At the other end of the spectrum are Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 processors, similar to the kind you'd expect to find in a full-fledged laptop. While these CPUs draw more power and require more cooling hardware, they offer a much higher level of capability, letting you get real work done. Tablets equipped with these processors are priced more like laptops, but you get performance to match the increased cost. Settling in between these extremes are Intel's Core M processors. Like those in the Atom line, these chips keep cool without needing a built-in cooling fan, but they offer more muscle to drive productivity. Unfortunately, the Core M platform is still pretty new, and systems using chips from it can sometimes be more expensive than those with a standard Core i3 or i5.
Features and Connectivity
The switch from laptop to tablet also brings some new features to these handheld PCs. Sensors previously seen in smartphones bring new ways to interact with your PC, with accelerometers, gyroscopes, and e-compasses providing positional awareness for both automatic screen rotation and new immersive applications. And let's not forget touch. With capacitive screens that track five or 10 fingertips at a time, you can pinch, swipe, and tap your way through any task, even those that would have required a keyboard and mouse only a couple of years ago.
Tablets run the gamut from low-power entertainment devices to potent tools for productivity. A lot of this comes down to the processor. Intel's Atom processors, which are built for low power usage and passive cooling, are perfect for inexpensive tablets. They don't require built-in cooling fans, and they offer usable performance that lasts for hours on a single charge. They lack the processing oomph you might want for applications like Photoshop, but they are ideal if you want to check Facebook and Twitter, then kick back with some YouTube videos.
Finally, there's the question of connectivity. With such mobile designs, it's only natural that some shoppers will want tablets that feature the same sort of mobile data that they enjoy on their smartphones. While there are plenty of Windows tablets on the market with 4G and LTE connectivity (and require a separate data plan), most Windows tablets stick exclusively to Wi-Fi.