Nicole Scott assesses the potential of Microsoft’s Windows RT platform from the perspective of the Nokia Lumia 2520, a 10.1 inch tablet device that integrates with a stylish keyboard/dock. Windows RT has been criticized in the past for having a limited app eco-system, especially from the perspective of business users. Can the experience on the Nokia Lumia 2520 prove to us that Windows RT has matured?
Nokia Lumia 2520: Specifications
• 10.1” IPS LCD Display
• 1080 x 1920 (Corning Gorilla Glass 2)
• Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (quad-core, 2.2Ghz)
• 2GB RAM
• 32GB storage (microSD up to 64GB)
• 6.7MP Carl Zeiss Rear Camera
• 2MP Front Facing Camera
• GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
• Wi-Fi a/b/g/n
• USB 3.0 host port
• 267mm x 168mm x 8.9mm
• 615 grams
• 8120mAh Battery
• Microsoft Windows RT 8.1
The Nokia Lumia 2520 currently retails for $399 and also integrates with the Nokia Power Keyboard ($99 extra), a sleeved keyboard that not only wraps around the tablet for protection, but also adds USB connectivity and an additional 2,027mAh Li-polymer battery. Generally, the hardware side of things looks very solid, with excellent build quality, good battery life and a fantastic screen. But in terms of making or breaking the deal, the question about Windows RT remains the thorniest issue. Is it possible to get a full user experience from Windows RT? Are there enough apps, and are they good enough? Nicole addresses the issue head on in the video below.
Microsoft Windows RT is actually a pretty new software platform, considering that it was only announced just over three years ago. Back in 2011, Microsoft felt compelled to come up with an ARM compatible competitor to Android. Of course up that point, the company had focused all its energies towards the x86 processor platforms that we still use today in our desktop and notebook PCs, but as Intel continued to fail to penetrate the mobile device market, Microsoft had no choice but to develop for ARM compatible version of Windows 8 –thus Windows RT was born.
Unlike the Windows Phone 8 platform which was optimized for the small screen, Windows RT felt very similar its Windows 8 experience on the desktop and laptop PCs, using the Metro-style interface. Unlike Windows 8 however, Windows RT was not compatible with any legacy x86 applications. Instead you are essentially locked into using only software that was available through the Windows Store. This has since proven to be unpopular with end-users and critics who predominantly felt the apps available in the Windows Store were somewhat limited, especially in terms of free apps.
It seems that overall the availability of apps has expanded and for most tasks, as Nicole mentions, Microsoft has you covered, or at least this is true for pretty much everything except processor-intensive creativity apps, which would probably suffer from poor performance due to the low power ARM processor anyway. The Windows Store might not please everybody however; for example, if you enjoy using Firefox or Chrome for your browser, you are out of luck.