Best Buy Cracks the $99 Windows 8 Tablet Barrier

insigniaflex99win8bb002[1]Microsoft has been trying for most of the past year to get Windows running on true budget tablets in Western markets, and it looks like Best Buy may have been the first to pull it off.

Mike Cane discovered earlier today that Best buy had released a new 8" Windows 8 tablet under its in-house brand. The Insignia NS-15MS08 isn't much of a tablet, and in fact it looks like it is literally an Intel reference design with a new name and brand, but on the upside it does cost $20 less than the next cheapest Windows 8 tablet, the Toshiba Encore mini.

The new Insignia  tablet sports an 8" display with a screen resolution of 1,280 x 800. It runs Windows 8.1 on a quad-core 1.33GHz  Intel Bay Trail Z3735 CPU with 1GB RAM and 16GB internal storage.

It also has a microSD card slot, HDMI port, Wifi, Bluetooth, 2MP camera, and a couple rear-facing speakers. In pretty much ever way, this is the same hardware as found in some $99 Android tablets. Only now it runs Windows, and not very well at that.

Chippy of UMPCPortal commented on Mike's post and said that:

This matches the Intel reference design used in the Point of View Mobii 800W tablet i’m testing in Europe. 1/16 and incredibly difficult to use for more than 5 days without throwing it out of the window – which would be ironic.

My tip: Disable Windows update. Disable OneDrive offline cache. Don’t install Chrome. STAY IN RT / Modern / Metro. This is a device that can work well with Store apps. You’ll have 5GB storage free on first boot. Save the recovery partition to a stick and you’ll get 13GB free. 5GB will disappear in the first week if you do Windows updates.

For $99 it can do some good stuff but unfortunately user won’t know about the limitations and it will all go wrong. Unless they’ve read this!!!

Frankly, I'm not surprised. Windows 8 was not originally designed to run on such limited hardware, so it didn't surprise me to learn that you need to turn about half of it off before it becomes usable.

And now that it is confirmed that the tablet can't do much, I'm not sure what Microsoft has gained by getting their OS into the budget tablet market. It seems like this is more likely to turn users against Windows rather than gain market share.

About Nate Hoffelder (11472 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

7 Comments on Best Buy Cracks the $99 Windows 8 Tablet Barrier

  1. Wow. Glad I’m not still working in the Insignia/Dynex/Rocketfish product support call center. I’d hate to be supporting that.

  2. You said Android 8.1 instead of Windows 8.1 in the product description.

  3. 16th is a joke. Best buy will sell a boatload during Christmas to people who don’t know any better. Those same people won’t have any idea on how to free up space by ripping the recovery files.

    The rt/metro apps arent worth spending 99 dollars on yet. Not sure what best buy us thinking. Theor entry to beat kindle and 1 up Amazon?

  4. Keep the user in mind. For my 79 year old mom all she uses my PC for is to read and write emails and cruise the InterNet for things that interest her. Aside from that she has shown zero interest in doing anything else with a full fledged computer. She tried one out in the store. Very little help from me. In her own words she said “this is perfect for me, let’s get one”. I took her there to test it out before buying it as her christmas present. I ordered a new one. She is already thinking of all the places where she can use her new PC. And if something does come up where it truly becomes too much of a pain? I’ll take her to get something nicer and keep the tablet as an offline entertainment PC or as a machine to run demonstrations off for my fractal jigsaw puzzles, cross stitch patterns, fractal video art, etc.

  5. Can someone help me go step by step on how to get those 13GB for storage please that would be very helpful. You can contact me through Twitter @OG_Naztii.

  6. I have one of these tablets. They actually make excellent Steam streaming targets, letting me play Civilization 5 in bed while my primary PC does all the heavy lifting in the computer room.

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