Micromax has been playing in the smartphones and tablets market for quite a while now. But with the 2-in-1 category having kicked off a couple of years ago, and not many players in the entry level segment, there is a huge gap which needs filling. For Micromax, known for its budget handsets, and being among the top smartphone sellers in India, it was a logical move to explore this niche segment. There have been products in the segment in the past such as Asus Transformer Book, Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga series and so on, but they have been on the higher side of the price spectrum. Will Micromax Canvas Laptab change that? We shall find out.
Build and Design: 7/10
Micromax Canvas Laptab comes in two parts, the tablet and the detachable keyboard which can be joined via the magnetic hinge. Let us look at each part separately. The first thing that will strike you when you hold the Laptab, is the weight. For an 10.1-inch convertible, the Laptab is heavy at 1.1 kg. If you have placed the Laptab on a table, the weight is well distributed thanks to the angle of the hinge, but place it on your lap and if you aren’t careful, there are chances that the Laptab will topple over since the tablet portion is heavier.
The magnetic hinge is quite good and holds the tablet in place. It requires a good amount of force to pull it apart. But if you are using the Laptab while travelling on Indian roads, a sudden jerk due to the ever-present potholes may tend to detach the tablet from the magnetic hinge. Also, when you shut down your Laptab and are closing it, the magnetic hinge holds it in place, and there is a provision to slip it in on the front edge of the keyboard. Getting that shutting of the Laptab correctly will take some practice. There is a visible gap when the Laptab is in the shut state, probably to prevent the display from resting on the keypad.
Tablet portion comes with a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 pixel display. But there is a lot of bezel around the tablet and if one thinks about it, with a thinner bezel you could’ve easily got an 11.6-inch display. The Windows logo is prominently placed at the base of the display and a 2MP front camera. On the rear side of the tablet you have thick plastic cover which has rubber additions around the sides and the top edge.
On the top you have a 3G SIM card slot, a microSD card slot, a microUSB port for charging and an audio jack. When you are using it as a tablet the placement of audio jack is not an issue, but in the laptop mode your headset or earphone wire will come between you and the display unless you route it from behind. There should’ve been an audio jack on the sides of the keypad ideally as well. The sides have grilled section for the speaker and there is the volume rocker and power / standby button on the side. While the buttons have a good design, they require a hard press which is annoying.
Keyboard and Trackpad: 6/10
There is a QWERTY keyboard with tiny isolated keys. While the travel on the keys is good, getting used to it will involve a learning curve if you are switching from a regular full-size keyboard. Due to the 10.1-inch form factor, the full keyboard could only be accommodated by reducing the size of each key. Pair this with a smaller palm rest area and things could get awkward for those with large hands.
The trackpad is tiny and is quite responsive. It also supports Windows 8 gestures and two-finger scrolling, and three finger gesture to switch between Desktop and Modern UI interfaces.
Considering the Micromax Canvas Laptab is priced at the entry level segment, it houses a 4th gen quad-core Intel Atom Z3735 clocked at 1.33GHz and paired with 2GB of RAM. The Laptab comes with 32-bit Windows 8.1 operating system on-board. In terms of storage you get a mere 32GB flash storage of which only 24.4GB is available to use. You can add in a microSD card of up to 64GB capacity. The keyboard dock has a USB port which lets you connect external HDDs or peripherals such as a mouse and so on. Apart from this, you have a microUSB port which can be used for charging or you can attach a USB OTG there as well. It has 3G SIM card support, Realtek RTL8723BS Wi-Fi 802.11n adapter and Bluetooth 4.0.
Let us first start off with the display. Thanks to the 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, you get a pixel density of 150ppi. The display looks vibrant and text looks crisp. From an arm’s length, you will barely see any sort of pixillation on the display. It is good enough for watching movies or viewing photo slide-shows.
The on-board Intel Atom Z3735 is an entry level processor. It is great for doing office work, surfing the web, watching movies and playing casual games. But the responsiveness of the tablet is not the best. You will notice a definite lag while swiping or scrolling which can get annoying for some. It is best to use it with the keyboard when you want to work, as trying to use Windows 8.1 in desktop mode as a tablet is an exercise in frustration.
While surfing the web, you will notice stuttering on heavy web pages. For instance, while playing back videos, 720p and 1080p videos played well on YouTube, but with The New York Times or on Facebook, the videos stuttered. Scrolling an image heavy webpage will happen slowly. You will notice some amount of backlight bleeding while watching dark scenes in videos.
The USB 2.0 drive lets you attach external hard drives, which is a good feature. The on-board storage is minimal and the data transfer speeds are not impressive. Crystal Disk Mark gave a sequential read speed of around 90 MB/s and a sequential write speed of around 40MB/s. 3D Mark gave a score of 3601 in the Ice Storm Extreme benchmark test. PC Mark 8 gave a score of 1514. Cinebench R11.5 gave a score of 1.01. These scores, barring the data transfer speeds, are in line with the ones with obtained with the Asus Eeebook X205 since it also houses an Intel Atom Z3735 processor with 2GB of DDR3 RAM. The 3G SIM card slot means, you can access the internet while on the move as well.
Battery Life: 6/10
The Canvas Laptab houses a 7700mAh battery, which is good enough to last you up to a work day for regular use. PC Mark 8 gave a score of 6 hours 5 mins. But the Laptab charging time is awfully slow. For instance, it took close to an hour to go from 0 to 15%.
Verdict and Price in India
Micromax Canvas Laptab has tried to bring the 2-in-1 category to the masses with the Rs 14,999 price point and with a device which comes with Windows 8.1 on board. You will also be able to upgrade it to Windows 10 when it launches on July 29. So has it succeeded? Well for that we will have to look at the category of users whom this device is meant for.
If you want a budget workhorse which will do your office work which includes excel sheets, then this is not the device for you. You will be much better off with a budget laptop with a larger screen size. While the cost looks student-friendly, we’d rather students opted for a traditional laptop.
If you are someone who is always on the move and want a budget device which lets you work as well as acts as a leisure tablet, then the Canvas Laptab is something worth considering. Detach the tablet and watch videos, pass it around if you want to show some presentations to your colleagues and so on. Think people working in small office / home office setups.
One may wonder what are the advantages it offers over an Android tablet with a bluetooth keyboard? Well not many we’d say, apart from having a Windows 8.1 OS onboard with Office 365 subscription for a year and free upgrade to Windows 10. Sure the Android app ecosystem is well developed than the apps in the Windows Store, but with Windows 10 being one platform across devices, things may not stay the same. If your work involves working with Microsoft Office, but you would rather opt for the app eco-system on Android, go for an Android tablet with a separate bluetooth keyboard.
Of course, there are issues with the Micromax Canvas Laptab as well, such as limited storage, touch responsiveness not being the smoothest, stuttering when accessing heavy websites and so on. So you will need to take these into consideration if you are thinking of buying the Laptab. If you are cool without the 2-in-1 feature, then the Asus X205TA is a good buy since the price and specifications are similar.
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