Windows 8.1 tablets with 8-inch screens: Which one is right for you?

Dell, Toshiba, Acer, Lenovo and ASUS battle it out for supremacy in the market for low-cost tablets pre-installed with Microsoft Office

windows 8.1 tablets

Windows tablets

There is a specific category of Windows 8.1 tablets with 8-inch screens that share the same minimum specs: Intel Atom Z3740 processors, 2GB RAM, 32GB onboard storage, Bluetooth, front- and rear-facing cameras, micro SD slot, micro USB 2.0 port, and Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 pre-installed.

They can be found at discounts starting from about $240, which makes them price-competitive against low-end Android tablets and the cheaper iPads. Five major computer makers are selling such Windows 8.1 tablets with 8-inch screens. Because it can be tough to tell them apart, we put together this guide to quickly explain why you may (or may not) want to buy a particular model.

Encore WT8

Toshiba Encore WT8

FEATURES: Front and rear cameras: 2 and 8 megapixels; micro HDMI port, up to 7 hours battery life on full charge.
COLOR: Silver
DIMENSIONS (length x height): 8.40 x 5.40 in.
THICKNESS: 0.43 in.
WEIGHT: 0.98 lbs.

The takeaway: The Encore WT8 has good cameras and a mini HDMI, but one of the lowest listed battery lives among the other Windows 8.1 tablets with 8-inch screens in this article. It’s also the heaviest.

Iconia W4

Acer Iconia W4

FEATURES: Front and rear cameras, 2 and 5 megapixels, micro HDMI port, up to 8 hours battery life on a full charge
COLOR: “Smokey gray”
DIMENSIONS (length x height): 8.60 x 5.30 in.
THICKNESS: 0.40 in.
WEIGHT: 0.95 lbs.

The takeaway: The Iconia W4 has a listed battery life that is better than Toshiba’s Encore WT8, but its rear camera isn’t as good. Otherwise, it’s similar to the Toshiba tablet in other respects.

The Miix 2

Lenovo Miix 2

FEATURES: Front and rear cameras: 2 and 8 megapixels, no micro HDMI port, up to 7 hours on a full charge
COLOR: Silver
DIMENSIONS (length x height): 8.50 x 5.20 in.
THICKNESS: 0.30 in
WEIGHT: 0.77 lbs

The takeaway: The Miix 2 is the thinnest and lightest among the tablets in this list. But when matched against the Encore WT8, the choice comes to a tradeoff: Are you willing to forgo a mini HDMI for thinner and lighter?

ThinkPad 8

Lenovo ThinkPad 8

FEATURES: Front and rear cameras, 2 and 8 megapixels; micro HDMI port, up to 8 hours battery life on a full charge
COLOR: Black
DIMENSIONS (length x height): 8.83 x 5.19 in
THICKNESS: 0.35 in
WEIGHT: 0.95 lbs

The takeaway: You pay more but get more: The ThinkPad 8 has a faster processor (Intel Atom Z3770 that runs up to 2.39GHz), a higher resolution (1920 x 1200 pixels) display that’s slightly larger at 8.3 inches, and micro USB 3.0.

Venue 8 Pro

Dell Venue 8 Pro

FEATURES: Front and rear cameras: 1.2 and 5 megapixels; no micro HDMI port, up to 8 hours battery life on a full charge
COLOR: Black or red (for $20 more)
DIMENSIONS (length x height): 8.50 x 5.12 in
THICKNESS: 0.35 in
WEIGHT: 0.87 lbs

The takeaway: The Venue 8 Pro’s front camera has a low number of megapixels. And its “Windows” button is oddly set along one side of its length, rather than on its screen bezel. Plus, no micro HDMI port.

 VivoTab Note 8

VivoTab Note 8

FEATURES: Front and rear cameras: 1.2 and 5 megapixels; no micro HDMI port; up to 8 hours battery life on a full charge
COLOR: Black
DIMENSIONS: (length x height): 8.70 x 5.20 in.
THICKNESS: 0.40 in.
WEIGHT: 0.80 lbs.

The takeaway: The VivoTab Note 8 is unique for including a Wacom stylus, which can be stored inside the tablet’s housing. But it lacks a mini HDMI, and its front camera is only 1.2 megapixels.