Today, computers have gotten into our lives so much that we someway or the other use at-least one of them everyday. Be it our smart-phones, tablets, laptops etc. Also, Laptops aren’t just what most companies give to their employees, they have come to define a new generation of mobile-first users who want to work and play anywhere they want to. With the advent of so many consumer devices it sometimes gets difficult choosing the right device for yourself. Although multiple devices are good and gives you an ease of use, getting an unified experience is still a challenge.
When Microsoft introduced Windows 8, it wasn’t a very well received product among consumers. However, it made more PC makers think towards better touch powered displays. Since then, OEMs have been pushing a variety of touch enabled laptops and convertible devices, often referred to as 2-in-1s.
The 2-in-1s aim at providing the functionality of a laptop and a tablet in one device. They help users to get work done on a notebook mode and then collapse the display to use it as a tablet for media consumption, games and browsing. With some interesting accessories, this makes the segment more interesting. They come with the advantages of both tablets and notebooks. Surface Pro from Microsoft is a great computer to lookup in this segment.
There are many companies who make 2-in-1s, but most of them lack something what Surface Pro offers. It could be design, quality of the hardware or even the integration. Here comes Smartron introducing their t.book, a high performance ultrabook convertible computer that aims at bringing in an unified experience with their cloud services.
Smartron is India’s latest startup in the area of IoT; the brand with the focus of “designed and engineered” in India for India and the world. The company is planning an exciting line up of products for 2016, beyond smartphone and ultrabook segments across mobile, home, auto, enterprise and infrastructure markets. They aim to make customer’s life simpler, smarter, and safer using Smartron products. They have some interesting products up their sleeve now – t.book, t.phone and tron.x, the company’s unique Smartron experience.
Tron.x seamlessly integrates all the devices, software, cloud, crowd, hub, services and care platforms to deliver highly intelligent and personalized experience through hubtron. Hubtron comes with every Smartron device and customer can access all his or her profile, data like documents, content like pictures and music, services like professional and payment, care, community as well as can manage all other IoT devices at home or on the go or at office or in the car.
I was at the launch of the t.book few weeks ago in Delhi and got a chance to try this device for a while. The initial impressions were really good.
— Vijay Raj (@rajvj) April 23, 2016
I got this device a month ago and I’ve been using this for everyday browsing and writing. I am writing this long article using the t.book itself and the experience so far has been definitely good. There were some issues with the keyboard inititally, but then, most of them were addressed via a software update.
Hardware, Display and Performance:
The computer feels very good on hands. The choice of materials used does give a very premium feel to it than the competition. The dual tone back colours adds uniqueness to this device. The magnesium alloy body does give a great strength to the build. The kickstand on the tablet is durable and doesn’t loosen up or show any wear and tear on regular usage. The t.book is slightly heavier than the Surface Pro; however, the 2-in-1 from Microsoft costs triple the money as the t.book does.
Under the hood, the t.book is powered by an Intel Core M clocked at 2 Ghz, with a 4GB of RAM and a 128GB of SSD Storage. You have a power button and Volume Rockers towards the top; The device has two USB ports on the side, a type C port for charging, a micro HDMI port and a micro SD card slot. The bottom of the device has a magnetic connector which helps the keyboard snuggle back tightly. The magnetic strength is pretty good and the device quickly sticks to the keyboard and the docking is all set. The keyboard attachment comes along with the device, unlike the surface Pro where an user is expected to buy it separately. Good move Smartron.
The keys are well placed and the chick-let style keys gives you a good travel to type in. Its impressive. Works well even for a long document edit like I am doing right now. I find the touch pad quite small. I would’ve preferred a little larger one as gestures work pretty well when you have some room for it.
The device has a 2K resolution IPS display that offers a great viewing angle. Thanks to Windows 10, the touch experience is even better on the hardware and the colour calibration is very impressive. The display is one of the strong features of the device as the details are very crisp. The images look lovely and even the text is sharp. The colours is just about right and not too over-saturated.
The cameras on the device is decent; but hey, who clicks pictures with a tablet or a computer. It is pretty decent for Skype video calls or clicking some occasional pictures. The dual microphones in the front does help in good quality calls and helps reaching out to Cortana even in a busy environment.
The t.book has a 10,000 mAh battery which offers around 6 hours of moderate usage. Thankfully with the USB Type C charging, the device charges pretty quick as well. The performance is impressive; no significant lags on daily apps. Thankfully the SSD built in helps in fast IO and User experience.
Pros and Cons, Value for Money:
Although, choosing a convertible Windows laptop involves making some compromises w.r.t screen resolution, possibly paying a lot more than a standard laptop, it does have some great benefits. Those who prefer simplicity of one device or who doesn’t want to worry about maintaining the software and operating systems on multiple devices would really enjoy the 2-in-1. Further, A convertible can also be a good choice for people who travel frequently. You can just carry one device which means, you end up taking just one charging cable, which helps in saving space.
I find these computers versatile as well. For e.g.: Using my Macbook Pro on an airplane is generally too much a pain. The 2-in-1s really help there – your computer can be swamped to a tablet and yet giving you the complete working features of a laptop.
One of the most sought out pain points of going with a 2-in-1 is the lack of hardware customisations in future. To be honest, most of the modern laptops these days are concealed too. They don’t give you the options to alter later. You do have multiple editions to buy from. But once you buy, you dont have much options to modify. So I don’t think, this to be a challenge anymore.
The t.book definitely makes a great 2-in-1 at a very affordable price. This is the first generation product and yet it looks pretty good to be honest. The various ports options and type-C power cable certainly has the edge when compared to others in this segment. On the first look, I thought the bezel was too big and that had eaten up the display; however, when you want to use the computer like a tablet as show below, this space definitely helps. I really wish, Smartron brings in a pen accessory soon for t.book. This would certainly help for quick notes and annotations on Edge Browser.
Summing up the, t.book is an affordable 2-in-1 device worth considering. It isn’t the best solution for everyone; in that matter the 2-in-1s isn’t a great alternative for everyone like the TV advertisements say. However, this gives you great user experience for this kind of computing at a much affordable price. Smartron has definitely produced a fantastic product; and, if this is the quality of the first product from the company, I am totally impressed. I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves. This will definitely be one company to watch out for from India. They can make technology affordable, stylish and most importantly, part of your everyday ecosystem.
Thanks for reading.