If you’re planning to buy one of the cheap Windows 8 tablets with 32GB of internal storage, this article is for you. And it will probably make you reconsider your buying choice.
Presently, Windows 8 tablets based on Intel’s “Bay Trail” Atom processors come with a free copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013. Some popular models are the Asus Transformer Book T100, Dell Venue 8 Pro, Lenovo Miix 8 2, Acer W4, and Toshiba Encore, with screen sizes of 8″ or 10″, depending on model. That kind of tablets represents the majority of Windows tablet models on today’s market. It’s a great deal having Office included in a device costing less than $300. On discounts, they even reach sub $250 price tags. However, the sub-300-dollar models have 32GB of storage, while for the 64GB versions customers have to shell out additional $50 approximately. The fact is Windows 8 and Office, plus Windows Recovery partition and some usual bloatware, take up about half of the storage space on the 32GB devices. You’ll be left with only about 15 gigs for your files even before you install anything or save a single document. They’re not Android nor iOS tablets with light smartphone-class operating systems. They run on full blown Windows for PCs and support robust programs like Photoshop for professional photo editing, Visual Studio for programming, and others.
Presence of a microSD card slot on virtually every Windows 8 tablet model on the market makes cramped storage a bit less painful. But there are limitations when it comes to use of microSD cards under Windows 8:
- You can not install Metro-style apps on the SD card. For instance, install Grand Theft Auto San Andreas from the Windows Store and you’ve already taken up 2.5GB of your storage space. Install a couple of games and larger apps more, and your free space will be eaten up fast. Sure, there are workarounds for enabling Metro app installs on external storage devices. You can find them by searching for “install Metro app on microSD under Windows 8(.1)” on Google or Bing. But, these workarounds require advanced knowledge of Windows. For instance, it involves messing with system’s registry, which is not recommended system stability-wise and many users won’t be able to complete the hack successfully. UPDATE: Microsoft has solved this problem in Windows 10, which allows you to choose install location for Windows Store apps.
- Many users also don’t want to bother with setting default locations of Libraries (Documents, Downloads, Pictures, Videos) to the microSD card. But, it’s necessary if you plan to put any serious amount of files in your Libraries. For instance, import a full 8GB SD card from your camera to the Pictures folder a freshly activated 32GB Windows 8 tablet and you’ve already halved your free space.
Therefore, for the most of users going for a 64GB variant of a Win 8 tablet is practically a must. Even 64GB isn’t enough in the era of high-res images and 1080p videos recorded with a smartphone, but it’ll make your experience on a Windows 8 tablet much simpler and better. After all, if you still want to get a 32GB one and expand storage via microSD, you’ll still have to buy one of these cards and they’re about $15-$20 for 32GB capacity. So, going for a 64GB Win tablet will certainly justify the higher price.