There has been a literal flurry of affordable Windows 8.1 tablets in the market, thanks to the push from Microsoft and Intel. Most of them try and sell themselves as affordable replacements for the laptop and not as standalone tablets. But how easy is it using one of these tablets, without a keyboard to work on? I lived with the new iBall Windows Slide – WQ32 tablet for a week. Here is what I thought.
Specs: 8-inch (1280x800p) IPS display | Intel Atom 1.83 GHz Z3735D processor | 2GB RAM | 16 GB internal memory + 64GB external | 5MP rear camera, 2MP front | 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4, Micro HDMI | 14Wh Polymer Battery | Windows 8.1
Price: Rs 16,999
Design: This iBall Slide has a regular run-of-the-mill design. Without the Windows home button you would not be able to differentiate this from an Android tablet. The micro-US and micro-HDMI ports are on top, the power and volume keys on the right and the flap covering the SIM and micro-DS card slots just under it. The bezel is quite wide on all sides. Thankfully, the body does not feel like its made of plastic.
Screen: The WQ32 has a HD screen, which you are tempted to think will be an issue with Windows 8. But this one is quite good. The tiles appear sharp even when you have pinched all of them into the screen. However, it reflects a bit of light and that can be irritating at times. Also, this isn’t the best screen to use under the sun. The big negative with the screen is the touch, which is not the greatest around. Certainly not at this price point.
Performance: Performance didn’t seem to be much of an issue with this tablet. It is fast and sprightly and up to all tasks you set it. Multi-tasking is easy as with Windows 8.1 you can just swipe from the left edge to go back to the last running app. Not once did the tab hesitate as I cycled through multiple apps. The tablet also does not heat up when in use, even for long hours.
Software: This is the tricky part for me. Windows 8.1, despite having been designed for a mobile world, does not adapt itself according to the scenario. For instance, in a vertical orientation the tiles are spread wide to your right. There has to be a better way to lay out the tiles, automatically, when you change the orientation. On the other hand, the OS is perfect when you have a wider screen to play with. The other issue is with the desktop mode. It is as if you are programmed to use that of Windows only with a keyboard. I was lost and didn’t know what I could do with the desktop when using it only with touch. Get an extra wireless keyboard and this problem is solved, also making the entire device much more functional in the process.
Camera: Both cameras are pretty regular and nothing much to write about. The app lets you choose a frame from each and edit the image afterwards. You can’t expect much more from a tablet camera.
Storage: At this price point the 16GB storage is what you would expect. However, this means you have only 4.5GB to work with. So you will need to invest in a SD card right away. The good thing is that there is a USB adapter in the box that lets you plug in a US or harddrive for use with the tablet.
Battery: The tablet comes with a 14wh (Watt Hour) battery. It is a tough calculation to figure out what that means in mAh, but I can tell you that this lasts for well over eight hours with full use.
Connectivity: There we no issues on this front.
Verdict: If you are looking to pick up a Windows tablet that will let you do a decent amount of work on the move, the iBall Windows Slide WQ32 seems like a good bet. However, make sure you buy a keyboard and SD card to start using this device in full. So the cost of ownership for this tab is about Rs 3,500 more than the Rs 16,999 price tag it carries.