Ditching the Tablet: Windows 8 Revives Netbooks

Soon before Windows 8 tablets became available I wrote about my selection process, focusing on some of the key decisions that helped narrow my choices. This was largely a consideration of WindowsRT on ARM vs. Windows on Atom vs. Windows on i-Series processors. My first few weeks with this device have been a mixed bag. I’ve now returned the tablet, replacing it with a Netbook. I can’t say I saw any of this coming, so I thought it might be good to write about the issues I faced between the time that I decided on a Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro and when I finally returned it after eight weeks. I’ll also revisit my criteria with some hands-on experience under my belt and consider how Ultrabooks/Netbooks with touch compare to ARM/Atom tablets for price/functionality/components, and how Windows 8 itself is disruptive to hardware refresh patterns. Although this post roams a bit, I hope it’s joined up by some common threads of unexpected/disruptive effects of Windows 8.

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Choosing a Windows 8 Tablet

Note: since writing this, I’ve changed my view on a few of these requirements, and returned the machine I selected. I’d suggest reading this second post for more information.

Since the first Windows 8 devices were announced and I had a chance to work with the Developer Preview I’ve been looking forward to the day when I could get my mits on a Windows 8 tablet. During that time, my thoughts about what I really want have crystalised somewhat. There’s been plenty written about the new OS and the devices that will launch at or near General Availability this Friday, but there seems to be a dearth of comparative information other than some useful reference materials. As I see it, these materials are excellent once you know what you want, but they don’t really help you get there. And that’s the point of this post. I reckon someone might find it helpful to step through my thought process, even if they reach a different conclusion. This is quite subjective and somewhat rough and ready, but I often find that more useful than anything else.

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