After using Windows 8.1 on an 8 inch tablet for the last few weeks I found that Windows works really well on a small tablet (see my thought is this post). As I say in the post it works very well but there are some tips to get the most from your 8 inch Windows tablet.
Use a pin password
The first one is nice and simple. Use a pin number to unlock your device. It’s really simple to setup and saves typing in a long password each time you power on the device. To set it up go to PC Settings, Accounts, Sign-in options and then select Add in the PIN section. You could also use a picture password where you have to create a pattern to unlock your device, I find a PIN works best and is fastest but it’s not as secure as a long password.
Get a MicroUSB adapter
Most of the current generation of 8 inch Windows tablets only have a single MicroUSB port of them so you can’t take a normal USB cable and plug it in. All you need is a little MicroUSB to USB adapter. The adapter plugs into the MicroUSB port and then you can plug any standard USB device into it including a USB hub, they are few pounds on places like Amazon and eBay. I found that the ports don’t seem put out a lot of power so if you intend to connect something like a USB hard drive it is better to use a powered USB hub. You can also get an MicroHDMI adapter so you can plug an external monitor into the tablet. The external monitor can act as a duplicate from tablet display or you can have it as a 2nd monitor and extend the desktop to the monitor. MicroHDMI adapters can be found fairly cheap on ebay or Amazon.
Another simple tip is about the on screen keyboard. When using the tablet in portrait mode the on-screen keyboard is easy to use typing with thumbs but in landscape modes its harder. So if you want to continue typing with your thumbs select the split keyboard mode (you can find the option at the bottom right of the keyboard). Split mode enables you to keep your hands on the tablet and keep typing and works very well.
Get Microsoft Office working
8 inch Windows 8 tablets ship with Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition but most of the time Office isn’t actually activated and you will have to do it yourself. I found that the key wasn’t clearly marked in the packaging and it’s actually the Windows key that you need to type in to active Office. So launch the Office app, enter your Windows key and Office will install. (See my post for more details).
Apps that work well on a small Windows tablet include Flipboard which is great for catching up on social feeds, it’s magazine style UI looks great on a small tablet. Nextgen news reader is great for reading RSS feeds, Netflix is great for watching movies and Amazon’s Kindle app is great for reading books on. The apps that ship with Windows all work really well, mail, Internet Explorer and Skype are all great on a tablet as are the Bing apps like Bing News. The great thing about Windows 8 is how well all the modern apps work on a small display and scale up to 4k displays. If you have any other tips for using windows on a small tablet please leave it in the comments.