DO a search to investigate Windows RT 8 and you'd be presented with a common opinion amongst most quarters of the tech press when you see popular news sites presenting headlines like these
- Lenovo exec: there's no longer a need for Windows RT - Engadget
- Microsoft Doesn't Want To Admit Windows RT Is Dead | TechCrunch
- 8 reasons Windows RT was dead on arrival ... - Trusted Reviews
- Microsoft Finally Reveals That No One Wanted The Surface RT...
Headlines like these and reading this particularly scathing review of the device from Paul Thurrott amongst others where Windows RT is described as "(Windows RT) is simply too underpowered to provide a satisfactory experience." and "Windows RT does everything slowly. Everything. The day-to-day experience is terrible." anyone doing research about Windows RT would be forgiven for thinking Microsoft has released a bit of a dud here.
Well the truth is far from it, far from it if your expectations of what you are buying are set correctly and you have an understanding if what Windows RT is and is not...
This worried me because Android 4.2 on the Transformer prime ran like a dog, it slows to a halt on upgrades of apps. As soon as a webpage comes up with anything other than text it needs a while to think and pretty much takes about 3 minutes from power on to be usable.As a previous iPad user i've got to compare the Transformer to that, and have to say its not a good comparison. Also considering the Android experience on my wifes Nexus 4 is spot on.
This is where doing my research on Google threw up complaints about slow RT, poor performance in general I was hit and miss on getting an RT tablet but got swayed because my experience on the WP8 device has been so good.
I'm glad I did..
You don't want or need a keyboard
Before we go any further, there is some advice i'd like to give you, its advice which I think applies to ANY tablet you might buy. DO NOT GET A KEYBOARD FOR IT.. Ipad, Android RT, Ubuntu don't care. Getting a keyboard for a tablet turns it into a laptop. A tablet is NOT a LAPTOP... If the battery life the keyboard might boost is an issue, and 10hrs is not enough then you're getting the wrong device anyway. Having a keyboard forces you into using it, the extra battery life some provide is a huge lure and you get used to it. However attaching a keyboard to any tablet instantly changes the dynamic of the device and also the expectations.
Touch screen doesn't work on actual laptops with touch screens, and its natural to use the keyboard and the mouse. So why cripple the positive touch experience on a tablet with a keyboard.All the major tablet OS's have more than usable on-screen keyboards for what you will be using the device for. Remember this is NOT a desktop replacement, it is NOT for typing up spreadsheets or reports, it is NOT for playing FPS games on.. even if it had the power to do so.. Tablets are NOT that device..
An Honest appraisal
So it's time for an honest appraisal of Windows RT 8 on the Asus VivoTab RT from someone who has not been given it as a review unit, not looking for link bait, god press or lots of comments. I'm using this device and I can tell you right here, right now.
Windows RT 8.0 runs perfectly well on this device. Its not slow compared to an iPad 3, it switches tasks well, i've had about 20 apps open at the same time, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Word etc and its still responsive. It doesn't take any longer to load apps that you'd expect off an iPad or Android 10" Tablet.Just about every tech press issue i've read about Windows RT is false, and a lie.I'm not sure if the Microsoft Surface RT is a pile of *****, what I can tell you is Widnows RT on the VivoTab RT is a sublime experience, little slowdown, GREAT battery life, the Wifi is fast enough, apps download, updates install..Something else which using a touch screen taught me, when used like this Windows 8 is a beautiful experience. Honetly, as a touch interface it does just work. I'd even go as far as to say, sure have the "start" interface on Windows 8 Desktop as an option, but keep it as the IOS/OSX differentiator. Let people get used to this new way of working on the touch devices and keep the point and click experience for the desktop. Don't loose metro as an interface look and feel guideline in the apps, its georgous and works well on both platforms it also is a good positive difference between IOS/Android and Microsoft.
Vendor Apps vs Homespun Apps
An Appstore a platform doesn't make, when Microsoft launched the Windows Phone 8, they made the comment that the 50 apps you need will be available soon after launch date. It's a very astute comment in so far as while both Apple and Google may have millions of apps in their respective app stores, 90% of what is available is garbage. On both platforms the top apps are pretty much the same. Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Google+ an IM Client, Spotify, Skype the usual suspects.
It's also true to say that the vendor apps, that is the apps created by the service provider are pretty poor in many cases, if either Facebook or Twitter for example think they are showing excellent programming skills with their IOS or Android Apps they are missing the point.One of the aspects the Windows App Store is criticized on is not only the lack of apps, but the lack of vendor apps. Google have even gone as par to state they are not activly supporting the RT or Mobile platforms.Turns out, that just means that some very clever independent developers are making some great apps for the platform. Mine, Tweetro, gMusic, Metromblr, Fotor, Fhotoroom, News 360, TVCatchup, Plex, Rainbow Drive, Skype, Lastpass, Chimpact, Wreck-it Ralph are all great examples of Apps and Games which are available on the platform, many with try enabled so unlike IOS you on't have to spend £3 to find out how poor an app is, or unlike android you get longer than 15 minutes to test an app out before getting a refund.Vendor Apps are coming with Foursquare being the latest to pimp its services on the platform, Twitter also released its offering (unfortunately its an exact copy of twitter everywhere else)And even with ALL these apps installed and loaded, the RT device is still running smooth, fast and agile as the first time I turned it on..
How RT Can move forward
Sure Windows RT isn't perfect, sure processors like the Haswell mean that the full blow surface is goin to get a shot in the battery life dept. RT however is still a very valid platform. Microsoft as a whole can improve it even further by pushing LTE more on it to provide that full mobile experience. As with Windows phone offering a selection of VPN's and Certificate management could do a lot to improve the device in the enterprise. and Sub £250 device which can connect to the office VPN, be secure, read email, edit doc's and have a degree of Active Directory policy and user management assigned to it is going to go down well with Sys Admins.
Arm processors are always going to improve with each iteration, so speed is never going to be an issue, apps will arrive even from companies who seem to have forgotten what made them great was you could use them on any platform (Google!!).Above all the RT platform, needs to be a race to the top right now, it needs hardware with good displays, nice processors, good storage. And Microsoft need to Metrofy Office, and 100% ditch that Traditional Windows Desktop on the RT devices just as they have done on Windows Phone 8....
The tech press doesn't always get it right, sometimes, for some reason it has an agenda, Windows RT bashing seems to be the sport of choice among some reporters over the the last few months. While researching any purchase is a good idea, it seems that sometimes even the most trusted of sources just get it wrong..