The Microsoft Store slashed prices on several Windows 8 8-inch tablets to put them more in line with more popular devices like the Google Nexus 7 or iPad mini. We’ll take a look at what these 3 low-cost tablets and offer buyers advice on which way to go.
The Google Nexus 7 comes in at $229 for the cheapest model. The Apple iPad mini starts at $329. These 3 Windows 8 tablets range in price from $229, the same as the Nexus 7, on up to $349, which makes it just $20 more than the iPad mini base model.
The screen resolution on these tablets suffer compared to the Nexus 7 or iPad mini. The Nexus 7 resolution is 1920×1200 on a slightly smaller screen. The iPad mini’s display boasts an even higher 2048×1536 resolution. These Windows 8 tablets won’t win awards for their displays since they all offer 1280×800 resolution 8-inch display. That’s why we don’t recommend users switch from the Nexus 7 or iPad mini.
Windows 8 lovers who don’t already own one of the other devices will likely enjoy using one of these machines. They’re nice low-cost options that will run metro apps and full Windows software.
Remember that the 32GB models will fill up fast after installing Windows programs. Metro apps, like Android and iOS apps, don’t take up as much room. Installing Windows programs will eat up the storage. Each of these tablets lets users insert a micro-SD card to expand the storage by up to 128GB. Still, we recommend getting one of the two 64GB models if buyers can afford it.
All of these Windows 8 tablets come with Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition which retails for $140. Look around the Internet and find it for under $100. Factoring the cost of this one program, the hardware cost ends up between $150-$270. That’s a great price for an 8-inch tablet.
Here are the tablets buyers can get at the Microsoft Store online.
Dell Venue Pro 8 – $229 (32GB) or $299 (64GB)
The Dell Venue 8 Pro 32GB model sells for $300 from Dell, but Microsoft cut the price by $70 for the 32GB model and $50 for the 64GB. Like the other two, the Dell runs on an Intel Atom Z3740 processor and offers 2GB of RAM.
Check out some of the other specs on this machine:
- Up to 8 hours of battery life on 2-Cell lithium-ion battery
- Intel Atom Z3740D 1.80GHz processor
- 2GB of DDR3L-RS 1333MHz memory
- 32GB SSD storage
- Windows 8.1
- Micros-SD card reader
- Intel HD Graphics with 1280×800 resolution
- Micro-USB, stereo out/mic in combo port
- 1.2MP front webcam/5MP back camera
- 802.11 a/g/n Wi-fi, Bluetooth
- 8.5 x 5.12 x .35 inches weighing .87 lbs
Lenovo Miix 2 8 – $249 (32GB) or $349 (64GB)
The Lenovo Miix 2 8 Touchscreen Windows 8 Tablet comes with all the goodness of the Dell Venue 8 Pro with a few notable exceptions. First, the tablet costs $20 more than the Dell Venue 8 Pro. For that extra $20 buyers get up to 10 hours of battery life instead of 8. The 16:9 aspect ratio makes it a tad longer. The tablet weighs slightly less at .77lbs since it’s .06 inches thinner. See the other specs listed above which apply here as well with these exceptions.
The longer battery life on the Lenovo Miix 2 seems like a nice trade-off for only $20 more at the Microsoft Store.
Toshiba Encore WT8-A32M – $249
The Toshiba Encore WT8-A32M costs the same as the Lenovo, but reduces potential battery life by three hours. Only 7 hours makes this the lowest power rating of the group. It also weighs more than the the other two tablets at nearly 1 pound.
While this looks every bit as good as the Lenovo and Dell, the larger size may make it less desirable to some who prefer a lighter tablet. It may fit better in the hands of people who like something more substantial to grab onto. The shorter battery life alone seems reason enough to avoid the Toshiba.
See the other specs above since they’re nearly identical.
Which Tablet Should I Buy?
Ask these questions to get your answer:
- Is price the most important factor? Get the Dell Venue 8 Pro 32GB version for $229 or even better the Lenovo Miix 2 8 for $249 with the extra 2 hours of battery life.
- Is long battery life the primary factor? Get the Lenovo Miix 2 8 64GB for $349 unless you can only afford the 32GB at $249.
- The best overall option looks like the 64GB Lenovo Miix 2 8 for $349.
- We don’t think the Toshiba looks like a good deal with the short battery life.