Looking for a Windows tablet that costs less than a Kindle Paperwhite? You might want to head over to Best Buy. The retailer is selling the Insignia Flex tablet with an 8 inch screen, an Intel Atom Bay Trail processor, and Windows 8.1 for $100.
This isn’t the first $99 Windows tablet we’ve seen. The HP Stream 7 sells for the same price, and you can often find the Toshiba Encore Mini on sale for $99.
But as blogger Mike Cane points out, the Insignia Flex is one of the first $100 Windows tablets that you can walk into a bricks and mortar store in the United States and try before you buy (not counting the Winbook TW800, which is only available at that price at Micro Center stores… which are a lot less common than Best Buy locations).
The tablet features an 8 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel TFT display, an Intel Atom Z3735F quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and Windows 8.1 32-bit software. It has a microSD card slot, WiFi, Bluetooth, and 2MP front and rear cameras. It also supports HDMI output.
Like many other low-cost Windows tablets, the Insignia Flex also comes with a 1-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Personal, which includes 1TB of OneDrive cloud stroage.
This is a cheap tablet which is designed to run Windows Store apps rather than full-fledged desktop apps… although it has an x86 processor so it can run normal Windows software. Just don’t expect it to run those apps very well.
In other words, cheap Windows tablets like the Insignia Flex are basically the Windows equivalent of dirt cheap Android tablets. But while there are more tablet-optimized apps available in the Google Play Store than the Windows Store, the key advantages of a cheap Windows tablet are that it’s at least capable of running legacy Windows software (poorly) and features tight integration with Microsoft’s apps and services including OneDrive, Office, and Skype (although not everyone will consider those advantages).
If you’re looking for a Windows tablet that’s more capable of running desktop-class apps, you might want to consider the Asus Transformer Book T100, Acer Aspire Switch 10, or another device with a faster CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB or more of storage.
Update: Zatz Not Funny blogger (and occasional Liliputing correspondent) Dave Zatz sends in a few hands-on photos, which I’ve added to the gallery below.
Since this runs 32-bit Windows 8.1 this should make a nice platform for running retro Win16 apps. I have a ton of them. 🙂 It should be a fun experiment.
Windows bloatware running with only 16gb of storage? It’s a joke, right? After you install all the patches, there won’t be enough room left for Angry Birds.
It supports up to another 128GB in MicroSD .
I grabbed one of these last night. Pics of uefi/bios posted above
Nice! Can Secure Boot be disabled and/or have you tried booting from a USB device?
Secure Boot is disabled by default. I booted rEFind from a usb flash drive as shown in one of the pics.
Nifty! I wasn’t familiar with rEFInd, so I missed that in your photos. 🙂
I just added a photo of the secure boot screen. I missed it in the original set of pictures.
Can it boot a 64-bit Linux ISO in UEFI mode? If not then can the UEFI be set to boot in legacy/BIOS mode to boot non-UEFI compatible ISOs? Or can you boot Linux from rEFind?
I tried booting 32/64 images of Gentoo and Ubuntu without success. I believe (if I had another flash drive) that I could boot a live image through rEFind.
I suspect you might have to jump through these hoops:
More details: https://plus.google.com/104498913847479701596/posts/E48sHmyfzhg
I’ll give that a try and let you know
In a nutshell it just involves replacing the 64-bit bootloader with a 32-bit bootloader on systems that don’t have 64-bit EFI.
I’ve done this to boot liveUSB images on a few machines, but I’ve never actually tried to use this method to install Linux.
I haven’t had time to mess with the tablet anymore. I would think that it’s quite possible to get a live image booted up on it and usable given my success with the rEFind bootloader.
And it looks like someone has gotten a modified Arch Linux setup and running on it
Placed bootia32.efi on the flash drive and got it into Ubuntu. Need to determine if there are drivers for wireless and the touchscreen controller now.
Yeah, I’ve had that problem with some of these little guys too. It’s nice to know you can at least boot Ubuntu. Using it might be another matter. 🙂
I’ve found this thread which contains info about getting the Realtek rtl8723bs wifi/bt working on a Pipo W2 tablet.
It looks like the touchscreen input is a Goodix Touch HID (GDIX1001) and there is a driver available.
Cool. I’m sure this would be useful to some people. Too bad, for me, for the things I want to do with an 8″ Windows tablet would need more than 1 GB of RAM. 4 GB would be great.
On that note, anyone know where I can get the 4 GB RAM version of the ThinkPad 8 in USA? The MS store only has the 2 GB RAM model and Lenovo stopped selling it on their USA site.
$100 is an OK price for a tablet to brick every now and then trying to get Linux running on it. Be nice if they had 64bit UEFI.
In my opinion this would be the ideal tablet:
8.9 inch, FHD, AMOLED screen, with wacom
4gb of RAM+ Bay trail CPU
less than 400$
It seems to be all about the RAM on these windows tablets.
From what I’m reading is 2 gig or go home.
You need 2-4 GB RAM to use Windows comfortably (depends on what apps you want to run on it), and 64-120 GB storage to avoid frequently losing data because you can’t save files and having to frequently having to delete local files to make more room. 16GB isn’t enough storage if you install legacy Windows apps, and 32GB is not enough to give you trouble free usage. 64GB you may get away with if you don’t install too many legacy Windows apps.
So add a 64 or 100GB Micro SD card. I have loaded Worl oof warcraft on a 64GB SD card and it plays quite well.
That puts up the cost a lot though doesn’t it? and the MicroSD card storage in an order of magnitude slower than SSD storage. What is the point buying this crap and adding more crappy slow storage to it? – you might as well buy a better spec’ed more expensive Windows computer, or a Chromebook or Android tablet or iPad.
If you want a $100. Windows tablet you have to make a compromise and no MicroSD is not orders of magnitude slower. If you are not someone looking for a $100. Windows tablet buy something else.
Microcenter is selling winbook tablets for the same price.
This one has IPS display and other specs are same. If you want 2GB RAM and 32GB memory then you can get winbook TW801 which costs $139.
But I think HP stream 7 is a good buy because it has 32GB and IPS display for $99 (7 inch). Currently its out of stock on amazon but available from microsoft store (link below).
Goo thing is if you buy from Microsoft, it will be without any OEM bloatware.
The Winbooks have a USB 3.0 connection which is really, really helpful and greatly increases product usefullness.
can i slap a linux distro on this? what’s the life and quality of the battery? that always seems to be where the corners are cut. one year and throw away?
Google Fedlet for a bleeding edge Fedora that may-or-not-ish work. It is being done by an active Fedora developer. I’ve had moderate success with it on other Baytrail 37xx tablets.
“The tablet features an 8 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel TFT display”, ugh! Why do they make tablets with such a horrible screen! I will not buy one unless it has ips, so hp stream 7 is much better deal. This does have hdmi out though, so you could use it as a full desktop replacement. They should make a higher end model with ips, how much more does it cost to use ips vs TFT? I would gladly pay $20-$50 more for better screen and more ram.
This tablet actually features an IPS panel.
I see this sort of thing as more of an alternative to a basic Kindle device. Install the Kindle app and you’ll have a Kindle that also does email fairly well using the Mail app.
Saw this at Best Buy over the weekend and did notice that this one actually has HDMI out as well
The TFT screen ruins it.
The screen is IPS and very nice
HDMI out and the price were the reasons why I picked one up. It makes a terrific presentation device… plug in the Targus presentation remote receiver in the USB and attach the HDMI to a projector or HDTV, fire up PowerPoint… BAM.
Would rather have 2GB RAM and 32GB storage instead of Office. I hope some other manufacture does this
You can get Winbook from Microcenter. I think you can buy it from store directly if you have their nearby your location.
It also IPS display instead of TFT.
The panel on this one is misstated. It is IPS.
Ya, but Office doesn’t cost manufacturers anything though.
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