Thinking About Buying a Windows 7 Slate PC? Check the Screen Resolution First

Then make sure you read this:

“To take advantage of the Windows 8’s side-by-side window view, that requirement rises to 1366×768”

Windows 8 will run on Windows Vista/7 hardware but you need to be aware of that graphics requirement for side-by-side.  Check the screen resolution of any slate PC you were considering to ensure that you will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 next year.

For example, have a look at these current machines:

Machine Maximum Screen Resolution Windows 8 Side-by-Side?
Asus Eee Slate EP121 1280 x 800 No
Toshiba WT310 1366 x 768 Yes, but … *1
Gigabye S1080 1024 x 600 Not a chance!
HP Slate 500 1024 x 600 or 1024 x 768 You must be kidding?
Acer Iconia Tab W500 1280 x 800 Snowball’s chance in hell
Lenovo IdeaPad P1 1280 x 800 (not RTM yet) The computer says “no”
Fujitsu STYLISTIC Q550 1920 x 1080 480p, 720 p and 1080i – Impressive! *2

That Acer is nearly €500 from a UK online reseller, and is around $549 in the USA.  I’d sure want to know that I could install Windows 8 on it next year if I spent money on it now.  I’m actually quite stunned that of the big names I found with Windows 7 slates, only Toshiba and Fujitsu have one with the graphics requirement for Windows 8 side-by-side. 

*1 It’s been rumoured that since the announcement the device, Toshiba did a 180 and cancelled their slate PC plans.  Oh well!  Kinda makes sense considering the hardware would have limited sales with anticipation of true Windows 8 tablets in 2012 and more suitable hardware with alternative OS’s right now.

My advice:

  1. If you can wait, then wait until Windows 8 is released and ARM (system on a chip) tablets are released.  You’ll get great battery life, a lighter machine, Windows 8 support, and your lap won’t be burned by a flat PC.
  2. If you want the true tablet experience now then compare the iPad2 (I have the iPad 1 and love it, watching movies on the go, or reading from Kindle) with one of the many Android devices such as the Motorola Xoom (my cousin bought one recently and he raves about it, including the ability to insert and use an SD card with media on it).  The expected Amazon Android device will also be rather interesting (October allegedly).
  3. If you really want to buy a Windows 7 slate PC (not a true tablet IMO) then check the screen resolution first and make sure it supports 1366 x 768.  That’s not looking so good.  If you’re using it for business and want to enable BitLocker then you’ll really want a TPM 1.2 (or later) chip.  But that’s a whole other conversation … *2 By the way, Fujitsu’s machine also has a TPM chip option.  I guess that makes the Fujitsu STYLISTIC Q550 the best option as an enterprise slate PC if you really must buy one now.
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