Hands on with the first Windows 8.1, 7-inch tablet from Inventec

At the close of Microsoft’s presentation on the eagerly awaited Windows 8.1 at Computex the company quickly flashed a very interesting looking device. The world’s first 7-inch Bay Trail-powered tablet designed to run on Windows 8.1 (and indeed Windows 8) from Taiwanese ODM giants Inventec. Sadly they whisked it right off stage without so much as a decent photo opportunity.

Pocket-lint managed to track down the device - codenamed Lyon - to have a closer look.

Aesthetically it’s a winner. It comes with a brushed-aluminium silver reverse and on the front the outer bezel comes in one of four metallics: red, gold, green and a very nice sky blue. Add a very nice display to that (more on that later) and we have a head-turner on our hands.

Or in this case, in our hands, and that was a very nice experience indeed. It’s about 20cm x 13 cm wide and a centimetre or so thick. The design includes concave curved edges along the two shorter sides, which make it incredibly comfortable (and secure) to hold in landscape. It feels almost cosy. Plus you can hold it stress-free in portrait with one thumb in the curve. There’s also a "real" button for the Windows Start in the outer bezel and it’s fairly light at 475g.

The display is great. It’s an IPS screen that allows for viewing from wide angles. The resolution is fantastic, too: at first glance you could be forgiven for thinking that it was Full HD. It’s actually 1280 x 800, it’s just that the effect you get on the 7-inch ten-touchpoint screen. 

Under the hood there’s 2GB of RAM and a 1.66GHz quadcore running on Intel’s all new Bay Trail-M, which according to Intel is about to dramatically improve tablet battery life. Right now the Lyon comfortably handles around three and a half hours of video playback, five hours idle, but we expect that to improve by the time it goes into production.

The Lyon comes with either a 64 or 128GB SSD and you’ll find a micro-USB and micro- HDMI on the left side and a micro-SD card slot along the top.

The Lyon is the first 7-inch that Microsoft showed off running Windows 8.1, and since Inventec is a contract manufacturer, we’re not sure who will release it, or what it will be called.

And if you are wondering what Windows 8 is like on a 7-inch screen, it's okay. Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 are so easily customisable that you can adapt it to work on any screen size. We had no issues. 

What we can promise you is that you read about it on Pocket-lint first and with its ultra-compact size and fine looks it’s sure to make waves this autumn.