Not so long ago, Microsoft announced Windows 8.1 with Bing as part of its strategy of bringing more customers onboard and boosting the appeal of its OS. The operating system made its way onto a few select first tablets, and a lot of people got excited at the thought of purchasing a dirt cheap Windows 8.1 tablet.
Even so, before rushing to jump for joy, you should really ask yourself if these tablets are really worth your money.
One of the first slates with Windows 8.1 with Bing to be introduced was the Toshiba Encore 2. The slate sells for either $200 / €149 if you pick the 32GB model, or $280 / €209 if you go for the 64GB version.
For this money customers will be getting an 8-inch IPS display tablet with 1280 x 800 pixel display. The processor inside is an Intel Atom Z3735F fitted with 1GB of RAM.
Now, let’s compare these specs to one of the most popular 8-inchers running full Windows 8.1 – the Dell Venue 8 Pro – so you can see for yourself that you’re better off sticking with the older model.
Currently, Amazon sells the 32GB version of the Dell Venue 8 Pro for just $219 / €164. The tablet arrives with an 8-inch display offering the same resolution as the Toshiba Encore 2 does.
Power comes from an Intel Atom Z3740D processor clocked to up 1.8GHz and fitted with 2GB of RAM. So, as you can see, the Toshiba offers only 1GB of RAM, which is quite unacceptable for a Windows tablet today, especially since such products are heavily marketed as being productive.
An important aspect to note is that older Windows / Atom / 2GB tablets come with a free copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 (which is an additional $130 / €97), which is not available on the Encore 2.
There’s another point to consider as well. In an earlier piece we argued that 32GB Windows 8.1 tablets weren’t worth your while and you should actually be considering purchasing a 64GB of storage.
An extra caveat is that, although you won’t see this aspect listed on the websites of retailers, the Toshiba website comes clean and reveals the Encore 2 ships with 1-year subscription for cloud-based Office 365 Personal for free.
Similar specifications are to be found on the cheapest Windows 8.1 with Bing tablet to have ever arrive on the market, the KingSing W8, which is available for $99 / €73 (although we don’t have the specifics on internal storage). But unlike the Toshiba, this tab sells for a lot less.
So, reviewing all the points we highlighted above, at this point it really doesn’t make sense to pick up a Windows 8.1 with Bing tablet, unless you are heavily influenced by budget. Then you could settle for something like the KingSing.