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windows rt tablet previewSince tablets these days are amazingly powerful little devices, many people are starting to wonder if they can replace a regular laptop completely. Especially now that there are some great Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets available, the prospect of working entirely from a tablet is indeed looking more likely.

However, in the case of Windows RT, this is not quite as easy as you might think. This is because Windows RT is not anything like a regular windows install – It looks like Windows 8, but it’s really very different Which Windows 8 Version Is For You? Which Windows 8 Version Is For You? If you’re interested in upgrading, you’ll also need to know which edition of Windows 8 is right for you. The good news is that Microsoft has simplified the different editions of Windows in Windows 8... Read More . Most notably, you can’t install regular Windows applications on it. You can only install apps from the Windows Store, similar to using an iPad or Android tablet. That’s not to say that working from your Windows RT tablet is impossible, though. You may be surprised.

Completing Day-To-Day Work On A Windows RT Tablet

You may recall that recently Christian wrote an article about trying to do all his regular day-to-day work using only a tablet MakeUseOf Experiments: Going Tablet-Only For a Week & Staying Productive MakeUseOf Experiments: Going Tablet-Only For a Week & Staying Productive You took one look at the headline and thought "this guy is crazy", right? That's pretty much what I thought at first, but as the week progressed I found myself struggling with apps, multi-tasking and... Read More . His experiment proved to be somewhat difficult, although I’d say his day-to-day work needs were more involved than most people would need. I won’t be trying anything of the sort, as I already know that there are certain things I just cannot do using Windows RT involving programs I can’t install. This doesn’t rule out using the Windows RT tablet for a large portion of my work though.

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You’ll find that the Windows RT store has a huge selection of applications, however many popular tools do not yet have an official app. For instance, you won’t yet find apps for: Remember The Milk; Facebook; Twitter; most Google tools; Flickr; LinkedIn; Tumblr; Pinterest; GoodReads; Delicious; and much more. This is not the end of the world, though. Read on!

Personally, I use a lot of web apps like Google Documents and other Google products. Gmail can be set up quickly with the native Windows RT email program, and the native calendar application will easily sync with your primary Google Calendar. It’s not quite seamless , as you can’t use Gmail functions like Starring and you won’t automatically see all your other Google Calendars. However, with a little program called gSync, you can get your other calendars back. Google Documents and other Google tools can be opened in the browser and used that way.

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For all of the web apps you use on a daily basis, just navigate to the page in Windows Explorer then pin the page to your Start Menu (swipe up from the bottom to get the pin option). You’ll then be able to group it with other apps you use and have quick access to it when you need it. I’ve found almost all of the web apps I use regularly work quite well in Explorer, barring a few exceptions that use Java or flash. Internet Explorer in Windows RT is unable to install add-ons, which rules out Java, and will only run Flash on a whitelist of sites.

Windows RT has a selection of popular Office applications ready to use natively: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. All of these apps are set up to automatically sync your files to Skydrive so that you can work on them elsewhere seamlessly.

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Essential Windows RT Apps To Download For Daily Use

To get you started, here are some truly useful applications which will help you to make the most of Windows RT. All of these links will open in a browser, then if you’re using your Windows RT tablet it will offer to open the app page in the store for you.

windows rt tablet

  • gSync – For syncing all your Google Calendars
  • LastPass – For password management (use it in split-screen mode to copy and paste credentials into websites)
  • XMarks – To access your everyday bookmarks from your regular computer (use this in split-screen mode to easily pin all your favourite web apps)
  • Evernote – Access all of your notes.
  • Dropbox – Access your documents.
  • Box – Access your documents.
  • Basecamp – Co-ordinate your projects and to-do lists.
  • gTasks – Sync your Google tasks locally.
  • EBay – Keep track of eBay sales.
  • Amazon – Easily shop at any Amazon store.
  • Skitch – Powerful, yet simple annotation tool for images.
  • IM+ – Use all your IM accounts in the same app.
  • Note Anytime – Great note-taking app.
  • Share All – Easily share anything to Facebook or Twitter.

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Some programs, like Skype and Kindle come pre-loaded with Windows RT. For your other entertainment needs, browse around the Windows RT store. There are some fantastic apps available. In fact, sometimes there is too much choice.

windows rt tablet preview

Multitasking With Windows RT

With many tablets, it’s impossible to multi-task. However, with Windows RT you can multi-task in two easy ways: switching between open applications by swiping from the left to right; or using two applications at once by dragging another open application in partially and locking it in place.

Limitations And Strengths Of Windows RT

Windows RT is limited to store apps, which rules out using any of your regular Windows applications. If you must use Windows apps, find a tablet running Windows 8 We've Actually Used It - What Does MakeUseOf Think Of Windows 8? We've Actually Used It - What Does MakeUseOf Think Of Windows 8? If you haven’t installed Windows 8 yet; don’t worry, we’re technology writers - it’s our job to test these things out for you. Quite a few MakeUseOf staff including myself have taken the plunge and... Read More instead. Another limitation of this decision is that the Windows store doesn’t yet have a lot of popular applications available. Check out another MakeUseOf article on what you can and can’t do using Windows RT Windows RT - What You Can & Can't Do Windows RT - What You Can & Can't Do Windows RT edition was discreetly launched about a month and a half ago with the flagship Microsoft Surface RT tablet device. Though visually indistinguishable from Windows 8, there are some key differences as to what... Read More .

The limitations of Windows RT do seem to work in its favor though, as it is a very stable OS. You are unlikely to have problems with malware either, as you can only get apps through the store and the only browser is limited deliberately.

Despite the limitations, Windows RT is quite powerful and designed very well. It’s easy to see yourself using it on a regular basis to replace a laptop. The app store will only get bigger and meanwhile web apps are generally quite accessible.

More To Read If You’re Buying A Tablet

If you are considering buying a tablet, there are more than a few previous MakeUseOf articles you should check out first. Read about things to know before you buy a tablet What You Need To Know Before Buying A Tablet What You Need To Know Before Buying A Tablet Tablets are starting to mature. Android’s new 4.1 release includes tweaks that dramatically improve the user experience. Apple’s iPad is now on its third iteration and continues to dominate the market. And Microsoft is about... Read More , reasons to buy a tablet 5 Things To Consider Before Buying A Tablet PC 5 Things To Consider Before Buying A Tablet PC Read More , ways to use a tablet to boost your productivity at work Use Your Android Tablet To Boost Your Desktop Computer at Work Use Your Android Tablet To Boost Your Desktop Computer at Work Android tablets have a ton of potential, with the ability to use bluetooth, wi-fi, awesome cameras on the front and back, a keyboard and mouse, and a small form-factor that make it highly portable. In... Read More , reasons to buy Android tablets over iPads 4 Reasons To Buy An Android Tablet Over An iPad [Opinion] 4 Reasons To Buy An Android Tablet Over An iPad [Opinion] With the iPad, Apple has a great product that is dominating the tablet market. And it's clear why. The iPad looks amazing, works really well, and has a plethora of apps available for it. The... Read More (some of those reasons may lead you to consider Windows tablets too), reasons to buy a cheap tablet Why I Chose To Buy A Cheap Android Tablet [Opinion] Why I Chose To Buy A Cheap Android Tablet [Opinion] After doing a little more research than was healthy, I took the plunge and chose a tablet. One which I now own and use every day. It wasn't an iPad, or even a name-brand Android... Read More , our Microsoft Surface tablet review Microsoft Surface Tablet Review and Giveaway Microsoft Surface Tablet Review and Giveaway The Surface tablet is a flagship Microsoft product -- its first foray into the tablet market as a hardware manufacturer. It’s almost as locked-down as the iPad - the only applications you can install and... Read More , and crucial things to know before traveling with your tablet 8 Crucial Things You Should Know Before Travelling Abroad With Your Phone, Tablet, Or Laptop 8 Crucial Things You Should Know Before Travelling Abroad With Your Phone, Tablet, Or Laptop If you're about to go international with your smartphone, tablet and/or laptop there are a few things you should know before you go. You might need extra peripheral devices and plugs, entertainment and maps pre-downloaded,... Read More .

So, can a Windows RT tablet replace my laptop?

In conclusion, I knew from the start I could never completely replace my laptop with a Windows RT tablet, but I am very impressed with the sheer amount of things I can do with it, the quality of some of the apps and how user-friendly the whole Windows RT experience is. I can certainly do a LOT of work on the Windows RT tablet, which is good enough for me.

Have you tried using a Windows RT tablet? Could you replace your laptop with it?

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