All Things Tech Since 2010

Best Windows 8 Tablets of 2013

Best Windows 8 Tablets of 2013

May 3, 2013

Since the release of Apple’s iPad, Windows users around the world have longed for a Windows tablet — a svelte machine with a touch-friendly operating system and the ability to run all of the software they’re accustomed to. With the release of Windows 8, touch computing is no longer the exclusive domain of iOS and Android devices. Windows 8 is an operating system designed from the ground up for touch support, and some of the best Windows 8 tablets and hybrids are beginning to enter the market in support of this new operating system. Researching the best Windows 8 tablets of 2013, we were unable to find any website that compiled all of the information we were looking for in one place. So, we decided to write our own comparison.

Note that we omitted Windows 8 tablets with Intel Atom processors in this comparison; although the Atom is fine for email and chatting on the go, it’s not suitable for anyone looking at Windows 8 tablets as their new primary computers. Customer ratings are out of 5.0 points. In the specs for each Windows 8 hybrid or tablet, we’ve highlighted noteworthy positives in green and negatives in red.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13

At a Glance

  • Best Windows 8 Tablets 2013 Lenovo IdeaPad YogaProduct Link: Click Here
  • Starting Price: $999.99
  • Customer Rating: 4.0 (40 votes)
  • Type: Convertible (Fold-over)
  • Dimensions: 13.1 x 8.9 x 0.67″
  • Weight: 3.4 lbs
  • Screen Size and Resolution: 13.3″, 1600 x 900
  • Stated Battery Life: 8 hours
  • Digitizer Stylus Support: No
  • Maximum CPU: Intel Core i7-3537U
  • Maximum RAM: 8 GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4000
  • Maximum Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • Networking: WiFi, Bluetooth
  • I/O Ports: USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI, Audio, Card Reader
  • Camera: 720p
  • Customer Quote: “The Yoga 13′s 13-inch screen is just right for productivity, and in tablet mode works really well on your lap [...] you can’t hold it with one hand comfortably.” Full Review

Among the best Windows 8 hybrids, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 is a standout because its price is about $100 lower than competing machines with similar specs. This could, however, have something to do with the fact that the Yoga 13 is heavier and has a lower display resolution than most Windows 8 tablets currently available. Unlike most of the products on this list, the screen of the Yoga 13 doesn’t support 1080p video. If you’re hard on your computers, you should be pleased with the Yoga 13′s display hinge; it’s a standard reinforced laptop hinge that allows the screen to swing all the back  until it’s flush with the bottom of the computer — no complicated twisting or sliding mechanisms to worry about breaking.

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist

At a Glance

  • Best Windows 8 Tablets 2013 Lenovo ThinkPad TwistProduct Link: Click Here
  • Starting Price: $649.99
  • Customer Rating: 3.4 (7 votes)
  • Type: Convertible (Twist)
  • Dimensions: 12.3 x 9.3 x 0.8″
  • Weight: 3.48 lbs
  • Screen Size and Resolution: 12.5″, 1366 x 768
  • Stated Battery Life: 8 hours
  • Digitizer Stylus Support: No
  • Maximum CPU: Intel Core i7-3517U
  • Maximum RAM: 8 GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4000
  • Maximum Storage: 500 GB HD or 128 GB SSD
  • Networking: WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet
  • I/O Ports: USB 3.0 (2), Card Reader, Mini DisplayPort, Mini HDMI
  • Camera: 720p
  • Customer Quote: “My experience so far is very satisfactory. In fact, the more I use the Twist, the more it exceeds my expectations.” Full Review

Although the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist is the least expensive Windows 8 tablet on this list, it must be said that it’s the only one with an Intel Core i3 as its entry-level processor. If you’re using an older Core 2 Duo machine, though, you’ll find that the Core i3 is a comparative screamer. Thanks to the Core i3, the ThinkPad Twist is a budget tablet that doesn’t run like one. Like the IdeaPad Yoga 13, though, the ThinkPad Twist suffers from its relatively heavy weight and low screen resolution. Customers have praised the keyboard for its solid feel and commented that the twisting hinge seems unlikely to wear down quickly with regular use.

Acer Iconia W700P

At a Glance

  • Best Windows 8 Tablets 2013 Acer Iconia W700PProduct Link: Click Here
  • Starting Price: $999.99
  • Customer Rating: 4.2 (16 votes)
  • Type: Tablet with Dock
  • Dimensions: 11.6 x 7.5 x 0.5″
  • Weight: 2.09 lbs
  • Screen Size and Resolution: 11.6″, 1080p
  • Stated Battery Life: 9 hours
  • Digitizer Stylus Support: No
  • Maximum CPU: Intel Core i5-3317U
  • Maximum RAM: 4 GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4000
  • Maximum Storage: 128 GB SSD
  • Maximum RAM: 4 GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4000
  • Networking: WiFi, Bluetooth
  • I/O Ports: USB 3.0, Micro HDMI
  • Camera: 1.3 MP, 5 MP, 1080p
  • Customer Quote: “I believe the dock to be a great inclusion (I don’t think any of the competitors even have something similar to purchase separately, let alone as a bundle with the tablet).” Full Review 

The Acer Iconia W700P is incredibly small and light while boasting the best stated battery life of any Windows 8 tablet in this comparison. However, like Microsoft’s Surface Pro, it lacks any form of laptop configuration and requires a desk for typing. To do serious work with the Iconia W700P, you’ll need to connect it to the included dock — which adds some additional USB ports — and use the included Bluetooth keyboard. If you’re comfortable using a tablet that doesn’t have a laptop configuration, the Iconia W700P may be a good choice. Sadly, however, this one isn’t available with a Core i7 processor.

Dell XPS 12

At a Glance

  • XPS Duo 12 NotebookProduct Link: Click Here
  • Starting Price: $1,099.99
  • Customer Rating: 3.9 (9 votes)
  • Type: Convertible (Flipping Screen)
  • Dimensions: 12.48 x 8.46 x 0.79″
  • Weight: 3.35 lbs
  • Screen Size and Resolution: 12.5″, 1080p
  • Stated Battery Life: 6 hours
  • Digitizer Stylus Support: No
  • Maximum CPU: Intel Core i7-3537U
  • Maximum RAM: 8 GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4000
  • Maximum Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • Networking: WiFi, Bluetooth
  • I/O Ports: USB 3.0, eSATA, Mini DisplayPort, Audio
  • Camera: 1.3 MP
  • Customer Quote: “At 3.5 pounds, it is fairly light laptop but a very heavy tablet. This prevents it from being a great tablet or conversion product.” Full Review 

The Dell XPS 12 is the only product on this list with a flipping screen. This allows you to open it as you would a standard notebook, turn the screen completely around and close it again to use the computer in a tablet configuration. It’s also the only computer on this list with an eSATA port, which might be important if you use high-speed external storage devices. At well over three pounds, though, you might find it difficult to use in a tablet configuration for any length of time. In addition, the built-in 1.3 MP webcam is a few years out of date.

Microsoft Surface Pro

At a Glance

  • Best Windows 8 Tablets 2013 Surface ProProduct Link: Click Here
  • Starting Price: $899
  • Customer Rating: 4.3 (18 votes)
  • Type: Tablet with Keyboard Cover
  • Dimensions: 10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53″
  • Weight: 2.0 lbs
  • Screen Size and Resolution: 10.6″, 1080p
  • Stated Battery Life: 4 hours
  • Digitizer Stylus Support: Yes
  • Maximum CPU: Intel Core i5-3317U
  • Maximum RAM: 4 GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4000
  • Maximum Storage: 128 GB SSD
  • Networking: WiFi, Bluetooth
  • I/O Ports: USB 3.0, Card Reader, Audio, Mini DisplayPort
  • Camera: 720p (2)
  • Customer Quote: “Microsoft knows how to make good hardware, and how to inject themselves into a crowded market.” Full Review

The Surface Pro is an incredibly important product for Microsoft, as it’s both the company’s first computer and its statement about the continued viability of the Windows operating system on future generations of touch-enabled devices. It was a bit of a rocky start for Microsoft, with early customers noting that the smaller 64 GB model came almost completely filled with bundled software and that the Surface Pro only comes close to achieving the stated 4 hours of battery life under very ideal conditions. Nevertheless, the Surface Pro has some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings of any Windows 8 tablet on the market — the high build quality and sensitive screen have been particularly praised. The Surface Pro has a kickstand and keyboard for use on a desktop. It does not have a laptop configuration.

Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T

At a Glance

  • Best Windows 8 Tablets 2013 Samsung 700TProduct Link: Click Here
  • Starting Price: $1,099.99
  • Customer Rating: 3.7 (113 votes)
  • Type: Hybrid Tablet/Ultrabook
  • Dimensions: 11.97 x 7.46 x 0.47″
  • Weight: 1.96 lbs
  • Screen Size and Resolution: 11.6″, 1080p
  • Stated Battery Life: 6 hours
  • Digitizer Stylus Support: Yes
  • Maximum CPU: Intel Core i5-3317U
  • Maximum RAM: 4 GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4000
  • Maximum Storage: 128 GB SSD
  • Networking: WiFi, Bluetooth
  • I/O Ports: USB 3.0, Card Reader, Audio, Micro HDMI
  • Camera: 2 MP, 5 MP
  • Customer Quote: “So far I have not had this thing get very warm at all. I never hear the fan kick on either.” Full Review 

Weighing less than two pounds and measuring under half an inch thick, the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T is among the smallest and most portable Windows 8 tablets in this comparison. Note that the weights and measurements of all Windows 8 hybrids are taken with their keyboards detached; it will be slightly thicker and heavier in clamshell mode. While the 700T isn’t available with anything faster than a Core i5 processor, its flexibility and slick design make it a winner for anyone looking for a Windows 8 hybrid that can be used as either a tablet or an Ultrabook.

ASUS TAICHI 21

At a Glance

  • Best Windows 8 Tablets 2013 ASUS TAICHI 21Product Link: Click Here
  • Starting Price: $1,049.99
  • Customer Rating: 3.6 (48 votes)
  • Type: Dual-screen
  • Dimensions: 13.35 x 8.97 x 0.70″
  • Weight: 3.43 lbs
  • Screen Size and Resolution: 13.3″, 1080p
  • Stated Battery Life: 5 hours
  • Digitizer Stylus Support: Yes
  • Maximum CPU: Intel Core i7-3537U
  • Maximum RAM: 4 GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4000
  • Maximum Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • Networking: WiFi, Bluetooth
  • I/O Ports: USB 3.0 (2), Audio, Card Reader, Micro HDMI, Mini VGA
  • Camera: 5 MP, 1080p
  • Customer Quote: “Just give it some time, I think this the best form factor or “hybrid” PC laptop…” Full Review

The ASUS TAICHI 21 is a unique Windows 8 hybrid in a very new product category, having two screens. Open the clamshell and use the TAICHI 21 in Ultrabook mode, or close the clamshell and use the external screen as a Windows 8 tablet. You can even have the second display mirror the primary display or allow someone sitting opposite you to work on his or her own activities while you use the primary display. Using both displays simultaneously does tend to cut the battery life a bit, but we believe the TAICHI 21 can fill some rather interesting roles that no other computer would be quite appropriate for.

Razer Edge Pro

At a Glance

  • Best Windows 8 Tablets 2013 Razer Edge ProProduct Link: Click Here
  • Starting Price: $1,299.00
  • Cutomer Rating: 3.7 (6 votes)
  • Type: Gaming Tablet
  • Dimensions: 10.9 x 7.0 x .80″
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs
  • Screen Size and Resolution: 10.6″, 1366 x 768
  • Stated Battery Life: None (Under 2 hours when gaming)
  • Digitizer Stylus Support: No
  • Maximum CPU: Intel Core i7-3517U
  • Maximum RAM: 8 GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4000, NVIDIA GT 640M LE
  • Maximum Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • Networking: WiFi, Bluetooth
  • I/O Ports: USB 3.0, Audio, HDMI (via docking station)
  • Camera: 2 MP
  • Customer Quote: “When I dock this and use a keyboard and mouse, I love it. Performance is great. Playing Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3, really good! It honestly makes me very angry that the keyboard attachment is not available for a few more months. Truthfully speaking, I am not that happy with it as a tablet. 3 out of 5 for just tablet mode only. If you are looking for a companion device, don’t get this. This is more meant to be a main device or replacement computer of sorts.” Full Review

If you’ll only consider a Windows 8 tablet with the ability to play top-quality games on the go, the Razer Edge Pro is your only real choice. It’s the only product in this comparison with discrete graphics, allowing you to play popular games such as Civilization V, Diablo III and Starcraft II at acceptable framerates. However, this comes with some significant tradeoffs; although you can game on the go, you can expect less than two hours of battery life while gaming with the Razer Edge Pro. So, the only way to get significant playing time is to plug the tablet into an outlet. In addition, the Razer Edge Pro has no laptop mode; you’ll need to connect it to a dock and use a Bluetooth keyboard for typing.

Sony VAIO Duo 11

At a Glance

  • Best Windows 8 Tablets 2013 Sony VAIO Duo 11Product Link: Click Here
  • Starting Price: $1,199.99
  • Customer Rating: 4.7 (3 votes)
  • Type: Tablet with Sliding Keyboard
  • Dimensions: 12.6 x 7.84 x .71″
  • Weight: 2.87 lbs
  • Screen Size and Resolution: 11.6″, 1080p
  • Stated Battery Life: 4 hours, 45 minutes
  • Digitizer Stylus Support: Yes
  • Maximum CPU: Intel Core i7-3537U
  • Maximum RAM: 8 GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4000
  • Maximum Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Networking: WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet
  • I/O Ports: USB 3.0 (2), Audio, Card Readers, HDMI, VGA
  • Camera: 2.4 MP (2)
  • Customer Quote: “Its power belies its size. I am running a Dell u3011 monitor through it. No lag, no problems.” Full Review

Although the specs of the Sony VAIO Duo 11 are top notch, you’ll pay for that power; the VAIO Duo 11 costs about $100 more than competing Windows 8 tablets with similar configurations. Like the Microsoft Surface Pro, however, the VAIO Duo 11 has some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in this product category. In particular, owners praise its relative lack of bloatware, crisp performance and responsive screen.

Upcoming Products

The products in this section show great promise and appear likely to be some of the best Windows 8 tablets of 2013. However, at the time of writing they are not yet available to purchase. We will update this article when more information is available.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix

Best Windows 8 Tablets 2013 Lenovo HelixThe Lenovo ThinkPad Helix is in very limited availability at the time of writing, although Mobile Advance has a few in stock for $1,739 each. This price gets you a unit with an Intel Core i5 processor, 4 GB RAM and a 180 GB SSD. The Helix is a Windows 8 tablet hybrid with a detachable keyboard/trackpad dock. With its starting price of $1,700, it’s difficult to tell what makes the Lenovo Helix so expensive; maybe it’s the famous ThinkPad-style keyboard or the sturdy Gorilla Glass screen. When connected to the keyboard/trackpad, the Helix should get up to ten hours of battery life. In addition, since the screen is reversible you can still take advantage of the extended battery while using the Helix in tablet mode. However, we believe the ASUS Transformer Book TX300 (below) might present a better value.

ASUS Transformer Book TX300

Best Windows 8 Tablets 2013 ASUS Transformer BookThe ASUS Transformer book is one of the devices we’re awaiting most anxiously. We’re told it’s currently available in Japan, but it remains unknown whether it will be released in the United States. In addition to the 5 MP camera and numerous connectivity options, the ASUS Transformer book sports an extended battery and an extra conventional hard drive in the detachable keyboard/trackpad dock. Use it like an Ultrabook for a combined 628 GB of storage and nine hours of battery life, or carry the tablet alone and enjoy using a real Windows 8 computer that’s less than half an inch thick and weighs about two pounds. We’re also huge fans of the ASUS Transformer Book’s MacBook Air-like appearance. If it’s released Stateside, expect the starting price to be about $1,500.

468 ad