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Melanie Pinola

All the Stylus-Enabled Windows 8 and RT Tablet PCs Compared Side-by-Side in One Handy Chart

By February 19, 2013

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Tablet PCs are enjoying a great renaissance lately, thanks to Windows 8's new touch-friendly features and the general trend towards slimmer, lighter laptops. If you're looking for a penabled new laptop hybrid (one that has an active digitizer for writing and drawing on the screen with a stylus), this chart from Tablet PC Review forum member JoeS is incredibly useful.

Using your laptop with a stylus has several advantages: you get precise navigation control, can scribble notes quickly in apps like OneNote, and indulge your inner artist. I've always been a huge fan of Windows tablet PCs, which is why I've been holding out on a penabled laptop.

There are more than a dozen such laptops, now, in varying form factors--slates like Microsoft's Surface Pro, sliders like the Sony VAIO Duo 11, and hybrids (slates with keyboard docks) like the Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro 700T. These vary in size, storage capacity, and processor type (Intel Core processors are more powerful but have less battery life, while the Atom processor have awesome battery life but are not as powerful).

Tablet PC Comparison Chart

You can make sense of what's available now and upcoming with JoeS's shared spreadsheet. It details the major specs of each laptop/tablet that is optimized for stylus use, and highlights the features that stand out (for better or worse). There's also a linked list that includes non-penabled tablets.

I used it to decide on buying the Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro 700T, which I hope to review as soon as it gets here.

Here's the link on Skydrive and my overview of the new tablets, hybrids, and convertible laptops running Windows 8. Which one are you eyeing or using, if any?

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April 19, 2013 at 12:57 am
(1) Tony says:

Wow you almost answered the question I’ve been searching forever for. I am looking for a list of all newer active digitizer windows 8 tablets. You posted a picture of them, but it’s completely unreadable due to the low res you posted as. Please post a link to where you found it or at least a higher res image.

April 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm
(2) Vijay says:

Thank you very much, Melinda! This is exactly what I was looking for.

@Tony: She does have a link: See the last paragraph where she says: Here’s the link on Skydrive.

June 1, 2013 at 8:33 pm
(3) nat says:

HP seem to have removed all traces of stylus support for the Envy X2, so I suggest you take it out of your spreadsheet until such time as they see fit to make it available (if ever).

June 24, 2013 at 11:11 am
(4) Felipe says:

Great list, thank you! Could you please update it to include products with haswell processors?

June 27, 2013 at 12:46 pm
(5) Ramy says:

Melanie (Melinda?) Thanks for this information and compilation of a list anyone can take and update on their own…if need be. I just tested out the Lenovo Thinkpad Helix and found it to be something I could not use. Very glaring screen and the stylus is the size of a golf pencil. But the small pencil size could work – the screen is small – too small for me.

I have an old Gateway TA6 that isn’t perfect, and worse, it will have unsupported software that can’t be upgraded on the device in 2014.

Have you received your Samsung? Like? Love?

I have passed on your table and info to several IT professionals who help customers decide on best work computer choices.

August 3, 2013 at 9:40 am
(6) David says:

Excellent summary, exactly what I was looking for. Thank you very much. Waiting for Samsung to launch the Ativ Q.

October 1, 2013 at 6:48 pm
(7) Tim says:

This is SO helpful. Many thanks Melinda. What I’d like to know also is whether any all in one pcs (with much larger screens than the tablets isted) are penabled (i.e. so that an active digitizer would work for writing and drawing on the screen with a stylus).
Anyone know the answer to this?

October 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm
(8) Prasad says:

Melanie, you are pure awesomeness. That list is really useful. I was hoping but not optimistic that you would keep it updated, but it is up to date with the new Tap 11 included.

Would be terrific if you or someone could do such a comparison for even Android tablets.

December 25, 2013 at 9:45 am
(9) Daniel says:

@Ryan Sony Fit Flip 15 is the unicorn! Cintiq Companions are out as well!

March 7, 2014 at 2:04 am
(10) vballrat says:

I used to have an old Gateway tablet PC and loved it, though heavy. I was able to create forms then will out in the building I could fill in the forms, the tablet would convert my hand writing into typed text. I could then e-mail the for wirelessly to myself and have a completed. form. Could I do that with this tablet PC?

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