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Thread: Windows tablet computing omnibus thread (Surface, Venue, etc)

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    mAdminstrator Random's Avatar
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    Windows tablet computing omnibus thread (Surface, Venue, etc)

    How's the Venue 8 Pro working for you, tsg, now that you've had a couple weeks with it?
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    Still love it. It continues to perform in a predictable way, and so far hasn't balked at anything I've thrown at it - which is a surprise both for the fact it's a tablet and the fact it's Windows 8. It's the most time I've spent with 8 thus far. The other day I ended up sitting around, so I tethered it to my cell and got random work done - because I could install my office's VPN software and remote desktop into our terminal server. That's nice. There was an initial problem getting the VPN to work (Win 8 permissions issue), and while figuring out what the problem was I popped open a command prompt window to do expedite troubleshooting. My coworker looked over and said WTF? DOS box on a tablet??? Yeah, that's how I do.

    Last night, I hooked it up with VCDS to run climate control diagnostics on the Audi. Works great, and it's far better to hold a tablet behind the steering wheel than cram a laptop there, even my small diagnostics one. I am strongly considering buying one of those steering wheel tables (the one with all the jokes on Amazon) to hold the tablet to the steering wheel. I think that'd be a great setup.

    Battery life continues to impress, as does screen quality. It's definitely an all-day machine, and the screen is so bright and clear it's pretty much an all-conditions machine to boot. I felt good about the keyboard when I first got it, but I feel even better now. It's very usable (for me) in both portrait and landscape mode, and typing quickly in either orientation is easy... something you can't do with a 10" tablet. I still maintain the Microsoft on-screen keyboard is about the best in the business - I've never used a better one.

    I do have a couple additional complaints, but I think they're aimed at Windows 8 rather than the tablet, and specifically at IE - although it's completely possible I don't know what I'm doing. If you're staring at a flat web page with no text inputs and want to search the page or copy text, how do you do it? The on-screen keyboard is hidden until there is a selected text entry field. You can't hit CTRL+F or CTRL+C. You can permanently pin the keyboard, but that's wasteful of space most of the time. Also, if you start typing in a text input field but then decide you don't want to do that but you do want to change tabs, how do you do that? The menu is hidden at the bottom and the keyboard is displayed. You need to hide the keyboard, then get the menu up. It's annoying.

    There are complaints about the Venue because the physical Start button is in a weird place. It might be, but to date I have pushed it exactly once, just to see how awkward it was. I didn't have a strong opinion, but i can't figure out why you'd push a button rather than just swipe the right side of the screen. That's what that swipe is for. What the tablet needs is a keyboard hide/unhide button. *That* what's weird. If I had one of those, I'd be set.

    All in all, it was a great $200 purchase. Knowing what I know now, I would have bit at $250 or $300. For how I use it, it light years ahead of any other tablet. For some stuff, I could get by with a <$150 Android machine or a pointlessly expensive iPad Mini, but at $200-$300, it's the right answer without a doubt.

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    Did you get a case? I'm getting the one that Amazon bundles--I'll post up how it is.

    edit: will running Chrome in Win8.1 cause a rip in the space-time continuum?
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    I didn't get a case... I wasn't sure what exactly I wanted when I bought it, so got nothing. You've got the sleeves, the folios, the folding stands, etc. I just wasn't quite sure what would be ideal so I got nothing. At this moment I am torn between just a sleeve and one of the combo case/keyboard thingies... I see how the keyboard might be useful, but I just haven't yet reached a point where using one would be a night & day improvement. I'd definitely be interested to hear what you think of the one you got!

    You should be fine running Chrome on Win8 - but I think you will lose some of the ease (if that's the right word) of the touchscreen in doing so. IE11 on Win8 has been optimized for the tablet environment, whereas I don't think Chrome has. You may find it difficult to do some things... though I have no idea what they'd be. I've just stuck with IE11 - I'm trying to keep the tablet as lean as possible.

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    Have you found any alternative on-screen keyboards? Or are you just dealing with the foibles of the standard version?
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    I actually really like the standard one. It's almost the same as the one on my phone - it feels really comfortable for me! What foibles are you referring to?

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    Quote Originally Posted by thesameguy View Post
    I do have a couple additional complaints, but I think they're aimed at Windows 8 rather than the tablet, and specifically at IE - although it's completely possible I don't know what I'm doing. If you're staring at a flat web page with no text inputs and want to search the page or copy text, how do you do it? The on-screen keyboard is hidden until there is a selected text entry field. You can't hit CTRL+F or CTRL+C. You can permanently pin the keyboard, but that's wasteful of space most of the time. Also, if you start typing in a text input field but then decide you don't want to do that but you do want to change tabs, how do you do that? The menu is hidden at the bottom and the keyboard is displayed. You need to hide the keyboard, then get the menu up. It's annoying.
    ^^^
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    Oh, that's an IE thing, not the keyboard thing. The IE menu pops up from the bottom of the screen, in the same place the keyboard does. I think a change to how IE works would be required. Now that we're talking about it, a traditional tabbed browser (like Chrome), might fix the whole issue at the expense of a small amount of screen real estate. I wonder if you change IE to think it's "real IE" rather than "tablet IE." Hmmm...

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    Showed up today. Lots to figure out with the interface.
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    It takes a little getting used to, but it's learnable in a short period of time, which tells me it's a darned decent one.

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