Meet the first 8 inch Windows tablets

Windows 8.1 hits the streets starting today (for downloaders — you’ll have to wait until October 18th to buy it in-stores. Among other things, the latest version of Windows improves support for tablets and other devices with screens smaller than 10 inches. Meanwhile Intel recently launched its new Bay Trail line of low-power Atom processors with better performance and lower power consumption than their predecessors.

Device makers have taken advantage of these two developments to make smaller, lighter Windows tablets which should offer long battery life and silent operation due to fanless designs.

Here are some of the first Windows 8.1 tablets to feature 8 inch displays. In addition to Microsoft’s latest operating system, they should all ship with Microsoft Office 2013 Home & Student.

acer iconia w4

Acer Iconia W4

The Acer Iconia W4 is actually the second Windows 8 tablet from Acer to feature an 8 inch screen. The first was the Iconia W3 which was smaller than most Windows tablets, but which suffered from poor viewing angles and mediocre performance.

Acer’s new model is powered by an Intel Atom Z3740 quad-core Bay Trail processor and has 2GB of RAM, up to 64GB of storage, a 5MP rear camera and a 2MP front camera.

It has a microSD card slot, micro HDMI port, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS.

The tablet has an 8 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel IPS display which should offer better viewing angles than the Iconia W3’s TN screen. It measures about 0.42 inches thick and weighs 14.5 ounces.

It’s expected to go on sale this month with a 32GB model selling for $330 and a 64GB model running $380.

Dell Venue 8 Pro

Dell’s first 8 inch Windows 8.1 tablet is scheduled to hit the streets October 18th with a starting price of $300.

Dell Venue 8 Pro

It has a 1.33 GHz Intel Atom Z3740 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAm, and up to 64GB of storage.

Like the Acer Iconia W4, the Dell Venue 8 Pro has an 8 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel IPS display. But one thin that helps set it apart is the optional digital pen.

The tablet has 2×2 MIMO 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and optional support for HSPA+ or 4G LTE wireless networks. It measures 8.5″ x 5.1″ x 0.35″ and weighs 14 ounces.

You can find more details in our hands-on article and video.

Lenovo Miix2

In case you haven’t already guessed, the Lenovo Miix2 is another tablet with an 8 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel IPS display and 2GB of RAM. Noticing a trend?

Lenovo offers support for 32GB to 128GB of storage and includes a microSD card slot in case you want to use removable storage.

miix2_06

The tablet’s a bit lighter than Dell’s, weighing 12.3 ounces. It’s also a hair thinner, measuring 8.5″ x 5.2″ x 0.32″ if that’s the sort of thing that matters to you.

Lenovo’s tablet has a 5MP rear camera and 2MP front-facing camera and the company will offer an optional cover case with a capacitive stylus which you can hide tuck away in the case when you’re not using it.

The Lenovo Miix2 is expected to go on sale by the end of October for around $299 and up.

Toshiba Encore

You can probably guess the specs by now: the Toshiba Encore sports an 8 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel IPS display and at least 32GB of storage.

Toshiba Encore

But this tablet does have a few things that set it apart, including an 8MP rear camera and a case which is oddly a bit thicker and heavier than the others, measures 0.42 inches thick and weighing 17 ounces.

The Toshiba Encore has a micro USB 2.0 port, a microSD card slot, micro HDMI port and support 802.11n WiFi and GPS.

Like the others, it’s powered by an Intel Atom Bay Trail processor, and this model’s expected to go on sale in November for $330.

  • BoloMKXXVIII

    Brad,
    How long before you can get a few of these in for testing? I am interested to see how they rate in real world use. I am concerned that Windows8/8.1 really wasn’t originally designed for this smaller size and I wonder how that effects usability.

    • CyberGusa

      The Metro side would be fine, it can handle going down to 7″ screens… but it’s the desktop side that’s the question… 8.1 has things like improved scaling control but the desktop still generally needs a level of precision control to interact with properly that a capacitive touch screen can’t provide on a small screen.

      So would be best if they include something with more accuracy, like a active digitizer pen or optical mouse or build in touch pad, etc that can provide that the needed level of accuracy when using the desktop… otherwise, it looks like we may need to get 3rd party solution like a add on digital pen or wireless mouse, as long as we can use it on a table…

      • beomagi

        Small screens like that are fine with a pen. My 5″ windows 7 u820 is quite usable. you CAN increase text size to make it easier – window titles and min/max/close buttons get larger, but doing so hurts the effective screen real-estate, since it scales all text, even browsers text.

  • beomagi

    One of these with a keyboard dock/cover would be nice.

    Also, from using my 2012 nexus 7, 1280×720 and 1280×800 ore OK, but not great. it’s not so much the res is low, but more that the restricted width at that screen size kinda hurts. In portrait mode, you can’t fully view a webpage, and in landscape, too much scrolling needed.

    Would be nice to see 1280×960 or really 4:3 ratio for smaller screens.

    • CyberGusa

      The Asus Transformer Book T100 will be 10.1″ 1366×768 IPS and will include a keyboard dock that’ll let you use it like a netbook, and provide a full size USB 3.0 port… No pen, though, but pretty good battery life at up to 11 hours with a 31WHr battery. Also lacks a rear camera but still arguably a better deal than any of their Vivo Tab offerings from the past year with a starting price of $349 for the 32GB model and $399 for the 64GB model…

      Mind, a desktop OS provides a bit more control than a mobile OS generally does… So you can adjust things like scaling… desktop web browser can also have its default zoom adjusted and not have to rely on pinch to zoom all the time as you would on a regular mobile device… Meaning, with a little work it can look better than it would otherwise with standard default settings…

      • beomagi

        True scaling should be better, but portrait mode browsing still is a bit weak with 768 lines of resolution. I’m looking forward to the dell venue 11 pro (10.8″) which would be full HD res, though that’s bigger than both my laptops now (5″ u820 and 9″ 1630p – both 1280×800).

      • CyberGusa

        True, portrait mode would be the main reason to want even greater resolution… Though, 768 is still better than the netbook days when 10.1″ screens were limited to 1024×600 :p

        And, keep in mind that there are other variables like some screens can work with W8 to render text, etc better and thus be a little less resolution dependent. Basically, not all screens are created equal…

        IPS displays especially can be quite an improvement from the traditional TN screens used by many laptops, etc.

        So, I’d see about trying it out and seeing it in person before giving a final opinion based on incomplete specs on the screen that only state resolution… the other variables on aspects of screen quality are enough a factor that you can’t rely on just resolution being a final determining factor.

  • kawatwo

    Can’t wait for some reviews. Making my Christmas list!

  • Guest

    These look like they could make some gains on the I pad they certainly offer more choices with various pen options as well a full operating system…but where is AMD’s temash? Certainly some of the low power temash soc would deliver great performance given that mobile is more about graphics than CPU power.