The Windows 8 Tablet Computer: A Student’s Review

BY PATRICK McGEE
SC Staff Writer

 

Being a techie, I couldn’t help but look for a digital approach to my education. When Windows 8 tablet computers began making their way into the market, I couldn’t help but get one of my own. I bought a Microsoft Surface RT, and it has a lot of perks for the tech-savvy college student.

The Microsoft Surface RT is space saving and light, weighing in at 1.5 pounds, and the Pro version weighs 2 pounds. It comes equipped with a Windows 8 operating system and full Microsoft Office for free, so it functions not just as a tablet, but also as a full-blown computer.

With this tablet, I can type my assignments, print them out, save them onto a flash drive, and more. I can also type notes during lectures, back them up into different drives, print them out, and upload them through emails.

I can fully charge the tablet in an hour or two and the battery will last for the whole day.  Generally, I’m not even concerned about the battery while I’m out and about with it. According to the specs the surface RT boasts an 8 hour battery life doing mixed activity.

The Windows App Store doesn’t have much to offer, since it is fairly new in comparison to Google Play and the Apple Store, but it is constantly developing and expanding.  It does have Kindle and Nook Apps, so you can download your college textbooks into those programs.

The Windows App Store doesn’t have much to offer yet for games other than random-and often terrible and bug ridden-indie games however it does have some popular titles such as Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride.

They’ve also recently developed their own exclusive title “Halo: Spartan Assault,” bringing the “Halo” franchise to the Windows 8 and mobile markets.
The tablet is durable, as the VaporMg casing holds up well and feels very solid. I’ve dropped it twice on hard surface, and it still works like new.

However, there are some issues. One thing buyers have to beware of when purchasing a Windows 8 tablet is whether or not they’re buying an RT or an 8/Pro tablet.  It is barely noted on the product, but it dictates a lot about what you’re going to be getting.  The RT models run on an ARM system, which is like the operating system on an android or an iPod, which limits you only to the programs that come with the computer or that you can purchase in the app store.  In this case, regular desktop applications will not work. 8/Pro, on the other hand, will run just about anything as long as it has enough processing power to run the program.

The  Microsoft Surface also presents issues with the kickstand. The kickstand is designed to be used on a flat surface, so you will find yourself performing a balancing act if you have it on your bare lap. Also, the torx screws that hold the stand in place are weak and I constantly find them coming loose.

Overall I’d rate the Microsoft surface RT 7.5/10.  It has a lot of utility and convenience for the tech-savvy college student, yet it is still priced at $350 for the RT 32 GB version, even though Microsoft has dropped the price.  This price also does not include the keyboard, which is an additional $80.

So, if you have spare cash and you’re looking for an efficient and tech-savvy piece for your education, a windows 8 tablet is definitely something I’d recommend.

Email Patrick at:
pmcgee@live.esu.edu

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