Crazy Cheap Windows 8 PCs

The market is full of low cost Windows 8 PCs. Is there a catch?–PC Pitstop.

Crazy Cheap Windows 8 PCs

By Bob Rankin

Earlier this year, Microsoft began to offer a variant of Windows 8.1 to PC vendors at a special, super-secret price that is rumored to be “practically zero.” This “Windows 8.1 with Bing” license has brought a crop of low-cost PCs to the market. Here’s the scoop, and what you need to know about the Bing thing…

Bing, Yes. Bling, No.

The license for “Windows 8.1 with Bing” specifies that it can be installed only on “low-cost” machines and its default search engine, Bing, cannot be changed prior to sale. This cuts the cost for PC vendors by $50-$80, so many are responding with a number of Windows 8.1 devices whose prices may look unbelievable.

Here are a few of these low-cost machines:
Toshiba’s $120 Encore Mini tablet is about as “basic” as a Windows 8.1 device gets. Its 7-inch, 1024×600 display covers a 1.83GHz Intel Atom Z3735G processor, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. It comes with a micro-USB 2.0 port, a 0.3MP front-facing camera, a 2.0MP rear-facing camera, a microSD card slot, and a battery rated for 7.3 hours. It won’t win any prizes for speed, but it’s adequate for Web surfing, social media, and many apps. Bundled apps include a year’s worth of Office 365 Personal, Amazon Kindle for PC, and Netflix.

Cheap Windows 8 PCs

Acer has announced the Iconia Tab 8 W tablet which starts at just $150, less than half the base price of its predecessor, the Iconia W3. The Tab 8 W includes an Intel Atom Z3735G quad-core Bay Trail processor, 1GB of RAM, and an 8-inch, 1,280×800 display. It includes a year’s subscription to Office 365 Personal. The Intel® AtomTM Z3735G quad-core processor “responds promptly,” the press release says. When “promptly” is the best a PR agent can do, my guess is there’s some concern about performance. Dual cameras and a microUSB port are included. An optional keyboard is available to make it more laptoppy. The Tab 8 W will be in stores by November.

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Excerpt shared with permission from Bob Rankin.

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