Windows tablets, trackpads

I normally come here to ask about Mac things, but more Windows users have arrived these days so you never know your luck…

As part of my Aeon Timeline for Windows development, I want to add support for touch gestures for people using Windows 8 tablets especially.

Sine I don’t have one, it is going to make implementing and testing hard, so I am looking for recommendations from anyone with a Win 8 tablet that they could recommend (I have seen lots of bad reviews for Windows tablets, fair or otherwise).

Incidentally - the Apple Magic Trackpad (with gestures) on the Mac is by far the best experience I have had with a trackpad, because it gives such natural zooming and sideways scrolling (important for my app) - I never have to reach for the scrollbars or the zoom buttons…

Does anyone know of a trackpad on Windows that could live up to those expectations?


Just use a Windows 8 machine but don’t use the keyboard. :smiley:

Somewhat less flippantly, but kind of on the same point…

If you can wait a little while, I’m very excited by two products that Sony are releasing this autumn: The Tap 11 and the Flip. Both are designed to be both a laptop and a tablet (the mythical ‘hybrid’ device), but from the pictures and advance reviews(*) they look like much better implementations. Plus they’d allow you to test both Win8 form factors in a single device.

For those not religiously following Vaio’s release plans, the Tap11 is Sony’s “tablet-first-but-also-does-laptop” hybrid design. The Flip (in 13", 14" and 15" initially, but later 11") is Sony’s “laptop-first-but-also-does-tablet” hybrid design.

* - I have to say, though, that most technical reviews these days are little more than a picture of the device and a run through of the technical specs… ie stuff you can just get from a manufacturers product page. What happened to opinions, I wonder?

People don’t pay for opinions like they do for advertising…

Any idea what price point these will sit at? Sony laptops have traditionally been pretty expensive compared with others of similar spec.

Not sure about build quality though - do you get what you pay for, or are you paying for a brand? (Co-incidentally, I think Apple is about 60/40 on that measure).


They haven’t released the price points yet, but I’m expecting them to be reasonably priced against the competition for a three reasons:

  1. Sony seem to have been trying to move away from that high price perception of late (compare pricing on the recently released Pro to what they used to sell the similar modus operandi Z and X series).

  2. They seem to be marketing these devices more at the casual user than the ‘bigspecsbigprice’ brigade. The Tap11 in particular should be keenly priced.

  3. Vaio have been keen to make customisation of specs available across their lines of late, so I expect there will be an entry level version of both (especially the Tap11) that will be more than sufficient for the task.

This all said, they aren’t going to be as cheap as a budget brand or pure tablet. They are still Vaios, with all that entails (beautiful screens using their HD TV technology, etc) re: quality.

I should point out that if you get a Flip I will be incredibly jealous. If you get a Tap11, Mrs Pigfender will be jealous too!

in other words, yes: my view is that you are getting cutting edge technology and quality for that pricetag. But head to a store and have a play and see for yourself.
(The 15" Flip is essentially a Retina resolution screen with Bravia quality viewing… wow!)

A tablet that fails to be a laptop, or a laptop that fails to be a tablet… tough choice! :laughing:

I think a laptop with some touch sounds more useful to me than the other way around given I already have an iPad to act as a pure tablet.


Ha! That’s about the size of it. I was previously tempted by the Pro (not at all a tablet, just a lightweight but powerful touchscreen laptop), but what I’ve seen of the Flip is tempting. Not because I want a tablet for ANYTHING. I mean, I just don’t need anything in that form.

However, I am interested in using the hybrid functionality as a sort of docking station. So…
When I’m out and about I use it as a normal laptop.
When I’m in the office I fold it like a tablet and then put it on a stand with a wireless keyboard and mouse so I can use those devices but still have the touchscreen functionality.

But that’s just me.

The alternative, from your perspective, is the original flippant response: buy a cheap Win8 laptop and just don’t use the keyboard while testing.


Sony is the Apple of windows machines. High reliability. Sexy design. Super high end components. Not easily customizable (outside of base spec). Stable OS/HW combo. Overpriced. Good support.

The only problem I have with the Sony platform is the OS (windows). All the reliability issues I have encountered are the standard windows problems.

If you have the cash, get a sony.

I just agreed with Pigfender.

The two things I would point out about Sony, though:

  1. Bloatware. Vaios come loaded with unnecessary Sony software for you to uninstall when you get home.
  2. Fan noise. Sony seem to set their trigger temps low, making them less suitable for music applications, but presumably with improvements in CPU cooling and all that entails.

Your signature has a typo.

I think that’s a compliment.


If you have an iPad, an inexpensive way to get started may be Splashtop’s Splashtop 2 app (currently $9.99), which appears to do a credible job of letting one remote view/control a Windows 8 PC using the Modern (Metro) UI gestures. It might even be worth a try on an iPhone having a Retina display. Be aware that additional cost (in-app subscription purchase) is involved in order to use it remotely over the Internet (away from the LAN/WIFI that the Windows 8 system being controlled is connected to). … 09315?mt=8
They have an older Win8 Metro Testbed app, but I’d be cautious, as presumably has been deprecated in favor of the above. … 78988?mt=8

You might also check out their Gesture Touchpad for Win8, which enables an iPhone (and thus presumably an iPad) to function as a touchpad for Windows 8. $2.99 I don’t know how faithful/native it is to Windows 8 Metro UI gestures… but pretty low risk, in terms of cost. … 40812?mt=8

There are other iOS apps for iPad/iPhone remote view/control of Windows 8 PCs… possibly with some degree of Metro UI gesture support/compatability… Ignition, TeamViewer, … I think you can try the TeamViewer for free.

Best ultimate, but costly, bet is presumably an actual Windows 8 tablet. If in doubt, the reference is presumably Microsoft’s own Surface Pro (not Surface, which runs RT).

Windows 8 laptops with touch sensitive screens might be an option… and possibly cheaper than a Windows 8 tablet.

An external touch sensitive display monitor might be an option.,2817,2419059,00.asp

As far as an external touch pad/track for Windows 8, some possibilities, which I have absolutely no experience with or opinion about, might or might not include the following:
Microsoft … technology
Apple Magic Trackpad on Windows via Magic Tools

Some unrelated but possibly useful tools for making the Windows 8 environment more tolerable during development, from Stardock. The upcoming 8.1 upgrade may lessen or remove the need for these…
Start8 (brings back Start button, make traditional Windows GUI more readily accessible/defaultable)
ModernMix (lets you launch Modern (Metro) apps in their own windows, as opposed to full screen, so they don’t take over the entire screen… and so can run such in the traditional Windows GUI mode