I got a Chromebook, as you’ll know if you’ve read my last couple of posts.
I also got a cheap Teclast X90HD Windows 8.1 (desktop version, not RT) tablet because I had one Windows application I knew I would want to use.
So I bought this cheap tablet with one purpose in mind: Run one Windows application.
The idea was to set up the tablet and then stash it in a closet plugged into a power outlet so I could remote into it whenever I needed that one Windows application.
So I unboxed the thing and started playing around with it.
First off, the language was set to Chinese. So I went into the Region and Language Settings and changed the language for All The Things to English and deleted the Chinese language pack.
All the time I was using this tablet to set it up I noticed something: This is actually a really good piece of hardware.
Its corners are round and smooth, it has angled edges so it doesn’t cut into your hand, but it does something no other tablet or smartphone I’ve owned does: It has tiny ridges in the plastic around the corners on the sides and near the edges on the back so it doesn’t slip out of your hands. They’re subtle and perfect.
The front is solid, matte glass that stands up well against glare and feels great to touch. It also resists oily fingers well. Additionally, the surface is flush all the way across, even over the edges of the bezel.
And the sides and back are 90% metal. It’s not cheap, thin metal like an iPhone, either. It’s thick and significant. The device has a pleasant weight to it, but it’s not heavy. The logos on the back are subtle and stylish.
There are stereo speakers on the back and they sound decent.
It’s nearly impossible to tell which end of the device is the top because there are no buttons anywhere and you can rotate the device any way you want and the screen rotates to suit that orientation — even upside down. This means when you’re using it with the charge cable plugged in you can flip it over and have the cables come out the top.
It’s got something no other tablet I’ve used with a full desktop operating system on it has had: GPS.
This tablet may be the tablet I have always wanted: A full desktop operating system with all the features of a mobile device.
The battery life is superb. I can use this tablet all day, even leaving the screen on for 10 or 15 minutes at a time, and still leave it sitting all night, and when I get up in the morning it still has battery life left.
And it does something else other Windows tablets don’t do: It delivers notifications when the screen is off (eat it, Surface Pro).
I found myself saying “I knew it all along, the UI for the desktop version of Windows 8 is designed for tablets” because it works really well on a tablet. The swipe-in gestures work well on this device because of its flush edges, and because there are no distracting buttons or logos and the screen is extremely high resolution (the same resolution as a retina iPad) it’s great for reading on.
It is also surprisingly adept and snappy at multitasking. I can have several applications open and switch between them swiftly, even though the device has only 2GB of RAM.