As Windows 10 draws near, these are five of the best mid-sized Windows 8.1 tablets


With Windows 10 scheduled to launch this summer, we've decided to find out where the mid-sized Windows tablet market could be going in the near future. We took the time to find the most powerful, most versatile, and most interesting 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablets that money can purchase at the moment. 

As Microsoft gears up to launch Windows 10 this summer, version 8.1 of the operating system doesn't have much of a lifetime ahead of it, but it doesn't mean that the ecosystem is dead just yet. 

While Windows 8.1 isn't considered to be Microsoft's most successful product, there's no denying that Windows 8.1 was the most courageous and successful Windows edition as far as as Microsoft's efforts to penetrate the tablet market are concerned.

Note: all of the tablets included in our list run the full version of Windows 8.1. Windows RT is as good as dead.

Asus VivoTab Note 8

Let's kick off our list with the Asus VivoTab Note 8. The tablet comes with an IPS LCD panel running at 800 by 1280 pixels, which is a very common resolution for this display size. Asus sells the VivoTab Note 8 with an integrated active stylus from Wacom.

Under the hood, you get an Intel Atom Z3740 chipset that features a quad-core processor that runs at a minimum frequency of 1.33GHz, but can go all the way up to 1.86GHz. Other specs include 2GB of RAM, 32GB of microSD-expandable internal storage space, a 5MP primary camera, a 1.2MP secondary sensor on the front, as well a GPS system.

The Asus VivoTab Note 8 measures 220.9 x 133.8 x 10.95 mm, meaning that not very compact compared to other 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet included in this list. The tablet tips the scales at 380 grams, which is an average weight for this tablet class.

The 32GB Asus VivoTab Note 8, a good performer overall, is currently priced at $253 over at Amazon.

Dell Venue 8 Pro


If you're looking for a compact 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet, the Dell Venue 8 Pro is probably your best choice at the moment. The 8-inch IPS display runs the same 800 by 1280 pixel resolution as all the other tablets included here, but the size of the tablet is trimmed down to 216 x 130 x 9 mm. The Venue 8 Pro tips the scales at 394 grams, which is about average.

The Dell Venue 8 Pro is powered by an Intel Atom Z3740D, a chip that integrates a 1.33GHz quad-core processor that can go all the way up to 1.8GHz in Turbo Mode. Paired with 2GB of RAM, the chip should offer sufficient processing power for basic tasks. Other specs include 32GB of integrated storage space, a microSD card slot, a 5MP primary camera, and 2.1MP secondary shooter on the front. 

On the downside, the Dell Venue 8 Pro lacks GPS. Dell will sell you an active stylus for $30 extra, and the manufacturer also offers an optional Bluetooth-powered keyboard dock which is perfect if you're planning to write on your mid-sized tablet.

The 32GB version of the Dell Venue 8 Pro is currently priced at $225 over at Amazon.


Acer Iconia W4


Although it is based on roughly the same internal components as most other tablets included here, the Acer Iconia W4 comes with the notable distinction that it features a microHDMI port that allows you to connect the device to an external monitor. The 8-inch IPS display runs a resolution of 800 by 1280 pixels. 

In terms of design, the Iconia W4 measures 218 x 135 x 10 mm, which is acceptable, but it should be mentioned that the tablet tips the scales at 430 grams, being the heaviest tablet included on this list.

The internals include an Intel Atom Z3740 chipset (the same 1.33GHz - 1.86GHz quad-core processor that we've seen repeated multiple times throughout this list) paired with 2GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of SSD storage space, a microSD card slot, a 5MP primary camera, a 2MP front-facing sensor, as well as GPS capabilities.

The 64GB version of the Acer Iconia W4 can be purchased from Amazon at a price of $269.99.

Toshiba Encore 2

 
Although the four 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablets listed above do not come with the highest of prices, they are not exactly affordable devices either. If you're looking to sacrifice processing power but still get a full Windows 8.1 tablet, the Toshiba Encore 2 is an interesting option.

The Toshiba Encore 2 is based on a quad-core Intel Atom Z3735G chipset, one that's a bit slower than the Atom Z3740 and the Atom Z3740D (which are almost identical), but this is not the weakest point of the tablet. The Encore 2 comes with just 1GB of RAM, which is hardly enough to ensure smooth performance even across the most basic of tasks. 

Other specs include a 5MP primary camera, a 1.2MP secondary shooter, 32GB of integrated storage space, and a microSD card slot. The Toshiba Encore 2 lacks GPS, and it also lacks an ambient sensor for automatic screen brightness adjustment.

Amazon currently prices the Toshiba Encore 2 at a very affordable $139.70, although be warned you might be better off saving for a more capable solution.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 (8-inch version)


As you can see, the mid-sized Windows tablet market is not one where unique designs are to be discovered. The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8 is an exception to that rule. The cylindrical side houses a large battery as well as a metal kickstand, but it does increase the weight of the Yoga Tablet 2 8 to 426 grams. The tablet measures 210 x 149 x 7 mm.

The tablet also differentiates itself through its higher-resolution display. The 1200 by 1920 pixel resolution of the 8-inch IPS panel translates into a much sharper viewing experience. Furthermore, the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 can turn any pen with a metal or graphite point into a stylus. While this input technology cannot detect various levels of pressure, it should work well for when your fingers are not precise enought

Under the hood, there's an Intel Atom Z3745 chipset, one that integrates a quad-core processor clocked at 1.33GHz (up to 1.86GHz in Burst mode). In the camera department, the Yoga Tablet 2 comes with an 8-inch primary shooter and a 1.6MP secondary camera. 32GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot are also included.

Lenovo prices the 8-inch Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 at $299.99 on its official website.



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12 Comments

1. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Windows Tablest with 32 GB of internal storage are a joke, Microsoft throws out such heavy updates that the tablet will be full in no time.My friend has a 32 GB Dell Venue and he was excited that he had 5 Gb free.

2. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

That's garbage, a windows tablet with 32 gigs has ~20 gigs free. That is around what most things are. It is still annoying though.

10. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Have one, fully updated, not running low on space. Also supports sd card, not for app install but for everything else. Like music, movies, documents.

11. SIGPRO

Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

This will change in W10, in the previous version of windows you cold not delete old installed updates and Windows was not cleaning them up. But W10 cleans them up :)

3. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

I have an hp stream 7, and it is awesome for $80. Plus a $25 windows store gift card just sweetens the deal. For simple things, you can't go wrong. One thing these tablets need is apps to SD card though. Windows phone 8.1 has it, so why not full windows. It's stupid.

4. 7thspaceman

Posts: 1597; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

8 inch tablets are cool for some things but please give us an article about the five best PC windows 10 ready tablets that have tablet 10 inches or above in size screens. also do not compare Apple ipads and Android tablets against Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 tablets because they are not used the same way. Apple iPads and Android tablets use 95 percent of the time finger activated and used touch screen Apps. Windows Tablets are PC's Shaped like a Tablet and most are hybrid devices that can use Full PC Desktop programs that require a mouse and keyboard to use the desktop programs properly. Windows Tablets can do double duty and use Finger activated and used touch screen apps Tablet but are dual purpose devices. they are in a different class than Apple Ipads and Android tablets and should be judged on how well they work touch screen activated and and used Apps and judged on how well they can execute desktop programs PC tablets are complicated multi Purpose devices.

5. HildyJ

Posts: 338; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

One plus for some of these tablets is that they come with a licensed copy of Office 2013 which, since I ran Office 2003 for 10 years, should save me annual fees for Office 365 until 2023 or so. One minus is that the chips are old. With the Win10 release we might see refreshed devices with newer chips (including, one hopes, more cache. Other notes. GPS is better in theory than in practice - unless you have 4g, you're probably better off with your phone and its real-time traffic feeds. Light weight, on the other hand, is often undervalued in theory but is fantastic in practice. As for styli, they can be very useful on the desktop side and, if you want one, Wacom is the best (speaking from experience - my 1st, 2nd, and 4th tablets used them, my 3rd was an early n-Trig, my current one is Synaptics). However, you can also use a cheap bluetooth mouse (I use an MS Sculpt Comfort on my chair arm). My experience: Motion m1300 OQO 02 HP Slate 500 Thinkpad Tablet 2 Dell Venue 8 Pro

6. Lauticol

Posts: 404; Member since: Jun 25, 2011

"the Yoga Tablet 2 comes with an 8-inch primary shooter" Nice, an 8-inch camera sensor! It should be amazing in low light!

7. dufis

Posts: 79; Member since: Jun 27, 2014

I have dell venue 8 pro,it is very good and screen is very good wiew angles,one minus is only 32gb internal storage,and only one micro usb,then charging i cant put usb flash,or hdd,somtimes it heet then i playing games,owerol is wery nise and perform fast for day to day usage,i like micrso sd slot and 64gb card,can donload torents,movies,later i test venue keybord and case,if some one want by windows tablets i sugest surfase 3 thiw beter spects 128gb and 4gb ram,fullhd screen,sturdy construction and usb3,mini video port

8. hemedans

Posts: 755; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

Where is asus chi t90

12. Skywax9016

Posts: 8; Member since: May 19, 2015

It is yet to be released. Only the T300 Chi have been released currently, within the Chi family that is. Maybe they're planning to update the CPU before releasing I guess

9. halca

Posts: 14; Member since: Jan 01, 2015

you forgot there is toshiba encore 2 "write" version which has pressure sensitivity screen & pen of wacom.

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