For the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t buy a Windows 8.1 tablet. Then again, perhaps I’m not the target audience Apple or Google is looking for. I’m a power user who emphasises function over form most of the time.
If you’ve been sitting on the fence between a Windows, Android or iOS tablet, and feeling apprehensive about joining a platform that has been so widely ridiculed, perhaps these eight reasons could be enough to sway you over.
1. Windows 10 is coming to you for free
As you may know, Microsoft recently announced that Windows 10 would be coming out for free to all Windows 7 and 8 devices, as long as you’re quick enough to obtain the upgrade within the first year of Windows 10 being released. To clear the confusion, Windows 10 will be free for the lifetime of the device, and according to Joe Belfiore of Microsoft in his tweet here, you will still retain the traditional desktop on Windows 10 even if you have a small, 7” to 8” tablet.
Hate Windows 8.1 because it’s Windows 8.1? Then rest assured, since you’ll be able to use the same operating system that everyone will be upgrading to later this year.
2. Windows 8.1 was made for tablets anyway
If you realise, most of the hate pertaining to Windows 8.1 was because Microsoft alienated its traditional desktop users for the benefit of tablets. But what if you’re getting a tablet? From my experience with a Windows 8.1 tablet, the gestures are pretty well thought out and comes pretty naturally when using a touchscreen. Running traditional desktop apps can be a chore sometimes, but with some practise, or with the help of a capacitive stylus, you can be up and running in no time.
3. There’s Adobe Flash support
Sure, HTML5 is about to pummel Flash into obsolescence in the next few years, but while we’re still living in the present, Flash is still relevant especially if you stream videos from sources other than YouTube. There hasn’t been Flash support in iOS since it was first released in 2007, and the last version of Flash on Android was released nearly three years ago. To get the full web experience on a tablet, Windows is still the way to go.
Oh, and Silverlight? That’s only available on Windows, too.
4. Full-fat Applications
Sick and tired of getting “Adobe Photoshop” on your Android only to realise it runs a tiny subset of its actual functionalities? No such issues with Windows. You get the full Photoshop experience, the full Office experience, et cetera. Oh, and speaking of Office…
5. Free Office 365 or 2013
If you opt for some older Windows 8.1 models, chances are that it’ll come with a free version of Office 2013 Home and Student edition. That’s yours to own for life, and it doesn’t come with any of the silly limitations of the respective iOS or Android versions.
Newer Windows 8.1 tablets come with a free one-year subscription of Office 365 Personal, which you will have to renew to continue editing documents after the first year. Surely, that’s not as good of a deal, but hey, it’s still better than what you’ll get on iOS and Android, since Microsoft will be releasing a freemium version of Office on tablets that at least offers feature parity with iOS and Android when Windows 10 is released later this year.
6. You can use it as a full-fledged computer
All you need is a USB OTG cable and a USB hub, or even better, a Bluetooth keyboard and a mouse. In my time using the ASUS VivoTab Note 8, I found myself lugging the tablet around all the time, and my laptop rarely saw the light of day anymore. Even during project meetings and all, the Note 8 was capable enough to hold its own. For the record, you can use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse on an Android device and a Bluetooth keyboard on iOS, but I can’t see many applications that would fully take advantage of these peripherals, unlike Windows.
Why play Fun Run 2 when you can get DOTA 2 or Counter-Strike up and running without a blip? Granted, you’ll have to compromise on the visuals, but YouTube videos have shown both games running rather smoothly. So you could potentially open your mobile LAN party using just a couple of tablets and a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse combo! Or, maybe, just wow your friends with it ;).
8. There’s no need to root or jailbreak anything
I, for one, feel apprehensive about rooting my Android devices because it voids warranty, and in Samsung’s case, you lose access to KNOX permanently. While jailbreak is reversible, new releases are never timely because Apple patches the related exploits every now and then.
With Windows 8.1, you get almost everything without needing to root or jailbreak. You can even install Linux in most cases, though it’s a complicated process. You can install any driver, any application… the possibilities are endless.
In comparison, having to root your device just to move files from your Android’s main memory to anywhere on your external SD card in KitKat seems downright silly.
8.1. Why get a bigger version of your phone?
I’ll list this down as a minor sub-point (and also because it would be kinda punny to give 8.1 reasons to buy a Windows 8.1 tablet), since some of you won’t agree with me on this. However, from how I look at it, tablet applications for Android and iOS tablets are essentially the same as their smartphone counterparts, just with the user interface adjusted here and there to cater for the larger screen.
Since there’s no Windows 8.1 for your smartphone (this may no longer be applicable in Windows 10, though), you get the opportunity to try a whole new experience with a Windows 8.1 tablet.
I foresee some of you guys saying that you’re just getting a smaller version of your laptop, but can you use your laptop while standing on the crowded MRT train?
About the Author
This is a guest post written by Reuben Chew, founder of Buyfromwhere. Buyfromwhere is a Singapore consumer buyers’ guide that’s mainly focused on tech gadgets. It was born out of a mission to educate the Singapore consumer on making a wise purchase.