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The Social Science Computing Facility @ UCSD

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February 27, 2013 Articles

What to know when buying a new Windows Tablet!

windows8rtWith the success of Apple’s iPad and various Android tablets, Microsoft and its partners are releasing various Windows tablets as well.  Microsoft’s own branded Surface tablets have been quite the buzz.  But before you buy one, make sure you’re buying the one that fits your needs.

Microsoft’s new Windows 8 was made to compete with these popular tablets by making touchscreen the center of the OS.  This will be very interesting as new computers and laptops will most likely come with a touchscreen.  Also made to compete with the iPad and Android tablet is a new branch of Windows called Windows 8 RT, or simply Windows RT, made for tablets.

So is Windows RT right for you? In short, if you are looking for a Microsoft alternative to the iPad, probably.  But, if you are looking for a successor to your Windows 7 computer or laptop, you will need the Windows 8 Pro.  Windows RT runs on the ARM processor while Windows 8 Pro runs on the x86 (Intel) processor which has been powering past versions of Windows.  What this means is that one big difference between Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro is the applications that it can run.  Windows RT can only run apps bought from the Windows Store, much like the iPad only can only run apps bought from the iTunes App Store.  Windows 8 Pro can run the same apps from the Windows Store as well as non-Windows Store software.  This makes Windows 8 Pro backwards compatible with all Windows 7 software.  Software such as Photoshop, AutoCAD and full Office will run on Windows 8 Pro.  Windows RT does have a scaled down version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, but Outlook is missing.  Instead, the RT version opt for the its own Mail app, similar to Mail on iPad.  Another big difference is the ability connect to the enterprise domain such as UCSD’s AD domain.  Windows 8 Pro and connect to AD and allow remote desktop, while Windows RT can’t.

In short Windows RT can be seen as the iPad of the Microsoft world.  So if you want a tablet that double as a laptop, you will need to get the more expensive Windows Pro tablets.  Keep in mind that the Windows Pro tablets are usually more expensive, heavier and runs hotter than it’s RT sibling.  If you need more information, feel free to contact SSCF and we’ll help you help you decide.

You can also check out the links below for more information.