We hear it time and time again, Windows RT isn’t doing all that great, largely because people can buy ATOM-based Windows 8 devices for the same price.

With ARM, you only get Windows Store apps and the only major positive is that you get slightly better battery life than ATOM. With Intel ATOM devices you will get slightly weaker battery life (very slightly in many cases), but you will also get Windows Store apps, alongside the full compatibility of Windows legacy apps thanks to a full-blow version of x86 Windows 8.

One of the arguments I hear often is that x86 shouldn’t matter though, because these legacy apps don’t run well (or sometimes at all) with touch. This is a very good point. Still– think of it this way.

X86 Is A Freebie, So Why Not?

You are going to drop $500-$700. You can get the same feature set and similar looks with Windows 8 as you do with Windows RT tablets. There are few real differences.

Why not get the “bonus feature” of legacy apps then, even if you never use it?

Best of all, Windows 8 tablets could prove great in a pinch. Your desktop/laptop crashed/broke and you need something to use as a temporary PC? Plug in a keyboard and mouse and you are ready to go. If there is HDMI out, you can even hook it up to many modern monitors.

Windows RT can do the same, but again, you don’t have the legacy apps that you might need in this kind of scenario.

Convertibles Make A Big Difference, Too

With many of Windows tablets having keyboard attachments or full-out convertible/hybrid designs, the whole “legacy doesn’t matter because it doesn’t work with touch” argument becomes less relevant. True, you won’t use legacy when you are sitting around on the couch or on your bed. You probably won’t use it on the road or on the plane.

You WILL probably use it when you hook it to your keyboard dock and want a full productivity and even gaming experience.

While I think Windows RT still has potential to be a great deal, right now there just isn’t enough reasons to convince us. Lower the price, bring out some “WOW FACTOR” that’s exclusive to RT. Maybe a special consumption service only for RT devices?

Until Microsoft really works hard to prove Windows RT is special, there just doesn’t seem to be a reason to buy it. The ONLY reason is if you have you heart set on a Surface and don’t want/need a Core processor.

The Surface doesn’t currently have an ATOM version, so the only lower-cost Surface is the RT model. This could certainly change in the future though.

Now keep in mind, this is my opinion. Windows RT isn’t bad, I just feel that it isn’t ENOUGH to win us over to ARM processors for Windows devices– this could change in the future though. What do you think, do you agree that Windows RT just isn’t compelling enough to buy or do you feel that you wouldn’t use the legacy aspects of X86 in any condition and would rather get the battery boost found with RT? Share your thoughts below.

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  • theprawn

    I can see the logic in your argument. It is very pragmatic… but I love my RT, it is a fantastic tablet. I believe the only thing keeping it from being a runaway success is the price. I don’t think it is a bad value for the money (or I wouldn’t still have one!) but it is a hard sale for an unproven device.

    • Andrew_Grush

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with RT, by any means– I just don’t think it has enough WOW factor.

      The only exception to that right now is the Surface RT simply because their isn’t an alternative Surface model at that same price point. Sure you can get a PRO, but not everyone wants/needs a tablet with its kind of power and pricing.

      Still, if would have never used the desktop apps for anything, Windows RT is more than a capable enough of an OS and will only get better with time as more apps show up. My biggest RT complaint is that the desktop still exists even if it is crippled. I would have liked to see Windows RT rely on Start UI for all settings, Office, task manager, etc.

      Anyway, thanks for posting! 🙂

  • Rex

    Andrew, I completely agree. Windows RT must have a functional benefit over Atom processors, if cost isnt it, I fear RT is doomed.

    • Andrew_Grush

      Exactly. Windows RT is not bad, I just don’t see a whole lot of reasons to get it over an ATOM-based equivalent.

      Honestly, I think I would be able to defend Windows RT a lot more if it is was a PURE Start UI experience without the desktop at all. What I mean is that Office would run in Start, all settings and maintenance tasks would be in the Start Screen and desktop would be gone.

      That model doesn’t work for Windows 8, but it could provide an important distinction for RT. “Windows 8 is desktop and start UI. Windows RT is all about a mobile experience that is easy and doesn’t require messing with desktop settings and configurations”. Just my two cents. 🙂

  • WillyThePooh

    WinRT is for people who doesn’t need to run x86 programs. But for those people, they could buy iPad or Android. Comparing price, WinRT can’t compete with Android. Comparing number of apps, WinRT can’t compete with iPad. These make WinRT not even have a chance to win.

    • Andrew_Grush

      Exactly. Its not that RT is bad– it just doesn’t have that “WOW” factor. While I’m not a huge Apple fan these days, Apple’s wow factor is tons of great apps and relative ease of use. Android’s wow factor is it also has reasonably good apps and a kick-arse price.

      Windows 8 has mobility like Android/iOS but the ability to work great as a secondary full PC.

      Windows RT doesn’t have anything “special” to set it apart– at least not at this stage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KozureOokami Dan Stephens

    “With ARM, you get Windows Store apps and slightly better battery life than ATOM. With Intel ATOM devices you will get slightly weaker battery life (very slightly in many cases), …” Actually, with ATOM, you get Windows Store apps, too. That is a misleading distinction.

    • Andrew_Grush

      Yah, confusing word choice. I meant to say “With ARM you ONLY get Windows Store apps and a…” Sorry bout’ that. 🙂