Can My Tablet Run This? The Clover Trail Report

I just got a Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 from a Black Friday sale. And you know what? It's pretty cool. It runs full Windows 8.1, it's light, I can go at least a day without charging it while using it moderately, and thanks to the USB port I can hook up a traditional mouse and keyboard to it. Logitech has a keyboard/mouse combo paired to a single dongle, but currently my setup is a USB travel mouse with Microsoft's own bluetooth Wedge keyboard.

Now, Windows gaming is not something I planned to do with this device, but I figured, what harm could come out of doing a little testing? Since this fully runs Windows 8.1 I expect it to run any games made to be compatible with the OS. But that doesn't mean it will run in a playable state. No Battlefield 4 on this thing, for instance. What does work? Anything that runs on a netbook, I hear. So I'm off to test my Good Old Games library. We'll see how the older games fare on this machine.

Here's the format I'll try to stick to:

Summary: Duh.

Game startup time: How long does it take to boot up the game on average?

Saved game load time: How long does it take to load a saved game on average?

Touch input?: Is it reasonable to try to play this game without a mouse (or a keyboard)?

Video Performance: Is it choppy / laggy / stuttery?

User Experience: Assuming everything works and the performance is decent, are there other factors that you should consider that might deter a good experience on a Clovertrail tablet?

List items

  • Summary: Planescape Torment works well. It boots up in a reasonable amount of time, and loading a save game is pretty snappy as well. Responsiveness to mouse is good, and although it's a bit clumsy it will respond to touch input.

    Startup: 12.3 seconds from launch to opening menu, after tapping through opening logos / cinematics.

    Save loads: 4.2 seconds from pressing "Load" to playable state.

    Touch input: You'll want a keyboard for sure. Touch input only feasible for menu navigation. In-game elements are too small to be reliably tappable.

    Video Performance: No detectable issues. A little framey but I believe the original game was that way.

    User Experience: Although the application is full-screen, it loads in a very small area of the screen. As a text-heavy game it could get irritating. Fine on a 10" tablet like my Thinkpad Tablet 2 but I'm skeptical of if it'll be tolerable on an 8" tablet like the Dell Venue Pro.

  • Summary: In The Verge's review of this tablet, the author mentioned that he could, quite literally, make a sandwich in the time it took for the Steam client to load. But that was on Windows 8. Now that I've tried on Windows 8.1, it seems a lot faster than what he experienced. Not fast on absolute terms, but very tolerable.

    Steam startup time: 26.4 seconds

    Touch input?: Works decently. Need a delicate touch to ensure you hit the correct menu item, game title, etc. This isn't tablet-optimized--it's a Desktop app--so you can't swipe to scroll in an individual window pane; you need to touch and drag the scrollbars.

    User Experience: Running and navigating the Steam client is just fine... as long as you're on Windows 8.1. Otherwise I think the load time would be super frustrating. Having the GOG version of a game pays off here, though, since there's no client to navigate.