I’m testing a Point of View Mobii WinTab 800W budget Windows 8 tablet and it’s been a tough, slow process. The Wintab 800W is built on Intel’s low-cost reference platform that you’re going to see in a lot of $99 Windows tablet offers this quarter so what you see here applies to many other models. The issue is that with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage you simply can’t approach them as Windows PCs. Working in the desktop means running out of RAM and disk space quickly. Even Chrome is going to take up over 1GB of disk space after you start using all the features and you’ll end up with this very quickly…
An empty disk on a 16GB Windows 8 tablet
I’m testing the PoV Wintab for Notebookcheck and the process we use for benchmarking is focused on desktop apps. In some extra testing I focused on the RT / Modern ui of built-in apps and Store apps and the results were completely different. Turn off automatic Windows Updates (it’s a security risk but you can selectively download the security patches if you want them) and refrain from installing desktop apps. Switch to RT mode / Start Screen and everything suddenly becomes smooth and trouble-free. These budget Windows 8 tablets are, effectively, RT tablets. Advanced users will probably want to remove the recovery partition (5GB) and experiment and I’m sure that those users will be able to squeeze some impressive usage out of these tablets but for normal users, don’t bother.
Point of View low-cost 16/1 Windows tablet.
My guide to surviving with 32GB of storage applies to 16GB tablets too so if you want to experiment, take a look here.
So here’s the video demo. In it you’ll see browsing with smooth zoom, music playing in Connected Standby, a 33 Mbps 2K video playing, maps and other apps running. In fact, everything a normal user would need is here. It’s an X86 Windows RT tablet.
The updated Lenovo Yoga 2 tablet range is now available in three versions and two of those are running Windows. The unique design offers something special for the portrait hand-holder and, some might say “at last” a built-in stand on a small Windows tablet. The two Yoga 2 tablets are running on the Baytrail-T platform (we’re not expecting any performance increases over the Miix 2 8 and Miix 2 10) and come with full HD displays.
0.94 pounds for the Lenovo Tablet 2 8 isn’t the lightest but you do get a huge 24 Wh battery that should give you at least 10 hours of video playback. An 8-megapixel rear camera, 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage should be enough to keep Windows 8.1 (and a Windows 10 upgrade in 2015) running smoothly.
Starting price: $299
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 10 offers the same design characteristics in a 10-inch format. The battery size gets bumped up by 50% to 35 Wh. Weight is 1.39 pounds. There’s a micro-HDMI port on the 10-inch version and an optional keyboard that you can see in the image above.
Starting price: $399
YOGA TABLET 2 (8″ Windows) Specs
Processor: Intel® Atom™ Z3745 Processor
Operating System:Windows 8.1 with Bing for Small Tablets
Memory:RAM: 2GB LPDDR3
Storage: Up to 32GB EMMC
Supporting Micro SD card up to 64GB
Display:Size: 8″ Full HD (1920 x 1200) IPS display Capacitive touchscreen, 10-point multitouch
Weight: 0.94 lbs
Audio: 2x Front large-chamber speakers
Wolfson® Master Hi-Fi™ Codec
Battery Type : Li-ion, 6400 mAh
Usage Time : Up to 15 hours
Standby Time : Up to 14 days
Integrated Cameras: Rear: 8MP f2.2 Auto-focus. Front: 1.6MP HD
The Yoga 2 tablet design is going to be good for hand-holding in portrait mode and the stand mode, as we know from convertibles like the Lenovo Flex 10, is a great option for coffee-shop or breakfast browsing but the design could hinder portrait mode thumbing, at least on the 8-inch version. If the speakers are high quality the 10-inch version could make a great all-round holiday / weekender PC and something to consider when looking at the Acer Switch 10 with the full HD screen.
The new Yoga 2 tablet 10 with the Bluetooth keyboard cover (it’s unclear if this is part of th Update: It’s included with the 10-inch version.) could combine to make a very lightweight and low-cost full-HD mobile PC option. Keep your fingers crossed for a quality keyboard experience.
If the build quality is there and the early reviews are good these two models could stand, if you’ll excuse the pun, well ahead of the basic Windows tablet crowd as we move towards Christmas 2014. Don’t forget that they’re very likely to get a free Windows 10 upgrade in 2015 too!
What can I say? Having had a bad experience with 1GB RAM on the Toshiba Encore 2 WT8 I just can’t get excited. I’m also confused about why manufacturers think this is a good idea? The platforms are likely to have been developed, tested and approved by Intel leaving HP and others to build the casing but there are major issues that will affect user perception of Windows tablets. Windows Desktop will slow down to a crawl after you’ve opened a number of browser tabs and a few apps as the Pagefile works overtime to switch data to and from memory. 16GB of SSD becomes a major issue after a short time unless you know all the tricks that can help keep it in order. Without a microSD slot though some of the tricks won’t even be possible.
Thank goodness there’s a 1280×800 screen with wide viewing angles on both of these tablets but that’s not enough for me to recommend them. Yet…
Will Windows 9 bring cheap Windows tablets to life?
Windows does need a cheap tablet option but it won’t happen with Windows 8.1. Late today Microsoft will be talking about Windows 9 and we hope to see better support for small form factor devices and low-end platforms. The ability to turn off the desktop and have an RT-style default might be a help too and if we could just have support for Windows Phone 8 apps, that could solve the problem. The Cortana assistant and a notification center will help too. Windows 9 should be a free upgrade on small-form-factor devices (it’s already free) so here’s hoping.
Until then, unless you have a specific need, a specific single task or RT-based need, be careful with these low-end Windows 8.1 tablets.
Mike Cane often highlights low-cost Windows tablet news on his blog.
In an Intel-led Core M benchmarking meeting today I saw a set of controlled benchmarks from a 6W TDP Core M product. The tests were performed in an 685 gram 12.5-inch Llama Mountain reference tablet with a machined aluminum rear casing that is optimal for this design. We also saw a copper-based rear casing that can handle a lot more thermal energy but you won’t see that happening in consumer products. The benchmark scores we saw were more than I had expected.
Note that these are the scores from a high-end 6W TDP Core M 5Y70. The 4.5W TDP Core M SoCs won’t perform this well and in a product with a less-than-perfect thermal design there could be heat issues that prevent Turbo Boost reaching these high levels.
GPU performance needs to be further tested and long-term gaming could impact Turbo Boost capability.
This is the best you’ll see from Core M at 2.8 2.6 Ghz but it’s important to remember that this is best-of-Core M right now. I’m going to be pushing to get the new Lenovo Helix 2 in for testing so at that point we’ll get our first real-product results.
Off the top of my head I think this is the lightest 10-inch 2-in-1 PC that I’ve ever seen. The HP Pavilion X2 is a Baytrail-T quad-core tablet with a 1280×800 screen and a 34Wh battery which is going to give you a reasonable battery life. There’s a full-size USB port, MicroHDMI, MicroSD and charging port and the keyboard isn’t bad either. This ultra mobile PC will launch at $330. My tip: A version might be available with 1GB RAM. Avoid that and go for 2GB RAM and 32GB storage. Total weight: 800 grams, 1.75 pounds.
I’m not one to pass on rumours but I have always believed, since I tested the Switch 10, that an 11.6-inch version would be even better. An article at TabTec takes some previously unseen model numbers and predicts that an 11.6-inch Acer Switch, the SW5-111 and SW5-171, will arrive at IFA.
There’s literally no more information other than the new model numbers that were found on an Acer website but if you follow Acer’s model numbers it would make sense that an SW5-111 would be an 11.6-inch with Atom/Celeron and that the 171 would be running a Core CPU (I’d guess at a Haswell Y-series.) They would be a natural replacement for the Acer Aspire P3 range which runs on 2nd-generation Core.
If an 11.6-inch Acer Switch 11 to be launched there would need to be some improvements over the Switch 10 to make it interesting. A Full-HD screen, larger battery (or additional battery in keyboard) would be the first on the list. A good price would be expected too.
I’m at IFA (from 3rd Sept) so will be able to being you some more information then, unless Acer launches the Switch 11 beforehand.
Looking for a sub $200 Tablet PC option? The Toshiba WT8 is $193 at Amazon.com today but the newer, lighter Toshiba Encore 2 WT8 is $192. This Windows with Bing PC arrives for testing tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it. What features have been stripped out of this Bing version of Windows? Is the new platform better? Is there significantly more available storage space or is this 1GB RAM limit going to negate any of the potential improvements? With the original Windows 8.1 8-inch tablets also at the $200-$220 mark, why bother with the Encore 2?
Two important things to note about Windows with Bing are that 1) You don’t get an Office Home and Student license and 2) There’s only single language support. The latter may not affect many people (except myself – someone that relies on this for purchasing tablets in Germany and switching them to the English language) and the former is offset by a one Year Office 365 Personal license. You get Ooutlook included in that and you also get, in theory, 1TB of free online storage for the year. There may be other changes too.
There’s a 5.0MP auto-focus rear camera which could be useful if it’s as good as the one on the original WT8, microSD support up to 128GB and stereo speakers. As with the WT8 there’s no HDMI so you’ll need Miracast or DLNA support to stream movies to a bigger screen.
If the Toshiba Encore 2 wants to be a competitor in the western market for tablet PCs it needs to beat the class-leading Dell Venue 8 Pro in features or undercut it by a big margin. This launch price isn’t enough to convince me but if the device checks out in my review for Notebookcheck and the price drops to $175 or less then it could be worth a closer look.
I was very sad to read news on Friday that Lenovo was getting out of the small screen tablet market. It turns out, however, that it’s not true. Lenovo issued a press release yesterday stating that they “are not getting out of the small-screen Windows tablet business.” In addition to that they stated that they will have a new 8-inch and a new 10-inch Windows tablet ready for the holidays.
This is great news because it supports my theory that 8-inch Windows tablets haven’t done badly at all. While I believe that the innovation will be focused in the 10-13-inch tablet space over the next years the Dell Venue 8 Pro popularity, recent announcements from Microsoft and my own experience tells me that the 8-inch tablets aren’t bad at all. At $225 the Dell Venue 8 Pro is an absolutely brilliant tablet and as I cycle through them in my daily use, I can’t say that any of them are bad.
While new models are in the pipleline Lenovo did say that the Thinkpad 8 is now longer for sale in the US. The Miix 2 8 is out of stock right now too so let’s hope we get that one back on the shelves soon.
I was a little surprised that ASUS didn’t mention the Transformer Book T200TA in the press event at Computex yesterday but at least it showed-up on the Asus booth today. This 399 Euro 2-in-1 should raise some eyebrows.
Mobilegeeks got hands-on and here’s a round-up of the specifications for you. Video below.
Our good friends at Mobilegeeks have just had hands-on with the Emdoor EM-i8080 ‘Windows 8 with Bing’ tablet. 1GB of RAM, 16GB SSD and a Z3735G processor.
The Z3735G is a 4-core CPU running at 1.33Ghz to 1.8Ghz which isn’t bad. There’s little in terms of disk space though – 2GB available to the user on the system shown in the video below although we’re sure the device will ship with a few more than that.
The HP Split X2 is one of a confusing range of 13-inch 2-in-1’s from HP that includes the Spectre X2, Split X2 Ultrabook and Pavilion X2 13. Each offers a slightly different specification and design. HP have just made it a little more confusing by re-launching the Split X2 as a new fanless 2-in-1 with Baytrail and Core CPU options.
It’s possible that this new HP Split X2 simplifies the range of HP 2-in-1s by offering all the options under one banner but as we don’t see an SSD listed, we hope not. Yes, the SSD has been replaced with a hybrid hard drive (which also removes the hard drive option in the keyboard.) There’s a new hinge design which allows the ports to be re-positioned on the rear of the unit. You’ll find an HDMI port, two USB ports, headset port and a power port there which is more in style with a true docking station and looks like it will provide more stability for wider screen angles and laptop usage.
HP haven’t listed full specifications but for $599 (starting June 29th in the USA) you get a 13.3-inch tablet that weighs 2.45 pounds (1.11KG) and is 0.53 inches thick (13.5mm.) Battery life is quoted at a rather poor 5.25 hours although there’s a keyboard dock with battery available.
Again, it’s fanless so that’s a step in the right direction [I’m testing a fanless 11-inch HP Pro 2-in-1 right now.] and there’s up to 8GB RAM available. A full range of Baytrail and Haswell options are rumored. At this stage we can’t confirm the screen resolution but the previous HP Split X2 had a full HD screen option so we expect that to be carried forward.
We’ve pinged our sources out in Taipei and hope to have more details, pics and videos soon.