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The Best Budget Windows 8.1 Tablet: 8 and 11 Inch Explored

Microsoft have a vast range of technology products available to buy, from laptops, computers and tablets. With so many people now deciding to purchase a tablet for ease of convenience and having all the specs that a laptop or computer can offer, we’re going to be sharing with you the best Windows 8.1 tablets so you can get to understand more about the hype of having one.

In this article we’ll be telling you about the two best Windows 8.1 tablets and telling you everything you need to know about them, from their battery life to apps and operating systems to screen size before we tell you which one is our favourite.

But, before we crack on with telling you about the products, let’s have a look at what a Windows 8.1 tablet actually is.

What is Windows 8.1?

Windows 8.1 is a Microsoft operating system that was created for laptops and tablets. The operating system works on touch screen devices and computers which are compatible with a mouse and keyboard.

Windows 8.1 was released in October 2013 and was created due to the widespread complaints about Windows 8.0. The most widely received complaint was that because Microsoft saw the success of smartphones and tablets, they wanted the Windows computers to have the same look and feel so they got rid of the start button which had the inability to boot to the desktop.

Luckily, Microsoft learned lots from the failure of Windows 8.0 and then created Windows 8.1 which is better than Windows 8 because of the faster speed, improved multitasking and multi-monitor support and better apps.

So, now you know more about the operating system, let’s have a browse at the best Windows 8.1 tablets which are out there for you to buy!

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

This 4th generation Intel Core i5 Processor comes with a lot of specs and features which makes this one of the best Windows 8.1 tablets, especially if you’re using it for university work or have to bring your own device into the office.

So, you’ll probably want to know what makes this one of the best Windows 8.1 tablets, right? Well let’s have a look at what it has to offer you!

Screen and Display:

The Microsoft Surface Pro has an 11-inch screen and full HD display so whether you’ve got coursework to be getting on with, browsing the web for the perfect Christmas present or catching up on the latest episode of Ratched you’ll be sure not to miss a single detail. It also comes with 1080p widescreen display, so as well as being able to do the things that we mentioned above, you can also view them in great clarity.

Product specs:

  • Good picture quality
  • Widescreen display
  • Ideal for web browsing and watching catch up TV
Windows 8.1 tablet
Photo credit: Surface via Unsplash


Battery Performance: 

When you buy a new tech device, no matter what it is, the battery life is probably the thing that will sway your decision of either buying it or not. We understand that you’ll want your tablet to have the best battery life as possible and this tablet can give you just that.

As this tablet has an Intel Core i5 Processor this means you’re guaranteed a long battery life and fast performance! You’ll get up to 10 hours of video playback, so you can get your all-important work done and then browse the web as you please.

Product specs:

  • Good battery life
  • The tablet that can replace your laptop
  • Fast performance


The Microsoft Surface Pro 2 is a great little tablet to put in your backpack, but be warned that it isn’t the lightest of things as at weighs 1.76kg (almost two bags of sugar) but it will fit into your bag easily enough and won’t get damaged either as the tablet is very durable.

If you prefer colours that aren’t black then there’s bad news as this tablet only comes in, you’ve guessed it, black. But don’t let that put you off, there’s more to this tablet than just the appearance!

The tablet is thin so it’s also good for home when you’re trying to keep the house tidy, you’re just able to slide it to the side somewhere. It also comes with 2-position kickstand so when you’re getting tired of holding it, or you want to show your friends some new photos, just put it on the stand and Bobs your uncle.

Product specs:

  • Kickstand included
  • Thin and easy to store
  • Will fit into your backpack


There are not many tablets that come with great audio speakers, but we’re pleased to say that this Windows tablet does! With this tablet, you’re able to get integrated Dolby audio speakers which is perfect if you’ve got an important Zoom call, have your favourite playlist on or are watching videos on YouTube.

This could be the best Windows 8.1 tablet because you’re also able to stream songs for free with Xbox Music8 and even import your iTunes playlists, if however iTunes is a bit old school for you, you can download Spotify from the Windows Store as this tablet comes with 128gb of storage so you can keep adding as many songs to your playlist as you wish.

Product specs:

  • Dolby audio
  • 128gb storage space
  • Download more apps from the Windows Store
Woman taking notes on tablet
Photo credit: Wavebreakmedia via Envato Elements


Pre-Installed Apps:

You’ll be please to know that the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 comes fully loaded with all of your favourite Microsoft Office Home apps. So, whether you’re working from home, the office or a coffee shop, you’ll be sure to get whatever it is you’re working on complete.

The pre-installed apps that come with this tablet are Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Edge and OneNote which makes this a lot easier for its users as when you purchase a Microsoft laptop or computer, you have to pay for a subscription of Office Home apps but with this tablet all you need to do is buy the tablet, switch it on, load up the start screen and away you go!

What makes this product even better when you’re using the Microsoft Home Office apps is that this tablet comes with a keyboard dock, which means you’re paying for a tablet but also getting the features of a laptop, a bit like the Asus Transformer Book! So, if you find it easier to type with a keyboard than using the touchscreen, then you can do just that or vice versa

Product Specs:

  • No need to download Microsoft Office apps
  • No subscription for apps
  • Comes with a handy keyboard dock


You might be sat there thinking, why have we included a ‘ports’ section in our review about the best Windows 8.1 tablet? Well, unlike many other tablets that are out there, the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 has many ports which are integrated in the tablet so you’re able to connect different accessories and peripherals.

This tablet comes fully equipped with a full-size USB 3.0 port, mini DisplayPort and microSD card reader so you can share photos, videos and music as well as back up those all-important files onto a memory stick.

So, now we’ve told you all there is to know about the Microsoft Surface Pro 2, let’s have a look at another tablet before we decide which is the best Windows 8.1 tablet.

Acer Iconia NT.L36GEK.004:

This Acer tablet with Windows 8.1 operating system is our second and last tablet we’ll be discussing in this article. This affordable tablet has a line up of different features which we’ll be telling you all about!

So, without making you wait any longer, let’s find out more to see if this is the best Windows 8.1 tablet you could be purchasing.

Screen and Display:

The Acer Iconia has an 8.1-inch screen which we know isn’t the biggest screen but it’s all about what you need this tablet to do for you! If this tablet is mainly for getting work completed on, listening to music or taking pictures then this will fit nicely into your routine, however, if you want to use this more for watching videos then we wouldn’t recommend due the small screen size. If you are looking for a tablet with a bigger screen size, then we recommend the Lenovo Miix 700 as this comes with a much larger screen size.

This tablet also comes with 64gb of memory and a 2gb RAM (Random Access Memory. Essentially a RAM gives applications a place to store and access data on a short-term basis) so there’s plenty of space on here for you to write up different documents and save them straight to your tablet. You’ll also be able to download your favourite music streaming apps from the Windows Store.

Product specs:

  • Large storage space
  • Ideal tablet for work
  • Easily download new apps

Battery Performance:

We all want a battery that’s going to last throughout the day! There’s nothing worse than when you’ve sat down to finish off an essay, switch on your tablet, discover your battery is on 10% and you’ve forgotten your charger. But hopefully when you’ve charged up this tablet, you won’t need to worry for a while about charging it again.

Once fully charged, this tablet should last you up to 8 hours, so you’re free to browse the web, get work done and listen to music on the commute home from work. Inserted in this tablet is a lithium battery with a 4960 milli-Amp-hours (mAh) which essentially means the higher the mAh number, the longer the battery will last. The average tablets mAh battery number is 3,500-4,000 so you’re definitely getting a lot for your money.

Product specs:

  • High mAh number
  • Reasonable battery lasting time
  • Fast performance
Man listening to music on tablet
Photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels



We all want a tablet that works well for us as well as looks good and the Acer Iconia does some of that… This tablet comes in just one colour which is silver at the back, but the screen is black (so you could say it’s two colours?). The more up-to-date versions of this tablet have appearance new features, so if you’re looking for a ‘wow’ tablet then we would recommend one of those.

This tablet weighs just 425g so it’s the best Windows tablet out of the two for packing it in your backpack or your handbag ready for your busy day at the office or university. Just like the the Microsoft Surface Pro 2, this tablet is thin, so you don’t have to worry about it bulking out your office space, just move it across to the side or place on a shelf when you’re not using it.

Product specs:

  • Lightweight tablet
  • Fits into backpack
  • Easy to store


Whether you want to listen to a podcast, the radio or a video on YouTube, this tablet won’t let you down one bit with its audio quality. The tablet comes with integrated sound card interface which means that is an internal expansion card that provides input and output of audio signals to and from a computer under control of computer programs.

If you’re a movie fanatic or a music lover then you can download Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Spotify on this tablet straight from the Windows Store.

Products specs:

  • Download audio apps from Windows Store
  • Integrated sound card
  • Clear audio quality

Pre-Installed Apps:

Unless you’re using this tablet to browse the web then everything you want will be pre-installed such as Internet Explorer. Unfortunately, if you’re hoping for your favourite Microsoft Home applications on here then I’m afraid they won’t be unless you download them. You will also be able to use Skype to phone your work colleagues, friends and family as this is pre-installed too.

Even-though Microsoft apps aren’t already pre-installed, all you have to do is download them from the Windows Store and enter your product key code and you’re able to start using Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint etc.

Product specs:

  • Easy to download other apps
  • Ready-to-use web browsing
  • Switch on and speak to colleagues using Skype


The Acer Iconia comes with a micro sim, HDMI slot and one micro USB slot so there’s really no excuse for not backing up those all-important files! If you think that 64gb of memory won’t be enough for you then with the extra USB ports, you’ll be able to add in a extra memory card

You’ll also be able to add in an SD card, so if you have a digital camera and you want to bring your photos to life on the screen, then all you need to do is just slot in the SD card to the micro sim slot.

Product specs:

  • Extra memory space
  • Three USB ports
  • Easy to back up files

With these tablets offering a wide range of different specs, let’s have a look and see what’s included in the Microsoft Office Suite.

What is Included in the Microsoft Office Suite?

As the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 has Microsoft Office apps pre-installed and the Acer Iconia has Office Suite apps available to download, let’s see what apps are included in the Office Suite and what you can do with them.

  • Microsoft Word: Word was released in 1983 and allows its users to write different documents on there. The newer version of word allows users to write documents using different templates such as CVs, invoices or quotes etc. There are different versions of Words depending on which operating system you have installed.
  • Microsoft PowerPoint: PowerPoint allows users to create different presentations. You’re able to choose which design you want, the number of slides, fonts, pictures, video clips and different slide effects. This is used mainly by people in education or businesses that need to pitch an idea or speak about a topic in great detail.
  • Microsoft Outlook: Outlook is used for emails and calendar checking. Most businesses use Outlook as it’s easy to navigate and simple to use. You’re able to send and receive emails as well as book in meetings and check schedules of other co-workers.
  • Microsoft Excel: Excel is a spreadsheet programme that allows users to enter different data they have and then convert it into a graph. You can use it to keep track of different clients and their personal information as well as numerical data.
  • Microsoft OneNote: OneNote is a note-taking programme that allows different users to collaborate on notes, drawings, screen clippings and audio commentaries. You’re also able to share the notes with other OneNote users over the Internet or a network.

So, now you’ve read everything you wanted to know about the two tablets, let’s have a look and find out which is the best Windows 8.1 tablet!



Which is The Best Windows Tablet?

We’ve now told you everything you wanted to know about the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and the Acer Iconia, so the big question now, which one are we going to pick as our winner for the best Windows 8.1 tablet? Well, we have decided to choose the Acer Iconia!

We’ve chosen this Windows 8.1 tablet due to the simple fact that customers love it and it can do everything that you need it to do. This tablet is great for students and office workers as its light and durable so you’re able to pack it in your bag and not worry about it hurting your back or getting broken on your commute into work.

We also like the fact that it comes with 64gb of memory and a 2gb RAM so that you can back up your files easily and even have room to download different apps and stream your famous Spotify playlists and watch your favourite Netflix programmes.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article and understand more about the best Windows 8.1 tablet! For more DigiHelpdesk news, please ‘like’ our Facebook page or have a browse through our blogs.

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