Home > Mobile > Windows 8 Pro vs. Windows 8 RT

Windows 8 Pro vs. Windows 8 RT

A developer contacted me just after the //build conference asking “I’m a new developer for Windows 8 coming from an iOS development environment.  I was looking to purchase an inexpensive Windows 8 Tablet so I contacted [a vendor] to try to understand their offerings.” Unfortunately the vendor  didn’t do a good job explaining the differences between Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 RT.  Since I know that’s been confusing from the beginning, I decided to turn my reply to this developer into a blog post that others can share.


There are three main technical differences between Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 RT:

  1. Windows Pro devices use x86 or x64 CPUs (Intel and AMD) while RT devices use ARM (Qualcomm and NVidia)
  2. Windows Pro devices come with little or no software pre-installed, while RT devices come with Microsoft Office
  3. Windows Pro devices allow applications to be installed from the store and to the desktop, while Windows RT devices only allow store applications to be installed.


So RT devices have very long battery life thanks to ARM, and they can do a lot of the same things Pro laptops can do since they run the same store apps and they come with Office pre-installed. However, since RT devices don’t run x86 and since you can’t install “desktop” apps on them, you can’t install programs like Visual Studio or Photoshop.


The easiest way to summarize:

  • Pro is for laptops and desktops and getting “heavy lifting” done.
  • RT is for “light” work like e-mail, games, browsing, movies, fun.


You can think of RT as a direct competitor to the iPad but with a shockingly large number of features you previously had to buy up to a full laptop to get (Windows, Office, USB, ability to Print, Flash in the browser, Networking, etc.)


I hope that helps

Categories: Mobile Tags:
  1. phenry9999
    July 3, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Another way to look/help differentiate the two:
    -Pro is for “producing” stuff
    -RT is for “consuming” stuff

    If you’re doing reports, documents, RFPs, report cards, code, websites, etc, then chances are you’re looking for the Pro. If you’re looking to read blogs, tweets, Facebook, book vacation flights/hotels/attractions, watch vids (Pluralsite, youtube or Netflix), Even get docs out of Sharepoint during meetings, then you’ll be more than happy with the RT.

    Another BIG differentiator for me is the battery life. The Pro is more like a laptop where the RT is more like the iPad. If you want/need 10h+ of continuous use, the RT is your rig. If you’re planning on being near juice (aka power) and you need the extra horsepower, then the Pro will be great.

    • July 3, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      I’m tempted to agree, but depending on who you are you might create quite a bit on an RT device. Developers and artists will of course want Pro, but students might be just fine producing their work using Office on RT. And more and more content production apps show up in the store every day. I just spent the evening creating a stop-motion movie with my kids using my sons Surface RT.

      • phenry9999
        July 4, 2013 at 9:05 am

        Oh very true, my categorization was a quick generalization, not hardlined. :> And you are completely right about students and essays/papers, an RT is more than powerful enough. My beef there is the default keyboard (touch) you get with it. I think if you’re going to be writing a lot with the RT, you should invest in a Type keyboard. But that’s just IMHO.

        You are using your RT for movie editing? WOW! That blows my mind! Too cool!!!!! Awesome!

        PS keep up the great blogging!

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: