Microsoft Windows 8 tablet upgrade preview

Reviews 9 Jul, 2012

We upgrade the Windows 7 Fujitsu Q550 tablet to give users an idea of what to expect when the touch screen optimised Windows 8 is released in October.

Verdict: 
Microsoft will allow Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 8 for $40, and from what we have seen so far, this looks like a bargain. Business users with a Windows 7 tablet should give the upgrade when the final code is released, and if possible run dual-boot configuration with Windows 7, as there will no doubt be some bugs initially..

Microsoft has offered users the chance to download the Windows 8 Release Preview, but testing has been restricted to PCs and in All-in-Ones.

There are a plethora of Windows 7 tablets on the market, which are mainly used by enterprises and Microsoft has gone on record as stating they should be able to support the upgrade.

IT Pro has upgraded the enterprise orientated Fujitsu Q550 tablet to Windows 8 to see the type of performance users can expect out of the device, should they choose to upgrade for $40.

Upgrading

Installing Windows 8 on the Q550 is easy. The OS can be installed via a USB stick so the lack of an optical drive is not an issue. You simply have to download the ISO directly from Microsoft, set up a boot disk and you're away.

Users will need boot off the Flash drive in order to install Windows 8 - this is done by tapping on the screen and tweaking the BIOS settings after booting up. Microsoft allows dual-booting of Windows 8 with other operating systems. This is a feature users should opt for as it is not final code and there is no turning back if you upgrade from Windows 7 to 8.

Key Specifications

OS: Windows 7 Professional 32-bit upgraded to Windows 8

Processor: 1.5GHz Intel Atom Z670

Storage: 62GB SSD

Screen: 10.1in (1,280 x 800)

Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x proprietary dock connector

See full specifications

In the case of Fujitsu's Stylistic Q550 tablet, all the major hardware drivers were installed automatically so we were up and ready to go. This may not be the case with other devices and drivers may have to installed manually.

Overall, the upgrade process took up 75 minutes, most of which was downloading the 4GB ISO file.

Performance

Prior to upgrading the Q550 we found it to be a sluggish device. Despite having an Intel 1.5GHz Atom Z670 processor and 2GB of RAM, it struggled with the demands placed on it by Windows 7.

One of the best things about upgrading to Windows 8 is the boost in performance, without making any changes to the hardware. Microsoft should be credited with making tweaks to the back-end to facilitate this.

The Q550 responded to commands a split second faster, opened and switched between apps without stuttering and even awoke from sleep in a couple of seconds, just like a tablet should. However, a cold boot will take 25 seconds, and getting the device to go any faster could be a problem without upgrading the hardware too.

Specifications: 

Display: 10.1in Anti-glare, 1,280 x 800 resolution

OS: Windows 7 Professional 32-bit upgraded to Windows 8

Processor: 1.5GHz Intel Atom Z670

RAM: 2GB

Storage: 62GB internal SSD

Camera: 1.3 megapixels rear-facing, 0.3 megapixels forward-facing

Bluetooth: v2.1 + EDR

Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n

Ports: 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x proprietary dock connector

Slots: 1 x SDHC memory card slot

Dimensions: 275 x 18 x 193 mm (WxDxH)

Weight: 872g

Battery: Lithium Polymer 5240mAh

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