Windows RT tablets, Reviews & iPads

I had a Twitter conversation with a couple of bloggers from ZDNet today and don’t feel that it was resolved. I don’t know if I’m wrong, if they didn’t understand my point, if they just wanted me to leave them alone or a bit of all three…but here’s the gist.

Matt Baxter-Reynolds (@mbrit) posted a review of the Lenovo Yoga 11 (see it here) which included the following:

“It can’t be a tablet because it weighs too much. It comes in at 1190g (2.6lbs). (For comparison, an iPad mini with silicon case weighs 376g — meaning a stack of about three of them weigh the same as the Yoga”

Now I don’t see how this is a true/fair comparison. The Yoga is almost 50% bigger than an iPad mini (11” vs 7.9”) AND includes a keyboard. I find it very doubtful that any consumer will be tossing up between these 2 devices…one is a small tablet and the other is a small laptop that converts to a tablet form factor. This was the first point I made on Twitter…it feels like the iPad comparison has been thrown in there more to further the “ipads are better than Windows tablets” cause – even when they’re apples and oranges. (No pun intended).

The conversation then moved onto the fact that the Yoga is, at 2.8lbs, too heavy to be a tablet. Now that I agree with…if you’re looking at it being used as a tablet 100% of the time. However I don’t think people will be using it like that. If you want a Windows RT tablet, that will be a tablet ALL the time, there are plenty of other choices…get a Surface or a Samung Ativ Tab; these give you the same OS in a much lighter package.

The most common usage scenario I see for the Yoga (and other convertible devices of this ilk) is 80/20 – a laptop 80% of the time and then being converted to a tablet ~in certain scenarios ~ when required. Thus users get all the benefits of having a full keyboard (a big reason for the extra weight) when working in Office etc with the flexibility to switch it up when needed.

 

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I made the point that there ARE cases where it’s ability to transform is useful without it’s weight being an issue – these are primarily desk based scenarios. James Kendrick at this point said:

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Now this I don’t agree with at all. You’re in a meeting with a colleague or two and you want to review some documents on your device…is it only me who would prefer to do that in tablet mode, echoing the more natural feeling “looking at paper documents”, rather than all 3 people huddling round a laptop screen?

You’re in a larger meeting, say 8 people around the boardroom table, and have PowerPoint slide you’d like everyone to take a look at. It’s going to me MUCH easier to flip your Yoga into tablet mode and pass that around than a full on laptop.

I think it’s quite widely felt that, in a meeting setting, the screen of a laptop makes an effective barrier between the people involved. Again, flipping your Yoga into tablet mode allows you to negate that, hopefully making everyone feel more comfortable and keeping them engaged etc., and the weight won’t matter because you’re not carrying it.

The feeling that a tablet is only of use if you’re carrying it is, in my opinion, missing part of the picture.

My initial point was that comparing the Yoga to the iPad Mini is not a true comparison, perhaps a little disingenuous and done to tap into that Apple vs Microsoft battle so often prevalent with tablets – even though it’s not really part of the discussion. I re-iterated that point, to which James Kendrick replied:

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Which doesn’t really make any sense! The above is not the same as comparing an 11” convertible laptop with keyboard to a 7.9” tablet without a keyboard.

I’m keen to understand if it’s just me who sees it like this or if there’s anyone out there that agrees with me, so I welcome your feedback!

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