Microsoft did not launch anything path-breaking at CES 2011, apart from confirming plans to craft its Windows OS specifically for the ARM chip design. However, a slew of tablets running on Windows 7 were launched at the event.
The primary distinguishing factor among the new offerings was the use of Intel's recently launched Oak Trail processor for tablets. While in the Android camp it's all about Nvidia Tegra 2 dual core, Intel's Oak Trail comes with promise of enhanced battery life for Windows tablets.
What stands out in the Windows camp is that most of the tablets flaunt a 10.1-inch and 12.1-inch form factor with the exception of Viliv X70 which is the smallest with a 7 inch display and is touted to be the thinnest Windows 7 tablet at 14.33 mm with a weight of 0.9 lbs. The tablet is the lightest compared to ASUS Eee Slate EP at 2.5 lbs, Motion CL 900 at 2.1 lbs and Fujitsu and MSI WindPad at 1.7 lbs. The tablet also offers a split keypad thus making thumb typing much easier.
The largest of the lot is the ASUS EP 121 with a 12.1-inch screen, flaunting a screen resolution of 1266x768. And though the slate uses the power optimized version of Intel's Core processor, the i5 470UM the strain of the increased configuration proportion shows in poor battery life returning a meager 3.5 hours.
On the 10.1-inch form factor Lenovo's IdeaPad Windows Slate, Fujitsu's unnamed tablet, Motion CL900 and MSI WindPad 100W share the spotlight. Apart from MSI WindPad, all others are powered by the Intel Oak Trail processor. The WindPad runs on the older Atom Menlow chip. It also sports a lesser resolution at 1024x600 compared to Motion CL900's 1366x768 and IdeaPad and Fujitsu's 1280x800 configurations.
Motion CL900, Fujitsu and Viliv X70 models flaunt dual camera's while all other offers single front facing cameras. Memory-wise, the playing field is uniform with all the Windows tablets offering 2GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage. The ASUS EP 121, however, does offer 4GB RAM for its 64 GB model.
Compared to Android tablets - apart from the Viliv - all the other models are heavier, with most of the Android tablets weighing between 1.6 lbs to 0.8 lbs while most of the Windows tablets are above 1.6 lbs. One of the Android's 10.1-inch form factor flaunting tablet, the Motorola Xoom weights about 1.6 lbs.
The major caveat in Windows tablets is the size, weight and battery life issues, as the OS requires a much larger architecture which is confirmed by the specifications of the recently launched tablets.
However, the best of the lot - if the loopholes are taken into account - is the Viliv X70 which is the lightest and the thinnest of them all. It also offers a battery life of 6.5 hours which is good for a Windows tablet though not comparable to Android tabs that offer battery life in the range of 7 to 16 hours like the Motorola Xoom, which offers 10 hours in battery life. It does fall short in resolution compared to others at 1024x600 but offers the best of Windows which includes the Oak Trail chip and dual camera.
Also, the Windows 7 tablets' cameras are of lesser configuration compared to Androids' with most of them offering 5MP front facing cameras compared Windows 2MP and 3MP. Like the impressive Motorola Xoom offers 5MP rear facing and 2 MP front facing camera.
However, the Windows tablets score on the ubiquity realm offering the familiarity of its Windows OS to users.
Here is a comparison of the Windows 7 tablets launched at the CES 2011:
|ASUS Eee Slate EP 121||Lenovo IdeaPad Windows 7 Slate||Motion CL900||Fujitsu (Unnamed)||MSI WindPad 100W||Viliv X70|
|OS||Windows 7||Windows 7||Windows 7||Windows 7||Windows 7||Windows 7|
|Processor||Intel Core i5 470UM||Intel Oak Trail 1.5 GHz||Intel Oak Trail 1.5 GHz||Intel Oak Trail 1.5 GHz||Intel Atom Menlow 1.66 GHz||Intel Oak Trail 1.5 GHz|
|Memory||32 GB/ 64 GB||32 GB||30 GB/ 62 GB||N.A||32 GB||32 GB/ 64 GB|
|RAM||2 GB/ 4GB||2 GB||2 GB||2 GB||2 GB||1 GB/ 2GB|
|Camera||2 MP||2 MP||3 MP rear and 1.3 MP front||Dual camera||Front facing camera||3MP rear, 1.3 MP front|
|Battery||3.5 hrs||6 hrs||8 hrs||N.A||N.A||6.5 hrs|
|Weight||2.5 lbs||N.A||2.1 lbs||1.7lbs||1.76 lbs||0.9 lbs|