear, 720p
    Storage  64 — 512GB
    Ports  USB 3.0, microSDXC card reader, Headset jack, Mini DisplayPort, Cover port
    Connectivity  Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0
    Battery  8 — 9 hours
    Dimensions  10.81" x 6.81" x 0.53"
    Weight  2lbs

    Microsoft product page

  • Asus VivoTab Smart

    Overview

    The VivoTab Smart is a good tablet that has an optional keyboard cover that makes it a decent laptop replacement while on the run. 

    Size: 10.1-inch

    Price: $450

    Specs

    Processor Intel® Atom™ Z2760 Dual-Core (non-Haswell)
    Memory 2GB
    Display 10.1-inch, 1,366x768
    OS version Windows 8
    Camera Front: 2MP; Rear: 8MP
    Storage 64GB
    Ports Audio, microHDMI, microUSB, microSD
    Connectivity Wi-fi 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0
    Battery 9.5 hours; 25Wh
    Dimensions 10.31" x 6.73" x 0.38"
    Weight 1.28lbs

    Asus product page

Topics: Mobility, Tablets, Windows 8

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25 comments
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  • HP Omni?

    How does HP Omni stack up against the above machines?
    mm71
  • Windows 8 Tablets

    I heard that Microsoft is going to launch windows i tablets with android apps. is it true?
    MidBorn
    • Blue Stacks

      You can do that now with Blue Stacks.
      calfee20
    • Rumor...

      That's the rumor but at this time it's anyone's guess as to what that means. Some assume Windows will download Google Play apps and run them. Others postulate that it's a tool or cloud service that converts or at least packages an Android app as a Windows modern app that can be distributed from the Microsoft store.
      robradina@...
  • I think the next gen tablets will rock the house

    Not that there's anything wrong with these... however the Broadwell and Cherry Trail processors will be even smaller and more power efficient 14nm technology. It should be possible to substantially shrink the size of full I5/I7 class tablets.

    Along with better screens, better pens, better keyboards, better batteries, better software, better docks the technology is aligning nicely.
    greywolf7
  • Good Tablets?

    I would NOT touch any tablet that doesn't use Haswell or the Atom 3xxx series. Folks want good performance and long battery life. Only the 3xxx Atoms and Haswell can achieve that without heavy batteries or cooling challenges. Earlier Atom processors are too weak to perform well.

    Regarding the Dell VP8, I have one. Great little tablet but make sure you can live within the constraints of the 32GB storage, otherwise get the 64GB model. Although a 64GB microSD card can be added, don't pay for a super fast SD card. Dell has limited access speeds via BIOS settings and use of USB 2.0.

    I wish it had USB 3.0 and an external HDMI adapater. Miracast support works OK but suspect when using it with Netflix.
    robradina@...
  • No such thing......

    as a good Windows tablet.
    linuxisforme
    • Thanks...

      ...for letting us know that.
      Rann Xeroxx
    • So True

      Most Windows tablets are either bad or GREAT. Not many are simply good.

      Android tablets on the other hand...most are awful, a few are ok. No good ones, and not a single great one.
      gomigomijunk
      • Hey

        We also noticel that Bad is not used much anymore and Good and Wow is soon to come.
        rbwfla
  • Nokia 2520

    Just got the keyboard after using without for 6 weeks. Great, great device. I can see an RT tablet replacing my iPad over the next year. Still need the apps to mature (although kudos to Microsoft for their apps).

    The more I use Windows 8.1 (even RT), the more I think it is vastly superior to IOS. The fact that things begin to converge over the next year (RT for Phone and Tablets, Pro for notebooks), bodes very well for an Office Device, that hopefully will begin to catch up on the App Store front.
    mortondest
    • Maturing is the right word

      W8 was OK when released but not great. Surface was buggy, slow, quickly discharged battery, no Outlook, etc. and was way overpriced for its hardware specs. MS's supply chain issues and marketing were painful to watch in action.

      With 8.1 and firmware updates, Surface RT is now a great product. The Surface 2 improved (fixed really) what was lacking in hardware but showed no other major innovations.

      We will soon get Update 1 and W9 beta is coming out in the summer with a release candidate in the fall/winter. Hardware wise I hope to see a thinner, lighter Surface with Haswell or better Atom processors in the non-Pro version (ditching RT).
      Rann Xeroxx
  • I originally purchased the Samsung smart pc.

    It's ok as a tablet, but absolutely terrible as a hybrid. The keyboard constantly disconnects at the slightest movement, to even thing about using it as a laptop you have to set it on a table. I even got it replaced twice because I thought I had gotten unlucky and received faulty units. Also getting any x86 tablet that isn't at least and atom 3000 series would be a bit silly.

    I actually replaced the smart PC with the 2520, I got the deal from AT&T and the free keyboard cover. After using a well design tablet like the 2520 I'll never purchase any of those cheap plastic Samsung products again.
    Sam Wagner
    • Seen reports

      of the disconnecting keyboard, but mine hasn't suffered from that.

      The other advantage of the Samsung ATIV is that there is a version with 3G, so that it can be used on the move. It isn't carrier locked, so (over here at least - Germany), I can use it with any carrier.
      wright_is
      • That's the main reason I bought the 2520.

        It's pretty much the only windows tablet I could find that has 4g.

        I read it was only some of the original smart PCs that had problems, but after two replacement unit with similar behavior, I have a bit of a sour taste in my mouth when it comes to buying Samsung products. However, when ignoring the dock it was still a pretty good first generation windows tablet though.
        Sam Wagner
  • Your slideshow widget has gotten fixed!

    Holy crap! Somebody fixed the ZDNet slide show widget! I will actually page through slide shows on the site now!
    FDanconia
  • It never ceases to amaze me just how ucking stupi* some people can be

    DO NOT BUY AN ATOM tablet!! If all you plan to do on your tablet is surf web and check email - then get a Nexus 7!!
    People have to stop thinking a $300 thingy will perform equally to an ix laptop!! Buy a Surface Pro; I use it as a desktop, laptop, and tablet. Until recently it was $500!! I am sure it will be on sale again.
    If you cannot afford $500 - I have been there too - then save until you can afford one. But buying a POS is not the answer!! It will only frustrate you and you will end up buying something else anyways - which is in the end even more expensive.
    Cain69
    • Atom

      Sorry, but for many an Atom is fast enough. I have the ATIV with the previous generation ATOM. It covers about 90% of what I need, I have the desktop dock and that works well, with an external monitor in dual screen mode, it makes a great office PC. Only when I need to do heavy lifting (photo and video editing) do I need to reach for my i7 notebook.

      I keep thinking about a newer Bay Trail or Haswell tablet, but the Samsung is only a year old and "fast enough".
      wright_is
    • Ummm...

      You obviously haven't used a bay trail atom processor lately. It freakin kicks butt. I have the 64GB Dell Venue 8 Pro with the bay trail atom processor and it seriously is the most powerful true tablet (not a laptop class) machine I have ever seen. Better than a simple Nexus or even an iPad mini. Yup, the DV8P is simply astounding.
      gomigomijunk
    • This has not been my experience

      The Nexus is a great tablet, but the Haswell chips are just as fast as the processor in the Nexus and that admittedly gorgeous screen makes battery life no better. Gaming is great on the Haswell too. I also tend to prefer W8.1 to Google. Although I will admit the stock Nexus OS is better than any other. Did not like the random reboots on the Nexus either. I did really like the wireless charging on the Nexus.

      I have the Surface 2 as well and it is also excellent, but the Dell Venue 8 Pro is faster and I like smaller tablets.
      Monte Constable