Dell Latitude 10-ST2 Windows 8 Pro Tablet – Review

I reached out to Dell PR on this as well; and have been put off while their Marketing Department “provides an answer.” That was about 2 weeks ago; and I’m still waiting. It’s obvious to me that they don’t have an answer. This is a huge hole in the way their Windows 8 Pro Tablet works, and if Dell is smart, they’re correct the problem…quickly.

 Mobile Broadband Connectivity

The Latitude 10 ST2 is available with an AT&T mobile broadband card, and I have a 10GB shared data plan. Coverage in and around the Chicago-land area is pretty good, and my ST2 came with one installed. I had a couple issues getting the card activated (see the section on Dell Backup and Recovery, below) but while the radio was working, it performed well. I say while it was working because after about a week and a half or so with the tablet, I have a replacement being sent directly from Dell.

The Mobile Broadband card appears to be broken. The device’s HSPA+ radio doesn’t show up as an available network option for available networks and the device doesn’t even show up in Device Manager. I tend to baby every device I work with, and I don’t have any other issues with any other connectivity options. The device’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios both still work.

On 13-Mar-2013, I had trouble getting the mobile broadband radio appear as an available connectivity option. A couple battery and SIM card pulls and reseats and 3-4 restarts later, its back and it works without issues that entire day. The next day, 14-Mar-2013, it completely disappeared and nothing I did could get it back.

10 - Dell Latitude 10 ST2 - Docking Station Rear Closeup

I called Dell. Let me tell you what a cluster THAT was… I actually had to call them 4 different times. I kept getting sent to the XPS or Inspiron side of the house, and they don’t do support calls for any Latitude branded device over there. The Latitude people don’t know anything about the Latitude 10 ST2 Windows 8 Pro tablet, but one of the people there I spoke with sent me to their wireless connectivity support people and after 45 minutes of repeating all of the trouble shooting I had already done, the support tech pronounced my device defective and told me he was going to ship out a replacement radio. It would be up to me to schedule a service call with a tech that he was going to transfer me to.

I had already been disconnected twice during transfers from one group to another and I asked if instead of shipping parts, couldn’t they just replace the device? After an additional 20 minute hold while he went to get approval from a supervisor to replace the less than 21 day old unit, he informed me he had created a replacement order for me.

Dell doesn’t make and inventory any device or PC. Their JIT (just in time) manufacturing system builds everything to order. So, I’m currently waiting for a replacement that may take up to 4 calendar weeks to arrive. It’s a good thing the Wi-Fi radio still works, at least I can use the personal hotspot in my iPhone to keep me going until the replacement device arrives.

Windows 8 Pro Software Specifics

I am finding that Windows 8, regardless of form factor, is something that is only 1/2 baked. My earlier impression was that it would be good on a tablet, but that’s because it WASN’T really meant for the tablet PC netbook I was using it on last year and I thought it would be better on a full blown tablet.

Now that I have a full-blown Windows 8 tablet, I’m really struggling to find the right use case for this thing. Windows 8 seems to go out if its way to get in its OWN way. It’s not quite a full desktop OS, though it runs legacy apps. It’s not quite a tablet OS, though Live Tiles and ModernUI (formerly Metro) seems like it would be awesome, at least on paper, or in theory. Unfortunately, I’m finding that both are held back by the other.

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