Windows 8 Tablet for Lighting Work

One of the most important tools a lighting programmer can have these days is solid personal computer. As a matter of personal preference, I lean more towards using windows computers over a Mac due to the wider range of software choses and ability to customize. One of the recent trends that caught my eye was the small convertible netbook/ tablet. They tend to be on the inexpensive side and seem like a good field computer that I don't care too much about getting damaged. So I decided to buy an Asus Transformer T100TA that keeps showing up on deal website such as Woot.com for about $200. While it doesn't replace my main laptop it still offers me some additional flexibility in how I can do things. It weighs next to nothing, even with the keyboard attached, and has all day battery life (~ 10hrs) allowing to go anywhere. It has more functionality than my iPad as well and has even come with me to several gigs when I just didn't need my full laptop but actually wanted to get some work done. In fact this post is being written on it!

Here's a quick look at the specs:

  • Full Windows 8.1 upgraded to Windows 10 (fixed with Classic Shell)
  • Intel Atom Z3775 Quad Core @ 1.46ghz
  • 2 Gigs of Ram
  • 64GB internal storage
  • 10.1 Inch Touch Screen (1368x768)
  • MicroSD Slot (Capable of reading 128GB cards, see this post on how to make this more useful)
  • Micro USB 2.0 (Charging and OTG)
  • Micro HDMI
  • USB 3.0 on Keyboard
  • 2.4lbs w/keyboard

Looking at the specs its not an overly powerful machine but it has enough horse power to get things done.  The biggest advantage is the full version of Windows, meaning you can run just about any software on it as long as it doesn't need a ton of processing power/RAM, unlike other tablet options. The hard drive space a somewhat of a limit but there are ways to work around this. In my next post I'll give you the steps I used to get the OS to think an SD is a regular hard drive and install programs such as Drop Box to it allowing you to greatly expand the SD cards utility. When used with USB Ethernet adapter you can join wired networks and use programs like remote desktop to access other network computers or other show critical functions you may not want on WiFi. 

Here's the list of lighting type programs I've tried and some of the results:

  • Magic Q- Works great, outputs fine over the USB dongle, the touch screen is nice too. I actually ended up running a small show off it in a pinch.
  • EOS Offline- Runs as expected, able to connect to a console as a client, haven't tried outputting via Nomad
  • Grandma 2 OnPC- Runs but needs a wired connection via USB> Ethernet
  • Reaper- Works fine for audio, video not so much

All of this comes together to create something that is worth considering if you want a utility computer or are a Mac user looking to get into Windows for certain applications with a very reasonable price tag.