Windows 10 on smaller tablets has been a little bit of a mystery ever since Microsoft originally unveiled many new features almost a year ago. While Intel-powered small tablets look like miniature PCs running the full version of Windows 10, ARM-powered tablets act more like a phone. Alcatel’s Pixi 3 is the first 8-inch tablet to demonstrate Microsoft’s plans for larger ARM-powered devices.
The Pixi 3 runs Windows 10 Mobile. It’s the same mobile version of Windows 10 that powers the Lumia 950. That’s a good move by Microsoft instead of the confusing past of Windows RT, but the end result doesn’t feel finished. I got a chance to check out Alcatel’s Pixi 3 here at CES this week, and it’s clear Windows 10 Mobile doesn’t really scale for larger tablet devices just yet.
Everything in Windows 10 Mobile on an 8-inch device just simply scales up, and I couldn’t find any noticeable differences where the interface would adapt and make use of the larger screen. That could be partially related to the 1280 x 800 resolution on the Pixi 3, but I still expected the interface to adapt. It’s literally just a giant phone UI right now.
Windows 10 Mobile on small tablets is far better than RT
I still prefer this phone UI to the confusing Windows RT operating system that existed for these tablets previously. You’ll never see a desktop with Windows 10 Mobile, and for 8-inch devices that makes a lot of sense. Most manufacturers previously opted for Intel-powered 8-inch Windows devices with the full version of Windows 8, and that trend may continue with Windows 10. With Windows RT out of the way, device makers now have a better choice between Windows 10 Mobile and the full version of Windows 10.
The Pixi 3 itself is a low-end tablet powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, so that means the latest Continuum feature of Windows 10 isn’t available. Alcatel tells me they have other Windows 10 devices planned for 2016, with some high-end ones in the works so we’ll likely see other manufacturers experiment with Windows 10 Mobile on tablets this year.