Over the last year or two, Microsoft has worked very, very hard to make its own Surface tablets and devices running the Windows 8 operating system legitimate competitors in the computing space. The Windows 8.1 update made it possible for Windows tablets to be cheaper than they’ve ever been and more useful than previously possible.
Thanks to Black Friday 2014 deals and better options, you might be thinking about purchasing a Windows tablet this holiday season for yourself or someone else. Here’s what you need to know about purchasing Windows tablets during the holiday season and what you should be looking out for.
Windows Tablets Buying Guide – The Basics
Let’s talk about what Windows tablets are and what they aren’t first. When Microsoft first revealed the Windows 8 operating system it shared its vision for Windows devices going forward. The idea was simple, user who purchased a Windows tablet would get many of the benefits of Windows. USB compatibility would allow users to attach the accessories they already own to their tablet. Better internals would make Windows 8 tablets the best and longest lasting Windows tablets there have ever been.
Windows 8 tablets failed to deliver on some of those promises. Windows 8 was great, but Microsoft saddled Windows tablets with Windows RT, a version of Windows that didn’t include Desktop app compatibility. In short, you could install new touch-centric Windows Store apps. You couldn’t install Desktop apps like iTunes. Storage was also at a premium and Windows 8 tablets tended to be higher than their Android counterparts.
When you buy a Windows tablet you’re not getting most of these initial problems. Having failed to take off in any meaningful way besides Microsoft’s own Surface 2, Windows RT has been abandoned on tablets and portables. If you’re buying a Windows tablet today it comes with an Intel processor. Battery life might be a little less, but Desktop apps can be installed with no problem. Together with Windows Store apps, users are getting a more robust device this year than they did last year.
Second, Windows tablet prices are ridiculously reasonable at this point. There’s a version of Windows 8.1 that allows device makers to produce tablets as low as $99. Even better, these cheap Windows tablets come with year-long subscriptions to Microsoft Office.
Windows Tablets Buying Guide – How to Choose
Choosing which Windows tablet to buy is all about understanding your needs. There are two types of users, consumers of content and producers of content.
Only high-end tablets like Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 are for producers of content. These people need power because they edit video or produce music. They need screen real estate so that they can stay productive. Consumers of content are perfectly served by any decent Windows tablet with a reasonable screen size and decent processor. To be clear, with entertainment tablets users can stay productive too, but high-end apps won’t work as well on them.
Know which kind of user you are and choose your Window tablet accordingly. Chase down Windows tablets with larger screens if that’s what you’re looking for. Hunt for more battery life and a smaller screen if you’re going to be watching videos, browsing the internet and listening to music only.
Which Windows Tablets to Buy – 2 Black Friday 2014 Deals
So which Black Friday 2014 deals should you take advantage of if you’re looking at Windows tablets? Here are the best Black Friday 2014 deals on tablets so far.
HP Stream 7 – Microsoft Store
At just $99 the Microsoft Store’s HP Stream 7 Windows tablet is about the most interesting Black Friday 214 deal there is. Microsoft has been offering the tablet to shoppers for the better part of a week, and it looks like it’ll continue to do so through the holiday. The HP Stream 7 has a 7-inch touchscreen display, 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. There are front-facing and rear-facing cameras too. Bluetooth allows it to connect to mice and keyboards.
Microsoft is selling the HP Stream 7 with a year of Office 365 Personal and free Skype. Additionally, shipping is free.
Acer Aspire Switch 10 2-in-1 Microsoft Store
Windows 8 ushered in a new hardware category for shoppers. It wasn’t that long ago that a notebook and tablet were to fundamentally different things. Today, there are all sorts of different tablets with external keyboards and mice that you add on. The Acer Aspire Switch 10 is such a device.
At the heart of the Acer Aspire Switch 10 is a tablet with a 10.1 inch screen touchscreen, an Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM 64GB of storage and an 8 hours of battery life. The Acer Aspire Switch 10 comes with a keyboard dock that users can put the tablet half into. That keyboard dock adds a USB port, physical keys and a touchpad.
Microsoft will begin selling the Acer aspire Switch 10 2-in1 for $299 on November 27th. Today its $349.99. Office 365 is included with the Acer Switch 10 too.
As we get closer to Black Friday 2014, surely more deals will appear overtime. Remember to keep an eye out for Windows tablets that fit your needs and have the features you’re looking for. If at all possible, it’s a great idea to purchase your Windows tablet directly from Microsoft’s own online store. Purchasing from other places might leave you with a Windows tablet with a ton of extras to uninstall.