Part of what sets Windows tablets like the Dell Venue 8 Pro and Asus Transformer Book T100 apart from an iPad or Android tablet is the ability to run full-blown desktop apps. Apparently I’m not the only one who got the idea of actually using one of these tablets as a desktop computer.
The folks at Plugable wanted to see how a tablet with an Intel Atom Bay Trail processor works when you hook up multiple displays — so they connected the tablet to a Plugable dock connected to 4 separate monitors
The results look pretty good.
Plugable used a Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet for the test. The tablet doesn’t have a video port or full-sized USB port, but with a micro USB OTG cable they were able to connect a $129 Plugable docking station to add USB, Ethernet, and DVI and HDMI ports.
That’s all you need to do if you want to connect a monitor or two, since you can use the HDMI and DVI ports to display video on up to 2 external displays. But thanks to DisplayLink adapters which let you hook up a monitor over a USB port, they were able to connect 4 monitors at once.
What’s really cool is that since the Dell Venue 8 Pro is running a full version of Windows 8.1 software, it can download all the drivers automatically so the setup process is pretty painless (once you have the hardware in place). And the Intel Atom Bay Trail processor is powerful enough to handle multiple display setups pretty well.
In the demo video, Plugable’s founder showed a YouTube video playing on an one display — and being dragged from monitor to monitor seamlessly. You can run different windows in each display, or extend windows across multiple monitors.
When you want to take the tablet on the go, just disconnect the dock and you can use it as a standalone device again.
Keep in mind, while the Bay Trail processor is powerful enough to keep up with basic tasks, it’s not exactly a speed demon — so don’t expect to play bleeding edge games on 4 screens at once in this kind of setup. But for basic computing, you could essentially turn Dell’s $299 tablet into a desktop machine capable of working across multiple displays.
There is a catch though: The Venue 8 Pro has just one USB port, and that’s what you use to charge the tablet. So while it’s connected to Plugable’s docking station, you can’t charge the tablet. Make sure to start your day with a fully charged battery if you want to get any real work done in a setup like this.
via UMPC Portal