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If you’ve been shopping around for a new tablet lately, then you may be wondering what the difference is between Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets. Windows RT is similar to Windows 8, although it restricts users in a number of different ways.
Some users will find that these restrictions aren’t worth the cheaper price of Windows RT tablets, while others won’t care. To help you make your decision, we’ve highlighted the differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems.
Windows RT can only run on tablet computers with a unique type of CPU called ARM. That might not mean much to you, so here’s what you need to know about ARM CPUs:
-They use less battery life than a standard CPU
-They are more light-weight
-They run different apps and programs than a standard CPU
Basically, ARM CPUs are lighter and more energy efficient than standard CPUs, although they’re not quite as powerful or multi-functional.
As we mentioned above, your Windows RT tablet will not be able the run the same apps as a Windows 8 tablet. Although several important apps are already pre-installed on Windows RT tablets, including Internet Explorer, Paint, Notepad, and a control panel, other apps like Windows Media Player are missing (Microsoft wants you to use the Music and Video apps instead).
The lack of Windows Media Center won’t be a huge problem for most users. However, if you synch your computer up to your TV/Xbox using Windows Media Center to play videos and music, then you might encounter problems.
Furthermore, the software you use on Windows 8 or Windows 7 will not transfer over to Windows RT. So if you’re buying a Windows tablet in order to act as a portable desktop replacement, you might want to avoid buying a Windows RT tablet.
Windows RT users have free access to Microsoft Office, which is a huge perk since the desktop version of Office can cost several hundred dollars. Windows RT features Office 2013, which is slightly different than previous versions of Office in that it is catered to touch-screen devices and features a slightly different interface.
Unfortunately for Outlook fans, Microsoft has chosen not to bring its popular mail software to the Windows RT operating system. Instead, users are forced into using the Windows RT built-in mail app, which is limited in terms of functionality, although it still provides basic email support.
No traditional desktop
Another massive restriction for Windows RT users is the lack of a traditional desktop. Windows RT does not include the desktop/Start menu combination that Windows users have grown to love over the years. Instead, it restricts users to the Metro UI. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does require users to learn a slightly new interface.
Limited Flash functionality
The iPad took a lot of criticism for not supporting Flash. While Microsoft promises to be less restrictive than iOS, Windows RT only has limited Flash functionality. What does that mean? Well, Flash will only work on websites that have been personally approved by Microsoft. This might seem totalitarian, but it’s an effective way to prevent Windows RT users from being overwhelmed with Flash-based viruses.
You can only purchase software from the Windows Store
Windows RT users can only install new software from the Windows App Store. You can’t go to Wal-Mart and pick up a new video game and then install it onto your Windows RT tablet. Nor can you buy new software from the internet. Instead, all apps must be downloaded or purchased from the Windows App Store. Although the Windows App Store is growing every day, its 20,000 app count is still far below the 700,000 figure reached by Google and Apple’s app stores.
Limited number of devices
Windows RT tablets aren’t as widespread as Windows 8 tablets. That means consumers have a more limited choice of tablets from which to choose. However, Windows RT tablets do tend to be cheaper, which is why they’ll appeal to tablet users on a budget.
Conclusion – should you buy a Windows RT device?
Windows RT tablets will appeal to a smaller group of users than Windows 8 tablets. Windows RT tablets are simplified versions of Windows 8 that feature an entirely new interface and more restrictive app requirements.
They’re not an ideal choice for business users or performance PC users, but they offer a good solution to tablet users who want something “that just works.”