Smartron is one of the keenly watched indian startups that has bucked the trend to get into software and ventured into hardware boldly. They started operations in 2014 and when Sachin Tendulkar invested in them and became the brand ambassador, they made all the right noises. Their first offering, the t.book is quite a head turner. We spent some time with it. Here is our review of this hybrid tablet
The design is very premium grade and the have not held back from getting premium material for crafting. The result is a 2-in-1 that looks and feels very different from the others out there. You touch it or hold it and there isn’t one inch of it that feels flimsy, it’s all classy and the dual tone rear accentuates the premium feel further. The device is impressive – the Smartron t.book’s box is slick, and the device is packed very well. When you pop open the lid, you see the tablet itself in a tray, with the charger and keyboard cover hidden in compartments below. The orange panel on the rear will definitely hold your attention and that of the people around you when you take this one out. It is very much in line with the Smartron school of design and we assure you that the device and the owner will certainly be noted if you start working with it, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. We guess it depends on whether you like the attention or now. Overall the Smartron theme has been adhered too and this device is nothing like its contemporaries or competitors.
There’s a microSD card slot, two full-sized USB 3.0 ports, a Micro-HDMI video output and an additional USB Type-C port on the left of the tablet. The Type-C port doubles as the charger input, which is convenient. The only thing on the right is a 3.5mm audio socket. So connecting this guy to anything shouldn’t be an issue at all. We tried everything from external HDDs to DSLRs to mobile phones and everything was fine. There is an added benefit that you can use the tablet as a power bank to charge any mobile phone on the run. A very good idea that one!
The keyboard feels premium, like the rest of the device and keys are up to stand to extended usage. The stand at the rear is useful and sturdy. It does not have any issues with supporting the tablet. The charging cable is good and is not flimsy at all. When we looked at the other hybrids, this was a major issue. Smartron has handled that well here.
Right out of the bat, let us tell you that this device is not the tablet than also has a keyboard attachment. We don’t think that it was built to be one. This hybrid is meant to be more of a manageable laptop that can also snap out into a tablet. But when it does that, it isn’t exactly the lightest tablet around and carrying it around isn’t as easy as carrying the average tablet. But we are not complaining. The amount of computing power that this one packs in compensates for that. There is also a problem when you try to use it on our lap, the kickstand and the keyboard are kind of designed for flat surfaces, so it might be messy on your lap.
The magnetic snap-on connector worked very fine and we tried various different angles to check it out, worked fine every time. The chiclet keyboard has very impressive keys with excellent feedback. The keys are sized just right and long stints of typing with them feel really good. We should mention here that the material used for the keyboard and the touchpad are very superior and feel excellent. The material used to wrap the keyboard is faux leather and it feels very comfy when you rest your hand on it.
Smartron t.book is powered by an Intel Core M-5Y10c processor which is based on Broadwell architecture with 14nm manufacturing technology. The processor move up a notch and take you up to 2GHz, up from the base clock speed of 1.2GHz. It is accompanied by a 4GB LPDDR3 RAM and 128GB solid state hard drive. The display is 12.1 inches with an effective resolution of 2560×1600. It is worth noting that you need to set the zoom on web pages to 200 percent to get a proper web browsing experience. The device is not a featherweight in this category and weighs a good 2.7 kg. Most of that weight is due to the 10000 mAh battery, which can last up to 1000 charging cycles according to Smartron.
Hubrton and t.cloud are present pre-installed on the device and are the window into the IoT and cloud based services that Smartron is eventually looking to offer. The devices they have now are more like enablers for these. As a user, it is really cool that we get unlimited storage space on the cloud. Less stuff to lug around for carrying data that way. Given the high speed data war that is going on between telcos now, this option is really good.
The device has an Intel HD 5300 graphics processor for lightweight gaming on the go and photo editing. t.book provides the usual bouquet of connectivity options through Wi-fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth, micro-HDMI display out slot and microSD card for expandable storage. The device has a 3.5mm headphone jack at the lower right side of the device for music and twin speakers on the top of the screen for multimedia. There is a volume rocker on the top left-hand side of the device with a power button on the top left-hand side. It has a 5 MP auto focusing camera at the back and a 720p capable front-facing webcam. The device comes with Windows 10 Home edition out of the box. And there is a trial version of MS Office installed on it.
To test how this guy runs under pressure, we added visual studio, photoshop and also tons of other software on it. We saw that the hybrid was able to take all of this without any noticeable stutter. We tried video loops and heavy video editing. There was a bit of a lag after massive marathon editing sessions, but that was no different from any other competitor, so we are not complaining about it at all.
We love the fact that an Indian company has thrown the hat in to fight with the Surface Tab and they have done a brilliant job! It looks good and does well under most situations where others would stutter and stop. The design and crafting are excellent. It is available for INR 42,999 on Amazon. If you are someone who is looking to supplement a laptop or a desktop with a hybrid that can actually get things done, this is for you! A Classy Performer And Clean Looker in one package!