Despite their immense popularity across the globe, the tablet has not really been able to replace the laptop as a primary productivity device. Now, companies like Intel are pushing a new breed of affordable devices called 2-in-1s to become more productive than what a plain tablet would be. This year has seen a string of such devices. We check out the latest, the iBall Slide WQ149.
Specs: 10.1-inch 1280x800p IPS touch display | Intel Atom 1.83 GHz Z3735D processor | 2GB DDR3 RAM | 32GB storage + micro SD Slot up to 64GB | 5.0 MP rear camera + 2.0 MP front camera | 31.8Wh Polymer Battery | 3G data, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b\g\n | Windows 8.1 Operating System
Price: Rs 21,999
Design: The iBall Slide WQ149 comes in two parts — 1) and unremarkable tablet side and 2) and remarkable keyboard side that clings on to the tablet adding immense value to the final product. I called the tablet side unremarkable because there is nothing here you haven’t seen before. It looks like what a Windows 8 tablet would, expect for a power buttons with a red backlight. You don’t have to open flaps to insert the SIM and SD card and that is useful.
The keyboard side is where iBall has been innovative. The folio which houses the keyboard and back cover of the tablet clings on to the tablet thanks to a magnetic strip. The keys are well laid out and easy to use, and there is a trackpad that helps you work without having to reach out to the touchscreen every now and then. The rear cover can fold itself to offer support to the tablet and make it stand upright in front of the keyboard. That makes it a decent laptop lookalike and the cover also does a good job of protecting the entire contraption. The whole thing is a bit heavy though at 700 grams, almost as much as a netbook.
The HD screen is decent and works well with the Windows 8 tiles which might need to be squeezed in at time.
Performance: If you are looking to get a device that will let you create documents, surf the web and work on multiple apps, then the Intel Atom 1.83 GHz Z3735D processor is really up to the task, so is the rest of the device. However, if you are thinking of playing around with multimedia, then this tablet will break into a cold sweat now and then.
The first thing I did with the tablet was try and respond to a few mails. I typed for a few seconds and looked up to see that the draft was still blank and hadn’t recorded the two sentences I had typed. I could direct the cursor using the trackpad, but the keystrokes were not recording. It was working perfectly when I used it to log in to my Microsoft account just before. This was fixed with a restart, but the issue kept returning once in a while, highlighting that the great keyboard might have some things that need ironing out.
The tablet is perfect for those who are hooked to the Microsoft ecosystem as it comes with one-year free Office 365 as well as 1TB cloud storage. The tablet lets you work seamlessly on everything included in the Office package, but don’t think of Photoshop or other heavy duty stuff.
The battery is good for a maximum of six hours of work. However, it takes a long time to charge, especially when it is nearly drained out.
Both the cameras are okay, but we don’t expect people to do more than use it for Skype chats.
Verdict: The iBall Slide WQ149 is a decent 2-in-1 tablet, especially when you consider the overall build quality and price. I have not tried the versions from Flipkart and Notion Ink, but this seems to have a better design at least. If you are looking to buy your first computing device or a backup device for your bulky laptop, then this one is definitely worth a second look.