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Windows 10 On 8" Tablets


Windows 10 has been on the scene for just a few days and already it has managed to create some buzz. For desktop users Windows 10 works much better than Windows 8, which was created at a time when Microsoft (and everybody else) thought tablets were the new device of choice and therefore built around touch and gestures.
 
In reverting to a mouse and keyboard focus for the UI, Microsoft has been accused of breaking the tablet experience. Certainly I've found several design decisions to be challenging when using my tablet, but for most l have discovered workarounds.
 
My first tablet to get Windows 10 was the Asus Vivotab Note, which sports an 8" screen and supports a Wacom stylus. Windows 10 seems to be quite at home for this sort of device save for two changes I have made.
 
By moving the Taskbar to the top of the screen it moves the onscreen Start button directly under your thumb, allowing you to sort of replicate the action of the Charms bar. In fact not having to swipe the Charms bar in you've saved yourself one gesture.

Now some people will question the need to do this given that the Vivotab Note has a physical Start button on its left-hand edge. For me that doesn't fit my flow when I'm using the Note in touch mode.

One other trick, which doesn't seem to be documented, is that you can swipe up on the Start hamburger sub-menu screen to reveal all apps. Which feels very natural after coming from Windows 8.

The other change I've made is to add a shortcut to the soft keyboard into the Taskbar, allowing me to pop-up the keyboard at will.

Other than those changes, I'm finding Windows 10 to be eminently suited to the 8" form factor. There don't seem to be any issues with touch target sizes, and the use of tablet mode feels very natural here.

Two bonuses that are specific to the Vivotab Note: tapping a text input box produces an input panel appropriate for the tool you used to tap it with. A keyboard for your fingers, and the handwriting input panel if you use the stylus. The second bonus is the handwriting input panel itself, which is more accurate and faster both at the same time.

In fact the only real issue I can find with my newly updated Vivotab is that the updated OneNote Touch application is a significant downgrade on the older, Metro version of the same. Fortunately the desktop version is as good as ever and I can continue to use that.

It seems like a significant achievement for Microsoft to have delivered a single OS that works so well on devices as diverse as my 16" laptop PC, with keyboard and mouse and acres of screen real estate; and this tiny tablet that fits in my back pocket and works entirely through touch.

With all the hype and buzz and opinion being generated by Windows 10 Microsoft is probably not getting the credit it deserves for that achievement.

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