Microsoft's been pushing tablet computers for the best part of a decade, so you can imagine how happy the success of the iPad Air, Samsung Galaxy Note series, the short line of Google Nexus slates and other great tablets makes the software maker feel.
But Microsoft doesn't give up easily, and Windows tablets have been trickling out since Windows 8 first introduced touched controls. The focus on tablets that can double as PC has only been getting bigger as with Window 10's upcoming release. The range of devices with is huge from simple slates to fully convertible laptop-tablet hybrids, including those where keyboards slide out from beneath the screen, as well as those with styluses and detachable keyboards. We've even seen tablet/all-in-one hybrids.
There's as much variety in Windows tablet world as there is to the plethora of tablets running other operating systems.
Now the question is what sort of Windows-powered tablet do you want. Are you looking for something mainly as a reading device, perhaps a dedicated Hearthstone, typing out documents on your commute or sketching ideas for a new artwork?
To help you decide, here's a rundown of the best Windows tablets that we've reviewed so far.
1. Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000
A powerful, small tablet that wants to play in the big leagues
Weight: 1.6 pounds | Dimensions: 11.01 x 6.95 x .42 inches | OS: Windows 8.1 | Screen size: 10.8-inch | Resolution: 1,920 X 1,080 | CPU: Intel Core M-5Y71 vPro | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB SSD | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2MP
Starting at $700 (£437 and AU$800), the Venue Pro 7000 offers a nice balance of performance and portability in a travel-friendly size. However, unless you find yourself accessing CPU and GPU taxing apps, you might find more value in an Atom-based convertible. Going with Atom will lower your cost and give you better battery life.
For those who need power and performance, the confines of a 10.8-inch display may be too rigid to maximize productivity. Opening more than a few tabs or windows on the small display will trigger claustrophobia. If you need to be more productive, there are bigger convertible options, like the Surface Pro 3, to choose from that may fit that need better.
Read the full review: Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000
2. Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
This 2-in-1 laptop takes thinness to a new level
Weight: 3.14 pounds | Dimensions: 12.5 x 7.5 x 0.65 inches | OS: Windows 8.1 | Screen size: 12.5-inch | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440 | CPU: 1.2GHz Intel Core M 5Y71 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB SSD | Rear camera: n/a | Front camera: 2MP
The Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi is one of the first laptops to finally get the hybrid form factor right. Thanks to the use of a magnet latching system and Intel's fanless Core M processor, Asus has been able to produce a lighter tablet-laptop hybrid that's thin to boot.
The detachable Bluetooth keyboard also opens up a few alternative ways to use the device. Over the last few weeks, I propped up the screen while I used the keyboard as a remote for Netflix and stood the screen on its side, using it as a makeshift vertical screen. The best thing about all this is it's entirely seamless, letting you easily switch between tablet and laptop modes with ease.
There are a few things Asus didn't get right in this go around with the T300 Chi, namely the micro-sized ports. It has helped Asus shave down it's latest Transformer Book into a much more svelte profile, but you'll need to carry around a set of cables and adapters to plug in something as simple as a USB drive. With battery life averaging five hours and maxing out at six at best, you might want to look into a tablet or Chromebook for longer use cases.
Read the full review: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
3. Microsoft Surface Pro 3
The best tablet-laptop hybrid device yet released
Weight: 1.76 pounds | Dimensions: 7.93 x 11.5 x 0.36 inches | OS: Windows 8.1 | Screen size: 12-inch | Resolution: 2,160 x 1,440 | CPU: 1.9GHz Intel Core i5-4300U | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Rear camera: 5MP | Front camera: 5MP
This is not only Microsoft's most striking and versatile device to date, but the most convincing poster child for the hybrid category yet. And this ringing endorsement comes from a long-time skeptic of such devices.
That said, the Surface Pro 3 (starting at $799, £639, AU$979) is hamstrung by flaws that cannot be ignored. Namely, the battery life might be in line with most Ultrabooks, but isn't close to what Apple's leading laptop and top tablet. Then there's the added cost of having the Type Cover billed as a separate accessory. However, this Windows tablet is still cheaper than getting the lowest spec iPad Air and 13-inch MacBook Air combined, even with the Type Cover, and that's the point.
On paper, this slate is also more powerful than either Apple device, not to mention most other comparably priced laptops and tablets. The Surface Pro 3 might not be perfect, but it's far and wide the brightest shining example of a potential tablet takeover. If you're not concerned about a downgraded performance, consider the new Surface 3, which doesn't provide as much kick as the Pro, but is lighter and a lot cheaper.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 3
4. Dell XPS 18
A large Windows slate to comfortably use around the house
Weight: 5.14 pounds | Dimensions: 18.25 x 11.17 x 0.7 inches | OS: Windows 8.1 | Screen size: 18.4-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4510U | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Rear camera: n/a | Front camera: 720p
The Dell XPS 18 blows away any notion that all-in-ones are hulking great machines tied to desks. Instead it's an 18.5-inch Windows 8 tablet you can carry around the house and out to the cafe, assuming your bag is big enough to carry it.
The Dell XPS 18 also ships with a charging stand, Bluetooth mouse and keyboard that all turns it into a desktop machine. Thanks to it's gorgeous 18.5-inch screen, it's a great choice for online TV addicts. It's a capable PC too thanks to its Intel Core i7 CPU, Intel HD 4400 graphics and 8GB of RAM at the top end.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 18
5. Lynx 8
Cheap and surprisingly capable Windows tablet gets a small boost
Weight: 0.83 pounds | Dimensions: 215 x 125 x 8.9mm | OS: Windows 8.1 | Screen size: 8-inch | Resolution: 1,280 x 800 | CPU: 1.83GHz Intel Bay Trail-T Z3735F | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 32GB eMMC | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: 2MP
If you like to watch Youtube, check your emails, Twitter or Facebook, the Linx 8 comes at an absolute bargain. It's fast, well-built, packed with features squeezed into a very handy form factor and is one of the cheapest tablets on the market priced at £90 (about $134, AU$173).
It comes as a fully functional PC you can stow in your jacket or set at home with a monitor or television (with a HDMI port), plus a keyboard and mouse plugged in via a USB hub. And don't forget that Office 365 Personal also comes included. If you're a keen traveller, the Linx 8 has enough juice to play back a 720p video for more than eight hours with Wi-Fi off and the brightness turned down.
Read the full review: Lynx 8
6. Pipo W2
This cheap Windows tablet brings more than savings
Weight: 0.79 pounds | Dimensions: 4.96 x 8.11 x 0.41 | OS: Windows 8.1 | Screen size: 8-inch | Resolution: 1,280 x 800 | CPU: 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3735D | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 32GB eMMC| Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: 5MP
With most cheap tablets you get what you paid for and end up having more headaches than its worth in the long run. The Pipo W2, on the other hand offers surprisingly more than you would think with its $164 (about £121, AU$216) sticker price. For the price you'll get a more than capable Intel Bay Trail Atom processor-powered tablet that comes with an included year of one-year subscription to Office 365 for personal use.
What's more, the Pipo W2 is well built. You won't find any loose or poorly glued parts, meanwhile the the 8-inch screen is sharp and shows no apparent gaps anywhere. One thing you'll need to bear in mind is that this tablet hits the lowest rung of the PC ladder. Still that won't stop you from running Windows right out of the box. Add a monitor, a keyboard and mouse and you've got a fully functional desktop computer as well.
Read the full review: Pipo W2
7. Lynx 10
Bigger and even more bargainous than the Linx 8
Weight: 0.83 pounds | Dimensions: 258 x 172.6 x 10.5mm | OS: Windows 8.1 | Screen size: 10.1-inch| Resolution: 1,280 x 800 | CPU: 1.33GHz Intel Bay Trail-T Z3735F | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32GB eMMC | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: 2MP
If you're looking for a 10-inch tablet and don't want to break the bank, the Linx 10 fits the bill. Packing solid build quality and a good range of ports including micro-USB, mini-HDMI out and a microSD card slot, you get a lot for your £160 (around $238, or AU$307). The Linx 10's bigger display is more suited to playing YouTube videos, streaming Netflix and watching over video content than the Linx 8's, and you'll be able to see spreadsheets on it more easily with the included Office 365 subscription.
Read the full review: Lynx 10
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