Sunday, July 7, 2013

[Review] Dell Latitude 10 Essentials Windows 8 tablet user review–part 4: bundled bloat ware, Windows 8.1 compatibility, recovery and firmware updates

This is the part 4 of the Dell Latitude 10 Essentials Windows 8 tablet user review. This one is about bundled bloat ware, Windows 8.1 compatibility, recovery and firmware updates.

Note: If you missed the part 1 and 2, click on the following links to read them.

Part 1: Ease of holding the tablet and look & feel

Part 2: Usability

Part 3: The performance, the camera and battery life

OK, let’s get on with this section then.

Bundled bloat ware

 
Amazingly Dell doesn't bundle too many bloat ware with the tablet. It comes with their backup software (Dell Backup and Recovery) and some data protection software (Dell Data Access Protection, which I had to remove when updating to Windows 8.1 Preview), but I've never used them. Windows comes with its own backup and encryption software. Why would I need anything else? I know that you can remove the Data Access Protection software but I don't know if you remove the backup software it would ruin the recovery functionality. They are harmless and don't really affect the performance, so I would leave them as they are.
 

Windows 8.1 compatibility

 
I installed Windows 8.1 Preview using the  update method and it works fine. But I had a hiccup in the first attempt and succeeded the second time. I'm really looking forwards to the final version of Windows 8.1. It would hopefully make the tablet experience much better.

IMG_0026_thumb12

Running Windows 8.1 Preview as a boss
 
With 8.1 Preview, things work well, but the crashes are imminent. It's not the tablet's fault anyways.
 

Recovery

 
I believe you can use Dell's own Backup and Recovery software, but I would rather use the Refresh functionality provided by Windows 8. It works very well with this tablet. You don't have to provide any install media because it is built right into the system. I had to use it once when I was updating to Windows 8.1 Preview.
 

Firmware updates

 
I have updated the firmware twice after getting the tablet. DELL doesn't provide frequent updates but it seems like one get released once every couple of months. Updating the firmware is straightforward. You just download the EXE from DELL's product support page (here’s a clutter free page) and run it. The tablet automatically reboots and goes into the UEFI environment (you can manually access UEFI if you connect a USB keyboard and press F2 at the time of POST) and updates the firmware from there.
 
IMG_0018_thumb16
UEFI screen
 
After that's done, the tablet automatically restarts and you are done. But don't forget to read the description on the firmware update because sometimes you will have to update the drivers as well.
 
Shame they haven't released any firmware update to fix the crappy audio quality problem. Maybe it is not fixable with a firmware update.

Finally: problems, short falls and the conclusion

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