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Top 14 best Windows 8 tablets: the best Windows 8 tablets you can buy in 2013

We review and rank the 14 best Windows 8 tablets in the UK today

Best Windows 8 tablet

We rank the 14 best Windows tablets you can buy today in the UK. Here are the top 14 best Windows 8 tablets: what are the best Windows 8 tablets you can buy in the UK? (See also: The top 10 best tablets: What's the best tablet you can buy in 2013?)

Why a Windows 8 tablet?

The best true Windows 8 tablets offer true portable computing on the move. Microsoft's own Surface Pro, for example, is as powerful as many an expensive desktop PC, and it offers decent battery life - for a laptop, if not for a post-iPad tablet. You can install any Windows software on it, and perform any task for which you would normally rely on a desktop PC. All on a chassis that will fit into any man bag.

With its 42-watt-hour battery the Surface Pro has first-generation Intel Ultrabook battery life, however, rather than that of an Arm-based tablet. It's like a laptop, not an iPad. In our at-work tests the Surface Pro lasted for 5 hours, 8 minutes. That's perfectly useful and very good for an Intel-powered tablet, but it's as nothing compared to the iPad or Microsoft's own Surface RT, both of which offer more than 9 hours of in use battery life.

Why does the Surface RT offer such significantly better battery life? In common parlance it's a big smartphone, where the Surface Pro is a small laptop.

Windows 8 tablets: RT vs Windows 8

Let me explain. Windows RT is the cut-down version of Windows 8 that can run on hardware powered by ARM processors. It is all of Windows 8 without the desktop area. On the down side you can install only Windows apps, not full Windows software. On the plus side you get a special version of Office and the battery life is more like a phone than a laptop. I would personally question why you would want a Windows RT device - the whole point of having a Windows tablet rather than an iPad or an Android tablet is that if offers access to full Windows on the move.

But that's just my opinion.

Windows 8 tablets: tablets, all-in-ones, hybrids

There are other decisions you'll need to make. You'll note in our listing of the top 8 Windows 8 tablets that not all the devices look the same. That's because Windows 8 offers manufacturers flexibility of form. Some Windows 8 tablets are tiny portable devices. Othere are hybrid laptop/tablet devices. Still more at giant all-in-one PCs in which the screen can detach to be a table-top-tablet computer.

Below we rank the best Windows tablets you can buy right now.

Top 14 best Windows 8 tablets

14. HP ElitePad 900

HP ElitePad 900
  • Reviewed on: 4 April 13
  • RRP: £659 inc. VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

The HP ElitePad 900 is a well-built and nicely designed Windows 8 tablet aimed at business users. It's no great performer, although battery life is decent. If you need an extremely portable Windows PC for around £600, you could do a lot worse. But you may want to consider adding a keyboard, mouse and stand to your setup.

13. Asus VivoTab Smart ME400

Asus VivoTab Smart ME400
  • Reviewed on: 29 March 13
  • RRP: £400 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 6 out of 10

Asus has done a good job with the VivoTab's design, producing a tablet that can compete with any of its Windows, Android or iOS rivals. The dual-interfaces of Windows 8 still feel like a compromise when running on a tablet, but if you do need to run existing Windows software on a light and compact portable device then the VivoTab provides a good alternative to Microsoft’s own Surface tablet.

12. Dell XPS 18

Dell XPS 18
  • Reviewed on: 2 July 13
  • RRP: £999 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

We were surprised how quickly we became used to having a device like the XPS 18 that could follow us from room to room. Of course, you could get a 15-inch laptop for half the price – but that wouldn’t have such a large and attractive HD display. That portability is, admittedly, a bit of a luxury – but it’s a luxury that you could learn to take for granted.

11. Lenovo ThinkPad Twist

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist
  • Reviewed on: 3 July 13
  • RRP: £798.79 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

The battery life has plenty of room for improvement, but the versatile design of the ThinkPad Twist makes it an available choice for business travellers who can’t decide between a laptop and a tablet.

10. HP Envy x2

HP Envy x2
  • Reviewed on: 29 March 13
  • RRP: £799 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

We love the X2's design, but it's rather expensive given the modest performance on offer. Even so, it can still handle most basic computing tasks perfectly well, and its ingenious convertible design and impressive battery life mean that it will continue to earn its keep long after most laptops have run flat.

9. Dell Latitude 10

Dell Latitude 10
  • Reviewed on: 8 March 13
  • RRP: From £496 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

Dell's first Windows 8 tablet is an Atom SoC soluton that's aimed primarily at business users thanks to a slew of security options, including TPM, biometrics, SmartCard and encryption software for local and USB drives.

8. Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx

Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx
  • Reviewed on: 29 May 13
  • RRP: £800 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

If you specifically require a tablet that runs Windows 8 then the slimline design and striking IPS display of the Lynx make it one of the better options currently available. However, it’s quite expensive on its own – especially given the modest memory and storage capacity – so we’d only recommend it if you can find it in a bundle that includes the keyboard dock as well.

7. Sony Vaio Tap 11 (SVT1121C5E)

Sony Vaio Tap 11 (SVT1121C5E)
  • Reviewed on: 21 November 13
  • RRP: £1048 inc VAT as tested (from £850)
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

The lightweight, slimline design of the Sony Vaio Tap 11 is undeniably attractive, and it's powerful enough to handle both entertainment and routine office work when it needs to. However, its modest battery life, and rather unappealing keyboard make it look a bit overpriced compared to rivals such as the Surface Pro 2 that come in well under £1000.

6. Microsoft Surface Pro

Microsoft Surface Pro
  • Reviewed on: 16 May 13
  • RRP: £719 inc VAT for 64GB model; £799 for 128GB model
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The Surface Pro is the best Windows tablet we've used. It also makes a pretty good laptop. But as a tablet it's not match for the best iOS or Android devices, and as a Windows laptop it can't compete with Ultrabooks. It's portability and performance will be perfect for a few, and okay for most. So that makes it a good but not perfect device, which feels about right as a verdict.

5. Panasonic ToughPad FZ-G1

Panasonic ToughPad FZ-G1
  • Reviewed on: 1 August 13
  • RRP: £1800 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The ToughPad FZ-G1 lives up to its name and is well suited to outdoor use. You are paying quite a premium for that rugged design, but it’ll earn its keep on building sites and other environments that would be too harsh for a conventional laptop or tablet.

4. Asus Transformer Book T100T

Asus Transformer Book T100T
  • Reviewed on: 25 November 13
  • RRP: £349 inc. VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

This is not an iPad killer, or even a rival to the Surface Pro 2. But at £349 it is a compelling deal. The Asus Transformer Book T100T is a compact device that offers true functionality and decent performance. And it is a truly portable office PC. Much more updated netbook than desirable gadget, students, school children, home PC users and office road warriors could easily spend more and get less.

3. Surface 2

Surface 2
  • Reviewed on: 22 November 13
  • RRP: £359 inc VAT for 32 GB; £439 for 64 GB
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

There's nothing wrong with the Surface 2, and there's a lot that is very right about it. But it's not a full Windows device, despite appearances. Given that, it's a well put together and stylish Windows consumption device, a tablet with some unique and cool features, and a powerful performer.

2. Nokia Lumia 2520

Nokia Lumia 2520
  • Reviewed on: 3 December 13
  • RRP: £399 inc. VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

Some caveats still apply to Windows RT devices, but if you want an alternative to iPad and Android for a consumption device, the Lumia 2520 is that. It's well built, a great performer and - in red at least - it offers a stylish difference to the usual black slates.

1. Microsoft Surface Pro 2

Microsoft Surface Pro 2
  • Reviewed on: 2 June 14
  • RRP: £719 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

The Surface Pro 2 crams a serious amount of power into a compact frame. However, now that Microsoft has launched the bigger, better Surface Pro 3, the Pro 2 makes sense only if you're on a tight budget. Even then, its value is questionable - many people would be better off with a separate laptop and tablet, and might even save money going down that road. Those less bothered about the tablet side of things should consider a convertible device such as the Lenovo Yoga.

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