Thursday, January 16, 2014

Windows 8 tablet?!?!?!

I do all of my computing on Windows machines, if you don't count Android smart phones and tablets. I have a bunch of Android tablets, mostly as a result of my search for just the right device to hold and display 1,000+ PDFs of song lyrics. I often wished there were one device that could do it all.

There have been Windows tablets, but they suffered from two serious handicaps. The first was price. The early ones cost more than $1,000, which I could never justify for just another tablet. The second is Windows itself. (Note the intentionally careful use of "was" and "is".)

I'm writing this on an Asus T100TA Transformer Book--a full Windows 8.1...well, you tell me. Is is a 10.1" tablet with a docking station or a 10.1" computer whose screen separates from its keyboard? Regardless, the whole package--with 2 GB of memory, 64 GB storage and a micro SD slot that accommodates cards of up to 64GB and a licensed copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition--went for $399 at both Best Buy and the Microsoft Store.

As a computer, it feels just like a 10" netbook with chicklet keyboard. I really like it, but I really like netbooks. Nice screen. Anyone who cares can look up the epecs. Windows 8 gets a well-deserved bad rap, but it can be made to function a lot like Windows 7 for ordinary tasks.

As a the moment it suffers from Windows 8.1. It works smoothly enough, but the variety of available apps is nothing like what's available for iOS or Android. A nice file manager would be welcomed.

Still, it's a nice device overall and has become my new default go-to computer when I don't need a desktop. Updates will follow if anything changes.

Last But Not Least Department: It comes with a 32 bit version of Windows 8.1!!! I'd heard rumors that such a thing existed, but never thought I'd actually get my hands on one! Most people won't know what I'm talking about, or care. Some will find this a real turn off. It means that the device cannot run 64 bit programs, which are the "wave of the future"...just as they've bee for a long time now. But, it can run old legacy programs, of which I've many, that won't run under 64 bit Windows! For those who really care, the processor is 64 bit, so presumably a 64 bit version of Windows could be installed if one were hell bent, determined, and wanted to undergo the expense.

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