MWC 2016: Hands On with Alcatel’s Plus 10, A Win10 2-in-1by Ian Cutress on February 29, 2016 5:44 AM EST
Ever since OLPC tried to bring cheaper portable laptops around the world, there has been a steady stream of low level devices with one primary goal – get users online at a low price point. So while Mobile World Congress has been talking a lot about super high end devices and smartphones, alongside Alcatel’s launch of the Idol 4 and Idol 4S they are also launching the Plus 10, a new Windows 10 2-in-1 tablet.
The tablet houses the hardware – within the 10.1-inch IPS panel running at a 1280x800 resolution there is an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 SoC (quad core 14nm Cherry Trail, 1.92 GHz) with integrated HD 400 Graphics (12 EUs, 500 MHz), 2GB of DRAM, 32GB of internal storage which can be expanded via a 64GB microSD card, and a 5830 mAh battery. The tablet has some minor IO: USB, micro-USB and micro-HDMI, but the keyboard gets a full-sized USB Type-A and a couple of other ports. The keyboard also adds another 2590 mAh battery, but the whole unit is Cat 4 LTE capable, supporting up to 150 Mbps, and the keyboard can act as a mobile hotspot for up to 15 users.
We were able to get some hands on time with the device, and despite the fact that none of the keyboards seemed to work when installed, it came across as an easy to use tablet. Obviously touch on Windows isn’t the best experience without dedicated software, but the screen seemed bright enough when head-on and if the keyboard worked it could make an easy working experience. Because the device is a 2-in-1, the tablet and keyboard detach – the tablet can face either direction, making it easy for the keyboard to face away and act as a stand.
Another issue was when closing the tablet into the keyboard – because of the rigid lip on the keyboard end where the two connected, there wasn’t a good connection. Andrei pointed out that one magnet was weak (perhaps it was a demo model) but it went beyond that, it was clear that the two parts didn’t even line up, and I doubt they would stay together when being carried like a 2-in-1 is normally carried.
One thing worth noting in our examination is the use of 32-bit Windows 10. This might go some way of explaining the 2GB DRAM installed (most likely single channel as well), but might have repercussions for software compatibility and performance. The Wi-Fi module wasn’t listed in the official press release, but we found it listed in the system manager as the Realtek RTL8723BS, which is an 802.11n part which is limited to single stream 1T1R 2.4 GHz operation, making it a very cheap option to use.
We were told that the device will retail for around 259-269 Euros, which makes it a sizable and interesting upgrade from something like the HP Stream 11 series of clamshell devices, albeit with a few obvious flaws (at least on these units). I have a feeling these might end up in an educational context as one of the primary markets, alongside sales to end-users.
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Murloc - Monday, February 29, 2016 - link260€ european price is pretty cheap considering this is a full-fledged computer and surface book-like convertible.
If the keyboard can act as an hotspot even when detached from the tablet, then that's a very neat thing.
BedfordTim - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkI was thinking it was expensive but relatively well specified. The likes of Linx offer similar devices for under €200 however they don't offer a keyboard battery or 4G.
Murloc - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkmaybe I'm out of the loop a bit, still it has features not usually offered on cheap laptops.
I wonder if it's frustatingly slow to use like the netbooks of old.
Alexvrb - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkCherry Trail is actually pretty decent as long as you're not planning on playing serious games.
Death666Angel - Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - link4G on established brand laptops and tablets usually adds at least 50 to 150€ for the whole package, so I'd say the price is pretty decent. Still waiting for a sub 10" tablet with the new Atoms and a digitizer. Wouldn't mind replacing my Asus Note 8, even though it still functions well.
watzupken - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkI believe if the x5 8350 is the successor of the 8300, then it should rightfully be single channel for sure due to Intel trying to create an additional product segment. But then again even if its single channel, I don't think it hurts to add another 2GB to it to make it 4GB. Even with a 32bit OS, you probably run into performance issue pretty fast with just 2GB of ram since I think this is also shared with the graphic solution on board.
BedfordTim - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkTo be fair most Windows 10 devices have the 32bit OS and 2GB of RAM so while it would nice to have more it shouldn't be a major issue. I haven't had any problems on the selection of devices that have come my way but would recommend avoiding Atom x3 processors on speed grounds.
BrokenCrayons - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkIt'd be more of an upgrade over the Stream 11 if it included more memory and/or storage. Outside of that, the only significant features are the cellular modem and 2-in-1 form factor. For me personally, the last time I owned a device that could detach from its keyboard, I never actually used it in tablet form factor. It was a weak point in the design that ultimately didn't need to exist in the first place since the ability to detach the two never translated into a real world change in my daily computing model. I'm sure that's not the case for everyone so there might be value-added in the features that make the price of entry worth it.
Ceph - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkLooks like a piece of garbage and sounds even worse to use than a Stream 11. That screen viewing angle sure doesn't look like IPS. Also, the detachable screen/keyboard combo is a disaster in educational environments.
MrSpadge - Monday, February 29, 2016 - link"the detachable screen/keyboard combo is a disaster in educational environments"
Yeah, noone wants flexibility to adjust to the currents computing needs and available desk space.