Tablets Go to School
The latest in school tablets now have Windows 8 software so classrooms can take advantage of touch screens while continuing to use the software they own and know. Up to a point, that is. That’s because in addition to Windows 8, there will also be Windows 8 RT, which will be used on smaller and lighter devices that have the potential to run for 12 hours. The problem is that your favorite software won’t run on RT and there really isn’t much of a programming ecosystem established for it at this point. Luckily, these systems will come with a version of Office.
Here’re the latest that run the gamut from single-purpose slates to hybrids and convertibles that can assume several personas in the school.
More Than Skin Deep
Probably the most adventurous tablet at the start of the Windows 8 generation is Microsoft’s Surface. Based on Windows RT, you’ll need to buy new apps, but the $500 tablet includes a version of Office, has a 10.6-inch touch-screen that has a nice kick stand. Inside is a quad-core Nvidia Tegra processor, a pair of USB ports and 32- or 64GB of storage space. It weighs 1.5-pounds and has a $100 optional keyboard.
The latest from HP is the ElitePad 900, a 10.1-inch tablet that weighs in at 1.5 pounds and is less than 0.4-inches thick. The key difference it has from the pack is that the ElitePad can take on a variety of personalities with add-on hardware that HP calls Jackets. There’re Jackets with a keyboard, ports, and extra battery life. Because the system uses Windows 8 software, a school can continue to use the programs it owns and knows.
Acer’s latest slate, the Iconia W510 is Windows 8 all the way, with a 1.5GHz Intel Atom Z2760 processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of solid state storage for $500; there’s also a 64GB model for $600. Its 10.1-inch screen is made of toughened Gorilla glass, has HD audio as well as stereo speakers and there’s an optional keyboard dock that can turn it into a netbook. All told, the slate weighs 1.3 pounds.
Slip and Slide
Instead of a convertible or a snap-on keyboard, Sony’s VAIO Duo 11 Hybrid has a keyboard that slides in and out as the screen is raised or lowered. The Windows 8 system features an 11.6-inch display, an Core i3, i5 or i7 processor and the choice of 4-, 6- or 8GB of RAM as well as either 128- or 256GB solid state drive. Unlike most of the competition, the 2.9-pound Duo 11 comes with a stylus and sells for $1,100.
Full Bore Tablet
It’s a shame that nobody told Fujitsu that the Stylistic Q572 isn’t a full notebook computer, but its AMD dual-core Z-60 processor and 4GB of RAM and up to 256GB of solid state storage says otherwise. The slate has a 10.1-inch screen, a slew of ports and the system can be ordered with the choice of either Windows 8 or Win 8 Pro. It weighs a hefty 1.8 pounds, though.
Yoga can help people relax while gaining strength, but Lenovo’s Yoga 11 and 13 are strictly about providing support for classroom education with systems that convert from slates to keyboard centric systems. The 13.3-inch version is the bigger of the two at 3.4-pounds and uses the full version of Windows 8. It has a Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 8GB of RAM and a 256 solid state storage drive. Expect it to cost $1,000.
By contrast, Yoga 11 uses Microsoft’s minimalist Windows RT software, as is the case with the Surface system. Yoga 11 includes an 11.6-inch screen, an ARM-based processor and as large as 64GB of solid state storage. The pad weighs in at just 2.8-pounds, yet its battery can run for several school days work of work.
Have a slew of desktop PCs that you want to turn to touch machines for Windows 8? Dell’s S2340T is a 23-inch wide-screen LCD monitor with a difference. In addition to being able to show 1,920 by 1,080 resolution the screen responds to input from 10 fingers and it folds flat for horizontal work. It has a Web cam, speakers and a microphone, and costs $650.