PC World: I wish 8-inch Windows tablets would come back

I certainly enjoyed using the VivoTab Note 8. It saved my bacon when I was in Tokyo and left my phone in a taxi during a night out. Sure, any tablet probably works have done, but having full Windows being able to fit into a manbag was very handy.

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Heck, I was first in line for the ASUS EeePC.

What a great little device!

I eventually loaned it to a fellow who took it traveling with him to Europe and beyond. He came back and bought it outright from me, having loved it so much.

There are a few modern 10" Windows tablets, but they aren’t quite as cute or handy as an 8".

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Still have my “unicorn” Thinkpad Tablet 8, and from time to time I start it.
As I don’t travel that much anymore, I am not in need to use it anymore
Was a great little device

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The HP Envy Note 8 and Dell Venue Pro 8 were both so close to being the right form factors.

Both screwed up with weird proprietary pens that never worked well. HP really slathered on the bloatware and attempted its own notes ecosystem (which failed). Both were cursed with weak Intel Atom processors. Glimpses of what Surface Mini could’ve been.

The form factor seems to be ripe for a WOA revival. :pray:

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With a USB-C docking station, this could work out as the Oqo or IBM’s “Metacard” concept were supposed to.

The device which I think had a form factor which might work (and which I regret not buying) was the Lenovo Yogabook C930 — just needed a smaller display so as to be more portable — if it had had the ability to use the stylus on the LCD as well as the e-ink panel I wouldn’t’ve been able to resist it.

Still have my Asus Vivotab Note 8 and a plethora of accessories around somewhere — very sad that the digitizer got shorted out — I was convinced I’d carry it as much as I did my Newton MessagePad. Sadly it was nowhere near as durable.

That said, I went from:

  • 8" — Asus Vivotab Note 8 — it was arguably too small for “real” use, but not quite small enough to pocket as I do my Galaxy Note 10+ (I don’t do cargo pants anymore)
  • 10" — Toshiba Encore 2 Write 10 — a reasonable size for usage, but just a bit too large to carry
  • 12" — Samsung Galaxy Book 12 — still my main machine — it fits in my Chrome Kadet Sling Bag (along w/ my Kindle Scribe), which my wife refers to as my “manbag”, so can go w/ me everywhere
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I always loved the form factor of 8 inch (ish) tablets. While it was a bit crippled being Android at the time, I loved my HTC Flyer. So portable and great as an art and note taking device. And it doesn’t really matter how big phones get, they just can’t quite reach the 8 inch size for how great it is for the pen. Even my 7.2 Huawei Mate 20X, as much as I loved it, wasn’t quite right for what I wanted. The aspect ratio will never be right on a phone.

That being said, I don’t know if a return to 8 inch tablets on Windows is the right answer.

According to the article, the main selling point of the Windows tablet is a full web browser, but Safari on iPadOS is now (mostly) full web browser. As much as I hate to admit it, I think Apple finally has the advantage on the 8 inch tablet size. I can’t think of anything I would want an 8 inch tablet to do that I would need Windows for that the IPM6 can’t do.

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I really think that the Surface Duo thanks to the WOA Project will measure up to this wishlist in the coming months. There are still some outstanding wrinkles that made me fallback to stock Android. However, once the WOA Project gets these last few issues resolved, the Duo will finally be the modern 8" Windows tablet that it should have been from the beginning.

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I can (certain kinds of Windows games), but that’s covered by the Steam Deck (et al). :smile_cat:

I’m not a gamer, so I guess it’s something I often overlook. I play Switch games very occasionally, and that’s about it.

Same kind of thing. Sometimes you just wanna kick back on the couch and play something. For Windows games it’s limited to the handhelds. For iOS/iPadOS gaming there‘s the iPad mini which does very nicely while also being great for browsing, certain productivity apps, reading, watching media, sketching & annotating with the Pencil, and so on. Not to mention being portable as hèll. Things I sometimes miss after moving up to the Pro iPads. Why there’s no real competition in either Windows or Android is a mystery.

I very much go back and forth on wanting an iPad Mini. I have a 12.9 pro, which is great for art, but I’ve honestly regretted getting it over the 11" since I’ve had it. Since I already have it though, I keep thinking I’ll just get the mini as a take everywhere/read in bed device. But then, I think, but I really want the M2 and hover, and if I get the 11", it’ll be fine for both. It’s the same dilemma of how many devices is too many versus how much compromise is too much that I feel like most of us face with our devices. Will I miss the 12.9 if I drop to the 11", will it be portable enough? Will the 12.9 lose most of its usefulness if I just go with the mini?

Maybe the mini will get M2 and hover, etc., in the next update.

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So far rumours are saying it’ll be the next A series chip that the iPhone gets, which makes some sense I suppose. But if the Air got M1, I would hope the mini could get M2 in the next iteration. That’s probably another year out though. I’m also more than a little tempted on the Tab S6 lite, but it’s a little larger than I want, and the wrong aspect ratio.

For folks who like RPGs, the Infinity Engine games (except for Planescape Torment last I checked) play really nicely on a tablet w/ an active stylus ---- so nicely that I haven’t been able to justify re-buying them for the Switch.

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Yep, I played the iPadOS versions of BG 1 & 2 fine with touch or Pencil when I had my 8” iPad mini. I’d say it’s better on an 8” tablet with stylus than with a 6” or 7” handheld with console controls. The same goes for most point ‘n click style RPGs or strategy games, I think.

Oh how I would love for a return of the 8-inch Windows device.

An iPad Mini 6 sized device with WOA should be doable.

But on the Intel end, where would we stand chipwise? I thought Intel was shifting away from the below 9W class.

Despite the limitations of my Raytrektab ( dim screen, low resolution and a tad slow), it’s the first thing I would consider carrying when going on trips. The full functionality of windows helped covering all emergency work or last minutes touch up. And it is compact enough that it fit just right into my little carrying bag securely, especially on long periods travelling in super cramped seating.

The 9.7" iPad is something I would bring to cafe, but during travel it would have to go to the luggage, because transport seating is so tiny a bag big enough for it won’t fit in the seat with me comfortably. Newer 12 inch+ tablet never left my house because it’s so thin leaving it in luggage would be a disaster.

The issue with the iPads is Apple very firmly sees them as tablets, not ‘fit’ for desktop environments.

This has somewhat softened for the larger iPads, but I get the impression that they view the iPad Mini as very much a tablet, and more towards the iPhone side. And of their products, it’s one of the afterthoughts.

The Windows 8" devices had the full OS there if you needed it. Fiddly at times? Absolutely, but invaluable when you did want it. And nowadays with USB-C, they could be considerably simpler to setup as temporary desktops than before.

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Nice article. Personally I would love to see a 7" - 7.5" Windows tablet as well to have it pocketable. A folding device or a mini Neo would be cool as well. Use cases: Office / notes on the go, desktop browser, some games and sketching etc. Multiplicity is also nice with laptop.

With pen you can play quite some games but since their are many pc games you probably have to use a guide to easily find them. Bigger problem would actually be finding a tablet with a good enough igpu (although slowly they tend to get good enough to at least play indie and older games).

Yeah, the iGPU situation is getting better and will continue to do so. My comment was related to the size of the Windows device, specifically the 8” of the topic title. That’s dominated by handhelds almost exclusively as far as modern game playing capability goes.