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Windows 8 Tablet versus an iPad

A Windows 8 tablet has several advantages over Apple's iPad. The iPad is the most popular tablet in the world. It’s an extraordinarily well-built tablet that lets you do many things very well. The iPad’s extensive app library fills nearly every niche, whether you need a bird-watching journal or a ukulele chord finder.

However, part of an iPad’s success comes from its limitations. First, Apple kept things simple by designing an iPad for a single owner. That simplicity turns into awkwardness when you hand your iPad to a friend or coworker: They have access to your private e-mail, appointments, and photos.

Windows 8 tablets let you set up separate accounts for friends, family, or coworkers, keeping everyone’s work separate. Even simpler, you can just turn on your tablet’s Guest account. Your friend or coworker can use that to check e-mail or to browse the web.

The iPad also falls short when you need standard software like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote. In fact, many iPad owners carry both their iPad and their laptop, so they’ll be ready when work calls.

A Windows 8 tablet, by contrast, does it all:

  • Just like the iPad, every Windows 8 tablet lets you read e-mail and browse the web, as well as download apps, movies, and songs. But when work calls, you needn’t reach for a laptop. Every Windows 8 tablet can run Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

  • Unlike the iPad, your Windows 8 tablet has a USB port. With an iPad, until you buy an adapter, you can’t add storage, download your camera’s photos, or even access files on a flash drive. With a Windows 8 tablet, you can plug in a mouse, keyboard, portable hard drive, flash drive, or camera.

  • iPads can’t print, except to wireless printers. Although wireless printers are becoming more common, a Windows 8 tablet can print to nearly any printer: Just plug the printer into the USB port. (Windows 8 tablets can print to wireless printers, as well.)

  • iPads lack a file browser. Unless you download third-party software, you can’t browse your own files, much less share files on other networked computers. (The Windows 8 desktop lets you browse your own files, as well as those on connected networks.)

  • Many Windows 8 tablets cost less than an iPad. And Windows 8 tablets work with nearly any accessories you use with your laptop or desktop PC. You’re not locked into buying special adapters for your particular model.

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