CPU: Intel Bay Trail Atom Z3735F Quad Core
RAM: 2GB DDR3 SODIMM
Screen: 8.9″ WUXGA LED (Multi-Touch) 1920 x 1200
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics HD Audio
Storage: 32GB Hard drive, Micro SD up to 64GB
Webcam: Front (2MP) / Rear (5MP)
Ports: Micro SD, Micro HDMI, Micro SIM Card
Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n Wifi, Bluetooth, 3G/HSPA
Dimension & Weight :
220.5(W) X 157.2(D) X 9.2(H)mm, ~ 480G
First off: This is not an iPad. Don’t compare it to an iPad. Stop comparing all tablets with an iPad. The same way a car salesman would (hopefully) not offer a soccer mom minivan to a student looking to upgrade his scooter, do not compare this tablet to an iPad. It is made with a different purpose (for getting actual work done – buuuuuurn), and is aimed at a different segment of the market (people who don’t want to be ripped off, and actually get value for their money – another sick burn).
Enough jokes. For my R2899, I got that hardware as mentioned. The 2GB RAM always helps, screen size is nice – allows for easy holding in one hand for reading mode. The tablet slots into the keyboard via magnets, and can be collapsed onto it (not securely though). Only one viewing angle when docked, but it turns out that it’s at the best angle for typing.
I’m not concerned with the cameras, and wifi connectivity seems stable. I haven’t put a sim card in to test that, as I have wifi wherever I am, but I’m sure it’s fine. The ports are covered with a plastic strip which seems a bit flimsy, so I would recommend inserting the memory card and sim card once, and don’t open the slot again.
The onboard storage space is enough for me for now – I currently have 6gb available of the available 32, and that’s after installing Office, some modern apps, and about 4 other desktop apps. Build quality overall is good – it has a nice brushed aluminium type backing. The keyboard is plasticky and a bit small, so typing on it has taken some getting used to.
The tablet comes packaged with Windows 8.1 with Bing. This is the full Windows 8.1 install which is free for OEMs to install on tablets less than 9″ (which explains that funky 8.9″ size). It also includes a year subscription to Office 365 Personal, which allows Office to be installed on 1 device, with 1TB of OneDrive storage.
Why I chose this tablet
As I’ve mentioned on here several times, this was the dream. When I first considered buying a tablet in 2012, it was a Windows tablet I envisioned for myself, nothing else. The debacle that was Windows RT informed me that I would need to wait to fulfil that dream. The Surface Pro 3 is still my ideal tablet of course; but that would become my actual computer.
I chose it because I liked the size of it (similar to my Note) and for the other features I managed to research as mentioned above. I’m also using Windows Live Writer on it for blogging, which was another function my Note was supposed to be used for, one which I never actually did use it for.
Sometimes at the login screen, the onscreen keyboard does not appear so that you can type your password. The only workaround I’ve found for that is to restart. Considering it takes about 10s to start up, it’s a minor issue, and fixes the problem. Since I rely heavily on Pushbullet, I did not realise that the Windows app does not support native Modern sharing, and they don’t intend to implement that.
That means I can no longer push links from the Flipboard app. Again a minor issue, and something which will require some workaround on my part. Also, not the tablet’s fault.
Miracast! I’ve spoken about my attempted adventure with Miracast before, but after discovering the tablet had the project to wireless display option, I’ll be purchasing a Miracast dongle soon. No messing around with HDMI adapter cables for me, thank you.
Another surprise: Precision touchpad. I found out by accident when I swiped from the left edge of the touchpad, and it switched tasks as if I had swiped in from the left edge of the screen. Interestingly, by looking under the settings that Microsoft says, the tablet does not indicate that it has a precision touchpad. Oh well. I’ve found it especially useful for bringing up the stupid charms bar, scrolling and zooming while typing.
Another delight is the handwriting support in OneNote. I know that the Modern app has had it for a while, and the desktop app as well, and my handwriting is atrocious, but it’s a NTH. Again, not really a feature of the tablet but something to note nonetheless.
A strong, portable device, perfect to carry into meetings or while travelling when you don’t want to take your laptop with you, but still want the full power of Windows + Office. Just don’t expect to run things like Photoshop, ArcGIS or AutoCAD on it – get real. My suggestion is to only install the Office apps, plus your media player and pdf reader of choice. Pop an SD card in to make your critical OneDrive files available offline, as well for storing your current favourite music + videos.
Overall, I’m very happy with my decision, and Astro is a wonderful addition to my network.