I have been in the hunt for a Windows-powered transformer / 2-in-1 tablet for the last months, after the lovely experience I had with a colleague’s Asus TransformerBook T100 during a business trip. As I had the opportunity to buy something cheap last month, I decided to go for the Turbo-X Wintab 2 in 1 Τablet distributed by Plaisio, a major Greek tech/gadget (among others) retailer. I would expect that such a tiny (but powerful enough machine) would be my companion in my business trips, where no CPU-intensive tasks are required.
I have been using the Turbo-X WinTab for the last three weeks, mostly during my summer vacations, where I needed something easy to carry around for checking my emails, light web browsing and updating social media – while also drafting some blog posts and other texts. My impressions from this short experience with this 2-in-1 are the following:
It is a 10-inch tablet with a keyboard so it is easy to carry around. It is much easier to carry it as a tablet-only but the keyboard also provides a sense of protection to the screen. The laptop is pretty heavy (at least heavier than expected) with the keyboard docked.
10,1-inch touch screen with 10 touch points and a 1280×800 screen resolution, vibrant enough to be readable under bright sunlight. Intel Atom Z3735F CPU @ 1,33GHz, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of flash storage, which can be extended through the use of a SD card. Small-form keyboard (to match the size of the tablet/screen). The packaging included a micro-USB to USB OTG adapter to allow the use of devices with full-USB interface through the micro-USB port. Last but not least, the WinTab features not only a webcam (which can act as a front camera) but a 5MP rear camera as well. The system is powered by a 6600 mAh battery (non-replaceable).
The tablet has numerous ports, actually more than the (older) T100. Apart from the typical headphones jack and power port (it features a needle-like, proprietary charging port), the WinTab has two USB ports (one full-sized and a micro-USB one) as well as a mini-HDMI port for connecting it to a larger screen or TV). In addition, it has an SD-slot for increasing the available storage space. Another full-sized USB port is available at the keyboard’s side. It features WiFi and Bluetooth while 3G is also supported by a different (slightly more expensive) model.
The micro-USB port can be used for charging the tablet as well; however, the additional, proprietary charger can also be used, freeing up this valuable USB port for connecting another device.
The laptop came with Windows 8.1 32-bit edition and no bloatware installed. It also came with a free 1-year subscription for Office 365 and some other perks, such us free Skype call time and storage space in OneDrive.
The laptop feels pretty nice to use on a frequent basis. The small-form keyboard is not easy to get used to but it does the work when needed. The whole package is heavier than expected but it can be carried around easily, as it is pretty compact. The tablet part (screen) is pretty light and responsive enough for everyday tasks. When docked to the keyboard, the laptop feels sturdy and stable enough to support fairly heavy typing. The viewing angle is nice and comfortable and the docking mechanism is simple enough (featuring a sliding button).
Things to notice
- Sometimes when the tablet is docked, removed and then docked again the keyboard becomes non-responsive and the tablet has to be restarted in order for the keyboard to respond again. I read somewhere that this may have to do with the touch screen driver, that needs to be set up in a way.
- Even when the tablet is charged overnight, the battery is charged at 95% maximum. The only way I found to charge it up to 100% is to switch on the tablet and then leave the charger on or remove and plug the charger again. Otherwise, using a micro-USB charger solves the problem.
- Battery life is nice but not as great as the T100 one. Depending on the usage, it may last for about 4-6 hours (maybe longer but I have not tested it yet).
- In the keyboard part of the laptop, there is a wire that can be easily seen extended and then back in place when the screen is docked and changes position (from fully extended to closed on the keyboard). I hope that this wire/cord is durable enough to withstand frequent use and cycles of extension.
- The screen is bright enough to be comfortably used indoors with the brightness set at minimum.
- A driver update of the touch screen screws up the calibration and renders it unusable. The solution is to undo this update/roll back the driver and totally disable it/hide it. You can read more here.
The WinTab is a nice companion for those seeking a transformer in a small factor. It provides the convenience of Windows 8 (and subsequently Windows 10; I have already received the notification for the free upgrade to Windows 10) in a small and efficient factor. The CPU does well even with HD videos and cannot be compared to the lousy Atom CPUs used in netbooks some years ago.
The only drawback I see so far is the hard-to-get-used-to small keyboard, which makes me wonder if a stand-alone 10-inch tablet with a larger (but still not full-sized) keyboard would be a more efficient combination.