The recent introduction of Windows 10 Technical Preview has made many pundits wonder about the future of Microsoft’s Windows RT, an inexpensive, low-power version of Windows 8 designed to run on the ARM processors often used to power tablets and smartphones. Much of the speculation is that Windows RT is dead. Then again, was it ever really alive?
Nobody was ever enthusiastic about Windows RT. Microsoft promised, negotiated, bribed, and cajoled, but still the response to RT was poor, at best. The financial loses, especially Microsoft’s, were immense (and still climbing). Within a year or so of its 2012 release a list of PC manufactures including Asus, Dell, Samsung, and Lenovo gave up trying to sell RT devices.
Read the entire article at Digital Trends.
If nothing else, the debut of Windows 8 and Windows RT (the lower-powered ARM tablet version of Microsoft’s latest operating system) has brought an increase in system flexibility—and we mean that in the dexterous physical sense, not in the sense of systems actually doing more. Over the past few months, we’ve seen notebooks, tablets, and hybrids whose screens flip, turn, and detach every which way. The convertible tested here, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11, literally bends over backwards.
Apart from its smaller stature, the 11.6-inch Yoga 11 looks identical to the 13.3-inch IdeaPad Yoga 13 we reviewed back in November 2012. However, except for the innovative 360-degree hinge connecting the screen to the keyboard, the two are quite dissimilar in terms of power, capabilities, battery life, and software availability.
With its third-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB solid-state drive (SSD), the Yoga 13 is a full-blown Windows 8 laptop capable of running virtually any Windows program. The Yoga 11, on the other hand, has an Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU, 2GB of memory, and 64GB eMMC flash memory drive in the $949 configuration discounted at presstime to $599 on Lenovo’s site.
It’s basically, despite its non-detachable keyboard, a Windows RT tablet, limited to the apps it comes with—not an inconsiderable set, since Microsoft Office Home & Student is included—and other RT titles you can download from the Windows Store. Rather than the Yoga 13, it should really be compared to Microsoft’s Surface RT and Asus’ VivoTab RT.
What makes the Yogas similar, of course, is the articulating hinge (highlighted in the image below) that allows you to position and hold either Lenovo as a laptop, a tablet, or to manipulate it into a couple of useful in-between positions, which we’ll discuss on the next page:
These 360-degree hinges permit you to place the Yoga 11 in several interesting positions.
The Yoga lets you fold its lid (the back of the display panel) back until it meets the bottom of the chassis (or back of the keyboard), which in turn lets you position it into four different setups or what Lenovo calls modes: notebook, tablet, stand, and tent. At first glance, this flexibility appears to be highly innovative and useful—and yet so simple that you may be asking yourself why somebody hadn’t thought of it sooner. After spending a few days with it, even though we liked it overall, we also found a few drawbacks to this design. (More on that, too, on the next page.)
You can buy the Yoga 11 in either silver or orange, in either of two storage-size configurations, 32GB or 64GB. Lenovo sent us a silver one with the higher storage capacity—listed on Lenovo.com, as mentioned, for $949 but given an “eCoupon” discount to $599. The 32GB eMMC model is $849 with no discount, which we think answers the question of which one to buy.
The Yoga 11 comes in either silver-gray or orange.Compared to the 10.6-inch Surface RT and 10.1-inch VivoTab RT, the Yoga 11’s screen is larger as well as non-detachable. Aside from the huge difference of the attached, articulating keyboard, the Yoga 11 came configured and performed much like the other RT devices. As we see it, the flexible keyboard, then, is the primary reason for choosing this model over the others.
Overall, as Windows RT devices go, we liked the Yoga 11 enough to recommend it—as long as you understand the limitations, what Win RT can and can’t do, before you take the plunge.
See complete review at Computer Shopper.
The technology scene has been anticipating the release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system for over a year, but the OS will hold few actual surprises when it finally enters the world. (Preview versions have been circulating for some months.) But on the cusp of its official October 26 release, Windows 8 is hitting the market alongside a more mysterious little-brother version of Windows that’s gotten much, much less attention. Even for the in-the-know tech press, only now are the outlines of this new OS—”Windows RT”—emerging from the shadows.
The first Windows RT-based device we got our hands on—the $599.99-list Asus VivoTab RT—is the subject of today’s review. It’s the first of many Windows RT-based devices we’ll be reviewing over the next few months. And if the VivoTab is representative of what’s to come, not only was this tablet version of Windows worth the wait, but it suggests that the dark-horse Windows RT could be a real third tablet-platform option, alongside Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, very soon.
The VivoTab attached to its docking station.
On the whole, Asus makes great tablet hardware, as we’ve seen in its Transformer line, and the VivoTab RT is no exception. Before we spent much time with this tablet, our knee-jerk impression was that its projected $599 price was impossibly high, considering the slate competition—notably, Apple’s juggernaut iPads, which start at $399 (for the iPad 2) and $499 (for the third-, and now, fourth-generation models). But by the time we were finishing up this review, the VivoTab RT had actually convinced us that it was worth it—and, to top that, Asus then announced the $599 price would include a very well-built and attractive keyboard docking station.
We should also note that this $599 list price is for a version of the VivoTab RT with 32GB of internal storage, versus the 16GB in the least-expensive 9.7-inch iPads. For another $100, you can get a version of the VivoTab RT with twice the storage capacity (64GB). When we wrote this, Asus informed us that it hadn’t yet settled on a price for either of these slates without the keyboard dock. (We’ll update this review with this information when we have it.)
From what other slate makers, such as Microsoft and Samsung, are saying, the VivoTab RT’s $600-to-$700 range looks like it won’t be far from the competition’s pricing for a higher-end Windows RT tablet. Though the VivoTab RT is the first we’ve laid hands on, today’s true vanguard tablet for Windows RT is actually Microsoft’s own Surface tablet, which will come in RT and full Windows 8 versions. The RT Surface is already available for preorder for $499 list, and you can add Microsoft’s snazzy combination cover/keyboard for another $100. But the VivoTab’s keyboard is far nicer—it’s made of metal, for one thing, and it comes with an additional battery that extends the unplugged runtime by about eight hours. Plus, when attached, it makes the VivoTab feel much more like an actual laptop than the Surface’s accessories will. (We’ll be looking at the Surface in the coming weeks.)
Hardware-wise, the VivoTab RT really is an impressive slate. It’s thin, light, attractive, and well-constructed, reminding us (with the docking keyboard attached, that is) of a miniaturized version of Asus’ slick ZenBook line of laptops. The VivoTab RT lacks a dedicated USB port, though; we typically see one on high-end tablets. You can connect via USB over the VivoTab’s combination USB/charging port, or through a port on the keyboard dock.
Perhaps the most impressive feature on the VivoTab, though, is its 1,366×768-pixel screen—the same resolution found on several 11- and 13-inch laptops. On this slate’s 10.1-inch display, this resolution makes for great graphics and image reproduction. (We’ll talk more about the screen in the Features & Apps section later in this review.)
Furthermore, this is the first time we’ve seen any form of Windows running on a standard tablet CPU—in this case, the same Tegra 3 quad-core ARM processor used in the lion’s share of recent Android slates. (Indeed, during its development, Windows RT was dubbed, rather inelegantly, “Windows 8 on ARM.”) We found Windows RT very responsive, and most tasks, such as launching apps and working inside them, executed quickly—much faster than Windows 7 felt, running on more powerful processors in the past. As to whether Windows RT is as nimble and easy to use as Android or Apple’s iOS (the OS used by its market-leading iPads), though, we’ll discuss that in the Features & Apps section later on…and you can decide.
Indeed, that—your operating system preference—would be, for most users, the main reason for choosing this tablet over one using a more established tablet OS. To be sure, you can find plenty of good tablets out there right now, including both Android-based models and iPads. (Indeed, the day we wrote this, Apple had just announced its fourth-generation iPad and the iPad Mini, complicating matters further.) But if what you’ve been holding out for is a new-generation Windows slate that will use Office-compatible productivity apps—which is one of Windows RT’s key advantages over iOS right out of the gate—this first Windows RT tablet is a very good choice.
Finish reading this at Computer Shopper.