Microsoft’s executives probably prefer that we forget the company’s executives mocked the iPhone back in 2007. Since then, Apple has become the richest company on planet earth, the iPhone is the most popular gadget in human history, the mobile device revolution made Microsoft’s Windows Phone a footnote in technology history. With all that we can’t really blame Microsoft for doubling down on Windows.
After all, what else did Microsoft have going for it? What the Windows maker did is admirable, even if too little too late. In not so quick order, the company fired its CEO, pushed Office everywhere important (iOS and Android), and launched the Surface line of notebooks, PCs, and hybrid tablets.
How’s that working out so far? Not so well. Or, absolutely terrific, depending upon who writes what.
This week I read a hardware review on the Teclast X3 Plus. It runs Windows 10 Home and since there’s no cover or keyboard the X3 Plus is called a tablet instead of a PC.
You would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a Microsoft Surface-whatever and the Teclast X3 Plus.
Reviewer Eileen Brown:
The Teclast X3 Plus feels like a solid tablet. It is well built, with a metal back and adjustable kick stand, and it’s really responsive using touch or a stylus on Windows 10 home.
Translation: It’s heavy.
By calling it a tablet both Teclast and the reviewer are pitting it against Apple’s iPad. They’re priced about the same, which is to say about half the price of an iPad Pro. But it runs full Windows 10 Home, so it competes more in software with a Mac running macOS Sierra.
When running Windows 10 Home — and not plugged in — the battery lasted about 5.5 hours.
Translation: About half the battery life of a MacBook or an iPad.
Here’s another problem. There is no option to try before you buy, no Teclast store in the mall, no Teclast Genius Bar, and the closest you’ll get to such a device is the Windows Store (in a few malls) or the nearest Best Buy store where you can try something similar.
The keyboard/type cover is not included with the tablet but is well worth buying.
Translation: The heavy tablet becomes a heavier PC notebook.
The X3 Plus comes with an 11.6-inch display so it sits between Apple’s 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models. It has 5GB of RAM but only 64GB of storage, though it takes a TF card up to 128GB. The display is merely 1080P HD and weighs just over 2-pounds; about the same as a MacBook, more than a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and about twice the 10.5-inch iPad Pro or 9.7-inch iPad at a similar price.
If you want to compare specifications, the X3 Plus uses Intel’s anemic Apollo Lake N3450 CPU, which, arguably has less power than the newest iPads.
Here’s the deal. The Teclast X3 Plus is just another run of the mill Windows-based hybrid tablet notebook that isn’t very good at being either one. Look around. These Surface-like devices get used as notebooks far more than tablets. iPads are used more as tablets than notebooks, but are credible in either location.
Why do technology websites review such devices? They will not sell in large numbers. They will not be purchased en masse by enterprise IT groups. They’re merely a cheap knock off of a brand that isn’t selling well. It isn’t a “solid tablet” as iPad tablets go and everything about it smacks of cheaply made, cheaply priced, and not likely to get much use or have any decent resale value or hand-me-down value.
I understand Microsoft’s need to go full on Windows with tablet-like notebook hybrid devices running full on Windows. So far, the strategy hasn’t paid off well for anyone. PC sales continue to fall while the Mac makes up most of the industry’s profits and the iPad shows signs of resurgence and has profits any PC maker would love to have.