Tecno is keen on providing devices that one can use everywhere they go. They have big smartphones and tablets. Like the DroiPad 10 Pro II. The only problem? All those run Android and as we know Android is not as well-suited for more demanding productive use scenarios. Windows, Microsoft’s operating system is.
It is the latest version of Windows that runs on Tecno’s latest device in the Kenyan market, the WinPad 2.
The WinPad 2 is the successor to last year’s WinPad 10 and like its predecessor, runs on Windows 10 and packs pretty much of the same specifications as the model from last year.
The display remains a 10.1-inch IPS panel with the same resolution (HD) and in the same 16:9 aspect ratio which is better suited for its landscape mode use. The cameras on the front and back, too, remain unchanged, at least in the pixel count of the resulting images though there should be some few enhancements made to justify the one year gap between the WinPad 10 and the WinPad 2. If they exist, they are not noticeable as these are your usual “don’t use them for serious stuff” sensors.
The placement of the USB 3.0 port on the tablet itself right below the headphone jack could be the cause of some unforeseen problems if you plug in a peripheral device that requires some space like some flash drives while also having your wired headsets plugged in. The placement of the microUSB port on the tablet’s bottom means that it is impossible to charge it while it is docked on the detachable tablet which can be very annoying when you are running low on battery and still have some work to do on the device.
There are some noticeable improvements, though. The detachable keyboard which ships with the tablet now has two USB 2.0 ports up from a single port on the WinPad 10 last year. Internal components like the Intel processor have been refreshed to keep up with the times. The WinPad 2 packs the Intel Atom Cherry Trail processor in place of the Bay Trail chip found on its predecessor.
While the memory is still stuck at 2GB, the onboard storage, which can be extended via a microSD card, has been doubled to 64GB. The only problem? That’s still not enough if one is to use the WinPad 2 extensively.
We’ve had to make do with external storage devices for handling large files like videos, for instance. For making quick edits to documents stored in the cloud or even locally, responding to emails via Outlook and the like, the WinPad 2’s onboard storage is more than enough. Throw in HD videos of your favourite TV show and you spoil the party. The device’s limited storage did manage to handle well the basic apps we need for most of the things we do daily, a web browser or two (in this case Chrome and Opera), a light photo-editing software (Photoscape), the Internet Download Manager and a few other programs.
Performance-demanding apps like the bundled Asphalt 8: Airborne do just fine and the tablet’s God-awful side-bezes (in landscape mode) come in handy when applying nitrous while trying to take down opponents in the game or when lying on the sofa and catching up on The Grand Tour.
Windows 10’s tablet mode, which can be set to kick in automatically when the tablet is docked, comes in handy in making good use of the tablet’s touch screen.
Microsoft offers to give users of the WinPad 2 a free month-long trial of Office 365 and while we were unbothered by the offer throughout the review period, we still did crave the power of Microsoft’s productivity software. That, we found in the mobile Office apps for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations which come bundled. While not as feature-rich as their desktop counterparts, they provided just enough features to make writing and editing this review on the WinPad 2 itself possible.
But that was mainly a struggle as the WinPad 2’s strength is actually complementing an already-existing desktop setup and not being the main setup. The keyboard is a tad tiny for large hands and while we did not experience any serious issues while using it, it takes some getting-used-to to. And, we have to say, the touch pad is miles better than what Tecno gave us in the WinPad 2’s Android-powered sibling.
There are two speakers on either the top and bottom or left and right side of the tablet depending on how you are holding it or if the keyboard is attached and the sound is quite good.
The tablet’s battery lasts about 6 hours, at least in our use case which involved lots of time on the web browser (read Chrome – maybe we could’ve managed to squeeze more using the power-efficient Opera browser?)
The Tecno WinPad 2 is a delightful small device for getting things done on the go but it won’t be replacing you standard desktop computing machine any time soon. It’s hard as ever to work with the device plugged in when it runs out of juice, the thing is just too heavy and the keyboard, a major feature if the device’s productivity credentials are to measure up, needs some getting used to. That users are limited to just 64GB onboard storage is another downside of the device and a major one at that. Its asking price of just over Kshs 30,000 for the base model and a little under Kshs 40,000 for the model with cellular network access like the one we had in our possession for review purposes means that it is in the same range as most entry-level laptops in the Kenyan market from HP, Lenovo and the likes.
To those looking for an entry-level computing device in the same league as a traditional laptop computer, the WinPad 2 won’t be the device they run to. However, to those that want something to complement their existing computing device, it may be something worth looking into thanks to its portability and all.