Windows 8 RT

Following Microsoft’s currently aggressive pricing on the Surface Tablet, particularly the Windows 8RT version, here are some pros and cons for this Operating system

Pros:

Works with centrally supplied services ie N Drive, Collab shares, Email & Calendar (Credentials will need to be supplied)

Cut down version of Office is ideal for tablet style usage, ie meeting notes etc.

Weight

Battery life

Ease of use

Cost

 

Cons:

Need for a Microsoft account to easily enable services.

Not full version of Office

Not a laptop (does not connect to the computer domain)

NetworkConnect element of the VPN does not work with Windows 8RT, although the other part of VPN does work.

Eduroam: Surface 8RT connections are unstable and prompts for credentials as you move between Access Points

To share the Surface RT with colleagues, individual accounts need to be set up. University logins cannot be used for this purpose.

 

If you need a tablet with full blown Windows 8 functionality, then we suggest the Surface Pro or one of the many other devices that are available, including products by Asus, Dell, HP etc. It may also prove more economical to look at a laptop instead.

A Surface tablet running Windows 8RT is a viable and cheap alternative to the iPad, but it does require some set up and the design was really for home users.

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  1. Chris (ITS)’s avatar

    Some further clarifications for the above.

    A. The Surface RT is preinstalled with Office 2013. It’s very usable apart from three major shortcomings. Firstly, there is no macro support. Secondly, there is no add-on support. Thirdly, there is no Outlook, so you’re limited to OWAmail until Outlook is released at the end of October as a part of Windows 8.1 RT (and Outlook RT is restricted in that it can’t access local mailbox files).

    B. Although listed as a “con”, the fact that multiple accounts are allowed on the Surface RT tablets is in fact a great “pro” for sharing the device. Try that with an iPad. Each of these accounts has access to its own selection of installed Marketplace apps.

    C. A “con” which isn’t mentioned is the fact that one cannot install regular Windows software on Windows RT. The only software allowed to be installed are the “apps” in the Marketplace. This includes anti-virus software (you get Windows Defender preinstalled).

    D. It is true that Eduroam connections can often drop whilst on the move, the problem gets reduced each month through Microsoft Updates (as of September it’s not so bad). Sat in an office the connection is perfect so calling it “unstable” is unkind.

    E. It’s probably worth mentioning the excellent Surface RT/Pro covers with integrated keyboards. If one only occasionally types then the soft keyboard cover is adequate. However, touch-typists will insist on the hard keyboard cover with depressible keys – it’s well worth the extra cost.

    F. Another “pro” not mentioned is the presence of an SD memory slot on the Surface RT (behind the stand), allowing an extra 64GB of storage to be added at low cost (compared with an iPad). Both Surface models have a USB connector allowing regular memory sticks to be connected.

    G. A desktop stand is built into both the Surface models and is independent of the cover.

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  2. Nick’s avatar

    There is supposed to be an announcement regarding SurfaceRT 2 and Surface Pro soon and rumours regarding specs… Could have an interesting effect on price!

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  3. Chris (ITS)’s avatar

    Specs are now out for Surface Pro 2 and RT 2.

    Pro goes from Ivy Bridge to Haswell CPU; RT goes from Tegra 3 to Tegra 4.

    Both get a new screen, and indications are that the screens are both the same 1080P models (previously the RT had a 768P screen).

    Both come preinstalled with Windows 8.1 Pro / 8.1 RT and are due out the week after Windows 8.1 is released (last week of October).

    Pricing to follow.

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