I gave the technical specs in Part 1 of this series.
Now for the subjective review.
The first thing that struck me was the form factor – 16:9. It just looks too out of proportion at a casual glance, but once you are actually using it, I think that you will not notice. The screen resolution is comfortable but not fantastic at 1366 x 768 for an 11.6″ diagonal size. If I could afford it, I would have preferred the next model up which is 1920 x 1080 at the same screen size. The better model also has a faster CPU, which would also be good as the 5 series are a bit sluggish.
The thing that is most different to me though, is using Windows on a tablet. I am just playing with the 8.1 tiles to see what they do, but spending more time on the Desktop screen as I have 20 years experience on Windows and it is fairly ingrained in my brain. I keep expecting the tablet to act just like a laptop and it is not powerful to keep up. I am adjusting but it is a bit of a freakout because it really is Windows. I was using a cloud login initially but the process was too tedious on the built-in keyboard. So I instigated a local login instead as I am not using this tablet for anything serious that needs to be shared. Also noted that I am spoilt by the instant on of Android tablets.
I find myself using the stylus all the time as it simulates the mouse experience. In fact I have noticed that I have chosen devices which all have a stylus included, and I use the stylus a lot. If buying for kids, this may not need to be a consideration as a) they have little fingers and b) they don’t have the experience (or maybe baggage) of years of mouse use to influence their behaviour. My 5 year old consultant keeps asking me what a mouse is in the context of computers, then she touches the screen of my desktop and asks me why nothing happens. If Windows continues to hold sway in the desktop market, then Windows 9 and beyond will not be the beasts that we are familiar with.
Overall, I still think that Android has the game sewn up at the moment and will have until we have a greater range of Windows tablets and gruntier hardware for a more demanding operating system. I have not included any comparison impressions of iOS as I don’t use use our iPad often enough to have a valid opinion.